Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 17:52:24 EST

Hi Greg,

First, "do I seek to refute the church fathers?" No. But I reserve the right to appropriate them critically. They are, to my mind, theological dialogue partners NOT theological authorities.

Second, "there must have been a first" Well, we already went through all that, and I'll simply repeat the point I made in that discussion.

One has to give a precise definition as to what one means by "human" before one can address the question.

I do agree with you in principle that given sufficient precision of definition we could identify the "first" organism meeting the requirements of that definition, hence identify the "first" human.

My problem is that I don't think you realize just how small a concession this actually is.

To give a really poor analogy: If we selected the most common 1000 words used in the English language, and then arbitrarily defined English as that language spoken by persons using those 1000 words, then it should be obvious that there was-on the basis of that definition, and that definition alone-a first person to have those 1000 words in their vocabulary, and hence a "first" English speaker.

Technically one would then be justified in arguing that the English language didn't exist prior to that person--but this is nothing more than a consequence of the definition.

So, again, I acknowledge that we can construct a definition of "human" and, in principle, identify the first of this kind, but don't be mistaken that I make this admission considering evolution to be a given.

It simply doesn't help anybody who wants to affirm a definitive break between the human and the pre-human-not one bit.


> Murray,
> It is a surprise that you miss the point here. It seems almost as if you
> deny that there can be such a thing as a point - X! We have agreed
> already, however, that this is TRUE.
> Who will you invoke in God's Kingdom to refute this?!
> I am not speaking about Aristotle's physics vs. X's (unnamed, 21st
> century) biology-genetics!
> Do you seek to 'refute' the Church Fathers?
> What is a 'science lab'? Something to be worshipped?
> How anti-institutional, anti-hierarchy of you.
> G.
> *From:* Schwarzwald <>
> *To:*
> *Sent:* Wed, December 16, 2009 1:01:06 AM
> *Subject:* Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the
> fossil record)
> Not nearly enough, Murray. And I'll bluntly say that the tactic of
> refutation by referring to the date is the stuff of glaring intellectual
> weakness. It can be deployed for just about any position, even contrary
> ones.
> On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 4:19 PM, Murray Hogg <
> <>> wrote:
> Gregory Arago wrote:
> How does one refute Aristotle (and countless others, including
> the Church Fathers, since): "*there must have been a first"*?
> Are John and Dennis trying to deny this!!!!!!!
> One "refutes" them by checking year on one's calendar.
> In most science labs, it reads 2009.
> 'Nuf said?
> Blessings,
> Murray
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Received on Tue Dec 15 17:52:56 2009

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