I wrote the following in 2010, I may have written differently today, but I wrote this to a JW who had asked me to read the Brochure with an open mind. WARNING its LONG ! But does show the crafty way the JW Org " quote mines".
" “The Origin of Life” Brochure
You asked that this
brochure be considered in an open-minded and scholastic way.
“Receptive to new ideas……” and a scholar looks at things using his/her
analytical skills, and life experience and existing knowledge, whilst still
being receptive to ideas that have merit.
Open –mindedness is
not gullibility, so when one is presented with an argument by theologians,
scientists, or politicians etc. one looks for the fallacies and falsehoods in
the argument and presentation, otherwise one would be open to accepting every
argument that comes along.
One bad argument
method is to spend time mainly on attacking the “opposition”, a method much
loved by politicians, this does not though prove your argument, the oppositions
could be totally wrong, but that does not make yours right, the facts do.
Another method is to
use “loaded” language that affects the way we think about the argument, or
arguer, that is being attacked, without reason or proof for such language.
Another method is the
appeal to authority as though they back up what your point of view is, for this
to be “tested” it is necessary to see who these authorities are, and what they
actually say, so bibliographies need particular scrutiny, to the point of
examining the original quote in context.
In fact the brochure
encourages such an examination, quoting Proverbs 14 v15:
puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps”
12v1&2 “to use ones power of
It would be possible
to take issue with the brochure on most of its points, but it is sufficient to
show where the above methods are used.
On page four we have
an example of loaded language, under the heading “What do many scientists
believe” we are told that scientists “believe” and “feel” certain things, not
that they have “discovered” or “learned”.
Just above that we
have the statement that “ some scientists seem reluctant to discuss …..
Where did life come
What scientists, who
are they ? Why are they reluctant ? We are not told.
It is a fact that very
few scientists are engaged directly in the field of Abiogenesis, and so it
would be foolish for those not equipped to publish their thoughts on the
Page five states that
“life always comes from pre-existing life” a bold statement that the scientists
working in the field are close to disproving, the work in the area concerned
with RNA having made great strides, I believe the brochure was prepared before
the very latest work was published.
Dr. Carol Cleland is
quoted as commenting on this, she has gone on record as saying:
“ It is clear that
scientists know how many of the most basic building blocks of life are made
under natural conditions”
She adds, regarding
the selective quote in the brochure:
“My work has been used
before by these people and it really angers me because they are using it to
defend views that I reject….. it is deeply dishonest for theists to
deliberately distort the words of scholars for their own purposes; as I recall
, this is a sin”
then asks “if we go back far enough in time ,is it really possible that
this fundamental law was broken?” (Life always coming from pre-existing life)
The creationist should
answer “Yes” to this, believing that the Creator did not come from pre-existing
life. A huge leap of faith.
The brochure spends a
lot of time attacking Evolution Science, which really is getting away from the
title of the brochure, Evolution Science is about how the great variety of
flora and fauna that existed in the past became that which we see today, not
the origin of life itself, and so is an example of false argument, but let us
look at some of the attack.
Much is said about the
fossil record, and it needs stating that Evolution Science does not rely on the
fossil record, rather it is a bonus. Yes it is incomplete, as you would expect
because of the special conditions needed for fossilisation to occur, soft
bodied animals being an example of difficulty.
What would be a
problem for Evolution Science with regard to the fossil record?
What does Evolution “predict” that it should
show? It predicts that simple life forms come first and more complex ones much
Creation predicts we
should find such life forms side by side .
Or as one scientist
(J.B.S Haldane) put it, what would be a problem would be:
“Rabbits in the
Has even one such anachronistic fossil been found
The brochure on page
24 quotes Henry Gee as though he casts doubt on the fossil record with his
saying, in part, “The intervals of time
that separate the fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about
their possible connection through ancestry or descent”
Studying the original
quote in context we find that Henry Gee is not talking generally about the
fossil record, but about two distinct fossils ,both Giant Civits, that lived a
million years apart, this is blatant dishonest quoting.
Notice too that the
brochure has to admit that none of the quoted scientists or scholars are in
doubt about the veracity of Evolution Science, yes, they show where more
research is needed, and that is what Science is about.
Could not one reputable scientist be found to
support the creationist view ?
A good number of
scientists, such as Francis Collins, who worked on the Human Genome
de-ciphering, are theists, but they do not doubt evolution.
In summary the
brochure is poorly argued, scurrilous and dishonest, if I was going door to
door, in all conscience I could not offer this to the public.
Herewith I add some
more quotes, as in the brochure, and then as in context, without comment:
. Quote 38:
At the beginning of the 20th century, all the fossils that were used to support
the theory that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor could fit on one
billiard table. Since then, the number of fossils has increased. Now it is
claimed that they would fill a railroad boxcar.
Actual Reference 38:
An often repeated creationist canard insists that all known human fossils would
fit on a billiard table. This was probably true in the late 19th century, but
it has not been true for a 100 years. Known human fossils number in the
thousands and represent the remains of hundreds of individuals. They are more
numerous and better studied than the fossils of any other vertebrae group,
because the intense interest that people have for the bones of their ancestors
has driven them to devote far more effort to collecting and studying fossil
humans than say fossil horses or herring. Having seen most of the major
collections of human fossils in the world’s museums, we can assure our readers
that those collections can no longer be laid out on a billiard table. It would
be hard to cram them all into a boxcar.
However, the vast majority of those fossils consist only of single bones and
isolated teeth. Complete skulls – let alone complete skeletons – are rare.
Explanation of Actual Reference 39:
What this book further attempts to do, bearing in mind that results from
studies of small numbers of post-cranial fossils have not been overly
persuasive within the profession, is to carry out these studies using large
samples. This means that we can better know populations through averages and
variations, and be less dependent upon the vagaries of single, possibly far
from average, specimens. Such studies have to be based upon teeth, because
these are the only anatomical parts that are available in such large samples.
Using teeth means we lose the functional inferences that can be readily derived
from post-cranial bones. But we gain from the marked improvements in the sample
Perhaps the only consensus now is that there is no consensus.
Actual Reference 40:
At any point in time, the number of hominin genera and species recognized by
the majority of specialists will be limited, reflecting the merging into a
single category of specimens previously categorized as separate. But in turn
new claims for taxonomic uniqueness keep the pool large, until affected by
their own cycle of merger. Figure 1 is indicative of the addition of new taxa
to the hominins; while most of these have subsequently been subsumed and
disappeared from the literature, the chart shows that the pattern of new names
for new finds show no signs of introduction of new genera has declined since
1970. There has been a substantial number of different classificatory schemes,
both from those associated with the newer discoveries and from those standing
to one side of these. [u]Perhaps the only consensus now is that there is no
Both ‘splitters’ – those who favour multiple species and genera – and ‘lumpers’
– those who prefer a classificatory and phylogenetic scheme with fewer taxons –
vary in the criteria they consider essential to their classificatory scheme.
Nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence of the African ape
and hominid lineages.
Actual Reference 41:
With the discovery of Ardipithecus, Orrorin and Sahelanthropus,
our knowledge of hominid evolution before the emergence of Pliocene species of
Australopithecus has significantly increased, extending the hominid fossil
record back to at least 6 million years (Myr) ago. However, because of the
dearth of fossil hominoid remains in sub-Saharan Africa spanning the period
12–7 Myr ago, [u]nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence
of the African ape and hominid lineages[/u]. Most genomic-based studies suggest
a late divergence date—5–6 Myr ago and 6–8 Myr ago for the human–chimp and
human–gorilla splits, respectively—and some palaeontological and molecular
analyses hypothesize a Eurasian origin of the African ape and hominid clade. We
report here the discovery and recognition of a new species of great ape,
Chororapithecus abyssinicus, from the 10–10.5-Myr-old deposits of the Chorora
Formation at the southern margin of the Afar rift. To the best of our
knowledge, these are the first fossils of a large-bodied Miocene ape from the
African continent north of Kenya.
They exhibit a gorilla-sized dentition that combines distinct shearing crests
with thick enamel on its 'functional' side cusps. Visualization of the
enamel–dentine junction by micro-computed tomography reveals shearing crest
features that partly resemble the modern gorilla condition. These features
represent genetically based structural modifications probably associated with
an initial adaptation to a comparatively fibrous diet. The relatively flat
cuspal enamel–dentine junction and thick enamel, however, suggest a concurrent
adaptation to hard and/or abrasive food items. The combined evidence suggests
that Chororapithecus may be a basal member of the gorilla clade, and that the
latter exhibited some amount of adaptive and phyletic diversity at around 10–11
The classification and the evolutionary place of hominid fossils
has been under constant debate.
Actual Reference 42:
One of the main reasons of the [b]different interpretations[/b]
of the evolutionary way of the hominids is that [u]the classification and the
evolutionary place of hominid fossils has been under constant debate[/u]. It is
caused partly because hominid fossils are not plentiful – in spite of the
growing number of the fossils – and perhaps partly because there are a number
of rival discovery teams, and the importance of a new hominid fossil discovery
is enhanced if the discovery apparently requires new classifications and/or new
Quote 43 & 45:
Actual Reference 43 & 45:
UNBRIDLED hoopla attended the unveiling of a 47-millionyear-old
fossil primate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on 19 May. The popular press
immediately hailed the specimen as a “missing link” in human evolution. Some
called it the “eighth wonder of the world”. Google even incorporated an image
of the fossil into its celebrated logo. Now that the first proper description
of the fossil, nicknamed Ida, has been published, the task of separating the
scientific significance of the fossil from the mass of public relations hype
can begin. Ida is the first known member of a new genus and species (Darwinius
massillae) belonging to an extinct group of early primates called the
adapiforms, whose overall proportions and anatomy resemble those of a lemur.
What does this tell us about her place on the family tree of humans and other
primates? The fact that Ida retains features found in all early primates
indicates that she belongs somewhere closer to the base of the tree than living
lemurs do. But this does not necessarily make Ida a close relative of the
anthropoids – the group of primates that includes monkeys, apes, you and me. To
be connected in this way, Ida would have to have anthropoid-like features that
evolved after anthropoids split away from lemurs and other early primates. Here
she fails miserably: Ida is not a “missing link” in human evolution. She is,
nevertheless, a remarkably complete specimen that promises to teach us a great
deal about the biology of some of the earliest and least human-like of known primates.
For this, we can celebrate her discovery as a real, if incremental advance. If
Ida herself offers only limited extra insight into primate evolution, the PR
campaign which greeted her raises the marketing of science to unprecedented
heights. As a practising scientist, I applaud fellow scientists’ efforts to
promote their findings to a wide audience. But there remains an important
difference between the type of publicity that scientists work towards and that
which rock stars, sports personalities and politicians seek.
The currency that we trade in is rooted in data and objectivity. If we ever
allow marketers and publicists to divorce us from that simple standard, we will
quickly find our work being evaluated on the same basis as the advertising
campaign for the next world tour of the Rolling Stones. Shall we all begin
tuning our guitars?
Whole article can be found at:
Quote 46 is in line with actual reference:
“With limited data it is difficult to assess accurately the survival rate of
different late Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. With such data it is
easier to study the survival rate of newly patented species in the literature.
The recovery of fossil hominin skeletal material operates, and has always
operated, in a contemporary framework: that of physical access, national
priorities, research funding and individual research passions. The
interpretation of these finds, and in particular their initial naming, so
frequently claiming uniqueness, emphasizes the subjectivity of these
frameworks. The leader of a research team may need to over-emphasize the
uniqueness and drama of a ‘discovery’ in order to attract research funding from
outside the conventional academic sources, and they will certainly be
encouraged in this by the print and electronic media, looking for a dramatic
“Any facial ‘reconstructions’ of early hominids are likely to be misleading.”
Context of Actual Reference 47:
Depending on the reconstruction technique (Russian, British or American) there
may be slight variation in the size of the nose and/or mouth. Mouth size for
example can differ up to 1 cm.
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
Context of Actual Reference 48:
Here is a foreword in a book simply explaining a number of educated
assumptions. “We use these (Brain size) to offer speculations about the
interrelatedness and evolution through time, and even here we often feel on
“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
"The Human Fossil Record: Brain
endocasts : the paleoneurological evidence"
Actual Reference 49:
The above, plus: “Why have we failed to find this correlation? Because
anatomically, the human brain is very similar to that of other primates because
humans and chimpanzees share an ancestor,
that walked the earth less than 7 million years ago.”
“Neanderthals may have been a true human race”
Actual Reference 50:
“Since their first discovery, Neandertals have served as an out-group for
interpreting human variation. Their out-group role has changed over the years because
in spite of the fact that Neandertals are the most abundant of all fossil
remains (or perhaps because of this) their interpretation is the most
controversial of all human fossils. Many believe them to be a different, albeit
human-like species, but recent genetic evidence supports anatomical
interpretations indicating that interbreeding with other humans was an
important aspect of human evolution. The combination of anatomical difference
and restricted gene flow between populations suggests the possibility that
Neanderthals may have been a true human race.”
“Such pictures as this are based on the biases and assumptions of researchers
and artists, not on facts.”
Actual Reference 51:
“We view our pictures only as ancillary illustrations of what we defend by
words…The familiar iconographies of evolution are all directed, sometimes
crudely, sometimes subtly, towards reinforcing a comfortable view of human
inevitability and superiority. The starkest version, the chain of being or
ladder of linear progress, has an ancient, pre-evolutionary pedigree.”