[Fwd: Re: What do you mean by the "theory of evolution"? (was A new subscriber)]

Ed Brayton (cynic@net-link.net)
Sat, 18 Apr 1998 13:36:55 -0400

Message-ID: <3538D9EE.7E0E@net-link.net>
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 12:50:55 -0400
From: Ed Brayton <cynic@net-link.net>
Reply-To: cynic@net-link.net
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To: Stephen Jones <sejones@ibm.net>
Subject: Re: What do you mean by the "theory of evolution"? (was A new subscriber)
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Stephen Jones wrote:

> >>EB>If you are referring to the rhetorical battle between
> >>>Punctuated Equilibrium and "phyletic gradualism"
> >SJ>No. I am not. I asked you to define what you mean by the
> >>"theory of evolution" and I note with interest your attempt to
> >>deflect it.
> EB>You might notice that my sentence began with "If". That is, I
> >was making the assumption that that was what you meant by your
> >question, but inviting you to correct that if you meant something
> >different. For you to jump to the conclusion that this was an
> >"attempt to deflect" the question might easily be interpreted as rash
> >and discourteous on your part.
> I stand by my claim that you are trying to deflect attention away
> from my simple request that *you* define the words "theory of
> evolution" that *you* used.
> Let me remind you what *you* said:
> -----------------------------------------------
> EB>...I am a staunch advocate of the theory of evolution...
> And I asked you:
> SJ>Which "theory of evolution" in particular are you a "staunch
> >advocate of"?
> -----------------------------------------------
> And you answered whether *I* was referring to "Punctuated
> Equilibrium" or "phyletic gradualism"!
> *I* was not referring to anything. I asked you a simple question
> about what *you* mean by the "theory of evolution". Now what's
> your problem in answering that simple question?

Well, Mr. Jones, reread your own question. You did not say "what do you
mean by theory of evolution", you said "which" theory of evolution do
you advocate. When you use the term "which", you generally are referring
to a set of already defined entities from which to choose. Thus, I
assumed that you were referring to the most commonly held disputes among
evolutionists, between what has been termed "punctuated equilibrium" and
"phyletic gradualism" and I said IF that is what you are referring to,
this is my take on it. You decided that this was not an honest answer
but an "attempt to deflect" the question. You were wrong then, and you
are wrong now. And with that, I think I will end this little exchange.
When I received the first message from you after I posted my brief
introduction, I received an e-mail message from one of your fellow
Christians on this list (No, I'm not going to say from whom) who told me
that it would be futile to try and hold a discussion with you. Now I
know why. I have neither the time nor the inclination to hold a
discussion with someone who is so presumptuous as to think he can read
my mind and who jumps to negative conclusions about me without having
anything to base that on, especially when he reiterates that
presumptuousness after being given the opportunity to reconsider. Play
games with someone else.

Good day.

Ed Brayton