15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

by JanH 114 Replies latest jw friends

  • LDH

    Mike Musto,

    Too Funny!

    All Others--this discussion is most interesting! Ex-JW arguing Scientific Methodology!!! And to think, when I was in tenth grade, the natural progression of Science Instruction was Biology. I was not the only JW youth who was not allowed to take the Biology class because "it taught evolution."

    PS, Jan, what is your career? Are you a scientist? Just wondering.

  • NewWay

    plmkrzy: When I said, "In the mind of the general public 'evolution' occurs when one species changes into another", I did not mean that I have followed along with the opinions of the general public, rather that the word, in everyday used as perceived by me is understood that way by the general public. That is why it is important to make sure that in discussing a topic the people participating either agree to use a specific word in a specific way, or agree that each one has bis/her own understanding of that word.

    Xander: I appreciate what you said regarding evolution being based on small changes, but my view is that the small changes pointed to do not constitute a part of a process in which the body that is evolving into a different species. I realise now that I should have made that more clear. You are, of course right that the basic meaning of evolution is "gradual development, esp. from a simple to a more complex form" (definition from The Oxford English Reference Dictionary).

    Jan: I've read and studied the material presented in "Observed Instances Of Speciation". I made a number of notes, and will be presenting my comments on this document soon. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, it is well written and very informative.

    Kind regards.

  • Crazy151drinker

    I like how you guys debate, it is soooo refreshing :)

  • Grunt

    You have chosen an apt name. - Thanks, I earned it in the Marines. I was an 0311 rifleman, hence Grunt. I'm proud of the name and its connotations to the people who shared it with me.
    Is a snowflake complicated? - Yeah, I doubt you would have ever made one without mechanical help. They seem to stop a lot of airplanes and lord knows what Norway could've been but for them.

    Who's the maker? - I guess the author of the weather and the materials it is made of. Are you going to answer any of these questions, or is it all up to me??? I guess this question kind of sums up our discussion, what started out as our discussion I mean.

    Who's the Maker......? Trick question???

    Ok, I think God is, though I have no idea of just what or whom God really IS. A little mean I think sometimes, until I hug my wife or eat a good meal, but real smart, awful smart. Must have had an EDUCATION. Just like us, I mean y'all.

    How about amino acids spontaneously forming in a test-tube? - I don't know. I don't deal with them. What was in the tube before they formed? Are you asking this question to inform me? Did you think I knew? If I don't, does that make me stupid??? Pathetically idiotic??? Surely not Self-Aggrandizing???

    Your barn analogy is not only pathetically idiotic, it is also self-aggrandizing. - How did I know you would insult me again?!? Oh, yeah, I read ahead. Anyway, I how did this tie in to the other? Why did you insult me yet again? Are you going to start talking about exotic cheeses and Thai Shrimp again, if so why? To impress people??? Are your insults and references to my "pathetically idiotic" stuff supposed to make you seem smart? If so isn't that "self-aggrandizing?" Are those insults somehow relevant and I just don't get it? At the risk of seeming like a pathetic idiot, let me give you some advice for the future, Insults are usually a mistake, try and avoid them. They never elevate you in the eyes of your audience and often dilute your arguments. This is especially true in regard to coarse, personally denigrating remarks like those you seem inclined to, they reflect your heart from which your mouth is pouring all this bile. Hmmm, was that an insult? Man, I am stupid!

    So you are Mr/Mrs back-to-the-Earth former of barns. --Uh, you uh, you seem to think I was bragging. Why? Building an old barn is no big deal, I'm sorry if that intimidates you. Are you barn challenged??? If it helps, it wasn't that big, though it does have a loft. Its the way I use it that really counts. Its where I keep my old camper and my bikes. It isn't fancy at all. I had gone camping out at Mesa Verde and seen the cliff dwellings and they made me want to build something myself just from nature and without modern tools. I did use tin on the roof though. I mentioned building it because it posed problems with the different sizes and angles on the poles when I tried to keep my structure square and plumb. For me it was very hard to make the round poles work together and keep it all right and sound. To you maybe it would have posed no problem, but then you are used to molecular chain reactions, this was only cedar trees and stone. I was using the insignificance of my little problems which I worked hard to solve as a counter to all the really difficult problems of evolution which I guess you think happened without a problem solver there trying to figure them out. If you didn't get that I'm sorry. If the simplicity of what I said aroused contempt in you then maybe you are a vain, snobbish, small-minded, cur of a little man who.....oops! insults are always a mistake. Insults are always a mistake!

    Who gives a stuff? - Is this an English phrase? Norwegian??? Who gives a stuff...oh, are you slumming again? Did you mean to say SHIT??? Ah, now that phrase I have heard and understand. Listen, if you are going to play at being a Harsh Man, a man of the Real World who passed the Acid Test, then you are going to have to get away from "stuff" and "mf" and "doo-doo" ok? Be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. My those old verses do still apply well even when misused, now don't they?

    I've painted tons of houses, WOW! (By the way we measure ships in tons, for houses we usually use square feet, but in your case I guess neighborhoods might have been more appropriate.)

    replaced scores of windows, GEE WHIZ!!

    fixed fleets of cars-NORWAY!!! opps, I mean NO WAY!!!

    and mown meadows of grass. - EGADS!!!! You must have been a Witness!

    Glad you got out. Of course if a know it all snob stays in it hurts their image more, but hey, that is too high a price to ask you to pay. I'm still glad you found your way out of that stupid mistake you made, if it makes you feel any better, I bought it too. But I'm not buying evolution or AMWAY. I learned my lesson.

    So what? Any fool knows that those things cannot be done by chance. - That was my point. None of the things in my life were ever done by accident either. I also appreciate your calling some of the people on your side of the argument fools too, though I'd rather you just let it go. You know what the Scripture says about calling your brother a fool.

    You aren't so much missing the point as being too ignorant as to even know that there is a point. - Point??? What point??? Ha, my ignorance AGAIN!!!! There you go. You don't explain your point, you say that I just couldn't understand it because of my ignorance. That ignorance is I guess relative to your great intelligence??? Again. Well, no use wasting time on me, I don't deserve a real reply anyway, right?

    Lest you be unduly insulted - Too late but a good laugh ameliorates some of the sting.

    I will state that I do like you - I try to like you, but it is a battle I am losing, despite the laughs you've supplied me. Thanks, by the way, for liking me. Man, what must you say to those whom you dislike???

    for you are trying.- Thanks, again. I appreciate it and also appreciate the lack of insults.

    But it's a big mf of a universe and trying don't count for much.- Ah well, back to that again. Slumming. Oh, and threw in "trying don't count for much." Are you trying to make me feel at home or something??? In my home we don't talk like that. I guess really smart people like you, Oh mower of Meadows , Painter of Houses and Fixer of Cars, (are you a Barrel Rider also??? Do I seem dragon like to you by any chance???) so far by the way those are the only things you've said that impressed me, if you aren't lying of course.

    Try thinking, and after that, get some education. - Hmmm, now I have to wonder how you judge my education. We have both made some typos, we both seem to have humble beginnings, we were both deceived by a cult, but you are a genius and I remain an idiot because I think things need a builder and said so??? Maybe the use of big words like MF make you smarter than me??

    Without that you are just as worth listening to as a monkey with its finger up its ass and its head firmly buried in a pile of deep doodoo. - Ah, common enough to hint at MF but not common enough to say shit. You walk a fine line professor. Is this your idea of a good analogy, along with the cheese and Thai shrimp? I can see why you didn't appreciate mine.

    Harsh? yes.- No, not really. A little sad, a little funny, but harsh??? Not by a long shot. Harsh to me brings back something besides word games on a computer. I am glad that this fits your definition of harsh though. I'm happy for you.

    But get used to it, that is the way of evolution - Well then, no wonder I don't agree with it. So this was the basis for your views on evolution??? You make a powerful argument, I mean your masterful use of mf, doo-doo, stuff, and I guess that monkey reference was no accident either, huh? It all ties together in some way I can't fathom, doesn't it?

    you can perhaps accrue attention on a board like this - Hmmm, is that an insult to the board at large??? Why??? Are they stupid too???

    , or amongst loony creationists,- So you find the board equivalent to a group of "Loony Creationists" once again, what have they done to deserve that remark, wasn't I a big enough target or do you have to claim to be smarter than groups of people to salve your inferiority complex???

    but can you go out into the real world? That's the acid test. - I'll have to say that I imagine I have dealt more with the REAL world than you by far. If this seems HARSH to you I know I have. If your remarks seem SMART to you I know I have. The acid test, huh??? Tell me master, how will I know if I have failed??? Will it have anything to do with with what type of cheese I use???

    If I don't use My "buddy" Jan -who I don't even know other than electronically, but whom you stupidly associate with me based only on our coalescence of opinion - Most friendships begin with a "coalescence" of opinion, I have been reading your posts and Jan's from the old H20 days. You can make friends online. Ask Windrider? Once again you have to call me stupid, I begin to suspect you have had some serious social problems. If not then it is a wonder. If you go around calling people "stupid" and "MF" and so forth with people in the "real world" you will wind up being treated harshly and find another definition for the word. Of course you aren't talking face to face. I would guess you are the type that flips birds at people in traffic??? Well, I'm not the road rage type, so you are safe.

    no doubt can. I can too. can you? - If not then trust in God. Or the Watchtower. - It was a struggle to see how this connected, then I saw, you were saying that you and Jan could make it in the "real world" and pass the "acid test" right? Hmmm, I can't imagine how you could judge me in regards to the real world. Do you know what I do for a living??? I don't think so. Do you assume because I built a barn I am poverty stricken or down and out??? Or somehow smarter than you? Does your vast intelligence make your success in the "real world" guaranteed while my ignorance assures my failure??? Ha. You remind me of a movie I like a lot called the "Princess Bride" there is a character in it called the Sicilian if I remember right, you share some characteristics. Are you sure "Real World" means what you think it does??? I don't it means what you think it does.

    As for trusting in God, though I disagree with much that he has done, I would still trust the intelligence of the creator of all that I stand in awe of, than to subject myself to trusting people like you. As for trusting the Watchtower, well, I don't. You use the same kind of arguments they do, mostly namecalling, little substance, as in Apostate or Pathetic Idiot. Ok, they have classier insults than you, but they are a lot harsher. They'll steal your family. You just make noises and imitate an educated person.

    Hugs, - No thanks.

    G-man. - Glad you like the moniker I gave you.

    ps: not all educated people in the world know each other.......there are many of these types - Sadly, many people think "Education" means passing college courses. Education and culture in the "Real World" involve more than a piece of paper on a wall. Now that is ignorance.

    As for trusting in God, though I disagree with much that he has done, I would still trust the intelligence of the creator of all that I stand in awe of, than to subject myself to trusting people like you. As for trusting the Watchtower, well, I don't. You use the same kind of arguments you do, mostly namecalling, little substance, as in Apostate or Pathetic Idiot. Ok, they have classier insults than you, but they are a lot harsher. They'll steal your family. You just make noises and imitate an educated person.

    Hugs, - No thanks.

    G-man. - Glad you like the moniker I gave you. Is that other name some kind of cheese??? Or maybe a rare pastel shrimp???

    ps: not all educated people in the world know each other.......there are many of these types - Sadly, many people think "Education" means passing college courses. Education and culture in the "Real World" involve more than a piece of paper on a wall. Now that is ignorance.

    pps: edited for typos and several missed opportunities for insult. - alas, you left all the crass ones didn't you? Or could you tell the difference?


    pps: edited for typos and several missed opportunities for insult. - alas, you left all the crass ones didn't you? Or could you tell the difference?


  • Gedanken


    I like Mesa Verde too. It's much better when you're not on whatever it seems that you're on.


  • SixofNine

    Gedanken, I think Grunt is running on common sense and anger. Neither of which are worth a good god damn in a scientific discussion. That usually comes as a big surprise to people (like myself) who've always prided themselves on common sense.

  • Xander
    Did you think I knew? If I don't, does that make me stupid???

    No, it just makes you not qualified to argue the validity of the experiment.

    THAT'S the problem here. That you don't know enough about the topic to debate it isn't a problem - lots of people don't.

    But, then...here's the key....if you DON'T KNOW enough to debate something. DON'T.

    Don't use YOUR life experiences as if they have any kind of meaning at all in regards to evolution.

    Because they don't.

    What happens at a molecular level and smaller really has very little, if any, similarities to how anything you can observe behaves.

    None of the things in my life were ever done by accident either

    Right - here you go again.

    SO WHAT!

    None of 'the things in your life' have any relevance to molecular science, do they?

  • NewWay


    : We have no tangible evidence that one species evolved into another.

    Jan: False. Numerous species have been observed to evolve into new species in our own time.

    As will be demonstrated in the following post, the meaning that one applies to the word 'species' will dictate whether the first statement is true or not. The definition I had in mind at the time was not the same as Jan's. On the one hand, looking at the word from Jan's 'compact' point of view, he is correct. On the other hand, looking at the word from my original 'broader' view, I still believe that my statement is correct.

    It took me several hours to compile the article which follows, so I hope those who wish to comment on it will do me the courtesy of actually reading all the way through. I did not so much as look at the front page of any literature certain people here would class as 'Creationist', so my comments are completely my own, devoid of any 'help'. Thank you.

    Kind regards.
  • NewWay


    1. Introduction

    [1.1] This article addresses the main points covered in the September 1, 1995 version of the article "Observed Instances of Speciation" ("OIOS") written by Joseph Boxhorn. Mr Boxhorn refers to himself, at the time of writing his article, as 'a student' who is obviously attending some academic institution (see "OIOS" 3.0, para. 2).

    [1.2] Please note that when the term 'non-specialist' is used in this article it refers to those people who have not studied biology. Likewise, the term 'specialist' refers to those academics who fall under the general title of 'biologists' (zoologists, botanists, etc).

    [1.3] Although you the reader may be a specialist, I have tried to write in such a way so that even those with no knowledge of biology whatsoever can follow my analysis. So, if at times I may be stating the obvious (in your informed mind), I would ask for your patience and understanding.

    [1.4] A reference number has been given for each paragraph (e.g. [1.4]) in order to facilitate easier location of a specific text appearing in a particular paragraph, should this be necessary for discussion purposes. This numbering system should not be confused with that which is used for subject division in legal, business, and academic documents.

    [1.5] Unless stated or indicated otherwise, the text of this article is completely my own work.

    2. Purpose Of This Article

    [2.1] "OIOS" was brought to my attention via a thread in an online forum discussing evolution and 'creationism'. I had made this assertion:

    [2.2] "We have no tangible evidence that one species evolved into another"

    [2.3] Now, it has to be remembered - and I am being quite candid here - that beyond what I was taught at school (over 25 years ago), biology has never been a personal field of study. Therefore, my statement was based upon a non-specialist everyday common view of the word 'species'.

    [2.4] Although my knowledge of biology is obviously limited, I hope that the reader will judge what is written here on its own merits, looking at any conclusions I have come to on the basis of logical reasoning alone. I have, of necessity, had to consult certain reference works in order to get a better understanding of terms used by biologists.

    [2.5] This article is certainly not a vehicle for expressing contempt for Mr Boxhorn's "OIOS". I found his article to be very well researched, well written, informative and indicative of a character who wishes to be sure of what he has been taught via the scientific community. Therefore his article, in my opinion, is worthy of respectful consideration.

    3. Short Glossary Of Words

    [3.1] Presented below, is a small word list especially for the benefit of non-specialists. Each entry has been defined according to the relevant meaning found in the Oxford English Reference Dictionary.

    [3.2] taxonomy - "The Science of classification, esp. of living and extinct organisms."

    [3.3] genus - "1. Biol. A taxonomic grouping of organisms having common characteristics distinct from those of other genera. usu. containing several or many species and being one of a series constituting a taxonomic family. 2. A kind or class having common characteristics"

    [3.4] species - "1. A class of things having some common characteristics. 2. Biol. A taxonomic rank below a genus, consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding and denoted by a Latin binomial."

    [3.5] strain - "A breed or stock of animals, plants, etc."

    [3.6] speciation - "Biol. The formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution."

    [3.7] zoology - "The scientific study of animals, esp. with reference to their structure, physiology, classification, and distribution."

    [3.8] entomology - "The branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects."

    [3.9] morphology - "Biol. The study of the forms of organisms."

    [3.10] phylogenesis - "The evolutionary development and diversification of groups of organisms or particular features of organisms."

    [3.11] obligately - "Biol. That has to be as described (obligate parasite)."

    [3.12] hypothesis - "1. A proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without the assumption of its truth. 2. A supposition made as a starting point for further investigation from known facts."

    4. What Does 'Species' Mean?

    [4.1] Before considering the discussion on this subject as dealt with in "OIOS", I think it of importance for non-specialists to note this quote from "Encyclopaedia Of Animals" (page 12, para. 1), edited by Dr Maurice Burton:

    [4.2] "It was, however, left to a Swedish botanist, Karl von Linne (1707-1778), or Carolus Linnaeus as he preferred to be known, to take a revolutionary step. Linnaeus suggested that each species should be known by two names, a generic name and a specific name. Thus, the domestic dog is Canis (name of genus) familiaris (name of species)"

    [4.3] After Mr Boxhorn's introduction, he takes up the subject of "Species Definitions" (2.0). He says, "A discussion of speciation requires a definition of what constitutes a species". He reveals to the non-specialist that "This is a topic of considerable debate within the biological community". Of the "different species concept currently in use by biologists", he gives a resume of four, which he appears (to me) to consider of particular note. Of the four concepts, two especially stand out as being of particular relevance to how non-specialists and specialists often classify living things into 'species'.

    [4.4] "The Folk Concept of Species" (2.1) is shown to be a mental grouping of animals and plants according to both their reproductive compatability and what they look like. It is used particularly among people who live "close to nature". FCS seems to me to be closer to the specialist term 'genus'. For instance, a horse and an ass not only have 'horse-like' features, but are able to mate and thus produce a 'horse-like' mule. Both the horse and the ass share a common genus (Equus).

    [4.5] "The Biological Species Concept" (2.2) is apparently "the theoretically preeminent species definition" according to "OIOS". So it would seem that this concept (BSC) has wide acceptance amongst biologists, although Mr Boxhorn says, "The BSC is most strongly accepted among vertebrate zoologists and entomologists" (2.2.1). Although there have been variations on the definition of BSC, I understand from "OIOS" that the current view of what constitutes a 'species' is a "reproductively isolated" group. This creates a more restrictive classification than FCS, as it is not based on whether one type of animal is capable of reproducing with another, but whether it naturally does so. When zoologists look at animals in their natural habitat, it becomes apparent by their behaviour whether or not they 'belong' to each as a group. That is why although a horse and an ass share the same genus according to the taxonomy of biologists, they have a different 'species' label, that is 'caballus' and 'asinus' respectively.

    [4.6] "OIOS" informs us that there "is an abundance of asexual populations that this definition just doesn't apply to" (2.2.2). It also states that "the BSC cannot be practically applied to delimit species". For practical reasons it may not be possible to test where the boundary between one 'species' and another may lie. Mr Boxhorn gives an interesting example concerning bluegill sunfish. He tells us that where he lives (Wisconsin) there are "16,000 lakes and ponds", and estimates that to test all possibilities of crossbreeding amongst varieties of bluegill sunfish would require a test sample of 60,000,000 of these fish!

    [4.7] According to "OIOS" in practice even those who strongly support BSC use other means of identification such as "Phenetic (or Morphological) Species Concept" (2.3), in which 'species' is defined as "the smallest groups that are consistently distinct by ordinary means". Even here, the author points out that "ordinary means" can mean different things to different biologists.

    [4.8] Another way of defining 'species' is via "Phylogenetic Species Concepts" (2.4), of which there are several. Each of these asserts that "classifications should reflect the best supported hypothesis of the phylogeny of the organisms".

    [4.9] Mr Boxhorn makes a most important observation with regard to the whole subject of observed instances of 'speciation': "What a biologist will consider as a speciation event is, in part, dependent on which species definition that biologist accepts" (2.5) At this point in "OIOS" the author warns against using the BSC as a universal tool of measurement for delineating 'species'. Although, as he says the most reasonable concept to apply in many cases will be the BSC, in "many other cases some other definition will be more appropiate".

    5. Mr Boxhorn Looks For Reports Of 'Speciation'

    [5.1] The first hurdle Mr Boxhorn had to negotiate was that of the lack of accessible collections of reports on 'speciation' events. Such a situation was indicative to him of a seeming lack of interest in biologists wanting to reference these events. He put this lack of interest down to the belief that "the biological community considers this [i.e. about actual 'speciation' events] a settled issue" (3.0).

    [5.2] He also thought another reason to be that they had accepted the view that many 'speciation' events would take far too long to be observable in the lifetime of a human being, so a lot more theoretical 'speciation' events have been discussed than those that have actually been observed. Lastly, he notes the current trend towards discussion of 'How?' rather than 'Where?'

    6. "OIOS" Notes On Valid 'Speciation'

    [6.1] "OIOS" remarks on the BSC's reasonably "unambigious" way of testing for 'species'. However, it is argued that physical isolation itself or selective breeding is not evidence of a 'species' boundary. Mr Boxhorn gives a very good example where human beings might selectively mate according to hair colour (4.1.1). So, in that case the BSC could be used to define blondes, brunettes, and redheads as different 'species', even though they are all human beings. There may be a physical reason why a human being cannot mate with another human being, but that does not place a 'species' boundary between the two.

    [6.2] Concerning "obligately asexual organisms", "OIOS" asserts that "it is not obvious how much change is necessary to claim that a population has speciated" (4.2). Of course, as "OIOS" points out, there are those 'species' which change shape within their lifetimes, but this does not make them a new 'species'. An example of this would be a caterpillar (i.e. it 'changes' into a butterfly).

    7. Observed Instances Of 'Speciation'

    [7.1] This article will deal only with observed 'speciation' examples given in "OIOS" to which BSC can be applied via the taxonomic scheme. It will not accept as 'evidence' those examples which have been 'hypothesized' or thought 'may' have been cases of 'speciation'. I will refer to these examples as 'observed BSC-definable'. Since I don't currently feel qualified to make comments in the field of genetics, I will not attempt to discuss those reports that deal explicitly with unusual chromosomal changes, nor any cases that fall into the category of "ambigious".

    [7.2] "OIOS" gives four examples of observed BSC-definable 'speciation' in plants (5.1.1). In three of these cases each had a common genus - Primula, Trapopogonan, and Brassica.

    [7.3] The strange case of the radish and cabbage is of particular interest as both have a different genus (Raphanus and Brassica, respectively). "Plants grown from the seeds were interfertile with each other. They were not interfertile with either parental species." These plants "had the foliage of a radish and the root of a cabbage". If this report is verifiable, then those who would define a 'species' by genus, would probably think that biologists might like to take another look at how they group vegetables. Certainly in this case there is obviously some compatibilty between the two groups. Nevertheless, I do find this example to be worthy of note.

    [7.4] In the case of Woodsia abbeae (5.1) both 'parents' came from the same Woodsia genus. Likewise with the examples involving genus Stephanomeira and genus Zea.

    [7.5] The cases reported involving fruit flies (5.3) all involve 'strains' of the same type of fly. So, any 'speciation' occurred within the same genus. This is true of examples relating to houseflies (5.4) and the Gall Former Fly (5.5).

    [7.6] Examples involving flour beetles (5.6) and Lab Rat worms (5.7) involved the same type (different "strains"), as did the "parasite or symbiont" example (5.8).

    8. Conclusion

    [8.1] Its seems that the whole subject of 'speciation' is not as simple as it might at first seem. Given that their are differences of opinion over what constitutes a 'species', then 'speciation' events are open to interpretation based upon one's definition of 'species'. In the scientific community it appears that BSC as a means for determining 'species' plays a dominant role, however, there are other ways which are used in certain circumstances.

    [8.2] The classification system in common use amongst biologists, is an academic framework in which to look at life forms, and like all man-made systems is not perfect. All the reports that I have commented on, bar one, have taken place within the same genus. My own definition of 'species' was at the time I made my online statement close to what biologists call a 'genus'. Such a demarkation of 'species' is based on actual procreational compatability. It is based upon a belief that there is a certain point at which cross-breeding meets a barrier which reads, "So far you may come, but no further".

    [8.3] So to the online forum member who took issue with my statement concerning 'speciation', I would like to re-phrase it with the following additions:

    [8.4] I am not aware of any observable generation of any lifeform that would fall into the category of 'species' as I would mentally classify it. If I were pushed for a straight definition within the taxonomic system used by biologists, I would reply 'genus'. I am aware of a case where apparently a new 'genus' was produced from two different genera, but I reserve judgement on this until at least another example of this occurrence can be produced in such a manner that it can be examined (e.g. photographs, video stills) to my satisfaction. I hope you will respect my non-commital, for would you make a major change to a personal opinion on the basis of one third-hand piece of 'evidence', and one which you could not personally examine to your satisfaction?

    9. Important Update

    [9.1] The same evening that I completed this article, I thought I would take a look at the genera for camels and llamas. I was amazed to find that these both have different genera (Camelus and Lama). However, both share the same 'family' name (next category above genus) of Camelidae. You may be wondering why I was interested in those two types of animals and why I was surprised by the different genera. Good point! Here is the reason why.

    [9.2] Several months ago I was watching a documentary channel on cable television and saw with my own eyes a 'hybrid' produced from a camel and a llama. It appeared in good health. I was at first wide-eyed looking at this animal as if it had come from outer space!

    [9.3] The first thing I wondered was how on earth this was possible from two different animal types. However, after the initial shock of seeing this hybrid, I realised that llamas and camels have a lot in common. If we take away the hump(s) and consider not the size, but the main characteristics of both animals it becomes apparent that there is a definite number of 'family' traits. Most noticeable to me were the unusual face (especially the eyes and mouth), the longish neck, and the legs.

    [9.4] So, I looked up the entry on llamas in my animal encylopaedia and read that "of all the domestic animals it is the most suitable for the steep mountain paths and the hard ground and can go without food and water longer than any other". It also said that on "the march the animals go in single file, like camels", so it seemed they also share important biological and behavioural traits.

    [9.5] These similarities made me think that in some cases genera as determined by biologists are not always as inclusive as perhaps they should be, and the 'family' name would be more akin to the idea of genus. Which is why adopting the biologists definitions, in my opinion, should not be used as an unbendable rule for determining types of groupings. Perhaps, then the "Folk Concept of Species" or the mental grouping of animals according to what they look like has a role to play here. My idea of 'species' is intrinsically based upon extremely distinct lifeforms, so a new 'species' to me would be the product of, say, a cat and a dog as they are significantly dissimilar. This means that convincing evidence of 'speciation', to me, would have to be on that level. (Edited to include update. Original text not changed)

    Edited by - NewWay on 7 August 2002 20:30:2

  • NewWay

    Original Message: I'm not joking, but when I opened Internet Explorer I got a pop-up dialogue box telling me that my hard disc had been prepared for formatting and the next time I started the computer I would have to reinstall the operating system. It seems my computer has picked up a 'virus', so if you don't see any posts from me soon, you will know why! Thankfully, my knowledge of computers and software will mean that the initial task to up-and-running will take at most a couple of hours, but sorting out all my data and programs for reinstallation will take some time.

    It turns out that my computer might have been be playing tricks with me, as everything went 'normally' through the startup procedure. I may reformat it anyway, just to make sure I get rid of any lurking gremlins. (Edited to include update message)

    Edited by - NewWay on 7 August 2002 20:34:19

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