Saturday, March 11, 2006

Re: If our ancestors where some ape-like creatures why we still don't see any of them around today?


I am copying my reply to my blog CED (minus your personal details). Please do not interpret this as an invitation to have an extended debate, as it isn't. As I have said before, I started this blog and closed down my Yahoo list CED, so that after 10+ years of debates on C/E lists, I would have more time to write my book, "Problems of evolution". My words are bold to more easily distinguish them from yours.

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 5:36 PM
Subject: Family may provide evolution clue, etc
AN>Hello Stephen,
>I follow your Blog in a daily basis and I find it very informative indeed. Since your Blog doesn't allow anonymous comments I send my comments regarding your last two posts via email.

Thanks. I decided to allow comments only by registered users to cut down the number of comments.

AN>-Family may provide evolution clue, etc.
>-Gene regulation separates humans from apes: study, etc
>Your posts arised those questions that have been left unanswered in my mind once again.
>1)If our ancestors where some ape-like creatures why we still don't see any of them around today?

The Theory of Universal Common Ancestry does not claim that the actual ancestral species must continue to exist forever (since no species does). Its claim is that existing species share a common ancestor. In the case of humans, hominids and apes, it would have been "some ape-like creatures" which were members of a species that has since gone extinct.

AN>This question is a vital one which if left unanswered alone is enough to ruin all of those -already too fragile- bases of the Evolution Theory.

It has not been "left unanswered" and I have now answered it. And I am not arguing for "the Evolution Theory" but rather the Universal Common Ancestry Theory. They are not the same thing (see my Common ancestry is not necessarily evolution). To put it simply:

"the standard scientific theory [of evolution is] that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis).

It is not sufficient for the standard scientific theory of evolution that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life," since "God [may have] guided this process," which the standard scientific theory evolution rejects and labels those who believe that, like ID theorist Mike Behe, creationists:

"Intelligent-design theorist Michael Behe has said that he has no reason to doubt the truth of common descent, but he does doubt the power of natural selection to shape the full range of biological complexities. In Darwin's Black Box he claims to have found a number of such "complex organs" to prove his case. This is clearly an important claim. ... So what does Behe have to say? We already have a fairly clear idea given our earlier discussions of critical passages from Darwin's Black Box Behe hopes to show the impotence of Darwinism by pointing out purportedly profound explanatory gaps. Trying to do this is nothing new. ICR's Duane Gish has tried to do this by pointing out gaps in the fossil record. ... Indeed, as we saw, almost every creationist attack proceeds in the same way, by citing something that Darwinism supposedly cannot explain." (Pennock, R.T., "Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism," The MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1999, Fourth printing, p.264. My emphasis).

AN>The main idea here is that if at some point in the past some line of apes separated, evolved and became human, why we still can't see some of those ancestors around?

See above. Since the ape-human common ancestor split was about ~6 million years ago and species tend to last an average of 1-3 million years, it would be unlikely (but not impossible) that the ancestral species from which humans and apes diverged existed today. However, what would probably be impossible is proving that it was the ancestral species, since both genomes would have changed in the intervening (combined ~12 million-year) period.

AN>As we can see today there is a big diversity among human races and their living conditions. From primitive tribes in Africa and Australia to Advanced urban areas in every places around the world. We can find isolated areas where primitive human races still exists but we are unable to find any places where pre-human races also exists. Why?

See above. Actually, there is not "a big diversity among human races". Humans across the world are genetically more similar than the two species of African chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee) and Pan paniscus (bonobo), (but unfortunately I cannot find on my system a quote to support that in the short time I have allocated to this post).

AN>There must be some places where some of those ancestors of homo-sapiens could successfuly be preserved and survive till 20th century. Am I missing something here?

Yes you are indeed "missing something here" (see above). The propositions that: 1) humans and apes share a common ancestor; but 2) that ancestral species has become extinct; are perfectly logical and reasonable, given the time the split occurred (~6 mya) exceeds by many times the average duration of species (~1-3 myrs).

AN>According to Darwinism the fittest will survive better but it doesn't necessariliy means that the less fit will not survive at all.

I am not arguing for "Darwinism". Common ancestry is not "Darwinism." Common ancestry is a relationship whereas Darwinism is a mechanism, the natural selection of random mutations.

As long as those less fit homo-sapiens could produce offsprings and find an isolated area to live and reproduce, then we must be able to find a few of them somewhere in someplaces in Africa where believed our ancestors were coming from.

The above is a truism. But the fact that we don't "find a few of them somewhere in someplaces in Africa" (i.e. members of the common ancestral species of apes and humans) means they are extinct.

AN>But not even one single species of our claimed transional races could ever been found. Am I right? Why all we have in present world is only apes and humans but not something inbetween?

The "transitional races" between the ape-human ancestral split are the extinct hominids, e.g. Australopithecines, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man), etc.

AN>2) The Intelligence/IQ factor.
Now assume you go to a deep jungle, find a totally isolated primitive tribe which never ever heard of a bit of modern world technology and science. Now take one of their offsprings and bring him to modern world and raise him in a school teaching him modern sciences. It is very likely for him to to become an astrophysicist. Isn't it? His family has no inherited knowledge or ability beyond making primitive tools, but that guy could go much beyond his inherited abilities. Why? According to Darwinism a life form must only have the least set of abilieties required for it to fit in its particular environment. Like any other human properties if IQ is also a product of RM/NS and environmental adaptation/changes then how our imaginary guy with parents raised in a very primitive environment can have an IQ equal or even more compared to human species living in the urban areas? How such high level of IQ could pre-exist or develop in a primitive environment where there is actually no need for it?
Isn't it evidence for the fact that source of human Intelligence has nothing to do with those so-called evolutionary RM/NS processes.

This is confusing "Darwinism" (a mechanism) with common ancestry (a relationship). See above.

AN>3)Mutations, genes, IQ Factor and Information Technology.
Compare an ape's intelligence with IQ of human. First one is not even able to count from 1 to 3 on the other hand the other is able to understand Theory of relativity. Now roughly consider how much changes are required for one to transform into the another. Also from an Information Technology point of view try to imagine the software/hardware complexity difference between these two type of intelligent machines. If you ask an IT professional a question such as "hey I have a software that can only count from 1 to 10 but I also have a piece of genius artificialy intelligent software that can be taught to understand the Theory of relativity and also bring new insights to it, tell me how much more lines of codes are required for the second one?"
He would probably answer even millions of lines of code could not just be enough. Also he would notice that the algorithms required for second software would be far too complex than our current understanding of artificial intelligence which can't even mimic 1/1000 of it.
if only less than 4 per cent of the chimpanzee's genetic code is different from humans, how this amount of complexity difference required for these two types of "intelligent machines" can exist at first place? I also don't take this into account that much of those %4 also code for appearance differences between man and ape.

It is actually less than 2% "of the chimpanzee's genetic code [that] is different from humans". But that is ~2% of a genome of ~25,000-30,000 genes, i.e. ~500-600 genes, and even one gene can make a big difference (e.g. sickle cell anaemia). But there are also important cell, chromosome and gene regulation (see "Most Human-chimp Differences Due To Gene Regulation -- Not Genes," Science Daily, March 10, 2006) differences between humans and chimps.

Also back to the above section "2) The Intelligence/IQ factor" I need to ask once again; why this amount of intelligence complexity pre-exists in human machines who live in primitive conditions that actually have no enviromental or selective pressure to force them to raise their IQ to such higher levels?

This may well be an argument against Darwinism, but it is irrelevant to the question of whether apes and humans share a common ancestor.

AN>Well the Intelligent Design theory can have very good answers to above questions but Darwinisms can't even come close to a satisfactory or rational explanation for them.

Again you are confusing "Darwinism" with common ancestry. "Intelligent Design theory" per se has no position for or against common ancestry. Proof of that is that Mike Behe is a leader of the Intelligent Design movement and he accepts common ancestry (see Behe M.J., "Darwin Under the Microscope," New York Times, October 29, 1996).

AN>Best regards

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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