re-whales from rodents
Sat, 07 Aug 1999 20:21:34 +0000


At 04:24 PM 08/07/1999 -0600, John W. Burgeson wrote:
>Glenn wrote (for the 457th time):
>"But when he (Johnson) makes silly errors like rodents turning into
>and using a 20+ year old paleontology text as his prime source for
>information, he shows that he really doesn't know the field. "
>Glenn, I looked this up. I wrote you, both privately and on this list,
>telling you
>that my reading of Johnson's book, which you cited, does not support this
>I think Johnson has done the same.

And for the second time, as I told you before, I looked it up after your
note and I stand by my claim on the rodent (not the bat) business.

You must have missed my reply to your note from June. You never replied to
it. It is:

I didn't find what you said was there! Unfortunately, I can't look it up
again until I get my furniture and books out of storage in September.

However, here is what I found in my copy of Darwin on Trial:

"By what Darwinian process did useful hind limbs wither away to vestigial
proportions, and at what stage in the transformation from rodent to sea
monster did this occur? Did rodent forelimbs transform themselves by
gradual adaptive stages into whale flippers? We hear nothing of the
difficulties because to Darwinists unsolvable problems are not important."
~ Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. (Downer's Grove:
Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 87

Since rodents didn't evolve into whales, at the very, very least, Johnson
is using a poor analogy here. And it loses him credibility. Mesonychids
evolved into whales and they were not rodents!

However, he even repeats in in a 1990 article:

"Whatever the molecular comparisons may or may not prove, they tell us
nothing about how one kind of creature (e.g. a rodent) can change into
another (e.g. a whale). The theory is based on the premise that molecular
changes are mainly neutral, menaing that they have no substantial effect
upon features important for adaptation." ~ Phillip E. Johnson, "A Reply to
My Critics: The Evolution Debate Continued," First Things, November, 1990,
p. 52

Burgy, point me to a statment where Johnson demonstrates that he knows that
mesonychids evolved into whales.

As to the second part of your objection, I do know that he used a 20+ year
old paleontology text by Barbara Stahl as his prime source for his 1991
book. Why didn't he use Carrol's 1988 vertebrate paleo book? It would have
been better. Johnson engaged in poor scholarship.


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