It wasn't a fair fight in terms of numbers, but not in terms of knowledge, either. The topic's title, Why are there no human apes alive today?
, displays an unawareness of the modern classification of human beings (people *are*
apes), and so is asking an impossibly anbiguous question: "Why are there no human ape species in existence today?"
One is left fumbling around for the meaning of this question. The questioner must be assumed to know that gorillas and chimps are apes, but it is also apparent that he is unaware that humans are apes, too. He must also think that evolutionists share his belief that humans are not apes. So to his mind evolutionists believe that the human ancestor was part ape and part human, i.e., a human ape, and he's asking why this human ape is no longer around.
But the first task must be to straighten out the confusion about classification, otherwise the differing definitions of the word "ape" will constantly muddle the discussion. But though many evolutionists attempted to remedy this situation, sometimes patiently, sometimes not, none ever succeeded. Even at the end of the thread, no creationist responded to ZenMonkey's detailed description of the classification of humans in Message 1065
The creationist rejection of the idea that humans could be classified in the same group with chimps, gorillas and orangutans is presumably because:
- To creationists the term "ape" carries an emotionally negative connotation. Apes are dumb and brutish and possess no human qualities. Even if creationists were to provisionally accept the possibility of evolution, they would only consider candidates possessing what they see as the noble qualities of humanity: intelligence, creativity, aspiration, compassion, mercy, love, a soul. Never mind those other not-so-noble qualities of humanity: hate, anger, greed, stupidity, selfishness, indifference, an evil spirit.
- Grouping humans with other apes seems an implicit endorsement of evolution. In fact, to creationists acknowledgement of the relatedless of any life with any other life, outside the ambiguous "kind" classification, endorses a natural cause for the origin of mankind, and means we are the most beloved creation of nature, not God.
As can be seen, the creationist position confabulates fact with unrelated fact, and fact with fantasy and religion. Separating facts from nonsense is necessary for meaningful discussion, but this never proved possible.
Errors were committed by both sides, but the errors committed by evolutionists were rarely ones of fact. Let me first enumerate the types of non-factual errors, and these were committed by both sides:
- If you can ridicule it, you've rebutted it.
- If you can be condescending or denigrating, you've scored points.
But there were a number of erroneous tactics that were employed solely by creationists:
- Ignoring rebuttals. Given that it was a many-to-few debate this is understandable, but rebuttals of some ideas, like that humans are distinct from apes, were consistently ignored or simply rejected outright.
- Inability to recognize genuine knowledge or expertise. Mazzy was especially disbelieving that some of the evolutionists are actual scientists, and that some, like Wounded King and Taq, are biologists.
- Believing everything they read that agrees with them. Mazzy was outstanding in this category, too, for example at one point rejecting the evidence from technical journals that there are a couple hundred thousand shared ERV's between chimps and humans because a creationist webpage said there were only 7.
- Supporting positions with irrelevant evidence, or with evidence that actually argues against the position. Mazzy was again outstanding in this category. Never was it possible to find out why Mazzy thought a link supported her position, because rather than respond to challenges she would just repeat the assertion with more links that didn't support her position.
- Taking on impossibly illogical positions and then refusing to let them go far after they'd become untenable. My best example here is where creationists refused to acknowledge there's anything such thing as a transitional. After all, even if one focuses solely upon evolution within kinds, there must still be transitionals, for example between dachsund and Great Dane. Obviously there must be such a thing as transitionals.
The net result is that the topic was never really discussed. While the evolutionists can perhaps be critisized for being overbearing or condescending or impatient, they were the ones who knew what they were talking about. They were the ones who brought the facts, and the explanations of how those facts fit togther to provide a more general understanding.
Concerning whether evolution is right and wrong, or whether classifying humans as apes is right or wrong, this moderator takes no position when performing a moderator role. But this moderator does know what science says about what evolution is and how it works, and what science says about how humans are classified, and the creationists never displayed any interest in engaging with this information. Most of the creationist participants simply worked at ignoring or denying this information, but Mazzy went the extra distance by expending a great deal of effort misunderstanding much of what she read, and then using that misunderstanding to build a parody of science as confused and buffoonish. Perhaps on some level aware that she couldn't rebut the actual science she instead built a caricature and then rebutted that.
A great deal of time was spent discussing human ancestry, but much of it was wasted because of the creationist belief that humans are not apes. Mazzy again provides the best example, spending much of her time declaring, usually for no discernible reason, that this skull was ape and that skull was human, and therefore there was no relationship.
Who won the debate? No one. Where so much effort is expended to prevent understanding there can be no winners, only losers, and so in this case the creationists were the big losers.
| ||EvC Forum Director|