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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,07:42   

Over at OverwhelmingEvidence.com, the anonymous admin (who is probably A Reader From Waco, Texas aka Dembski) announced that Dembski and Wells were coming out with a new book next year. Also, they made the first chapter available (pdf). I glanced at it, and it's absolute dreck. It's written the same way you would write, if you were trying to tell lies to fifth-graders. Several people have demonstrated exceptional perseverence in beating up AFDave and GoP and so I thought I'd give them and anyone else who wanted to, a thread on which to beat up this awful chapter.

   
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:05   

More recycling of tired ID nonsense.

I haven't examined every word, and the pictures have been added, but so far as my brief glance indicates, the text is just this garbage from 2.5 years ago, thoroughly fisked here.

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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:16   

I read the first chapter and I had a couple questions.  Since I am pretty much a novice at this stuff I appreciate all the things you guys patiently explain to me.

On page 8 Dembski provides a list of the differences between chimps and humans.  Here are some things I believe are correct, someone tell me if I am off base or not:

1. Chimps, like man, should have continued to evolve making today’s chimps somewhat different than the common ancestor.
2. Physical dissimilarities are not significant.  The real significance is in the genetic findings (like a broken vitamin C gene.)

Thanks in advance.

Edit:  Russells post answers #2:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/06/dembski_and_hum.html

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oldmanintheskydidntdoit



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:18   

at least they stay true to form and mention the holocaust in the 1st chapter!

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I also mentioned that He'd have to give me a thorough explanation as to *why* I must "eat human babies".
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jeannot



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:26   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ Nov. 02 2006,14:16)
1. Chimps, like man, should have continued to evolve making today’s chimps somewhat different than the common ancestor.
2. Physical dissimilarities are not significant.  The real significance is in the genetic findings (like a broken vitamin C gene.)

1. They have.
2. Physical dissimilarities are very weak and only quantitative... hairs, brain size? Regarding morpho-anatomy, chimps are not closer to gorillas than to us.
But IIRC, the correct phylogeny has only been resolved by molecular analysis.

  
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:39   

Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,14:26)
1. They have.
2. Physical dissimilarities are very weak, except... hairs? Regarding morpho-anatomy, chimps are not closer to gorillas than to us.

Thanks Russell, thanks Jeannot.

What amazes me is how I have no real education in biology, yet hanging around AtBC and PT has taught me enough to recognize these things, yet people like Dembski seem to miss them.  I have to believe it is willfull ignorance or willfull deception.

The hairs issue: Are you referring to the difference between Chimp hair and humans?  It is my understanding that humans have hair designed for swimming while chimps do not (IIRC.)

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Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,08:55   

Quote
Regarding morpho-anatomy, chimps are not closer to gorillas than to us.
Do you have any good links that explain this, anatomy isn't my field (it's larger than a protein :D).

  
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,09:04   

I couldn't tell from OE, who did Dembski get to publish this? Is it Regnery?

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jeannot



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,09:17   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ Nov. 02 2006,14:55)
Quote
Regarding morpho-anatomy, chimps are not closer to gorillas than to us.
Do you have any good links that explain this, anatomy isn't my field (it's larger than a protein :D).

In fact, I just have one book on phylogeny which lists only one derived trait shared by humans and chimps (the list may not be complete though).

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,09:20   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ Nov. 02 2006,14:39)
Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,14:26)

 It is my understanding that humans have hair designed for swimming while chimps do not (IIRC.)

I suggest replacing the word "designed" with the word "optimised".  That would help remove any doubt about design and designers from the statement.

  
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,09:28   

Quote (guthrie @ Nov. 02 2006,15:20)
I suggest replacing the word "designed" with the word "optimised".  That would help remove any doubt about design and designers from the statement.

Thanks Guthrie, sorry for the mis-type.  Yes, optimized is a better word to use, especially in this context.

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Altabin



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,09:32   

Quote (Russell @ Nov. 02 2006,21:05)
More recycling of tired ID nonsense.

Unfair.  It's the same old ID nonsense, reformatted with Pagemaker.  It's really quite something - they make it look exactly like a textbook, without it actually containing anything worth knowing.

What really astonishes me is this.  They whine and whine that the nasty evolutionists miscategorize them as creationists.  They insist that they accept the data of modern science, but reject its "materialistic interpretation."  In particular, they claim (at least, when it suits them) to accept the fact (though not the means) of evolution and common descent.  It's just that they see the change through time as being an act of divine disembodied telic intervention.  In fact, at times they can get quite heated about this.  Quite apart from DaveTard's banning of anyone, a while back, who denied common descent, it would make very little sense to insist that you could detect moments of intervention if you didn't believe that the construction of form was an historical process.

And so, how do the leading lights of ID begin their shiny new textbook on their "theory"?  With a chapter rehashing boiler-plate creationist canards questioning common descent.

The same thing goes for Tiktaalik last year.  If I were a creationist intelligent design theorist, I would have been all over this.  Here we can detect the hand of the DTE in action!  RM cannot account for this change - our theory can now explain modern limb morphology, by examining the very moment in which the DTE made one of its rare, information-enriched interventions!  This is fantastic!  But is that what happened?  No, they simply parroted the blanket denials that AiG had concocted.

I could just about take them seriously if they were genuinely engaged with new scientific discoveries - even if their interpretation of those discoveries were wrong.  But it's their lack of excitement at the expansion of knowledge, their palpable fear of change that reveals their true, contemptible colors.

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Glen Davidson



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,10:02   

Quote
Physical dissimilarities are not significant.  The real significance is in the genetic findings (like a broken vitamin C gene.)


Physical dissimilarities would be important if complete novelty were discovered.  The physical differences that we see between chimps and humans, on the other hand, appear not to be novel (except to the extent that any change is in some manner "novel")  nor especially great.  They are trying to make the most of the differences there are, naturally, especially the ones that would lead one to suppose that we have a "soul".

You know, where are the great differences between humans and chimps, like cephalopod eyes in one of them, different numbers of limbs, or the ability to hear ultrasound, or see infrared?  These would be shocking differences indeed (and heightened sensory capability seems appropriate for the pinnacle of creation--oddly enough, dogs got the better part of hearing and olfaction), and might be difficult to explain.  Instead they point to intellectual differences from a brain which is made from roughly the same genes as chimp brains, not even caring to explain why that is (except to say that it is done by magic).  

Essentially there is a continuity between australopithecus and humanity in the fossil record, and as creationists and IDists have been so kind to point out, australopithecus is "just an ape".  

The trouble for them is that the differences do not seem very great, except perhaps quantitatively (our symbolic representation capacity seems to have reached a threshold), and, as always, they are uninterested in providing an explanation for the great number of similarities.  By right, they should first explain (rather than excuse by saying 'the designer did it';) how it is that humans and chimps are made of roughly the same morphological parts and genes, with a little new stuff, before they begin to raise the issues of differences.  Were they able to account for the similarities, we might have some hope that they'd know something about the differences.  They have no interest in explanation, though, and only wish to question the explanations that work so well.

I only skimmed the chapter, but I thought this was amazingly naive, err, stupid:

 
Quote
Evolutionists may be right that large complex brains have an inherent selective advantage.


Of course we don't say that large complex brains have an inherent selective advantage.  In fact a number of explanations for our brains appeal to competition within hominid groups, since it might make sense that better brains bring a sexual advantage, while hominids appeared to be more vulnerable to environmental shocks than were many other animals.  Once more they fundamentally misunderstand evolution, which I guess explains why they're IDists.

Remember when they used to complain that we called them creationists and said that they didn't believe in evolution?  It looks like they're more than happy to attack the "evolutionists" now, moving even further from their old pretense that they were simply trying to explain about evolution what isn't fully explained today by "Darwinism".  

So it's the same old BS, the hominim transitionals gave us gaps that aren't filled (they almost say that any intermediate fossil gives them two new gaps to replace the old one), humans are qualitatively different from apes--whatever creationists were saying before the bright new coming of ID, sans the 6000 years claptrap.  Any possible challenges in court are becoming easier and easier for us.

The sad thing is that this antievolutionary nonsense is tried and true PR, and will be believed by many by reason of its hackneyed, illiterate, and unintelligent treatment of evolution.

Glen D

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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,10:22   

Quote (Glen Davidson @ Nov. 02 2006,16:02)
Physical dissimilarities would be important if complete novelty were discovered...<snip>

Thanks Glen for your informative post.  I do appreciate it!

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deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,10:33   

The first chapter doesn't offer many wholly egregious errors, but it DOES use all the standard creationist/ID tactics of selective quotations, strawmen, etc.

Heh, one little thing that I found amusing was that the guy, William James Sidis,  who is mentioned as "perhaps the smartest person who ever lived"...was both an atheist and fully accepted Darwinian theory of the day.

Quote
"The point of this book is to show that such patterns do exist in biological systems and that there are no good reasons for barring design from biology." (Inset pg. 5)


BWAHAHAHA.

Note also that they gloss over the genetic studies linking Neanders and H. sapiens sapiens ( see for example mtDna stuff at http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/3917/mtdna.html and the current attempt to reconstruct the nuclear Neander genome via fragments ). I'm sure they'll try to downplay the fossil record, too, in later chapters.

The list of characteristics allegedly unique to humans is unimpressive as well. The idea that you can't see female chimp "breasts" except when nursing is silly...they HAVE f-ing nipples, or do they define "breasts" as only being the "Pamela Anderson Baywatch" variety?
Also, chimps do show "handedness" preferences in tool use, as in termite "fishing." See Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf and William D. Hopkins. "Wild chimpanzees show population-level handedness for tool use" available:  http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/102/35/12634

Next, they cite one example of a theory of encephalization in Hominids, just to ridicule it and proclaim that:  " No one doubts that the human brain has remarkable capacities. Even so, evolutionists have no detailed scientific explanations of how it evolved."

Well, duh. Brains don't preserve well in fossilization, but there are good and sound theories that DO exist in the literature. See Dean Falk on hominid endocasts and others like W.R. Leonard. or  "Endurance running and the evolution of Homo" by D. M. Bramble and D. E. Lieberman in Nature (2004) volume 432 pp. 345-352, for examples. Also Jane Bradbury's "Molecular Insights into Human Brain Evolution" at http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/article....5760271 or even OLD stuff like Jerison or Holloway.

This whole chapter that I read seems aimed at 7th-grade readers, is typical of the kind of highly selective, biased work that creationists/ID-ists do, filled with misleading and fallacious claims.  

Note: Jeannot: on your belief that humans share more morphological characteristics with Gorillas than chimps...where are you getting that from? Just curious.

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Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,11:12   

"The Design of Life" is a Foundation for Thought and Ethics project. They used Haughton Publishing for printing "Of Pandas and People". Don't know if they plan to do the same for TDoL, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

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Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,11:16   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Nov. 02 2006,17:12)
"The Design of Life" is a Foundation for Thought and Ethics project. They used Haughton Publishing for printing "Of Pandas and People". Don't know if they plan to do the same for TDoL, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

Thanks! And once again, Dembski's work has nothing to do with religion or creationism.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
jeannot



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,11:45   

Quote (guthrie @ Nov. 02 2006,15:20)
Quote (ScaryFacts @ Nov. 02 2006,14:39)
Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,14:26)

 It is my understanding that humans have hair designed for swimming while chimps do not (IIRC.)

I suggest replacing the word "designed" with the word "optimised".  That would help remove any doubt about design and designers from the statement.

I really don't think that swimming was a selective factor in our lineage. I would imagine that our low pilosity is somewhat linked to our clothes, but it doesn't seem to fit with those who don't wear any (maybe their ancestors?).

  
Diogenes



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,13:37   

Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 02 2006,13:42)
Over at OverwhelmingEvidence.com, the anonymous admin (who is probably A Reader From Waco, Texas aka Dembski) announced that Dembski and Wells were coming out with a new book next year. Also, they made the first chapter available (pdf). I glanced at it, and it's absolute dreck. It's written the same way you would write, if you were trying to tell lies to fifth-graders. Several people have demonstrated exceptional perseverence in beating up AFDave and GoP and so I thought I'd give them and anyone else who wanted to, a thread on which to beat up this awful chapter.

OverwhelmingEvidence.com was registered by Dembski:

http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.a....godaddy

image (in case the whois gets changed for some reason):

http://img62.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture1zu7.png

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:)

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,13:45   

Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,17:45)
I would imagine that our low pilosity is somewhat linked to our clothes, but it doesn't seem to fit with those who don't wear any (maybe their ancestors?).

Maybe being naked just has its advantages... so to speak...

;)

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Seizure Salad



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,15:40   

Dembski and Wells conveniently omit that when William James Sidis was on trial for participating in a Communist demonstration he announced to the court: "For me there is no God, but evolution."

  
argystokes



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,16:00   

Quote
Intelligent Design. The study of patterns in nature that
are best explained as the product of intelligence.
Intelligence. Any cause, agent, or process that achieves an
end or goal by employing suitable means or instruments.
Design. An event, object, or structure that an intelligence
brought about by matching means to ends.


Hmm, I guess good old fashioned darwinian mechanisms count as intelligence (they achieve and end I'd say, though not a goal).  Intelligence: anything that happens.

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Mike PSS



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,16:52   

I like the "Discussion Questions" at the end of the chapter.
Quote
10. Comment on T. H. Huxley’s famous claim that “it is as respectable to be modified
monkey as modified dirt.” Did humans evolve from monkeys? Are there
compelling reasons for thinking that humans did evolve from monkeys? Are there
compelling reasons for thinking that they did not?
Which of these positions is
compatible with intelligent design? Are both compatible? Support your answer.


I love the bolded part.  It's really asking;
"Is evolution true?"
"Are you SURE evolution is true?"
"Don't you think evolution is false?"

If I answered this with supporting evidence from the biological sciences, would I then be marked wrong on my answer?

Can we get DaveScot to grade these papers?

  
argystokes



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,17:59   

Good grief, when I perused that first chapter, I assumed it was aimed at early highschoolers.  Apparently I was wrong:
Quote
College level ID textbook to be released March 1, 2007 (chapter 1 available online)
by scordova on November 2nd, 2006 · No Comments

The Design of Life

   …this book is poised to become the authoritive textbook on the theory of intelligent design.

Keep reading &#8594;

Filed Under: Intelligent Design


Then again, I suppose that any college that would use this tripe in their curricula would be on about the level of Pensacola Christian College.

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"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
mcc



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 02 2006,19:43   

I wonder if this textbook will FINALLY explain what CSI is and how to calculate it.

... what, what am I saying. Almost certainly will happen is that this textbook will contain an explanation of what CSI is and how to calculate it, and that explanation will be both different from and mutually contradictory with the multiple different definitions of CSI that Dembski has posted in the past.

  
someotherguy



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 04 2006,08:15   

I don't get it.  They're putting out another textbook before coming up with an actual scientific theory, before gaining any credibility within the scientific community?  Don't they remember that. . .uh. . .minor fiasco they had in Dover, PA?  Maybe they'r hoping to avoid a trial repeat by foisting this book upon college freshman rather than poor, innocent highschoolers.  But the next question is, what respectable college is going to use a biology textbook from Wells and Dembski?  Maybe they they aren't aiming for respectable, decent unversities.  Hmmm. . .maybe at this point, they don't give a flying Hanky the Christmas Poo about science--as if they ever did--and this is all about making money selling drek to the rubes.  Oh, I think I get it now.

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Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 04 2006,09:42   

Quote (someotherguy @ Nov. 04 2006,14:15)
I don't get it.  They're putting out another textbook before coming up with an actual scientific theory, before gaining any credibility within the scientific community?  Don't they remember that. . .uh. . .minor fiasco they had in Dover, PA?  Maybe they'r hoping to avoid a trial repeat by foisting this book upon college freshman rather than poor, innocent highschoolers.  But the next question is, what respectable college is going to use a biology textbook from Wells and Dembski?  Maybe they they aren't aiming for respectable, decent unversities.  Hmmm. . .maybe at this point, they don't give a flying Hanky the Christmas Poo about science--as if they ever did--and this is all about making money selling drek to the rubes.  Oh, I think I get it now.

Given how long books take to create from start to finish, my suspicion is that this book was well along in the planning stage long before Dover. Back in, say, late '04/early '05, maybe the ID crowd thought a college textbook was just what they needed to seal the deal on their world conquest. Once Dover happened, it made no sense at all, but maybe by then the project had too much momentum to cancel easily, and, more important, Dembski/Wells didn't want to lose face or royalties.

Almost a year post-Dover, the idea of a college textbook for ID is pretty ridiculous, tho the Japanese-soldiers-hiding-out-in-the-jungle types at UD are no doubt dazzled. "Gollleee, we got us a real live textbook! That shows we must have research! Now I know we're scientists! We got them materialists on the run!"

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qetzal



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 04 2006,12:15   

Quote (argystokes @ Nov. 02 2006,23:59)
Good grief, when I perused that first chapter, I assumed it was aimed at early highschoolers.  Apparently I was wrong:
   
Quote
College level ID textbook to be released March 1, 2007 (chapter 1 available online)
by scordova on November 2nd, 2006 · No Comments

The Design of Life

   …this book is poised to become the authoritive textbook on the theory of intelligent design.

Keep reading &#8594;

Filed Under: Intelligent Design


Then again, I suppose that any college that would use this tripe in their curricula would be on about the level of Pensacola Christian College.

So, will this book finally explain what holds the clouds up?

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 04 2006,13:00   

Quote (qetzal @ Nov. 04 2006,18:15)
So, will this book finally explain what holds the clouds up?

Quote
At the time of the Big Bang, evolutionists believe there was all this matter out there, where did that matter come from? At the time of the Big Bang, how did the Earth end up getting all of the water and the air and the life-forms?


And that guy calls himself the chair of the science department.

   
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 04 2006,13:33   

Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,17:45)
Quote (guthrie @ Nov. 02 2006,15:20)
Quote (ScaryFacts @ Nov. 02 2006,14:39)
 
Quote (jeannot @ Nov. 02 2006,14:26)

 It is my understanding that humans have hair designed for swimming while chimps do not (IIRC.)

I suggest replacing the word "designed" with the word "optimised".  That would help remove any doubt about design and designers from the statement.

I really don't think that swimming was a selective factor in our lineage. I would imagine that our low pilosity is somewhat linked to our clothes, but it doesn't seem to fit with those who don't wear any (maybe their ancestors?).

There was that aquatic ape hypothesis floating around a few decades ago, though IIRC it has not gianed a large following even now.  Perhaps our body hair is better on land in the pattern it is in, in terms of shedding water or retaining heat.  So there would be no need to suggest a long period in the water to account for it.  

On the other hand, I would like to stress that using words like designed etc in this context is dangerous, as I am sure you are all aware.

  
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