Foley/Milton debate, message 1

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Date: Fri, 15 Aug 97 08:20:10 MDT
Subject: Re: Milton's response to Kuban 

>>>>> Richard Milton said, in response to Glen Kuban:

>> Glen Kuban has managed the impressive feat of reviewing my
>> book without having read it.  However, in the spirit of
>> open debate, here are my responses to his points.

I'm only going to address the points about human evolution.

>>>> "Java Man" is now accepted as having been an extinct ape, and
>>>> every single claimed "missing link" fossil has been re-assigned
>>>> either as an extinct ape or as a human essentially the same as
>>>> modern humans. [Milton]
>>> This is false.  Java Man refers to a set of fossils assigned to
>>> Homo erectus, which is not considered just an extinct ape by most 
>>> scientists, but rather an extinct species of our own genus, Homo. [Kuban]

>> Glen is becoming confused again.  FACT: Java "man" was a gibbon
>> (see any competent authority). [Milton]

Glen is correct.  *Every* competent authority I'm aware of (Leakey,
Johanson, Walker, Trinkaus, Wood, Day, Tattersall, Brace, Campbell,
etc) considers Java Man to be a member of Homo erectus.  Richard,
which competent authorities do you have in mind?

>> Yes Homo erectus was a man.  That is the point I am making.

It certainly wasn't Glen's point.

>> We have apes and we have men.  We do not have anything to connect
>> them.

>>> Furthermore, like other YECs Milton deals only a few specimens of 
>>> something (and that not even accurately), while ignoring the bulk of
>>> the fossil evidence.  There are now numerous known specimens of Homo
>>> erectus.  They do seem to show sub-modern features, but ones far more
>>> advanced than modern apes.  It's interesting that Milton and other YECs
>>> insist that all these hominid fossils are either all ape or all human,
>>> and yet in cases like Home erectus, they can's seem to decide which.

>> Hint to Glen:  'Homo' means man.

So you are saying that all the Homo habilis fossils are human?

To say that Homo erectus fossils can't be transitional merely because
they're in the genus Homo doesn't follow.  After all, it could be (and I
would say is) that erectus is more primitive than us and different
enough to be in another species, yet similar enough to be in the same
genus.  Seems to me that to determine if something is transitional or
not, we need to look at it's *anatomy*, not its name.

>>> Some YEC's argue Home erectus is all human.  Others that is is just an
>>> extinct ape.  If that doesn't belie their claim that it is clearly
>>> one or the other, and indicate that it has features of both, I don't
>>> know what does.

>> No-one is confused here, Glen except you.

Glen is correct again.  Creationists are horribly confused, and can't
work out whether fossils like Java Man, Peking Man and ER 1470 are
humans or apes.  (If anyone doesn't believe this, ask me for examples)

That seems odd to me.  After all, no living human skull would be
mistaken for an ape, and no living ape skull would be mistaken for a
human, even by a creationist.  And yet there are a number of fossil
skulls which some creationists claim are human, and some say are apes.

Doesn't it necessarily follow that these skulls must be more apelike
than any human, and more humanlike than any ape?  And isn't that the
sort of thing we would expect to see if humans evolved from apes?

>>>> "Lucy" and other Australopithecines are now known to be extinct
>>>> apes unrelated to humans,
>>> "Known" by whom?  Australopithcines include several species,
>>> some of which are still conisdered possible or probably ancestors
>>> of humans by many workers.  Milton's dismissal is overly simplistic to
>>> say the least.

>> My dismissal is based on the scientific evidence.  There have
>> been two serious comparative anatomy studies of
>> Australopithecines, one by Dr Solly Zuckerman in the 1950s
>> and one by Dr Charles Oxnard in the 1980s.  (Both

I hope you're not implying that these are the *only* two such studies.
Howell et. al. (Journal of Human Evolution (1978), 7:127-31) list about
15 similar studies which reached different conclusions, and there have
doubtless been many more since then.  Also, Zuckerman's studies are way
out of date, being mostly 30 or 40 years old, and dating from before
Lucy was even found.

I object also to the idea that something is "known" if you can find one
or two studies to support it.  To me, "known" implies that something
that is accepted by all or almost all workers in the field, otherwise
we can have the absurdity that a claim and its negation can both be
"known" to be true.

By my definition, it is *not* "known" that australopithecines are
extinct apes unrelated to humans.  Quite the opposite.  That opinion is
in a distinct minority.

>> Darwinists).  Both concluded that Australopithecus was an
>> extinct ape.  The only people who claim Lucy as anything
>> to do with humans are Darwinists desperate for some
>> evidence to support their theory.

>>>> while "Neanderthal man" and "Homo
>>>> habilis" are known to have been humans not significantly
>>>> different from living humans. The missing link is still missing.
>>> Again, "known" by whom?  Not by scientists studying the fossils.
>>> In the case of Homo habilis in particular, there are a number
>>> of features that distinguish them from modern humans.

>> See above.

The paragraph about Zuckerman and Oxnard??  As far as I know, neither of
them have ever written anything which would imply that Homo habilis was not
significantly different from modern humans.  Neither has anyone else.

Are you saying, then, that habilines like ER 1470, OH 7, OH 13 are all
modern humans?  

I have one final question for Richard.  What *would* be an acceptable
example of an ape/human intermediate, since he doesn't like any of the
claimed specimens?

Jim Foley

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice they're not.

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