Blatant misquote in the Origin of Life booklet

by bohm 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • bohm


    I am trying to review the "Origin of Life" booklet, and i got to say that the more i look into it the worse it look. This particular quote puzzled me a lot (p. 28)

    One group of researchers used brain size to speculate which extinct creatures were more closely related to man admitted that in doing so, “they often feel on shaky ground.”

    They took the quote from the preface of the "The human fossil record - Volume 3" from 2004.

    What the author of the booklet is trying to do in this section is to create a strawman argument where the brain size is the most important hint to evolutionary ancestry amongst the humanoids, and then he tries to knock that down by pointing out that there is little correlations between brain size and intelligence.

    The quote sound a bit to good to be true, and i thought i would check it out. The book is easily found on google books and it is actually titled: "The Human Fossil Record: Brain endocasts : the paleoneurological evidence"

    Its a bit of a funny title for a book which is supposedly about which extinct creatures is most closely related to man, so i read the foreword. Here are the facts:

    FACT 1: The book is about a single organ, namely the brain.

    This is obvious from just reading the title of the book, and is written all over the foreword. So what are they actually trying to do?

    FACT 2: Its not even about how the brain evolved

    from page 1 of the foreword: "This book is not a treatise about how the human brain evolved (indeed, we are purposely eschewing controversy over such speculations), but rather a detailed analysis of the direct evidence - the endocasts - and how they show changes through time, both in terms of brain size and what can be ascertained about the brain's organization [list of features]"

    Fact 3: All they do is speculate how certain features in the brain could be realated through evolution.

    From page 2 where the quote is lifter from: "Instead what we find presently in the in our neuroanatomically remains are the variations of size, overall morphology, assymetries, regional differences in gyri and sulci, and variations in meningeal patterns. We use these to offer speculations about their interrelatedness and evolution through time, and even here we often find ourselves on shaky ground"

    So the book is about describing neurocasts. its NOT abot how the human brain evolved. They will, however, speculate on how some of the things they find could be related, but all they are talking about is features of the brain. Notice how the brochure dont include the words "and even here" which the author use to make clear they are very carefull in their speculations. To drive the point home the author continue in the very next line:

    "Finally, we have not studied these paleoneurological remains to advance any particular taxonomic viewpoint ... and we are not (nor do we wish to be) involved in any taxonomic controversies"

    They write black on white in the line following the partial quote they dont want to speculate whch animals are related to humans, completely contrary to what the brouchure state!

    Its also completely wrong when the author on the booklet try to make it look like the size of the brain is the only thing they are interested in, which they previously write in the foreword is what people have traditionally done, and they want to give a detailed study of all features they can derive from endocasts.

    To make matters worse they brouchure continue:

    ...admitted that in doing so, “they often feel on shaky ground.”

    Why? Notice this quote from New Scientists from 2008: "Scientists have failed to find a correlation between absolute or relevant brain size and acumen amongst humans and other species. Neither have they been able to discern a parallel between wits and the size or existence of specific regions of the brain, excepting perhaps Broca’s area, which governs speech in people.”

    (partially my translation since i dont have the english booklet).

    The large problem is the use of "why" which connect the two quotes and create a completely different statement; namely that a bunch of goofy scientists tried to use brain size to explain which animal was the most connected to humans but felt they was on shaky ground, and the brilliant editor of the brouchure can tell them why they failed, namely that brain size and intelligense correlate badly.

    Well, instead of putting words into mouth of the author of the original article, how about letting him explain himself? Like previously stated he want to avoid making the book about the taxenomical line of homonoids because thats not what its about. He furthermore state in the foreword:

    "We are certain the that the morphological differences in endocasts we detail herein are of little value in making taxonomic destinctions, given the wide range of variability seen in size, assymetries, shape and morphology of brain endocasts for our own species. If these are sins, please forgive us."

    I will also note that in chapter one these is a lengthy description of how little brain size corrolate with intelligence.

    So lets see. The author of the brouchure give a false context to a partial quote in such a way the authors seem to say something, when in fact they say the complete opposite several times, and its not what the book is about.

    But this is not good enough.

    The author of the WTS brouchure tries to explain the completely fabricated viewpoint by a quote in new scientists in such a way he himself seem very smart, and the original authors very stupid. The fact, however, is the authors specifically state they have the same view as the authors of the article in new scientist.

    Its lie upon lie upon lie, and it can all be debunked by just reading the damn foreword. The author of the brouchure is either a moron, or very very dishonest.

    It should come as no surprice the author of the WTS brouchure use his own lies as an argument for accusing all scientists of being dishonest, and force evidence to agree with their theory.

    Link to the book:

  • blondie

    Very good, bohm and very scary at the same time. They know the average jw would never check this out and that educated non-jws would see this right away. It seems then that this brochure is really written to "convince" jws not non-jws.

    Check those quotes, lurkers.

  • TheOldHippie

    Excuse me, but where in the brochure does it sound as if "the author on the booklet try to make it look like the size of the brain is the only thing they are interested in,"

  • bohm

    Blondie: Thanks!

    Interesting thing one could do when presented with the book:

    Alice: Our holy mothership has made an excellent new booklet about evolution! it is based on more than 50 quote from actual scientists in real sciency scientific darwinistic journals! It totally rip the evolutionistic atheistic darwinists a new one, and its 100% sciency! The quotes proove it!

    Bob: Cool!


    Bob: Alice, im a bit confused because of he wording in your booklet, can you explain a sentence to me?

    Alice: Sure!

    Bob: Its this one: One group of researchers used brain size to speculate which extinct creatures were more closely related to man admitted that in doing so, “they often feel on shaky ground. Why? Notice this quote from New Scientists from 2008: "Scientists have failed to find a correlation between absolute or relevant brain size and acumen amongst humans and other species. Neither have they been able to discern a parallel between wits and the size or existence of specific regions of the brain, excepting perhaps Broca’s area, which governs speech in people.”" ... What do you think it means?

    (Without really knowing it, Alice read the sentence verbatim like she has learned is the way to answer a question at the meetings)

    Bob: Okay! So what were the scientists in the book trying to figure out?

    Alice: which extinct creatures were more closely related to man

    Bob: okay .. and what method did they use?

    Alice: brain size, its how they try to figure out what animals man came from, but they didnt really get it to work and said they was on shaky ground!

    Bob: That must have been a bummer... why did they fail?

    Alice: Because brain size and intelligense have little to do with each other like they thought! So its all really guesswork.

    Bob: Wait a second, wasnt they allready aware of that?

    Alice: No, or they didnt really want to admit it. They admitted themselves they was on shaky ground, but they want to proove evolution no matter what the evidence say, just like with the cambrian explosion (drolls)

    Bob: Cool.. you know, i think i will go home and look up that book. they really seem silly. Let me just write down what we talked about and we can talk about it later, i didnt know the darwinists was so dishonest....

  • bohm

    The old hippie: Its an example of creeping argumentation.

    1) They begin by stating: (my crappy translations, but i try to make them exact where it matter, even if they are less readable that way)

    "The size of the brain in an assumed ancestor is one of the most important criteria the evolutionists use to deside how close or distant the animal in question is related to humans" So it begin by being one of many.

    2) Then we, in the above, learn that a group of scientists used the brain size (the way its worded it seem like the only criteria used) to see which animal is the closest related to humans.

    3) Finally the author can conclude:

    "Why does scientists order fossiles which is used in the "ape to man" chain after brainsize when it is known that the brain size is a poor indicator of intelligence?"

    After one transitional form, the brainsize is the only criteria of importance.

    With respect to the book in question, they specifically write that the scientists used brain size to see which animals are the most related to man. Not that it was one of several criteria, like it actually was, just that they used brain size. Let me give an example:

    "One group of children used measuring rods to find the width of the school"

    Q: What method did the children use? A: Measuring rods.

    If the children actually used measuring rods, google maps, an old map of the school they found in the attic AND the gps in their iphone and wrote about all of those in details in their report, the above quote is a misrepresentation, since it seem like their methology is measuring rods. The quote should have read: "used amongst a number of things measuring rods...".

    Furthermore, the analogy is only complete if one mention the children in question did not try to determine the width of the school at all, and this is a complete lie used in a strawman.

  • TheOldHippie

    OK. Thanks. :-)

  • bohm

    TheOldHippie: I didnt hope i came across as gruff. I know europeans from germanic countries often do that, and i am no exception - i realized that you have a point and one should be carefull, perhaps even phrase it as the writer only "strongly imply" that brain size is the only criteria they used, or something similar. There is (perhaps) also a small difference in the meaning in the sentence between english and my country.

    Its VERY clear what is meant in my version, which is the one i have in front of me.

    If this was the only strange thing in the section that was strange, i would more or less have let it pass. But the whole section rest upon several layers of lies and it does not seem incidential (unless the author just copied his argument from another source, which would not surprice me).

  • sir82
    They know the average jw would never check this out


    Imagine if a JW were to tell another that he was going to research the original quotes, as bohm did, to verify their accuracy. What would the reaction be?

    "Brother, where is your faith? Jehovah trusts the faithful slave, Jesus trusts the faithful slave...isn't that good enough for you? Are your standards higher than theirs? Do you really think they would lie to you?"

    The Society knows this. The list of references is there for show only, to give wavering but lazy JWs the appearance that they are being forthright.

  • wasblind

    Bohm, great post

  • bohm

    Thanks, wasblind!

  • NomadSoul

    Good catch! I remember I found at least two quotes that were misquoted on the creation book. And that's because I looked them up.

  • wasblind

    notice to all lukers:

    Follow the example of the Boreans, don't just take anyones word, look it up for yourselves!!!!!!!

  • moshe

    I can't believe the F&DS class let these errors slip through- wasn't anyone in the writing department talking to them?

  • bohm

    NomadSoul: . The booklet is full of funky stuff. For example, the last section of chapter 2 on page 12 is properly the most bullshit-packed column in the booklet. It seem that the author realize he has managed to write allmost an entire chapter without really gross errors, and then seem determined to get everything wrong all at once!

    Not to be outdone, the author of page 25 create properly the worst argument from analogy i have ever seen a creationist make. It is so bad its funny. I could allmost hear the voice of John Stewart when i read it: "!!!AND WHAT IF 4 OF THE 5 FRAMES ONLY CONTAINED DARKNESS!!!!"

    The booklet is an onion. The more you peel away, the more you cry.

    I have devised a good heuristic for finding quotemining: When you read something in creationist litterature, and it sound to good to be true, it is!

  • besty

    great job bohm

  • NomadSoul

    Bohm, talking about funky stuff, you can even find that in their online articles. (I was trying to see if they had that brochoure online)

    Check this out:

    What I find funny is that at the beginning of the article they say this:

    Evolutionists generally claim that a population of animals gradually developed into a population of humans, denying that there was once only one man. However, the Bible presents a very different picture. It says that we originate from one man, Adam. The Bible account presents Adam as a historical person. It gives us the names of his wife and some of his children. It tells us in detail what he did, what he said, when he lived, and when he died. Jesus did not consider that account as just a story for uneducated people.

    At the end of the article they use Micheal Behe's quote:

    Teachers of evolution are often motivated, not by the facts, but by “their own desires”—perhaps a desire to be accepted by a scientific community in which evolution is orthodox doctrine. Professor of biochemistry Michael Behe, who has spent most of his life studying the complex internal functions of living cells, explained that those who teach the evolution of cell structure have no basis for their claims. Could evolution occur at this tiny, molecular level? “Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority,” he wrote. “There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. . . . The assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.”

    Notice what the article suggests? That scientist that believe in Evolution are just trying to fit in. Now they give an example of a scientist that don't. Yet Behe is talking about molecular evolution. But he does believe in common descent evolution, that other species evolve from other species, and that humans have a common descent with apes!!! He's just arguing molecular evolution, he believes there was an intelligent design there.

  • besty

    does anyone know if all the misquotes in the new brochure have been compiled somewhere online?

  • Leolaia

    The way the Society uses that quote, it implies that there is no strong evidence that these "extinct creatures" are our relatives at all. It is clear in reading the quote in context that it concerns the lack of evidence, from the sparse corpus of endocasts, in basing a diachronic reconstruction of interrelationships between the specimens on this evidence alone. To illustrate the difference, consider a hypothetical archaeological dig in Egypt in the tomb complex of a famous pharaoh. This pharaoh in our analogy corresponds to H. sapiens, us. The archaeologists find the remains of this pharaoh but also many other mummies of others in the necropolis. They do DNA testing and discover that everyone buried there are related genetically; they all have famalial relationships. But without further testing, it is not known what the family tree relations are; it is not known who is the father, mother, and son of whom, who is an uncle or aunt of whom, or even which generation a mummy belongs to. Now an admission by the archaeologist that he/she is unable to determine what relationships these mummies have with the pharaoh is NOT an admission that there is little evidence that these individuals are not related to the pharaoh at all.

    There are no other "extinct creatures" that as a group resemble so closely "us". This is the fact that the Society dances around here. The endocasts show that these "extinct creatures" have brains that are much more human-like than the brains of monkeys and apes. And these similarities include features and associated abilities that are supposedly uniquely human. Thus the significance of the asymmetries corresponding to the Broca's and Wernicke's areas which are critical to speech in humans. If the brains of H. habilis and H. erectus had neural specializations not found in apes and chimpanzees (or found in the genus Australopithecus), it would indicate that these "extinct creatures" are neurologically closer to humans in structures relevant to a quintessentially human ability, language.

  • cantleave

    Bohm - Thank You for posting this.

  • bohm

    Thanks for the replies and kind words!

    Besty: Yah, its allmost a pity there is no line-for-line debunking yet

    Leolaia: Excellent illustration! Your totally right. These details are never mentioned, only the same old false controversies which are brushed up with new quotes and presented as cutting-edge research.

    The only really new thing in brochure seem to be a bat. And they only get that half-right.

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