Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: Bogus Louisiana Teacher Survey Used to Support Centr...

From: Mark R. O.
Sent on: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 4:31 AM
Chris:

"Surely you have a belief in one or the other, however weakly held."

No, I really don't, postmodernism describes my philosophical
bent perfectly. 

Glen:

I do not have a problem with evolution.  My quibble from the
beginning was specific to the use of the word fact as it related
to the evidence available to the specific progenitor that Homo
Sapiens advanced from.  Until that is established it is not fact. 
This is your field, if you have information to a direct link from 
Homo Sapiens to ... I would very much like to see it. 

Using your link as a quick example (not specific to my point):
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/sediba.html

However, the authors argued that the overall body plan was australopithecine, and hence put it in
that genus. This seems to be the conservative and safest plan; even if they are right in their claims
about sediba, the fossils do not seem out of place in Australopithecus, whereas putting them in
Homo would have run the risk of needing to reclassify them later if they did not turn out to be very
closely related to Homo. It would also, as Chris Stringer pointed out in an interview, require "a major
redefinition" of the genus Homo.


In summary, it's an important discovery even though we don't yet know exactly how it fits into the
family tree and what it means for human origins. Refreshingly, the discoverers have been fairly
restrained in their claims about the fossil, and are keeping other options in mind.


The family tree looks more like a bush than a tree. 


M. Orel


On[masked]:26, Glen wrote:
Mark, I'm puzzled by your comments:
"My problem still lies with the use of the word: fact... 
The evidence, relative to homo sapiens is anecdotal, theory, modeling, and scenario.  If you have seen something to the contrary I would very
much like to see it and be happy to be corrected."

You've had it corrected before, yet you seem less than eager to accept it. I am not sure exactly how you are using the words "modeling" and "scenario," but our scientific understanding of human evolution is based on a lot more than weak or dubious evidence as your remarks suggest, but on lots of hard evidence from fossils and DNA studies.  There's really no excuse for not being familiar with it, since there are countless books, articles, and web sites describing it. 

I'm also puzzled when Mark writes:

"So does evolution happen?  Yes.  Did we evolve from a sub-
species?  Probably, maybe, kinda, sorta.  Is it a fact? No."

What are you suggesting, that all other creatures evolved, put maybe humans did not - even tho we have many hominid fossils with intermediate traits? Do you think maybe evolution was the way all other creatures originated, including hominids, but that God suddenly and directly created modern humans? Does that make sense to you?  Please be clear on exactly what you are suggesting, if not that. Bottom line: while the details of evolution are continually being refined, that we evolved is well supported and accepted among scientists, and most do not hesitate to call it a fact.  

Let me close by asking, do you have any other reason for questioning  human evolution other than the perceived weakness of the scientific evidence? I only ask because I've run into quite a few people who, regardless of the scientific evidence, have a lot of trouble accepting human evolution for personal and/or religious reasons. Some admit they are fine with evolution for other life forms, but just can't buy it for humans, even tho some can't explain why. I'm not saying you are one (for you, is it just a scientific issue?) but some people just have a need to see humans s very "special" and inherently different than other life forms. Frankly, I'm not ashamed to be a "monkey's uncle."  

On[masked]:26, Chris K wrote:
Mark-

I believe you are being a bit of an obscurantist to say,

" I do not know, as one may not
exclude the other",

in reply to my question:

"Do you believe in a divine creation of life on earth or do you believe the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life?" 

Surely you have a belief in one or the other, however weakly held.

Chris


Sent from my ayayayphone

On Jan 22, 2013, at 3:45 AM, "Mark R. Orel" <[address removed]> wrote:

First off, thank you Mike, for giving me what I asked for
in the first place, the use of the word fact.  Now that you
all seem to agree to its use I see that certainty is not
the context.  We all agree. 

Next, Chris to answer your questions: 

"Do you believe in a divine creation of life on earth or do you believe the theory of evolution
is the best explanation for the diversity of life?"
  I do not know, as one may not
exclude the other. 

"Do you think there really is some controversy or conspiratorial cover-up going on within the
ranks of science to suppress the teaching of ideas like ID in school?"  
It is not something
that has concerned me, as of this moment I do not have enough information to answer,
other than to say that at this moment I do not know.   I will say there does seem to be
some controversy.  I do not know, nor have I heard of a conspiratorial cover-up. 

To Chris and Glen:
"Do you think that denying certain scientific ideas based on nothing but personal religious
conviction is a good quality for a scientist to possess?
"
"So, anyone who believes in a flat earth and geocentrism cannot be a legitimate scientist?"

It depends on whether or not they are in conflict.  If a young Earth-er is probing the dynamics
of the sun I do not see a conflict.  If a scientist, regardless of religion carries a bias to a
predetermined  conclusion I think that is not a good quality to possess. 

To Glen and Randy:
 "...if humans did not evolve, what do you make of all the hominid fossils?" 
"To refer to the evidence for human evolution as "anecdotal, theory, modeling, and
scenario" reveals a serious lack of understanding of both evolution in general and
human evolution in particular."

I never said that humans did not evolve.  What I said was: After 200,000 I
see the words "somehow related", "experts cannot agree on",
"formulating scenarios", "various models", "probably",
"several theories".  These phrases relate to our, homo sapien,
progenitors
.  There are many theories to this specific point that cross
many disciplines.  It's kind of like the Unification theory in particle physics.
The holy grail is to unify them into one theory. 

To Chris:  "A study published as recently as last fall has shown that the similarities in
modern human and neandertal DNA could be due exclusively to shared ancestry. "

Would you send me a link to that paper? 

To Randy:  Anecdotal: based on personal experience or
reported observations unverified by controlled experiments. 
Isn't that where science starts? 


M. Orel


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