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Re: ... tells me that you can provide substantiation for the belief that man and ape share a common ancestor

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    AN Thanks for your message. As is my custom, when I receive a message on a creation/evolution topic that would be of interest to my list CED
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 14, 2005
      AN

      Thanks for your message. As is my custom, when I receive a message on a
      creation/evolution topic that would be of interest to my list CED
      (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/), I copy my
      response to CED, minus any of the senders identifying information.

      --Original Message Text---
      From: AN
      Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 09:45:15 -0400

      AN>... tells me that you can provide substantiation for the belief that
      >man and ape share a common ancestor.
      >
      >This interests me greatly, and I would really appreciate any insights you
      >can provide.

      >Thank you,

      First, no offence intended, but I note from searching your name on the
      Internet, that you have some prominence in the evolution controversy and
      seem to have a position against "that man and ape share a common
      ancestor." If that is the case, then probably nothing I say would "provide
      substantiation" *to you* "that man and ape share a common ancestor."

      However, for the benefit of members of CED, and those who read its
      archives, my reasons "for the belief that man and ape share a common
      ancestor" are briefly as follows (see also my web page, "Why I accept
      common ancestry" <http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/cmnctsry.html>).

      1. BIBLICAL
      a) There is no Biblical verse that states "that man and ape" do
      *not* "share a common ancestor."

      b) There are Biblical verses that indicate "that man and ape" *may*
      "share a common ancestor", e.g.:

      (i) both man and animals were made on the same day in
      Genesis (Gn 1:24-31);

      (ii) both animals and man are described by exactly the same
      two Hebrew words chay nephesh that English Bibles
      translate in Gn 2:7 as "living being/living soul" (NIV/AV)
      for man; and as "living creatures" for animals in Gn 1:21,24
      (NIV & AV);

      (iii) both animals and man are blessed by God and told to
      "Be fruitful and increase in number" (Gn 1:28) and given
      the same food to eat (Gn 1:29-30);

      (iv) both man and animals are described as being formed
      from the ground (Gn 2:7,19)

      (v) both man and animals are described as having in their
      nostrils the breath of life (Gn 2:7, 7:22)

      (vi) there are verses that speak of man as being like the
      animals:

      "I also thought, `As for men, God tests them so that they
      may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that
      of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies,
      so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no
      advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All
      go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all
      return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if
      the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" (Ecc
      3:18-21).

      (vii) The account of Jesus driving demons that were
      possessing men into pigs (Mt 8:28-32) presupposes some
      psychic commonality between man and at least the higher
      animals.

      2. SCIENTIFIC
      a) All life (bacteria, plants, animals and man) share a common
      genetic code, and a common basic biochemistry and molecular
      biology;

      b) man and chimps share about 98% of their DNA and proteins;

      c) man and apes share very similar karyotypes (chromosome
      maps);

      d) man and higher primates share the same vitamin C pseudogene,
      and so are unable to synthesise vitamin C, unlike the vast majority
      of other mammals;

      e) man and apes have identical endogenous retroviral sequences
      (ERVs) embedded in their genomes.

      3. OTHER
      a) My original position was opposed to common ancestry. It was
      one of the bitterest pills I have ever had to swallow to admit that
      my evolutionists opponents on the Calvin Reflector were right on
      that major point (see
      http://www.asa3.org/archive/evolution/199505-10/0391.html);

      b) I have won few friends and made more enemies (both
      creationist/IDist and evolutionist) for my acceptance of common
      ancestry. However, `truth is its own reward' and `one on the side of
      the truth is a majority';

      c) Common ancestry is not necessarily evolution since evolution:

      i) requires also a *fully* naturalistic mechanism (both
      Darwin and Dawkins said it would not be evolution, but
      *creation*, if God intervened supernaturally at *any* stage
      in life's history;

      ii) evolution did not unequivocally predict *single*
      common ancestry (Darwin spoke of life descending from "a
      few forms or one"; molecular evolutionists are now
      invoking multiple common ancestors to get away from a
      single complex common ancestor that is at the root of all
      the molecular phylogenetic trees; and evolutionists would
      be *very* happy if they found life on Earth that did *not*
      share a common ancestry.

      d) It is a fallacy of false alternatives to claim there are only two
      positions: 1) design without descent; and 2) descent without
      design; when there is clearly a third alternative, 3) design *with*
      descent (my position, and Behe's);

      e) Some evangelical theologians (e.g. A.H. Strong, C.F.H. Henry;
      D. Kidner and J. Stott) either accept, or have no problem with,
      common ancestry of man and animals.

      f) At least one leading member of the ID movement, Michael Behe,
      accepts common ancestry, and I suspect that there are other leading
      IDists (no names no pack drill!) who either accept common
      ancestry or have no problem with it. Even the leader of the ID
      movement, Phillip E. Johnson, while he rejects common ancestry,
      has stated that, "The `evolution of human beings from apes' is not
      an unacceptable hypothesis for me" and "Obviously, God could
      have made humans unmistakably distinct from other creatures and
      did not do so." (see tagline quote).

      g) Acceptance of common ancestry by creationist/IDists:

      i) undercuts the evolutionists where their position is
      strongest (common ancestry), and requires them to provide
      adequate evidence to support the other half of their theory
      where it is weakest, that the mechanism was *always* and
      *everywhere*, *fully* naturalistic;

      ii) allows a very powerful design argument, whichI call the
      "`Construction Project' Argument from Design".

      Once again, thanks for your message, the CED copy of which I will
      reference on my "Why I accept common ancestry" page. However, if you
      wish to discuss this further, please feel free to join CED. I have a long-
      standing policy, as per my very first post on CED, "not to get involved in
      private discussions on creation/evolution/ID because: a) I don't have the
      time; and b) I regard these as topics which should be discussed *publicly*"
      (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/1)

      Steve

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Since Hasker speculates about my own subjective leanings, I will try to
      satisfy his curiosity. The "evolution of human beings from apes" is not an
      unacceptable hypothesis for me. Obviously, God could have made humans
      unmistakably distinct from other creatures and did not do so. The
      hypothesis of LCA [Literal Common Ancestry] was bold but justifiable as
      of 1859, if it were stated in testable form rather than as a dogma.
      Subsequent investigation, when evaluated without extreme Darwinist bias,
      establishes that LCA is disconfirmed for the plant and animal kingdoms as
      a whole, and also in this specific case. Even if "evolution" in some vague
      MCA [Metaphorical Common Ancestry]sense should turn out to be the
      true explanation of the similarities between apes and humans, Darwinian
      science has only wild speculation to offer to explain the unique human
      characteristics: relative hairlessness, upright posture, and especially human
      consciousness. I do not know whether I am a "progressive creationist." For
      the time being, I am content to say that, however God chose to create, it
      was not by neo-Darwinist LCA." (Johnson P.E., "Response to Hasker,"
      Christian Scholar's Review, Vol. XXII, No. 3, 1993, pp.297-304.
      http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pjcsr223.html)
      Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
      & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProblemsOfEvolution/ Book: "Problems
      of Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
      & http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Cliff Lundberg
      From: Stephen E. Jones ... Common ancestry seems meaningless without a discussion of how far back the common ancestor lies. The
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 14, 2005
        From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>

        > f) At least one leading member of the ID movement, Michael Behe,
        > accepts common ancestry...

        'Common ancestry' seems meaningless without a discussion of how
        far back the common ancestor lies. The common ancestor of man and
        ape, for example, could be an existing primate, or it could be an
        unknown
        animal that disappeared hundreds of millions of years ago. Is this
        supposed
        to make no difference philosophically?

        Cliff
      • Stephen E. Jones
        AN (copy CED with some minor changes) Thanks for your follow-up message which I will also copy to CED because it may still be of interest to members. I have
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 14, 2005
          AN (copy CED with some minor changes)

          Thanks for your follow-up message which I will also copy to CED because
          it may still be of interest to members. I have replaced your name with
          "AN".

          On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 17:16:01 -0400, AN wrote:

          AN>Mr. Jones:
          >
          >I have no position on whether or not man and ape share a common ancestry.
          >That's why I'm asking the question.

          Quite frankly I do not accept that it is *possible* for a person who is involved
          in the evolution controversy, as you are, to "have *no* position on whether
          or not man and ape share a common ancestry."

          In your case, from the evidence of your own posts, you *clearly* have a
          default "position" that "man and ape" do *not* "share a common ancestry."

          AN>I'm not going to consider the Biblical reasons you gave, because I am
          >searching for scientific evidence for common ancestry.

          But *why* would you make an issue of "scientific evidence for common
          ancestry" except for a prior commitment (conscious or unconscious) to
          Biblical literalism?

          AN>Concerning your scientific evidence - a thru e: This seems to me to be
          >information that can be interpreted any number of ways. All of the
          >similarities you list between man and apes could just as easily explain a
          >common designer as they could a common ancestor. It doesn't prove either,
          >and it doesn't rule either out.

          This "could just as easily explain a common designer as they could a
          common ancestor", is, as I said, is a "fallacy of false alternative":

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------
          On Fri, 15 Apr 2005 01:00:58 +0800, Stephen E. Jones wrote:

          >d) It is a fallacy of false alternatives to claim there are only two
          >positions: 1) design without descent; and 2) descent without
          >design; when there is clearly a third alternative, 3) design *with*
          >descent (my position, and Behe's);
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------

          or "Faulty Dilemma"

          "Faulty Dilemma. ... Here the opponent forces one into an either/or
          answer when the question has a third alternative. He says, `Accept
          this or that, both of which are contrary to your position,' but doesn't
          mention a third alternative. The key to avoiding the dilemma is
          simply to find the third alternative." (Geisler N.L.*& Brooks R.M*
          "Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking,"
          Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, MI, 1990, p.110)

          Why do you fail to even *consider* the third alternative, "3) design *with*
          descent", i.e. that a "common designer" could design through "a common
          ancestor"?

          AN>I am looking for evidence (fossils?) that could lead one to confidently
          >conclude that man and apes share a common ancestry.

          The *prior* question you need to ask yourself is, what "evidence ... that
          man and apes share a common ancestry" would you accept? If the answer
          is "none", or you set the evidential bar impossibly high, then you will
          *never* "conclude that man and apes share a common ancestry".

          Briefly the fossil evidence "that man and apes share a common ancestry" is
          *conclusive* (to anyone who is open to the evidence), e.g. there is a pattern
          of increasing dissimilarity between "man and apes".

          <~7 mya Apes only
          ~7-2 mya Apes and early-middle hominids, e.g. Australopithecines,
          H. habilis (bipedality, increasing brain size)
          ~2-0.1 mya Apes, early hominids decreasing/extinct, middle hominids
          and later hominids, e.g. H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis,
          archaic H. sapiens, anatomically modern H. sapiens
          ~0.1-0 mya Apes, early middle and later hominids extinction,
          behaviourally modern H. sapiens (Cro-magnon man,
          modern H. Sapiens)

          If this "fossil" pattern of increasing dissimilarity over time between "man
          and apes" does not "lead one to confidently conclude that man and apes
          share a common ancestry" then *nothing* will, i.e. one's position is one of
          invincible ignorance (see tagline), "a cast of mind which seems
          peculiarly closed to evidence. ... no amount of evidence seems to be
          clinching. ... the facts are simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow
          deceptive, and the principles are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction."

          AN>I agree with you that all life on earth shares the same basic building
          >materials and many organisms share what appears to be similar engineering.
          >But it still seems to me to be an assumption that just because living
          >organism are similar in materials and design, that they are direct linear
          >discendents.

          It is also an "assumption that ... because living organism are similar in
          materials and design, that they are" *not* "direct linear discendents." The
          difference is that the first "assumption" fits the facts, e.g. the fossil and
          genetic pattern of increasing dissimilarity, and the second requires
          `epicycles' and special pleading.

          As Phil Johnson said:

          "God could have made humans unmistakably distinct from other
          creatures and did not do so." (Johnson P.E., "Response to Hasker,"
          Christian Scholar's Review, Vol. XXII, No. 3, 1993, pp.297-304.
          http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pjcsr223.html)

          so why not take this straightforwardly as a General Revelation `biotic
          message' from God that He did in face make humans sharing a common
          ancestry with "other creatures"?

          AN>I drive a Buick. It is 98% like my wifes Ford. They share many of
          >the same materials and design components. They even share many of the
          >same parts. But they didn't come from the same car.

          This is still based on the fallacy of false alternative/faulty dilemma (see
          above). Design and descent are *not* mutually exclusive.

          AN>Now about that 98% similarity. How certain are you of the acuracy
          >of this claim? Some recent research would suggest that this is a bogus
          >statistic.

          The 98% can vary +/- ~1% depending on which genes and proteins one
          is comparing. But it is a fact that genetically chimps are closest
          to man.

          AN>The January 2005 issue of Discover Magazine (hardly a creationists rag)
          >reports as follows:
          >
          >"Scientists uncovered subtle clues this year suggesting that chimpanzees and
          >humans, estimated to be more than 98 percent identical in their DNA
          >sequences, may be more different at the molecular level than previously
          >thought. Instead of being distinguished by a small number of crucial genes,
          >as some geneticists had supposed, the two species appear to have
          >surprisingly significant and widespread differences in the proteins produced
          >by their genes."

          Of *course* chimps and humans have differences (otherwise humans
          would be chimps or vice-versa), in this case the "proteins produced by
          their genes" , but This does not change the fact that "chimpanzees and
          humans" are "more than 98 percent identical in their DNA".

          AN>The report goes on to explain that in a detailed examination they found 68
          >thousand small differences in the DNA between the two genes. An analysis of
          >the 231 genes of this chromosome showed that 83 percent of them would make
          >proteins that differed from one another. They noted that if this pattern
          >held for all the comparisons between human and chimpanzee genes, they would
          >expect thousands of differences. In other words, rather than humans and
          >chimps being more than 98 percent genetically identical, so far, they have
          >proven to be 83 percent genetically different.

          No, that is not "83 percent genetically different" *overall* but "83 percent"
          of " 231 genes of this chromosome ... *make proteins* that differed from
          one another." The DNA can be *exactly* the same, but differences in gene
          regulation (so called-junk DNA) and cells (humans have cells that chimps
          don't). Think of computers: the same computer hardware produces entirely
          different outputs depending on what software it works through, e.g.
          Windows or Linux at the operating system level, and Word or Excel at the
          applications level.

          AN>As to the other people you mentioned who hold to the common ancestry model:
          >What does that prove, that I have to accept it just because some authority
          >says it's true?

          *I* don't "hold to the common ancestry model ... just because some authority
          says it's true." I satisfied myself from the *evidence* that it is true, and I
          have given you some of that evidence. In fact you are (like I once did)
          *not* accepting common ancestry" just because some authority says it's"
          *not* "true".

          AN>That's what the evolutionists are trying to get us to do.
          >I want to see clear, convincing evidence, something I have as yet not seen -
          >including the information you provided today, to persuade me one way or the
          >other.

          Just because "evolutionists" believe something to be true, does not make it
          untrue. By not accepting common ancestry because "That's what the
          evolutionists are trying to get us to do," is allowing one's position to be
          *controlled* by what "evolutionists" believe. I have said before, that is
          creationists/IDists dutifully reading from their part in the script of the play
          that Darwin wrote for them.

          I have found from personal experience that what *really* rattles
          "evolutionists" is when a creationists/IDists (myself and Behe) *accepts*
          common ancestry. Evolutionists on Internet groups like CED are *very*
          happy when a creationist/IDist obligingly plays their `traditional' role.

          AN>You say "acceptance of common ancestry by creationist/IDists undercuts the
          >evolutionists where their position is strongest". Strongest? How? By what evidence?

          Remember what I said at the beginning:

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------
          On Fri, 15 Apr 2005 01:00:58 +0800, Stephen E. Jones wrote:

          >First, no offence intended, but I note from searching your name on the
          >Internet, that you have some prominence in the evolution controversy and
          >seem to have a position against "that man and ape share a common
          >ancestor." If that is the case, then probably nothing I say would "provide
          >substantiation" *to you* "that man and ape share a common ancestor."
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------

          That is, until you state in advance what "evidence" you would accept for
          "common ancestry", then your question "By what evidence?" is
          meaningless rhetoric.

          There are atheists on CED (and no doubt every other C/E list) who keep
          asking "what is the evidence for God?", or "what is the evidence for
          design?", etc. I then ask them, "when evidence would you accept?" and the
          answer *always* is either: 1) "none" or 2) the evidential bar is set so high
          (e.g. "I will believe in God when He appears personally to me") that their
          request for "evidence" is just a sham, to pretend (not least to themselves)
          that they are open-minded on this question when they are *not*.

          AN>To the contrary, the evidence shows more clearly a common designer using the
          >same nuts and bolts (organic molecules) to design and build uniquely
          >different species with genetic potential to vary only within a fixed limit
          >of variation by natural selection.

          You are still committing the fallacy of false alternative/faulty dilemma.
          This is a sure sign of paradigm blindness, i.e. you just don't (perhaps
          *can't*) really *see* the third alternative, design *with* descent.

          AN>I welcome your further comments, and thank you for responding.

          You are welcome. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond.

          AN>(FYI - I will be posting your response at the IDNET discussion group
          >and on my website)

          Thanks. But as per my previously mentioned policy, please don't send me
          any further messages on this topic, except as a member of CED (which
          you are welcome to join).

          [...]

          Steve

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------
          "There does remain, nonetheless, a cast of mind which seems peculiarly
          closed to evidence. When confronted with such a mind, one feels helpless,
          for no amount of evidence seems to be clinching. Frequently the facts are
          simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow deceptive, and the principles
          are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction. One seems confronted with what
          has been called `invincible ignorance.'" (Fearnside W.W. & Holther W.B.,
          "Fallacy the Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs
          NJ, 1959, 25th printing, p.113)
          Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
          Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
          & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProblemsOfEvolution/ Book: "Problems
          of Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
          & http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------
        • Stephen E. Jones
          Group (no copy to AN) On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:16:25 -0400, AN wrote: AN Don t worry. I will not be sending you any further messages, as you are ... If you
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 14, 2005
            Group (no copy to AN)

            On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:16:25 -0400, AN wrote:

            AN>Don't worry. I will not be sending you any further messages, as you are
            >obviously not a serious person.

            If you don't like the message, then `shoot the messenger'!

            AN>Where do you get off telling me what my position is or isn't, or even if my
            >questions are sincere or not?

            This is an example of *the* problem in the C/E debate. Those who claim
            they are open to the evidence, but show in their posts they are not,
            *really* believe (at least at the conscious level), that they *are*
            open to the evidence.

            But as I said, the real experimental test is for them to state in advance what
            evidence they would accept.

            AN>I defy you to show me where my previous postings show a default position on
            >common ancestry.

            Res ipse loquitur.

            AN>But then again, your brilliant, and I'm not.

            As I said, `if you don't like the message, then shoot the messenger'!

            Steve

            PS: This cuts both ways.

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
            "I do not for a moment suppose, nor have I ever written, that biologists are
            in conspiracy `to hide from outsiders the bankruptcy of the central
            principle of biology.' ... Rather, the theory of evolution functions as
            biology's reigning ideology. And no conspiracy is required to explain the
            attachment of biologists to a doctrine they find sustaining; all that is
            required is Freud's reminder that those in the grip of an illusion never
            recognize their affliction." (Berlinski D., "Denying Darwin: David
            Berlinski and Critics," Commentary, September 1996, p.30.
            http://www.2think.org/letters.shtml) http://www.2think.org/letters.shtml)
            Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
            Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
            & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProblemsOfEvolution/ Book: "Problems
            of Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
            & http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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