Darwin-L Message Log 11: 39–93 — 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.”
------------------------------------------- DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 11: 39-93 -- JULY 1994 ------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:39>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Jul 9 16:26:20 1994 Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 17:27:08 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Interdisciplinary archeology conference (fwd from ARCH-L) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro This announcement of an interdisciplinary conference on archeology just appeared on ARCH-L. I thought it might be of interest to some Darwin-L members. Bob O'Hara (email@example.com) --begin forwarded message-------------- Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 17:01:31 -0400 From: Robert Tykot <tykot@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU> Subject: Science and Archaeology conference and Preliminary Program The international conference "Science and Archaeology: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach to Studying the Past" will be held October 14-16th at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138. The conference is cosponsored by the Society for Archaeological Sciences, the Boston Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, and supported by grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Archaeological Institute of America. The conference will begin after lunch on Friday the 14th, and end in the early afternoon on Sunday the 16th. The meeting will consist of about 35 oral papers, plus a number of poster presentations. The theme of the conference focuses on HOW science and archaeology complement each other in their respective approaches to studying ancient people and their culture. The presentations will examine the integration of these disciplines in the field, in the laboratory, in publications, and in our educational institutions. Among those presenting papers are Jonathon Ericson, David Killick, Mark Pollard, Michael Wayman, Zvi Goffer, Nikolaas van der Merwe, Rick Jones, Joseph Yellin, Karl Petruso, Marc Waelkens, Juris Zarins, Thomas Loy, R.E. Taylor, Norman Hammond, Sarah Vaughan, and A. Bernard Knapp. Pre-registration is $25 (by September 30), $30 at the door; the student rate is $20. This fee includes the program, abstracts, coffee/tea & pastries both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and a box lunch on Saturday. Dinner Friday night ($30 including wine & service), dinner Saturday night ($35 including wine & service), and a reception in the Peabody Museum galleries Saturday night ($15) are optional events available only by preregistration. Please note that we are still soliciting poster presentations on any aspect of archaeological science, including work still in progress. If you or anyone you know (esp. students) are interested, please contact us as soon as possible. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Robert H. Tykot Tykot@Husc4.Harvard.edu Department of Anthropology 617 496-8991 Harvard University 617 495-8925 (fax) Cambridge, MA 02138 USA ----------------------------------------------------------------- Here's the VERY PRELIMINARY PROGRAM: Welcome and Opening Statements Jonathon E. Ericson & Vincent Merrill, Department of Environmental Analysis & Design, University of California, Irvine The Status and Overview of Archaeological Science in the United States of America David J. Killick, University of Arizona, & Suzanne M.M. Young, Harvard University Archaeology and Archaeometry: From Casual Dating to a Meaningful Relationship??? Michael L. Wayman, Department of Mining, Metallurgical & Petroleum Engineering and Department of Anthropology, and N.C. Lovell, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada The Teaching of Archaeometry at the University of Alberta Zvi Goffer, SOREQ Research Center TBA Nikolaas J. van der Merwe, Departments of Anthropology and Earth & Planetary Science, Harvard University Teaching Archaeometry to Freshmen Rick Jones, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford Archaeology into the Future Discussion ****** Plenary Address Mark Pollard, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford Why Teach Heisenberg to Archaeologists? ******** Joseph Yellin, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Successes in Multidisciplinary Archaeology Lawrence E. Abbott, Jr., New South Associates, Mebane, North Carolina Making Science a Standard Component of Compliance-Oriented Archaeology: An Example from the Piedmont Region of North Carolina Karl M. Petruso, Brooks B. Ellwood, & Francis B. Harrold, The University of Texas at Arlington Multidisciplinary Research into the Stone Age of Southern Albania Katina T. Lillios, Department of Anthropology & Sociology, Ripon College Soil Phosphate Analysis and Land Use Studies of the Bronze Age and Medieval Occupations at Agroal, Portugal E.G. Reinhardt, R.T. Patterson, C.J. Schroder-Adams, Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center & Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University The Paleoecology of Benthic Foraminifera and Marine Archaeology: A Case Study from the Ancient Harbor of Caesarea Maritima, Israel Apostolos Sarris, Athens, Greece Geophysical Surveying in Greek Archaeological Research: Retrospect & Future Plans Marc Waelkens, Center for Interdisciplinary Archaeological Research, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium Recent Multidisciplinary Research at Sagalassos, Turkey P. Nick Kardulias, Department of Anthropology & Sociology, Kenyon College >From Classical to Byzantine: An Interdisciplinary Regional Study of Culture Change in the Korinthia, Greece Juris Zarins, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Southwest Missouri State University The Iobaritae and Omani: A Multidisciplinary Inquiry Discussion ****** Pamela Z. Blum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Stones of Saint-Denis: A Case Study of Science and Art History in Tandem David Landon, Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University & Larry Sutter, Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, Michigan Technological University Analysis of Stamp Sands from the Ohio Trap Rock Copper Mine Location Thomas H. Loy, Prehistory Department, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra TBA R.E. Taylor, Radiocarbon Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside Radiocarbon Dating "Critical" Samples: Case Studies Marshall J. Becker, Department of Anthropology & Sociology, West Chester University Skeletal Analysis of Infant Burials in Central Italy Joseph A. Ezzo, Statistical Research, and James H. Burton, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison A Multidisciplinary Approach to Elemental Analysis of Archaeological Bone Nicholas Reynolds and Richard Welander, Archaeological Resource Consultants Ltd., Edinburgh Bodies, Bronzes and Burials: Some Thoughts from the Anglo-Saxon Past Discussion ******* Sarah J. Vaughan, The Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Reconstructing Prehistoric Pottery Technologies in the Aegean: Cautionary Evidence from Petrographic Material and Replicative Studies Pilar Lapuente, Fac. Ciencias Geologicas, Universidad de Zaragoza Mineralogical Studies in Ancient Ceramics Tania F.M. Oudemans, Conservation Analytical Lab, Smithsonian Institution Organic Residue Analysis in Ceramic Studies J. Poblome, R. Degeest, W. Viaene & M. Waelkens, Center for Interdisciplinary Archaeological Research, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium Computer and Data Interpretation of the Sagalassos Wares Paul T. Keyser, David D. Clark, Albert Silverman, Jane K. Whitehead*, John E. Coleman, R. Alex Bentley, & Tim Z. Hossain, Cornell University & University of New Hampshire* Nuclear Physics Exploring Ancient Material Culture: The Cornell TRIGA PGNAA Collaboration A. Bernard Knapp, School of History, Philosophy & Politics, Macquarie University Provenience Studies in the Bronze Age Mediterranean: An Archaeological Perspective Albert Nyboer, Department of Archaeology, State University Groningen Material Studies from Satricum (700-400 BC): Pottery and Metal Analyses Effie Photos-Jones, Metallurgy Department, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Archaeometallurgy: More than the Sum of its Parts N.C. Lovell and M.J. Magee, Department of Anthropology, and M.L. Wayman, Department of Mining, Metallurgical & Petroleum Engineering and Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Slag from Ancient Egypt: An Archaeometry Student Project Workshop Panel Presentation Closing Statements --end forwarded message---------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:40>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU Sat Jul 9 17:00:36 1994 Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 14:46:50 -0700 (PDT) From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU> Subject: Re: Creationism and teaching the historical sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org On Sat, 09 Jul 1994 13:09:05 -0500 Bob Wright said: <quote from Ward omitted> >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. Both James and Peirce held that if you act on a belief, and that action is successful, then the belief is true. For example, if you believe a bridge will hold you, so you walk across the bridge, and it holds you, then your belief about the bridge is true. There are many differences between Peirce and James, but that isn't one of them. I don't know of any respectable philosopher who held that if believing something makes you feel good, then the belief is true. Note, with respect to the distinction made by Charles Ward,that this definition of truth makes the distinction between "true" and "adaptive" a very blurry one. But then, we have many definitions of truth (Pragmatist, correspondence, coherence, etc). We don't have any guaranteed method for deciding among them. So we don't know which one is true. On the other hand, we do have many good methods for discovering errors. Elihu M. Gerson Tremont Research Institute 458 29 Street San Francisco, CA 94131 415-285-7837 email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:41>From GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU Sat Jul 9 21:21:25 1994 Date: Sat, 09 Jul 1994 21:22:13 -0600 (CST) From: GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU Subject: Re: Simultaneous holding of contradictory beliefs To: firstname.lastname@example.org For more on Bob O'Hara's 'student' physics, cf. "Intuitive Physics", _Sci. Am._, Apr. 83. Sometimes even the teachers get caught up, not in Aristotelian, but in more modern--medieval--theories: I was trying to figure how to throw water behind a tree using my rotating sprinkler. Then I drew the problem. Sigh. George Gale email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:42>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jul 10 12:39:19 1994 Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 13:40:07 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: July 10 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JULY 10 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1802: ROBERT CHAMBERS is born at Peebles, Scotland. He will become a popular and prolific writer and publisher, especially of works on Scottish character and history. Chambers will be best remembered, however, for his widely read and controversial _Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation_, which will be published anonymously in 1844. The _Vestiges_, "the first attempt to connect the natural sciences into a history of creation", will comprehensively trace the development of the human race, of animals and plants, the earth, and the cosmos as a whole: "if we could suppose a number of persons of various ages presented to the inspection of an intelligent being newly introducted into the world, we cannot doubt that he would soon become convinced that men had once been boys, that boys had once been infants, and, finally, that all had been brought into the world in exactly the same circumstances. Precisely thus, seeing in our astral system many thousands of worlds in all stages of formation, from the most rudimental to that immediately preceding the present condition of those we deem perfect, it is unavoidable to conclude that all the perfect have gone through the various stages which we see in the rudimental. This leads us at once to the conclusion that the whole of our firmament was at one time a diffused mass of nebulous matter, extending through the space which it still occupies. So also, of course, must have been the other astral systems. Indeed, we must presume the whole to have been originally in one connected mass, the astral systems being only the first division into parts, and solar systems the second." 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 email@example.com, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (188.8.131.52). _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:43>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca Sun Jul 10 12:58:03 1994 Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 13:59:52 -0500 (EST) From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca> Subject: Re: Creationism To: firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Hill made one severe error in his statements: We do not control the public grant givers. These people respond to the demands of politics. if the public (or the more vociferous of the public who like squeeky wheels squeek loudest) demand that the money for science be cut off, then eventually it will. As more and more creationism is taught, more people believe it. while at the moment, many people do believe in science and searching for the truth of scientific principles, if we allow the creationists (or for that matter any other group that wants to cloud the truth or to have people believe in anything because of pure unquestioning faith rather than invoking constant questioning on the part of each person) to continue to influence people while calling it "science" then 50 years from now we may not have the public money to pursue any science. Bonnie Blackwell, email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:44>From BURGHD@utkvx.utk.edu Sun Jul 10 13:16:57 1994 Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 14:17:48 -0400 (EDT) From: BURGHD@utkvx.utk.edu Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 262 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Just a brief reply to David Hill's assertion that Darwinism is virtually accepted by all in academia and the intelligentsia. I calmly but firmly disagree. Evolutionary approaches to issues of mind and behavior in our own species are firmly resisted in many quarters of the humanities, social sciences, and even by many biologists. There is growing acceptance, but it is slow indeed. My own primary field, psychology, is a prime example. As but one of many possible examples supporting this assertion I only need to refer to the "meltdown" on Darwin-L when the issues of brain size, S. J. Gould, etc. were addressed, and promptly vanished. But I certainly do agree that scientists are often not really very open about having basic assumptions challenged, particularly if they are ideologically (politically) linked. Gordon M. Burghardt, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996 (BURGHD@UTKVX.UTK.EDU) P.S. I too would like a copy of the EVOLUTION OF CREATIONISM article. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:45>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jul 10 22:03:52 1994 Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 23:04:34 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Chambers and the _Vestiges of Creation_ To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Since today is Robert Chambers' birthday I thought it might be of interest to mention that a new facsimile edition of the _Vestiges_ has just been published: Chambers, Robert. 1844 . _Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation and Other Evolutionary Writings_, edited with a new introduction by James A. Secord. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. For those not familiar with the Vestiges, this was probably the best known of the pre-Darwinian evolutionary works. Published anonymously, it went through many editions and caused a great stir. While it is most noted for its evolutionary content, it really is a comprehensive account of all the historical sciences: a good example of the very range of subjects considered on Darwin-L. Chambers begins with cosmology and tells the story of the condensation of the solar system from a diffuse nebula, then recounts the geological, botanical, and zoological history of the earth, and finally tells the history of the human species, including the history of language. The writing isn't of particularly high literary quality, but it was meant to be a semi-popular book and is eminently readable. It is a pleasure to have it readily available again. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:46>From email@example.com Mon Jul 11 07:23:53 1994 From: "William S. Lynn" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding Date: Mon, 11 Jul 94 07:25:06 -0500 Hello Darwiners! I want to support the comments of Sherrie Lyons and Frederic Gleach. Much of the debate over creationism on Darwin-L is couched as a conflict between truth and error, rationality and irrationality, consistency and contradiction. There are two problems here. First off, there is no such thing as truth. There are degrees of truth-likeness (verisimilitude). I will not pretend creationism comes anywhere near the verisimilitude of modern evolutionary thought, but conventionalists, realists, and critical rationalists have trashed the notion of objective, universal, logico-rational, transhistorical, transgeographical truth. Second, this debate generally fails to appreciate the geohistoricity of understanding, that is, the degree to which all knowledge is embedded in a wider matrix of historically and geographically contingent understandings. Knowledge is intelligible and seemingly rational not because it represents the world like a mirror, but because it helps us constitute the world in a way that makes sense to us. Our knowledge of the world is not true or verifiable in any direct way, but the best account we can make of things given the present state of our understanding. We can certainly test our knowledge against 'reality'. Unfortunately, we lack unproblematic means to do so. Reality and our tests are themselves conceptually preconstituted by our understandings. I do not pretend to know why particular creationist believe the way they do. But I can say it is not reducible to irrationality or ignorance or contradiction. Their belief is situated in a wider matrix of understandings-- just as is the knowledge of evolutionists, linguists, hermeneuticists, etc. If we fail to impart our knowledge in a satisfactory way, then I would wager it is our failure to address the matrix of understandings that undergird those beliefs we wish to challenge. Allow me a concrete and personal example. I have taught several courses related to social and environmental ethics. Students are socialized into very individualistic and anthropocentric moral norms. I too get frustrated with their sometimes dogmatic insistence on retaining moral presuppositions that bear little weight of reason or preponderance of evidence. But the key to furthering their understanding is not dismissing their beliefs as irrational. Rather, the key is a hermeneutic dialogue, wherein I entertain their presuppositions, they mine, and we try to expand our conceptual horizons *together*. In this way we further our common knowledge, and come to a deeper understanding of each other. By providing students with conceptual tools that directly address their presuppositions, they are in a much stronger position to reason and weigh evidence. Bill }`- William S.Lynn Geography, University of Minnesota 414 Social Science Minneapolis, MN 55455 612/625-0133 [firstname.lastname@example.org] _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:47>From JMARKS@YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU Mon Jul 11 08:10:31 1994 Date: Mon, 11 Jul 94 09:02:43 EDT From: Jon Marks <JMARKS@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.edu> Organization: Yale University Subject: Where the blame lies? To: Darwin-L <email@example.com> I don't think there is a real problem that social scientists and humanists have refused to adopt an evolutionary viewpoint. I have yet to meet one who hasn't. The problem is that every generation there is some bad biology passed off as "the evolutionary viewpoint" with the implicit challenge that if you don't adopt it, you are a creationist. Social Darwinism, eugenics, and various sociobiologies shared that. Nowadays one encounters claims like: 1) rape in scorpionflies exists to maximize the rapist's reproductive output. 2) It's the same in humans. 3) That's the evolutionary explanation. 4) And if you don't buy it, then you're not an evolutionist. 5) Pssst... Wanna buy a bridge? By the way, for all you crossword fans out there... This morning's New York Times puzzle starts with 1-across: "High rung on the evolutionary ladder". The answer: HUMAN. Is there any hope? --Jon Marks _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:48>From maffi@cogsci.Berkeley.EDU Mon Jul 11 15:29:17 1994 Date: Mon, 11 Jul 94 13:30:54 -0700 From: maffi@cogsci.Berkeley.EDU (Luisa Maffi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Enough with creationism Does anybody else on this network feel that the debate on creationism has been going on long enough? I have to agree with Mark Picard (7/7/94) that the stuff is not likely to be taken too seriously outside the US, perhaps the only Western country still so obsessed with religion. As for the separation between church and state, it may be more formal than real, at least to the extent that the enduring way in which a President of the US ends official speeches is by invoking God's blessing on the nation. On the other hand, countries that are now far less keen on religion (including my own, Italy) seem to have replaced it with appalling levels of cinicism. Why humans can't seem to figure out how to be moral without religion (especially of the fundamentalist stripe) is something that beats me. Luisa Maffi email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:49>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jul 11 20:42:11 1994 Date: Mon, 11 Jul 1994 21:43:25 -0400 From: Charles F Ward <email@example.com> Subject: cultural evolution, consistency and truth To: DARWIN-L messages address <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu> A couple of good points were raised following my response to John Staddon's posting (of July 7) regarding the (possible) "cultural fitness" of unprovable beliefs. I would like to say a bit about each one. I'll start with the posting by Frederic Gleach (7/8) regarding rationality and consistency. Thanks for the blurb from Emerson. It's a keeper. I'm with you as far as the idea that consistency across all our beliefs (and wearing all of our hats) is not possible. It may very well be undesirable, even. Indeed, rationality itself, when properly understood, may not demand perfect consistency among an individuals body of beliefs; particularly given the complexity of our lives and the variety of other persons we must interact with. That, I would say, is a question that will remain open indefinitely. But in general I would accept the point that it is foolish to expect perfect consistency or even to expect all our beliefs to be rationally grounded. Be that as it may, I would re-iterate my original point that the fitness of a belief is distinct from its truth; in fact, Frederic's posting may be read as an expression of that very idea. There may be reasons, other than rational acceptablity, for holding a belief. But no matter how strong those other sorts of reasons are, they should not be confused with "evidential" sorts of reasons. The other point that was raised had to do with the pragmatic theory of truth. This is an extremely interesting issue (for me, anyway). As Elihu Gerson noted (posting on 7/9), if one adopts such a view of 'truth', then the distinction between the adaptive value of a belief and its truth value is blurred. But I am not convinced that it is blurred very much. My understanding of the pragmatic theory of truth is that if you act on a belief and the action yields the result you expected (based on that belief), then the belief is true. Is that too narrow an interpretation of the "success" of a belief under the pragmatic conception? If not, then it is more narrow than the sort of "success" a belief would have to have to be adaptive. Certainly for most of an individuals beliefs about object around her (such as 'this bridge will hold me up') a pragmatically false belief will be non-adaptive. But when it comes to beliefs at the level of evolution and creationism, adaptiveness at the cultural level diverges from shear accuracy of prediction. Shared beliefs at that level can yield social cohesion, etc. and be adaptive on that basis, even if false (on a pragmatic or any other view). I would welcome any further communications on this issue. Chuck Ward firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Philosophy Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 21218-2688 (Home of the Colts. Shh!) _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:50>From FBIO2024@ALTAIR.SELU.EDU Tue Jul 12 09:06:01 1994 Date: Tue, 12 Jul 1994 09:06:51 -0500 (CDT) From: FBIO2024@ALTAIR.SELU.EDU Subject: Re: refs on "the species problem" To: email@example.com Organization: Southeastern Louisiana University Does anybody out there know who coined the term "subspecies"? Any associated references would also be most welcome. Brian I. Crother Dept. of Biology SE Louisiana Univ. firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:51>From email@example.com Wed Jul 13 03:07:09 1994 Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 01:06:49 -0700 (PDT) From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU> Subject: Re: Where the blame lies? To: firstname.lastname@example.org I would be interested in references to any writings of social scientists and humanists that adopt an evolutionary viewpoint. Or does Jon Marks just mean that they all accept that human behavior evolved in principle, but they just believe that no one has legitimately applied evolutionary principles to human behavior yet? Or does he mean that their application of evolutionary principles involves stating that humans evolved the capacity for culture, which then miraculously eliminated any behavioral adaptations we used to share with other organisms? There are, of course, examples of bad biology waving the flag of evolutionary viewpoint, but there are even more examples of sociological "just-so stories". So you see things like: 1) mothers of autistic children are cold to them 2) the mother's coldness causes the autism in the children 3) blame the mother The general feeling is that everything is cultural unless it can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has biological influences. If you don't believe it is all cultural, then you must be a neo-Nazi. P. Tom Schoenemann Department of Anthropology University of California, Berkeley (email@example.com) _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:52>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Jul 13 07:28:04 1994 Date: Wed, 13 Jul 94 08:28:56 EDT From: email@example.com (John Staddon) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: cultural evolution, consistency and truth As I understand the pragmatic theory of truth, it's not "if it works, it's true," which is obviously wrong, but rather that the truth of a proposition is relative to the tests (empirical, logical) to which it has been put. In short, the scientific criterion. The point about many cultural beliefs (morality, religion) is that they are either in principle beyond the domain of test in this sense (how do you test whether monogamy is "good"?), or require tests that are impossible or unethical. For example, suppose that you argue that monogamy is good because it favors the "fitness" of a culture. The obvious question (even assuming that we all agree that cultural survival is an absolute good) is How do you know? The answer is, you don't know and you can't find out. Nevertheless, _some_ beliefs of this untestable sort are undoubtedly true in this special sense. These untestable beliefs are the domain of religion and morality. Since we don't know which beliefs are true and which false, there is obviously room for variety. John Staddon (email@example.com) _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:53>From Robert.Richardson@UC.Edu Wed Jul 13 14:28:21 1994 Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 15:27:54 -0500 (EST) From: "Bob Richardson, University of Cincinnati" <Robert.Richardson@UC.Edu> Subject: Pragmatism & Truth To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu John Staddon writes: > I understand the pragmatic theory of truth, it's not "if it >works, it's true," which is obviously wrong, but rather that the >truth of a proposition is relative to the tests (empirical, >logical) to which it has been put. In short, the scientific >criterion. That seems partly right and partly wrong. Pierce, for example, says in "How to Make our Ideas Clear": "... there is no distinction of meaning so fine as to consist in anything but a possible difference in practice" (1878). The idea seems to be, in Pierce's hands, that there must be some sort of practical or experimental bearing to any distinction, and that without some experimental (that is, experiential?) difference, there is no real difference of view. That may be, as Staddon says, "the scientific criterion." But Pragmatism is not a uniform view. Contrast the above view with the following from William James (1909): "The true is only the expedient in our way of thinking." If you wonder whether this means that what is useful is true, try this from "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth" (1907): "You can say of it [some idea] either that 'it is useful because it is true' or that 'it is true because it is useful.' Both these phrases mean exactly the same thing, namely that here is an idea that gets fulfilled and can be verified." I don't especially want to defend pragmatism, and certainly not in all of its forms. But in some of its advocates, anyway, did seem to hold the view that what is useful is true. Robert C. Richardson Department of Philosophy ML 374 Richards@UCBEH.Bitnet University of Cincinnati Richards@UCBEH.san.uc.edu Cincinnati OH 45221-0374 _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:54>From PLHILL@Augustana.edu Wed Jul 13 16:19:31 1994 From: PLHILL@Augustana.edu Organization: Augustana College - Rock Island IL To: <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>, PLHILL@Augustana.edu Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 16:20:35 CST Subject: Darwinism and politics Concerning my claim that in the struggle between Creationism and Darwinism, Darwinists control the grant-givers, Bonnie Blackwell responds that Creationist politics could change all that, so I'm severely in error. To which the obvious response is control doesn't cease to be control simply because it might eventually be overturned. If Blackwell is right, the Democrats have never controlled Congress, and Rome never controlled Italy. But let that pass. The main point is that the chance of her faction losing out to Creationists (as opposed to biological science of a somewhat different stripe), is about as likely as terrestrial collision with a large asteroid. We live our lives, and govern our actions (if we are rational) on the basis of reasonable probabilities. Throughout the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Darwinism gained ground despite these facts: (a) it was based on an absurd genetics; (b) it couldn't handle the main theoretical objections to it (Jenkin, Kelvin); (c) it was vigorously opposed by cultural institutions of great power; (d) its researchers had nothing like the financial resources available now. Surely its present prospects are far better, with or without the political vigilance that Blackwell enjoins. Gordon Burghardt points out that Darwinism is firmly resisted in the human sciences. But I was referring to biological research. The academics who resist Darwinian incursions into psychology may or may not have good reasons. It is nonetheless doubtful that many of them oppose it as biological doctrine, or would unite with Creationists against it. It seems to me that scientific enthusiasm (however useful in research) tends to come encumbered with false philosophical assumptions. It is one thing to pursue fully objective truths, quite another to try to permanently fix the discovery, or to extend it into every imaginable domain. Absolutism of the first sort is noble, if controversial. Absolutism of the second generally futile, and even counterproductive. David Hill Augustana College Rock Island, IL _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:55>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU Wed Jul 13 23:50:12 1994 Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 21:31:19 -0700 (PDT) From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU> Subject: Re: Pragmatism & Truth To: firstname.lastname@example.org On Wed, 13 Jul 1994 22:04:10 -0500 Bob Richardson said >If you wonder whether this means that what is useful is true, try this >From "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth" (1907): > > "You can say of it [some idea] either that 'it is useful > because it is true' or that 'it is true because it is useful.' > Both these phrases mean exactly the same thing, namely that > here is an idea that gets fulfilled and can be verified." James' point in this remark is just what it says: "truth" and "useful" are equivalent notions, each (or both) defined by the consequences of action. This is in perfect agreement with Peirce's notion that truth is a "possible difference in practice". This means, in turn, that the notion of truth can be applied (in a Pragmatist's sense) only if there is an actual or potential line of action which will create or reveal some difference. Hence, contra Staddon, there are no truths which are untestable, because the notion of truth is defined only for tests. Elihu M. Gerson Tremont Research Institute 458 29 Street San Francisco, CA 94131 415-285-7837 email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:56>From FINNR@bot.ku.dk Thu Jul 14 03:58:36 1994 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Finn N. Rasmussen" <FINNR@bot.ku.dk> Date: 14 Jul 94 11:00:48 GMT+0200 Subject: Can history be enforced by law? Marc Picard suggested that creationism is an endemic American phenomenon. I think he is right, but we have another interesting history-denying movement here in Europe: groups of "National Socialists" in various countries claim that history as taught in schools is manipulated with the specific purpose of suppressing their philosophy. Especially, they insist that the German National Socialists did NOT kill 6 mill. Jews and other politically incorrect people in the 40'ties. Sometimes they go into great detail in rejecting specific evidence, they have even done chemical analyses of bricks from concentration camps to show that no toxic gases were used in the gas chambers. These views are mostly considered too weird to be worth a debate, but in some countries, including Germany, it is now officially illegal to put forth National Socialistic views in print or in public speach. I don't know what is worst, creationism or the "National Socialist" view on history, but I am not sure that it helps rationalism to outlaw irrational views. Is it legal in the US to tell school children that George Washington may be a Santa Claus like myth, invented to stop counter-revolutionary ideas from gaining momentum? Finn Rasmussen, Botanical Laboratory, Univ. of Copenhagen, DK. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:57>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 05:46:16 1994 From: "William S. Lynn" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Hermeneutics & Higher Biblical Criticism Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 05:47:35 -0500 Hello Darwiners! Higher [biblical] criticism is one intellectual strand in the historical development of what is now termed hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the study of meaning, interpretation, and understanding [well, that is what it is in 9 words]. Folks may find modern hermeneutics of as much or more help in understanding their intellectual conflicts with others as they will biblical criticism. For an excellent overview from Socrates to the present (including superb references and bibliographic notes), see Gerald Bruns (1992) _Hermeneutics Ancient and Modern_ Yale University Press. Bill }`- William S.Lynn Geography, University of Minnesota 414 Social Science Minneapolis, MN 55455 612/625-0133 [firstname.lastname@example.org] _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:58>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 05:48:50 1994 From: "William S. Lynn" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Morality without religion Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 05:50:09 -0500 Hello Darwiners and Luisa Maffi! Perhaps the debate on creationism per se *has* gone on too long. I do not know. I find it raises important points about the geohistoricity of our understanding, and the practicalities involved in contesting with and changing the minds of others. As importantly, these debates push us outside our narrowly defined fields--which in Darwin-L's case is dominated by biologists and linguists--and into the consequences of our knowledge for society and nature. With respect to your last comment on morality without religion, I too am perplexed by some folks insistence on God as the foundation for ethics. Ethics has many sources, and a belief in God is not necessarily one of them. Socrates believed ethics was about "how we ought to live" (Plato _The Republic_). More modern definitions reflect this emphasis of Socrates. Generally, normative (as opposed to metaethical) philosophies ask how we should live, what ends we should seek, and what means we should use. Ethical reasoning seeks justifications for human actions using principles about what is good, right, just, or of value. Moral norms are seen as guideposts and goals for evaluating and directing our conduct toward individuals, nature and society. I think one of the more important features of ethics is practicality. Aristotle saw ethics as a form of "phronesis", that is, practical knowledge. To be practical, ethics must be more than a rigid code of rules. It must be grounded in the "particulars" of moral problems, employing appropriate principles within real- world situations (Aristotle _Nichomachean Ethics_). The understanding of morality above has little to do with the supernatural. As a hermeneuticist and geographer, however, I must note that morality, like any other knowledge, is embedded in wider conceptual maps that make moral claims intelligible. Geohistorically, the connection between the conceptual maps of ethics and religion seem very strong indeed. There could be a variety of reasons for this. First, both are concerned with asking and answering how we ought to live. Second, folks often like certitude with their ethics? What gives greater certitude than revealed truth? Third, the emergence of European universities lay in educational monasteries and abbeys, and there remains a time-honoured institutional association between organized religion and moral reasoning. I am sure there are many others, with the explanation of any particular case being idiographic. When one's conceptual landscape is suffuse with religious markers, a supernatural view of morality *does* make sense. Whether it is our *best account* of ethics is another matter altogether. What I want to end on here, is that because it makes sense to those holding the belief, simply dismissing their concerns is not adequate. We must engage their views directly in an open and hopefully tranformative dialogue, a hermeneutic dialogue. I suppose that is why I think the debate over creationism has been important--it is evolutionists thinking through their side of a necessary and unavoidable dialogue. Bill }`- William S.Lynn Geography, University of Minnesota 414 Social Science Minneapolis, MN 55455 612/625-0133 [firstname.lastname@example.org] _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:59>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 07:19:51 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 08:21:09 EDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Staddon) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Pragmatism & Truth Thanks to Robert Richardson for the useful (and probably true!) clarifications on pragmatism, which may be dumber than I thought! John Staddon (firstname.lastname@example.org) _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:60>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 07:50:11 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 08:52:29 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (J. A. Witkowski (Banbury Center, CSHL)) Subject: Re: Morality without religion >Perhaps the debate on creationism per se *has* gone on too long. I do not >know. I find it raises important points about the geohistoricity of our >understanding, and the practicalities involved in contesting with and changing >the minds of others. Would someone explain "geohistoricity" for me please? Thank you 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] firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:61>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 08:11:04 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 09:14:39 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse) Subject: Re: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding Bill Lynn writes: >I do not pretend to know why particular creationist believe the way they do. >But I can say it is not reducible to irrationality or ignorance or >contradiction. Their belief is situated in a wider matrix of understandings-- >just as is the knowledge of evolutionists, linguists, hermeneuticists, etc. If >we fail to impart our knowledge in a satisfactory way, then I would wager it >is our failure to address the matrix of understandings that undergird those >beliefs we wish to challenge. While there are certainly many groups of ideas that correspond to the world that a particular group "perceives" is this really the case with organized "scientific" (?!) creationism. No. Here we have a group of people who have a particular (political) agenda. They explicitly ignore data, and do not demand consistency from their own models... in fact the fundamentalist Christian position is more debating trickery than discussion. As has been pointed out in this group (and elsewhere) the argument begins with a false dichotomy (either Darwinian evolution + a smattering of new synthesis OR literalist old testament (english translation)). And from there it is just baiting of different kinds. It is false to proliferate the notion that these are honest participants in a sincere debate. And to paint there views as somehow anthropologically relative strikes me as disengenuous. The analogy with revisionist neonazis is more apt. I suspect that there is a bit of a disconnect on this list because there is 1) the approach to creationist road-shows that are part of an American evangelism that is tied to greater conservative movement and 2) the approach that should be taken to explain these ideas to interested participants in a debate or students who were raised in a tradition that didn't introduce the ideas of evolution. Recall that this thread started in response to (1) and has subsequently shifted to (2). Being aware of the context (the "wider matrix of understandings") is crucial in dealing with both. But let us not confuse the two. - Jeremy p.s. Luisa Maffi writes: > Does anybody else on this network feel that the debate on creationism > has been going on long enough? I do. And yet I answered Bill's post. I worry about the meltdown of Darwin-List so I promise to have my next post to return to something less controversial, e.g. species concepts, tautology of natural selection, gene centrism, cladistics... you get the idea... ____________________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (firstname.lastname@example.org) Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617) 736-4954 (617) 736-2405 FAX _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:62>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA Thu Jul 14 08:28:03 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 09:28:03 -0500 (EST) From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA> Subject: Einstein quotation To: email@example.com I remember reading a book either by or about Einstein in which he said (or was quoted as saying) something like: "I stand on the shoulders of giants". Could someone provide me with the exact words in context? Marc Picard firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:63>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Thu Jul 14 08:33:15 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 08:34 CDT From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu> Subject: Mapping software To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu On a very down-to-earth note... It just struck me that amongst the wide expertise on this list, there may be someone who can help me locate PC software (Windows or DOS) suitable to my task at hand. I need to produce maps of Italy (including Corsica) representing dialect points and areas. The ideal package would come with extremely detailed political and physical maps, accept and manipulate scanned maps, allow gradient-intensity fill for shading of areas, provide grids, permit accurate free-hand drawing, and produce dots of various size, indexed to population of towns. It would be affordable and user-friendly, and drive a 600dpi HP laser printer. Any advice or leads would be much appreciated! I suppose responses should come to me personally, so as not to litter the list. Tom Cravens email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:64>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 10:43:56 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 11:45:09 EDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Staddon) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Morality without religion Re: "geohistoricity" Def: related to "geode" and "geodesy", meaning "really impressive story" and "amazing journey", respectively, hence: "historicaslly astonishing or amazing" as in "Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK". . . _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:65>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul 14 11:08:01 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 12:09:00 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: July 14 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JULY 14 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1454: ANGELO POLIZIANO or POLITIAN is born at Montepulciano, Tuscany. Politian's intellect and skill with languages will be recognized early in his youth, and he will be sent to Florence to study Greek and Latin. His clever poems and epigrams will win him admittance to the household of Lorenzo de' Medici, who will support his scholarship for many years. Politian will travel widely in Italy collecting and studying Classical manuscripts, and he will come to be one of the most influential scholars and teachers of the Italian Renaissance. Through critical study of the many copies of Cicero's _Epistulae ad familiares_, Politian will establish a clear sequence of transmission of the text, in which most of the extant manuscripts derive from an ancestral copy made for Coluccio Salutati in 1392, a manuscript which was itself the descendant of another manuscript that had been found in the cathedral library of Vercelli. Politian's methods of reconstructing textual histories will not be improved upon until the nineteenth century. 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 email@example.com, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (184.108.40.206). _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:66>From CSM@macc.wisc.edu Thu Jul 14 11:07:59 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 11:08 CDT From: Craig McConnell <CSM@macc.wisc.edu> Subject: Re: Einstein quotation To: firstname.lastname@example.org I don't have the Einstein reference (nor do I recall seeing the quote attributed to him), but I have seen lengthy discussions about Newton's use of the phrase "If I have seen farther than those who came before me, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" (probably not verbatim). This is usually referred to as an accolade to Galileo. Alas, the index to Westfall's _Never at Rest_ doesn't include an entry for Shoulders or Giants. If indeed Einstein did borrow the phrase, I'm sure he knew he was borrowing it from Newton, whom he admired greatly. The fracas that _I_ recall seeing about the phrase was in the journal _Isis_, perhaps in the 1950s. As I reall, medievalists were claiming that Newton had lifted the phrase from earlier figures, and subsequent notes to the editor placed the quote earlier and earlier (finally attributing it to an ancient source). I'll try to get a cite when I'm in the library this afternoon (if somebody else on the list doesn't beat me to it!). Later, --Craig Craig S. McConnell, (608) 238-1352 Internet: email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:67>From GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU Thu Jul 14 12:31:00 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 12:32:00 -0600 (CST) From: GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU Subject: Re: Einstein quotation To: firstname.lastname@example.org Marc Picard asks about the 'standing on shoulders of giants' quotation. It was Newton. And someone in the Newton-industry (Cohen? Koyre?) did a whole essay on the history, derivation, etymology, and folk-mythology of that particular quote. I could find the reference if anyone is interested. I think. If Einstein ever said it, he was mentioning Newton's use of it. g email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:68>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 14 13:32:34 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 14:26:16 -0400 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: cultural evolution, consistency and truth The discussion concerning the fitness of fixed beliefs seems to relate well to an earlier discussion concerning whether cultural change operates through Darwinian or Lamarckian mechanisms. Those who make the position that religious conviction is adaptive may be arguing teleologically, i.e. Larmarckian. The Darwinian alternative may be something like: "beliefs are spontaneously and randomly generated within cultures. These beliefs are not necessarily adaptive. Those cultures which have a significant load of unadaptive beliefs are in danger of extinction, whereas those cultures which have adaptive beliefs will continue to reproduce." Just like biological evolution, it is difficult to determine whether the behavioral and belief systems we presently observe are adaptive. It is possible that we are observing cultures on the path to extinction. spencer turkel dept. life science nyit email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:69>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 14 13:36:11 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 14:35:21 -0400 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: cultural evolution, consistency and truth Parmenides pointed out that it would be impossible to think about or speak about nothing. If something does not exist, it is therefore nothing. Ergo, anything you think about or speak about must exist. spencer turkel email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:70>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 14 13:47:33 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 14:39:55 -0400 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Darwinism and politics I had once thought that it would nearly impossible for a person to receive a Ph.D. in a biological science and not accept evolution. However I have a nice anecdoct which contradicts this: The anatomist on my degree committee firmly believed in the biblical story concerning the origins of humans. Surpringly, the outside mentor on his degree committee had been Le Gros Clark, a leading paleoanthropologist. During the full day oral examination, Clark did not ask 1 question on evolution. (fortunately, during my exam the anatomist did not ask 1 question on the book of genesis!) spencer turkel email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:71>From Michael.Hannah@vuw.ac.nz Thu Jul 14 15:35:43 1994 From: "Mike Hannah" <Michael.Hannah@vuw.ac.nz> Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 08:46:19 +1200 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Creationism The debate on creationism sounds a bit like shuffling deck-chairs on the Titanic to me. Mike Hannah _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:72>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 15:53:25 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 16:54:43 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Frederic Gleach) Subject: Re: Morality without religion John Staddon wrote today: >Re: "geohistoricity" > >Def: related to "geode" and "geodesy", meaning "really impressive story" and >"amazing journey", respectively, hence: "historicaslly astonishing or amazing" >as in "Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK". . . I'm not given to flaming, but I don't think it's appropriate on a list such as this, with subscribers from a variety of backgrounds, to make such jokes about terminology. If the intention was to belittle, there are far worse examples of jargon floating around. The term is not one that I use, which is why I've been waiting to allow Bill Lynn to supply his own definition, but I really don't think it warrants snubbing. And since the original question seemed to be a sincere request for information, to answer with a joke, without clarification, is unhelpful, at best. And the structures of "geode" and "geodesy" as punned clearly do not parallel "geohistoricity." You'd need a root -ohistor-. My apologies for this small flare-up. Fred ******************************************************************* Frederic W. Gleach (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 ******************************************************************* _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:73>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul 14 15:55:50 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 16:56:54 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Subspecies and dialects To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Brian Crother asks about the origin of the term "subspecies". I can't answer that directly (although I suspect there are people among us who could tell us more), but one reference that might be useful as a start is: Stresemann, Erwin. 1975. _Ornithology from Aristotle to the Present_. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapter 14 has a discussion of the controversy about the introduction of trinomials (not simply _Larus argentatus_, but _Larus argentatus argentatus_, _Larus argentatus smithsonianus_, _L. a. vegae_, etc.). The use of trinomials started to become common in ornithology in the very late 1800s, and was very controversial, being tied up with all sorts of issues about the nature of species. The concept of a "variety" of course is much earlier. I would be glad to hear more from anyone who can enlighten us. "Subspecies" today is more or less a synonym of "geographical race". It is interesting to note that while systematists have gotten hopelessly hung up about such issues for ages, I have the feeling that historical linguists have had much less trouble dealing with the concept of dialect (a linguistic subspecies), but I may be mistaken. Has anyone written on the history of "dialect" as a concept in language? What about related terms like "idiolect" for the particular manifestation of a language in one person -- when was that concept introduced, and was it recognized as an important clarification at the time? Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:74>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca Thu Jul 14 16:02:30 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 17:01:42 -0500 (EST) From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca> Subject: Re: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding To: email@example.com William Lynn offered some very rational means to help refute creationism. The problem, as I see it however, is that his methods require that people be open to discussing the concepts and underpinnings. where there is no openness to ``broadening the conceptuals horizons", there will be little success with this approach either. unfortunately, most creationists that i have met have no desire to be open. many, esp. in university classes, know they are going to be ridiculed or criticized for their believes by many of their peers and instructors, so they hide their creationism by learning the expected evolutionarily derived answers, while telling themselves that this must be done to pass their courses. when finished the courses they revert to their old creationist views. they seem to liken this ordeal to that of the early cristians during persecution by the romans or jews in the middle ages. my question still is "how do we get them to open their minds to other ideas?" bonn _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:75>From Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz Thu Jul 14 17:58:10 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 10:59:24 +1200 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz Subject: Re: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding >First off, there is no such thing as truth. There are degrees of truth- >likeness (verisimilitude). I will not pretend creationism comes anywhere near >the verisimilitude of modern evolutionary thought, but conventionalists, >realists, and critical rationalists have trashed the notion of objective, >universal, logico-rational, transhistorical, transgeographical truth. lynn thinks that conventionalists realists etc have trashed the notion of truth. News to me. There are plenty of realists who defend, in my view lucidly and correctly, a correspondence style notion of truth and its use in science: to cite just two, michael devitt's Realism and Truth and Philip Kitcher's recent Advancement of Science. Of course these views are controversial, but to claim that there is an established consensus that the notion of truth is hopeless is just bullshit. kim sterelny philosophy victoria university of wellington _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:76>From Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz Thu Jul 14 18:04:10 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 11:05:24 +1200 To: email@example.com From: Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz Subject: Re: Einstein quotation >I thought it was Newton who tstood on the shoulders of giants. > >W. T. Tucker >Dept. of Anthr. >Univ. of NM But who was who complained that he could not see far because giants were standing on his sholders? A more entertaining quote by far! kim sterelny _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:77>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 14 18:26:46 1994 From: email@example.com (Bayla Singer) Subject: Re: Can history be enforced by law? To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 19:28:01 -0400 (EDT) Finn Rasmussen asks if it is legal to tell schoolchildren, in the US, that Geo Washington is a Santa-Claus-like myth [etc]. I don't think there is any US-wide law as to what schoolchildren may or may not be told: such things are left to individual states, if not to individual schoolboard & districts. All that is federally required is that public schools (that is, those provided by governmental units and supported by tax dollars) NOT insist that any particular religion is 'true' or otherwise 'best'. General teaching -about- religions is ok. The children, however, are not taught in a vacuum: their responses to their teachers' claims will be strongly influenced by what the children think they already know. --bayla singer _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:78>From email@example.com Thu Jul 14 18:50:17 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 19:50:32 -0400 (EDT) From: "Jeffrey Streelman (BIO)" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Einstein quotation To: email@example.com the quote is from einstein's intro chapter to albert einstein; philosopher scientist edited by schilpp (i think that's how to spell it). _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:79>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jul 14 18:57:11 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 09:59:20 +1000 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Einstein quotation The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on. Coleridge _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:80>From CSM@macc.wisc.edu Thu Jul 14 19:14:44 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 15:11 CDT From: Craig McConnell <CSM@macc.wisc.edu> Subject: On the shoulders of giants To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu Having been to the library, I have some cleaning up to do. It turns out the fracas I was (almost) remembering was started by none other than George Sarton (Isis 24 (1935): 107-109) who posted a query asking for expressions of the progressive nature of knowledge between Seneca (AD 65) and Bernard of Chartres (d. 1126). Bernard is the earliest known source for a quote resembling Newton's line. Newton's line: "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants", in a letter to Hooke, Feb 5 1675/6. Sarton cites his _The History of Science and New Humanism_ (1931) for a more detailed discussion of the origin of the line. The punchline is this: the quote, which is an expression of the progressive nature of knowledge, can be easily traced to Bernard and Thierry of Chartres, and a number of characters from the 12th century to the present, but Sarton was unable (and his respondents were unable as well) to find such an expression before Bernard, with the singular exception of a statement by Seneca (which Sarton didn't grace us with). My apologies for the wild speculation in the earlier post, and also for failing to provide a context within which Einstein used the phrase. ;-) --Craig Craig S. McConnell, (608) 238-1352 Internet: email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:81>From BRANCHJ@baylor.edu Thu Jul 14 22:35:50 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 22:36:47 -0500 (CDT) From: James Branch <BRANCHJ@baylor.edu> Subject: Re: Einstein quotation To: firstname.lastname@example.org The quote "If I have seen further...it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" was used by Newton "to express his intellectual debt to Descartes and others who preceeded him (Moore, 1992)." Previously, Robert Burton said "A dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants may see further than a giant himself." Even earlier, the poet Lucan wrote, "Pigmies placed on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves." Moore, R. 1992. Writing to Learn Biology. Saunders Publishing Co. p. 39. I hope this is of some help. Rusty Branch Dept. of Biology Baylor University BRANCHJ@BAYLOR.EDU _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:82>From email@example.com Fri Jul 15 02:02:47 1994 Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 23:54:39 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com> This is not Eugenie Scott, but Molleen Matsumura, who also works at the National Center for Science Education. Has discussion of creationism gone on too long? When it has, people will stop discussing it, or any ramifications. But it isn't true that it is only taken seriously in the U.S. There are controversies in Canada and Australia, and missionary activities to Eastern Eurpoean countries have included two creationist conferences in Moscow, with a 3rd planned (all by the Institute for Creation Research). _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:83>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Jul 15 03:03:21 1994 From: "William S. Lynn" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Geohistoricity Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 03:04:43 -0500 Hello Darwiners! My apologies for the confusion regarding 'geohistoricity'. I should have anticipated this and defined the term. In _Truth and Method_, Hans-Georg Gadamer refers to the historicity of understanding. One of his intentions in using this phrase is to foreground the embeddedness of all understanding in historically contingent situations. We neither perceive nor conceive of phenomena free of presuppositions. Rather, our presuppositions structure our experience and knowledge, to one degree or another. These presuppositions 'evolve' through time, we 'inherit' them as traditions, and these 'prejudices' shape our insights. Nonetheless, history is not the only situating or contextualizing dimension. So too is geography. All historical events take 'place' somewhere, and where they take place has an enourmous impact on the event itself, as well as the event's effects. In geography, we express this through the concepts of a "site" (a specific place where something happens) and its "situation" (the mutually interactive environs of any site). Thus to speak of the situatedness of our knowledge, is perforce to talk about both geography and history, that is, geohistory, hence the geohistoricity of understanding. What I do not want lost in this discussion of geohistory is the emphasis on the situated character of our understanding, including 'scientific knowledge'. For reasons of both history and geography, there can be no universal, objective, rational, value- free truth. As creatures of cultures which evolve, diffuse, and exist in great diversity through both 'time' and 'space', we are perforce limited in what and how we know. This does not mean that all knowledge is relative, only that it is not absolute. Now the term smacks of jargon, I know. There are a several reasons why I use it freely. The first reason is self-serving. As a marginalized discipline, geography is often erroneously identified with quantitative spatial science and cartography. Emphasizing the insights of geography in other arenas helps folks become acquainted with the distinct contributions of the discipline. The second reason is etymological. Our word for history is from the Greek, "istoria", meaning inquiry. Herodotus is often regarded as the 'father' of history, and the discipline of history takes its name from his _Istoria_. For the Greeks, of course, modern disciplinary divisions did not exist. Herodotus is also one of the founders of geography, which at the time shared the appellation istoria. In Herodotus' case, his inquiry was not only directed to a sequence of events, but into peoples in places. In modern parlance, Herodotus was practicing what we now call historical geography. For a history of science perspective, see Harold Dorn _The Geography of Science_ (1991). For a wonderful read on geography's role in the human and natural sciences, see David Livingstone _The Geographical Tradition_ (1992). And try using geohistory (geohistorical, geohistoricity, etc.) a bit. With time, it rolls off the tongue! Bill }`- William S.Lynn Geography, University of Minnesota 414 Social Science Minneapolis, MN 55455 612/625-0133 [email@example.com] _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:84>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Jul 15 07:51:13 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 08:52:31 EDT From: email@example.com (John Staddon) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Geohistoricity "For reasons of both history and geography, there can be no universal, objective, rational, value-free truth." -- William S.Lynn Are these "reasons" "true"? Is this statement true? If not true, is it at least "truer" than other statements? If not true, why should we accept the statement? _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:85>From email@example.com Fri Jul 15 08:12:34 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 09:13:52 EDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Staddon) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: "Geohistoricity" To Fred Gleach: Humor stands or falls on its own; obviously mine (re "geohistoricity") fell here. But I reject the premise that jargon is not fair game for comment. One of the virtues of a multidisciplinary (Ecch, jargon!) group is that it encourages everyone to speak a common language. Such a language might well dispense with terms like "geohistoricity," "foregrounding embeddedness" and the like. It seems to me that most of the "insights" (such as the demise of "truth") achieved by some of the more advanced thinkers on the fringes of epistemology and critical theory depend upon the freedom from criticism enforced by artificial disciplinary boundaries. Let's not encourage them! JS _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:86>From FBIO2024@ALTAIR.SELU.EDU Fri Jul 15 08:58:27 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 08:59:23 -0500 (CDT) From: FBIO2024@ALTAIR.SELU.EDU Subject: Re: Subspecies and dialects To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Southeastern Louisiana University I appreciate the reference about the history of the term subspecies. I look forward to reading it. I am aware that prior to the use of "subspecies", variety was the common term to name variation within a species, but soon many workers were describing individuals as varieties. And then as I understand Rothschild and two others initiated the journal Novitates Zoologica and in their initial editorial comment they apparently decreed that the term variety will not be used, individual variation will not be named, and that the term subspecies will be used to name geographic variation. This was in 1894 and the implication was that the term subspecies had been around for a while prior to then. I hope Stresemann can shed some light on its origin. Thanks, Brian I. Crother _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:87>From email@example.com Fri Jul 15 11:28:10 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 12:29:38 -0400 From: ad201@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Donald Phillipson) To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu Subject: Arguing Creation: Gosse and B. Russell Bonnie Blackwell <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca> wrote July 14 Re: Hermeneutics, knowledge and understanding >William Lynn offered some very rational means to help refute creationism. >The problem, as I see it however, is that his methods require that people >be open to discussing the concepts and underpinnings.... unfortunately, >most creationists that i have met have no desire to be open.... when finished >the courses they revert to their old creationist views. they seem >to liken this ordeal to that of the early cristians during persecution >by the romans or jews in the middle ages. > >my question still is "how do we get them to open their minds to other ideas?" A fundamental question seems whether you wish (1) to win a debate, i.e. convince a third party your case is better than a creationist opponent's, or (2) to convince i.e. convert a creationist to evolution, or (3) to teach the accepted knowledge of disciplinary biology. It seems unlikely the same techniques would work best for all these different goals. Goal (3) presents no problem to the teacher unless she judges this also presupposes goal (2), which I do not think it has to. It is too subtle to teach to freshmen but there is already a substantial literature on intellectual commitments, i.e. factual propositions the acceptance of which is a prerequisite of doing something specific. An accessible source in traditional 19th century style is Hans Vaihinger's "Philosophy of As If" (1911) which presents a theory of "necessary fictions" in several spheres, e.g. judicial law as well as scientific research. In recent times people who understand quantum physics (which I do not pretend to) seem agreed that this requires accepting factual propositions that do not conform to either common sense or non-quantum physics. Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty said some cheering and non-trivial things about this. I would not voluntarily attempt goal (2) because the little I've picked up about conversion suggests it is not a characteristically rational process (cf. Kuhn on revolutions: his discussion is fairly restrained.) For goal (1), debaters should also be aware of two other philosophical tricks, from Edmund Gosse's father (see book Father and Son) and Bertrand Russell (source forgotten.) (1) Omphalos theory: did Adam have a navel when created from dust by God? Of course he did, because navels are characteristic of "man." In biology, a navel testifies to chronologically prior events, i.e. physical connection with a mother (which of course Adam did not have.) But any living and many non-living things have similar traces of chronologically prior events: growth of hair, bone, teeth, fish scales and so on. None of this proves the negative, that God did not create the world as in Genesis at year XYZ B.P. (Reminder: proving negatives is logically different and trickier than proving positives. How could you disprove my assertion that leaving a computer running all the time, rather than switching off daily, keeps tigers away from my house? The machine is always switched on (affirmative and empirically confirmable) and there no tigers (empirically confirmable but negative). Even if you made an experiment (turned the computer off) negative results (absence of tigers) would not contradict my assertion: it's a long walk, and maybe the tigers have not yet had time to arrive. This is a familiar logical error (Modus Ponens.) Defined in any polite and common-sensical way, God would not have created biological entities without characteristic traces of prior chronological events, even if there was no prior chronology. So of course Adam had a navel; of course coal underground was forests and ferns X million years ago, even if there was no such time and no such trees; of course there may be traces in the Burgess Shale of whole genera and families that evolved in geological time but did not survive or leave descendants, even if that geological time existed only in God's imagination. The omphalos (Greek for navel) argument appears to be logically bullet-proof. The question is how you could possibly tell the difference, and this is a real question in classic philosophy. (Cf. the Confucian question whether the butterfly is in the philosopher's dream or vice versa. Bishop Berkeley explored 300 years ago the proposition that the universe was created only yesterday, God and I am the only things that "really" exist, and both are pure minds: there is "really" no physical matter at all. God's mind and mine include lots of confirmed information about chronology that did not happen and material stuff that is not really there.) The unaided omphalos argument probably has no efficacy in Goal (2), converting a creationist, but works OK for Goal (1), convincing an arbiter. I can see no logical reason (though there are political inhibitions) why scientists should not accept both the character of God as described by both Christian tradition and today's creationists (chiefly as omnipotent, infallible, and absolute) and the proposition that the world was created by him and recently (and relative.) If God truly created everything (including free will, never non-mystically integrated into theology) he created both the Darwinist mind and the fossil record with traces of an evolutionary history antedating time and creation. It would be irreligious not to do the best science we can, trying to make it better. Why did God put fossils there, if not for us to dig up and perform science upon? (This feels like a Euro-cultural argument. As noted, Biblical literalism is a characteristically American phenomenon, which usually ignores that none of the earliest Bible documents is in English.) (2) The Bertrand Russell ploy is a simple debating trick which (I think I remember) he recommended for dealing with British Israelite cranks. Some of the Tribes of Israel disappeared in recorded history. One of the myths of the origins of Britain is that they found their way to England, so were the ancestors of the British today. (Similar myths are that the first Briton was Brutus, grandson of Aeneas of Troy, or that Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to England after the crucifixion of Jesus, cf. Arthurian legend etc.) In Victorian times a "British Israelite" cult began, well-known in Russell's youth. It recurs today in some of the weirder apocalyptic denominations. Russell's remedy for people who pressed British Israelite arguments on him was first to appear to accept them, and then to insist that it was terribly important that the British were not (as commonly and wrongly thought) the Tribe of Manasseh but only the Tribe of Dan -- i.e. to accept the general argument and then split hairs in such a way as to divert attention to some trivial part of it. This gave the British Israelite the feeling he was being taken seriously and allowed the deceptive Russell to get on with his own life. -- Donald Phillipson, 4180 Boundary Rd., Carlsbad Springs, Ont., Canada K0A 1K0; tel: (613) 822-0734 "What I've always liked about science is its independence from authority"--Ontario Science Centre (name on file) 10 July 1981 _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:88>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca Fri Jul 15 11:39:43 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 12:39:16 -0500 (EST) From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca> Subject: Re: Darwinism and politics To: firstname.lastname@example.org i heard from a graduate of G. Washington U that they had graduated a Ph.D. in paleontology to a known creationist. i also heard that person is now working for one of the creationist groups writing anti-evolution literature. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:89>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU Fri Jul 15 13:00:20 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 13:00:20 -0500 From: "JOHN LANGDON" <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: On the shoulders of giants In message <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes: > Newton's line: "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of > giants", in a letter to Hooke, Feb 5 1675/6. While acknowledging his predecessors, I understand Newton was writing in his characteristic sarcasm. His reference was to a specific person, exactly whom I forget off hand. This person's small physical stature corresponded to the low opinion Newton held of his intellectual accomplishments. JOHN H. LANGDON email LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY FAX (317) 788-3569 UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS PHONE (317) 788-3447 INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227 _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:90>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Fri Jul 15 14:15:38 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 15:16:48 -0500 (EST) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: The purpose of Darwin-L, from the list owner To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro A recent poster asks: >Has discussion of creationism gone on too long? When it has, people will >stop discussing it, or any ramifications. The question at issue is not whether creationism should be discussed in a general sense; of course it should. The question is whether Darwin-L, which is *not* a discussion group on evolutionary biology or politics or religion, but is rather a group for *interdisciplinary academic comparisons among the several disciplines that are concerned with reconstructing the past*, is the proper forum for such discussion. I believe that it is not, and in addition to the several public complaints that have been posted, I have received several more private complaints about how the level of discourse here has fallen in the last few weeks. And these complaints do not have to do simply with the subject matter: prior to the discussion of creationism, most people here posted substantive, thoughtful messages; now we are getting sarcastic one-liners, snappy unsigned paragraphs, and facile expressions of opinion that would never be accepted in an ordinary scholarly exchange. Like most lists, Darwin-L was formed with a specific purpose in mind. I think I should say something more about that purpose, especially for new members of the list. I had originally planned to name this list either Whewell-L or Palaetiology-L, but was told by the computer folks that the name had to have fewer than eight characters. (I knew this was not the case, but I gave up arguing with computer people a long time ago.) Now many people may see "Darwin-L" and think: "Aha, here's a place where I can talk about (evil creationists/human sociobiology/whether life has any meaning/ad infinitum, ad nauseam)." But that is *not* what Darwin-L is about, as the welcoming document that all subscribers receive when they join the list makes clear. (To receive another copy of that document just send the message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one will be returned to you auto- matically.) In spite of its unfortunately broad name, Darwin-L has a very specific focus: it is concerned with making connections among a variety of fields that are now generally isolated from one another, but which have many "principles, maxims, and rules of procedure in common; and thus may reflect light upon each other by being treated together", as the nineteenth-century philosopher and historian William Whewell said. Whewell called these sciences "palaetiological" -- the sciences of historical causation. Now the notion of the palaetiological sciences _as a group_ *may be unfamiliar to some people*, which is wonderful: that is what the list is about: to help people to see some of these connections which may be new to them. "But why do you call it 'Darwin-L' then, if it's not about (evil creationists/human sociobiology/whether life has any meaning/ad infinitum, ad nauseam)?" Well, one of the unfortunate practical reasons I described above. But the positive reason is that Darwin was quite aware himself of the cross-disciplinary connections among the historical sciences that are the real focus of this list: he was trained more as a geologist than as a zoologist or botanist, and he made comparisons between the history of species and the history of languages in the _Origin of Species_. Darwin's friend and colleague Charles Lyell began his influential _Principles of Geology_ with a discussion of how geology as a field was similar to the study of human history, and how historical knowledge of the earth was important in the same way that historical knowledge of nations was important. And shortly after the publication of the _Origin of Species_ historical linguists started to write about the similarities between their work and Darwin's. The purpose of Darwin-L is to discuss how the *different* fields of historical science *connect with one another*. It seems clear that there is enough interest to support a listserv group devoted to evolution exclusively, or to discussing science education and creationism. *Setting up a list is not hard* and I encourage those who are interested in these subjects set up such a list themselves: it would be a valuable contribution to the network, and if you're at most any university it would be easy to do. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:91>From RMBURIAN@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU Fri Jul 15 16:14:15 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 17:00:11 EDT From: "Richard M. Burian" <RMBURIAN@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU> Subject: Materials for a course in History of Genetics To: firstname.lastname@example.org Although I have written a few small pieces on some aspects of the history of genetics, I have never taught a course in that area before. In a few weeks I will have the luxury (I hope) of teaching a small, flexible graduate class on the history and historiography of genetics. It is likely that I will have a few students whose background is primarily in biology and a few who come from our program in science and technology studies. I am acquainted with most of the standard secondary sources (Bowler, Carlson, Dunn, Sturtevant, etc.), and with a swath of both primary and secondary literature, and I will in any case tailor the course to the actual students in attendance. But I am very interested to learn from others on this list of syllabi, useful materials, good and bad expe riences using particular materials, and so on. I'd be very grateful to receive privately any syllabi or suggestions -- and to consider those suggestions that you think are of general enough interest to post to this list. Thanks in advance for your ideas and suggestions. Richard Burian email@example.com Science and Technology Studies 703 231-6760 (voice) Virginia Tech 70s 231-7013 (fax) Blacksburg, VA 24061-0247 _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:92>From WTUCKER@BOOTES.UNM.EDU Fri Jul 15 18:45:57 1994 Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 17:47 MST From: WTUCKER@BOOTES.UNM.EDU Subject: Re: cultural evolution, consistency and truth To: firstname.lastname@example.org I'm sympathetic to Turkel's position when he states: "beliefs are spontaneously and randomly generated within cultures. These beliefs are not necessarily adaptive. Those cultures which have a significant load of unadaptive beliefs are in danger of extinction, whereas those cultures which have adaptive beliefs will continue to reproduce." but I think the idea of group selection implicit here may be unnecessary. Imagine instead an epidemiological model of the transmission of beliefs, similar to Boyd and Richerson 1985. Beliefs are transmitted according to their ability to parasitize brains. Those harming individuals carrying them are true parasites, those that help, symbionts. Since beliefs have a much shorter generation time than their human carriers, it might take individual selection a long time to develop defenses, especially when the damage done by bad ideas is small. Just an idea. W. Troy Tucker Department of Anthropology University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM _______________________________________________________________________________ <11:93>From email@example.com Fri Jul 15 19:32:26 1994 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mary P Winsor) Subject: Gosse and Omphalos To: email@example.com (bulletin board) Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 20:36:43 -0400 (EDT) The omphalos story is an important one, and central to the theme of our list. I often include it in my undergraduate Darwinism course. Philip Henry Gosse wrote a book entitled Omphalos, because it was clear that evolution was in the air; this was a couple of years prior to 1859, but the anonymous Vestiges and Baden Powell's book made it clear some such theory would soon come along. Gosse was a very eminent naturalist as well as pious believer in Genesis and expounded the logical compatibility of a recent creation and evidence like fossils. The point of the story, though, is that no one listened (much to Gosse's dismay). This unassailable, pure, perfect reconciliation was satisfying to neither camp, and still is not, because it implies that God has no compunction about deceiving us. People who believe in God (most evolutionists did) may admit they know little about Him, but they are at least sure that He no more tells lies than He plays at dice. The moral of the story for our list is that we can do an historical science with as much faith in its verisimilitude (!) as a chemist or physicist can do her experimental science. Again, in my teaching I compare Lyell's uniformitarian assumptions to Newton's claims that gravity can apply to unreachable space as well as where we can measure it. But Lyell has taken a bit of a bashing from us purist historians lately, a comedown from the days when Leonard Wilson celebrated him in that wonderful half-biography. Rudwick has shown how unoriginal and complicated was his actualism, and Rachel Laudan has shown how inaccurate and polemical was the version of the history of geology with which he opened the Principles of Geology. Perhaps because I was privileged to hear Wilson lecturing about Lyell in the years Wilson was writing that book, I still feel powerfully attracted to the heroic image. Which brings me to a theme that the list has had implicit from the outset but we have not made explicit, the hero (read henceforward "heroine or hero"). Do we all learn, and do you all teach, the themes of your science partly through biographical tales, and do you later outgrow them as though they were about Santa Claus? Or do you only grow more hungry for details, as our list owner obviously does? I'd be glad to hear, not learn-ed pronouncements on the role of myth, but specific examples of tales which you cherish, which may not be familiar to others on this interdisciplinary list. This is not a disinterested query; I am in the early stages of formulating a research program around the role of history within science. Yes, I know can play a role in scientists' rhetoric, helping them win their readers over, and can provide an inspirational idea (and not only to beginnners?). But I suspect it does several more things than that. Thanks for reading this far! Polly Winsor firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ Darwin-L Message Log 11: 39-93 -- July 1994 End
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