Darwin-L Message Log 10: 66–102 — June 1994
Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences
Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.
This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during June 1994. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.
The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”
-------------------------------------------- DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 10: 66-102 -- JUNE 1994 -------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:66>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Tue Jun 21 11:00:47 1994 Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 12:02:19 -0500 (EST) From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Subject: Re: Darwin-L [Monboddo & Orang Outang] To: email@example.com Organization: University at Buffalo Lord Monboddo argued that orangs should be considered men for a variety of reasons, many of which were quite questionable. He was not familar with Tyson's work on the orang (which was a chimpanzee) and thus claimed that the orang had the exact same form as us and walked upright. They also did things like "carry sticks, attack elephants, carry off negroe women for pleasure and work." This also fit into an argument he was trying to make about the origin of language. He did not think language was a natural trait of humans, but acquired and due to culture. He claimed orangs had the organs for speech, and just because they were speechless, this did not mean they shouldn't be included. This is about all I have for now, but I am in the process of getting the other references DarwinL members have suggested. Sherrie Lyons firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:67>From email@example.com Tue Jun 21 11:23:58 1994 Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 12:26:30 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse) Subject: Re: Biol Metaphor thought I was just reading the note I sent to the list this morning. It begins... >Browsing the remainders section of the Harvard Bookstore yesterday I found >a book that might appeal to some of you. My libraries catalog describes it >as: I was struck as you may have been by the "typo" 'libraries catalog' when I must have meant library's catalog. I had a bit of a discussion with my father once about these kinds of mistakes. He contends that for him concepts have written words associated with them, so for him to make this kind of error it would take the extra step of "sounding out" the word to create the ambiguity. Thus misspelling for him is more difficult than spelling something correctly. I was wondering if this ability (one that requires at minimum a written language) is common in the linguistic groups that are studied by members on this list. It seems that each sign system has its own ambiguities (which give rise to their own homophone-like puns; ASL has hand sign puns that take advantage of hand shapes that have other meanings in other contexts, spoken languages have rhymes, and written languages must have their own overlap in symbol combinations). How much new ambiguity was introduced and how much was relieved when languages became written? This could certainly hasten or slow parts of a language's evolution. I really should get back to work here this morning... - Jeremy ____________________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (firstname.lastname@example.org) Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617) 736-4954 (617) 736-2405 FAX _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:68>From email@example.com.Hawaii.Edu Tue Jun 21 21:53:53 1994 Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 16:54:00 -1000 (HST) From: Joel Bradshaw <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Biol Metaphor thought To: email@example.com On Tue, 21 Jun 1994, Jeremy Creighton Ahouse wrote: > I was just reading the note I sent to the list this morning. It begins... > >Browsing the remainders section of the Harvard Bookstore yesterday I found > >a book that might appeal to some of you. My libraries catalog describes it > >as: > I was struck as you may have been by the "typo" 'libraries catalog' > when I must have meant library's catalog. I had a bit of a discussion with > my father once about these kinds of mistakes. He contends that for him > concepts have written words associated with them, so for him to make this > kind of error it would take the extra step of "sounding out" the word to > create the ambiguity. Thus misspelling for him is more difficult than > spelling something correctly. > I was wondering if this ability (one that requires at minimum a > written language) is common in the linguistic groups that are studied by > members on this list. It seems that each sign system has its own > ambiguities (which give rise to their own homophone-like puns; ASL has hand > sign puns that take advantage of hand shapes that have other meanings in > other contexts, spoken languages have rhymes, and written languages must > have their own overlap in symbol combinations). On this point, there is a very interesting dissertation just defended: Matsunaga, Sachiko. 1994. The linguistic and psycholinguistic nature of kanji: Do kanji represent and trigger only meanings? Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of East Asian Languages & Literatures, University of Hawaii. Many people have claimed that kanji [Chinese characters] are read for their meaning, not for their sound. By reviewing literature in linguistics and psycholinguistics and conducting her own experiments using eye-tracking methodology, Matsunaga shows that people who read kanji in meaningful sentences depend on the mediation of sound encoding and do not make a direct sight-meaning connection that bypasses sound. She introduced two kinds of errors into texts that her subjects were asked to read. Both kinds involved kanji that were very similar in shape. Where the correct and incorrect kanji had identical sounds but different meanings, subjects rarely (< 20%) noticed the errors (rarely stumbled over the sounds with their eyes). Where the correct and incorrect kanji had different sounds as well as different meanings, subjects were much more likely to notice the errors (~ 50%). > How much new ambiguity was introduced and how much was relieved > when languages became written? This could certainly hasten or slow parts > of a language's evolution. As far as I know, not much work has been done on the subject, perhaps mostly for lack of evidence. I recommend the following work for a discussion of the transition to literacy in Anglo-Saxon. Danet, Brenda, and Bryna Bogoch. 1992. From oral ceremony to written document: The transitional language of Anglo-Saxon wills. Language & Communication 12, 95-122. The first written records of wills were only supplementary records of oral rituals that themselves conferred legality and required witnesses. The records contain many references to the context of the dying person, whose legally binding words were witnessed by those present. Only later did the wills become abstracted from the context of the death and its accompanying oral ritual and evolve into legal documents valid in themselves, with remnants of the oral ritual in legal phrasings like 'will and testament' (similar to 'to have and to hold', 'to cease and desist'). There is a postscript about videotaped wills, which preserve traces of their literate heritage despite reverting back to an orally, aurally, and visually contextualized medium. Joel Bradshaw firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:69>From email@example.com Wed Jun 22 06:17:32 1994 Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 07:17:46 -0400 (EDT) From: John E Limber <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Biol Metaphor thought To: email@example.com It is hard to know what to make of introspective reports of how one's concepts are represented; however there is a long line of speculation and investigation that indeed literacy has some impact on even broadly psycholingustic aspects of language. I'm thinking of the controversey surrounding Sapir's "concept of the phoneme" and more recent research, e.g. Seidenberg & Tannenhous (1979) who report it takes longer to judge rhymes if the SPELLING is inconsistent (pie/tie vs pie/guy). I just happen to be reading a review of this topic in Bertelsen & De Gelder (1991). It seems likely that all "genres" or modalities of language have some unique characteristics--at least statistical ones. For example, e-mail appears to elicit a variety of errors that are almost never seen in normal speech--reminiscent of speech of Broca's aphasics. Bertelson & Gelder (1991) Emergence of phonological awareness In Mattingly & Studdert-Kennedy (Eds.) Modularity & the motor theory of speech perception. pp. 393-412. Hillsdale: LEA Seidenberg & Tannenhous (1979) Orthographic effects on rhyming monitoring. J of Expermental psychology: Human learning & memory, 5, 546-554. John Limber Department of Psychology University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824, USA firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:70>From email@example.com Wed Jun 22 09:36:11 1994 Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 10:07:28 -0400 (EDT) From: Patricia Princehouse <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Biol Metaphor thought To: email@example.com On Tue, 21 Jun 1994, Jeremy Creighton Ahouse wrote: > I was struck as you may have been by the "typo" 'libraries catalog' > when I must have meant library's catalog. > > How much new ambiguity was introduced and how much was relieved > when languages became written? This could certainly hasten or slow parts > of a language's evolution. This and the ensuing discussion reminded me of a for sale sign I once saw in a hayfield in the Pyrenees. The lettering seemed to be from someone not accustomed to writing very often and he seems to have mixed "a vendre" and "en vente" together with "ventre" -the belly in which the hay would ultimately end up. The sign read: FOUIN EN VENTRE 5F This then reminded me of Barthes' piece "Domenici or the Triumph of Literature" (in the collection _Mythologies_) which comments on a case in which court & lawyers were effectively unable to communicate with a very old man from a rural district -not because of his near deafness but (according to Barthes) because this man did not have an analogue in the literature which shaped the world of the judge & lawyers and thus could not exist for them. Patricia Princehouse Princeh@harvard.edu _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:71>From edkupfer@MIT.EDU Wed Jun 22 10:18:04 1994 From: edkupfer@MIT.EDU To: sci-tech-studies@ucsd.EDU, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: History of Am. Social Sciences Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 11:17:54 EDT (Note -- for those on HOPOS-L, DARWIN-L, and SCI-TECH-STUDIES you might get duplicate copies of this message) Dear Fellow STSers, In my ongoing research in the history of American bacteriology I am faced with making an argument about the role of biologists as social experts. I would like to compare my portrayal with the development of the social sciences in the interwar period (1919-1939). Unfortunately, I am woefully unfamiliar with the literature in the history of social and behavoiral sciences. I have recently read books by Ross, Haskell and Bender, but believe that there is a vast body of work out there. I am somewhat aware of the debate concerning the relationship between social control and the social science, but seek to find a more nuanced series of answers to the following questions: 1) As the social sciences (e.g., sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics) developed professionally and institutionally in the interwar years did they removed themselves from the Progressive Era style reform coaltions? If so, did the ameliorative measures that they suggest become more conservative? As the topics and methods of study became more specialized, did the scientific sanction for broad urban reforms dissipate? 2) Is there evidence of a struggle among the various social sciences for the authority to address particular social concers? For example, did economists, sociologists and pscyhologist each make competing recommendations for solving the crime problem? If so, was that struggle evident in the popular writings of these new social experts? 3) Is there a connection between the goals of assimilation and adjustment and the cultural landscape of the 1920's and 1930's? If so, is that connection evident in one science more than others (e.g., child psychology rather than sociology)? 4) What is the relationship between behavoiralism and (to use Warren Susman's term) the "cult of personality"? Somehow, I always found the discussions of Watson to be emphasizing the machine-like characteristics of human behavoir, which is odd given the selling of dynamic personalities in the 20's. 5) As social scientists offered themselves as social experts, did they inflate the importance of their own particular areas of study? For example, if researchers were addressing population control measures did they continually stress the fundamental importance of overpopulation as compared to other social ills? 6) What was the self-image of social experts? Did they adopt a persona of hero or social reformer, or did the writings of the interwar period reflect a team effort of disinterested experts? Yes, I know these are huge questions. Any recommendations for reading would be greatly appreciated. Yours, Eric Kupferberg Program in STS, MIT and Dibner Inst. email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:72>From BATEMANC@UWYO.EDU Thu Jun 23 01:29:49 1994 Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 00:33:12 -0600 (MDT) From: "CHESTER P. BATEMAN" <BATEMANC@UWYO.EDU> Subject: Re: History of Am. Social Sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org The introduction in Mr. Wolfe's _EUROPE AND A PEOPLE WITHOUT HISTORY_ points to an interesting occurence in the 19th century -- the division of political economy into several approaches to human behavior. These approaches are now called social sciences each with its' own competing view of social life. Perhaps our theories would now be more inclusive if this division would never have happened. Regards, Chester email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:73>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA Thu Jun 23 12:15:50 1994 Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 13:14:47 -0500 (EST) From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA> Subject: Re: Biol Metaphor thought To: firstname.lastname@example.org Patricia Princehouse mentioned the case of a FOR SALE sign she once saw in France: >The lettering seemed to be from someone not >accustomed to writing very often and he seems to have mixed "a vendre" >and "en vente" together with "ventre" -the belly in which the hay >would ultimately end up. The sign read: > > FOUIN > EN VENTRE > 5F This is most probably a case of HYPERCORRECTION rather than confusion between 'vendre' and 'vente'. Phonetically, the last sound in 'vente' is /t/ and the last sound in 'ventre' is /r/, but in many instances, notably when the following word begins with a consonant, the /r/ is deleted to avoid a triconsonantal cluster, thus making the two words homophonous. When this kind of situation occurs, people who don't speak the standard dialect and/or who don't have all that much formal education will tend to "correct" what they imagine to be a non-standard form. In this instance, any word-final /t/ may be restored as /tr/ by someone whose command of the standard/written form of French is deficient. Marc Picard _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:74>From IAP8EWH@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU Thu Jun 23 19:34:24 1994 Date: Thu, 23 Jun 94 17:34 PDT To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu From: IAP8EWH@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU Subject: Biol metaphor thought Some data on the question of whether the adoption of writing influences language evolution came out of the controversy over glottochronology 30 years or so ago. Words tend to be replaced more slowly over time in written than in unwritten languages. This may be related to schoolmarms teaching out of books as was discussed on Darwin-l a while ago. Most of the data come from European languages; Chinese appears to be an exception, presumably because of its nonalphabetic writing system; Arabic is ambiguous. A few references: Bergsland, K., and Vogt, H. 1962. On the validity of glottochronology. Current Anthropology, 3: 115-153. Diebold, A. R., Jr. 1964. A control case for glottochronology. Current Anthropology, 5: 987-1006. Munro, S. R. 1978. Glottochronologic theory: valid or not for Chinese languages? Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 23: 55-65. Eric Holman, email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:75>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Jun 24 09:27:06 1994 Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 09:28:07 -0600 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (CZIKO Gary) Subject: Huxley Quote [from Gary Cziko 94/06/24] Upon hearing of Darwin's theory of natural selection, his friend and defender Thomas Huxley said something _like_ "How stupid not to have thought of that first." But I cannot now find my source for the exact quote. Can anyone out there in Darwin-L(and) provide the exact quote and a reference? I would be very thankful.--Gary Cziko ------------------------------------------------------------------ Gary A. Cziko Associate Professor Telephone 217-333-8527 Educational Psychology FAX: 217-244-7620 University of Illinois E-mail: email@example.com 1310 S. Sixth Street Radio: N9MJZ 210 Education Building Champaign, Illinois 61820-6990 ------------------------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:76>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Fri Jun 24 11:39:05 1994 Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 12:40:36 -0500 (EST) From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Subject: Re: Huxley Quote To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University at Buffalo The quote "How extremley stupid not to have thought of that" is taken from "The Reception of the 'Origin of Species'" which can be found in a variety of places including Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol 11. pp. 187-97. My source is an extract of it that is reprinted in Life and Letters of Thomas Huxley, vol 1, p. 183. Sherrie Lyons email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:77>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Jun 24 17:36:49 1994 Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 18:39:20 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse) Subject: rhetoric at work For those of you interested in the rhetorical posturing in scientific discourse see the letters section of last week's Science (6/10/94) (p 1519). Ernst Mayr who used to be an 'evolutionary taxonomist' is now using the patron saint of evolution to name this style of classification. 'Darwinian classification' is opposed to 'Hennigian ordering'. He does allow that "both systems of classifying are legitimate." Then he goes on to suggest that one of these methods indicates "phylogeny" and the other "closeness of relationship." (huh?) In a sense maybe this play to have the glow surrounding an adjective rub off on your favorite approach is good sign that something is amiss... - Jeremy ____________________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (email@example.com) Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617) 736-4954 (617) 736-2405 FAX _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:78>From firstname.lastname@example.org Sat Jun 25 04:53:59 1994 Date: Sat, 25 Jun 1994 11:54:25 +0100 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Simons, Universitaet Salzburg, Institut fuer Philosophie) Subject: Re: rhetoric at work Jeremy Ahouse does not like Ernst Mayr using the term "Darwinian classification". If the intention is to replace the standard terminology there is reasonable ground for complaint, but I doubt whether that is the intention, since no one, Mayr included, would propose similarly permanently renaming cladism "Hennigian ordering". Mayr has consistently claimed in publications for many years that the school of evolutionary classification is the one that remains closest to Darwin in theory. If he is right, then his use of the adjective, even if it is local rhetoric, is not illegitimate. As to the sneer at Mayr's description of the different purposes for which the different classifications may be used, one has to admit that Mayr is often less than clinically precise in his use of terms, and the term "closesness of relationship" is misleading because it suggests a genealogical rather than a phenetic proximity. But again, a look at Mayr's writings will correct the impression made by the phrase. I hope my powers of expression in any language, let alone one which is not my mother tongue, will be as good when I am ninety as Mayr's are. Prof. Peter Simons Universitaet Salzburg Institut fuer Philosophie Franziskanergasse 1 A-5020 Salzburg Austria Tel. +43 662 8044-4062 Fax +43 662 8044-214 email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:79>From jacobsk@ERE.UMontreal.CA Sat Jun 25 10:41:40 1994 From: jacobsk@ERE.UMontreal.CA (Jacobs Kenneth) Subject: Re: rhetoric at work To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 25 Jun 1994 11:41:34 -0400 (EDT) In response to a somewhat contemptuous posting from Jeremy Ahouse, Prof. Peter Simons writes (among other things deleted here): > Mayr has consistently claimed in > publications for many years that the school of evolutionary classification > is the one that remains closest to Darwin in theory. If he is right, then > his use of the adjective [i.e., "Darwinian" classification] is not > illegitimate. As to the sneer at Mayr's description of the different > purposes for which the different classifications may be used, one has to > admit that Mayr is often less than clinically precise in his use of terms, > and the term "closesness of relationship" is misleading because it suggests > a genealogical rather than a phenetic proximity. But again, a look at > Mayr's writings will correct the impression made by the phrase. I hope my > powers of expression in any language, let alone one which is not my mother > tongue, will be as good when I am ninety as Mayr's are. Bravo Prof. Simons, for injecting a note of civility and thereby (I hope) reminding many who might be tempted to take snide pot-shots from the safety of their keyboards that, agree with him or not, one can only respect a scholar such as Mayr. Ken Jacobs Anthropologie Universite de Montreal email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:80>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Sat Jun 25 11:40:10 1994 Date: Sat, 25 Jun 94 11:39 CDT From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu> Subject: Mayr To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu Would someone care to enlighten those working outside Mayr's immediate sphere of influence by giving a very brief potted history--as objective as possible--of his place in the discipline, and of that of his supporters and detractors? To me as a linguist, the heated nature of recent postings is reminiscent of the intensity of feeling surrounding Chomsky and his theoretical work. At the poles, does Mayr have true-believing followers for whom he can do (all but) no wrong, and nemeses equally convinced that his work is wrong-headed? Tom Cravens firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:81>From GROBE@INS.INFONET.NET Sun Jun 26 00:03:14 1994 Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 0:06:58 -0500 (CDT) From: GROBE@INS.INFONET.NET To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Galileo@muwayb.ucs.unimelb.edu.au, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RFD: soc.history.science This is a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) to create the proposed unmoderated group soc.history.science. soc.history.science will discuss the history of science in the broad sense: including the history of the physical sciences, history of the biological sciences, history of the social sciences, history of medicine, history of technology, history of mathematics, philosophy of science, and related areas. soc.history.science is needed because currently discussion is spread out over several mailing lists as well as a large number of newsgroups with only an occasional posting. Please repost this RFD to other mailing lists and newsgroups that I have missed. Some individuals would prefer that the group be in the sci.* hierarchy. It is placed in soc.* on the advice of group-advice. All discussion should be directed to news.groups. If you have an interest in this newsgroup please make it known. Discussion will continue for 21-30 days at which time a Call for Votes (CFV) will be held-- assuming the proposal receives generally positive comment. To pass the proposal must receive 100 more Yes votes than No votes and at least two thirds of the votes must be positive. Jonathan Grobe email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:82>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jun 26 16:41:16 1994 Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 17:41:27 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Clarification RE: "RFD: soc.history.science" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Just a note of clarification to follow up Jonathan Grobe's message on the creation of a discussion group "soc.history.science". Jonathan's message pertains to the creation of a "newsgroup" on the USENET network, and an "RFD" is a formal USENET document requesting discussion on the appropriateness of creating such a newsgroup. The place the discussion is requested is not Darwin-L, but a specific USENET newsgroup that exists for the purpose, namely "news.groups". The only discussion that has any effect on the creation of the proposed group is that which takes place on news.groups. I thought it was important to point this out, as many Darwin-L subscribers will not be familiar with USENET nor its formal procedure for newsgroup creation. If you would like to explore USENET and don't know how to do so you should ask your local computing center for more information. We have had a couple of USENET proposals appear on Darwin-L over the past months. They are welcome and appropriate here, but I would be grateful if the posters would consider our audience and provide a bit more context and explanation, since many people here probably don't have USENET experience. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:83>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jun 26 20:18:29 1994 Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 21:18:33 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Re: Mayr To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro The list owner has returned from a very enjoyable meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held at San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Sciences, and had the pleasure of meeting several Darwin-L members there. Tom Cravens asked recently for some more information about Ernst Mayr and the controversy that has been discussed here over the last couple of days, as a help to the historical linguists. When I was a graduate student at the Museum of Comparative Zoology my office was down the hall from Mayr's, and I had the privilege of writing a paper with him at one point, so I could probably give a reasonable "potted history", as Tom requests. Ernst Mayr has been one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the twentieth century. He is just 90 years old, I believe; his first papers were published in the late 1920s (sic), while his most recent book, the semi-popular _One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought_, was published by Harvard University Press in 1991. Mayr was born in Germany, and his intellectual roots (like my own) lie in ornithological systematics. His early career was devoted to studies of geographical variation and speciation in birds, particularly in the South Pacific, and he spent a considerable amount of time collecting in New Guinea in the late '20s and early '30s. He moved from the University of Berlin to the American Museum of Natural History in New York in the 1930s, and then went to Harvard University in the 1950s. During the 1960s he served as director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, and has been emeritus there since 1975 or so. During the 1930s and 1940s a number of different fields, particularly systematics, genetics, and paleontology, all of which had been operating more or less independently for a number of years, came together in what has been called "The Evolutionary Synthesis" or "The Modern Synthesis". Mayr was one of the architects of this synthesis, along with people like Theodosius Dobzhansky, George Gaylord Simpson, and many others. Mayr and William Provine edited a volume several years ago called _The Evolutionary Synthesis_ that contains historical commentaries and reminiscences of the period by Mayr and other participants of the time. The systematics of the Synthesis era was primarily oriented toward the study of populational phenomena (geographical variation, subspecies, and speciation), and gave much less emphasis to the study of "higher-level" systematics (the study of larger chunks of the evolutionary tree). Much of Mayr's work has been associated with the defense of allopatric speciation as the primary mechanism of species formation, and with attacking essentialism or typology. Allopatric speciation is speciation that occurs as a result of geographic isolation; the opposite is sympatric speciation. (Most linguistic diversification also requires allopatry, I suspect, though not all.) Among Mayr's many books in this area are _Systematics and the Origin of Species_ (1942), and the comprehensive _Animal Species and Evolution_ (1963). It wouldn't surprise me if "Mayr 1963" were one of the most widely-cited works of twentieth-century evolutionary biology. (I should also note that in evolutionary biology "typology" has very different connotations from what it has in historical linguistics; evolutionary biologists use the term typology as a synonym for (bad) (Platonic) essentialism.) In more recent years Mayr has given most of his attention to the history and philosophy of science, and among his works in this area are the enormous _Growth of Biological Thought_ (1982), and a collection of shorter papers called _Toward a New Philosophy of Biology_ (1988). An earlier collection of his papers, _Evolution and the Diversity of Life_, appeared in 1976. He has often been concerned in his more philosophical writings with countering what he sometimes calls "the arrogance of the physicists", and with defending historical and evolutionary approaches to science. In this respect he is a decided friend of Darwin-L and all its members. I mentioned above that the systematics of the Synthesis era, to which Mayr contributed a great deal, focused mostly on populational phenomena. This was in contrast to much of the systematics of the late 1800s which was aimed at large-scale phylogenetic reconstruction (historical linguists will see a parallel here to the history of their own field). Since the 1960s, however, many systematists have turned again to higher-level problems of the kind that were investigated in the late 1800s, and have made many conceptual advances, most notably the development of cladistic analysis, a topic which we have discussed here from time to time. Mayr made some important contributions to this development, most notably his clear distinction between _classification_ and _phylogeny reconstruction_ in a paper he wrote in the 1970s, but for the most part (to my way of thinking) he has come down on the wrong side of most of these recent (post-1965) debates on systematic theory. The letter Jeremy Ahouse mentioned from last week's issue of _Science_ shows him still holding tenaciously to his position, even though most systematists have left him behind on this issue. (I'm sure not all; please don't flame.) On the specific issue Mayr addresses in his letter, I would recommend some very thought-provoking recent work about the relation of names to taxa: de Queiroz, K., & J. Gauthier. 1990. Phylogeny as a central principle in taxonomy: phylogenetic definitions of taxon names. _Systematic Zoology_, 39:307-322. de Queiroz, K. 1992. Phylogenetic definitions and taxonomic philosophy. _Biology and Philosophy_, 7:295-313. There is hardly an area of evolutionary biology to which Mayr has not contributed; he has never shied away from an intellectual fight, and has consistently expressed respect for those who fight back, and hard. I think the best tribute one could offer to him with respect to these latter-day controversies in which most systematists have left him behind would be to let the narrator of _Leaves of Grass_ speak in his name: I am the teacher of athletes, He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the width of my own, He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:84>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jun 26 21:58:21 1994 Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 22:58:34 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Diachronic, diatopic, and diastratic To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Tom Cravens recently wrote: >Given that generative linguistics is designed from the outset to examine >an idealized non-variant stasis, generative historical linguists are >rather thin on the ground, and generative analysis of historical problems >is often unsatisfying to those who not only recognize the existence of, but >hope to incorporate overtly, the multivariant interrelated parameters >(diastratic, diatopic, diachronic) of real-world language. "Diachronic" I know, and think it's a term that evolutionary biologists should adopt themselves. "Diatopic" I can guess, as pertaining to language variation across space (our diachronic and diatopic field is historical biogeography). But what means "diastratic" in linguistics? Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:85>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 27 02:57:11 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 09:57:33 +0100 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Simons) Subject: Re: rhetoric at work Dear Ken, Thanks for your support. As you say, one doesn't have to agree with Mayr, but there's no cause for pettiness. Since I first came across serious systematics in the work of Mayr and then Simpson I have lost no opportunity to tell my philosophy colleagues that they can learn a lot from looking at real issues rather than the superficial disputes much philosophy of language leads them into. I also consult for a software firm in California and there we use ideas of Mayr and Simpson a lot. Mayr is known in the shop there as "Ernst the Enforcer". Best wishes Peter Prof. Peter Simons Universitaet Salzburg Institut fuer Philosophie Franziskanergasse 1 A-5020 Salzburg Austria Tel. +43 662 8044-4062 Fax +43 662 8044-214 email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:86>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 27 08:10:01 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 94 09:10:13 EDT From: email@example.com (John Staddon) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Mayr I just wanted to thank Bob O'Hara for his very nice potted bio of Ernst Mayr. I have had little to say on Darwin-L, but I wanted him to know I do appreciate his efforts in organizing it. John Staddon _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:87>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Mon Jun 27 09:04:14 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 94 09:03 CDT From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu> Subject: Re: Diachronic, diatopic, and diastratic To: email@example.com Bob, first, thanks very much, indeed, for taking the time to write an informative history of Mayr's contributions. Very helpful. As to terms, 'diachronic' is 'through time', 'diatopic' is 'through geographic space', and 'diastratic' is 'through (social) strata'. Although 'diastratic' is fairly common in writings couched in Romance languages, it doesn't seem to have caught on in English. Thanks again, Tom Cravens firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:88>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 27 10:31:05 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 11:33:36 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse) Subject: Re: rhetoric at work(Zounds) >In response to a somewhat contemptuous posting from Jeremy Ahouse >Bravo Prof. Simons, for injecting a note of civility and thereby (I hope) >reminding many who might be tempted to take snide pot-shots A thousand pardons for having had my highlighting of local rhetoric bounce off some of you as contemptuous pot-shotting. Nevertheless I think _this_ is a good example of reinforcement of a position through close alliance with the unimpeachable*. (Shoot, even calling it 'evolutionary taxonomy' in the first place was a rhetorical move as much as it was descriptive.) Mayr is struggling to inject the information about "amount" of change into our classification alongside the information about linneage splitting. His goal as I read it is to be as sophisticated as is possible in reconstructing linneages (welcoming the advances of cladistics, if cautiously) but that in "naming" we should attend to the amount of change along a branch. The problem is that there isn't a particurly rigorous way that has been suggested to do this. (My sympathies are with de Queiroz - refs mentioned in O'hara's post.) But no one really argues for presenting less information than we know. What is at issue here is what kind of information should be captured in the act of "naming." Jeremy p.s. I consider exponents of population thinking to be doing all of us a service. As Bob O'hara mentions this has been one of E. Mayr's recurrent themes. *That "Darwinian" is unimpeachable in the current constellation of academia is interesting in itself. For a discussion of this wrt 'social darwinism' see (Moore, Jim. "Socializing Darwinism: Historiography and the Fortunes of a Phrase" in "Science as Politics" ed. by Les Levidow. Free Association Books c1986.) ____________________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (email@example.com) Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617) 736-4954 (617) 736-2405 FAX _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:89>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jun 27 20:15:49 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 21:15:54 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Nietzsche on philology To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro I came across this quotation from Nietzsche, who frequently commented on philology so I understand, while poking around on the net. It was reported to have come from the preface to a work called "Daybreak". The philological attitude he describes could with equal right be applied to comparative anatomy, archeology, and museum curation of any kind, I suspect. Perhaps some Darwin-L members will find it amusing and/or appealing. A book like this, a problem like this, is in no hurry; we both, I just as much as my book, are friends of lento. It is not for nothing that I have been a philologist, perhaps I am a philologist still, that is to say, A TEACHER OF SLOW READING: -- in the end I also write slowly. Nowadays it is not only my habit, it is also to my taste -- a malicious taste, perhaps? -- no longer to write anything which does not reduce to despair every sort of man who is "in a hurry." For philology is that venerable art which demands of its votaries one thing above all: to go aside, to take time, to become still, to become slow -- it is a goldsmith's art and connoisseurship of the WORD which has nothing but delicate, cautious work to do and achieves nothing if it does not achieve it lento. But precisely for this reason it is more necessary than ever today, by precisely this means does it entice and enchant us the most, in the midst of an age of "work", that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to "get everything done" at once, including every old or new book: -- this art does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read WELL, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers....My patient friends, this book desires for itself only perfect readers and philologists: LEARN to read me well! Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:90>From firstname.lastname@example.org.Hawaii.Edu Mon Jun 27 20:32:51 1994 Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 15:33:05 -1000 (HST) From: Joel Bradshaw <email@example.com> Subject: Re: The pull of the recent (in historical linguistics?) To: firstname.lastname@example.org On Tue, 21 Jun 1994, Tom Cravens wrote: > Just a very brief response to Joel Bradshaw's interesting comments, > lest non-linguists on the list be left with the impression that > historical linguists as a whole are fully represented in the two > categories of sociolinguistic and generative approaches. (Let's see just > how much the other historical linguists on the list agree with the > following, oversimplified and telegraphic as it is!) > > In my experience,the vast majority of those who would call themselves > historical linguists are highly attentive to the findings of socio- > linguistics, and variously willing to incorporate in their bag of tools > the useful bits of generative work. The numerical majority is neither > sociolinguistic nor generative, however (IME), but tends to be non-school > (non -ist), in principle--if not always in practice--open to whatever > approach promises to be most likely to shed light on the dynamics of the > language change problem at hand. Tom is right of course, although the two-way distinction I portrayed is not too far off from portrayals found in several works by Labov or in Newmeyer's (1986) slim volume entitled the _The Politics of Linguistics_. After stewing for several days about whether I was reckless enough, and/or foolish enough to pursue another aspect of the "pull of the recent" in historical linguistics that I have been speculating about recently, I've decided to risk going public with it, but I know that it is a political minefield that may inflame the emotions of those who might be tempted to equate some of the most destructive political behavior of the modern era with some of the most productive intellectual endeavors. Nevertheless, on the principle of all things considered, I offer the following speculation. I wonder whether the persistent metaphor of languages as reproductively isolated organisms (and the ancillary dogma that they can never mix) can be traced back to the emergence of linguistically defined nationalities that considered themselves separate "races" requiring their own national languages, their own governments, and their own borders. Other, much nastier ideas along the same lines (and their well-known consequences, both then and now) emerged from the same milieu, of course, but so did many good ones. "Mixed marriages" (of various kinds) used to be (and still are) frowned upon as much as "mixed languages" used to be (and still are)--but not necessarily (or even usually) by the same people. Mixed marriages and their enduring products are inconvenient for census takers, just as mixed languages are inconvenient for taxonomists, but mere inconvenience hardly accounts for the vehemence of the opposition to each notion. Each, as an article of faith, must have more deep-seated roots. Does idealized homogeneity help explain both? For those who wish to get a quick glimpse of what triggered this speculation, I would suggest reading the following three very brief overviews all in quick succession: MacNeill's 1986 _Polyethnicity and National Unity in World History_ on the emergence of modern nation-states; Newmeyer's 1986 _The Politics of Linguistics_ on the emergence of modern linguistics; and Mayr's 1991 _One Long Argument_ on the emergence of modern evolutionary thought. As we move into the so-called postmodern era of emerging multinational economies, multinational and multidisciplinary historiography, and multiculturalism, the "prepostmodern" vision of idealized homogeneity still clouds our vision. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:91>From @SIVM.SI.EDU:SIPAD002@SIVM.SI.EDU Wed Jun 29 08:48:00 1994 Date: Wed, 29 Jun 1994 09:39:21 -0400 (EDT) From: Peter Cannell <SIPAD002@sivm.si.edu> To: email@example.com The rather long and rambling account from Nietsche about philology reminded me of two other quotes. One, from Nabokov, goes, "In reading, one should notice and fondle the details." The other, from E.B. White, goes something like, "I apologize for sending such a long letter. I didn't have time to write a shorter one." Nietsche probably didn't read E.B. White (either lento or prontissimo). Peter F. Cannell Science Editor, Smithsonian Institution University Press firstname.lastname@example.org voice: 202/287-3738 ext. 328 fax: 202/287-3637 _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:92>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jun 30 00:02:43 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 01:02:48 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: June 30 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JUNE 30 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1709: EDWARD LHUYD, Welsh antiquarian, philologist, and naturalist, dies in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, after "sleeping in a damp and close room...which he chose to sleep in, for the convenience of pursuing his studies." Born in 1660, Lhuyd studied as an undergraduate with Robert Plot at Jesus College, and he succeeded Plot as Keeper of the Ashmolean in 1690. Lhuyd traveled extensively throughout his career collecting natural history specimens and antiquities for the Museum, and gathering comparative materials on the Celtic languages. His best known work, _Archaeologia Britannica: An Account of the Languages, Histories, and Customs of Great Britain, from Collections and Observations in Travels Through Wales, Cornwall, Bas-Bretagne, Ireland, and Scotland_ (Oxford, 1707), contained the first comparative Celtic dictionary ever published, and an earlier work on the fossils in the Ashmolean collection, _Lithophylacii Britannici Iconographia_ (London, 1699), was one of the earliest illustrated works in paleontology. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1708, a year before his death. Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences. For more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (18.104.22.168). _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:93>From email@example.com Thu Jun 30 03:48:29 1994 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Marshall) Subject: Creationist visitor To: SKEPTIC@JHUVM.HCF.JHU.EDU, email@example.com Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 20:44:47 +1200 (NZST) On Sunday July 3, Dr Gray Parker BA, MS, EdD will give a public lecture on "Creation Science" here in Dunedin (New Zealand). Dr Gray's biography lists an MS from Ball State University, research in the area of amphibian endocrinology, and authorship of several "biology" textbooks. He has apparently repudiated his evolutionary beliefs and is now employed at Clearwater Christian College in Florida where he has written and lectured extensively on scientific evidence for creation. His visit is under the aegis of the Creation Science Foundation. I plan to attend this lecture and would be grateful for any information that readers of this newsgroup could provide. In particular, does anybody know of Dr Ball and his work, or know of either Ball State University or Clearwater Christian College. If the opportunity arises, I plan to ask questions of Dr Ball: are their any pointers that people could provide in such discussions? I have not had the pleasure of attending such an occasion before and I would be grateful for suggestions as to how to make my (pro-evolution/anti-creation) points effectively. Could you email me directly as well as the group as I receive this in digest from. Many thanks in advance, -- Craig Marshall firstname.lastname@example.org Biochemistry Department Phone +64 3 479 7570 University of Otago Fax +64 3 479 7866 _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:94>From Mike.Dickison@vuw.ac.nz Thu Jun 30 07:09:12 1994 Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 00:09:45 +1200 To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu From: Mike.Dickison@vuw.ac.nz (Mike Dickison) Subject: Re: Creationist Visitor I attended the Wellington lectures of Ken Ham and Gary Parker. I'm busy writing a newspaper piece about it, but here's a few points: 1) There's no question time in the lectures - they're preaching to the converted. Average attendance was 600-700 people, pretty staggering for Wellington. This isn't a debate or discussion, it's ammunition for evangalism. 2) As a rule of thumb, NEVER heckle, question or debate a professional creationist. They fight dirty, and are expert orators and crowd-pleasers. They have pat answers for all the standard objections, and love to make mincemeat out of highly qualified evolutionary biologists, in as public a forum as possible. 3) Ham and Parker are absolute literalists - young earth, six literal day creation, Adam and Eve, flood, ark, and flood geology. Not too difficult to pick holes in, but you'd have to be pretty brave or foolish to do it in front of them and 500 sympathetic Christians. Some of Parker's specific claims were: * The bombardier beetle story (Two chemicals + catalyst couldn't have evolved gradually without exploding the BB) * Mutations are always bad (and lead to disease and nasty viruses) * Peppered Moths show natural selection of pre-existing variation but not evolution (I've always hated that example myself) * Adam and Eve had all currently-existing racial variation in their genes (he assumes skin colour is determined by only two possible alleles at any locus, and show a 4x4 AABB=black, aabb=white table). I interviewed Parker. He is quiet and affable, insists that creation scientists must use honest scientific techniques and evidence, but points out that he is beginning his enquiry with one faith, while evolutionists begin with another. In general, I was most disturbed by how organised the creationists were. Lots of books, glossy quarterly magazines, thousands of colour advertising brochures, video courses (including secular ones, for "pre-evangalism"), free newspapers, and pamphlets. Clear and simple techniqes for evangalising both within and outside the church. Recommendations to take your kids out of secular schools, and into home or religious schooling. And lots and lots of support - 600 for three nights in Wellington, ditto in Auckland, 600 in Wanganui, Whangarei and Hamilton, and presumably similar numbers to come in Christchurch and Dunedin. I calculate they're taking about NZ$2500 each night, plus book sales. I think we evolutionists have some work to do. Mike Dickison \ If an infinite number of rednecks, in an infinite number Science writer \ of pickup trucks, fire an infinite number of shotgun Wellington, N.Z. rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, email@example.com \ they will eventually produce all the world's (Thanx to J. Banker, Ariz.!) \ great literary works in Braille. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:95>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jun 30 13:03:52 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 09:37:25 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Creationist visitor To: Craig Marshall <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dear Dr. Marshall, I hope I can help you a bit with Gary Parker. I am the director of a nonprofit organization, The National Center for Science Education, Inc., that monitors the creation science controversy and tries to defend evolution in the public schools. Gary Parker claims a bachelors from Wabash College, 1962, an MS from Ball State University, 1965, and an Ed.D. from the same place in 1973. (Ed.D. is doctor of education in our nomenclature.) I have not heard anyone challenge his credentials, though those of certain other creationists are a bit thin. Ball State is an Ohio state university, smallish, with mostly in-state students enrolled, especially at the time he was attending. Definitely off-Broadway. But as I said, I have not heard of anyone challenging his credentials: he has an education degree from a small state school. It means what it means. In his book "about the author" blurbs, he calls himself a "biologist" though in the US, an Ed.D. is quite different from a Ph.D. His specialization may have been biological education, but that isn't quite the same thing as having a "degree in biology." He is listed in the Institute for Creation Research graduate school catalog in 1981-82, but left ICR sometime before 1986 (I can get that datum if you need it, but I'd have to dig.) I do not know why he fell out with ICR people, but there is some gossip. He is a young-earth creationist, making him a better target for scientists than some of his old-earth colleagues. Maybe I had better explain. American creationists are unified in the idea that the universe, earth, and plants and animals were created specially by God, but they vary a lot as to how and when this took place. "Young earthers" say everything was created in the six 24 hour days of Genesis, a relatively few thousands of years ago (not billions -- maybe 20,000 maximum.) "Old earthers" are less doctinare, but still deny descent with modification. some say that everything was created all at one time (during a few days), but put this act billions of years ago. Some are progressive creationists, claiming that god made the creatures in the geological column successively, but specially creating each "kind", rather than having them evolve from one another. Whether young or old earth, American creationists deny that creatures could descend with modification from ancestors: we have the created "kinds", with perhaps microevolution producing variation within the kind. Thus the "cat kind" might include lions, tigers, cheetahs, pumas, etc., and the "dog kind" would include wolves, dogs, coyotes, etc. But bears and dogs didn't share a common ancestor, according to them. Parker is the author of a number of books, but I wouldn't call them "biology." They include a children's book, "Life Before Birth", subtitled, "A Christian Family Book." "A book for Christian families and others who teach the dignity of Life Before Birth" (capitialization in the original.) 1987, Master Books, the publishing wing of ICR. It's developmental biology (and an antiabortion message) as the design of God. Another book is "Creation, The FaYoung earthers" say everything was created in the six 24 hour days of Genesis, a relatively few thousands of years ago (not billions -- maybe 20,000 maximum.) "Old earthers" are less doctinare, but still deny descent with modification. some say that everything was created all at one time (during a few days), but put this act billions of years ago. Some are progressive creationists, claiming that god made the creatures in the geological column successively, but specially creating each "kind", rather than having them evolve from one another. Whether young or old earth, American creationists deny that creatures could descend with modification from ancestors: we have the created "kinds", with perhaps microevolution producing variation within the kind. Thus the "cat kind" might include lions, tigers, cheetahs, pumas, etc., and the "dog kind" would include wolves, dogs, coyotes, etc. But bears and dogs didn't share a common ancestors, according to them. "Creation, The Facts of Life", also by Masterbooks, 1980. This sounds like more embryology, but it actually is a standard creationist book, written for adults. It includes discussions of DNA, their view of the scientific method, fossils, Darwin, etc. Lots on the argument from design (more later.) One book you should call to his attention is his 1979, "Dry Bones...and other fossils", another children's book. It is a simplified version of some creationist "theories" like the vapor canopy, and how the Flood explains all of modern geology. **If you send me a FAX number, I'll FAX you some copies of selected pages**. My FAX is 510-526-1675 if you are in a hurry for this info. "Dry Bones" is a real scream. Dinosaurs were on the Ark, as Parker tells his daughter, Diane: "By the way, Dad, if dinosaurs were alive when the Flood came, did Noah have to take them on the Ark?" "He surely did. God told Noah to take at least one pair of all the dry land animals" "How did they all fit on the Ark?" "No problem, believe it or not. Of course, Noah probably took young adults. But the Ark was so big, it could hold over 500 railroad boxcars full of animals with space left over!" (p. 25) You asked what sorts of questions to ask him when he speaks. I'd hammer him on the age of the earth, because this is an area where they lose credibility. He will try to wiggle out of it by saying that "some creationists think the earth is young but others say it is old, so the age of the earth isn't an issue." Well, HE thinks it is young, so it is an issue. Make him tell you why he thinks the earth is young. Generally he will present "rate" arguments, such as "the rate of underwater sea-floor seepage of oil is XYZ, therefore if the earth is old, the whole oceans would be oil!" and so forth. The best defense is a good attack, which is what he will be doing. His presentation will be to attack evolution, showing the "weaknesses" in it, especially origin of life research. (You may well get the, "neither creationism nor evolution is scientific because no one was there to see it happen" argument, also.) similarly, your best defense of evolution is to attack his view. Make him be specific about not only young earth, but also the Flood story. He claims in his books that the receding flood waters explain the whole geological column. Why are mammals above amphibians instead of them all being swirled together by all this water? (he will probably answer that the mammals were smarter and faster and could get to higher ground and were interred there. Honest.) Your answer to that last is how come angiosperms occur later than gymnosperms? Were they more nimble? (He will probably unveil an article unknown to you that shows that angiosperms occur with gymnosperms in the fossil record. Ask him why only in that one place. Ditto for the argument of supposed human and dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy River in Texas.) May I suggest that, if New Zealand audiences are not dissimilar to American ones, that you remember that the purpose of this debate is not to educate people about science or evolution, but for Parker and the people who brought him there to win the hearts and minds of the people to fundamentalist religion and away from what you want to teach in your classes. This is indeed a battle for the "hearts and minds" of the people. Many scientists taking on creationists have been dead center accurate in their science, but have soundly lost the debate in the eyes of the audience. I do not know your local situation, but you may be able to use the question session after the talk to help the audience understand a bit more how science works. First of all, (again projecting from American audiences) remind them that modern science is a limited endeavor: limited to the natural world. Once you start inserting the supernatural and miracles, you have stepped outside of science, and you are using another way of knowing. May be right or may be wrong, but it isn't science, and shouldn't be presented to students as if it were. Along those same lines, it is the duty of teachers to present the best scholarship, the accepted knowledge, to students. To present creation "science" would not be doing so, as this "science" has been rejected by modern science. (appropos, the National Academy of Sciences has published a booklet, "Science and Creationism" that unequivocably states that creation "science" is not science, and should not be taught to students as if it were.) A major creationist fixation is on the idea of design, rather than the more contingent experience of evolution. They still love the vertebrate eye, and the complexities of DNA are simply more evidence. Remember that the people in your audience are going to be conservative Christians, but they are not necessarily closed to a less restricted view. Parker and his supporters will tell them that they cannot be Christians and still accept (try not to say "believe" in evolution! We don't "believe" in gravity, why would we "believe" in evolution?!) evolution. It doesn't hurt to remind the listeners that many Christians look at God as the creator, but that he created thorugh the process of evolution. "Theistic evolution" is a view that Parker won't want to have expressed, which means of course that someone should be sure to express it.... The argument from design is powerful with laypeople, and will doubtless be used by Parker. The response of course, is to point out that natural selection or divine interference are equally valid explanations for the wonderfully put together structures of the universe, but how do you explain the clunkers? According to them, every structure is divinely created for just that creature. How about the many structures and organisms that barely work? S. J. gould's books are full of such examples. Further along the same lines, why would a whale need legs, much less *feet* as in *Balisosaurus?* You may not wish to wade in the treacle of specific creationist arguments, but if you do, give me a call (e-mail.) A better ploy would be to ask him about recent developments in biology that he is not likely to know about that would make him look out of touch. I don't know your field, so I don't know what to recommend. An NCSE member in New Zealand, who has written a masters thesis on creationism, is M. Carol Scott, 12 Bridgeview Road, Birkenhead, Auckland 10. She is very knowledgeable, and also has back issues of our journal and newsetter, which might be useful to you if you wish to challenge Parker's statements. Call if you need more help, or if you'd like some xeroxes from Dry Bones. Let me know what happens! Sincerely, Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D. Executive Director, NCSE _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:96>From email@example.com Thu Jun 30 14:34:09 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 14:34:21 -0500 (CDT) From: Bob Canary <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Creationist visitor To: email@example.com For the sake of Marshall, I hope the rest of the information provided here is more accurate than the location of Ball State, which is in Muncie, Indiana, and which cannot be held responsible for whatever idiocy its doctorates later get into. I've never been there, and I don't suppose it ranks in the upper echelons of doctoral institutions, but the sneer about it being "Definitely off-Broadway" seemed so unnecessary that I am moved to comment that signing one's name with a "Ph.D" after it has always seemed rather tacky to me. --Bob Canaryfirstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:97>From email@example.com Thu Jun 30 16:16:11 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 94 14:16:14 PDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter H. Salus) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Creationist visitor Good words, Bob. I found *Dr.* Scott's attitude offensive, too. Though I have a Ph.D., my spouse has an Ed.D., which has never stood in her way vocationally. Of course, the only institutions I can think of off hand that are on Broadway are Pace, Cooper Union, Julliard, and Columbia. I guess that Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, OSU, etc., ... Berkeley, and Stanford are "off-Broadway," too. Peter ________________________________________________________________ Peter H. Salus #3303 4 Longfellow Place Boston, MA 02114 +1 617 723-3092 _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:98>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jun 30 16:32:32 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 94 16:36:27 -600 From: email@example.com (Virginia Allen) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Rednecks and Creationists Mike Dickison signs off: <If an infinite number of rednecks, in an infinite number of pickup trucks, fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary works in Braille.> Since he credits J. Banker for the little ditty, I assume it's making the rounds. I don't want to start a round on political correctness and flaming, but I surprise myself at how offended I am by the word "redneck." Having grown up as poor white trash in South Florida (graduated Fort Myers High 1961), I am profoundly aware of the term's literal and metaphorical meaning. I'm now teaching rhetoric in good old heartland USA, Ames, Iowa, where the newspaper reports a local school board (Dubuque, I think) wants to get "creation science" into the curriculum. Ignorance ain't regional, folks. Virginia Allen vallen@iastate _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:99>From email@example.com Thu Jun 30 17:35:08 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 15:27:23 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Rednecks and Creationists To: email@example.com This is Molleen Matsumura, Network Project Director of National Center for Science Education, writing: Virginia, the school board considering (just 'considering', and we hope they'll be dissuaded) adopting creationist supplemental texts is in Waterloo, Iowa. And, as a matter of fact, the latest People for the American Way report on "Attacks on the Freedom to Learn" reports that Ohio reported the highest incidence of attempts to remove "objectionable" literature from classrooms and libaries. I understand your feeling. I still remember the day in my teens that I looked at the red, creased neck of the man in front of me on the Greyhound bus, and suddenly understood a word I'd often heard, and that it really meant someone who'd worked long hard hours in the hot sun. Thanks for the reminder. _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:100>From Michael.Hannah@vuw.ac.nz Thu Jun 30 20:59:53 1994 From: "Mike Hannah" <Michael.Hannah@vuw.ac.nz> Date: Fri, 1 Jul 94 14:08:09 +1200 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Rednecks and Creationists As a relative newcomer to Darwin-L I have followed many discussions with a great deal of interest, however, I find it astonishing that with Creation "science" braying at the door the discussion has centered around people describing various universities as "Off Broadway" and Mike's use of the word Redneck. Surely this issue is more important that petty squabbling about not offending peoples views. Mike Hannah Palaeontologist Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand Palaeo@matai.vuw.ac.nz _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:101>From email@example.com Thu Jun 30 23:40:12 1994 Date: Thu, 30 Jun 94 23:44:06 -600 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Virginia Allen) To: email@example.com Subject: Creationists and Justification of Belief Squabbling about not offending people's views may, however, be the central issue in the long-standing Creationist "debate." What is at issue is the justification of belief. What the creationists believe is that their "beliefs," their views are just as valid, just as demonstrable as our own. Unless we retreat into proclaiming "science" a better religion than theirs (my god can smite your god any day of week), we have to work on the rhetoric--which was the question that started this strand.... How do I persuade? How do I argue? How do I defend? Mr. Dickison very graciously apologized to me off line for the obviously unintended offense in the use of the term "redneck," and it was important to me that he did so. His graciousness enables communication, where trading insults would have just as obviously completely shut down the dialogue. Even Aristotle puzzled about why it's important to us as human reasoners that people say "I'm sorry." We buy arguments emotionally and then we self-justify with facts. If we forget the power in the sting of a forty-year-old insult, for example, we may fool ourselves into thinking all we need to do to persuade is bring forward more and more facts. The suggestion someone made of undermining the creationist's presumption of authority by probing where his ignorance will be most visible is much more to the point. To persuade those who rely on authority, you need a bigger authority. Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, wrote a book called _Elements of Rhetoric_ (revised seven times between 1828 and 1846), and what he figured out was that it's impossible to prove a negative. Non-rhetoricians may know him better as the author of _Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte_. I'm quoting/paraphrasing from the Editor's Introduction (Scolar Press, 1985): "In 1861 ... an unidentified writer for the _Edinburgh Review_ said: "Hume had declared that miracles cannot be believed on human testimony. But in addition to this, the testimony on which you receive them is full of inconsistencies and absurdities." The Whatelian answer is, "If no testimony will make miracles credible, then the character of the testimony is unimportant. But if it IS important, then I will show you that a piece of well-known history--that of Napoleon for instance--is as full of apparent inconsistencies and absurdities as the instances you cite from Scripture. And then, this task disposed of, we can attach ourselves more closely to the issue which is the kernel--Are miracles credible or no?" (p. xvii) Whately didn't have to prove miraculous creation was an empirical fact (or that there really was a Napoleon Bonaparte): all he had to do was shift the burden of proof. If he could prove miracles were AS credible as any opposing view, he was satisfied to have won the argument. He always made a point of never arguing for the authority of the Bible, although he believed it to be literally true. I don't know whether Darwin read Whately, though I assume he did. My hasty and completely out-of-my-field guess is that Darwin didn't wait twenty years to get the science right, but to get the rhetoric right. Whately made clear that Presumption is always on the side of existing insitutions: whoever proposes a change takes on the burden of proof. When "experts" disagree, lay folk are obliged to stand back and let them do it. Whately says somewhere, probably in the Rhetoric, that every "expert" claim bears before it the challenge of refutation by another expert. We (the untrained) can reasonably accept as true anything -- his examples are in Biblical exegesis and theories about the origin of civilization -- that hasn't been refuted by another expert. (Whately, by the way, was no degenerationist, anymore than he literally believed there was no Napoleon Bonaparte. Cite me if you pass that on anyplace. I don't think anyone has figured it out, and I haven't gone to press yet.) As far as I can tell, the quality of the creationist debate hasn't improved much in the meantime: they're still demanding that scientists prove a negative or refute THEIR experts' claims. As a non-scientist and a teacher (and teacher of teachers) of rhetoric, I've been lurking in this space for a while ... profoundly interested, occasionally out of my depth, and absolutely persuaded that bridging the two cultures gap that separates your discipline(s) from mine is the only way to cope with that creature braying at our doors, yours and mine. I've gone on too along. Mea culpa. Virginia Allen "and when we speak we are afraid teacher our words will not be heard Iowa State University nor welcomed Ames, Iowa but when we are silent firstname.lastname@example.org we are still afraid so it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." --Audre Lorde _______________________________________________________________________________ <10:102>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jun 30 23:57:30 1994 Date: Fri, 01 Jul 1994 00:57:36 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Darwin-L meltdown -- film at 11 To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro (The list owner, having spent too much time on MOOs and having gotten in the habit of speaking in the third-person dramatic present tense from time to time, stuffs several tablets of virtual valium into his disk drive and presses the send button. Suddenly, and as if by magic, people sitting at keyboards all around the world begin to smile.) Yikes, our campus VAX was down all afternoon and just came back up, and I see we had a list meltdown in the meantime. Lest any new subscribers think this sort of thing is common I hasten to say that it is not: Darwin-L is just completing its tenth month of existence, and only once before have we had an exchange of fire among our members. We have done very well at maintaining a high standard of collegial academic discourse (thanks to all of our participants), and even have established something of reputation for quality in the listserv community. A note or two to help things operate a bit more smoothly. Remember that in most cases when you type "reply" at your computer in response to a message from Darwin-L, the reply is sent back to the list itself: that is, it is sent automatically to all 600 subscribers around the world. If you have personal comments to make or assistance to offer, you might wish to direct it to the individual sender rather than to the list as a whole. While creationism is certainly a topic that is connected to the historical sciences, there are several fora on the Internet that focus more directly on such issues. If you have Usenet access (ask your local computer folks if you aren't sure) there is a rough and tumble group called talk.origins which is full of debate, flaming, and counter-flaming on the subject of creation and evolution. There is also a listserv group called SKEPTIC on firstname.lastname@example.org that is devoted to scientific commentary on things like creationism, psychic phenomena, etc. Those looking for flying sparks, no-holds-barred discussion, and other fun things like that might want to explore one of these options. Speaking of flying sparks, it's a warm summer night here in North Carolina. For several hours the entire sky has been flashing with distant lightning, and it has just begun to pour rain. Somewhere around the state, so the radio tells me, golf-ball-sized hail has been reported. Perhaps like our friend of yesterday, the good Mr. Edward Lhuyd, I'll just sleep here in my office tonight, and hope I don't meet the same fate he did. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ Darwin-L Message Log 10: 66-102 -- June 1994 End
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