Question: How did these anthropologists determine Mr. Neanderthal's normative status?
Answer: By assuming the validity of certain philosophical presuppostions, conforming their "findings" with those, and then making their philosophical assumptions sound scientific results. This is what is referred to as circular reasoning.
Consider the scientific facts documented by Fazale Rana in his book "Who was Adam?":
- Nine mitochondrial-DNA studies conducted since 1997 have repeatedly shown that Neanderthal DNA sequences display only a 3.7% variation between specimens. This lack of genetic diversity implies that Neanderthals began as a small population in a specific geographic region.
- That region (in Germany's Neander valley) is distinct from the widely accepted location of modern human origins in eastern Africa.
- Repeated studies of human mitochondrial-DNA sequences reveal sharp and consistent genetic differences between Neanderthals and humans.
- Neanderthal DNA does not show evidence of being modern human DNA which became exitinct. Rather, it reveals the unequivocal trademarks of a seperate species.
Though there is more detailed evidence available in Rana's book, the point is this: For almost 10 years, anthropologists have known that Neanderthals and humans are gentetically unrelated species. Though Neanderthals (and others) may exhibit human-looking traits, looks aren't everything. For claims of common ancestry to be legitimate, the devil is in the genetic details.
In other words, the scientific evidence is clear about the relationship between Neanderthals and humans. Yet those who write the popular literature continue to insist, and encourage others to accept, that we humans are just another branch on the evolutionary ape tree by making statements like these:
"But in terms of evolution of our family tree, the genus Homo, we're the
outliers and the Neanderthals are more toward the core."
Humans are not at the inevitable end of a sequence, Trinkaus said. "It just happens that we happen to be alive today and Neanderthals are not."
Why would these folks insist on inferring linkages that have been proven to be non-existent? Because the naturalistic paradigm requires it to be true. They assume materialist explanations for human origins, then mold their conclusions to the presuppositions with which they begin -- scientific evidence be damned.