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Darwin-L Message Log 3:13 (November 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.


<3:13>From princeh@husc.harvard.edu  Tue Nov  2 12:37:46 1993

Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1993 13:04:20 -0500 (EST)
From: Patricia Princehouse <princeh@husc.harvard.edu>
Subject: Re: Desmond & Moore Darwin Bio
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Tue, 2 Nov 1993, John Staddon wrote:

> I am happy to see that people are worrying about the
> politicization of science.  I wonder what people think about the
> much-lauded Dawrin biography by Desmond & Moore, for example.  I
> find the mix of judgment, invention (the authors frequently
> describe Darwin's private thoughts, for example), and the
> imputation of motives (nearly always bad) unscholarly and not a
> little offensive.  SJG reviewed th ebook very positively.  ANy
> comments?

You might be interested in the transcript of a session held on this book
at the recent meeting of the International Society for the Sociology,
Philosophy and History of Science (July 18-20 at Brandeis). There were at
least a dozen well-known panelists (incl Gould, Michael Ruse, Peter
Bowler...) and a packed audience. Discussion was wide-ranging and included
praise and condemnation (usually not of the same points). I think the
organizer of the session was Betty Smocovitis (VBSmocum@UFla.edu -Dept
Hist, U Florida, Gainesville) and I imagine she could send you a
transcript &/or tape.

Myself, I found the book very compelling reading. But I don't know that I
would recommend it to a person unfamiliar with natural selection and other
aspects of evolutionary theory lest they misunderstand the more subtle
points & think politics is the only major force in Biology.

Best wishes,
	Patricia Princehouse    Princeh@husc.Harvard.Edu

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