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Re: [M & B] Re: An Apology to Mormons!

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  • Ray Ausban
    Daniel, This has been an interesting research project for me. Here is Part I and Part II will be a long time coming for good reasons.   What was known about
    Message 1 of 29 , Jul 20, 2013
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      Daniel,
      This has been an interesting research project for me. Here is Part I and Part II will be a long time coming for good reasons.
       
      What was known about the Ancient Americans and when was it known?
        
         Attacks to discredit the B of M have been large and varied through the decades. Originally, B of M claims were considered knee slapping, side splittingly funny by the critics. Yet, these claims have turned out to hold more than just a shade of truth. All of the anti- B of M arguments have one thing in common. They have failed or are not verifiably false. In fact, the anti-arguments have faltered to the point that the critics have taken an about face in their strategy. Rather than portray Joseph as a dumb country bumpkin, the charges now indicate he had an intelligence quotient six standard deviations above normal.
         Since a great many discoveries have lined up with the B of M setting and other claims made by Joseph; the critic’s new approach is to claim that Joseph knew about little known archeological discoveries before writing his ‘golden bible’. These ‘little known’ discoveries is the subject of this paper.
       
         In order to illustrate the importance of archeological discoveries in relationship to the B of M or other important doctrines set down by Joseph Smith then it is necessary to understand what was known about ancient America and when it became publicly or widely known. For this reason, I am providing the following very condensed history of what might have influenced Joseph’s thinking by the B of M’s publish date of 1830, if and this is a big if, the information was available to him.
       
      Domination
       
         In 1519, the Spanish Empire arrived in the Americas . The Spaniards did not come on a peaceful exploration mission. Over the next 40 years, Central America (and South America ) was conquered and dominated. As much as possible, the invaders destroyed every vestige of the native culture in the entire region. The cities, books, statues, columns, buildings and religion were destroyed or buried. Native houses of worship were leveled with Catholic churches built right upon the foundations of former Mesoamerican temples. The gold, which was in great abundance, silver and jewels which adorned statues and walls were shipped overseas.  Additionally, the indigenous population had been decimated with probably the worst genocide in history. Between war, starvation, European diseases, psychologically induced suicide, and vicious brutality on the part of the Spaniards; the estimates of the carnage involved as many as forty million deaths or about ninety percent of the population. A false claim of excessively high numbers of Aztec human sacrifices per year was the justification of such horror. Even with the phony sacrifice rate of 50 thousand per year, it would have taken the Aztecs 600 years to kill as many as the Spaniards were responsible for in just 20 years. In the decades following the Conquest, a few monks were appalled by the Spanish treatment of the local people and their culture decided to and taught several individuals to read and write. These tribal leaders descendants were then asked to record their history as much as they could remember and seek out the oldest natives for their memories as well. (The Aztecs kept their history in the form of poems and songs and these were taught and passed down generation to generation, so they remembered a lot).  These newly written histories, as well as the writings of the Priests were filed away in archives. Censorship was the rule of not only this era, but these records would not see the light of day for the next three hundred years. Finally, “ New Spain ” met its end with the revolution in 1821. Despite the firm Spanish grip being released after the revolution, censorship from Spain was still prevalent through the 1830’s because now the embarrassment of the evils perpetrated upon the Native Americans might become laid bare.
         The Revolution opened the door somewhat for the world to look at ancient Central America , but Mexican distrust with European nations was well understood. However, prior to the Revolution some individuals did manage to get into Mesoamerica and reported their observations, in print, in England and France prior to the Book of Mormon’s first printing in 1830.
       
      What the Spanish Witnessed
       
         Upon his arrival, Cortez saw an amazing city and civilization in the Valley of Mexico . The Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan , was an impressive sight. There were fresh water aqueducts, stunning towered palaces, paved roads, temples and pyramids stuccoed pink with volcanic ash. There were lush gardens with a large variety of foods. Cotton screens shaded outside areas on large private homes. There were large stones intricately carved with indications of writing. The city had a population of 300 thousand, 60 thousand of whom went to an open market every day to trade with each other with all the goods they produced. In brief, this was a functioning and prosperous society as advanced as anything Europe had to offer.
       
       
         Not far from Tenochtitlan laid the impressive remains of Teotihuacan . Pyramid type structures were half buried in dirt and shrubs. The rest of the city covered over from the dusts of time.
         Teotihuacan was not an old Aztec city but the remains of another prior advanced civilization. Gathering what he could from the Indians, a monk named Sahagan determined the city was abandoned about one thousand years before the arrival of the Spaniards or about 500 AD. The Aztec called these people the Toltec of whom they were descendants.
       
         With all this information about Central America gathered and recorded by the late 1550’s, any one might be able to fabricate a story, at least in part, such as the Book of Mormon. After all, one of the main claims of the B of M is the two most advanced civilizations of their times on the earth were right here in America . The trouble is few in Europe or North America was aware of Native American grandeur. As mentioned previously, the Spanish implemented rigid censorship with brutal rule for subjection purposes and deliberate misinformation.
         The misrepresentation of the history of ancient America had strong support because of the trust of the government of Spain and the Church and the incriminating status of the North American Indian tribes. North American Indians had the appearance of savagery and uneducated ignorance not capable of advanced civilization.
         William Robertson a prominent English historian wrote and printed “History of America” in 1777. There were continued printings of his book through the 1820’s. His wildly inaccurate description was the official view of American native history as a degenerate and incapable people. Robertson’s opinion was the view of nearly all people in the United States and Europe for the reason of his academic weight.
       
      In his history Robertson did touch upon the conquistador’s mention of Tenochtitlan but he did not describe the city in the same manner as the Spaniards. For instance, describing the Aztec palaces he said, “…as more fit to be the inhabitants of men just emerging from barbarity than the residence of a polished people…” Cornelius de Pauw, another historian, echoed the same sentiment we he wrote, “The so-called palace occupied by the Mexican kings was a hut.”
         Robertson’s trashing of native “savages” goes on for over one hundred pages in Book 4, (see page 283 and beyond).
            Needless to say, nothing was said about Teotihuacan which was the only know evidence the conquistadors held of advanced culture before the Aztecs (not that they were concerned about uncovering history since they were too busy burying it).
         In 1839 before Stephens set out for Mesoamerica , professional historians were very skeptical. Gallenkamp said, “Most scholars viewed the American Indians as having never risen above a condition of barest savagery and the suggestion that civilizations of the highest order had once flourished in the western hemisphere was unacceptable in academic circles.”
         This academic refusal to believe and sterilization of the account of Cortez influenced the minds of nearly everyone in America including Joseph Smith. Joseph’s B of M ‘advanced civilizations in ancient America ’ claim had the appearance of a vivid imagination and he was criticized for it. Hence, if Joseph did hear about or read Robertson’s book, he didn’t gain any great in sight about Mesoamerica before he produced the B of M. In Robertson’s preface he mentions a copy of the Cortez letters coming into his possession. Apparently, learned scholars had to seek out such documents and these were not available to farm boys like Smith.
       
       
      Early Explorers
       
         Not every single soul, especially in Europe or Central America accepted the official position of the academics. Sites and histories were slowly being discovered but did not receive adequate public circulation.
       
         A fellow named Careri produced a six volume limited set of books titled, “Around the World in Eighty Month” published in 1719. Part of his journey landed him in Mexico in 1697. While here, he collected quite a bit of valid information (his main source being a man named Gongora). Upon publication Careri was immediately labeled a fraud and his work was deemed a fiction. Considered discredited his work was not easily available and mostly shelved away.
      (These Wikipedia links give over views of the men involved but do not go into great enough detail concerning ancient America .)
       
       
      Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora:
       
      Gongora had documents, histories and such, which eventually ended up scattered in 1767 Unpublished and mostly lost; the contents of his work, could not have fallen in the hands of Joseph.
       
       
       
       
      Alexander Humboldt was a busy man and a game changer for ancient America . He was educated and well respect where ever he traveled. He spent 1803-1804 AD in Central America . Humboldt was not specifically on an antiquities mission. One of his books, “Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain ” published in 1811, discusses in Chapter VI, some of the achievements of Central American culture at the time of the Spaniard’s arrival:
       
       
         Had Joseph been able to get some information from the half dozen or less paragraphs out of 300 pages, one could claim he received some ideas for the B of M story. Those paragraphs tell a little bit about Aztec cities and the construction of pyramids and other large structures such as canals, dikes and roads. Humboldt also mentions the Toltec culture first appearing in 648 AD and being equals in advancement as the Aztecs. Thus had Joseph known any of ‘Political Essay…’ then it would appear he set his ‘fictitious’ B of M story before the Toltec. Some of Joseph’s critics charge his idea of Christ visiting America came from “Political Essay…” Cortez is cited by Humboldt but not as a deity, but as the descendant of a king who departed two hundred years earlier and promised to return. Cortez admits to taking advantage of the Indian’s superstition. There is one sentence where Humboldt says on page 124, “The ritual books composed of hieroglyphics at the beginning of the conquest…evidently show that at that period, Christianity was confounded with Mexican mythology: the Holy Ghost is identified with the sacred eagle of the Aztecs.” “They (the Catholic missionaries) persuaded them (the natives) the gospel had, in very remote times, already been preached…” This led to easier conversion of the natives. Yet, we are to learn later on from the Priests that a form of Christianity was indeed present in ancient times.
         Humboldt also wrote, “Researches concerning the Institutions & Monuments of the Ancient inhabitants of America ” in 1814 which goes into more detail of the history of the Mesoamericans.
         Thus had Joseph been aware of Humboldt’s writings his B of M story might have received certain ‘inspiration’ or ‘borrowing’ from them.
         As we know today, academia always suffers a slow death when wrong about a subject. And while Humboldt was well respected his books did not change the thinking of European or American academics to any considerable measure. Therefore, the notion of Humboldt’s understanding of ancient America was common or available knowledge among the farming locals of New York is impractical and silly. What Humboldt’s influence did do was open the minds of a few to do further investigations in Mesoamerica .
       
         Humboldt had received wide spread attention in certain European countries and this motivated Spain to send Dupaix and Castaneda in 1805. For three years these men toiled under oppressive conditions and went to various city sites finally ending up at Palenque . Dupaix filed his report but it didn’t get sent to Spain right away.
         Significant people in Guatemala heard there might be an ancient city near Palenque , so they dispatched a fellow named Del Rio to investigate. After Del Rio filed his report, a British doctor in Guatemala City sent a copy to a book publisher in London who published under the title, “Description of the Ancient City Discovered near Palenque ” in 1822.
       
       
       
      William Bullock, 1824, London :
       
       
      Bullock’s collection included a copy of the Aztec calendar stone, statues and drawings of buildings.
       
       
       
      Bullock mentions the huge pyramid at Cholula but mainly focused on the country as it existed in his day. It is interesting that Cortez, Humboldt and Bullock as well as others mention “pyramids”, but the B of M does not. However, “temples’ are mentioned in the B of M which was apparently a top the Mesoamerican pyramids.
       
      Finally, Dupaix’s report was dug out of a Spanish archive and published in Paris in 1834 (some four years after the B of M).
       
         Now, by 1827 when Joseph was starting his translation of the gold plates, the sum total knowledge of pre-Aztec civilization consisted of two buried cities, the calendar stone, copies of few hieroglyphs which were neither Egyptian nor Aztec, a few Mayan drawings and a few statues. Humboldt had constructed a tentative time line of Indian chronology to the year 544 AD with ancient mythology going much further back.
         Availability of this information was difficult to say the least. If you wanted to read Del Rio , you had to be in London . While interesting, the report did not grab the attention of the world and was virtually unknown in North America . Academic historians were still clinging to dogma despite these early exploration reports. In the final analysis it is utter nonsense to think Joseph Smith living in rural New York would have access to these discoveries. Even if Joseph simply ‘heard’ about the artifacts and two cities, some of the other anti-Mormon locals would have ‘heard’ about them too and used that to identify the source of Joseph’s B of M story line. In all the hostile accusations, regarding the B of M which came Joseph’s way, it was the Spaulding manuscript, the Bible, or his imagination that was always cited as Joseph’s inspiration, not actual discoveries by lay explorers in Central America . Considering the aggressiveness against the Mormon founder, this stone would not have been left unturned. This means that Joseph could not have known about the early explorations, since no one else did either.
         According to the critics nearly 200 years later, after massive searching of historical records we can determine what was written concerning Mesoamerica prior to 1830 some where on the planet. And through some unprecedented contacts Joseph Smith secretly got his hands on this information that no one else in his area acquired. This is as difficult to believe as an angel appearing and showing the location of a book written on gold sheets. In comparison, the angel story has more plausibility.  
       
      Mayans Discovered
       
         The public discovery of the Maya came with Stephen’s “Incidents of travel in Central America , Chiapas , and Yucatan ” (1841).
       
      Stephens and a very talented sketch artist, Catherwood, captured the imagination of the world. Catherwood’s detailed art work contributed greatly to the success of the book. “Incidents…” was a best seller running ten printings in just three months. This was wide distribution for the time (thousands of copies).
       
         Joseph became aware of “Incidents…” in mid 1841 and received a copy in September.
       
       Joseph’s writings or recorded statements which reflect his opinion about the tentative locations of B of M geography before 1842 indicate either a possible North America scenario or a single continent scenario (the single continent encompassing both North and South America ).
         Joseph just didn’t know the B of M’s geographical setting. (Remember, he translated the gold plates). When declaring that Central America was the location, he hedged himself because he knew full well nothing on the subject had been revealed to him by revelation. He still maintained that all of North and South America is a promised land, yet it becomes clear he took a firm position for the B of M setting in Central America . He thus opted for comparison studies when he said, “it would not be a bad plan to compared Mr. Stephens cities with those of the Book of Mormon.”
        
      Summary
       
         With the magnitude of mind bending change concerning American Indians, Church writers reminded the readers in the ‘Times and Seasons’ on Jan. 1, 1844, “The general presumption was, that no people possessing more intelligence than our present race of Indians had ever inhabited this continent, and the accounts given in the Book of Mormon concerning large cities and civilized people having inhabited this land, was generally disbelieved and pronounced a humbug.”
         While miscellaneous archeological work was done in Central America prior to the B of M publication access to the reports was futile unless you happened to be a University professor in Europe . The main historians of the day vehemently dissuaded any idea of advanced culture among any American Indians. And the B of M critics did not make accusations that Joseph knew about little know discoveries until after Stephens. This strongly suggests there was no one in Joseph’s ear shot who knew anything about Mesoamerica .
         Joseph’s own discussions and recordings on the subject indicate he considered only two of the main B of M settings theories before settling with the Central America model after Stephen’s book. From 1823 to 1842 he never mentioned the Central American setting and never produced a ‘pretend prophecy’ that B of M ruins would be found in Central America . If he dreamed up ‘creative’ ideas from the work Del Rio and Humboldt, then it would seem there would have been some mention of Middle America some where by some one. But there isn’t.
         Tied together, this is strong circumstantial evidence that Joseph and the people around him knew nothing about Mesoamerica before publishing the Book of Mormon.
        
      Really?
       
          This continues with my theme of Joseph was either the luckiest guesser of all time or he was truly inspired. In this forum I have brought up, Joseph’s view of the Universe, which was decades before its time, only to find out an obscure philosopher, Immanuel Kant, a hundred years before had the same view. Now, according to Todd, Joseph some how heard about Kant and included it in the religion as he was making it up.
       
         I have mentioned the “room of mirrors” recorded in the Dead Sea scrolls having the same lay out and design and function as the mirrors in LDS Temple sealing rooms. Some how Joseph found out about that idea before the scrolls were discovered in 1947.
         I brought up the ‘word print’ software which can peg a writer’s style to within a sentence which shows the B of M had dozens of authors not just one. Now, Joseph is a literary genius.
         And as will be seen in Part 2 (when I get around to writing it), so many things about ancient America & the Near East line up with the B of M, so now Joseph just secretly found out about that too!
      Really?
       
      Clearly, there is more here than meets the eye.
       
      - Ray
        

      From: bucksburg <bucksburg@...>
      To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:26 PM
      Subject: [M & B] Re: An Apology to Mormons!
       
           
    • w_w_c_l
      ... A frog crawled out of the water and turned into a prince from an evolutionist would be akin to a creationist claiming it says in the Bible that in
      Message 2 of 29 , Aug 29, 2013
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        --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "bucksburg" <bucksburg@...> wrote (in part):

        > Similarly, when evolutionist claim that one day
        > a frog crawled out of the water on his way to
        > turning into a prince, there's nothing scientists
        > can do to prove or disprove such a claim.


        "A frog crawled out of the water and turned into a prince"
        from an evolutionist would be akin to a creationist claiming
        it says in the Bible that in addition to snakes, Eve could
        talk to the other animals, too, and she had this trained seal
        that would dive down and bring her trilobites and stuff so
        Adam could name them all, real quick, before they went extinct
        in a few more hundred years. It was quite a job!

        That *is* what creationists claim, isn't it, Buck?

        Anyway: whenever *anyone* -- "evolutionist" or not --
        makes such a bogus claim about evolution, all we have to do
        is turn to the science itself.

        Biological evolution doesn't say a frog crawled out of the water
        on its way to becoming a prince anymore than the Bible says
        Pharoah and his hordes turned into pumpkins at midnight and
        they all floated away on the Red Sea.

        Buck, wouldn't you like to correct that dumb evolutionist and
        tell him what biological science really does say about the
        evolution of amphibians?

        Frogs aren't ancestral to humans.

        See the tree, here:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiliomorpha

        Frogs came out of Lissamphibia, top.
        Mammals came out of Amniota, bottom.

        Now where did you get the idea that evolutionists think
        frogs crawled out of the water and turned into princes?

        It isn't just something you made up, is it?


        You say:

        > We can run a test on their dating methods and find
        > them incapable of establishing an age of millions of years
        > with any scientifically useful level of reliability,

        Well, under normal circumstances this is just false, but when
        you're dealing with creationist misinformation artistry
        you have to explain every little thing.

        Scientific tests must be both valid and reliable.

        "Validity" means the test is measuring what it is intended to
        measure -- in this case, the age of a rock. "Reliable" means
        the test measures the same way, time after time. The reliability
        of the most often used dating methods is better than 95%. So the
        dating methods do measure the same way, again and again. Any "test"
        of dating methods that finds them incapable of a "scientifically
        useful level of reliability" is a flawed test, and we can
        immediately verify such a conclusion by simply looking at the
        statistics.

        The radiometric tests are indeed reliably measuring *something*,
        so the creationists' beef is actually with validity -- the tests
        are not measuring age, or they are measuring age plus one or more
        significant confounding variables. But that is contradicted by
        the correlation observed between radiometric and non-radiometric
        methods.

        That is a BIG problem for creationists who don't like the
        idea of deep time, but it's *their* problem. What kind
        of "test" can they possibly run? Their problem isn't one of
        going out to the field and finding the right rocks, or running
        more tests in dating labs, and presenting their contrived
        findings in churches across America; no, it's the sheer wall of
        existing data which, as it is now interpreted, results in a
        tightly-woven lattice of correlations and cross-checks that leads
        to only two possible conclusions, both of which render all
        creationist protestations on "scientific" grounds entirely moot:
        either the Earth *is* old, or it just *looks* just exactly as old.

        If God created an illusion, it is an illusion that is empirically
        consistent -- and "perfectly" so.

        But "apparent age" entails "apparent evolution," too, so there
        is nothing left for the creationist to do but try to strew
        falsehoods and confusion -- like claiming they can "run a test
        on the dating methods" when they themselves can't even distinguish
        between validity and reliability.


        You say:

        > We can look at the science of genetics and say that it's
        > impossible for the descendent of a frog to be anything but
        > a frog, and thus exclude this climb from having come about
        > from any presently observable natural laws.

        Yes, creationists can "look at" any kind of science and say
        anything they feel like making up about it.

        But genetic analysis itself confirms nested hierarchies among the
        genomes, just like the nested hierarchies we have in the Linnaean
        tree. Not just frogs, either; it goes throughout the plant and
        animal kingdoms.

        Here's what the science of genetics says:
        http://www.amnh.org/science/papers/amphibians.php

        The fascinating thing about this is how genetics is being used
        to sort out evolutionary relationships among species that were
        formerly only classifiable by physical characteristics -- which
        is sometimes hard to do, especially when you're looking at
        squished frog fossils:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neobatrachia

        *That's* what the science of genetics says. No need to lie about it.


        Rick Hartzog
        Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
      • bucksburg
        Rick, Thank you for informing me that according to the currently accepted paradigm, frogs are not our grandparents, but our cousins. I didn t know that, and
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 4 6:24 AM
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          Rick,

          Thank you for informing me that according to the currently accepted paradigm, frogs are not our grandparents, but our cousins. I didn't know that, and apparently neither did Ken Ham.

          http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100429/full/news.2010.211.html
          http://www.amazon.com/From-Prince-Prof-Richard-Dawkins/dp/B000VSFR2M

          However, where you quote me I was speaking more or less hypothetically, not making any factual claims about what Evolutionists believe.

          Mr. Buck
        • w_w_c_l
          ... Ken Ham doesn t get paid to know things like that. ... Well, granted the video is from 1995 and a lot has happened since then. What most people don t
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 5 11:09 PM
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            --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "bucksburg"
            <bucksburg@...> wrote:

            > Rick,
            >
            > Thank you for informing me that according to the
            > currently accepted paradigm, frogs are not our
            > grandparents, but our cousins. I didn't know that,
            > and apparently neither did Ken Ham.
            >
            > http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100429/full/news.2010.211.html
            > http://www.amazon.com/From-Prince-Prof-Richard-Dawkins/dp/B000VSFR2M

            Ken Ham doesn't get paid to know things like that.
            From the Amazon advertisement for the AiG video you linked:

            | "But such major biological change needs new genetic
            | information. Where could it come from?"

            Well, granted the video is from 1995 and a lot has happened since
            then.

            What most people don't realize, and what even biologists
            are just now figuring out, over the last couple of decades,
            is that dramatic morphological changes can occur with only
            minimal change in the genetic makeup of organisms.

            It isn't so much a matter of creating new "information" as it is
            in turning off some of the "information" that is already present
            in the genome, which is accomplished by mutations in the "regulatory"
            genes.

            Some of the best examples, I think, come from research into the
            dinosaur-to-bird transition. We know from fossils that dinosaurs
            had well-developed teeth, and we've all heard the expression,
            "Scarce as hens' teeth," -- birds don't have any teeth. But if
            you go into the bird embryo and turn that gene for tooth production
            back on, you'll get a bird with teeth. Same thing with tails. You
            can turn the right gene back on and the embryo will develop a long,
            jointed tail -- like dinosaurs had.

            Those are pretty big changes with almost no change to the overall
            genetic structure of the chicken embryo.

            When genetic research was just getting started, and before any
            genomes had been sequenced, scientists reasonably expected that
            the more complex organisms would have the largest genome sizes --
            the most "information" -- but that turned out to not be the case,
            which is why you'll hear terms like "C-value paradox" and "junk DNA"
            being thrown around.

            I barely understand any of it, but from reading what the scientists
            have to say, creationists are barking up the wrong tree in demanding
            to know where "information" comes from.

            Here's a paper addressing the genetics of the "Cambrian explosion,"
            in case you're interested:

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.200900033/full


            Rick


            -----------------------------------
          • bucksburg
            ... Rick, You write as if this sort of thing had actually been done--producing a bird with crocodilian teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall tale,
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 10 8:18 PM
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              --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "w_w_c_l" <w_w_c_l@...> wrote:
              > > Some of the best examples, I think, come from research into the dinosaur-to-bird transition. We know from fossils that dinosaurs had well-developed teeth, and we've all heard the expression, "Scarce as hens' teeth," -- birds don't have any teeth. But if you go into the bird embryo and turn that gene for tooth production back on, you'll get a bird with teeth. Same thing with tails. You can turn the right gene back on and the embryo will develop a long, jointed tail -- like dinosaurs had.<<


              Rick,

              You write as if this sort of thing had actually been done--producing a bird with crocodilian teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall tale, not a long one.

              Mr. Buck
            • w_w_c_l
              ... No, this is evo-devo research being done with *embryos*. They are trying to tease out which genes do what, and when, as the embryos develop. I really
              Message 6 of 29 , Sep 11 8:00 AM
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                Buck writes:

                > Rick,
                >
                > You write as if this sort of thing had actually
                > been done -- producing a bird with crocodilian
                > teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall
                > tale, not a long one.

                No, this is "evo-devo" research being done with *embryos*.
                They are trying to tease out which genes do what, and when,
                as the embryos develop.

                I really don't know how much you know about all this so I
                don't know where to start.

                But if you are familiar with Erasmus Darwin, then perhaps
                you know about the "recapitulation theory" of his day and
                the widely publicized (mostly by modern creationists) "fraud"
                of Ernst Haeckel.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Haeckel
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory

                Well, modern embryology has gone far beyond that. The genes
                *do* contain glimpses into the evolutionary history of life,
                and embryos *do* develop in accordance with their ancestral
                lines, and molecular data *does* reflect the nested hierarchies
                we should expect if evolution were true. In fact, it is a very
                strong confirmation of evolution. (And, incidentally, if genetics
                and other molecular data had *not* shown these nested hierarchies,
                that would have been a *falsification* of evolutionary theory -- but
                that's not what happened.)

                What I was referring to with the chicken embryos was popularized
                by the Discovery Channel's 2008 documentary, "Dinosaurs: Return
                to Life":

                http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Dinosaurs_-_Return_to_Life

                which you can watch (for the time being, anyway) here:

                http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7848E22F140FE7DF

                So, no, they're not producing chickens with teeth and long,
                lizard-like tails; they're fiddling with the genes during
                embryonic development. To actually "build" a dinosaur would
                require retro-engineering a lot more than just a few genes.
                Evolution, as it progresses down a divergent line, burns a lot
                of bridges behind it. Which is why, once speciation occurs,
                the daughter population is no longer able, in most cases, to
                successfully interbreed with the parent population.


                Rick Hartzog
                Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism

                --------------------------------------

                --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "bucksburg" <bucksburg@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "w_w_c_l" <w_w_c_l@> wrote:
                > > > Some of the best examples, I think, come from research into the dinosaur-to-bird transition. We know from fossils that dinosaurs had well-developed teeth, and we've all heard the expression, "Scarce as hens' teeth," -- birds don't have any teeth. But if you go into the bird embryo and turn that gene for tooth production back on, you'll get a bird with teeth. Same thing with tails. You can turn the right gene back on and the embryo will develop a long, jointed tail -- like dinosaurs had.<<
                >
                >
                > Rick,
                >
                > You write as if this sort of thing had actually been done--producing a bird with crocodilian teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall tale, not a long one.
                >
                > Mr. Buck
                >
              • bucksburg
                ... No, this is evo-devo research being done with *embryos*. They are trying to tease out which genes do what, and when, as the embryos develop. I really
                Message 7 of 29 , Sep 19 6:53 PM
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                  Thanks for the videos, Rick. First one didn't come thru but the last 4 of 5 did. Summary:


                  By stimulating genes with proteins, evolutionists have been able to get chicken embryos to grow non-functional tail vertebrae, non-functional teeth, and non-functional feathers. This has convinced the true believers among them that within 50 to 100 years, they will be able to produce a ratite with reptilian features.


                  It's impressive evidence that some birds contain genes for long tails, teeth, and scales. But we already knew that; Archeopteryx had all three. And Archeopteryx was a bird, not a lizard.


                  Mr. Buck



                  --- In maury_and_baty@yahoogroups.com, <w_w_c_l@...> wrote:

                  Buck writes:

                  > Rick,
                  >
                  > You write as if this sort of thing had actually
                  > been done -- producing a bird with crocodilian
                  > teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall
                  > tale, not a long one.

                  No, this is "evo-devo" research being done with *embryos*.
                  They are trying to tease out which genes do what, and when,
                  as the embryos develop.

                  I really don't know how much you know about all this so I
                  don't know where to start.

                  But if you are familiar with Erasmus Darwin, then perhaps
                  you know about the "recapitulation theory" of his day and
                  the widely publicized (mostly by modern creationists) "fraud"
                  of Ernst Haeckel.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Haeckel
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory

                  Well, modern embryology has gone far beyond that. The genes
                  *do* contain glimpses into the evolutionary history of life,
                  and embryos *do* develop in accordance with their ancestral
                  lines, and molecular data *does* reflect the nested hierarchies
                  we should expect if evolution were true. In fact, it is a very
                  strong confirmation of evolution. (And, incidentally, if genetics
                  and other molecular data had *not* shown these nested hierarchies,
                  that would have been a *falsification* of evolutionary theory -- but
                  that's not what happened.)

                  What I was referring to with the chicken embryos was popularized
                  by the Discovery Channel's 2008 documentary, "Dinosaurs: Return
                  to Life":

                  http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Dinosaurs_-_Return_to_Life

                  which you can watch (for the time being, anyway) here:

                  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7848E22F140FE7DF

                  So, no, they're not producing chickens with teeth and long,
                  lizard-like tails; they're fiddling with the genes during
                  embryonic development. To actually "build" a dinosaur would
                  require retro-engineering a lot more than just a few genes.
                  Evolution, as it progresses down a divergent line, burns a lot
                  of bridges behind it. Which is why, once speciation occurs,
                  the daughter population is no longer able, in most cases, to
                  successfully interbreed with the parent population.


                  Rick Hartzog
                  Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism

                  --------------------------------------

                  --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "bucksburg" <bucksburg@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, "w_w_c_l" <w_w_c_l@> wrote:
                  > > > Some of the best examples, I think, come from research into the dinosaur-to-bird transition. We know from fossils that dinosaurs had well-developed teeth, and we've all heard the expression, "Scarce as hens' teeth," -- birds don't have any teeth. But if you go into the bird embryo and turn that gene for tooth production back on, you'll get a bird with teeth. Same thing with tails. You can turn the right gene back on and the embryo will develop a long, jointed tail -- like dinosaurs had.<<
                  >
                  >
                  > Rick,
                  >
                  > You write as if this sort of thing had actually been done--producing a bird with crocodilian teeth or a long, scaly tail. Sounds like a tall tale, not a long one.
                  >
                  > Mr. Buck
                  >
                • w_w_c_l
                  ... While, in the meantime, creationists have been able to accomplish what, exactly? ... Ratites already have reptilian features . So do all the other birds.
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 21 9:36 AM
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                    Buck summarized:

                    > By stimulating genes with proteins, evolutionists have
                    > been able to get chicken embryos to grow non-functional
                    > tail vertebrae, non-functional teeth, and non-functional
                    > feathers.

                    While, in the meantime, creationists have been able to accomplish
                    what, exactly?


                    > This has convinced the true believers among them that
                    > within 50 to 100 years, they will be able to produce
                    > a ratite with reptilian features.

                    Ratites already have "reptilian features". So do all the other
                    birds. The point of the research is not to recreate Jurassic
                    Park in real life, but to understand the history of life on Earth.


                    > It's impressive evidence that some birds contain genes for
                    > long tails, teeth, and scales.

                    Well, since chickens are Neognathae and ratites are Palaeognathae,
                    I think it's safe to say that *all* birds have these genes. And
                    the original point in bringing all this up was to show that evolution
                    proceeds largely by regulating pre-existing "information," rather than
                    by "creating new information" as was suggested by that 1995 video from
                    Answers in Genesis you referenced in message #32674.


                    > But we already knew that; Archeopteryx had all three.
                    > And Archeopteryx was a bird, not a lizard.

                    Archaeopteryx is considered a "basal" bird. It is one of those
                    supposedly non-existent transitional fossils. To deny that it is
                    a transitional genus, creationists commit a number of logical
                    errors, chief of which is not speaking the language of science
                    when making their scientific arguments.


                    Evolutionist: No birds have teeth.

                    Creationist: Well, Archaeopteryx is a bird, and it has teeth.

                    Evolutionist: But Archaeopteryx is not a true bird.

                    Creationist: That's just the "No True Scotsman" fallacy!
                    You're moving the goalposts!

                    Evolutionist: In phylogenetics the goalposts are always subject
                    to being moved. They have to be, because the size of the playing
                    field (the array and scope of the available data) is always
                    expanding.

                    Creationist: All birds have feathers; Archaeopteryx has feathers,
                    therefore it is a bird.

                    Evolutionist: You're affirming the consequent.

                    Creationist: Fine then; I'll say it the other way: All feathered
                    creatures are birds.

                    Evolutionist: Microraptor is a feathered creature and it is not
                    a bird.

                    Creationist: Then Microraptor is not a true feathered creature!

                    Evolutionist: I don't think you want to go there...

                    Creationist: Then dinosaurs are birds!

                    Evolutionist: No, birds are dinosaurs.


                    Moral: Bird is just a word. Be careful how you use it.

                    If you want to argue with science, you have to use the vocabulary
                    of science. And unlike the King James English, where you can just
                    learn it once and be done with it, in science you have to keep up
                    with what's going on.

                    You wouldn't want to be caught wasting your time arguing with
                    "Darwinism," now, would you?


                    Rick Hartzog
                    Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism


                    Suggested reading:

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_birds
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx

                    and:
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur
                    (See the cladogram at the end of the article.)

                    and here is a slightly outdated but exemplary page criticizing
                    "Creationist Paleontology":
                    http://bio.sunyorange.edu/updated2/creationism/creation%20science/fossils/12_birds.htm
                  • Robert Baty
                    Rick wote, in part: - Moral: - Bird is just a word. - Be careful how you use it. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/trashmen/surfin_bird.html Well...
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 21 10:58 AM
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                      Rick wote, in part:

                      - Moral:
                      - Bird is just a word.
                      - Be careful how you use it.

                      http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/trashmen/surfin_bird.html

                      Well... Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Well everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Don't you know about the bird?
                      Well everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word yeah
                      Well everybody's heard about the bird
                      Na na na na na na na na
                      Na na na na na na na na na
                      Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Don't you know about the bird?
                      Well... everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word yeah
                      Surfin' bird...
                      Well... Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Well everybody's heard about the bird
                      Yeah everybody's heard about the bird
                      Everybody's heard about the bird
                      Na na na na na na na na
                      Na na na na na na na na na na
                      Na na na na na na na na na na
                      Don't you know about the bird?
                      Well everybody's heard about the bird
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                      Bird bird bird, bird is the word go
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!...
                      Everybody's heard about the bird!
                      Everybody's heard bout the bird!

                      -------------------------------------------
                      -------------------------------------------



                      To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
                      From: w_w_c_l@...
                      Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2013 16:36:43 +0000
                      Subject: [M & B] A "No True Scotsman Fallacy" fallacy -- was "Frog to Prince"

                       
                      Buck summarized:

                      > By stimulating genes with proteins, evolutionists have
                      > been able to get chicken embryos to grow non-functional
                      > tail vertebrae, non-functional teeth, and non-functional
                      > feathers.

                      While, in the meantime, creationists have been able to accomplish
                      what, exactly?

                      > This has convinced the true believers among them that
                      > within 50 to 100 years, they will be able to produce
                      > a ratite with reptilian features.

                      Ratites already have "reptilian features". So do all the other
                      birds. The point of the research is not to recreate Jurassic
                      Park in real life, but to understand the history of life on Earth.

                      > It's impressive evidence that some birds contain genes for
                      > long tails, teeth, and scales.

                      Well, since chickens are Neognathae and ratites are Palaeognathae,
                      I think it's safe to say that *all* birds have these genes. And
                      the original point in bringing all this up was to show that evolution
                      proceeds largely by regulating pre-existing "information," rather than
                      by "creating new information" as was suggested by that 1995 video from
                      Answers in Genesis you referenced in message #32674.

                      > But we already knew that; Archeopteryx had all three.
                      > And Archeopteryx was a bird, not a lizard.

                      Archaeopteryx is considered a "basal" bird. It is one of those
                      supposedly non-existent transitional fossils. To deny that it is
                      a transitional genus, creationists commit a number of logical
                      errors, chief of which is not speaking the language of science
                      when making their scientific arguments.


                      Evolutionist: No birds have teeth.

                      Creationist: Well, Archaeopteryx is a bird, and it has teeth.

                      Evolutionist: But Archaeopteryx is not a true bird.

                      Creationist: That's just the "No True Scotsman" fallacy!
                      You're moving the goalposts!

                      Evolutionist: In phylogenetics the goalposts are always subject
                      to being moved. They have to be, because the size of the playing
                      field (the array and scope of the available data) is always
                      expanding.

                      Creationist: All birds have feathers; Archaeopteryx has feathers,
                      therefore it is a bird.

                      Evolutionist: You're affirming the consequent.

                      Creationist: Fine then; I'll say it the other way: All feathered
                      creatures are birds.

                      Evolutionist: Microraptor is a feathered creature and it is not
                      a bird.

                      Creationist: Then Microraptor is not a true feathered creature!

                      Evolutionist: I don't think you want to go there...

                      Creationist: Then dinosaurs are birds!

                      Evolutionist: No, birds are dinosaurs.

                      Moral: Bird is just a word. Be careful how you use it.

                      If you want to argue with science, you have to use the vocabulary
                      of science. And unlike the King James English, where you can just
                      learn it once and be done with it, in science you have to keep up
                      with what's going on.

                      You wouldn't want to be caught wasting your time arguing with
                      "Darwinism," now, would you?

                      Rick Hartzog
                      Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism

                      Suggested reading:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_birds
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx

                      and:
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur
                      (See the cladogram at the end of the article.)

                      and here is a slightly outdated but exemplary page criticizing
                      "Creationist Paleontology":
                      http://bio.sunyorange.edu/updated2/creationism/creation%20science/fossils/12_birds.htm


                    • w_w_c_l
                      ... Looks like my advice came 50 years too late... Meanwhile, for another blast from the past, I ve uploaded a couple more pages from Dana s 1863 geology text
                      Message 10 of 29 , Sep 22 7:25 AM
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                        --- In Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com, Robert Baty
                        <rlbaty@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Rick wote, in part:
                        >
                        > - Moral:
                        > - Bird is just a word.
                        > - Be careful how you use it.
                        >
                        > http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/trashmen/surfin_bird.html
                        >
                        > Well... Everybody's heard about the bird
                        >
                        > Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                        >
                        > Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                        >
                        > Well everybody's heard about the bird
                        >
                        > Bird bird bird, bird is the word
                        >
                        > ... ... ...

                        Looks like my advice came 50 years too late... Meanwhile, for another blast from the past, I've uploaded a couple more pages from Dana's 1863 geology text -- p.182 and p.184 -- in which he describes the recently discovered Archaeopteryx. He says it's a bird because it has feathers. But that it was at least in part a "comprehensive" or "intermediate" type. (Remember that at this time Dana did not accept species-to-species transformations and believed these intermediate types were progressive creations as the world was being made ready for Man.)


                        Rick
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