RE: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Wed Mar 14 2007 - 22:05:48 EDT

This is for Jack, Brent, and Burgy.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jack []
> Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 5:44 AM

> Maybe it will make you less depressed to know it was Jack
> Syme, not Jack
> Haas that you are responding too here.

Sorry, Jack Haas, thanks for correcting me, but no, it doesn't make me feel
any better. This place is what they threatened Sissyphus with if he tried
to refuse rolling the stone.

> And I can understand your frustration, but as I see it there
> are multiple
> lines of evidence pointing to a neolithic Adam, not just
> Tubalcain. And I
> have also read what you wrote about evidence for "human"
> activity going back
> millions of years. The data supporting that is impressive.
> But you have not, that I have seen, given us a theological,
> or even better,
> a biblical reason for why these things should be the "image of God".

Fair request. If, the image of God makes no difference in behavior, then it
is like saying that God inserted something into man that makes no
difference, which is to say, God performed a completely useless act--like
throwing salt over ones shoulder. So, then, if God is involved in
completely undetectable activities and useless activities. It is, I argue
again, like me saying I am giving you a faghernacht. It makes no difference
to your behavior, doesn't make you smart, nor pretty, nor ugly, nor
charming, nor intelligent, nor anything. But, I inserted one into you last
night. Aren't you impressed? You should be, you are the very first person
into whom I have inserted my fighernacht. That makes you very special to me.

And your descendants will be the only ones given the fighernacht, they will
be a special people.

The theological justification for identifying it with something that
diffentiates us from the animals is precisely to avoid the silliness of
having the image of God be identical to the fighernacht--an imaginary thing
that does nothing and makes no difference if you have one or don't.

If the Image of God gives us nothing useful which would distinguish us from
the earthworm, could someone turn the question around and assert that
earthworms also have the image of God? I would argue that that would be a
quite reasonable assertion. God breathed into the animals as well, and one
could make an argument that animals are also in his likeness, he just didn't
state it clearly.

Thirdly, the word for likeness is demuth
From H1819; resemblance; concretely model, shape; adverbially like:-fashion,
like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.

Now, we are supposed to be like God. So what does that mean.

God is supposed to be able to communicate rational propositions. We can
communicate rational propositions. Animals can't.

God created the artistry of the flowers and meadows; we are able to create
paintings and statues, so we are creative. Animals can't

God is able to make moral judgements; we can to and do when we send people
to jail. Animals can't do that.

God can plan ahead and foresee things in the distant future; we can to,
although less perfectly. Animals can't plan more than a few hours ahead,
but, as my article Planning Ahead shows, hominids almost 2 million years ago
were able to plan ahead by days--a similar time frame as we are able to plan

God is able to make complex objects; so are we. Hominids were able to make
extremely complex tools by 300,000 years ago--the Levallois technique used
by the Neanderthals is so complex that only a few modern humans can imitate
it (most people don't know that). Animals can't make anything except nests

> I am suggesting that it might have something to do with
> language, perhaps
> written language, perhaps even as specific as alphabet
> written language.

This, frankly, is silly. That means that illiterate tribes of anatomically
modern humans don't have the image of God. Thus we can enslave them. Right?
What you have done is pick an arbitrary technology and proclaimed that it is
the image of God. Why not chose televisions? Why not choose stone tools.

You criticise me for not giving Biblical reasons for the humanlike
activities to be the image of God and then you make something up which is
not mentioned in the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible bless writing as a
special gift. If anything, Genesis would indicate that language (not written
language), was a mark of the image, because immediately after creation, God
teaches Adam to speak--in the same way that Helen Keller and Ildefonso were
taught speech. (Ildefonso is discussed in a wonderful book, A Man without
Words, by Schaller.

> you have any evidence of this prior to the neolithic period?
> Certainly that
> is something that we should be able to find evidence for.

We don't have evidence for written language through MOST of the Neolithic.
The Neolithic, literally new stone age, is not a period of time but a suite
of behaviors. Those behaviors began somewhere around 12,000 BC but written
language didn't begin until 3200 BC at which point you were almost out of
the Neolithic in the historical parts of the world.
> To summarize my point, I would say that early Genesis is not
> the story of
> beginning of mankind, it is the story of the beginning of
> history. If
> nothing else at least that is how Moses saw it.

I would say that this doesn't summarize your point but brings up a totally
new one. Interesting view.

What questions should I ask.... Ah, so you do believe that Amazonian
peoples lack the image of God. Are we wasting our time evangelizing them?
Can we enslave them, I mean, I could use a good slave around here to do the
long honey-do list my wife gives me, and my life would be very comfortable.

Does God visit every human society and insert images when they learn
writing? Does he insert images first into the scribes? In Mayan and many
other cultures only special people learned to read, so, did God give these
special people the image and deny it to the others?

If I take a pre-literate child and don't teach them to read, can I use them
for child labor, since they really aren't the same status as me?

Is there a gradational image of God based upon the difficulty of reading the
language? By this I am thinking of the Chinese who have to work 6 or 7
years to learn to read their language.

When I learn to read a second language, do I get a second image of God? I
would estimate that I have 1.1 images of God, being able to read geology but
not the newspaper in Chinese.

Don't think these are frivolous questions, or even mocking questions. When
we start defining people differently or define our terms in a way that
excludes some modern people but includes others, the question of how to
treat those lacking the desired trait arises. You know that slavery was
justified based upon the idea that blacks and Native Americans were slothful
and not humans.They were not viewed as having the image of God so we have
MANY historical examples of what such a view can do to the behavior of
those who HAVE the image of God towards those who supposedly don't.

Having seen racism practiced towards my wife and her family, because she was
seen as 'other', I am not ever going to say it is ok to come up with any
view which defines some people as having a theological trait and others who
don't. Nor will I say it is ok to have views that even approach such a
stand. It is simply too dangerous.

In another note, Jack wrote:

>I will say if that is about that. The bicameral mind
>results in "handendness". Glenn has evidence of
>handedness well back in the past, so this would support
>his view.

Bicameral is not the correct term. The bicameral mind was a book written
long ago which advocated that mankind was massively schizophrenic until
about 3000 years ago. The term you should use here is brain lateralization.
One side of the brain specializes in language, the other doesn't.
Brent Foster wrote:

>There are various opinions as to how this image is manifested, such as
ability to plan ahead as you mention, abstract
>language (as Jack mentioned), creativity, the ability to think from another
person's perspective.

Chimpanzees can think from another's perspective. So can baboons

"Forming alliances is only the beginning. If it takes smarts for
a baboon or monkey to keep track of all the facts in his social
relationships, imagine how much intelligence is required when he
and his companions begin to lie."
"Take Paul, for instance, a young juvenile chacma baboon
observed in Ethiopia by Richard Bryne and Andrew Whiten of the
University of St. Andrews in Scotland. One day they noticed Paul
watching an adult female named Mel dig in the ground for a large
grass root. He looked around. There were no other baboons
nearby, though the troop was within earshot. Suddenly and with
no visible provocation, Paul let out a yell. In an instant his
mother appeared, and in a flurry chased the astonished Mel out of
sight. Meanwhile, Paul walked over and ate the grass root she
left behind." ~ Donald Johanson and James Shreeve, Lucy's Child,
(New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1989), p. 274

Here the baboon had to think through the sequence of thoughts of his elders
and then through their expected actions. The problem of your definition is
that it includes baboons, chimps and gorillas.

Similarly with gorillas
"Monkeys and apes rely on this social knowledge in order to
learn manipulative tactics, like the use of deception to get what
they want. For instance, a female gorilla, living in a small group
with a powerful male who prohibits her sexual contact with other
subordinate males may use a number of tactics to give her the freedom
she desires. She may just 'get left behind' so that she is out of
sight of her leader male before she socializes or copulates or she
may invite the male of her choice to follow her, then carry out her
actions with unusual quietness, for instance suppressing the
copulation calls that she would normally make."Richard W. Byrne,
"Social and Technical Forms of Primate Intelligence," in Frans B. M.
de Waal, editor, Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us
About Human Social Evolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 2001), p.154-155

Here is chimpanzees doing it:

When some primates copulate, the male (and sometimes the female)
gives copulation calls loud shrieks that attract attention from
all around Low ranking male rhesus macaques do not give these
calls as often as high-ranking ones, presumably to avoid being
bashed by a high-ranking male who does not approve of the mating.
But low-ranking male chimpanzees have been seen trying manually to
prevent their lips from parting in order to suppress copulation
callsan apparently conscious and forethinking attempt to deceive.
I once saw a Gombe chimpanzee employ tactical deception as a means
of gaining access to a female in the presence of the alpha..
Beethoven, a physically impressive but low-ranking adult male,
attempted to mate with a popular female, Gremlin. As a party of
chimpanzees sat in a clearing, he employed one of the courtship
gestures that male chimpanzees use to signal their expectations to
a femalerapidly shaking a small bush in view of the female. But
when Gremlin approached Beethoven, alpha male Wilkie interceded
and drove Beethoven off. Beethoven stayed on the periphery of a
cluster of chimpanzees in the clearing then abruptly did an
uncharacteristically bold charging display past Wilkie and Gremlin
and into the undergrowth beyond. Alpha males do not take such
insubordinate shows of machismo lightly. Wilkie followed
immediately with his own much longer charging display, which
carried him 20 meters away into a thicket, whereupon Beethoven
strolled back to Gremlin and they copulated safely out of sight of
the receding Wilkie." Craig B. Stanford, The Hunting Apes,
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 174-175

I love this example of a chimp thinking from the persepective of others

One chimp was shown a box with food and another box with
a snake. When he was introduced to the enclosure with the rest of
the group, he took them to the box with the snake. They took
fright and retreated, whereupon he went to the box containing the
food and ate it alone. The capacity to deceive may lie as deep
within our primal ancestry as the capacity to share knowledge."
Lee R. Berger, and Brett Hilton-Barber, In the Footsteps of Eve,
(Washington, D. C.: National Geographic Press, 2000), p. 138

 These may all indeed be
>the result of having the IOG, in which case the IOG certainly makes a
difference to behavior. But they can also be seen,
>and are by unbelievers, simply as natural properties of intellect, which is
in turn an emergent property of big brains.

One of the arguments I was going to use against atheists, when they trotted
out the 'emergent property' argument is that calling intellect an emergent
property does not explain anything, it merely names it. There has never
been any experiment to show that if one grows a brain big intellect emerges.
Elephants have huge brains, but I suspect we are more intelligent than they.
I don't know your view of Neanderthals, but if you are going to say big
brains bring intellect, it means that Neanderthals should be more
intelligent than us--their brains were bigger.

>accept your assertion that the anthropological record can demonstrate
ability to plan ahead. But if you are saying that
>this is a sign of the IOG, then you seem to be saying that the IOG is
empirically detectible. I resp! ond to this the same
>way I respond to 1) ID claims that design is empirically detectible,

I have gone back and forth about whether design is detectable. I have
decided that it is, but that the ID group look for it at our weakest
argument. Two things. Early in anthropology, there was a huge argument about
eoliths. These were stone tools that had one or two flakes struck off them.
Some said they were made by hominids, others said they were natural
breakage. The argument lasted for about 20 years, when one guy (forgot who,
but could look it up), created eoliths in cement mixers full of rocks. But,
the question still arose, how many flakes off a stone make a stone tool?
Some modern peoples use a single flake to cut things! It was eventually
decided that one can't be sure on a single flake, but one can know the
design based upon the angle of the flake--natural flakes have a different
angle of attack than those made by humans. So, yes, design can be invoked.

In physics, the anthropic principle is widely considered evidence of design
which is why those who don't want design have argued for the multiverse.
Here are physicists saying that the rare probability for the physical
structure of our universe is either evidence of design or of the multiverse.

Tegmark agrees that nature's fine-tuning cannot be passed off as a
mere coincidence. 'There are only two possible explanations,' he
says. Either the universe was designed specifically for us by a
creator, or there exists a large number of universes, each with
different values of the fundamental constants, and, not surprisingly
we find ourselves in one in which the constants have just the right
values to permit galaxies, stars and life." Marcus Chown, The
Universe Next Door, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 103

"This book is about a debate that is stirring the passions of physicists and
but is also part of a broader controversy, expecially in the United States,
where it has entered
the partisan political discourse. On one side are the people who are
convinced that the world
must have been created or designed by an intelligent agent with a benevolent
purpose. On the
other side are the hard-nosed, scientific types who feel certain that the
universe is the product
of impersonal, disinterested laws of physics, mathematics, and probabilitya
world without a
purpose, so to speak. By the first group, I don't mean the biblical
literalists who believe the
world was created six thousand years ago and are ready to fight about it. I
am talking about
thoughtful, intelligent people who look around at the world and have a hard
time believing that
it was just dumb luck that made the world so accommodating to human beings.
I don't think
these people are being stupid; they have a real point."
Leonard Susskind, The Cosmic Landscape, (New York: Little Brown and Co.,
2006), p.

Susskind is an atheist.

and 2) athiestic claims that God is not empirically
>detectible and therefore does not exist. In other words by invoking the
impossibility of adequately addressing
>supernatural claims with natural evidence. In my opinion the IOG is not/can
not be empirically detectible.

The IOG is empirically detectable if it is in the form of language. Our
language ability leaves marks on the inside of our brain--Broca's area,
brain lateralization etc, which we find in skulls from 2 million years ago.
Theologically I would point out that when God made Adam, the first thing he
did was have Adam name the animals. Names play a huge role in learning
language and without language, we are incredibly poor. Note the role of
names in the learning of language in both these cases below. Names are the
very basis of symbolic thought. The name is a SYMBOL.

"We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by all the
fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was
drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the
cool stream gushed over my hand she spelled into the other the word
'water', first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole
attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a
misty consciousness as of something forgotten - a thrill of returning
thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I
knew then that w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was
flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it
light, hope, joy, set it free. There were barriers still, it is true,
but barriers that in time could be swept away.
"I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a
name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to
the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life.
That was because I saw everything with the strange new sight that had
come to me."Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, (Garden City:
Doubleday Doran, 1936),p. 23-24 cited in Custance, Who Taught Adam to
Speak?, Op. cit., p. 10.

Below, this was a man who could not talk. He was discovered among day
workers and Schaller began to teach him.

"As soon as it was over, Ildefonso returned to his seat and I to my stage.
'One more
time,' I told myself. While I was correcting the imaginary Ildefonso, the
real Ildefonso shifted in
his chair. I stopped.
"Suddenly he sat up, straight and rigid, his head back and his chin pointing
forward. The
whites of his eyes expanded as if in terror. He looked like a wild horse
pulling back, testing
every muscle before making a powerful lunge over a canyon's edge. My body
and arms froze
in the mime-and-sign dance that I had played over and over for an eternity.
I stood motionless
in front of the streaked cat, petted beyond recognition for the fiftieth
time, and I witnessed
Ildefonso's emancipation."
"He broke through. He understood. He had forded the same river Helen Keller
did at the
water pump when she suddenly connected the water rushing over her hand with
the word
spelled into it. Yes, w-a-t-e-r and c-a-t mean something. And the
cat-meaning in one head can
join the cat-meaning in another's head just by tossing out a cat."
"Ildefonso's face opened in excitement as he slowly pondered this
revelation. His head
turned to his left and very gradually back to his right. Slowly at first,
then hungrily, he took in
everything as though he had never seen anything before: the door, the
bulletin board, the
chairs, tables, students, the clock, the green blackboard, and me.
"He slapped both hands flat on the table and looked up at me, demanding a
'Table,' I signed. He slapped his book. 'Book,' I replied. My face was wet
with tears, but I
obediently followed his pointing finger and hands, signing: 'door,' "clock,'
'chair.' But as
suddenly as he had asked for names, he turned pale collapsed and wept.
Folding his arms like
a cradle on the table, he lay down his head. My fingers were white as I
clutched the metal rim
of the table, which squeaked under his grief more loudly than his sobbing."
"He had entered the universe of humanity, discovered the communion of
minds." Susan
Schaller, A Man Without Words, (Los Angeles: University of California Press,
1991), p. 44-45

And discovering the communion of minds was the first thing God taught Adam!
Amazing that an ancient document would do it that way--course most here
think it contains nothing of scientific value.

Burgy wrote:

>An interesting idea. There is some evidence that some chimps have
>this capacity also. But it is not persuasive (to me).

Chimp vocabularies never grow beyond about 150 words, and the sentence
length never grows beyond 2-3 words. They use no articles, and have no real
grammar. One wonders if we haven't just trained animal tricks here.

They're Here: The Pathway Papers
Foundation, Fall, and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology

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Received on Wed, 14 Mar 2007 21:05:48 -0500

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