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

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 21:12:19 EST

Greg, Schwarzwald,

The issue is not the form of the argument, or its logic.

I already agreed that there must be a first human.

The problem is the definition of "human".

And whether you acknowledge it or not the problem of definition is one that is enormously complicated by the insights of modern science - complications which were entirely unfamiliar to Aristotle and the Church Fathers.

There is no problem with Dennis' philosophy on this matter.


> Murray,
> Time is not at issue. 10,000 or a million years could pass. Neverthess,
> Deal with this directly please for what it is.
> You are not, it seems, arguing with me or with Schwarzwald. You are
> arguing with someone else or with a straw man. You are arguing against
> the history of philosophy.
> You have already said you agree with the logic of Aristotle (and I
> prefer not to have to dig this up in archives). I am not asking you to
> agree with his or with Descartes' or with Darwin's science. But with
> LOGIC, Murray!
> Who said the main issue here was in 'difference of scientific
> perspective'? It is not.
> I said the problem is with Dennis' philosophy. Do you disagree?
> There is no problem at all, and I would be surprised if you said
> otherwise, in appealing to the LOGIC of the Church Fathers.
> Some post-modern geneticists (i.e. there really aren't *any* modern
> geneticists) MAY (e.g. human rights) seek to try to 'refute' ancient
> logic. But that is their problem, which most scholars around the world
> of various religions reject. It sounds like you are debating with
> 'primatives' that 'A' might not equal 'A'. Some social constructivists
> and relativists in our time actually believe this. But I don't imagine
> this is your position!
> No, let's get serious Murray. Do you seek to refute Aristotle or not?
> Have you/we 'evolved' beyond Aristotle's philosophy? Are you seriously
> suggesting that a 'first' is unnecessary?
> Gregory
> *From:* Murray Hogg <>
> *To:* ASA <>
> *Sent:* Wed, December 16, 2009 1:32:28 AM
> *Subject:* Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the
> fossil record)
> Schwarzwald wrote:
> > 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.
> The difference in scientific perspective between the ancient world and
> today makes any appeal to Aristotle and the Church Fathers problematic
> in the extreme - particularly when their opinion (as it is on the
> question of the "first" human) is so markedly a product of their
> particular view of the created order.
> Simply citing those authorities as if they can be considered
> determinative in any theological debate is PRECISELY to attempt to do
> theology in a pre-modern intellectual context.
> Let me note, further, that I purposefully used quote marks on
> "refutation." I am aware that simply pointing to a calendar doesn't
> disprove Greg's argument - but it DOES introduce a major consideration
> that has to be addressed.
> So the fundamental point is that our conceptual world is fundamentally
> different from that of Aristotle and the Fathers. The only "glaring
> intellectual weakness" is on the part of those who pretend otherwise.
> In that respect, pointing out that there's been 2000 years of
> intervening scientific progress since Aristotle (and 1500 years of same
> since the Church Fathers) is not quite irrelevant.
> Blessings,
> Murray
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Received on Tue Dec 15 21:13:01 2009

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