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Darwin-L Message Log 2:47 (October 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.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<2:47>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sun Oct 10 19:23:39 1993

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1993 20:30:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Re: What is "talk.origins"?
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Iain Davidson asks what "talk.origins" is.  talk.origins is one of the
"newsgroups" on the USENET network.  USENET is an international network
that runs primarily on UNIX computers and it is accessible from most
universities.  _Very_ loosely speaking, USENET is to the student population
what the Internet listserv environments (such as Darwin-L) are to faculty.
USENET has hundreds of such newsgroups, and while there are exceptions
(such as the computing newsgroups), most of them are not particularly
"serious" in the professional academic sense.  talk.origins is the
newsgroup devoted to creationism and evolution; other newsgroups have
titles like talk.politics, talk.rumors, talk.philosophy (What _is_ the
meaning of life?), rec.arts.startrek, alt.grad.skool.sux, etc.

Many of the USENET newsgroups generate an enormous volume of mail.
talk.origins, for example, generates as many as 50 messages a day, and if
you want to read all about Velikovsky, Noah's Ark, how the dust on the moon
proves the universe is only 10,000 years old, and on and on (much of it in
the form of "flamage"), then talk.origins is the place to go.  From what
I've seen there are a few people who do post informed messages there, but
in some respects they are crying in the wilderness, since they can't really
*prove* that ancient astronauts didn't seed the oceans with DNA extracted
from passing comets.

talk.origins has its audience, and I would never wish to censor it or any
other such group in any way.  Indeed, it is surely valuable for students to
have places like USENET to talk freely about all kinds of topics.  The good
thing about the Internet, though, is that there is lots of space for people
to sort themselves into different communities for different purposes.  The
purpose of Darwin-L is very different from that of talk.origins.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

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