Darwin-L Message Log 1:187 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

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<1:187>From huh@u.washington.edu  Tue Sep 21 16:21:52 1993

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 12:40:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mark Rushing <huh@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: A reply to Ramsden
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Tue, 21 Sep 1993, Morris Simon wrote:

> You bet it's easy, Mark, as you can see from our current exchange. I think
> we're talking about different things, or about the same thing from very
> different perspectives.

yes -- it's interesting -- and thank you for acknowledging multiple
perspectives -- perhaps even the Subjective experience, to use a
Categorical term.  now maybe we can move somewhere...  by the way, i'm
very glad to hear from you again, non-categorically speaking, of course.

> You speak of a "Power structure" [which] "is the
> Tool we call Science." In fact, I simply spoke of pragmatics of empirical
> science -- a "power structure" in C.P. Snow circles, perhaps, but not in
> the ones most of my scientist colleagues and I move in.

pragmatics (historically speaking) once Dictated that the earth was the
center of the universe.  i believe it was last year that this was admitted
as a 'misunderstanding'.  as out sense of pragmatics changed through the
growing acceptance of Empiricism (dialectic?), the Old Hold On The Mind
was forced to change -- to expand -- to encompass further horizons.  this
was a result of the inherent Power of Science.  i believe it is important
to acknowledge this Power.  i am not attempting to reconcile academic
disciplines, nor societal disparity.  i speak only from my own being.  but
i don't want to wander too far from a pseudo-dialectic...

i find the notion of Trees relevant when considering the methodological
(Now, at least) 'progress' of science.  Trees have branches, but there
exists perhaps infinite space between the branches.  many people adhere
rigidly to their Disciplines.  many people adhere rigidly to many things.
this is fine, as long as we remember the 'spaces inbetween'.  i'm
wondering if this makes sense to you.

when you speak here, as above when you Invoke the Snow image to encompass,
or at least parallel what i am trying to say, you return to the notion of
the ancient Cannon (Tradition).  you link yourself in a group unit, a pack
of Scientists banded together in Circles, moving within them.  this is a
power structure.  it has effects.  a old-boys network.  a pristine
framework of purely logical synthesis.  it is their commonly held Image,
their Icon, which exists externally from their individual being.  this
exerts a force in the world, like all groupings of minds.  i am not a
scientist.  yet i have seen much of its effects.  i enjoy the academics
universal saying that there is good and bad in just about everything.  but
machines cannot weigh costs -- not necessarily in flesh and blood, but
perhaps in what some might call Spirit (i mean nothing Theological)

indulge me for a moment to waxe grandly --  Mother Church was a wild
creature, heart, passion -- EXPAND, at all costs -- unite the west, cross
boundaries -- irrational, driven by the winds and wholly unpredictable in
its generosity, and in its horror.  academia springs THROUGH her (in the
west) and rational faculties previal.  logic, reason, books, printing,
this leads to that, leads to this, comes from that -- observe, analyze,
categorize -- it left it's Mother behind.  a whirling mechanism, shiny and
razor sharp -- and it began slicing away at a very fat Mom.

of course, that's not all science has done.  but Science, not the
Scientists, but rather the manifestation of Scientific 'progress' lacks a
Spirit -- a Heart that can bleed.  it was removed because it was not
logical.  i feel that although this is no new news, it is not yet
Realised.  you cannot write a computer progam to simulate a heart <--
metaphor, morris, not the actual Heart as Mechanism.

population analysis (mean deviation) does it Relect or does it Shape?  the
implications of data on flesh.  psychology -- aberrant behavior (thought)
-- Institutionalize (or drug).  Evolution -- heirarchy, some better than
others? -- good question...  Evolution -- only the STRONG will survive.
only the most well-adapted.  implications -- power and perhaps
enlightening if you can figure out what you mean by well-adapted when
considering societal parallels.  anyway...  sorry for spewing...

> > when you say, "a person uses his/her cortex to modify sub-cortical
> > perceptions" do you notice that Person is outside of his own mind?
> My clumsy way (science, not poetry) of distinguishing conscious thought
> from unconscious physiological perception.

whatever you mean by conscious and unconscious.  i'm not so sure i accept
that distinction.  perhaps it will result in my being Institutionalized
some day, who knows?

> > large out there.  it just bothered me that you were a rifle-toting
> > Dialectician in an interdisciplinary setting.  we have the opportunity to
> > be so much more....
> Ouch! That burned! Was that a bullet, or a red-hot synthesis?

sorry, didn't mean it to hurt.  but i AM very glad that you're trying to
understand me.  a lot of people who feel similarly are unable to
express themselves well in Institutional terms.  it's my not-humble-at-all
opintion that the Institutions need to open their eyes and ears a little
more to what goes on Beyond the Walls.

> > end of appeal to the modern church.
> Amen.

i lied....

> > to me that the notion of Objective Analysis in science is very relevent to
> > the consideration of evolution.  do you believe that such a thing exists
> > (Objective Analysis), or do we simply get infinitely close?
> I do think "Objective Analysis" exists within the epistemological paradigm
> of "empirical methodology." In fact, it becomes a self-defined objective in
> the statement of the methodology. Such tautologies are common in
> philosophical systems. Perhaps this would be a good moment to switch the
> subject of the thread to one which is more directly pertinent to the list.
> To what degree did the Deism movement in the West provide an epistemological
> basis for the empirical study of evolution, as opposed to the idealistic one
> sanctioned by earlier theological traditions? We have all learned about
> the influence of William Paley and other Deistic theologians on the young
> Charles Darwin. How much influence did Deism have upon other scientists of
> the late 18th and 19th centuries?

tautologies!!  thank you!!  that reassures me immensely.  i would like to
know, also, how not only God influenced darwin (through human
interpretations of perhaps human Ideals), but also why that is of any more
significance, if it is, than how God, Deism, Flagellants, WHATEVER
monotheistically-oriented Organization of thought, has influenced our
Fundamental Foundations in Scientific thought.  perhaps i should take this
to some philosophical forum, but it seems a shame for philosophers to
just talk amongst themselves when there's a whole petri dish full of
cutting-edge scientists here.  (sleight posturing to hopefully exploit an
old Challenge instinct resulting in Disciplinary self-exploration
concurrently with in Outsider's viewpoint)

           mark rushing
          post office box 85267
        seattle, washington  98145-1267


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