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Darwin-L Message Log 11: 1–38 — July 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 July 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.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 11: 1-38 -- JULY 1994
------------------------------------------
_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Jul  1 00:11:44 1994

Date: Fri, 01 Jul 1994 01:11:39 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner's monthly greeting
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Greetings to all Darwin-L subscribers.  On the first of every month I send
out a short note on the status of our group, along with a reminder of basic
commands.

Darwin-L is an international discussion group for professionals in the
historical sciences.  It is not devoted to any particular discipline, such
as evolutionary biology, but rather endeavors to promote interdisciplinary
comparisons among all the historical sciences.  The group is now ten months
old, and we have just 600 members from 30 countries, including Canada, South
Africa, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Sweden, Venezuela, Switzerland, Thailand,
Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Chile, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway,
Japan, Brazil, France, Turkey, Spain, Austria, Italy, Australia, the United
States, Hungary, Mexico, Colombia, and Portugal.  I am grateful to all of our
members for their interest and their many contributions, and for helping to
make Darwin-L one of the most cordial, professional, and successfully
interdisciplinary discussion groups around (even if we do have an occasional
meltdown).  ;-)

Darwin-L is occasionally a "high-volume" discussion group.  Subscribers
who feel burdened from time to time by their Darwin-L mail may wish to take
advantage of the digest option described below.

Because different mail systems work differently, not all subscribers can
see the e-mail address of the original sender of each message in the message
header (some people only see "Darwin-L" as the source).  Please include your
name and e-mail address at the end of every message you post so that everyone
can identify you and reply privately if appropriate.  Remember also that in
most cases when you type "reply" in response to a message from Darwin-L your
reply is sent to the list as a whole, rather than to the original sender.

The following are the most frequently used listserv commands that Darwin-L
members may wish to know.  All of these commands should be sent as regular
e-mail messages to the listserv address (listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu),
not to the address of the group as a whole (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu).
In each case leave the subject line of the message blank and include no
extraneous text, as the command will be read and processed by the listserv
program rather than by a person.  To join the group send the message:

     SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L <Your Name>

     For example: SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L John Smith

To cancel your subscription send the message:

     UNSUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L

If you feel burdened by the volume of mail you receive from Darwin-L you
may instruct the listserv program to deliver mail to you in digest format
(one message per day consisting of the whole day's posts bundled together).
To receive your mail in digest format send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL DIGEST

To change your subscription from digest format back to one-at-a-time
delivery send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL ACK

To temporarily suspend mail delivery (when you go on vacation, for example)
send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL POSTPONE

To resume regular delivery send either the DIGEST or ACK messages above.

For a comprehensive introduction to Darwin-L with notes on our scope and
on network etiquette, and a summary of all available commands, send the
message:

     INFO DARWIN-L

To post a public message to the group as a whole simply send it as regular
e-mail to the group's address (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu).

I thank you all for your continuing interest in Darwin-L and in the
interdisciplinary study of the historical sciences.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:2>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Jul  1 00:36:06 1994

Date: Fri, 01 Jul 1994 01:36:15 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Yale Peabody Museum gopher now available (fwd from TAXACOM)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

This announcement of a new collections gopher at the Peabody Museum of
Natural History just appeared on TAXACOM, and I thought it might be of
interest to some Darwin-L members.  On a related note, are there any useful
gopher sites for historical linguistics out there?  If so I would be
delighted to have our linguistic members tell us about them.

(On another related note, the Darwin-L gopher on rjohara.uncg.edu is
temporarily down while I fix a couple things; I hope to have it back up
tomorrow or the day after.)

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 13:25:52 EST
From: "Lawrence F. Gall" <lfg@GEORGE.PEABODY.YALE.EDU>
Subject: Yale Peabody Museum online

The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University is pleased to
announce access to its collections data via gopher.  You can find us at:

                gopher.peabody.yale.edu   port 70

The initial gopher offering is 255,268 specimens/lots, which translates to
a little under a million individual specimens.  The museum's approximate
holdings and the composition of the gopher are as follows ("+" means there
are plans to provide material later this summer):

      Curatorial                  Cataloguing   Number   Items On
       Division                   Methodology  Of Items   Gopher
      ----------                  -----------  --------  --------

      Anthropology                lot          267,000         +
      Botany/Paleobotany          individual   360,000    16,809
      Entomology                  indiv./lot   900,000     5,705
      Invertebrate Paleontology   lot          300,000    24,189
      Invertebrate Zoology        lot          300,000     8,584
      Meteorites                  indiv./lot       500         +
      Mineralogy                  individual    40,000    29,115
      Scientific Instruments      individual     2,000       573
      Vertebrate Paleontology     individual   120,000    28,132
      Vertebrate Zoology
         VZ-Herpetology           individual    14,400         +
         VZ-Ichthyology           lot            9,908     9,908
         VZ-Mammalogy             individual     4,806     4,806
         VZ-Ornithology           individual   113,648   113,648
         VZ-Osteology             individual    13,799    13,799

We will be updating the gopher data periodically; the last update times
are posted in the "Welcome and Introduction" file on the main menu.
Comments about the data (omissions, etc.) are most welcome, and are best
aimed via email at the Collections Manager(s) in the respective curatorial
discipline(s) of your interest.  You can find their addresses in the
"Staff Electronic Mail Addresses" file on the main menu.

Enjoy!

...................................................................
Lawrence F. Gall            internet:  lfg@george.peabody.yale.edu :
Systems Office                 voice:  (203)-432-9892              :
Peabody Museum, Yale Univ.       FAX:  (203)-432-9816              :
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                            :
...................................................................

--end forwarded message----------------

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<11:3>From JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU  Fri Jul  1 01:25:20 1994

Date: 30 Jun 1994 23:21:56 -0800 (PST)
From: JHOFMANN@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU
Subject: Gary Parker
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, craigm@sanger.otago.ac.nz

     As a follow-up to Eugenie Scott's discussion of Gary Parker,
in 1982 he also co-authored a book called _What is Creation
Science?_ with Henry Morris, the President of the Institute for
Creation Research. In this book his biographical information
begins as follows:

     Gary Parker earned his doctorate in biology, with a
     cognate in geology (paleontology). He is the author of
     several technical articles and four programmed
     textbooks in biology. He has earned several academic
     awards, including election to the national university
     scholastic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Science
     Faculty Fellowship from the National Science
     Foundation. His research in amphibian endocrinology
     earned his election to the American Society of
     Zoologists.

Perhaps someone has the time and energy to sort all this out, but
not me.
     At any rate, Parker is credited for the "biological" part of
_What is Creation Science_, and Morris for the part on the
"Physical Sciences". As these things go, Morris' section is more
interesting, in a maddening sort of way. He devotes quite a bit
of attention to the second law of thermodynamics and cites
critiques of "neo-Darwinism" as failing to adequately address the
thermodynamic basis for the evolution of increasingly complex
systems. In the process he quotes Jeffrey Wicken at some length
and then dismisses Wicken's own efforts to link evolving
complexity to open system thermodynamics by asking:

     "How can a universal principle which generates
     complexity ever be derived from a universal principal
     which continually generates disorder?"

This kind of rhetorical backhand of course does terrible
injustice to those such as Wicken who have labored mightily over
these issues. Nevertheless, this strategy can play well among
audiences who have little background.

Jim Hofmann
Philosophy Dept.
Cal State Fullerton

jhofmann@fullerton.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:4>From lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu  Fri Jul  1 07:20:07 1994

From: "William S. Lynn" <lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Creationists and Justification of Belief
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 94 07:20:23 -0500

In message <199407010440.AA21658@mailhub.iastate.edu>  writes:
> 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.
..
> 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
> vallen@iastate.edu                                we are still afraid
>                                              so it is better to speak
>                                                           remembering
>                                      we were never meant to survive."
>                                                 --Audre Lorde

Beautifully said Virginia! As a hermeneuticist, I could not agree more. Thanks

Bill

William S.Lynn
Geography, University of Minnesota
414 Social Science
Minneapolis, MN  55455
612/625-0133 [lynn0003@gold.tc.umn.edu]

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:5>From SHANKSN@ETSUSERV.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU  Fri Jul  1 07:56:03 1994

From: <SHANKSN@ETSUSERV.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization:  East Tennessee State University
To: Darwin <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 08:54:36 GMT-5
Subject: creationism

I agree with Bob O'Hara that Darwin-L is not an appropriate forum for
a rough and tumble fight over the ugly specter of creationism.
Nevertheless, it should not be ruled out of court as a discussion
item -- those of us who are struggling to expose our students to the
historical sciences (especially the theory of evolution) can benefit
from exchanges of information concerning what the "opposition" is up
to.  Dr. Scott's letter yesterday mentioned a species of creationist
claim according to which dinosaur's are alleged to have berthed
on the Ark (the "Jurassic Ark" hypothesis?) -- my students (many of
whom are conservative, from a religious standpoint) got a tremendous
hoot out of this claim -- it certainly helped to break the ice in
what are usually "choppy" classroom waters.  I shall probably
distribute the note about rhetoric and persuasion to my students too.
Be polite by all means -- words can hurt.  But lets also be free to
discuss the creationist opposition with frankness and honesty.  BTW,
has anyone examined _Scientists Confront Creationism_ (ed) LR Godfrey
(Norton, 1983)?  Any opinions?  Does it contain essays that might
work in the classroom?

Down here in upper east Tennessee, I am defintely Off-Broadway.  But
I can't dance, and my neighbours will tell you I can't sing either, so
I guess its just as well.

Cheers,
Niall Shanks
Shanksn@etsuserv.east-tenn-st.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:6>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Fri Jul  1 08:50:09 1994

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 09:52:38 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: Dealing with creationism

        Things seem to have swirled a bit out of control for this staid
group... as I look back the initial question was particularly pointed, to
paraphrase; a creationist road show is coming is there any where to
prepare?

        There are good books by Ruse and Kitcher that review many of the
relevant issues.  In the early 80's there was a newsletter called
Creation/Evolution.  Each issue has several articles engaging particular
issues raised by creationists.  I have the first eight issues (Summer 1980
- Spring 1982).  The one issue that I have from 1987 is published by the
"Nation Center for Science Education Inc."  I don't know if it is still
being published.

>> 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.
        In the US the squabbling that Virginia Allen mentions rises up in
the form of schoolboards, state legislators, and national political.  (I
take it as an open question whether the motivation of the rabid
creationists are issues of belief justification.)  A frightening example of
the ongoing battle for control of public schools was in Mother Jones cover
story earlier this year (I can't get their Web server up, or I would give
you the actual reference).

        There is a study of the excesses of American legislators in
Arkansas (_Creationism, science, and the law_).  I think you will find
these discussion especially interesting.  This book collects commentary and
the briefs for both sides and the judges ruling.

        The relationship between law and science is ever more interesting.
Last year a supreme court decision (Daubert et. al. vs. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals) returned a case to the lower courts (the plaintiffs wanted
to use data that was not in a peer reviewed journal, lower courts judged in
favor of the chemical company, the supreme court insisted on a a more
permissive standard and in the process exhorted lower courts to act as
gatekeepers).  Interestingly it seems that the gatekeeper role has resulted
in even more reliance on the mainstream science (what is found in
peer-reviewed journals).

        I would be interested to hear how these issues are finding their
way into the courts in other countries.

        Now just so that I don't lose my membership in good standing in
Darwin-L remember that Darwin started as a creationist too.  In a one on
one situation you may be able to invite someone who leans in that direction
to recapituate Darwin's journey.  In chapters 10 and 11 of _The growth of
biological thought_ Ernst Mayr reminds us of Darwin's evidence for
evolution and the major components of the theory of natural selection.

        cheers,

        - Jeremy

Ruse, Michael. Darwinism defended : a guide to the evolution controversies.
Addison-Wesley, Advanced Book Program/World Science Division, 1982. (QH371
.R76 1982)

Kitcher, Philip. Abusing science : the case against creationism. MIT Press,
c1982. (QH371 .K57)

Marcel C. La Follette ed. Creationism, science, and the law : the Arkansas
case. MIT Press, c1983. (KF228 .M39 C73 1983)

Mayr, Ernst. The growth of biological thought : diversity, evolution, and
inheritance. Belknap Press, 1982. (QH305 .M26)

____________________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu)
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110
(617) 736-4954
(617) 736-2405 FAX

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:7>From ncse@crl.com  Fri Jul  1 12:13:34 1994

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 09:57:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <ncse@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Creationists and Justification of Belief
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

to Virginia Allen

Thanks for your ideas on rhetoric and Whatley.  I found them enlightening.

Something about the creationists you may find interesting is their
logical structure.  They have a dichotomous view: the universe is either
creation or evolution.  Thus arguments against evolution are arguments
for creation.  They feel they do not have to come up with positve support
for their six-day, 10,000 year old special creation of all "kinds", but
just refute evolution.  The logic is correct:  "if not A, then B", if
only A and B constitute the universe.

-----------------------------------|--------------------------------------
                                   |
              Creation             |		Evolution
                                   |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

But the premises are wrong:  the universe is more than A and B -- to any
reasonable person.  Reasonable people would ask, "what about the Hopi?
the ancient Norse?  And all the other creation stories?"  Henry Morris of
the ICR has an answer -- they are all modifications of the evolution
story (honest! he says that!) so they have to be squeezed into the
evolution side of the diagram.  But then the logic falls, because on the
evolution side of the universe you have a plethora of ancient and modern
myths and legends, plus scientific evolution.  The creationists are only
interested in disproving scientific evolution, and even if they do so
(doubtful, in my view...) they will not have disproved all the OTHER
components on the Evolution side of the diagram.  Hoist on thier own petard!

There is another reason why the premises are wrong, in addition to
leaving out all views of creation other than the non-literalist Christian
view.  There are more than two alternatives, Creation and Evolution.
There is also the logical possibility that the universe (the material one
here, not the logical one!) is either steady state or cyclical, the truth
of which would disprove one or the other or both of the creationists' two
alternatives.

As rhetoric, the "disprove evolution/prove creationism" works exceedingly
well in the general public.

But then, so does the ICR's claim that "neither evolution nor creationism
is scientific because no one was there to see it happen."  Go figure.

ECS (with or without the Ph.D.)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:8>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Jul  1 12:56:48 1994

Date: Fri, 01 Jul 1994 13:56:55 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 1 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 1 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1646: GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ is born at Leipzig, Germany.  One of the
most brilliant and wide-ranging scholars of his age, Leibniz will be best
remembered by future generations for his work in mathematics and philosophy,
but his writings will span genealogy, history, jurisprudence, geology, and
linguistics as well: "The study of languages must not be conducted according
to any other principles but those of the exact sciences.  Why begin with the
unknown instead of the known?  It stands to reason that we ought to begin with
studying the modern languages which are within our reach, in order to compare
them with one another, to discover their differences and affinities, and then
to proceed to those which have preceded them in former ages, in order to show
their filiation and their origin, and then to ascend step by step to the most
ancient tongues, the analysis of which must lead us to the only trustworthy
conclusions."

1858: CHARLES LYELL and JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER present three short papers by
Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace before the meeting of the Linnean
Society at London, addressing their introduction to the Society's secretary,
John Joseph Bennett:

  My Dear Sir, --
    The accompanying papers, which we have the honour of communicating to the
  Linnean Society, and which all relate to the same subject, viz. the Laws
  which affect the Production of Varieties, Races, and Species, contain the
  results of the investigations of two indefatigable naturalists, Mr. Charles
  Darwin and Mr. Alfred Wallace.
    These gentlemen having, independently and unknown to one another,
  conceived the same very ingenious theory to account for the appearance and
  perpetuation of varieties and of specific forms on our planet, may both
  fairly claim the merit of being original thinkers in this important line of
  inquiry; but neither of them having published his views, though Mr. Darwin
  has for many years past been repeatedly urged by us to do so, and both
  authors having now unreservedly placed their papers in our hands, we think
  it would best promote the interests of science that a selection from them
  should be laid before the Linnean Society.
    Taken in order of their dates, they consist of: --
    1. Extracts from a MS. work on Species, by Mr. Darwin, which was sketched
  in 1839, and copied in 1844, when the copy was read by Dr. Hooker, and its
  contents afterwards communicated to Sir Charles Lyell.  The first Part is
  devoted to "The Variation of Organic Beings under Domestication and in the
  Natural State;" and the second chapter of that Part, from which we propose
  to read to the Society the extracts referred to, is headed, "On the
  Variation of Organic Beings in a state of Nature; on the Natural Means of
  Selection; on the Comparison of Domestic Races and true Species."
    2. An abstract of a private letter addressed to Professor Asa Gray, of
  Boston, U.S., in October 1857, by Mr. Darwin, in which he repeats his views,
  and which shows that these remained unaltered from 1839 to 1857.
    3. An Essay by Mr. Wallace, entitled "On the Tendency of Varieties to
  depart indefinitely from the Original Type."  This was written at Ternate in
  February 1858, for the perusal of his friend and correspondent Mr. Darwin,
  and sent to him with the expressed wish that is should be forwarded to Sir
  Charles Lyell, if Mr. Darwin thought it sufficiently novel and interesting.
  So highly did Mr. Darwin appreciate the value of the views therein set
  forth, that he proposed, in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, to obtain Mr.
  Wallace's consent to allow the Essay to be published as soon as possible.
  Of this step we highly approved, provided Mr. Darwin did not withhold from
  the public, as he was strongly inclined to do (in favour of Mr. Wallace),
  the memoir which he had himself written on the same subject, and which, as
  before stated, one of us had perused in 1844, and the contents of which we
  had both of us been privy to for many years.  On representing this to Mr.
  Darwin, he gave us permission to make what use we thought proper of his
  memoir, &c.; and in adopting our present course, of presenting it to the
  Linnean Society, we have explained to him that we are not solely considering
  the relative claims to priority of himself and his friend, but the interests
  of science generally; for we feel it to be desirable that views founded on
  a wide deduction from facts, and matured by years of reflection, should
  constitute at once a goal from which others may start, and that while the
  scientific world is waiting for the appearance of Mr. Darwin's complete
  work, some of the leading results of his labours, as well as those of his
  able correspondent, should together be laid before the public.
    We have the honour to be yours very obediently,
      Charles Lyell    Jos. D. Hooker

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
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (152.13.44.19).

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:9>From ncse@crl.com  Fri Jul  1 13:12:17 1994

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 10:50:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <ncse@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Dealing with creationism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Re: Jeremy Creighton's note (and useful references):

There is a journal called *Creation/Evolution* that used to be published
by the American Humanist Association, and a newsletter,
*Creation/Evolution* published by the national Center for Science
Education, Inc. (NCSE)  The journal published evaluations of the
creationists' "scientific" positions, and the newsletter, as newsletters
are wont, published "current events."  Both publications exist, and
continue to serve.

The AHA sold the journal to NCSE a couple of years ago, and the newsletter
was renamed *NCSE Reports*, which now publishes both the journal and the
newsletter.

The newsletter is published quarterly and the journal twice a year.  Both
are available through membership in NCSE ($25/year), and if I do say so
myself, anyone interested in the creation/science controversy should avail
themselves of these publications.

The Mother Jones piece by Mark Zingarelli was published in the March/April
issue, but I have reprints if anyone wants a copy.  Zingarelli is NCSE's
liaison for the state of Washington, and describes how his school district
was virtually taken over by the religious right.  Moderate elements of the
community didn't pay much attention until the school board scheduled Dr.
Donald Chittick, a creationist physicist, to lecture in the science
classes -- to "balance" the textbooks that taught "only" evolution.  It's
a good story, and one that I hear many times.

Copies of the MoJo article are available, as well as info on NCSE at the
following address:

NCSE
1328 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-1404
510-526-1674
ncse@crl.com

ECS

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:10>From ncse@crl.com  Fri Jul  1 14:43:37 1994

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 12:35:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <ncse@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Creationist visitor
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Dear Bob Canary,

Sorry to offend re: the Ball State reference.  As a graduate of midwestern
state universities, I surely do not look down my patrician nose at such
institutions.  One tends to write e-mail without re-editing, and I
perhaps foolishly assumed my "off Broadway" comment would be interpreted
as I intended it -- that Gary Parker has a legitimate degree (compared to
some creation "scientists") but that it isn't from a highly presigious,
internationally well-known institution.  The same can be said for my
Ph.D. (only now I'll probably hear from the Mizzou alumni association --
Jeez.)

As a nonprofit manager, I sometimes find it necessary or at least useful
to list my credentials when introducing myself or NCSE.  (NCSE, I guess
you could say, is sort of an "off Broadway" institution!) I use Ph.D. on
occasion because people on meeting me or dealing with the organization I
work for might legitimately want to know whether I am an M.D., an O.D., a
D.D.S., an L.L.D., a D.C. (perish the thought) an Ed.D (like Gary
Parker!), or whatever.  After all, this is a *science* education
organization, and it is of interest to people who is running the show.  I
used my degree for identification much less frequently when I was at the
university; in the business/public world, one uses different conventions.

Eugenie C. Scott

ncse@crl.com
NCSE
1328 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-1404
510-526-1674

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:11>From bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Fri Jul  1 16:51:56 1994

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 11:52:07 -1000 (HST)
From: Joel Bradshaw <bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu>
Subject: Re: Creationists and Justification of Belief
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On reading Virginia Allen's wise and thoughtful essay after the heated
exchanges on this topic, I was reminded yet again that the smoke of
knowledge does not always signal the presence of the fires of wisdom. In
my own mind, the humanities are essentially a search for wisdom, while the
sciences are a search for knowledge. Insofar as the most essential
ingredients in wisdom are breadth and clarity of understanding, the
sciences are indispensable to the quest. Neither can do without the other.
That's why this kind of forum is so useful, especially if it gets all of
us out of the habit of preaching only to the converted and forces us to
explain our underlying assumptions. An 'inside the ivory tower' mentality
is just as dangerous to the future of scholarly discourse as the infamous
'inside the Beltway' mentality is to political discourse.

Joel Bradshaw
bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:12>From SOUSLEY@utkvx.utk.edu  Fri Jul  1 18:30:12 1994

Date: Fri, 01 Jul 1994 19:30:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Ousley <SOUSLEY@utkvx.utk.edu>
Subject: Creationism, playing with fire
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Joel Bradshaw (bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu) wrote:

>I was reminded yet again that the smoke of knowledge does not always
>signal the presence of the fires of wisdom. In my own mind, the humanities
>are essentially a search for wisdom, while the sciences are a search for
>knowledge. Insofar as the most essential ingredients in wisdom are breadth
>and clarity of understanding, the sciences are indispensable to the quest.
>Neither can do without the other.

   I just don't get what the humanities have to do with this discussion. As
far as the humanities, are you telling us that studying history is a search
for wisdom? Or is it a search for knowledge, to find out what happened, and
hopefully who did it and why?

     This isnt a question of religion or theology vs. science; its a
question of whether studies subjugated to an inflexible ideology can
legitimately called "science" (or even "theology"). Researchers that are
firmly entrenched in specific evolutionary theories (punc. eq. vs. phyl.
grad.) who prove the undeniability of their beliefs by ignoring certain
aspects of their data are also not doing science, especially when another
researcher can take essentially the same data and show how it fits an
opposing theory better (eg. Trilobites, mtDNA).  A "better fit" can
also be remarkably subjective, and its hard enough at times to show
whether results fail to reject a particular hypothesis.

   Evolution is a powerful theory that explains a lot about variation and
diversity.  But there are quirks and exceptions to many of the general
rules of evolution, and these are what the creationists seize upon. These
exceptions are best dealt with scientifically. As a poster noted before,
"disproving" some aspects of evolution in certain cases does not prove
creationism. If you are religious, you should base your beliefs on your
faith, which comes from your heart and soul, not a pseudoscience
subservient to a literal interpretation of the bible. Needless to say,
there are many Christians who do not subscribe to a literal interpretation
of the bible.

   Also, it should be the other way around with smoke and fire.  Doesnt one
need knowledge (fire) to have wisdom (smoke)? Can one have breadth and
clarity of understanding without knowledge?  Isnt wisdom essentially
knowledge plus experience, and must be demonstrated, by good research
decisions and conclusions?  Before you get smoke, you need fire.  To get
fire, you need matches (or some ingniting device).  Or on the other hand,
one could pray for a lightning strike or spontaneous combustion, or even
for fire to appear unexplainably and unscientifically. Matches work better
for me.

Steve

         @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
         @                                                         @
         @ Steve Ousley                       O:615-974-4408       @
         @ Department of Anthropology       FAX:615-974-2686       @
         @ 252 South Stadium Hall                                  @
         @ Knoxville, TN 37996-0720      SOUSLEY@UTKVX.UTK.EDU     @
         @                                                         @
         @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:13>From bruce_weber@qmail.fullerton.edu  Fri Jul  1 19:39:07 1994

Date: 1 Jul 1994 15:49:00 -0800
From: "Bruce Weber" <bruce_weber@qmail.fullerton.edu>
Subject: Re: Gary Parker
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Jim Hofmann makes a good point by raising the issue of the thermodynamics of
open systems and the properties of "self-organizing" systems.   Wicken and a
number of other authors have produced a large literature on this subject.  One
can go beyond the rhetoric by producing a large number of such self-organizing
systems, both physical and biological, which demonstrate that in fact the
principle of entropy production can parallel increase of organization.  In my
own experience and that of my colleague David Depew emphasis on such phenomena
can be effective when dealing with an audience of creationists.
Bruce Weber
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
California State University, Fullerton
bhweber@fullerton.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:14>From zinjman@uog9.uog.edu  Sat Jul  2 23:42:13 1994

Date: Sat, 2 Jul 1994 16:16:25 +0000 (WET)
From: "Gary M.Z. Heathcote" <zinjman@uog9.uog.edu>
Subject: Re: Creationist visitor
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Just a minor nit to report, in defense of my alma mater (see below):

=====================================================================
| Dr. Gary Heathcote         | voice: {671}-734-9527                |
| Anthropology Lab           | fax: {671}-734-7930                  |
| University of Guam         | addr:  zinjman@uog.edu               |
| House 32, Dean's Circle    |                                      |
| UOG Station, Mangilao      | coordinates: 13.5N, 144.7E           |
| Guam       U.S.A. 96923    | GMT +10, EST +15                     |
=====================================================================

On Thu, 30 Jun 1994, Eugenie C. Scott wrote:

> Dear Dr. Marshall,
>
> I hope I can help you a bit with Gary Parker.  I an 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.

Ball State is located in Muncie, Indiana (dubbed "Middletown, USA" in a
classical sociological study of Middle America).   At the time that
Parker was there, the college of education was probably one of its pockets
of relative excellence.   I don't know about the system in place, then,
for granting Master's degrees, but - at that time - you could obtain a
B.A. in physics and a B.S. in fine arts.   The "S" meant that you hadn't
taken a second language course, and the "A" meant that you had.   I
obtained a B.S. (yes, it was not known as a B.Sc.) in Anthropology (1969),
meaning that I didn't do a second language course (well, aside from Latin
and Greek derivatives, which everyone had to take).   There were some
fine people/courses there, during that era.   The Anthropology program
was - overall - quite sound to good.   And there were some gifted
teachers and researchers in Biology.   But, as Dr. Scott points out, an
advanced degree from a smallish, state-supported school means what it
means (or, can mean nothing ..... we all know of brilliant scholars who
emerge from lacklustre programs, and other workers with "the right"
academic pedigrees who disappoint).....enough said.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:15>From craigm@sanger.otago.ac.nz  Sun Jul  3 18:57:06 1994

From: craigm@sanger.otago.ac.nz (Craig Marshall)
Subject: Re: Creationist visitor
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 1994 11:54:03 +1200 (NZST)

My thanks to all those who supplied me with information about Gary
Parker (and I apologize for the slip up with Ball State and Dr Ball);
the information was very useful. In contrast to his other lectures,
about half the audience was sceptical of creation science and this
presumably influenced the lecture we received. Dr Parker was very
entertaining and gave a stimulating lecture, and was prepared to field
questions at the end of his talk.

I have (or am about to) prepared a brief outline of Dr Parker's
lecture and will send that to those who gave me substantive
information. If anyone else wants it, let me know.

Hopefully, this posting will not stimulate the melt-down that my
previous remarks did :-) Darwin-l was considerably more helpful in
providing me with solid information than was the "skeptic" newsgroup.

--
        Craig Marshall          	craigm@sanger.otago.ac.nz
        Biochemistry Department 	Phone 	+64 3 479 7570
        University of Otago     	Fax	+64 3 479 7866

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:16>From bkatz@dh.com  Tue Jul  5 05:43:00 1994

Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 06:36:46 -0600 (CST)
From: "Boris Katz" <bkatz@dh.com>
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: well known anthropologists in industrial or corporate anthropology

In message Sun, 3 Jul 1994 19:01:32 -0500,
  Sushil Oswal <oswal@KNUTH.MTSU.EDU>  writes:

> Anyone at this time on the3 net who can list the names and schools of the
> well-known anthropologists who have either done field work in industry,
> particularly at corporate-level, or who teach courses in this field?  I
> need some advice.

About two years ago, Lionel Tiger had a very interesting graduate seminar
"Anthropology of Industrial Society" at Rutgers University.  He also
had some interesting stories from his consulting for the military.

Boris Katz
bkatz@dh.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:17>From witkowsk@cshl.org  Tue Jul  5 09:22:23 1994

Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 10:24:09 -0500
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: witkowsk@cshl.org (J. A. Witkowski, Banbury Center, CSHL)
Subject: Re: Creationism, playing with fire

>Joel Bradshaw (bradshaw@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu) wrote:
>
>>I was reminded yet again that the smoke of knowledge does not always
>>signal the presence of the fires of wisdom. In my own mind, the humanities
>>are essentially a search for wisdom, while the sciences are a search for
>>knowledge. Insofar as the most essential ingredients in wisdom are breadth
>>and clarity of understanding, the sciences are indispensable to the quest.
>>Neither can do without the other.

And Steve Ousley responded:

>   ... it should be the other way around with smoke and fire.  Doesnt one
>need knowledge (fire) to have wisdom (smoke)? Can one have breadth and
>clarity of understanding without knowledge?  Isnt wisdom essentially
>knowledge plus experience, and must be demonstrated, by good research
>decisions and conclusions?  Before you get smoke, you need fire.  To get
>fire, you need matches (or some ingniting device).  Or on the other hand,
>one could pray for a lightning strike or spontaneous combustion, or even
>for fire to appear unexplainably and unscientifically. Matches work better
>for me.

I'm not sure about the analogy but the sentiment is right on target. It
seems to me that there is a general belief that wisdom can exist
independently of knowledge - that is there is no need to test that wisdom
against what is observable in the world. Much of the nonsense in the world
- not just creationism - is a consequence of that belief.

Jan A. Witkowski, Ph.D.
Banbury Center
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
PO Box 534
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724-0534
(516) 549-0507
(516) 549-0672 [fax]
witkowsk@cshl.org

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:18>From antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu  Tue Jul  5 12:42:52 1994

From: antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu (Deborah Duchon)
Subject: Re: well known anthropologists in industrial or corporate anthropology
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 13:43:09 -0500 (EDT)

> In message Sun, 3 Jul 1994 19:01:32 -0500,
>   Sushil Oswal <oswal@KNUTH.MTSU.EDU>  writes:
>
> > Anyone at this time on the3 net who can list the names and schools of the
> > well-known anthropologists who have either done field work in industry,
> > particularly at corporate-level, or who teach courses in this field?  I
> > need some advice.

Forgive me if this is a repeat -- I've been of the Net for a few days.
Marietta Baba at Wayne State (Detroit) does a lot of work with General
Motors and would probably qualify as "well-known." Another one is June
Nash.

Deborah Duchon
antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu
Georgia State University
404/651-1038

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:19>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Tue Jul  5 16:29:34 1994

Date: Tue, 05 Jul 1994 16:37:55 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

It has always seemed to me that in arguing about creationism and evolution
one ought to make a fairly sharp distinction between professional creationist
debaters and students of various sorts.  I am thus in sympathy with Niall
Shanks who was describing the challenge of teaching evolution to
undergraduates who come from a religious background.  These students, unlike
the professional debaters, are young, inexperienced, and often insecure, and
it is surely both rhetorically unwise as well as just inconsiderate to treat
them harshly.  Indeed, harsh treatment of such students is more likely to
produce the reverse of the desired effect.  Anyone who was ever ridiculed
as a student in any class -- science, mathematics, literature, history, or
home economics, and that most likely includes all of us at one time or
another -- must be able to remember that such treatment was not conducive
to learning.

An experience I had a year or so ago might make for an interesting
comparison.  A fellow from England visited UNCG to participate in a debate
on the Shakespeare authorship question.  This is the old question of whether
the plays attributed to Shakespeare were in fact written by the actor of that
name from Stratford-on-Avon, or were instead written by the Earl of Oxford.
This is a classic problem of historical inference, just like many others we
face in the historical sciences.  I knew little of the controversy before I
attended the debate, apart from the fact that no one to speak of in the
academic community takes the "Oxfordian" position seriously.  The British
visitor was supporting the Oxfordian position, and someone from the local
English department was opposing him.  The Oxfordian spoke politely, calmly,
and addressed his evidence; the local Stratfordian was sarcastic and made ad
hominem remarks about previous supporters of the Oxfordian position. As an
ignorant member of the audience, I came away wondering whether there might be
something to the Oxfordian position after all; it is very unlikely that there
is, but the harsh rhetoric of the Stratfordian had certainly backfired for me
as a listener.

Folks interested in the scope of creationist literature would find the
following very valuable:

  McIver, Tom.  1992.  _Anti-Evolution: A Reader's Guide to Writings
  Before and After Darwin_.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

This is an extremely comprehensive and extensively annotated bibliography
of nearly 2000 anti-evolutionary publications from the nineteenth century
to the present.  The annotations summarize the arguments made in many of the
works, and often include biographical information about the authors.

I would think that one of the most important things one could get students
to understand regarding evolutionary biology is that it is an _historical_
science: it contains both claims about observable processes in the present,
and also claims about the occurrence of particular events in the past.  It
might be possible to introduce the topic by comparing it with historical
linguistics, for example.  In one class I used the descent of the Romance
languages from Latin as a way of explaining Darwin's discussion of his
evolutionary tree diagram, and that seemed to work quite well with many
students.  It has always struck me as a mistake to teach evolution beginning
with genetics; biogeography or elementary systematics would be much better.
Darwin didn't know anything about genetics, and he got the big picture
mostly right.  Furthermore, he was imbedded in a history-thinking culture,
where historical geology, not experimental physics, was a scientific ideal.
Not only that, the very tools of historical inference that were being
developed in many different areas at the time were also being applied to
the historical problem of reconstructing the text of the Bible, as practiced
by the school of "Higher Criticism" as it was called.

This was a bit of a rambling note; sorry.  Do any of our members happen
to know more about the nineteenth-century Higher Criticism movement as an
example of historical science?

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:20>From N.Whyte@Queens-Belfast.ac.uk  Wed Jul  6 08:54:28 1994

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 94 14:51 GMT
From: "n.whyte" <N.Whyte@Queens-Belfast.AC.UK>
To: DARWIN-L <DARWIN-L@UKANAIX.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: P. Bowler: "Evolution: The History of an Idea"

Peter Bowler, my PhD supervisor, is (as he explains below)
considering possible revisions of his well-known textbook,
_Evolution:_The_History_of_an_Idea_. He has asked me (with the
approval of Bob O'Hara) to distribute the attached questionnaire
on Darwin-L, since he has not yet got access to the Net. Replies
should be sent to me, Nicholas Whyte, by E-Mail to SAG0001 @
V2.QUB.AC.UK; or by post to Peter Bowler at the Department of
Social Anthropology, Queen's University of Belfast, BT7 1NN.
There is no real point in replying to DARWIN-L as a list since
Peter Bowler will not be able to participate in the discussion!

Thanks in advance

Nicholas Whyte
Queen's University of Belfast
SAG0001@V2.QUB.AC.UK

**************************************************************

        Readers of Darwin-L are invited to take part in a
                             Survey
                  for a proposed new edition of
                        Peter J. Bowler,
               _Evolution:_The_History_of_an_Idea_
          (University of California Press, 1983/1989)

This textbook has been in print for over ten years now, with a
second edition that was only slightly modified.  The press is
interested in the idea of publishing a major revision, and the
purpose of this questionnaire is to gather information on how
people use the book, in the hope that it will serve as a guide in
preparing the revised version.  If you have used the book,
especially for teaching, please give your responses to the points
raised below, and provide any other information on what you like
or do not like about the existing text.  Please indicate if there
are any additional topics that you think should be covered.  If
you don't use the book for a specific reason, please say why.

The original manuscript was prepared before the age of
wordprocessors, so it does not exist on disk.  Rather than having
it scanned, it is planned to rewrite from scratch so there can be
complete flexibility in modifying the original text.  The
manuscript was severely mauled by an intrusive copyeditor, so the
author's own language can now be restored.

Because the launch of the book was quite a gamble, the original
text was severely cut and no illustrations were allowed beyond
line diagrams.  It is hoped that now the book is well
established, the new edition can be a bit longer.  A few more
details can be given to put some flesh on the bare bones of the
existing account.  In particular, some quotations from original
sources can be added (all but one were cut from the first edition
-- no prizes for identifying the one that remains!).  Please
indicate if you approve of this.  In particular, please indicate
if you would like illustrations, e.g. reproductions of original
pictures of fossils etc., portraits, diagrams, maps, evolutionary
trees (a strong positive response on this would help to convince
the publisher that it is worth doing).

Detailed proposals and queries which go beyond the more obvious
need for updating/revision:

Chap. 2.  Cut some of the early geology (the literature on this
is better now).  Create a new chapter called (e.g.) "Genesis and
Natural History, 1500-1700" to include something on the
Renaissance, some of the existing material on theories of the
earth, the argument from design, and the mechanical philosophy.

Chap. 4.  Do people find this excursion into wider issues useful?

Chap. 8.  Call this "Darwinism: the Cultural Impact" and add some
extra topics, especially Darwinism and literature.

Create a new chapter "8A" called "Reconstructing the History of
Life" to include evolutionary morphology, paleontology and
biogeography, 1870s to 1940s (or to the present?).  This will
include the material on human origins and paleoanthropology.
N.B. the author is currently finishing a detailed survey of this
area to be published as Life's Splendid Drama (Univ. of Chicago
Press).

Chap. 12.  "Modern Debates" will have to be updated.  Suggestions
welcomed.

Responses to all these ideas will be useful, in addition to
general information on likes and dislikes.

Peter J. Bowler
5 July 1994

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:21>From fwg1@cornell.edu  Wed Jul  6 09:08:21 1994

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 1994 10:09:13 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: fwg1@cornell.edu (Frederic Gleach)
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences

No apologies for rambling necessary, Bob.  That was a nice summation of a
position I suspect many of us agree with, and your point on the hazards of
invective is quite apropos.  As someone whose understanding of genetics is
relatively unsophisticated, and yet who teaches evolution (although I
should note, as an historical anthropologist who works with Native
Americans, I do teach some other forms of creation at times, too!), I
particularly appreciate your note on Darwin's own understanding.  And I'd
like to echo your request for more information on the school of Higher
Criticism.  My familiarity with the topic of Biblical research is pretty
much limited to twentieth-century work, I'm afraid!
        Thanks, as usual!
        Fred

BTW, I should note that I'll be signing off here at Cornell later this
month, to reappear next month at Transylvania University, home of
Constantine Rafinesque!
*******************************************************************
          Frederic W. Gleach   (fwg1@cornell.edu)
       Anthropology Department, Cornell University
           (607) 255-6779

I long ago decided that anything that could be finished in my lifetime was
necessarily too small an affair to engross my full interest --Ernest Dewitt
Burton
*******************************************************************

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:22>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Jul  6 15:48:44 1994

Date: Wed, 06 Jul 1994 16:49:24 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 6 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 6 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1686: ANTOINE DE JUSSIEU is born at Lyons, France.  The son of a pharmacist,
Jussieu will receive his medical degree at Montpellier where he will study
with the botanist Pierre Magnol.  He will later travel to Paris to work with
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort.  Shortly after Tournefort's death, Jussieu will
succeed him as professor of botany at the Jardin du Roi, and he will remain
there for the rest of his life.  His influence as a teacher will be far
reaching, and his two younger brothers, Bernard and Joseph, as well as his
nephew Antoine-Laurent, will also become celebrated botanists.  Jussieu will
publish the first botanical description of coffee and will encourage its
cultivation; he will recognize that fungi are one of the components of
lichens; and he will describe the many fossil ferns found in the Lyons coal
mines.  His interest in fossils and "figured stones" will lead him also to the
study of archeology and the production of prehistoric flint tools.  He will
die in Paris in 1758.

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
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (152.13.44.19).

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:23>From maisel@Sdsc.Edu  Wed Jul  6 16:56:56 1994

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 94 21:57:40 GMT
From: maisel@Sdsc.Edu (Merry Maisel, 619-534-5127)
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Hello,

A reference on the subject Bob inquired about:

God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity
and Science, edited by David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, Univ.
of California Press, 1986; esp. essays by Rudwick, Moore, Dupree, Gregory,
and Numbers.

M. Maisel
maisel@sdsc.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:24>From john.wilkins1@udev.monash.edu.au  Wed Jul  6 19:11:01 1994

Date: Thu, 07 Jul 1994 10:10:34 +1000
From: John Wilkins <john.wilkins1@udev.monash.edu.au>
Subject: Re:  Creationism and teachin
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Reply to: Re> Creationism and teaching the historical sciences

From what I remember of my theological studies, and a historiography subject
I did some ten years ago, Higher Criticism coevolved with the von Rankean
"wie es eigentich gewesen" school of "scientific, objective" historigraphy.
There was a book, c1969, that gave a very good summary of New Testament
studies (author Stephen Neill?) in the preceding century.

John Wilkins - Manager, Publishing, Monash University,
Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168 [Melbourne] Australia
Internet: john.wilkins@udev.monash.edu.au
Tel: (+613) 905 6009; fax: 905 6029
====Welcome to the food chain====

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:25>From ncse@crl.com  Wed Jul  6 19:19:49 1994

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 1994 16:23:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <ncse@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

You are right on the money with this one.  Polls show that something like
90% of Americans are theists (have some belief in a diety.)
Consistantly, polls of adult Americans show that close to half (47% in
late 1993, Gallup) agree that "humans were created pretty much in their
present form about 10,000 years ago", the essence of young-earth
creationism.

The math is easy.  Duane Gish et al tell our students that they have to
choose between being religious and "believing" in evolution.  If we give
them the same choice (as does William Provine, by the way), we aren't
going to have very many evolutionists.

At the K-12 level, it is my experience that the number of teachers who
are teaching that evolution and religion are dichotomous choices is
vanishingly small.  I believe (from my experience as a college professor,
and continuing contact with colleagues) that the number at the college
level is somewhat higher, but I do not think there is a plurality of
professors pushing atheism.  No one to my knowledge has done a study, but
if anyone knows of one, I'd be grateful for a reference.

I believe we can teach good science, teach about evolution, and let
students make their own accommodation between what they get in our
classes and what they BRING to our classes by way of religion,
philosophy, world view, or whatever.  We step outside of science if we
insist on cramming philosophical naturalism down student throats along
with our data and theory on evolution.  It is outside of science, but it
is also bad strategy for the very reasons DARWIN states: a creationist
student is not going to be able to learn your point of view if he/she
feels his ideas are ridiculed.

Besies, the dichotomy is a false one: Catholicism, non-Orthodox Judaism,
and the majority of Protestant sects are not biblical literalist in their
theology, and it is only biblical literalists that have a problem with
evolution.  Most religious individuals, if they think about it, can view
evolution as having taken place, but leave room for their God as
creator.  The real creation/evolution conflict is over those who believe
that God created everything in the universe at one time in its present
form, and those who don't.  Those who don't include many religious people.

If anyone is interested, I have a brochure called, "The Evolution of
Creationism."  E-mail me your snailmail address and I'll send it out.

Eugenie

Eugenie C. Scott
NCSE
1328 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-1404
510-526-1674
FAX: 510-526-1675
1-800-290-6006

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:26>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Jul  6 21:52:35 1994

Date: Wed, 06 Jul 1994 22:53:22 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Transylvania University
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

I was delighted to read that Fred Gleach is moving shortly to Transylvania
University in Lexington, Kentucky, I assume to join the faculty, yes?  I was
for one brief shining moment (a whole month actually) a Distinguished
Visiting Professor of Science at Transylvania a couple of years ago.  From
this pinnacle I returned to being a postdoc, and have retained that lowly
station ever since, probably never again to rise to such a height.  (It's
terrible to recognize that the high point of one's career already lies in the
past.)  ;-)

Transylvania, as Fred mentioned, was the home of the nineteenth-century
naturalist Constantine Rafinesque, and I thought Fred might be interested to
know (if he doesn't already) that Transylvania has a rather distinguished
record in natural history; one that many other instututions should envy. It
is one of the oldest schools in the United States, having been founded in the
late 1700s.  The name "Transylvania", which seems odd today, is in fact an
old name for Kentucky, which was "through the woods" and on the western
frontier of the country.  Although it is now a liberal arts college with
about 1000 students, it was in fact the home of the first medical school in
the West, and from around 1800 to 1860 it produced almost all the physicians
in the entire western region of the country.  The medical school was closed
around 1860, but what Fred may be pleased to discover is that the medical
school's library was retained intact, and has been almost untouched since
1860.  When I visited there I was absolutely astonished at the collection;
it emphasizes medicine, of course, but is really a complete library of early
nineteenth-century natural history, with almost every major author of the
period represented, along with most of the major journals (many of them still
in wrappers and uncut).  For a small college like Transylvania it must surely
be one of the finest collections of its kind in the country.  Several
subsequent donations have enriched the collection even further such that it
now contains an Audubon elephant folio (that's right), and complete first
edition sets of all of Darwin and Wallace (that's right too).  The whole is
supplemented by a collection of nineteenth-century scientific instruments.

A catalogue of the library has been published:

   _Catalogue of the Transylvania University Medical Library_, 1987.
   Lexington, Kentucky: Transylvania University Press.  [635 pp!]

There is also a history of science at Transylvania:

  Gobar, A., & J. H. Hamon.  1982.  _A Lamp in the Forest: Natural Philosophy
  in Transylvania University: 1799-1859_.  Lexington: Transylvania University
  Press.

It is interesting to note that most of the medical faculty at Transylvania in
the early 1800s had gotten their degrees from Edinburgh, and Adrian Desmond
has recently shown in his _Politics of Evolution_ that Edinburgh (which
Darwin attended for a while) was a hotbed of radical evolutionism right
around this time.

Fred might also be pleased to know that there are some first rate teaching
collections in natural history there also, though they are in desperate need
of curation.  (I tried to convince them to hire me permanently, but no luck
yet. ;-)  There is a collection of birds obtained by exchange from the
Smithsonian in the late 1800s, and an outstanding skeletal collection
assembled by a recent faculty member.  Also a nice small geological
collection that includes some fossils (although they don't have a geologist
any more).

This is all by way of saying, I suppose, that Fred is in for a treat, and
that any folks interested in the history of science and who live in the
vicinity of Kentucky but haven't visited Transylvania would certainly enjoy
doing so.  And I almost forgot: the birthplace of Thomas Hunt Morgan, founder
of modern genetics, is one block down the street.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:27>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu  Thu Jul  7 08:31:23 1994

Date: Thu, 07 Jul 1994 09:33:38 -0500 (EST)
From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University at Buffalo

It never ceases to amaze me how many people do seem to what I would
personally consider contradictory beliefs in their head at the same time.
I teach a course  called Creation:  Myth, Origins, and the Evolution of
Life on Earth.  We deal with  creation stories (genesi, Enuma elish, and
some Greek origin myths.  I then do origin of life theories ie Carins
Smith and other,  a unit on darwinian theory and finish up with some
creation stories as well as modern "scientific"  stories about human
evolution.  Most of the student are practicing Christians  and they
say they believe evolutionary tehory, but this does not shake their
faith in any way.  But what I have found that what does make them
question their religious beliefs consistently is not the so called
scientific part of the course but the myths.  Many say they beleive
Genesis, but fully accept that if they had been raised say in China
they would believe in Buddha .  I dont' think many of them fully
realize the impact  of what they are saying, but at least I am pleased
that the issue gets raised for them.  As others have mentioned I
think you have to be very careful pushing a particular line.  Although
on exams I often present them with a quote of Will Provine's  ie the
Darwinian Revolution will be complete when we all become atheists.  The
vast majority disagree and then write why they think religion will
remain important.
Eugenie-- you didn't post your own E mail address but
I would appreciate a copy of the article on Creationsm
Sherrie Lyons
217 Windermere Blvd
Amherst NY 14226
vislyons@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:28>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA  Thu Jul  7 09:46:45 1994

Date: Thu, 07 Jul 1994 10:46:11 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Creationism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

        Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that creationism is an
issue that is not taken seriously, in fact, that is not even considered,
anywhere but in the United States, the kingdom of looney tunes religions
and other outlandish right-wing movements of every stripe, e.g. Moonies,
survivalists, pro-lifers, Jim Jones and his followers, David Koresh and
his disciples, the NRA, etc. Poor ol' Darwin doesn't stand a chance against
these kinds of illuminati.
	For a country that makes such a production about the separation
of church and state, the US seems somewhat paradoxically to be unable to
rid itself of or at least minimize the influence of these merchants of
guns and bibles. Those of us who live next door look at all this in
amazement and wonder what it is that has given rise to this insanity and
why it is that it can't be stamped out.
	Can anybody tell us?

Marc Picard

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:29>From staddon@psych.duke.edu  Thu Jul  7 09:49:53 1994

Date: Thu, 7 Jul 94 10:50:44 EDT
From: staddon@psych.duke.edu (John Staddon)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences

TO: Sherrie Lyons

I think that an evolutionary case can be made for the "cultural
fitness" of at least some unprovable beliefs, because no culture
can judge the ultimate effectiveness (for cultural survival) of
every belief that may ultimately be valuable.  The argument is
the same, for cultural evolution, as the argument for instinct in
evolution at the level of the individual.  No individual animal
can afford to rely on learning for every eventuality: some things
need to be built in.

Thus, Sherrie's students who believe in Christianity while
recognizing that if they had been born in India they would be
equally convinced of Hinduism may not be as inconsistent as they
sound.

The whole argument is too long to spell out here (I have a
summary in my little book _Behaviorism: Mind, Mechanism and
Society_, which came out last year), but I would appreciate any
reactions to it.

John Staddon (staddon@psych.duke.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:30>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Thu Jul  7 10:40:24 1994

Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 11:43:34 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: making room

To Bob O'Hara and the Darwin-List,

        I read Bob's note with interest.  The comments about the rhetorical
advantages of calm and polite discourse leave me in both agreement and
disagreement.  I agree strongly that no person should be ridiculed and that
coaxing someone out of defensiveness is a real challenge.  But does this
really extend to ideas.  There _are_ discredited notions and passions about
ideas are so rare these days.  So knocking off certain positions
categorically is sometimes honest.  I can't give you an easy test to know
when passion slides into self-righteousness, and as a methodological
principle (sensu Feyerabend) keeping an ever open mind is probably wise and
pragmatic.  Still I find this kind of tinderbox issue fascinating because
we really have 2 different points of view.  Biblical literalism is not a
coherent position... it may be that holding it, or rather the human ability
to hold opinions without demanding a minimal set of contradictions, is a
deep feature of survivability in a situation with limited knowledge.  In
other words an "adaptation."  This is just the sort of thing that Michael
"more Darwinian than Darwin" Ruse would want us to wonder about.

        Two final points.
        (1) I am shoulder to shoulder with you regarding the dangerous
rhetorical move of insulting others.  I was going back through some
'species' definition papers (from _Biology and Philosophy_ 1987-88) last
night and read (again) with disappointment Michael "species are
individuals" Ghiselin's essay.  Rather than engage the interesting
questions brought up by his detractors he claims that they are too lazy to
use his approach.  Not a convincing theme, but I appreciate the
forthrightness.

        (2) Even though it is difficult to grapple with we, must ask "why
creationism as a plank of _these_ religious groups under the umbrella of a
particular political agenda (the new right pseudopodia of the Republican
party in the USA) and why now?*  I don't have a complete answer, or even a
tentative analysis but it does occur to me that the beneficiaries of this
kind of (pseudo?) debate are those whose interests lie in diverting
attention from other (much more) important social issues.  All of the
energy that groups like Eugene Scott's are putting into this (grappling
with school boards) ought to be frustrating to those for whom the debate
was over a century ago.

        - Jeremy

* There is a back and forth that touches on this issue in _Biology and
Philosophy_ v3 n4 1988 between Lindholm et. al. and Langdon Gilkey, whose
book on the Arkansas trial they review.)

____________________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu)
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110
(617) 736-4954
(617) 736-2405 FAX

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:31>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Thu Jul  7 11:28:23 1994

Date: Thu, 07 Jul 1994 12:29:02 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: _God and Nature_
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Merry Maisel mentioned the recent book _God and Nature: Historical Essays
on the Encounter between Christianity and Science_ edited by Lindberg and
Numbers.  The title is of course an allusion to the famous evolutionary
section of Tennyson's poem _In Memoriam_ (1849), which is filled with
precise references to the struggle for existence, geologic succession, and
the depth of time.  It's too good not to repeat here in the context of our
recent discussions (and to share with your students if you have the chance).

     Are God and Nature then at strife,
     That Nature lends such evil dreams?
     So careful of the type she seems,
     So careless of the single life;

     That I, considering everywhere
     Her secret meaning in her deeds,
     And finding that of fifty seeds
     She often brings but one to bear,

     I falter where I firmly trod,
     And falling with my weight of cares
     Upon the great world's altar-stairs
     That slope thro' darkness up to God,

     I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
     And gather dust and chaff, and call
     To what I feel is Lord of all,
     And faintly trust the larger hope.

     'So careful of the type?' but no.
     From scarped cliff and quarried stone
     She cries, 'A thousand types are gone:
     I care for nothing: all shall go.

     'Thou makest thine appeal to me:
     I bring to life, I bring to death:
     The spirit does but mean the breath:
     I know no more.'  And he, shall he,

     Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,
     Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
     Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
     Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

     Who trusted God was love indeed
     And love Creation's final law --
     Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
     With ravine, shriek'd against his creed --

     Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,
     Who battled for the True, the Just,
     Be blown about the desert dust,
     Or seal'd within the iron hills?

     No more?  A monster then, a dream,
     A discord.  Dragons of the prime,
     That tare each other in their slime,
     Were mellow music match'd with him.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:32>From cward@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu  Thu Jul  7 20:45:22 1994

Date: 	Thu, 7 Jul 1994 21:45:54 -0400
From: Charles F Ward <cward@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: DARWIN-L messages address <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

On Thu, 7 Jul 1994, John Staddon wrote:

> I think that an evolutionary case can be made for the "cultural
> fitness" of at least some unprovable beliefs, because no culture
> can judge the ultimate effectiveness (for cultural survival) of
> every belief that may ultimately be valuable.. . .
>
> Thus, Sherrie's students who believe in Christianity while
> recognizing that if they had been born in India they would be
> equally convinced of Hinduism may not be as inconsistent as they
> sound.

It may very well be that holding some particular, unprovable, shared set
of beliefs is "culturally" adaptive (or the general ability of people in
groups to do this in general may be adaptive).  But this is quite a
distinct point from the truth of those beliefs.  To say that an
"evolutionary case" can be made for such a belief may mean that here is
some selective "reason" to accept it;  again, this is quite distinct from
there being evidence for its veracity.  Evolution by natural selection
(if indeed this is the sense in which "evolution" is being used) is not a
"rational process".  Thus, adaptive value cannot shield a belief from
being involved in an inconsistency.  Indeed, it may, in principle, be
evolutionarily advantageous to hold inconsistent beliefs under some
circumstances.

Please excuse my philosopher's obsession with keeping this distinction
clear.  If beliefs have adaptive value (individually or culturally) this
is separate from thier truth-value.  This concern may be dealt with in
the full argument that John Staddon refers to (in his "Behaviorism:
Mind, Mechanism and Society"

***************************************************************************
*    Chuck Ward				cward@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu	  *
*    Department of Philosophy						  *
*    Johns Hopkins University						  *
*    Baltimore, MD  21218-2688		(Home of the Colts. Shh!)	  *
***************************************************************************

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:33>From PLHILL@Augustana.edu  Fri Jul  8 15:50:37 1994

From: PLHILL@Augustana.edu
Organization:  Augustana College - Rock Island IL
To: <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>, PLHILL@Augustana.edu
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 15:51:03 CST
Subject: Creationism

    Having observed what some members of Darwin-L consider a
passionate exchange, I can only say it seemed pretty tame to me.  It
was also the only discussion of general interest to appear on the
list in quite some time.  Bob O'Hara's embarrassed attempt to shove
such stuff off on other lists was, well, quaint.  It may be that no
one else is interested in issues of this kind, but I am a philosopher
(or anyway a philosophy teacher), and I thought I'd take a crack at
pulling up some of the issues latent in the previous discussion.

    (1) Whether one is dogmatic or not has nothing to do with the
amount and quality of the evidence one can adduce for one's claims.
It has much more to do with the attitude one takes toward their
possible refutation.  Creationists in my experience are only slightly
more dogmatic than Darwinists.  Both groups adhere vigorously to
certain central doctrines.  (The criteria for Creationism are
actually somewhat broader and vaguer; there is, I think, less of a
party line among Creationists.)  In both there is considerable
diversity on points of detail.  Darwinists, for all their plausible
evidence and institutional respectability, are not (again, in my
experience) appreciably more open to arguments critical of their
central positions than are Creationists.  If anything, they are more
apt to become irritable when contradicted, and more prone to the
self-righteousness one associates with old-time religion.
    (2) It must have been obvious from the beginning (anyway, from
1859) that a funeral dirge would be sung over either special
creationism or Darwinism.  After a (deservedly) rocky start Darwin
has prospered.  Anyway, his successors have gained control over the
organs of academic and professional biology.  Having won this battle,
they seem continually amazed that their enemy lives outside of
science, and (wonder of wonders!) carries on the fight.  Their
amazement seems to be grounded in an inability to understand that
there are values other than epistemic values, and that some of these
other values (though foreign to much of contemporary science) are
important to civilization.  Indeed, the culture in which modern
science developed, and without which it would never have existed at
all, is itself unthinkable without certain ideas generated by Hebraic
Creationism:  that God created the world and everything in it, for
specific purposes, in order to achieve an ultimate Good, and thus
that behind everything there is providential intelligence; that the
world thus created would be radically incomplete, and the Good to
which it tends absolutely unattainable, without human beings, whose
proper role, through ages of failure and despair, is to understand,
to order, to dominate and, in the end, to obey in wisdom when the
actual course of events surpasses knowledge.  The list of cultural
wonders produced by humans acting on these ideas is astonishing, both
in depth and complexity.
    (3) Darwinism kills all this.  Until relatively recently these
incredibly fruitful ideas continued to function admirably.  But over
the past hundred years (less actually) they have been eviscerated,
replaced by thin shadows, shadows manipulated by arcane symbolists
whose real views (if they have any) are difficult to distinguish from
old-fashioned atheism.  This has been the work of many hands and
years.  (Read Hobbes, Spinoza, Voltaire, Hume, Marx, Nietzsche, and
Heidegger.)  But Darwinism is the truly radical development, for it
repudiates any significant notion of providence, and on grounds drawn
from relatively hard sciences.  Suppose certain mutations among
bacteria were to produce a plague that destroyed all living beings
(ultimately, the bacteria too).  From the Darwinist's perspective,
nothing unnatural would have happened.  No ultimate end would remain
unfulfilled, because there are no ultimate ends, no place or places
to which the show is tending.  If Darwinism is right, life will
eventually cease.  It will not -- it could not -- conclude.
    (4) Darwinism, or some version of it, is probably true.  As an
epistemic optimist, I am confident that the Creationists are
therefore fighting a losing battle.  But many of them are true
Christians, people who genuinely believe they are on the side of the
angels, so they simply cannot grasp this.  They cannot be converted.
And it is not the place of science to take away their followers, who
may (who knows?) produce a few more creative figures like the ones
who built Gothic cathedrals and painted Renaissance ceilings.  There
are other values, and other victories, besides those of science.  For
those among you who find this hard, I recommend a New Biological
Catechism:  "We control the university departments, the public and
private grant-givers, the scientific publishers.  Wherever there is
anything remotely like an intelligentsia, it toes our line, whether
it understands the line or not.  Victory is ours."  Repeat this
several times, whenever some school board votes against you, or some
Creationist scores on the lecture circuit, and you won't find
yourselves running around like scared chickens.  The sky isn't
falling, and there really isn't any need for all this agitated
cackling.

                                David Hill
                                Augustana College
                                Rock Island, Illinois

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:34>From staddon@psych.duke.edu  Sat Jul  9 08:41:46 1994

Date: Sat, 9 Jul 94 09:42:38 EDT
From: staddon@psych.duke.edu (John Staddon)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences

Chuck Ward's point is well taken.  Is is sad for rationalists that true,
or unprovable, beliefs may nevertheless be evolutionarily effective. . .
John S.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:35>From wright@clark.net  Sat Jul  9 12:55:54 1994

Date: Sat, 9 Jul 1994 13:56:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bob Wright <wright@clark.net>
Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Fri, 8 Jul 1994, Charles F Ward wrote:

> It may very well be that holding some particular, unprovable, shared set
> of beliefs is "culturally" adaptive (or the general ability of people in
> groups to do this in general may be adaptive).  But this is quite a
> distinct point from the truth of those beliefs.
>
> Please excuse my philosopher's obsession with keeping this distinction
> clear.  If beliefs have adaptive value (individually or culturally) this
> is separate from thier truth-value.

Of course, there have been people who considered themselves philosophers
who would disagree. The William James variant of pragmatism, as I
understand it, holds that if believing something has good effects on the
believer, then it's true.

On the other hand, Charles Peirce's variant of pragmatism, as I understand
it, means something quite different; Peirce was advocating an essentially
empirical, scientific definition of truth.

To put the matter in perhaps oversimplified terms: James would say
that if believing in God makes you feel good, there is a God. Peirce
would say that if believing a bridge can support your weight makes you
walk over that bridge, and if you don't fall through that bridge, then
that bridge can indeed support your weight.

It's always struck me as strange that two definitions of truth so
fundamentally at odds--one subjective, one empirical--could be grouped
under the same label. But I suppose the reason is that both can be
described as: "If believing something has good results, then it's true."

In any event, if creationists want to call their beliefs "true," this
claim is not without serious intellectual precedent. Still, I agree
that this definition of "truth" is not very useful.

--Bob Wright
Washington, DC

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:36>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sat Jul  9 13:28:45 1994

Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 14:29:33 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: "Higher Criticism" / Biblical text criticism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

I haven't seen the book John Wilkins mentioned on the nineteenth-century
school of historical text studies called "Higher Criticism", but one
reference on the general subject that a number of philologists have
recommended to me as a standard work is:

  Metzger, Bruce M.  1992.  _The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission,
  Corruption, and Restoration_, third edition.  New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Any student of trees of history will feel at home with this book, containing
as it does a number of manuscript phylogenies.  While historical linguists
are likely familiar with this field (generally called stemmatics or textual
criticism), many evolutionary biologists may not be.  Here's a fragment from
Metzger's preface:

  The necessity of applying textual criticism to the books of the New
  Testament arises from two circumstances: (a) none of the original documents
  is extant, and (b) the existing copies differ from one another.  The textual
  critic seeks to ascertain from the divergent copies which form of the text
  should be regarded as most nearly conforming to the original....It is the
  purpose of this book to supply the student with information concerning
  both the science and the art of textual criticism as applied to the New
  Testament.  The science of textual criticism deals with (a) the making and
  transmission of ancient manuscripts, (b) the description of the most
  important witnesses to the New Testament text, and (c) the history of the
  textual criticism of the New Testament as reflected in the succession of
  printed editions of the Greek Testament.

There is also a file on the Darwin-L gopher (rjohara.uncg.edu) in the
directory "Darwin-L Files" that describes a project to apply the techniques
of cladistic analysis to textual transmission.  Folks interest in this general
topic may find it of interest.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:37>From fwg1@cornell.edu  Sat Jul  9 14:02:26 1994

Date: Sat, 9 Jul 1994 15:03:16 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: fwg1@cornell.edu (Frederic Gleach)
Subject: Rationality and consistency

Following John Staddon's response to Sherrie Lyons, who first broached the
topic of rationality and inconsistency, Charles F Ward notes (7/8/94):

>Evolution by natural selection
>(if indeed this is the sense in which "evolution" is being used) is not a
>"rational process".  Thus, adaptive value cannot shield a belief from
>being involved in an inconsistency.  Indeed, it may, in principle, be
>evolutionarily advantageous to hold inconsistent beliefs under some
>circumstances.

To go out on a limb a ways, I think there are many instances where our
overwhelming belief in rationality gets in the way.  My personal conception
of rationality is that it is a means by which we can organize
understandings, but by no means the sole way to acquire understanding.  We
rationalize, as I believe Sherrie mentioned in her original post (sorry, I
don't have it handy), to eliminate inconsistencies, that is, we impose a
rational order on things that may or may not actually have such an order.
As I alluded in an earlier post, like many anthropologists I hold a number
of conflicting views, and switch between them comfortably; when working
with a completely different cultural system, or world-view, this is the
only way to avoid judgemental either/or (lack of) understandings, in which
one imposes one particular set of meanings onto another.  Questioning the
absolute veracity of these different world-views is irrelevant; each is
coherent and valid in its own terms, within its own setting, and people can
learn to code-switch world-view, to some extent, just as they do language.
Appearances of inconsistency run rampant, but I think it is important to
remember Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.  With consistency
a great soul has simply nothing to do.  He may as well concern himself with
his shadow on the wall.  Speak what you think now in hard words, and
tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it
contradict everything you said today" (from Self-Reliance).  The personal
implications, Emerson's focus in the essay, are not at issue here, but
rather the importance of flexibility of thought and understanding.  People
are consistently inconsistent, and should recognize this.
        Now I don't claim to be a philosopher, and I'm sure that any
philosopher could shoot holes in what I think, or what anyone else thinks,
for that matter.  But that's--partly--the point.  We all live our lives, to
a greater or lesser extent, based on understandings that are not
necessarily rational, and are often inconsistent.  This doesn't mean we
can't effectively evaluate different positions, or make "rational
decisions."  It doesn't mean that we shouldn't question our
inconsistencies, or that we should eschew rationality.  But if anyone
thinks they are perfectly rational and consistent . . . well, I'm perfectly
happy not knowing them.
        I've rambled on for too long, I think, and so will leave off here.
But Emerson needed invocation here; we should never get trapped in the web
of consistency-for-its-own-sake at the expense of free thinking.
        Fred

BTW, thanks, Bob, for your ode to Transylvania, and thanks to all who sent
welcomes following my last note.
*******************************************************************
          Frederic W. Gleach   (fwg1@cornell.edu)
       Anthropology Department, Cornell University
           (607) 255-6779

I long ago decided that anything that could be finished in my lifetime was
necessarily too small an affair to engross my full interest --Ernest Dewitt
Burton
*******************************************************************

_______________________________________________________________________________

<11:38>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sat Jul  9 15:34:47 1994

Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 16:35:29 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Simultaneous holding of contradictory beliefs
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Sherrie Lyons commented upon students who hold simultaneously differing sets
of beliefs about the world that appear to be contradictory.  This is a common
phenomenon I think (and probably not just with students), although it would
take a developmental psychologist to fill us in on the details.  It isn't a
phenomenon restricted to religious or evolutionary views, however.  I once
looked into some of the physics teaching literature, where a substantial
body of work has been done on this sort of problem.  It seems that most
students come to physics with a concept of motion and mechanics that is
very much like Aristotle's.  In class they learn Newtonian mechanics, which
is very different, and they can successfully pass a course and answer exam
questions correctly.  If they are questioned outside the formal class context,
however, it is often found that they still think in purely Aristotelian terms.
They have learned the Newtonian concepts superficially, enough to repeat them
in class, but haven't internalized them at all, nor understood how they
conflict with the ideas which they hold "natively".  Several references on
this subject are:

  Clement, J.  1982.  Students' preconceptions in introductory mechanics.
  Am. J. Phys., 50:66.

  Clement, J.  1987.  Overcoming students' misconceptions in physics: the
  role of anchoring intuitions and analogical validity.  In: Proceedings of
  Second International Seminar: Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in
  Science and Mathematics III (J. Novak, ed.).  Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press.

  di Sessa, A.  1982.  Unlearning Aristotelian physics: a study of
  knowledge-based learning.  Cog. Sci., 6:37.

  Hake, R. R.  1987.  Promoting student crossover to the Newtonian world.
  Am. J. Phys., 55:878.

  Whitaker, R. J.  1983.  Aristotle is not dead: student understanding of
  trajectory motion.  Am. J. Phys., 51:352.

I also came across a somewhat similar study of student understanding of
natural selection:

  Greene, E. D., Jr.  1990.  The logic of university students'
  misunderstanding of natural selection.  Journal of Research in Science
  Teaching, 27:875-885.

I would be _very_ interested to know of any similar works on students'
perceptions of history, historical reconstruction, temporal sequences, and
related ideas.  Does anyone know of any?

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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Darwin-L Message Log 11: 1-38 -- July 1994                                  End

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