|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
Posted by Ross on October 25, 2005 07:29 AM (e) (s)
“I hope we don’t need our own Dover trial sometime in the future”
They may have more Fundies than us but they’ve got a much better constitution. On what basis could we sucessfully challenge either creationism or ID being taught in UK schools without constitutional support?
We’re lucky the Church of England (or those parts of it represented by her Maj) is a liberal church and one that’s not threatened by evolution or Reg Vardy’s cash would have us all searching the law for decent grounds for a court action.
Has anyone thought how we might defend against such an eventuality? What would be the position for the US if ID-ers could point over here and say “England’s teaching it”?
Posted by Flint on October 25, 2005 08:16 AM (e) (s)
I’m by no means an authority, but my understanding and yours are certainly different.
Question about Piltdown Man. As I understand it, at that time paleontologists believed humans evolved from apes…
Humans ARE apes. I can’t speak about what paleontologists may have believed at the time, but they may have been seeking evidence of a gradual transition to modern man from something a bit different.
But later paleontologists rejected the idea that humans evolved from apes
No, humans ARE apes. I don’t think this has ever really been a matter of speculation. Like rejecting the idea that tuna evolved from fish. Yes, basically all fish evolved from other fish. Humans are apes who evolved from earlier apes. Fossil evidence indicates that the hominid branch of the ape clade was once considerably more luxuriant, and that as many as six different species of hominids may have lived concurrently. Nobody knows how many different species may have evolved and gone extinct — I think the last count was about a dozen? Nobody knows which, if any, of these discovered species may have been in our direct line of ancestry.
and now hold that apes and humans diverged from a common ancestor into two separate lineages and therefore there is no “missing link.”
Not exactly. The ape clade (which currently consists of humans, a couple species of gorillas, a couple species of chimps, orangutans, and gibbons) is considered to have had a common ancestor which branched into the ape clade and the monkey clade. Most paleontologists (according to my reading) think this common ancestor was itself a card-carrying member of the (much older) monkey clade.
There is some doubt as to exactly when the various apes split from one another, so the resulting different cladograms reflect this uncertainty. I think the latest analysis, based on molecular methods, is that humans split off before chimps did. So humans are cladistically speaking spang in the center of the ape clade.
A majority of the non-science educated public hasn’t gotten the word on this and still thinks that modern evolutionary biologists believe that humans evolved from apes. Hence, ID is appealing to them.
If you are an example of the non-science educated public, you may be right. So once again with feeling: humans didn’t “evolve from apes”, humans are genuine mainstream apes, part of a clade whose original ancestor branched from the monkey clade perhaps (estimates vary) 16 million years ago. But the actual biological history of the various ape species seems to be of very little interest to the general public. ID appeals entirely for religious reasons; it is a practical result of the evangelical thrust of fundamentalism having been thwarted by the courts from gaining a foothold in public education. The evangelists are simply repackaging the same Old Time Religion under a new banner and trying again. Evangelism never sleeps.
Do I have any of this right?
I don’t think so, but I welcome second opinions.
Posted by Mona on October 25, 2005 09:52 AM (e) (s)
On Monday, the defense brought in Steve Fuller, to give the postmodernist version of why “intelligent design” should be taught in the classrooms of Dover, Pennsylvania.
I wonder whether the ACLU has considered using Paul Gross as a rebuttal witness? He co-authored Creationism’s Trojan Horse w/ Barbara Forrest, but a decade before exposed pomo and far-left feminism’s attacks on science in another co-authored book, Higher Superstition.
Back some years ago when I was studying religion in America as an undergrad and we got into the whole creationism thing, one of the profs in the Women’s Studies dept expressed some admiration for the creationists, since she objected to “privileging science.” Judge Jones is a Bush 43 appointee, and there could be some persuasive benefit in having Gross explore how ID dovetails nicely with attacks on science from the other (far) side of the political spectrum; Fuller’s testimony opens that door.
(And, with appeals, possibly to the SCOTUS, in mind it would not be a bad idea for Scalia, Thomas & etc. to see such testimony in the record.)
Posted by Alexey Merz on October 25, 2005 10:37 AM (e) (s)
The Nobel Prize has, unambiguiously, been given for evolutionary biology: the 1969 Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Luria, Delbruck, and Hershey showed unambiguously in 1948 that mutations arise spontaneously in a population prior to selection, not in response to it. In other words, the 1969 Nobel was awarded for an experiment that addressed the very core of the modern synthesis.
Posted by Ginger Yellow on October 25, 2005 11:22 AM (e) (s)
Ross - it’s vaguely possible that you could challenge it under the human rights act, which I think has a religious freedom clause, but I’m no lawyer. Also given that we (and other European countries) have an established church (even though said church supports evolution) and publicly funded religious schools, it would probably fall under the national discretion exemption. I think the only way to oppose it effectively would be to embarrass the government into kicking Vardy out, or Blair for that matter. But that hasn’t worked so far with any of their other hare-brained schemes - witness the latest schools policy.
Posted by Ken Willis on October 25, 2005 11:48 AM (e) (s)
I appreciate you answering my question, Flint. You seem a little full of yourself, but thanks anyway.
By the way, I may or may not be a part of the “non-science educated public,” [we are all part of the non-something educated public, aren’t we] but surely you wouldn’t think the evolution section of PBS.ORG is part of that would you? Here is a statement from their website:
Humans did not evolve from present-day apes. Rather, humans and apes share a common ancestor that gave rise to both. This common ancestor, although not identical to modern apes, was almost certainly more apelike than humanlike in appearance and behavior. At some point — scientists estimate that between 5 and 8 million years ago — this species diverged into two distinct lineages, one of which were the hominids, or humanlike species, and the other ultimately evolved into the African great ape species living today.
Maybe I’m not as uneducated as you’d like to think, Flint. Maybe my good-faith question deserved a bit more respect than you were willing to give it. And maybe humans are not apes. At least not all of them.
Posted by Ginger Yellow on October 25, 2005 12:11 PM (e) (s)
What on earth are you on about, Ken? Nothing in the PBS spiel contradicts anything Flint said. Humans are apes. All of them. Later palaeontologists didn’t “reject the notion that humans evolved from apes”. They rejected the notion that humans evolved from present day apes. As did earlier palaeontologists. Only non-science educated people think evolution says humans evolved from present day anything - hence the incredibly annoying and stupid refrain “Why are there still monkeys?”.
As for accusing Flint of being full of himself, again you’re being absurd. Flint goes out of his way to emphasise the limits of his authority.
Posted by Anton Mates on October 25, 2005 01:08 PM (e) (s)
“But during cross-examination, he said intelligent design — the idea that the complexity of life requires a designer — is “too young” to have developed rigorous testable formulas and sits on the fringe of science.”
A couple thousand years older than Darwin is “too young?” How incompetent does Fuller think the current crop of ID theorists are, that they need more than a two-millennium head start on their idea to keep up with the rest of biology?
Posted by Flint on October 25, 2005 01:12 PM (e) (s)
It might be an interesting question whether any present-day organism can be said to have evolved from any other present-day organism. Perhaps this is a matter of degree — our model says new species originate primarily by branching events, while the parent species remains in stasis. So presumably the world is full of species branched from existing parent species recently enough to say they “evolved from a present-day organism.” But it’s my understanding that any substantial divergence (where we might find a fully isolated, clearly different species) has itself resulted from numerous branching events, all of them so minor we probably wouldn’t classify a one-step branch as a separate species at all.
Fossil evidence of our history, at least as I read it, reflects this categorizational confusion. Imagine going to some old graveyard, being told in advance that 12 hominid species are buried there, and trying to classify the bones accordingly. I suggest you could do this fairly successfully! If you’d been convinced there were 2, or 5, or 20 species, you could STILL do it successfully. People vary quite a bit, and bones by themselves tend to capture only a subset of the necessary information. Imagine some homo erectus biologist being transported to our time. Would he consider Chinese, Swedes, and Nigerians all one species? Where would he draw the line? If a technological collapse led to reproductive isolation of these populations, THEN would they be separate species? I think if we were talking about, say, sparrows, we WOULD call them separate species in that situation.
I imagine it’s entirely reasonable for us to look at all these not-quite-modern-human remains and face this same problem. Just how different is different enough for them to have been our ancestors, or not our ancestors, but N single-step branches from one of our direct-line ancestors? As N shrinks, the distinctions become arbitrary. Genetically, humans are closer to chimpanzees than either of us is to a gorilla.
So the chimp/human branch of the bush split from the gorilla/other branch at some earlier time. Then the chimp and human sub-bushes split, probably somewhere in the middle of the chimp-like bramble, and sprouted a relatively fecund bush of their own, the hominid bush. We are the sole surviving twig of that bush, whereas two chimp species survive from the chimp bush. Clearly, the ape clade hasn’t been particularly successful in generating new lineages, and the lineages that it HAS sprouted haven’t been very good at surviving.
I don’t really understand what you mean about some humans not being apes. This really IS like saying that not all tuna are fish. What ELSE would they be? Are you using the word “ape” not as a science-educated person would, but rather as some kind of, I don’t know, generic insult or something? Like maybe calling someone an ass? But you’d have to go back a very long way indeed to find a common ancestor between apes and asses, WAY outside the ape clade.
Posted by Gary Mac on October 25, 2005 01:21 PM (e) (s)
However, you continue to step in your own schijten.
In post # 53652 you claim that Creats and IDers are often the same people, with the same goals and arguments, blah, blah, blah !
Yet, in # 53582, you implied that YECs and OCers don’t agree.
Wait, I thought they were often the same people, with the same goals, etc. etc.
Using your idiot’s logic, that must mean that atheists and Catholics have the same goals, and are often one in the same people, correct ? I mean, since they are both Pro-evolution, they have to agree on everything else, right ? Just like Creats and IDers share common ground, atheists and Catholics are often the exact same people, right Loony ?
Also, you asked in that post why no humans or dinos are found in the Burgess Shale discovery ? Let’s see. The time line distributes them at about 540 mya; early dinos at about 230 mya and Ramidus at about 4.4 mya. So, we would not expect them to be inter-mingled.
Therefore, your question here too, is bogus.
By the way Lenny, you still have schijten on your shoes.
No, WAIT ! Don’t use your tongue …….!
####. And you should know better by now, being a doctor and such, right Reverend ?