Re: Where did whales come from?

Stephen Jones (
Sat, 27 Jun 1998 15:42:40 +0800


On Sat, 20 Jun 1998 16:48:53 -0500, Glenn R. Morton wrote:


>SJ>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"), sciencedealing with the principles
>>of valid reasoning and argument....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...

GM>Stephen, you own citation proves what I was trying to say. IF
>the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. But if they are
>false, then the conclusion is false. If an argument is to be true, the
>premises must be true.

Premises have nothing to do with facts. It is logical to say that:

Major premise: All fairies have wings
Minor premise: This creature does not have wings
Conclusion: Therefore this creature is not a fairy.

even though it is factually false if there is no such thing as fairies.

Equally an argument could be factually true but logically false:

Major premise: All politicians are liars
Minor premise: This man is a liar
Conclusion: Therefore this man is a politician.

It may be factually true that the man is indeed a liar and a politician,
but the argument is logically false because the Major premise is false.
(Or is it? :-)

GM>And then below you go on to argue my position.

No I don't. If the facts are false, then the argument is false. But that
does not mean the argument is *logically* false.

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

>SJ>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.

>>>>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>Not worth one.

Translation. He's right but I can't admit it. So I will just ignore it and
hope no one will notice!

>SJ>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>Yes, I do have atheist friends. We are supposed to love those
>who disagree with us.

But in your case you are loving those (the atheists like Dawkins) who
agree with you *on evolution* and not loving those (Christian
apologists like Johnson and Ross) who "disagree" with you *on

>SJ>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".

GM>If Johnson is going to engage scientists, then he needs to use
>scientific, technical definitions. One can't claim to be critiquing
>scientific arguments if one is using sloppy layman's language in the

Next you are going to demand he use Latin names! Get real Glenn.
Darwin on Trial is *popular science*. Like other books in that genre
it sacrificers some scientific exactitude for ease of understanding by
*laymen*. Your demand that Christian apologist who are not
scientists be more exact that atheistic apologists who are scientists,
reveals your double-standard.

>SJ>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.

GM>The nested hierarchies of similarities is what prevents exactly
>that. It is clearly what Stanley was getting at in the quotation
>Johnson used. Stanely said a rodent COULDN"T give rise to a

First, a primitive rodent is *within* the same "nested hierarchies of
similarities" (ie. placental mammals) that could give rise to whales

Second, as I have pointed out many times, Stanley doesn't say that "a
rodent couldn't give rise to a whale". He is arguing that whales indeed
arose from rodent-like mammalian ancestors:

"Recall, for example, that early in the Cenozoic Era, whales evolved
from vastly different small, rodentlike mammals in no more than 12
million years." (Stanley S.M., "Earth and Life Through Time," 1989,

"When the mammals inherited the Earth, the result was spectacular.
Their great adaptive radiation was recent enough that the fossil
evidence for it is impressive. Within perhaps twelve million years,
most of the living orders of mammals were in existence, all having
descended from simple, diminutive animals that might be thought of
as resembling small rodents..." (Stanley S.M., "The New
Evolutionary Timetable," 1981, p93)

but it couldn't have been by Darwinian gradualist mechanisms:

"Let us suppose that we wish, hypothetically, to form a bat or a
whale without invoking change by rapid branching. In other words,
we want to see what happens when we restrict evolution to the
process of gradual transformation of established species. If an
average chronospecies lasts nearly a million years, or even longer,
and we have at our disposal only ten million years, then we have only
ten or fifteen chronospecies to align, end-to-end, to form a
continuous lineage connecting our primitive little mammal with a bat
or a whale. This is clearly preposterous Chronospecies, by definition,
grade into each other, and each one encompasses very little change.
A chain of ten or fifteen of these might move us from one small
rodentlike form to a slightly different one, perhaps representing a new
genus, but not to a bat or a whale!" (Stanley S.M., "The New
Evolutionary Timetable," 1981, pp93-94).

>SJ>Why don't you criticise your atheist pals like Dawkins for
>>*their* inexactitudes?

GM>Are you suggesting that Christians shouldn't be friends with

No. I was pointing out your double-standard in destructively
critcising Christian apologists who are not scientists for trivial
scientific inexactitudes while not critcising atheists who are scientists
for equal (or larger) scientific inexactitudes

>>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.

>SJ>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?

GM>I hadn't noticed it then, but I did try to discuss it with him on
>another list we were on and I got no reply.

So it is such a major issue, yet you never noticed it even by 1994
(which was when Johnson, you and I were on the Reflector together)
which was *three years* after DoT was first published in 1991?

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

>SJ>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.

GM>Lets end with this. You seem to believe that working for the
>Lord never means criticising others or urging them to do or say the
>correct thing. consider 2Chron 18:

GM>Was Micaiah engaging in destructive criticism? Would you
>write invectives against Micaiah or slap him in the face? I am
>wanting to know how far criticism of others is to be suppressed in
>your opinion.

I think there is a slight difference between the false prophets
telling the wicked king Ahab what he wanted to hear and Phil
Johnson! Indeed if anything those majority false prophets are
represented by the theistic naturalists like yourself who are telling the
atheist cultural authorities what they want to hear, and it is the Phil
Johnson's of this world who are the true prophets telling them the
unpopular truth.

In fact, I clicked my online Bible a bit too far and I found a verse that
you could ponder:

"Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to
the king, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the
LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you." (2Chr


"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)