We knew our story on a possible human ancestor called Australopithecus sediba would be controversial, but never expected more than 1,900 comments to come in.
The post generated some pretty intense discussions involving readers who do not believe these new findings - or any evidence of human evolution, for that matter - because of their religious beliefs.
Maybe your ancestor, not mine. I was created in the image of God, not evolved from from some lifeless goo over billions of years. The accident of time and chance. I don't have enough faith to believe those kind of fantastical fairy tales.
Religious sentiments such as this received a lot of backlash from readers such as gary, who writes:
Evolution is fact. Deities and demons are pretend. Bible is folklore, myth, superstition and legend.
There's also a large contingent of readers who don't see a contradiction between accepting the facts of science and having religious faith. Judas Priest writes:
Excuse me, but why does believing in god mean denying the wonders of creation that you can see and touch and evaluate? How does accepting that the world is billions of years old, and the universe billions of years older still, deny god? How does observing that things change over time refute god in any way? Why must god, and god's creation, be small enough to be encompassed by your tiny little mind and your tiny little book?
The hundreds of comments that formed these discussions annoyed readers like Pav, who thinks people with religious reasons for denying evolution should take their beliefs elsewhere.
Mathematicians don't have to justify the Pythagorean theorem every time they apply it to a new proof, and scientists don't need to justify evolution every time they talk about a new fossil. So, stop it!
Of course, not everyone sees it this way - earth2loons feels that evolution is a lot more controversial than the Pythagorean theorem, writing:
"...when you must eliminate the possibility of a creator from your interpretation of the data because of your own agnostic or atheistic biases, you will see what you want and need to see."
It's obvious that a lot of people have very passionate views on this topic but, this being a science blog, we are going to report with the assumption that the prevailing, tested theory with the most rigorous evidence - evolution - is true. And CNN has a Belief Blog that fosters conversations about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives.
And there's a lot of misunderstanding about evolution; it's really not as clear cut as you might think. Reader John Hanson writes:
There is always controversy surrounding the "discovery" of fossils that are supposed to bridge apes to humans because they're always plagued by assumptions made by paleontologists. They touted "Peking Man" as the "link" in the fossil chain proving evolution, then came to discover bones of homo sapiens in the same pit. There are too many assumptions and too little PROOF.
The truth is that there is no simple chain of ancestry with a "missing link" that scientists are trying to find. When we talk about the lineage of Homo sapiens, we acknowledge that there were a whole bunch of ancient relatives of various anatomical forms, some of which are more closely related to us than others. Check out this piece from Science 2.0 on the "missing link fallacy" to learn more about the complexity of tracing the evolution of our species.