Re: TE/EC ad hominem against Johnson (was re-whales from
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 14:49:31 +0000

At 09:27 PM 08/29/1999 +0800, Stephen E. Jones wrote:

>These are just assertions by Glenn, with no substance. The fact is that
>Stephen Jay Gould went through "Darwin on Trial" with a fine tooth comb
>to write a hostile review for Scientific American. The only mistake of
>any substance that Gould found concerned polypoidy, and Johnson
>corrrected that in the second edition.
>Gould is a paleontologist and a stickler for detail, but he found no fault
>with Johnson referring to the putative ancestor of mammals as a "rodent".

I won't be able to review that article until the end of the week when I
finally get my library out of storage. I would point out, however, Gould
doesn't catch everything and his lack of mentioning something doesn't mean
it didn't occur. And your post today in which hippos are said to be the
ancestor of whales still does not justify Johnson's claim that rodents gave
rise to whales. Hippos are not rodents and neither are artiodactyls
rodents. You are hoisted by your own petard.

>I have pointed out that Johnson, in a more technical article, *a year
>before* "Darwin on Trial", referred to the ancestral mammal as "a primitive
>rodent-like predecessor" (Johnson P.E., "Evolution as Dogma: The
>Establishment of Naturalism", 1990. p35).

I am amused by this claim that this is a technical article. First Things,
the journal which published it is not a scientific journal. What exactly
is your definition of technical Stephen? Something that agrees with you?

>If Johnson knew *a year before* Darwin on Trial that the putative ancestral
>mammal was "rodent-like", it cannot be claimed that he made a mistake a
>year later through ignorance of the fact that the ancestral was not literally
>a "rodent". Johnson was clearly using "rodent" in a shorthand, non-technical

The problem Stephen is that science works in the 'technical sense'. You
probably don't know this because you aren't a scientist either. Sloppy,
nontechnical terminology is not tolerated in most scientific discussions.

>For Glenn (and other TE/ECs) to keep harping on this minor point, even
>after I have provided the above evidence, only shows Glenn's (and other
>TE/ECs) irrational prejudice against any effective critic of evolution.

Why is it that you always think that your arguments are so conclusive that
everyone should fall at your feet in surrender? Is it a big ego or what?
>GM>How many years did it take for you to become an expert in
>>geology? It took me about 10 years as I am a slow learner. I don't think
>>Johnson spent his time in the trenches learning his subject.
>Glenn `shoots himself in the foot' here. On hisown argument, he (a
>self-confessed " slow learner" in his own subject "geology"), cannot
>claim to be any more "an expert" than Johnson in areas other than

Good grief!!!!! You really are something. If this is the way that
anti-evolutionists must argue, it must be because they don't have andy data
to present. For you information, I am manager of geophysics for a large
independent oil co. They think enough of my abilities to have spent over
30 million dollars last week on the work my group did. People don't put
their money with people they find incompetent in an area. I don't think
they will spend anything on what you or Johnson said about geology. But
since I have been involved in the discovery of over 200 million barrels of
oil and gas during my career, I would say that I have a recognized
expertise in geology.

How much are people willing to invest in your geological ideas?

>On what basis then is Glenn claiming that Johnson has made "errors" in
>fields other than "geology"?

Part of my job involves a knowledge of paleontology, both micro and
macropaleontology. I would say that my professional expertise, my
knowledge of the paleontological literature (more than the 1 textbook
Johnson read) qualifies me to be a critic.

Lets turn this around on you. If you say that Howard and I don't have the
right to criticize Johnson, let me ask you something. What qualifies you, a
hospital administrator if I recall correctly, to be a defender? If we take
your argument at face value, you have no right to be a defender because it
is out of your field. So please follow your own argument to its logical
conclusion and be quiet now.

>And second, Howard is, AFAIK, an astronomer, so on Howard's own premises,
>could ask how `Howard, the astronomer', would know that what Johnson is
>"claiming to know...about biology, paleontology, etc" is wrong? On Howard's
>own premises, why should an astronomer know more about "biology" and
>"paleontology" than a law professor?

And I ask you again, Stephen, using this type argument what qualifies you
as a hospital administrator to know what is what in science? Your own
argument destroys your ability to say anything in the area of evolution,
geology etc. So please take your argument to heart and cease this babble.


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