"Enormous Gulf"?

From: Wesley R. Elsberry (welsberr@inia.cls.org)
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 09:54:30 EST

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    Steven Jones writes:
    On Tue, 11 Jan 2000 10:54:39 -0600 (CST), Wesley R. Elsberry wrote:

    Restoring the quote...

    SJ> [Chimps are intelligent animals. But being able to handle
    SJ>random numbers does not seem to be much of a test of
    SJ>mathematical ability. And who says that an average adult human
    SJ>given the same training as this chimp, could not remember far
    SJ>more than seven random numbers? My take is that if this is
    SJ>the *best* that chimps can do, then it just underlines the
    SJ>enormous gulf between humans and chimps, even though we
    SJ>allegedly share 98% of our DNA.

    >SJ>As Elaine Morgan asks, "If we
    >>are so closely related to them-and everything we have learned
    >>since suggests that the relationship is even closer than
    >>Darwin supposed - then why are we not more like them?" (Morgan
    >>E., "The Scars of Evolution", 1990, p1)]


    Let me restore the ellipses.

    This refers to tests of the capacity of short-term memory.
    Human performance *has* been extensively studied in this area,
    and the results are known to center around the number seven.
    "Seven plus or minus two" is how I recall seeing the results
    from human research characterized. Some people apparently get
    along with as little short-term memory as Ai does, while
    others may have up to four more short-term memory slots. In
    any case, human and chimp short-term memory performance
    appears to overlap, given the results stated. No "enormous
    gulf" is supported by the available evidence.

    WE>Would that be the same Elaine Morgan who is an Aquatic Ape
    >Hypothesis enthusiast?

    SJ>Wesley *knows* very well that it is the same "Elaine Morgan"!

    SJ>But what exactly is Wesley's point? Is he implying that
    SJ>someone (even a fellow evolutionist) who may be wrong in one
    SJ>thing, must therefore be wrong in *all* things, and so should
    SJ>not be paid any attention to?

    SJ>Personally I believe that truth can be found anywhere and
    SJ>everywhere, including in evolutionists' writings.

    SJ>Those evolutionists who are prepared to risk the ostracism of
    SJ>their fellows by honestly criticising aspects of evolutionary
    SJ>theory (even though they remain evolutionists themselves), I
    SJ>find particularly helpful.

    SJ>After all, one does not have to accept an evolutionist's
    SJ>solution in order to accept their diagnosis of the problem.

    SJ>BTW I note that Wesley ignore's Morgan's question. If we are
    SJ>so closely related to the apes genetically, then why *are* we
    SJ>so different from them?


    I find it interesting that Steve so often credits biologists
    with correct diagnoses of problems, and so rarely credits them
    with correct identifications of solutions.

    Elaine Morgan is no foe of common ancestry. She may (or may
    not -- the quoted question is by no means dispositive of the
    matter) dispute the close relationship of man and chimp, but
    she does not dispute that man evolved from primate ancestors.

    Elaine's question seems to assert a fact not in evidence, that
    our close genetic relationship is somehow at odds with our
    phenotypic relationship. It isn't. I have not read "Scars Of
    Evolution", but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the
    prose following the quoted question laid out reasons why the
    question poses no particular difficulty for common ancestry of
    man and chimp. As I discussed in the portion of my post which
    Steve deleted, even the evidence that Steve urged as
    indicative of an "enormous gulf" becomes, with the proper
    grounding in the literature of psychometrics and cognition,
    evidence instead of overlapping capabilities between man and

    Can Steve acknowledge that his original assertion of an
    "enormous gulf" being supported by the chimp study in question
    was unfounded?


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