To start off, I have to agree that this has to be the ace-number-one-ichiban stupidest creationist claim ever. I was personally shocked when I first heard it uttered in earnest circa 1984 and I have only heard it uttered in earnest a few times since. If we "evolutionists" were to present it in a creation/evolution forum, the creationists would deservedly complain that we were setting up strawman arguments. And yet there actually are creationists who would present this argument.
First possible mistake that they are making: when a new form evolves, the old form vanishes. This is the mistake that I see being answered with the example of Scandanavians colonizing Iceland, so why are there still Scandanavians? When the first tetrapod first pulled itself out of the ocean onto the dry land, did that instantaneously empty all the oceans of all life? That is the logic and that is ridiculous ... even to a creationist.
Second possible mistake they are making: evolution works by one group out-competing another group. The winning species continues to exist while the losing species ceases to exist. So, since we out-competed apes, why are there still apes? Since they had been out-competed, they shouldn't exist anymore. So why do they still exist?
I tend to hold to the second misunderstanding being the case. Of course, since the creationist mind is impossible for us normals to fathom ... . And yet, I would hope that they are at least capable of thinking to be able to survive in everyday life. Like one friend's complaint about Lucy Ricardo, that she couldn't have survived in real life.
Much of evolutionary theory, especially PuncEq, relies on the idea of allopatric evolution. "Other Country" -- basic knowledge of Greek and Latin roots really should be a pre-requisite. You have an interbreeding population living in a geographical region. A sub-population splits off and moves into a different environment. Because that sub-population lives in a different environment than that of the original population, it adapts to that new environment -- let's face it, if it didn't change to adapt, it would never have survived. But what about that original population living in the original environment? It was already adapted to that original environment, so wouldn't it still survive in that environment?
OK, the original population doesn't need to change, whereas the allopatric sub-population had to change. And eventually become a new species. Both the original species and the new sub-species survive. Why does the new species exist? Because it has adapted itself to the new environment. Why does the old species continue to exist? Because it is still adapted to the old environment that it contines to exist within.
Therein lies the basis of the disconnect. It isn't any question of a new form instantly and magically causing all other forms to cease to exist. It is a question of the new forms magically out-competing all other forms into extinction.
Isn't that what most people learn that evolution is about? Competition. Only one winner. So if one species out-competes another, then why would that loser species continue to exist? We "vastly superior" humans (Mark Twain did very eloquently differ -- Letters from the Earth, share and enjoy!) "out-competed" the apes, so why are there still apes? OK, the other apes remained in the forests, an entirely different environment than that of our ancestors who moved out into the savanna grasslands. Did our ancestors compete against the apes who remained in the forests? No, they competed against the ones who also moved out into the savanna. And how many other hominids or even Homo's have survived? Only Homo sapiens sapiens, and none other. Of course, the other apes, the ones who had remained in the forest, remain in the forest.
That is the part of evolution that those creationists do not understand.
Chuck, why do you persist in posting really stupid things?
We have already witnessed far too much stupidity to know that creationists claim really stupid stuff. Why couldn't you take the time to post some not-so-stupid-creationist-crap? Instead of creationist crap that's even more stupid than what has been posted before.
We already know all too well that creationists only have really stupid crap. Why don't you ever try to surprise us with something that actually took some kind of thought?
Are you saying that scientists in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, geology and cosmology have found some epistemic foundation which involves no presuppositions?
Are you distinguishing between actual presuppositions that have no basis in evidence and apparent presuppositions which are actually the conclusions reached by a couple centuries or more of observation and experimentation that form the fundamental bases of those sciences?
Here is a non-sequiter that I’ll toss up for grabs – since humans share much more genetic code with chimps than with dogs, how come dogs are so much better at reading and responding to our facial expression, our moods, and even our gestures?
Because chimpanzees are not domesticate whereas dogs are domesticated and we've bred those traits into them. For example, how well do wolves do in reading and responding to humans?
On a science show (on the Science Channel, I seem to recall), just such an experiment had been conducted at a university in Finland. The humans were given puppies to raise, mainly as the control and also to train the humans in raising a dog. Then the humans were given wolf cubs to raise. Even though they treated them the same and raised them the same, the wolf cubs did not at all respond like the domesticated dogs did, usually ignoring the humans as they'd try to get them to mind (eg, to not jump up onto the table to get at whatever was there). In one exercise, a treat was hidden under one of two bowls and the human was to, without moving her head, direct her eyes to the bowl with the treat. The dogs followed her eyes and went right to the treat, whereas the wolves took no notice of her and so could not follow her cue.
The same show looked at an experiment in Russia on domesticating silver foxes through selective breeding. I forget how many generations it took to produce a silver fox who was not only docile, but also sought affection from and interaction with people, but it was less than 30 generations. They also bred a hyper-hostile breed of silver fox.
I was using the term as in “to suppose beforehand.” I see the distinction you are making, though I am not sure that one of them is actual and the other apparent. As long as the suppositions were prior to the main argument, I would think they would all be actual presuppositions. But that’s getting a little picky and likely pointless.
OK, perhaps I can illustrate it with an example I was going to present to foreveryoung to illustrate the importance of evidence and of rigeur.
For "to suppose beforehand", let's use the term "hand-waving," which is after all basically what we're talking about here, since when you have nothing more to support what you're saying than your own assumptions, you will employ hand-waving at that point of your presentation.
Though there is another very valid reason to employ hand-waving, which is when it would not benefit the presentation, but rather detract from it, to provide too much information; ie, all the hard background work has been done, but there's no need to plod through that entire mountain range of information nor could you in the 10 minutes you're allotted. Simple example: "Why is the sky blue?" That was one of the questions Clifford Stoll (of The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage fame) was asked in his orals for his PhD in Astronomy. It took him 3 to 4 hours to answer that simple question completely. When your four-year-old asks you that question, that is not the kind of answer that you could or even should give him, but rather the answer that you give him will involve a lot of hand-waving.
Now for the featured example. I have found a handful of different sources for Kent Hovind's solar-mass-loss claim. This one is transcribed from his seminar video as was on his site circa 2003 ( #7, "Questions and Answers", from 37 minutes 40 seconds to 39 minutes 54 seconds):
quote:All you got to do is step outside and look up. Obviously the sun is burning. It's losing 5 million tons every second. You can't just keep losing 5 million tons a second, pretty soon you start to lose weight. And so the sun is losing this mass -- 5 million tons every second -- which means it used to be larger. And it used to be more massive. If you increase the mass of the sun, going backwards in time for several billion years, you start to create a problem with the gravitational balance between the earth and the sun. It's going to suck the earth in and destroy everything.
Other than the single fact of the rate at which the sun is losing its mass to fusion, the claim is pure hand-waving. The question we must ask is whether he had worked through the problem rigorously enough to support his conclusion that the ancient sun's mass would have been so great as to have sucked the ancient earth in.
So I applied a modicum of rigor by calculating how many seconds there are in 5 billion years and hence how much solar mass would have been lost in that time. It's a really huge amount: 7.8896 × 1023 tons. But then I compared that to the total mass of the sun, which is 2.19 × 1027 tons. That means that only a few hundredth's of one percent of the sun's total mass has been lost through fusion in those 5 billion years. Which means that the ancient sun's mass was about 1.036 times what it is now, which means that the ancient sun's gravitation was 1.036 times as great, which would have "sucked" the earth in by about 34,000 miles.
So we have two different conclusions: Hovind's and mine. Hovind's was based purely on hand-waving, whereas mine was based on actual calculations. However, my presentation here employed hand-waving, since I did not walk you through every step of every one of my calculations. If I had, then you would not have even bothered to try to read it. But even though Hovind and I both employed hand-waving in our presentations, in my case I could provide my calculations if required to, whereas he not only could not, but would do everything he could to avoid doing so (I know, because I had emailed him for any piece of information about how he had arrived at his conclusion).
So, while it would appear that we both based our conclusions purely on assumptions, it is only Hovind of which that is true. My conclusion was based on actual calculations with valid bases. Of course, I had to depend on established scientific findings, such as the measurement of the mass of the sun, the rate of mass loss in its fusion reaction, the very existence of that fusion reaction. The results of decades and even centuries of rigorous work that has been tested almost constantly.
In the case of the scientific disciplines, it appears to me that the methods used have a pretty respectable degree of validity, but no claim to final certainty or enshrinement in the Temple of Truth for several reasons
What scientist has ever claimed to "final certainty" or "enshrinement in the Temple of Truth"? You're tossing out a red herring there.
If you are trying to claim that religion and science are equal because neither has claim of "final certainty", then you are wrong on at least two points:
1. All religion has are unsupported assumptions. Science is based on centuries of rigorous work which involved repeated and near-constant testing. Religion has nothing but its assumptions to support any of its conclusions, whereas science can show you in great detail how it arrives at its conclusions, meaning that, unlike religion, science can indeed support its conclusions.
2. Religion does indeed claim to have "final certainty" and "enshrinement in the Temple of Truth". Nearly all the sects that contradict each other.
. . . and by non-sequiter I really meant non sequitur
. . .
Don't know the point of these musings, exactly, ...
Then why did you inject it in the first place?
... but if domestication is the answer for dogs, what happened to cats!? Haven't they been domesticated as long or almost as long as dogs?
Domestication is the answer for all domesticated animals. But even though all domesticated animals have been domesticated (which involves selective breeding), those animals are still those animals. Meaning that cows are cows and think like cows, horses are horses and think like horses, dogs are dogs and think like dogs, and cats are cats and think like cats.
Horses, cows, sheep, and goats are herd animals, so we make use of their behavior as herd animals. Dogs are pack animals whose packs have strong social rankings, so we make use of their pack behavior by placing ourselves in the position of their pack alpha -- it could even be argued that in learning to hunt we ourselves learned to take on a pack mentality which also helps us to tap into dogs' pack mentality.
"What happened to cats?" Cats remained cats! Cats are not dogs. Cats are solitary hunters and hence do not have a dog's social mentality that we are able to exploit effectively. Cats are different critters than dogs and behave and think like cats (of all things!), not like dogs. Why would you expect cats to behave like dogs?
that possess canine psychologies and behaviorand they think