I apologise for the delay.
On Thu, 13 Jan 2000 08:54:30 -0600 (CST), Wesley R. Elsberry wrote:
>>After all, one does not have to accept an evolutionist's
>>solution in order to accept their diagnosis of the problem.
>>BTW I note that Wesley ignore's Morgan's question. If we are
>>so closely related to the apes genetically, then why *are* we
>>so different from them?
WE>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.
What is so "interesting" about that? It is *precisely* what one would
*expect* if "biologists" are working within a faulty metaphysical
framework, as I maintain they are.
That is I accept the *facts* that "biologists" find, but I do not necessarily
accept their *conclusions* if they are based on materialistic-naturalistic
WE>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.
Why is Wesley bringing up "common ancestry"? Surely he has been
long enough on the Reflector to know that I *accept* "common
ancestry", including human-ape common ancestry? My quote from Elaine
Morgan: "If we are so closely related to them [the apes] ... then why are
we not more like them?" (Morgan E., "The Scars of Evolution", 1990, p1),
depends for it's force on that "we *are* so closely related to them [the
And why does Wesley beg the question that "man *evolved* from primate
ancestors" (my emphasis)? As I have pointed out many times before, a
Creator could *create* by supernaturally modifying genetic code. This
would be *creation* with common ancestry:
"Suppose contemporary evolutionary theory had blind chance built into it
so firmly that there was simply no way of reconciling it with any sort of
divine guidance. It would still be perfectly possible for theists to reject that
theory of evolution and accept instead a theory according to which natural
processes and laws drove most of evolution, but God on occasion abridged
those laws and inserted some crucial mutation into the course of events.
Even were God to intervene directly to suspend natural law and inject
essential new genetic material at various points in order to facilitate the
emergence of new traits and, eventually, new species, that miraculous and
deliberate divine intervention would by itself leave unchallenged such key
theses of evolutionary theory as that all species derive ultimately from some
common ancestor. Descent with genetic intervention is still descent-it is
just descent with nonnatural elements in the process." (Ratzsch D.L., "The
Battle of Beginnings", 1996, pp187-188).
WE>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.
Indeed it is *because* Morgan believes in "common ancestry of man and
chimp" that she finds it surprising why "man and chimp" are so different.
Here is the full quote:
"Darwin's theory of evolution propounded an answer to one major mystery
about our species, namely, why we bear such a powerful physiological
resemblance to the African apes-the gorilla and the chimpanzee. He argued
that it was because we and they share a common ancestor. This solution
immediately raised a further problem. 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? When
a species splits and gives rise to three separate lineages, there is no reason
to expect that species C will differ from A and B any more widely than A
and B differ from one another. Yet in the case of the anthropoids this is
what happened. It is not because we split off earlier: we didn't. Evidence
from molecular biology indicates that if any of the three diverged in
advance of the other two, it was the gorilla. Darwin was well aware that he
could not answer all the questions surrounding human emergence. But his
supporters were confident that he was on the right lines and that it would
only be a matter of time-perhaps a couple of decades-before most of the
remaining problems were solved. One hundred and thirty-eight years have
now elapsed since the publication of The Origin of Species, and scientists
are no nearer to agreement on the question of why there are gorillas and
chimpanzees and people, instead of merely three different species of
African ape. Some people fail to see the point of the question. They would
answer it by saying that we have simply 'evolved further' than the apes; that
we have climbed a few more steps up the evolutionary ladder, while
gorillas and chimpanzees have for some unknown reason lagged behind."
(Morgan E., "The Scars of Evolution", 1990, pp1-2)
And she points out that no one else can explain the *differences* between
apes and humans:
"The present state of play may be summarised as follows. Four of the most
outstanding mysteries about humans are: (1) why do they walk on two
legs? (2) why have they lost their fur? (3) why have they developed such
large brains? (4) why did they learn to speak? The orthodox answers to
these questions are: (1) 'We do not yet know'; (2) 'We do not yet know';
(3) 'We do not yet know', and (4) 'We do not yet know'. The list of
questions could be considerably lengthened without affecting the monotony
of the answers." (Morgan E., "The Scars of Evolution", 1990, p5).
WE> 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
That the *highest* level of chimps (with intensive and human training)
over many years on *some* "capabilities" overlaps with the *lowest*
level of "man" does not mean that there is not an "enormous gulf"
between chimps and humans.
WE>Can Steve acknowledge that his original assertion of an
>"enormous gulf" being supported by the chimp study in question
To me the study only *highlights* the "enormous gulf" between chimps
and humans! This is the *best* they can do, after all the expert training
they have had. A normal human child with a fraction of that training would
easily surpass that in a fraction of the time.
Indeed, I regard it as part of the delusionary effect of evolutionary thinking
that trains its adherents to see the similarities but not the *differences*
Here is an example:
"Among other things, medieval thinkers believed that human beings were
unique in ways that were absolute and inviolable. This doctrine many
modern biologists have emphatically rejected. "The western world,"
Stephen Jay Gould remarks, "has yet to make its peace with Darwin." The
great impediment to this reconciliation, he goes on to add in his mad way
(the sense strong that he is urging a difficult truth on a dogmatic public),
`lies in our willingness to accept continuity with ourselves and nature, our
ardent search for a criterion to assert our own uniqueness. Chimps and
gorillas have long been the battleground of our search of uniqueness, for if
we could establish an unambiguous distinction - of kind, rather than degree
between ourselves and our closest relatives, we might gain the justification
long sought for our cosmic arrogance. Educated people now accept the
evolutionary continuity between human and apes. But we are so tied to our
philosophical and religious heritage that we still seek a criterion for a strict
division between our abilities and those of a chimpanzee.'
Now I quote all this not merely because Gould holds a chair at Harvard and
I do not; although this made the target all therefore tempting, but because
Gould represents a charming intelligence corrupted by a shallow system of
belief. No distinction in kind rather than degree between ourselves and the
chimps? No distinction? Seriously, folks? Here is a simple operational test:
The chimpanzees invariably are the ones behind the bars of their cages.
There they sit, solemnly munching bananas, searching for lice, aimlessly
loping around, baring their gums, waiting for the experiments to begin. No
distinction? Chimpanzees cannot read or write; they do not paint, or
compose music, or do mathematics; they form no real communities, only
loose-knit wandering tribes; they do not dine and cannot cook; there is no
record anywhere of their achievements; beyond the superficial, they show
little curiosity; they are born, they live, they suffer and they die.
No distinction? No species in the animal world organizes itself in the
complex, dense, difficult fashion that is typical of human societies. There is
no such thing as animal culture; animals do not compromise and cannot
count; there is not a trace in the animal world of virtually any of the
powerful and poorly understood powers and properties of the human mind;
in all of history no animal has stood staring at the night sky in baffled and
respectful amazement. The chimpanzees are static creatures solemnly
poking for grubs with their sticks, inspecting one another for fleas. No
doubt, they are peaceable enough if fed, and looking into their warm brown
eyes one can see the signs of a universal biological shriek (a nice maneuver
that involves hearing what one sees) but what of it?
One may insist, of course, that all this represents difference merely of
degree. Very well. Only a difference of degree separates man from the
Canadian Goose. Individuals of both species are capable of entering the air
unaided and landing some distance from where they started."
(Berlinski D., "Good as Gould", "Black Mischief", 1988, pp294-295).
"So, the geological time scale and the basic facts of biological change over
time are totally independent of evolutionary theory. It follows that the
documentation of evolution does not depend on Darwinian theory or any
other theory. Darwinian theory is just one of several biological mechanisms
proposed to explain the evolution we observe to have happened." (Raup
D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record", Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17
July 1981, p289).
Stephen E. Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.iinet.net.au/~sejones
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