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Darwin-L Message Log 12: 26–49 — August 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 August 1994. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 12: 26-49 -- AUGUST 1994
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_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:26>From d_baum@huh.harvard.edu  Thu Aug 18 11:22:15 1994

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 94 12:22:07 EDT
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: d_baum@huh.harvard.edu ("David Baum")
Subject: Re: The one-way mirror

Nancy Todd says:

>I am working with fossil elephants, many of which are defined by morphological
>characters that are parts of evolutionary trends. In this case, there is no
>getting around the fact that the characters are historically based, although
>I hope to do so. In fact, if I run the characters ordered in the direction in
>which the characters trend, the resulting tree does not match the trends. With
>this type of circular analysis, one would think that the tree would plot the
>hypothesized direction of the trends. Thus, I feel that it is impossible to
>separate history from character based views in this case. I hope I am wrong.

I don't think the elephant example crosses the dichotomy that I described
in my earlier posting "the one way mirror."  Let me explain.

The dichotomy I am dealing with is based primarily in what systematists
think taxa ARE.  The pattern-based view argues for the primacy of
observation (characters) over theory (history).  Thus taxa, including
species, are defined by the possession of characters whether "diagnostic"
(species) or synapomorphic (higher taxa).  In contrast, the history based
view strives to represent the actual evolutionary chronicle as accurately
as possible.  Thus, we DEFINE taxa based on their historical relationships
(admittedly hard to observe!).  Characters are used as a source of evidence
in evaluating the status of particular taxa but not to define them.

The fact that characters are used historically by Nancy to reconstruct the
relationships among fossil elephants is fully within the history-based
view.  It would only cross the divide if she went on to claim that the
extinct elephant taxa gained their existence from the characters rather
than from the process of evolutionary descent. Hence, Nancy's example
doesn't succeed in being truely intermediate between the two views I
described - it can be viewed as falling into one or the other depending how
elephant taxa are defined.

Nonetheless, her example nicely fits in with some of the other reactions to
my posting.  Specifically it illustrates the fallacy of the claim that a
history-based view is necessarily "circular."  If I understand Nancy
correctly she used hypotheses about the transformation of characters in
building her trees, only to find that the trees rejected her original model
of transformation.  This suggests that evolutionary models can be used a
priori without inexorably leading to their "confirmation" of those models
as pattern cladists would have us believe.

However, I don't want to get into the issue of whether Pattern cladistics
is right or wrong.  All I want is an explanation of why I can see that
their position is distinct from mine, whereas they think it is the same!

Regarding references on Pattern Cladistics here are a few:

Patterson, C. 1988.  The impact of evolutionary theories on systematics.
Pp. 59-91 in Prospects in Systematics. Systematics Association Special
Volume No. 36, Oxford Univ. Press.

Nelson, G. 1989.  Cladistics and Evolutionary Models.  Cladistics 5: 275-289.

A response to this later paper is:

de Queiroz, K. and M. Donoghue 1990.  Phylogenetic systematics or Nelson's
version of cladistics?  Cladistics 6: 61-75.

The best explanations of the "History-based view" are:

de Queiroz, K. 1992.  Phylogenetic definitions and taxonomic philosophy.
Biol. Phil. 7: 295-313.

--- & J. Gauthier.  1990.  Phylogeny as a central principle in taxonomy:
Phylogenetic definitions of taxon names.  Syst. Zool. 39:307-322.

As well as the Ridley and Hull books discussed by other postings I
particularly liked Hull's (1989) paper in the Nobel Symposium Volume:
Hierarchy of Life (Fernholm et al. eds.).

Hope this is useful.

__________________________________
David Baum
Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel:(617)496-6744/496-8766
Fax:(617)495-8944
D_Baum@HUH.Harvard.edu
__________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:27>From rbrandon@acpub.duke.edu  Thu Aug 18 12:55:55 1994

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 13:55:44 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: rbrandon@acpub.duke.edu (Robert Brandon)
Subject: ad hominem

re: replies to one-way mirror
We must be careful in how we describe ad hominem arguments.
As I understand it, an ad hominem argument is one that argues
(for or) against a position on the basis of the character of the holder
of that position.  E.g., "x is wrong *because* Jones is stupid SOB
and he/she believes x".

This should be distinguished from: "x is wrong *because* of substantive
reasons y and z, and Jones is a stupid SOB because he/she believes x".
One might think the latter is impolite, but it is not fallacious.

Moreover, and here I turn somewhat serious, although the
addendum that your opponent is a stupid SOB may not add much
to a scientific dispute I don't see why it may not be quite
explanatory from the point of view of commentary on science.

Robert Brandon

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:28>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Thu Aug 18 13:35:08 1994

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 10:48:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: Re: The one-way mirror
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Thu, 18 Aug 1994 07:59:36 -0500 Sally Thomason said:

>Elihu Gerson writes, quoting Nelson, that "the *only* data biologists
>have for constructing phylogenies is character data".   Does
>"character data" include only the characters themselves, or does
>it also include hypotheses (based on indirect evidence of what has
>happened in partly analogous instances of descent with modification)
>about directionality, such as "X is likely to change to Y [in the
>presence of character Z] but not vice versa"?

I was paraphrasing, not quoting Nelson. The pattern cladist position
in extreme form would hold (I think) that characters can be only the
characters themselves; they are trying to eliminate the influence of
theories in forming classifications. They have spent a great deal of
time on the problem of directionality (which they call "polarity" of
characters); a good starting point is Gareth Nelson, "Ontogeny,
phylogeny, paleontology, and the biogenetic law" Syst. Zool. 27: 324-345.

Polly Winsor's long comment summarizes a lot of the situation from my
point of view very well indeed. I'd like to add a couple of additional
complications to her analysis.

First, members of world C (commentators on science, e.g., sociologists)
are rarely (probably never) in a position to second-guess the technical
adequacy of debating positions in world S (i.e., the science under study).
That is, sociologists, historians, and so on will not be able to resolve
debates in a discipline because they don't have the degree of technical skills
that the respndent scientists do.

My own position is in accord with Winsor's description -- I think us C
folks should abstain from judgements about the validity of positions in
S. We should be describing and attempting to explain and even predict,
but not judging.

Of course, this is an unattainable ideal -- we all have opinions and make
judgements, have favorites, and so on, as Winsor notes. So we have the
continuing problem of assessing our own work for bias. My sense is, we'll
never eliminate it all, but we can always eliminate some more of it.

It's true that members of S dip into C for information to help them
get on with S. This creates another ongoing problem for members of C,
for members of S are concerned to solve S problems, not C problems, and
don't care about C rules or standards.

Taken together, these two points lead to a continuing problem: scientists
keep trying to use us (and our results) as weapons against one another in their
debates, and this strains our commitment to avoid taking sides. It also makes
for practical problems as well-- once one has become associated with one side
in a debate, the other side is hardly likely to welcome one with open arms.
And it is all too easy for each side in a debate to associate one with the
other. In the debates over cladistics, Karl Popper's ideas were frequently
used in this way. In fact, Popper has been used as ammunition so often and
so routinely in many disciplines, that tracing citations to him is probably a
good way of finding debates. David Hull ran into these difficulties after
his book was published; e.g. the review of his book written by  J S Farris
and N I Platnick "Lord of the flies: the systematist as study animal"
Cladistics 5: 295 - 310. Platnick, by the way, is often identified as
a pattern cladist.

So yes, I am very nervous that comments from C will be put to use; and
worse, that the mere attempt to study S will generate antagonistic
reaction to C in S. I am also worried that S, or factions in S,
might capture and domesticate C. Paul Forman has a very moving and
important article on this: "Independence, not transcendence, for the
historian of science" Isis 82: 71 - 86.

Finally, it should be obvious that members of C are as likely to use
ad hominem argument (or other kinds of fallacy) as are anyone else;
there's nothing special or privileged about their analyses.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
415-285-7837  tremont@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:29>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Thu Aug 18 16:22:20 1994

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 14:00:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: Re: ad hominem
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Thu, 18 Aug 1994 15:16:21 -0500 Robert Brandon said:

>We must be careful in how we describe ad hominem arguments.
>As I understand it, an ad hominem argument is one that argues
>(for or) against a position on the basis of the character of the holder
>of that position.  E.g., "x is wrong *because* Jones is stupid SOB
>and he/she believes x".
>
>This should be distinguished from: "x is wrong *because* of substantive
>reasons y and z, and Jones is a stupid SOB because he/she believes x".
>One might think the latter is impolite, but it is not fallacious.

I agree.

>Moreover, and here I turn somewhat serious, although the
>addendum that your opponent is a stupid SOB may not add much
>to a scientific dispute I don't see why it may not be quite
>explanatory from the point of view of commentary on science.

But surely, one's character as a nice/nasty person has nothing to do
with one's capacity to discover the *truth*?  More seriously, moral character
or intelligence might conceivably have something to do with the kind
or quality of research that scientists do, but I don't believe it,
and as a good sociologist I'm always suspicious of individual-level
explanations. But in any case, we can't use character as a post-hoc
explanation on a case-by-case basis, which is the way it's usually
done.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
415-285-7837  tremont@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:30>From ncse@crl.com  Thu Aug 18 18:21:48 1994

Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 10:41:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <ncse@crl.com>
Subject: Patterson, cladistics and antievolution
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Thu, 18 Aug 1994, Jeremy Creighton Ahouse wrote:

>         Though this isn't a reference to Nelson or Patterson and Kim
> Sterelny mentioned this book in his post I want to encourage those who are
> interested but unfamiliar with this discussion to grab a copy of Evolution
> and Classification: The Reformation of Cladism by Mark Ridley (Longman
> Group Limited 1986 [QH83.R49 1986]).  This book is a quick read.  Ridley
> manages to criticize the pheneticists and "evolutionary" taxonomists, make
> the case for cladistics, and then argue against the "extension"
> (regression?) of cladistics to natural order systematics (yet another
> synonym for pattern cladistics).

Thanks for the reference.  Some Darwin-L readers may be interested to
learn that Colin Patterson and cladistics are quite the darlings of the
antievolutionists, including neo-creationists like Phillip Johnson.  A
transcript of a talk Patterson gave at the AMNH years ago, plus a letter
he wrote to a creationist are becoming quite familiar sights at state
curriculum and textbook meetings, and even some school board meetings.

Basically, the creationists misunderstand the transformed (pattern)
cladists' concern about STARTING with evolutionary hypotheses in
systematics with an assumption that they actually *reject* evolution.
Thee and me know this is not quite what is going on, but depending on the
phrase taken out of context, it can sound like it.

A favorite Patterson quote (from the AMNH talk) is "For the last 18
months or so I've been kicking around non-evolutinary or even
antievolutionry ideas.  For over 20 years I had thought I was working on
evolution in some way.  One morning I woke up and something had happened
in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for
more than 20 years, and there was not one thing I knew about.  It's quite
a shock to learn that one can be misled for so long.  For the last few
weeks I've tried puttting a simple question to various people and groups:
Can you tell me anything you know abut evolution?  Any one thing...that
is true?"

This is interpreted not as ponderings about the nature of systematics,
but as a "confession" that Patterson really doesn't "believe" in
evolution anymore.  Scientists realize that there is no proof of
evolution, but they aren't letting the public know because they don't
want to lose their jobs, etc., but we caught them admitting it to each
other!

The discussion going on now in Darwin-L should help scientists (and
others) defend against this sort of distortion.

Final thought in reflecting on Ridley's approach: since we have gone
from phylogenetic systematics to transformed (pattern) cladistics, and
now back to Ridley's synthesis (that appears to put the phylogeny back
into phylogenetic systematics), can we refer to his approach as "born again
cladistics?" :)

ECS

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

                   SUPPORT SCIENCE EDUCATION!

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

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

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:31>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Fri Aug 19 09:38:11 1994

Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 10:40:21 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: ad hominem and getting your hands dirty (was: The 1-way mirror)

Good morning Darwin list folk,
        2 thoughts.

        1. Ad hominem has gotten a bit of a bad name.  We make inferences
all of the time.  If I think (from past experiences) that someones approach
is shoddy, closed minded, careless... I may well use these conclusions to
judge "new" pronouncements from that person.  This will easily sound ad
hominem (especially as I will probably not unpack all of my reasons for
disagreement).  My claim here is more about our ready willingness to
categorize bits of an argument as ad hominem when instead they may be short
hand for a kind of inference.  (Sometimes creeps do do bad science and
sloppy thinking.)  In this sense it can act as a quick heuristic to
separate wheat from chaff.  I know that you all could list many abrasive
and/but well thought of thinkers...and it isn't my point to encourage name
calling - but we should be able to call closed mindedness just that when we
see it.

        "We rank people partly at least by the nature of their dominant
interests, and we think more highly of those who are conscious of ulterior
ends - be those ends intellectual ideals, to see the universal in the
particular, or the sympathetic wish to help their kind.  For your sake I
hope that when your work seems to present only mean details you may realize
that every detail has the mystery of the universe behind it and may keep up
your heart with an undying faith"
        - adapted from a letter by Oliver Wendell Holmes to Charles E.
Wyzanski, Jr. 9/9/27

        2. While I think Polly Winsor's C/S dichotomy can help commentators
(C-types) to position themselves I want to _strongly_ resist Elihu Gerson's
suggestions that "members of world C (commentators on science, e.g.,
sociologists) are rarely (probably never) in a position to second-guess the
technical adequacy of debating positions in world S (i.e., the science
under study)...I think us C folks should abstain from judgements about the
validity of positions in S. We should be describing and attempting to
explain and even predict, but not judging."  Don't internalize the boundary
maintenance behavior of other disciplines.  If they want you out make them
throw you out.  If you have something to say do so.  No one wants
uninformed comments from the peanut gallery.  But that doesn't mean that
sincere engagement with fields outside of your specialty should be avoided.

        Zen appreciates the value of the "beginners mind" as do many people
who have taught and find the "best" questions to come from those who are
steeped in a particular tradition.  The willingness to offer our interested
ignorance to colleagues in associated fields is a gift.  So when scientists
look over the fence and find post-modern relativist positions almost
laughable that is useful information.  (Their reaction may be based on
incomplete or bad information but their intuition is informative.)  When a
historian of science notices the underlying rhetoric and social angling
that is going on in a scientific dispute that _can_ be useful for the
participants.  Currently biology has been lured into the cave of molecular
biology (as an explanation for _every_ thing) and engaged commentary is
useful and necessary.  Even for technical problems (eg gene therapy, ...).

        The example of neurobiology begs to be used.  Recently there has
been a wonderful flowering that comes from philosophy, mathematics/modeling,
and physiology coming together in computational neuroscience (e.g.
Consciousness explained by Daniel C. Dennett (Little, Brown and Co. c1991)
[B105 .C477 D45 1991]).  Certainly in systematics there is valuable flow back
and forth.

        I will grant that it may not be easy to come up to speed and
practitioners in a particular discipline may not want to be bothered to
help you.  (I work with molecular immunologists - I am getting my PhD
studying the proteins involved in the transport of antibodies from mother
to young - so I am familiar with resistance.)  But don't foreclose the
option of weighing in on an issue for fear of the expert.

        I want to end by encouraging folks to read the US Supreme court
decision on Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals that was handed down
last year.  It bears on this discussion in 3 ways 1) it revolves around the
relationship between scientific expert witnesses and the courts, 2) it
raids/uses certain aspects of philosophy of science (C-world) to demarcate
allowable (L[egal]-world) scientific (S-world) findings, 3) you can and
probably should have an opinion.  You can find the opion and the summary of
the judgement (called a 'syllabus') on the internet.  If you use MacWeb or
one of the mosaic clients you will find it at:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/syllabi?daubert

        For a comparison (even closer to the heart of Darwin-L) see the
decision in the Arkansas creation "science" case; _Creationism, science,
and the law: the Arkansas case_ edited  by Marcel C. La Follette
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, c1983) [KF228 .M39 C73 1983].  See especially
the interchange between Michael Ruse and Larry Laudan.  I think Ruse blows
off Laudan concerns way too quickly.

        - jeremy

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

.. animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the emperor, (b)
embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids,
(f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this
classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable
ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush, (l) others, (m)
those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies
from a distance.
    from the Celestial Emporium of Benevelent Knowledge (Jorge Luis Borges)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:32>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Fri Aug 19 17:52:20 1994

Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 15:10:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: Re: ad hominem and getting your hands dirty (was: The 1-way mirror)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Fri, 19 Aug 1994 14:31:31 -0500 Jeremy Creighton Ahouse said:

>        1. Ad hominem has gotten a bit of a bad name.  We make inferences
>all of the time.  If I think (from past experiences) that someones approach
>is shoddy, closed minded, careless... I may well use these conclusions to
>judge "new" pronouncements from that person.  This will easily sound ad
>hominem (especially as I will probably not unpack all of my reasons for
>disagreement).  My claim here is more about our ready willingness to
>categorize bits of an argument as ad hominem when instead they may be short
>hand for a kind of inference.  (Sometimes creeps do do bad science and
>sloppy thinking.)  In this sense it can act as a quick heuristic to
>separate wheat from chaff.  I know that you all could list many abrasive
>and/but well thought of thinkers...and it isn't my point to encourage name
>calling - but we should be able to call closed mindedness just that when we
>see it.

The form of argument I was objecting to went: Person A argues X; I disagree
with X; therefore person A is mentally defective. This is not a good
heuristic for the quality of X.

Moreover, reasoning from the quality of the arguer to the quality of
of the argument remains fallacious. The fact that the arguer is often
bad (or very bad), and/or that his/her arguments have frequently been
bad before doesn't change this at all.  Certainly, we often say "he's
a dummy" and dismiss the point being made--- but that's a fallacy, even
when we get away with it.

Finally, once again, the primary methdological point: it's a bad idea
to *start* with the assumption that a difficulty lies in the arguer
rather than the argument, because if one does, one stops looking for
other possible explanations and thus makes mistakes. No doubt, we will
occasionally be forced to conclude (e.g.) that someone didn't understand
something because s/he was stupid. But that's the conclusion of last
resort. And I find myself coming to it only a very tiny fraction of the
times it is proposed.

>        2. While I think Polly Winsor's C/S dichotomy can help commentators
>(C-types) to position themselves I want to _strongly_ resist Elihu Gerson's
>suggestions that "members of world C (commentators on science, e.g.,
>sociologists) are rarely (probably never) in a position to second-guess the
>technical adequacy of debating positions in world S (i.e., the science
>under study)...I think us C folks should abstain from judgements about the
>validity of positions in S. We should be describing and attempting to
>explain and even predict, but not judging."  Don't internalize the boundary
>maintenance behavior of other disciplines.  If they want you out make them
>throw you out.  If you have something to say do so.  No one wants
>uninformed comments from the peanut gallery.  But that doesn't mean that
>sincere engagement with fields outside of your specialty should be avoided.

There are many different views of this issue. Anthropologists and
sociologists call the process "Going native" and generally try to avoid
it; philosophers often embrace it. Ahouse stands the matter on its head
when he suggests that going native is a way to avoid "internaliz[ing] the
boundary maintenance behavior of other disciplines." It is extremely
difficult to understand the character of a debate if one is committed
to one side of it, even without the added access difficulties which come
with being identified as partisan.

That aside, I don't think it's a good idea for sociologists, historians,
and philosophers to allow themselves to be coopted by one side or another
in debates among the scientists they study, because this undermines the
integrity of our own disciplines.

As for "sincere engagement": Sure, what's the problem? I've found that
almost all scientists are willing to entertain and respond to questions,
even those coming from a "devil's advocate." Indeed, this is one of the
most powerful interviewing techniques we have. I've also found that very
few scientists respond well to authoritative direction from people who
don't have qualifications as good as their own. In this, they are much
like other occupations I've studied. Perhaps the matter is simply one of
careful field technique.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
415-285-7837  tremont@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:33>From GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU  Sat Aug 20 06:52:12 1994

Date: Sat, 20 Aug 1994 01:17:00 -0600 (CST)
From: GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU
Subject: Call for syllabi
To: CADUCEUS@BEACH.UTMB.EDU, darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu,
        HOPOS-l@ukcc.uky.edu

                          CALL FOR SCIENCE STUDIES SYLLABI

None of us holds a monopoly on the most effective way to organize and
teach a Science Studies course. Thus, there is always the possibility that
we might learn from each other how to improve our courses. To this end,
the Science Studies archive at kasey.umkc.edu collects and archives
syllabi of courses in the field. We would like to have YOUR syllabus. For
these purposes, "science studies" is broadly construed. If you teach a
course in the {history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc.} of
{medicine, science, (including individual sciences such as biology,
economics, etc.), technology, etc.}, we would be pleased to post your
syllabus or syllabi. Just send an e-mail copy of your material in text
format to me, ggale@vax1.umkc.edu, and I will take care of the rest. If
you would prefer, send your material on a disk in some familiar DOS,
Mac or Windows *text* format to George Gale, Philosophy, University of
Missouri, Kansas City MO 64110.

I'll be hoping to hear from you.
George Gale
Prop., Science Studies gopherhole

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:34>From mahaffy@dordt.edu  Mon Aug 22 14:08:25 1994

Subject: History of Science group now active.
To: Address Darwin list <Darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 14:02:25 -0500 (CDT)
From: James Mahaffy <mahaffy@dordt.edu>

Folks,

	Some of you are probably interested in knowing that the
soc.history.science group is now active.  It is gated to a listserver
for those who do not have a newsreader, but I do not have that
information.  I include the greeting and first message from the owner.

From: grobe@ins.infonet.net (Jonathan Grobe)
Subject: Welcome to soc.history.science
Date: 22 Aug 1994 16:31:44 GMT
Organization: INS Info Services, Des Moines, IA USA

Welcome to soc.history.science.

The charter is as follows:

  soc.history.science will discuss the history of science in the broad sense:
  including the history of the physical sciences, history of the biological
  sciences, history of the social sciences, history of medicine, history of
  technology, history of mathematics, philosophy of science, and related
  areas.

I would encourage someone to start a FAQ for the group which will include
pointers to the other resources for the history of science on the Internet.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jonathan Grobe  grobe@ins.infonet.net

--
James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy@dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:35>From PLHILL@Augustana.edu  Mon Aug 22 14:53:04 1994

From: PLHILL@Augustana.edu
Organization:  Augustana College - Rock Island IL
To: <darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>, PLHILL@Augustana.edu
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 14:53:11 CST
Subject: ad hominems

    The several recent comments on ad hominems seem to me to invite
    confusions.  The following are, I believe, uncontroversial points
    about ad hominem argument.  (1) An ad hominem is an inference from
    the limitations (moral or intellectual) of a person to the truth
    or plausibility of some view held by that person.  (2) Not all ad
    hominems are fallacious.  To argue that a scientist is probably
    mistaken on the ground that he is an unreliable sensation-seeker
    who has been wrong dozens of times in the recent past is not
    fallacious.  He is making claims on the basis of evidence which
    cannot be evaluated instantly (and which may not even be present
    for evaluation).  Some judgment may be required on the basis of
    his past performance, and in this case an ad hominem is perfectly
    cogent.  Of course, in the end, assuming all the evidence for the
    claim is eventually presented, arguments involving no reference
    to the character of the claimant take center stage.  But even then
    one cannot entirely escape the question of honesty in reporting
    results.  (3) Consider the following:  "p is false because of
    substantive reasons y and z, so Jones, who believes p, is a stu-
    pid SOB."  A recent communicant says this is impolite but not
    fallacious.  This has the merit of recognizing that insults are
    not typically ad hominems.  Nonetheless, the comment is mistaken.
    The inference is fallacious, even if it isn't an ad hominem.
    All of us, presumably, hold false beliefs.  Most of us (perhaps
    all) hold beliefs that have been shown to be false.  A much
    smaller number of us are stupid SOBs.  (Whether the ratio is
    greater or smaller among academics and trained scientists, who
    can tell?)  The inference is thus a simple non sequitur.

    Dave Hill
    Augustana College
    Rock Island, IL

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:36>From MNHAN125@SIVM.SI.EDU  Tue Aug 23 08:25:27 1994

Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 16:16:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Gary P. Aronsen" <MNHAN125@sivm.si.edu>
Subject: One-Way Mirrors and Parallax views
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

     After reading Baum's discourse regarding the dichotomy between the
pattern cladists and the historical systematists, I found myself in a
quandry. I believe that the Nelson et al are correct in their assessment
of species identification, and that a great deal of our work involves the
identification and analysis of characters and their states in order to
identify "meaningful" taxonomic groups. I also believe, however, that the
existence of identified character states in extant taxa is based on their
incipience, and so a (an?) historical perspective is critical for determining
the origin and diversity of observed character states. The latter perspective
is hindered because, as Baum notes, extinct taxa are not always present in
the fossil record, making phylogenies incomplete and leading to the "un-
knowable history" conondrum.

     With all of these initial assumptions (and being a grad student, earlier
assumptions were punctured at the rate of two per semester, and I'm sure these
will also burst in due time), I find myself banging my head against the mirror.
A pattern cladist views characters without a history, losing information.
A descent oriented cladist/systematist/whatever (who is not always an
"intellectual descendant of Hennig") perceives characters through their
history, but this perception involves the development of assumptions in
ancestor/descendant relations, leading to incorrect assessments, thus
losing information. Who's right? Which is wrong?

     Gerson's point about the recognition of the development and elements
of academic schisms (and the schism between cladists and "classicists" is
a deep and fairly fresh one) is important, because an understanding of the
framework of each pattern of thought may dissolve the mirror, although it
leaves a murky haze in it's place. The initial philosophy behind character
identification and relevance (operational, realist, positivist, nihilist,
whatever) will impact the resulting phylogeny, but we must ALWAYS be able to
use as many different methods and philosophies as we can to try and determine
the existence and relationships of any taxon, extant or extinct (which is a
blow to the pattern cladists' refusal of history, but the insistence that
pattern cladists are blinded to certain facts reflects a similar attitude
towards alternative approaches as Ahouse commented on when he mentioned
using the term "Darwinian" to lend significance to one method over another).
It's easy to think of the basis and method of our science as being more
"real", but that doesn't make our results "right". The one-way mirror is less
a sheet of glass than a reflective prism which serves to make some bands
plain to see, but others obscured from view. Not every approach is right,
but can we easily identify an alternative as wrong (which Baum does not
want to do), or even "misguided" (which is the impression Baum gives)?

                                              Gary P. Aronsen
                                              George Washington U.
                                              MNHAN125@SIVM.SI.EDU

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:37>From d_baum@huh.harvard.edu  Tue Aug 23 12:31:18 1994

Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 13:31:09 EDT
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: d_baum@huh.harvard.edu ("David Baum")
Subject: Re: One-Way Mirrors and Parallax views

The message from Gary Aronsen states:

>I find myself banging my head against the mirror.
>A pattern cladist views characters without a history, losing information.
>A descent oriented cladist/systematist/whatever (who is not always an
>"intellectual descendant of Hennig") perceives characters through their
>history, but this perception involves the development of assumptions in
>ancestor/descendant relations, leading to incorrect assessments, thus
>losing information. Who's right? Which is wrong?

Clearly, Gary is trying to see through the mirror (or prism if you will)
but I would, respectfully, suggest he has failed.  If he sees that the
essence of the history-based view is that it entails "perceiv[ing]
characters through their history" he has missed the point.  The
history-based view considers taxa to be entities whose existence derives
from their history and thus DEFINES taxa based on that history.  Characters
are viewed as [fallible] evidence of history.  Whether characters are
defined historically is a separate issue entirely. Indeed, proponents of
the character-based, "phylogenetic species concept" have advocated a
historical view of characters (e.g., Davis and Nixon, 1992).  Thus it seems
to me that the dilemma Gary sees is fully within the pattern-based view -
should CHARACTERS be defined historically or not.

        By analogy a character-based definition of an electron might be a
flash on a cathode-ray tube (or click in a geiger counter), whereas the
alternative would be to define an electron as an elementary particle of
negligible mass, one negative charge etc.  In the latter case the flash on
the cathode-ray tube indicates the PRESENCE of an electron (i.e., is
[fallible] evidence) but it IS NOT an electron.  Does that help?

        To see the history-based view of the world the first step is to
admit that history is no more "unknowable" than the present (or future).
Taking this step allows one to DEFINE entities (e.g., taxa) historically
and view characters as observable attributes that might help us determine
whether particular groups of organisms satisfy our historical definition of
an entity.  To be sure we can be wrong - but isn't that almost defining for
a scientific activity?

        I like Gary's metaphor of "a reflective prism which serves to make
some bands plain to see, but others obscured from view."

Also, when he says:

>Not every approach is right,
>but can we easily identify an alternative as wrong (which Baum does not
>want to do), or even "misguided" (which is the impression Baum gives)?

I have to admit it he is right (much as I have tried to avoid value
judgements).

David

__________________________________
David Baum
Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel:(617)496-6744/496-8766
Fax:(617)495-8944
D_Baum@HUH.Harvard.edu
__________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:38>From grobe@INS.INFONET.NET  Tue Aug 23 18:33:09 1994

Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 18:36:24 CST
From: grobe@INS.INFONET.NET
To: sci-tech-studies@ucsd.edu, shothc-l@sivm.si.edu,
        medsci-l@brownvm.brown.edu, htech-l@sivm.si.edu,
        hpsst-l@qucdn.queensu.ca, hopos-l@ukcc.uky.edu,
        hastro-l@wvnvm.wvnet.edu, Galileo@muwayb.ucs.unimelb.edu.au,
        darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, cocta-l@nosferatu.cas.usf.edu,
        caduceus-l@beach.utmb.edu, arch-theory@mailbase.ac.uk,
        aerosp-l@sivm.si.edu
Subject: soc.history.science Newsgroup Created

The soc.history.science newsgroup was created yesterday. While most sites add
new Big 7 groups (such as soc.*) automatically, others add them only on user
request. So if the group has not been added to your site in the next
couple days write to your news administrator (write to the address news or
usenet) and ask that it be added.

The charter is as follows:

  soc.history.science will discuss the history of science in the broad sense:
  including the history of the physical sciences, history of the biological
  sciences, history of the social sciences, history of medicine, history of
  technology, history of mathematics, philosophy of science, and related
  areas.

soc.history.science will be gatewayed to a mailing list. That mailing list
is not ready yet. There should be an announcement shortly (which will be
sent to this list).

For those of you not acquainted with Usenet newsgroups I am including the
following information by Andrew Burday:

From: Andrew Burday <andy@DEP.PHILO.MCGILL.CA>
Subject: Re: RFD: soc.history.science

Soc.history.science would be a Usenet newsgroup, not a mailing list like
HOPOS-L.  Newsgroups are also (for the most part) distributed over the
collection of networks that we call 'the Internet', but they do not use
e-mail.  They use a protocol called 'NNTP'.  To read them, you need to
have special client software, as well as an NNTP server that you can
connect to.  Most universities and many commercial Internet
providers provide such servers for their members/subscribers.  Usenet is
less convenient than an e-mail list like HOPOS-L, but it has the advantage
that you only see it when you want to.  You never have to worry about
clutter in your mailbox.

Popular client programs for reading news include rn, trn, tin (on Unix),
Trumpet (on DOS/Windows), and ... well, I forget the names, but there are
some excellent newsreaders for the Mac.  There are also newsreaders for
VMS, mainframes, and other platforms.

Newsgroups are organized in hierarchies, with sci, alt, soc, talk, rec,
and a couple of the others at the top.  E.g., sci.* is all the "science"
groups, sci.philosophy.* is all the philosophy groups within sci.*, and
sci.philosophy.tech is one such group.

In many fields, newsgroups coexist with mailing lists on similar topics
with no competition at all.  For instance, sci.philosophy.tech covers the
same topics as PHILOSOP and philos-l, to the apparent detriment of none of
them.  It sounded to me as if soc.history.science is intended to have a
broader, perhaps more historical and less philosophical content than
HOPOS-L.  I don't see any reason to think that they will be in
competition.  Aside from the difference in content, they will be accessed
in different ways, and different people will probably find one or the
other more convenient, depending on their individual preferences.  Many
people will probably read both.

There is a semi-formal procedure that one must go through to establish a
newsgroup.  The first step is a request for discussion (RFD), which is
what we saw on HOPOS-L.  If enough people approve of the new group, there
will be a vote.  If the results are satisfactory, the new group will be
established.  I'm not sure who counts the votes, but there is some
publicly accountable mechanism.

If you wish to participate in the discussion, you need to find a
newsreader.  (Ask your campus computing center for help.)  Then you will
want to look at news.announce.newusers, to learn some more about Usenet
news.  Then you can post your comments on news.groups, which is just
another newsgroup.

Anyhow, I hope this has been helpful.  Whatever the
pros and cons of the proposed group might be, I doubt very much that it
will compete with HOPOS-L.  Personally, I don't use Usenet much when I
know of mailing lists on the same topics.  I find it more convenient, most
of the time, to just have messages show up in my mail instead of having to
go out and get them.  Still, Usenet is worth checking out.

Best,

Andrew Burday
andy@philo.mcgill.ca

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:39>From korb@bruce.cs.monash.edu.au  Tue Aug 23 18:40:30 1994

From: korb@bruce.cs.monash.edu.au (Kevin Korb)
Subject: Re: ad hominems
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 09:40:13 +1000 (EST)

The whole business of identifying particular argument forms
as fallacious is, I believe, confused.  (I grant there might
be some, such as from P infer not-P -- but who is tempted by
that?)  Ad hominem arguments, genetic "fallacies", etc provide
some weak grounds for disbelieving a conclusion.  The facts that
they are weak grounds and may readily be overridden by better
evidence ("screening off" the weak grounds, in Wes Salmon's
terminology) does not mean that the weak grounds are not
grounds at all.

Dave Hill writes:

>     results.  (3) Consider the following:  "p is false because of
>     substantive reasons y and z, so Jones, who believes p, is a stu-
>     pid SOB."  A recent communicant says this is impolite but not
>     fallacious.  This has the merit of recognizing that insults are
>     not typically ad hominems.  Nonetheless, the comment is mistaken.
>     The inference is fallacious, even if it isn't an ad hominem.

Certainly I can fill in the y, z, and p so that an argument of
that form is *compelling* rather than fallacious.  The fact
that there's a missing premise -- anyone who in the light of
y and z believes p is a stupid SOB -- is hardly telling; almost
every argument you'll encounter is enthymematic.

Regards, Kevin

P.S. Let p = the holocaust did not occur; fill in y and z in
the obvious fashion.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:40>From rog@cns.brown.edu  Wed Aug 24 06:58:30 1994

Subject: logic and/or rhetoric (re:ad hominems)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 07:37:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: rog@cns.brown.edu (Roger B. Blumberg)

Kevin Korb writes:

>  Ad hominem arguments, genetic "fallacies", etc provide
>some weak grounds for disbelieving a conclusion.  The facts that
>they are weak grounds and may readily be overridden by better
>evidence ("screening off" the weak grounds, in Wes Salmon's
>terminology) does not mean that the weak grounds are not
>grounds at all.

Kevin, and others on the list, confuse the issue of belief with that of
the _justification_ of belief. When one criticizes an argument as "ad
hominem" one is claiming not that the conclusion is false or
unbelievable, but merely that it is not _justified_by_the_argument_.
Logic and rhetoric are both concerned with justification, not truth;
that neither may be useful in the analysis of what scientists believe
and how they come to believe it, doesn't make them any less meaningful.

Roger

        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                           Roger B. Blumberg
                Institute for Brain & Neural Systems
                Department of Physics, Brown University
                rog@cns.brown.edu       401-861-2189
        <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:41>From korb@bruce.cs.monash.edu.au  Wed Aug 24 18:49:49 1994

From: korb@bruce.cs.monash.edu.au (Kevin Korb)
Subject: Re: logic and/or rhetoric (re:ad hominems)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 09:49:37 +1000 (EST)

Roger Blumberg writes:

> Kevin Korb writes:
>
> >  Ad hominem arguments, genetic "fallacies", etc provide
> >some weak grounds for disbelieving a conclusion.  The facts that
> >they are weak grounds and may readily be overridden by better
> >evidence ("screening off" the weak grounds, in Wes Salmon's
> >terminology) does not mean that the weak grounds are not
> >grounds at all.
>
> Kevin, and others on the list, confuse the issue of belief with that of
> the _justification_ of belief. When one criticizes an argument as "ad
> hominem" one is claiming not that the conclusion is false or
> unbelievable, but merely that it is not _justified_by_the_argument_.
> Logic and rhetoric are both concerned with justification, not truth;
> that neither may be useful in the analysis of what scientists believe
> and how they come to believe it, doesn't make them any less meaningful.

I might be mistaken, but not for the reason Roger gives.  My claim is
precisely that "ad hominem arguments" (sometimes) provide (weak,
perhaps very weak) justification for believing the conclusion.  This
is a straightforward interpretation of Bayesian confirmation theory:
the ad hominem may raise the probability of the conclusion.
(If you are unclear about this, please see C Howson and P Urbach
(1993) Scientific Reasoning: The Bayesian Approach, Open Court.)
Whether you end up being properly justified in believing the
conclusion, or end up actually believing the conclusion, or whether
the conclusion is in fact true, are all additional questions to
the question of whether the ad hominem argument changes the
probability of the conclusion being true.  In many cases, the
answer to the last question is yes.

Regards, Kevin

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:42>From grobe@INS.INFONET.NET  Wed Aug 24 20:23:26 1994

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 20:25:59 CST
From: grobe@INS.INFONET.NET
To: sci-tech-studies@ucsd.edu, shothc-l@sivm.si.edu,
        medsci-l@brownvm.brown.edu, htech-l@sivm.si.edu,
        hpsst-l@qucdn.queensu.ca, hopos-l@ukcc.uky.edu,
        hastro-l@wvnvm.wvnet.edu, Galileo@muwayb.ucs.unimelb.edu.au,
        darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, cocta-l@nosferatu.cas.usf.edu,
        caduceus-l@beach.utmb.edu, arch-theory@mailbase.ac.uk,
        aerosp-l@sivm.si.edu
Subject: soc.history.science Gatewayed Mailing List Available

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 16:08:58 -0500
From: comfort@cshl.org (Nathaniel Comfort at Cold Spring Harbor Lab)

The Usenet newsgroup soc.history.science has now been gatewayed to a
mailing list, located at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. This group is for
the discussion of topics in the history of science and is intended to bring
together scholars with different specialties, scientists themselves, and
interested amateurs (in the literal sense, not the pejorative sense). Those
who do not read newsgroups, or prefer electronic mail, can now participate
in the discussions held in this group. The mailing list works as follows:

All messages posted to the newsgroup will be sent to all subscribers to the
mailing list.

All messages e-mailed to the mailing list will appear as posts to the
newsgroup.

To subscribe to the mailing list, send e-mail with the following message:
subscribe HIST-SCI [your full name]

Send the mail to:
listproc@cshl.org

Do not include a "subject" header

For more information about this list server, send a message to the above
address with the word "help" (without quotes) in the body. This explains how to
receive this list as a digest, how to receive a directory of who's on the list,
how to remove your name from this directory, and other features.

To send mail to the list, send to:     hist-sci@cshl.org

Please do not send subscribe messages to hist-sci. Any messages other than list
server commands sent to listproc will be returned.

Please direct technical questions about the list to Corp Reed (reed@cshl.org),
and any other questions to Nathaniel Comfort (comfort@cshl.org). We hope
you find this list an interesting place.

Nathaniel Comfort

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:43>From GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU  Wed Aug 24 20:48:25 1994

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 20:48:11 -0600 (CST)
From: GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU
Subject: Breaking the thread: Altaic and _Time_ on "Infidelity"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I hate to change the subject away from logic, one of my favorites, and the
way my bread gets buttered BUT other matters are buzzing about in my brain.
To wit:

1. Over on LINGUIST the folks are beating each other up side the head on the
question of Altaic, that is, whether it exists or not, and, if so, what it
is like, and what it includes, for example, if it exists, does it include
say, Korean. I've watched this last week, mouth agape, as the discussion
progressed among believers and non-believers, each citing evidence or non-
evidence, and sounding more and more like participants in our recent Darwin-
ian excursion into (and through!) the one-way mirror. It's a marvelous
practical exercise in cladistic, or genetic, or historical (take your
pick, you may pick all of the above) methods applied to language.
I've squirreled away the entire discussion. Copies may be had upon request
to me, ggale@vax1.umkc.edu, but beware: it gets hot, heavy, and long.
[Would any of our linguists on Darwin care to carefully introduce the topic
of Altaic, strictly for our historico-scientific methodological edification?]

2. Last week, _Time_ mag's typically lurid cover story (on "Infidelity--is
it in the genes?" or some such bushwah) untypically included some rather
(potentially) interesting and (at least) intellectually provocative hypotheses.
It concerned the findings of a discipline which calls itself 'evolutionary
psychology' [Eli Gerson suggested to me that it was old wine (= sociobiology)
in new skins...], a discipline which attempts, apparently, to investigate
what consequences our (human) evolutionary past might have upon the
contemporary psychological wellsprings of our behavior.

In great part, I thought the article contained a whole bunch of Just So
stories, most of which were exactly as we might expect: unverifiable in
principle. Some of the stories DID seem, somehow, to be a bit more than
Just So.

But it's always plausible for me to think myself bemused and befuddled by
my own predilections/prejudices in the face of these sorts of stories, most
especially because I have ABSOLUTELY no professional knowledge or experience
in the field.

But I must admit to always remaining methodologically cautious.

Did anyone out there in cyberlistspace, who Knows About These Things, happen
to read the article? If so, would you pls. share your thoughts?

Our classes started on Monday. Hold my hand folks, I need your support...

g

 ##############################################################################
 #                                                                            #
 #                             George Gale                                    #
 #                         ggale@vax1.umkc.edu                                #
 #                     Philosophy & Physical Science                          #
 #                 Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City 64110                       #
 #                             913-383-3848                                   #
 #                                                                            #
 #      "....Kansas City has the two best restaurants in the world."          #
 #                                                   --Calvin Trillin         #
 #                                                     The New Yorker         #
 #                                                                            #
 ->!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<-

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:44>From delancey@darkwing.uoregon.edu  Thu Aug 25 10:39:49 1994

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 08:39:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott C DeLancey <delancey@darkwing.uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: Breaking the thread: Altaic and _Time_ on "Infidelity"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Wed, 24 Aug 1994 GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU wrote:

> 1. Over on LINGUIST the folks are beating each other up side the head on the
> question of Altaic, that is, whether it exists or not, and, if so, what it
> is like, and what it includes, for example, if it exists, does it include
> say, Korean. I've watched this last week, mouth agape, as the discussion
> progressed among believers and non-believers, each citing evidence or non-
> evidence, and sounding more and more like participants in our recent Darwin-
> ian excursion into (and through!) the one-way mirror.

Hmm ... have you been reading the same Altaic thread I have?  Or maybe
I've missed some posts--but I don't think I've seen a contribution yet
from a "non-believer".  A couple of people have summarized some of the
anti-Altaic arguments, but not very sympathetically.  I don't have any
sense at all that any of the participants in the thread are actually
arguing with one another.

> [Would any of our linguists on Darwin care to carefully introduce the topic
> of Altaic, strictly for our historico-scientific methodological edification?]

Sure.  The basic hypothesis is that several language groups of northern
Asia--Turkic, Mongol, and Tungus--are genetically related.  Many
people also consider Korean to be Altaic.  Japanese has lots in common
with Korean, and bits of vocabulary that look Altaic, and it's
grammatical typology is very Altaic-looking, so the idea that it may be
linked to Altaic has some supporters.  (Japanese classification is a
famous problem, which IMO won't be solved until the Altaic party and
the Austronesian party stop thinking of themselves as competitors and
sit down to cooperatively figure out what they can about the prehistory
of the language).

Scott DeLancey			delancey@darkwing.uoregon.edu
Department of Linguistics
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403, USA

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:45>From SAJAY%UMSVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Thu Aug 25 11:03:25 1994

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 10:57:20 -0600 (CST)
From: "Jay K. Johnson" <SAJAY%UMSVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: primate language
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

   I wonder if anyone could recommend a film/video that does
a good, relatively current job of presenting the primate language
experiments up to and including Koko.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:46>From BURGHD@utkvx.utk.edu  Fri Aug 26 10:10:36 1994

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 11:10:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: BURGHD@utkvx.utk.edu
Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 293
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

	In response for the request for info following up the Time mag
article on human infidelity and evolution I suggest the following book as a
resource for the claims of the field of evolutionary psychology: THE
ADAPTED MIND edited by Barkow, Cosmides, and Tooby (Oxford Univ. Press,
1992).  I used it as a text last Spring semester a graduate course.  The
early chapters are often tediously verbose but the book then takes off with
chapters on a fascinating series of topics from mate selection to morning
sickness to landscape art to psychoanalysis.  Students were a mix of
psychology and zoology backgrounds and we had many spirited discussions.
Regardless of the specifics of any topic, all seemed convinced that human
behavior studies can no longer afford to ignore our phylogenetic heritage.
Read and think about the issues yourself and do not be put off by
name-calling (e.g. Gerson's comments).  Also, issues of the peer commentary
journal, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, contain many discussions of related
issues in which the protagonists have interchanges on a scholarly rather
than polemical level.  An upcoming article bringing back group selection in
human behavior by D. Wilson and E. Sober should elicit some excited (and
exciting) responses.  As I stated in an earlier post, we are far from being
able to examine our own behavior with the same objective evolutionary
perspective we hav found so fruitful with other species.

Gordon M. Burghardt, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville, TN 37996.  BURGHD@UTKVX.UTK.EDU

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:47>From coon@CVAX.IPFW.INDIANA.EDU  Mon Aug 29 13:01:32 1994

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 1994 13:01:20 EST
From: coon@CVAX.IPFW.INDIANA.EDU
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Just-so stories in modern sciences

	I am interested in just-so stories as they occur in modern
disciplines.  I should clarify that I am not so interested in collecting
them as I am in studies of selfawareness of them.  Evolutionary biology
is the one I am most familiar with in this regards.  Statements are
relatively frequent of the sort, "species X evolved trait Y because
of environmental factor Z," which may be very well true, but from at least
certain viewpoints is no different than folklore responses.  Is anyone on
the list aware of articles, essays, etc dealing with recognition of this
type of activity.

	I want to make it very clear that I am not interested in disparaging
any science or discipline, certainly including evolutionary biology.  I tend
to view these types of explanations as heuristic devices.

*************************************************
(Roger) Brad Coon            "Lions are basically
COON@IPFWCVAX.BITNET          scavengers of
COON@CVAX.IPFW.INDIANA.EDU    hyaena kills."
			      Hans Kruuk

Kill a lion, save a hyaena!
Boycott Disney lionist propaganda!
*************************************************

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:48>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Mon Aug 29 18:08:16 1994

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 1994 15:22:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Elihu M. Gerson" <TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU>
Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 293
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Mon, 29 Aug 1994 12:45:57 -0500 <BURGHD@utkvx.utk.edu> said:

<material omitted>

>Read and think about the issues yourself and do not be put off by
>name-calling (e.g. Gerson's comments).

<material omitted>

>Gordon M. Burghardt, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee,
>Knoxville, TN 37996.  BURGHD@UTKVX.UTK.EDU

I certainly agree that people should read and consider the issues for
themselves. But I'm obliged to point out that I haven't made any public
comments on the subject of human evolution, evolutionary psychology, or
related subjects.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
415-285-7837  tremont@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<12:49>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Aug 31 21:56:45 1994

Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 22:56:35 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner resurfaces
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Apologies to all for having been incommunicado for most of the past month.
I hope to be catching up on my mail over the next few days, and am sorry if
anyone has been inconvenienced by my absence.  Though it has nothing to do
in particular with the historical sciences I thought some people might be
wondering what I have been up to, so I offer a short account.

I am the principal founder and now the first Senior Tutor of Cornelia Strong
College, a new residential college here at UNCG.  Like many large American
universities, UNCG has a deep division on its campus between the formal
academic activities of students, and their daily lives outside of the
classroom.  The students are warehoused in dormitories that are in deplorable
condition and are administered by other students and "Residence Life"
pseudo-professionals, most of whom have limited academic backgrounds.

At smaller liberal arts colleges this division does not exist, and students
and faculty alike have a strong sense of loyalty and belonging which rebounds
to the benefit of both.  The lives of the students are much more rewarding in
such smaller institutions, and they develop more as individuals than they do
in the zoo-like environment of giant, non-academic dormitories.

There are a number of large universities that have solved this problem by
distributing their student bodies into smaller residential colleges, each
with perhaps 300-500 students and a group of associated faculty who socialize
with the students and offer formal and informal instruction in this more
humane setting.  Harvard, where I was a graduate student, uses this model;
the undergraduates there are grouped into thirteen "Houses" each of which has
a Master, Senior Tutor, and a group of faculty Fellows, as well as a small
library, dining room, etc.  Rice University, the University of California
at Santa Cruz, and the University of Virginia (in part) have similar
arrangements.  All of these, of course, are ultimately derived from the
examples of Oxford and Cambridge, although in many cases they do not follow
the Oxford and Cambridge models in all their details.

What I have been doing for most of the past month is setting up and opening
Cornelia Strong College at UNCG, and I am working with a number of other
people to persuade the University to establish more such colleges in the
future.  Getting it all of the ground has been enormously time-consuming,
hence my absence from Darwin-L and my list-ownerly duties.  Things are
beginning to stabilize a little bit (though not as much as I would like!),
and I should be able to start catching up on the rest of my work (including
Darwin-L) soon.

Many thanks to everyone for having kept the list going so smoothly.  (Gee,
maybe you really don't need me after all <snif>....)  ;-)

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
(1) Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts
(2) Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology
And now: (3) Senior Tutor, Cornelia Strong College
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________
Darwin-L Message Log 12: 26-49 -- August 1994                               End

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