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

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Wed Dec 16 2009 - 12:27:18 EST

Gregory said:
"Are you seriously suggesting that a 'first' is unnecessary?"

Try looking at a baby as it develops, and then try to tell me exactly when the nose "first" appears. It happens so gradual that you can't tell. Same with human evolution. There is no biological 'first man' as it is so gradual. In both cases, you start from something very simple and build piecewise until you have a very complex product. The embryo analogy is classic and very illustrative; I may have first heard it from Lamoureux.


From: [] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:05 PM
To: Murray Hogg; ASA
Subject: Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)


Time is not at issue. 10,000 or a million years could pass. Neverthess, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A FIRST.

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?


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.


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Received on Wed Dec 16 12:27:46 2009

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