I see Dr. Ann Gauger is a member of this forum. I listened to this ID the Future podcast with great interest and wrote the transcript of the relevant dialogue. I did this in order to make sure I heard her correctly. For instance, she said “Theistic evolutionists are people who accept evolution as the mode by which humans developed from lower animals. . . for example from chimpanzees to present-day humans is the standard story.” Then she clarified: “evolution from chimpanzees, or ape-like ancestors, rather” and “we evolved from a common ancestor with chimps.” I appreciate that correction as I was surprised at first.
This interview was regarding the material on human evolution in Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique.
The transcript I made is attached for reference. It flows from question to her response in separate lines. I underlined parts I found significant.
Hello Jim, long time no see. We haven’t seen @Agauger here for some time, but perhaps she will visit again?
I listened to to interview, but found it odd to interview her about paleontology (not her subject area), and then only to have her repeat old claims made elsewhere. They might as well be interviewing me.
I am concerned about calling theistic people wanting to take evolutionary science seriously “deceptive.” If one plays that card, then everything they say must be unimpeachable. However, her subsequent comments about “modern humans, appear roughly 2 million years ago” and that “there’s a gap” between them and Australopithecines “with very little in it,” and what paleoanthropologists say when they find fossils which are jaw bones, are manifestly not unimpeachable. Maybe she was summarizing and/or caught unprepared. And that’s just it. It sounded unprepared. That’s the most charitable way for me to summarize it.
I think I fact-checked this one back in 1979 when I took an introductory course in physical anthropology at the University of Washington. The casts of the skulls of major finds which we handled in our “lab” session at that time were too large to fit in a shoebox. A boot box, maybe. But those were just a handful of the known skulls, and none of the postcranial remains, available then.
What I don’t understand is this: if Gauger’s going to just lie about it, why not go farther? Why not say that all of the bones of all the H. habilis, erectus, et cetera, found to date would leave room for twenty matches in a matchbox? The claim would be no less absurd, and it would be more dramatic. Or, why not insist that all of the fossils found to date are composed of anti-matter, and actually have a negative volume? It’d be just as true, and no more injurious to her credibility as a serious thinker.
What struck me, reading the interview pdf, was her statement “we
restrict ourselves to scientific arguments.” It just happens that another thread was recently started here, with the title “The Top Six Lines of Evidence for Intelligent Design” and what comes across clearly is that they don’t have any scientific arguments. The arguments that they present as lines of evidence are all philosophical/theological arguments.
That leaves Gauger’s argument against theistic evolution as looking disingenuous.
It’s strange how often they are mistaken for being evidence, by people of a certain sort. I find that creationists often think I might be persuaded by some clever new twist on an argument, or by some argument from first principles. The problem, as I have had to explain to them repeatedly, is that even if I were prone to being persuaded by such things, there are certain “arguments” which the evidence itself makes quite successfully and which, once understood, can be purged by no force other than contrary evidence. The fossil record, for example, is very much in the nature of, as we say in the law, “res ipsa loquitur” – the thing speaks for itself. The mute stones do not speak so much as shout, sometimes.
I was just looking at the chapter in the book, and there was a statement by a scientist that the number of
transitional fossils that can be found would all fit in a shoe box, …
This may be a misquote of Bill Kimbell. I heard this a similar claim before.
Fossils attributed to Homo in the period two to three million years ago are exceedingly rare. Bill Kimbel, director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, in Tempe, who co-led the analysis of the new specimen, once said that “You could put them all into a small shoe box and still have room for a good pair of shoes.” (See more about the hunt for fossils of humans’ early ancestors.)
So this interview according to the description was “from the vault,” as it was first released on January 17, 2018. Part 2 was released on January 24, 2018 and I just listened to that. For the record, it’s here: