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Darwin-L Message Log 2:80 (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.


<2:80>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Thu Oct 14 07:54:17 1993

Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 07:54:17 -0500
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: manuscript polymorphism

In message <MAILQUEUE-101.931012150109.352@hawkins.clark.edu>  writes:
> A fruitful case study would be Bible translation.  Each scribe's
> aesthetic sensibility, ideology, and political affiliations and
> loyalties parallel sex chromosomes.  I hope I am not being
> sacrilegious in my comparison. The Hebrew Bible passes through
> several versions (Greek, Latin, English) finally reaching King James,
> at each translation, the succeeding generation will take on
> characteristics of its male parent.  Ironic that the church becomes
> male in this analogy and The Bible becomes the female which is
> manipulated to fit a preconceived vision. Genetic engineering?

Perhaps this is a different analogy, but I would compare the scribe and his
idealogies as environmental mutagens, corrupting the transcription as copies
are made. (Again, comparison is valid to a haploid or asexual organism.)

> The strength of each scribe's paradigm (gene pool) competes with
> the manuscripts inherent paradigm.  That which does not fit current
> ideology is under-represented in the next Bible generation. That which
> fits the current religious fervour is systematically over-represented.
> For example the three versions of Genesis.  In the middle-ages, when
> the Catholic Churches fear of women had reached a fever pitch, the
> version which placed the blame for man's fall completely on woman
> becomes dominant, while versions which stress equality are suppressed,
> not passed on.

Under and over-representation are descriptions of selection.

JOHN H. LANGDON      email LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY    FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS   PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

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