Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Wed Dec 09 2009 - 08:17:45 EST

Hi John, Just to clarify, there is a lot more to my questions to Dennis than 'single female progenitor.' It is thus not accurate to say it is the "exact same discussion". I'm not an RTB frequenter, after all. so, better to say that your discussion reflects *some* but not *all* of what I asked Dennis. Again and again I find myself noticing people here using such "absolutistic" language. Do you really need a human-social scientist to help you folks (positively) "relativise" the way you speak?! Communication = perhaps a more powerful field than biology... Not wanting to be pedantic, but feeling forced to do so when people won't clean up their languages, Gregory ________________________________ From: John Walley <> To: Gregory Arago <>; Dennis Venema <>; Terry M. Gray <>; AmericanScientificAffiliation <> Sent: Wed, December 9, 2009 3:08:46 PM Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record Dennis, I had this exact same discussion come up the other night at dinner with a high school biology teacher. RTB teaches that the mitochondrial evidence shows descent from a single female progenitor. Is there a good resource on the web you can recommend that addresses this issue specifically? I have forwarded your ASA presentation to her but would like more focus on this if you have something handy. Thanks John ________________________________ From: Gregory Arago <> To: Dennis Venema <>; Terry M. Gray <>; AmericanScientificAffiliation <> Sent: Wed, December 9, 2009 5:46:06 AM Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record Hi Dennis, Yes, now I have listened to the end of the talk and to the questions. (And I even checked out your other new presentation on YouTube.) Glad to hear your voice! : - ) Now I understand your position more clearly, but would like clarification still on especially one issue. You write: "There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that the entire human race is derived genetically from two individuals." What I wish to know is this: are you neverthess still *open* to the possibly 'real' existence of two individuals, who are commonly (i.e. in more than a few world religions) called 'Adam' and 'Eve'? Or are you suggesting that 'genetic evidence' contradicts this possibility? There are many implications from what you say in the above statement that perhaps you have not yet thought through. The same is true for me because the implications of the view 'no first two humans' is anything but insignificant! For example, if there were 'multiple origins' of human beings (homo sapiens) in various parts of the  world, then the 'unity of humanity' is challenged. There would be many 'races' of humans and not a'single human race.' And as a sociologist I surely wouldn't take such a view lightly. It is serious (is it serious?)! But first, are you saying (instead of the negative of 'there is no evidence') that there indeed *is* evidence that "the human race" (placed in scare quotes because it seems this *singularity* issue is being called into question) actually *does* 'derive genetically' from *more* than two individuals, possibly in different physical locations? If so, who has published this evidence and where can it be found? Genetics is a relatively young field, as you admit - so how far should it (and its advocates, though not its 'alarmists') be trusted? Further, to the contention that I am misreprsenting you, surely with integrity I don't wish to do this. I commented that Terry had said (my paraphrase) that he “believe(s) in a special creative act. Period." And then I wrote, "Dennis Venema does not accept this." So that I won't misrepresent you, are you saying that I am wrong to suggest that you do not believe in "a special creative act"? If you'll speak to this and the above clearly, then I'll drop the accusation of 'scientism' (which I still think for more than one reason that you cannot avoid, cf. your YouTube singular definiton of 'Science' and language choice as "this is what Science does/is," etc.). Let me remind you that still NO ONE on this list has answered in probably two years to my occaisionally repeated question of how a natural scientist could possibly be 'non-naturalistic'.   You do consider yourself as a 'naturalist' do you not, Dennis? Finally, Dennis, there is no rule against posting under a pseudonym that I am aware of on the ASA list. Otherwise, Mike Gene and Schwarzwald (who have both publically admitted their pseudonyms) would both be banned. If you have a problem with this, raise it with the management. Otherwise, please have the courtesy to engage with the words, positions and arguments that I and others are expressing and refrain from personal attacks. I do believe that we can work together here, and that ASA is such an organisation that promotes cooperation among the sciences. Hopefully you appreciate this too. Gregory Terry Gray wrote: "For example, my own view of human origins allows for common descent of our biological form, but I believe a special creative act is required for our full humanity in the image of God (say, in the creation of the human soul)." G.A. It is a brave thing for you as a scientist to say this Terry! ________________________________ Be smarter than spam. See how smart SpamGuard is at giving junk email the boot with the All-new Yahoo! Mail __________________________________________________________________ Be smarter than spam. See how smart SpamGuard is at giving junk email the boot with the All-new Yahoo! Mail. 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Received on Wed Dec 9 08:18:27 2009

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