[b-hebrew] Evolution of Languages & Organisms

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Wed Jun 16 14:10:52 EDT 2004


Although my MS is in air chemistry and my PhD is in water chemistry, my BS is in biology.  For the record, evolution is not A theory, it is THE theory.  The science of biology makes no sense without evolution.  This applies to bio-molecular pathways, comparative physiology and anatomy, behavior, taxonomy, ecology, and any other branch one can name.  Without evolution, biology is a static collection isolated facts.

Has anyone every seen wild packs of Chihuahuas or Great Danes running about?   Or indeed, even any evidence that either of these breeds even existed more than 2,000 years ago?.  Of course not.  These wildly different breeds of dogs, indeed all dogs, are the result of many years of selective breeding of wolves (dogs and wolves can inter-breed incidentally).  Only dogs (wolves) with certain features, both behavioral and physical, were allowed to breed.  Selective breeding is exactly how biological evolution works, except there are no people involved.  Only organisms with certain characteristics survive and reproduce while those that lack them, don?t.  So there is nothing random about evolution.  

Languages likewise evolve.  Once there was a language called Latin with an extensive written record (linguistic fossils if your like).  It evolved into a large number of daughter languages although Latin itself is dead.  There is a long written record documenting this evolution.  One can see how these languages share certain features (vocabulary and grammar) among themselves and their parent language but how differences increased over time.

It is hypothesized that Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit all evolved from some more ancient common language (proto-Indo-European).  There is no *fossil record* of this evolution.  However, just as Latin?s daughter languages show a pattern consistent with *evolution*, so do Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit.  These languages share some vocabulary and have similar syntax but show differences as well, differences that increase over time and distance, just as Portuguese and Romanian did.  So while the hypothesized language of proto-Indo-European can never proven to the same degree as Latin is proven to exist, there is strong evidence.  The same is true of proto-Semitic or proto-Hebrew.

> 
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> Date: 2004/06/16 Wed AM 07:30:48 GMT
> To: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Eden
> 
> Jack:
> 
> I am not a scientist, that is why I cited Dr. George Gaylord Simpson‘s definition. I have found no textbook (years ago, I looked in several) that contradicted Dr. Simpson‘s definition. Every scientist I asked said his definition is correct.
> 
> I also took Dr. Simpson‘s definition of evolution. Again, other biology textbooks gave the same definition.
> 
> Do you mean to say that Dr. Simpson, who in his day was a famous professor of biology and evolution at Harvard University, didn‘t know what he was talking about? That takes more chutzpah than I have.
> 
> Logically, evolution cannot be scientific, because by definition it violates the definition of science given in science textbooks. It’s not even historical because it is not based on past observation (though contradicted by some, e.g. http://www.genesispark.com/genpark/ancient/ancient.htm ). It is no more than a religious belief developed over thousands of years, which is why it is such a hot button subject.
> 
> This is all that I plan to say on this subject, which should be off list anyway.
> 
> Concerning proto-Semitic, I don‘t deny that there was such a language. Some claim that Hebrew itself may have been that proto-Semitic, but I don‘t see clear evidence beyond philosophic wishful thinking to back it up. Are the oldest extant clay tablets closer to that original Semitic language, or copies of copies originally written on leather? Is there any way to tell from presently available data, or not? I think not.
> 
> But there are those who claim to be able to ”reconstruct“ proto-Semitic, but they do so based on presuppositions that may or may not be correct. They then make confident statements as to Biblical Hebrew based on their theories which may be incorrect. What I want is observation, realizing that it may never come. I prefer to remain without answers to some of these questions based on observation, than have answers that unknowingly may be wrong because they are based not on observation. In other words, I‘d rather have fewer answers but trust the answers I have because they are based on observation, than to have more answers but not know which ones to trust.
> 
> Karl W. Randolph.
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon at historian.net>
> 
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
> > From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> > 
> > 
> > > Dear Peter:
> > >
> > > Now that you bring in science..
> > >
> > > When I was in college, one of my profs was a missionary for evolution, and
> > to aid in his efforts to convert all of us to believing his religion, he had
> > us use a biology textbook by Dr. George Gaylord Simpson. In its
> > introduction, the textbook had a multipage definition of science complete
> > with examples and counter examples. Briefly, science depends on observation,
> > but in order for that observation to be scientifically relevant, it must be
> > a repeatable observation. Upon noting patterns in observations, hypothesis
> > are made which, upon testing by more, repeatable observations, are developed
> > into theories. Of course, you know that.
> > >
> > > After making that definition, Dr. Simpson defined evolution as the theory
> > that teaches that all life are descended by natural means from simple,
> > common ancestors over a long period of time. (I know that's not an exact
> > quote, but it is pretty close.) Though he called it "a scientific fact", it
> > violates the definition of science he had just spend pages developing. That
> > theory is not scientific at all. Evolution is a perfect example of "bad
> > science".
> > >
> > > I do not know of a single "evidence" for evolution that does not, at least
> > in part, depend on presuppositions that cannot be observed-geologic
> > stratigraphy (Charles Lyell, before Darwin), radiometric dating, phylogeny,
> > etc.-every one depends at least in part on inobservable presuppositions.
> > >
> > > This is not a claim that "creation science" is science. It is not science
> > for the same reasons evolution is not science.
> > 
> > 
> > I really have to put more effort into resisting the temptation to reply to
> > those outrageously ridiculous claims made by posters who are out of their
> > element...because it doesn't stop them anyway.  I will say, however, that
> > the ignorance of science did not prevent a soapbox that, no matter how
> > absurd the claims, has no place in a forum for the discussion of Hebrew.
> > That is the good thing about discussing the nuances of the Hebrew
> > language...you cannot fake it...like Karl's "understanding" of a scientific
> > theory.
> > 
> > Jack
> > 
> 
> -- 
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel




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