Re: Where did whales come from?

Stephen Jones (
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 21:20:53 +0800


On Thu, 11 Jun 1998 19:48:44 -0500, Glenn R. Morton

GM>first this, In another post you wrote of Johnson.

>SJ>He is a Senior Professor of Law at a major American
>>University. His specialty is "analyzing the logic of

GM>As we go through the whale business remember that the
>first rule of logic is that the facts must be correct.

Please substantiate your assertion that "the first rule of logic is
that the facts must be correct". My understanding is that logic
has little or nothing to do with "facts":

"Logic (Greek logos, "word," "speech," "reason"), science
dealing with the principles of valid reasoning and argument.
The study of logic is the effort to determine the conditions
under which one is justified in passing from given statements,
called premises, to a conclusion that is claimed to follow from
them. Logical validity is a relationship between the premises
and the conclusion such that if the premises are true then the
conclusion is true..." (Henry R. West, "Logic," Microsoft (R)
Encarta. Copyright (c) 1993 Microsoft Corporation.
Copyright (c) 1993 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation)

GM>If they aren't, then the argument is false. If Johnson is
>so expert in analyzing argumentation, he should know this.

Clearly if "the facts" are not "correct" then "the argument is
false." You didn't have to go into such a preamble about
"logic" to establish that!

And of course Johnson knows this. He wouldn't even have to
be "expert in analyzing argumentation" to know this.

But in "logic", even if the facts are correct, the argument
could still be false:

"The validity of an argument should be distinguished from the
truth of the conclusion. If one or more of the premises is false,
the conclusion of a valid argument may be false. For example,
"All mammals are four-footed animals; all people are
mammals; therefore, all people are four-footed animals" is a
valid argument with a false conclusion. On the other hand, an
invalid argument may by chance have a true conclusion.
"Some animals are two-footed; all people are animals;
therefore, all people are two-footed" happens to have a true
conclusion, but the argument is not valid. Logical validity
depends on the form of the argument, not on its content. If
the argument were valid, some other term could be
substituted for all occurrences of any one of those used and
validity would not be affected. By substituting "four-footed"
for "two-footed," it can be seen that the premises could both
be true and the conclusion false. Thus the argument is invalid,
even though it has a true conclusion."(Henry R. West,
"Logic," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1993
Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1993 Funk & Wagnall's

>>GM>Stanley is not saying that whales came from rodents
>>>in spite of how you read this. He is saying that the
>>>ORDERS of mammals came from .

>SJ>This is just hair-splitting. If all orders of mammals came
>>from animals resembling rodents, and whales are mammals,
>>then whales came from animals resembling rodents!

No answer.

>>GM>The word *resembling* is important animal
>>>that 'resembles' a rodent isn't necessarily a rodent. A case
>>>in point is the marsupial mouse from Australia which
>>>*resembles* a rodent but isn't one.

>SJ>More hair-splitting. In your program of destructive
>>critcicism of Johnson, you fail to point out that he also uses
>>the term "rodent like":
>>"A chain of ten or fifteen of these might move us from one
>>small RODENT LIKE form to a slightly different one,
>>perhaps representing a new genus, but not to a bat or a
>>whale!' " ((Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial," 1993, p51,
>>quoting Stanley S.M, "The New Evolutionary Timetable".
>>1981, p71).

GM>Wait a minute Stephen, What you cite is Johnson
>quoting Stanley. STANLEY uses the term 'rodent-like'.
>Johnson uses the word RODENT.

Read what you said again, but with *my* emphasis:
"JOHNSON quoting Stanley"! If Johnson quotes Stanley,
they become Johnson's words also. The words "rodent-like"
appeared in Johnson's book, before Johnson shortened it to
just "rodent". A reader who read the book from start to finish
would understand that "rodent" means "rodent-like". Even
Stephen Jay Gould had no problem with it.

It is only *you* and your atheist friends who desperately need
to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find fault with on of the
greatest Christian apologists this Century has produced, in
order to protect your sacred cow, evolution.

GM>A Darwinist can imagine that a mutant rodent might
>appear with a web between its toes, and thereby gain some
>advantage in the struggle for survival, with the result that the
>new characteristic could spread through the population to
>await the arrival of further mutations leading eventually to
>winged flight." ~ Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 2nd
>ed. (Downer's >Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 104

>"Did rodent forelimbs transform themselves by gradual
>adaptive stages into whale flippers? We hear nothing of the
>difficulties because to Darwinists unsolvable problems are
>not important." ~ Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 2nd
>ed. (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 87
>Not so hairsplitting after all. Please get your facts

It is "hairsplitting". First, you are using the word "rodent" in a
highly technical sense. Johnson is using it in a popular sense
as shorthand for "small, rodent-like mammal".

Second, even if Johnson *was* using the word "rodent" in a
technical sense, there is nothing wrong with what he said.
There is nothing in Darwinism that would preclude a real
"rodent" from turning into a bat or a whale.

Indeed, Dawkins discusses how "a small animal" could
develop wings:

"How did wings get their start? Many animals leap from
bough to bough, and sometimes fall to the ground. Especially
in a small animal, the whole body surface catches the air and
assists the leap, or breaks the fall, by acting as a crude
aerofoil. Any tendency to increase the ratio of surface area to
weight would help, for example flaps of skin growing out in
the angles of joints. From here, there is a continuous series of
gradations to gliding wings, and hence to flapping
wings....There must be some height, call it h, such that an
animal would just break its neck if it fell from that height, but
would just survive if it fell from a slightly lower height. In this
critical zone, any improvement in the body surface's ability to
catch the air and break the fall, however slight that
improvement, can make the difference between life and death.
Natural selection will then favour slight, prototype wingflaps.
When these small wingflaps have become the norm, the
critical height h will become slightly greater. Now a 90 slight
further increase in the wingflaps will make the difference
between life and death. And so on, until we have proper
wings." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker", 1991, pp89-

Since rodents are "small animals," presumably Dawkins would
agree with Johnson, against you, that "a mutant rodent" could
go on to develop wings?

And Darwin thought that a *bear* could turn into a whale:

"I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by
natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and
habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was
produced as monstrous as a whale." (Darwin C., "The Origin
of Species," [1859], First Edition, Penguin: London, 1985
reprint, p215)

So is your problem even if Johnson had meant that Darwinists
could imagine a *real* rodent, turning into a whale?

GM>Johnson says rodent, not rodent like.

"Please get your facts correct",Glenn. Johnson *first* quotes
Stanley saying "small rodent like form". Next Johnson says
"ancestral rodent (or whatever)" (DoT, p53). And thereafter
Johnson just uses the shorthand "rodent" (DOT, pp86,103-

But thanks for overreaching yourself, and thereby exposing
your vendetta against Johnson (and indeed any Christian
apologist who opposes evolution), for everyone to see. Why
don't you criticise your atheist pals like Dawkins for *their*

>SJ>"It isn't merely that grand-scale Darwinism can't be
>>confirmed. The evidence is positively against the theory.
>>For example, if Darwinism is true then the bat, monkey,
>>pig, seal, and whale all evolved in gradual adaptive stages
>>from a primitive RODENT-LIKE predecessor." (Johnson
>>P.E. "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of
>>Naturalism", 1990, p35).

GM>And this is not what I am gripping about. Here Johnson
>is absolutely correct and I have no quarrel with him. (see, I
>said something good about him)

The point is that you did not say it *up front*, when it

>SJ>Neither Stanley nor Johnson "believes that rodents" (in a
>>technical sense) "gave rise to whales." You are being over-
>>literal as part of your campaign to discredit such a fine
>>Christian apologist like Johnson who argue against

GM>See Johnson's statements above. Stephen, you are simply

No. It is *you* who is "simply incorrect." If Johnson had
never said before DoT that Darwinists believe that bats and
whales arose from a "rodent-like" ancestor, then you might
have been justified in concluding that when Johnson said
"rodent" in DoT, he meant it in a technical sense. But in fact
in *1990* (a year before the first edition of DoT), Johnson
used the more technical "rodent-like". You are just scraping
the bottom of the barrel, to maintain that Johnson in DoT
*meant* "rodent" in a technical sense.

>SJ>Deltatherium looks just like a rat! Indeed, the
>>Encyclopaedia Britannica says that insectivores can only be
>>distingushed from similarly built rodents by their teeth:

GM>Distinguished in this context means that one can tell
them apart. That means that Deltatherium is not a rodent.

Of course "Deltatherium is not a rodent." My quote said it
was an "insectivore". My point was that if the ancestor of
whales and bats was a primitive insectivore, like Deltatherium,
then it was "similarly built" to rodents.

>SJ>Your hair-splitting on this point, in order to find some
>>fault in Johnson reminds me of those Darwinist apologists
>>who claimed that man was not descended from apes,
>>playing on the word "apes" in a highly specialised sense.

GM>I will clearly state that we are related to the apes.

That compeletely misses the point!

>>GM>I don't have this book so I can't check the quotation
>>>(you are very good at getting the quotation correct so I
>>>believe you that this is what he wrote).

>SJ>Thanks. But why raise the subject of the accuracy of my
>quotations at all?

GM>Stephen, are you so suspicious of me that you can't even
>recognize a complement? You need a vacation.

reason to be "suspicious".

SJ>>Yours is the strategy of the quisling:
>>"quisling ...Person cooperating with an enemy who has
>>occupied his country...." (Coulson J., et al, eds., "The
>>Oxford Illustrated Dictionary", 1980, p694)
>>You seem to think that you can appease the atheists by
>>joining in their attacks on leading Christian apologists like
>>Johnson. But all you do is confirm them in their atheism,
>>and cut off a lifeline that God throws to them, through the
>>teachers like Johnson and Ross whom He has sent (Eph
>>4:11). You will bear a heavy responsibility for your actions
>>on this score.

GM>Well I give you an A for your creativity, but not such a
>good grade on niceness.

Actually its probably one of the nicest things I have ever said
to you Glenn. If only you had eyes to see and ears to hear.

>SJ>I don't believe it was a "joke" - you got that explanation
>second hand.

GM>yes I did. I got it from a very good friend of his whom I
>asked to discuss this issue with Johnson. Why did I do that?
>Because Johnson wouldn't discuss it with me.
> Our mutual friend does beleive that Johnson should
>change it but he won't go talk to johnson about the second
>example I found.

You and I were on this Reflector when Johnson was on it too,
after DoT had come out. Why didn't you discuss it with him
then, if it was such a burning issue?

In fact, you can email Johnson yourself. His email address is
on the Access Research Network site. But I would not be
surprised if he gives you short shrift. It's such a petty issue,
I'm sure he would not think it worth discussing.

>SJ>But it wouldn't matter if Johnson did "fix" this slight
>>inaccuracy. The atheists would not be appeased, and nor
>>would TEs like yourself.

GM>It is not about appeasing anyone, Stephen, it is about
>being rigourously correct because we are working for the

If you think "working for the Lord" means destructively
critcising the Lord's servants that he sends (Eph 4:11), then
you and I have a different definition of what "working for the
Lord" means.

>SJ>"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever
>>invented." --- Dr. William Provine, Professor of History
>>and Biology, Cornell University.

GM>I agree with what Provine says because Christians help
make it that way.

Yes. I'm debating with one of them right now! They go
around like a fifth-column attacking the Christian apologists
who God sends to counteract the atheists. With friend like
you, Christianity doesn't need enemies!

GM>We teach that if the evidence fits evolution then the
>Bible is false. Well when students learn that much of what
>they were taught isn't true, then they draw the conclusion
>their parents taught them,---the Bible is false in their eyes.
>So they do become atheists. Why is this surprising?

This might conceivably apply to the ICR, but even then I
doubt it. But it certainly doesn't apply to Johnson. As I have
pointed out to you previously, hedoesn't discuss the Bible
hardly at all, yet you still destructively critcise him.

So its not the "Bible" at all. The common factor lnking all
these Christian apologists who you destructively criticise, is
that they *all* attack evolution. The conclusion is inescapable
that evolution is your sacred cow, which you cannot bear to
see criticised.


"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."
--- Dr. William Provine, Professor of History and Biology, Cornell University.

Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \
Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
Perth, West Australia v "Test everything." (1Thess 5:21)