Darwin-L Message Log 17: 1–29 — January 1995
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 January 1995. 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 17: 1-29 -- JANUARY 1995 --------------------------------------------- DARWIN-L A Network Discussion Group on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu is an international network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences. Darwin-L was established in September 1993 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 academic professionals in these fields. Darwin-L is not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin but instead addresses the entire range of historical sciences from an interdisciplinary perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical anthropology, historical geography, and related "palaetiological" fields. This log contains the public messages posted to Darwin-L during January 1995. 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 some administrative messages and personal messages 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 archives of Darwin-L by email@example.com, and is also available on the Darwin-L gopher at rjohara.uncg.edu. For instructions on how to retrieve copies of this and other log files, and for additional information about Darwin-L, send the e-mail message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect to the Darwin-L gopher at rjohara.uncg.edu. Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com), Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A., and it is supported by the Center for Critical Inquiry, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Department of History and the Academic Computing Center, University of Kansas. _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jan 1 00:31:00 1995 Date: Sun, 01 Jan 1995 01:30:55 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: List owner's monthly greeting To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Greetings to all Darwin-L subscribers and happy new year! On the first of every month I send out a short note on the status of our group, along with a reminder of basic commands. Darwin-L is an international discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences. It is not devoted to any particular discipline, such as evolutionary biology, but rather endeavors to promote interdisciplinary comparisons among all the historical sciences, from historical linguistics and geology to archeology, systematics, cosmology, and textual criticism. The group was established in September 1993, and we have over 600 members from about 30 countries. I am grateful to all of our members for their interest and their many contributions. The Darwin-L gopher contains logs of our past discussions, as well as a collection of files and network links of interest to historical scientists. The Darwin-L gopher is located at rjohara.uncg.edu; on most mainframe systems you can simply type "gopher rjohara.uncg.edu" to get there. Darwin-L is occasionally a "high-volume" discussion group. Subscribers who feel burdened from time to time by their Darwin-L mail may wish to take advantage of the digest option described below. Because different mail systems work differently, not all subscribers can see the e-mail address of the original sender of each message in the message header (some people only see "Darwin-L" as the source). PLEASE include your name and e-mail address at the end of every message you post so that everyone can identify you and reply privately if appropriate. Remember also that in most cases when you type "reply" in response to a message from Darwin-L your reply is sent to the list as a whole, rather than to the original sender. The following are the most frequently used listserv commands that Darwin-L members may wish to know. All of these commands should be sent as regular e-mail messages to the listserv address (email@example.com), not to the address of the group as a whole (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu). In each case leave the subject line of the message blank and include no extraneous text, as the command will be read and processed by the listserv program rather than by a person. To join the group send the message: SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L <Your Name> For example: SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L John Smith To cancel your subscription send the message: UNSUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L If you feel burdened by the volume of mail you receive from Darwin-L you may instruct the listserv program to deliver mail to you in digest format (one message per day consisting of the whole day's posts bundled together). To receive your mail in digest format send the message: SET DARWIN-L MAIL DIGEST To change your subscription from digest format back to one-at-a-time delivery send the message: SET DARWIN-L MAIL ACK To temporarily suspend mail delivery (when you go on vacation, for example) send the message: SET DARWIN-L MAIL POSTPONE To resume regular delivery send either the DIGEST or ACK messages above. For a comprehensive introduction to Darwin-L with notes on our scope and on network etiquette, and a summary of all available commands, send the message: INFO DARWIN-L To post a public message to the group as a whole simply send it as regular e-mail to the group's address (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu). I thank you all for your continuing interest in Darwin-L and in the interdisciplinary study of the historical sciences. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (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. _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:2>From email@example.com Thu Jan 5 08:55:12 1995 From: Mary P Winsor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Whence "diversity"? To: email@example.com Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 09:54:36 -0500 (EST) Mark Hineline, I always thought Aristotle was grappling with the phenomenon of diversity, so I think I don't understand your distinction between "affective truth" and "clear property of nature" Please expand your question. Polly Winsor firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:3>From Neve@ecol.ucl.ac.be Thu Jan 5 12:18:13 1995 Date: Thu, 5 Jan 95 19:22:11 +0100 To: email@example.com From: Neve@ecol.ucl.ac.be Subject: 'embryologie' Following Claus Emmeche's request about the orogin of the word 'Embryology', I had a look in my copy of the 'Dictionnaire des Dictionnaires, ou Vocabulaire Universel et complet de la langue francaise' etc., published in 1837. p 912 : Embryologie : s.f. : Traite sur le foetus, discours sur les embryons. So Darwin was certainly not the first one to use this word... Gabriel =========================================================== Gabriel NEVE o o Unite d'Ecologie et de Biogeographie \ / Universite Catholique de Louvain *** Y *** Croix du Sud 5 * * I * * B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve * *I* * Belgium * *I* * * * I * * EMAIL: NEVE@ECOL.UCL.AC.BE *** *** Fax : +32/10/473490 Tel at work : +32/10/473495 at home : +32 10 61 62 36 =========================================================== _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:4>From hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU Thu Jan 5 20:10:33 1995 From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) Subject: Re: Whence "diversity"? To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 5 Jan 95 18:10:31 PST Polly Winsor writes, > Mark Hineline, I always thought Aristotle was grappling with the > phenomenon of diversity, so I think I don't understand your > distinction between > > "affective truth" > and "clear property of nature" > > Please expand your question. > Polly Winsor email@example.com Yes, quite right. One difference, of course, is that for Aristotle and all who followed him through the mid-nineteenth century, diversity was finite. Or to put it another way, that the things in the world were diverse was an assumption with boundaries. After Darwin -- to pin something on Darwin -- that assumption changed such that the potential for diversity was unlimited, meaning that the boundaries of synchronic diversity were hard to determine and the boundaries for diachronic diversity impossible to determine. I guess I mean something like this. Mark L. Hineline firstname.lastname@example.org> _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:5>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Fri Jan 6 00:26:23 1995 Date: Fri, 06 Jan 1995 01:26:10 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: January 6 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JANUARY 6 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1736: FRIEDRICH CASIMIR MEDICUS is born at Grumbach, Rhineland, Germany. Following study in Tubingen, Strasbourg, and Heidelberg, Medicus will work as a physician at Mannheim and oversee the creation of a botanical garden there in 1766. Turning from medicine to botany, he will become a bitter enemy of Linnaeus, and will attack the work of the Swedish botanist at every turn, supporting instead the botanical systems of Tournefort, Linnaeus's principal opponent. Medicus's botanical garden will be heavily damaged during the bombardments of Mannheim in 1795 and 1799, and it will be dissolved shortly after his death in 1808. 1912: ALFRED WEGENER (1880-1930) reads his paper "Die Herausbildung der Grossformen der Erdrinde (Kontinente und Ozeane) auf geophysikalischer Grundlage" ("The geophysical basis of the evolution of large-scale features of the earth's crust") before the Geological Association of Frankfurt am Main. It will appear in expanded form in 1915 as _Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane_, the first modern exposition of the theory of continental drift. Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences. For more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (188.8.131.52). _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:6>From email@example.com Fri Jan 6 07:49:32 1995 Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 08:51:41 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (J. A. Witkowski - Banbury Center, CSHL) Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 356 >Date: Thu, 5 Jan 95 18:10:31 PST >From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) >To: firstname.lastname@example.org >Subject: Re: Whence "diversity"? > >... meaning that >the boundaries of synchronic diversity were hard to determine >and the boundaries for diachronic diversity impossible to >determine. > >Mark L. Hineline >email@example.com> What does this mean? Please expand your answer _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:7>From hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU Fri Jan 6 08:25:29 1995 From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 356 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 6:25:26 PST > >... meaning that > >the boundaries of synchronic diversity were hard to determine > >and the boundaries for diachronic diversity impossible to > >determine. > > > >Mark L. Hineline > >email@example.com> > > What does this mean? Please expand your answer I beg the forgiveness of members of the list for being so unclear. What I mean is that the extent of biological diversity for any given time cannot, given evolution, be determined deductively (in principle, under Aristotelian thought, it could). It must be determined inductively (through field and museum work). That's synchronic diversity. Diachronic diversity is diversity through time: how many species have there been? How many species will there be? Impossible to answer the first, because the fossil record is imperfect; impossible to answer the latter for reasons that I hope are obvious. Mark Hineline firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:8>From hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU Fri Jan 6 09:18:46 1995 From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 356 To: email@example.com Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 7:11:01 PST In my last posting I did not intend to discount completely the deductive power of ecological modeling -- only to accept that it is limited. firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:9>From email@example.com Fri Jan 6 16:49:25 1995 From: Mary P Winsor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: diversity To: email@example.com Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 17:48:48 -0500 (EST) Mark Hineline thinks that the diversity of living things was not perceived as being as nearly boundless until after Darwin, that the number of actual and potential kinds of creatures was thought to be limited. His question challenges me to review my own understanding of the history of natural history. I suspect that the source of Hineline's view may be textbook portrayals of the idea of the great chain of being or scala naturae which dominated European thought in the 17th and 18th century (described in Arthur Lovejoy's classic The Great Chain of Being). Under the notion that there exists a linear sequence, each species differing slightly from its two neighbors (one below and one above), with the lowest end being the simplest life (sponges? we recall the recent query about the boundary to the non-living) and the top obviously being ourselves (on thru angels to God), then this narrow path must leave less scope for diversity than the Darwinian tree of life does. (Leave aside mathematical quibbles about whether there are fewer points on an unbranched than on a branched line, if each is infinite!) The problem is, I think very few people really subscribed to that Great Chain; if you cross-examined them they would admit to meaning merely that almost every feature can be found in nature in every state, from elaborate to barely discernable. Certainly the standard line that Aristotle classified species thusly has been thoroughly exploded by recent scholarship. I fully admit that neither Aristotle nor Linnaeus saw diversity as we do, because they only knew about a tiny fraction of existing species. Aristotle under a thousand, if I recall rightly, Linnaeus what, 20,000? Few were known to science. Both men guessed there were other species as yet undiscovered, but they estimated how many in the same way we do, by an extension of what they did have. So yes, diversity was seen as less rich, but not I think because of their view of nature, (that is, the nature of nature, their world-view) but because of their experience. The world view in which almost all naturalists from Linnaeus to Darwin lived, ranging from deist to Christian, did not (at least I don't see how it could) intrinsically limit the quantity of potential diversity. Maybe it increased it, because the number of kinds (past and present, on Earth -no fair counting infinite future!) was limited only by physical possibility (each species has to be viable, subject to laws of nature, Cuvier's "conditions of existence) and God's will, while after Darwin species had the extra constraint of having to have a viable ancestor too!. Christians (and Jews and Moslems for that matter) were confident, I think, that God's imagination is infinite, so as long as life was ascribed directly to the Creator, why would potential diversity have been less? The anti-evolutionary world view I have most closely studied, Louis Agassiz's Essay on Classification, never struck me as containing a constrained world. But the thought that diversity was seen essentially differently before Darwin is such new one for me, that I could very well be mistaken in my first reaction! Polly Winsor firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:10>From hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU Sat Jan 7 07:38:50 1995 From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) Subject: Re: diversity To: email@example.com Date: Sat, 7 Jan 95 5:38:47 PST Polly Winsor's comments with respect to diversity are all to the point and, with a couple of clarifications, I agree with them. She is, for example, correct to suggest that my understanding of a limited scope for diversity before Darwin is drawn from textbooks, though it is from Coleman and Bowler, not Lovejoy. If the great chain of being and its variants are not significant for understanding natural history before Darwin, it is surely time to revise the textbooks. Perhaps Dr. Winsor is at work doing so even now. While I think it is also true that the notion of divine creation entailed a belief in the infinite capacity of God, I sense that accounts of creation and of special creation (early 19th C) called for parsimony. But this perhaps suggests the need for some thinking about the history of "diversity" as a category. What lay behind my original query was a qualitative difference between the way the word diversity was used -- when used at all -- before Mayr and the way the word is used in Mayr and subsequently. I have before me *Animal Species and Evolution* (1963). There, the first sentence of chapter 15 reads "One of the most spectacular aspects of nature is its diversity." Later, in his history of biological thought, "diversity" finds its way into the subtitle. Now, perhaps due to E. O. Wilson's popularizations, the word pops up everywhere. But, although I do not have the concordance to the Origin to check this, I do not find discussions of diversity qua diversity in Darwin. Rather, I find the entangled bank image. And of course diversity crops up in the Beagle journals, but it has to be teased out of the narrative to a degree. It seems to me that prior to the past few years, discussion of diversity was fairly limited to systematic zoologists and biologists, and perhaps to invertebrate paleontologists. I sense that geneticists were less likely to reflect upon diversity until very recently (the past twenty years or so). Moreover, I have the sense that parsimony played a much larger role in explanations of biological order in the past than it does now. Mark L. Hineline firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:11>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jan 8 00:31:03 1995 Date: Sun, 08 Jan 1995 01:30:59 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: January 8 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JANUARY 8 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1823: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE is born at Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales. Following an apprenticeship to his brother as an assistant surveyor and an interval of school teaching, Wallace will propose to his friend Henry Walter Bates that they take advantage of their common interest in natural history and become commercial collectors. Although their first expedition to South America will be successful, their ship and nearly all their collections will be destroyed by fire on the return voyage to England. Undeterred, Wallace will depart on a second expedition to the Malay Archipelago in 1854. In March of 1858 on the island of Gilolo, in the midst of a malarial fever, Wallace will conceive of the idea of evolution by natural selection, and will immediately send a manuscript to Charles Darwin that will contain a nearly perfect summary of Darwin's own views, which were then unpublished and which Wallace had never seen. On the advice of Charles Lyell and J.D. Hooker, Darwin will consent to publish, under the pressure of this coincidence, two extracts from his own work in progress, along with the manuscript of Wallace, in the _Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society_. Wallace's paper, "On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type", will conclude thus: "We believe we have now shown that there is a tendency in nature to the continued progression of certain classes of _varieties_ further and further from the original type -- a progression to which there appears no reason to assign any definite limits -- and that the same principle which produces this result in a state of nature will also explain why domestic varieties have a tendency to revert to the original type. This progression, by minute steps, in various directions, but always checked and balanced by the necessary conditions, subject to which alone existence can be preserved, may, it is believed, be followed out so as to agree with all the phenomena presented by organized beings, their extinction and succession in past ages, and all the extraordinary modifications of form, instinct, and habits which they exhibit." Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences. For more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (184.108.40.206). _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:12>From email@example.com Wed Jan 11 01:25:14 1995 Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 23:04:59 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anton Sherwood) To: email@example.com Subject: sex chromosomes I recently witnessed a discussion of the relation of birds to dinosaurs. For various reasons including Cope's Rule, some think birds came first - that the common ancestor of dinosaurs lived later than the common ancestor of birds. With the hypothesis so phrased, suddenly the following question no longer seems as relevant as I previously thought, but I'll ask it anyway: Mammals are XX female, XY male; birds are the reverse. Which are reptiles? Which, for that matter, are fish? Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\* DASher@netcom.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:13>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jan 12 15:33:41 1995 Date: 12 Jan 1995 08:49:36 -0400 From: "p stevens" <email@example.com> Subject: diversity To: firstname.lastname@example.org Historical ideas of the extent of diversity would seem a very interesting topic to study. What about people like EAW von Zimmermann, and his exact count of nature at the end of the 18thC? Here are a few suggestions that some considered diversity to be limited (and its extent predictable). 1. Linnaeus's ideas of hybridisation have led some (Bremekamp, for instance) to calculate how many species there could be if all the originally created family-level medullas hynridised to prduce genera, and the genera in turn hybridised to prduce species (note than the "hybrid" genera would stay in the maternal (= medulla-dominated) family, and the hybrid species would stay in their maternal genus). I haven't read Linnaeus carefully enough from this point of view. 2. Adanson in 1764 (Familles des plantes) suggested that there were 4 or 5 families, 400-600 genera, and ca 14,000 species still to be described. Although I would suggest that Adanson had a largely "linear" view of nature, it is also possible these estimates came from his general knowledge of the state of botanical exploration. 3. What about all the numerical systems in the early 19thC? If all groups were divided up into a specific number of subgroups, and so on, there are possibilities for having a circumscribed nature - so long as there are only a fixed number of ranks in the hierarchy. Again, this needs study, but I bet that some of these systems were limited with the bounds of diversity predictable. 4. Finally, in 1873 (-Prodromus- vol. 17) the great Alphonse de Candolle suggested that most genera and families had been discovered; many species were yet to be described. This prediction came from his tabulations of the rate of description of new species, genera and families during the course of publication of the great -Prodromus-, started by his father many years before. I basically agree with Polly Winsor - the shape of nature in the early nineteenth century was not such that one could readily make calculations about diversity. However, more than a few people then believed in modified continuity and in ideas of parallelism, whether lawlike or not. My own feeling is that if you had asked them, they might well have said that diversity was not limitless, although they themselves would have been hard-pressed to assign particular limits to it. Peter Stevens. _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:14>From email@example.com Thu Jan 12 16:09:23 1995 Subject: Re: sex chromosomes To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 08:04:43 -0600 (CST) From: James Mahaffy <email@example.com> Anton asked: > Mammals are XX female, XY male; birds are the reverse. Which are > reptiles? Which, for that matter, are fish? > > Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\* DASher@netcom.com Sex is not always determined by an inherited gene. I don't know if it is true for all of them but I know that in both turtles and crocks which gender the creature will be is genetically set (I assume permanently turned on or off genes) by the heat of incubation). These eggs are incubated in the soil and there is a enough temperature difference between the higher and lower eggs to generally produce a fair number of both genders. James F. Mahaffy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Biology Department phone: 712 722-6279 Dordt College FAX 712 722-1198 Sioux Center, Iowa 51250 _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:15>From email@example.com Sat Jan 14 11:10:06 1995 To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Note on evolution of software Date: Sat, 14 Jan 95 12:13:29 EST From: Joshua Lederberg <email@example.com> JL: intro. chapter for Derek Leebaert: The Future of Software MIT Press 1995 -- just published. We all acknowledge that computer hardware is evolving far more rapidly and efficiently than software. A thousandfold more memory or speed will always have wonderful uses and we revel in the prospect that today's super-computer will be tomorrow's PC. But we are also in despair at how we will be able to harness that enormous power with the programming and knowledge-transfer tools now in hand. At this point we may well invoke biological analogies, and recall how organic systems learn from their experience. Reflex arcs become more complex, recruit memory (conditioning), elaborate a perceptual framework to integrate sensory data, and impose some coherence on the inputs that signal attraction or flight. The development of language then enables the communication of those lessons to other organisms and to succeeding generations. We are a long way from the construction of self-improving computer systems for natural language understanding akin to the child's learning of language. This is of course an intensely social as well as cognitive experience, and embedded in parents' and families' fascination with every utterance. But, without natural language(s) capability, for direct reading and comprehension of the world's existing libraries, knowledge-transfer to the computer is an arduous, error-prone task entailing costly human mediation. It results in the accumulation of stilted databases which entail barriers to retrieval of similar cost and discouragement. Try telling your computer today: "I have this problem .... What do I need to know to solve it?" If we return to biological evolution, we observe very little explicit programming in the basic roots. What in DNA tells the Ur-cell to evolve a brain capable of language, much less the rules of grammar? Natural selection, the survival of the fittest, is a tautology given organisms that tend to replicate their own kind, and are subject to some overarching variability, for experimental diversification. Later in evolution, we see the incorporation of deepseated motivational drives, pleasure and pain, to enforce that behavior that contributes to fitness in the long run. Will we have any choice but to entrust the further elaboration of software to such ends-driven modules? Then tell the computer: "I don't care how you do it, but I'll switch off your power unless you solve problem x...." This is of course reminescent of neural net programming: when it reaches back to the basic design of the machine, it will converge even more closely with organic evolution. Perhaps we have a fundamental paradox: an antinomy between complexity and control. There may be no way with finite human resources to develop software that we can both fully understand and control, and yet meet the opportunities that hardware presents to our appetite. I am not suggesting that we reject this Faustian bargain: we are at the bare beginning of trials of genetic algorithms. But as the phylum Automata proceeds on its evolutionary course (1), we'd best keep a close eye on how faithfully that course meets "our" ends, rather than a life of its own. We will need to make full use of those very tools to achieve the requisite self-understanding, to be attuned to that assessment. (2). 1. Lederberg J. Computers and the life sciences. Science 150: 1576-1577. (1965) 2. Mazlish, B. The fourth discontinuity. The co-evolution of humans and machines. Yale University Press, 1993. Joshua Lederberg -------- Prof. Joshua Lederberg Suite 400 (Founders Hall) The Rockefeller University 1230 York Avenue New York, NY 10021-6399 212: 327-7809 Reply-to: (J. Lederberg)firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:16>From email@example.com Sun Jan 15 20:47:43 1995 Date: Sun, 15 Jan 1995 21:46:33 -0500 (EST) From: Lisbet Koerner <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: diversity To: email@example.com A brief comment on the question of possible pre-Darwinian parsimonious nature. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) assumed only a small number of life-forms (his estimates varied roughly from a global fauna AND flora of in total perhaps 20,000 to 40,000 species). Lisbet Koerner Department of the History of Science Harvard University email: firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:17>From CHARBEL@BRUFBA.BITNET Mon Jan 16 13:34:50 1995 Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 15:53:36 +0000 From: Charbel Nino El-Hani <@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU:CHARBEL@BRUFBA.BITNET> Subject: Lamarck To: email@example.com I am beginning a study about Lamarck, and I would like to ask Darwin-L subscribers as they could provide me with some references from 1984 to now. Charbel Nino El-Hani Federal University of Bahia Charbel@BRUFBA _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:18>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jan 17 19:03:54 1995 From: Mary P Winsor <email@example.com> Subject: Linne's diversity guess To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 20:03:49 -0500 (EST) Lisbet Korner's dissertation on Linnaeus makes her one of our best experts, so I bounce back the question, yes, his estimate was relatively low (in light of later experience, though higher than any predecessor, was it?), but what evidence is there to judge whether the reason for his estimate was world-view or experience? Polly Winsor email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:19>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jan 17 19:47:08 1995 From: "R. Edward Fickel" <email@example.com> Subject: Re: sex chromosomes To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 20:47:08 -0500 (EST) How about the sex determination in fish? _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:20>From email@example.com.Hawaii.Edu Wed Jan 18 12:02:50 1995 Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 08:02:25 -1000 From: Ron Amundson <firstname.lastname@example.org.Hawaii.Edu> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: sex chromosomes > How about the sex determination in fish?> > > Anton asked:> > > > Mammals are XX female, XY male; birds are the reverse. Which are > > > reptiles? Which, for that matter, are fish? > > > > > > Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\* DASher@netcom.com > > > > Sex is not always determined by an inherited gene. I don't know if it is > > true for all of them but I know that in both turtles and crocks which > > geneder the creature will be is genetically set (I assume permanently > > turned on or off genes) by the heat of incubation). These eggs are clip... > > James F. Mahaffy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This places a bit too much emphasis on genes for my taste (after all, it's a whole damn chromosome in mammals), but whatever. I understand that fish differ. Uhu (parrotfish) are all females from hatching until, by happenstance, they find themselves in a male-less population. At which time the largest female grows into a male. Males are significantly larger than females, and the sex ratio is heavily slanted to females. I suppose there's genes in there somewhere, but the triggering factor for the sex change is social structure. (Same in humans? ;-)) Cheers, Ron Ichtyistically naive, but with diver friends _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:21>From email@example.com Wed Jan 18 12:29:00 1995 Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 10:29:23 -0800 (PST) From: "Debra S. Judge" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Darwin-L <email@example.com> Subject: sex determin Sex determination in fish is an entirely different can of worms. Some fish are of determinate sex; however, others are protogynous (start out female and with size and/or other environmental characteristics change to male), protandrous (reverse of above), or hermaphroditic (but often not self-fertilizing). At least one species is all female (apparently requiring "interaction" with but not the DNA of a sibling species...). Warm bloods appear to have a much "simpler" mechanism of sex determination than other vertebrates. Debra Judge U.C. Davis _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:22>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jan 19 13:44:42 1995 Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 14:42:33 -0500 (EST) From: Lisbet Koerner <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Linne's diversity guess To: firstname.lastname@example.org Polly Winstor's question (why was Linnaeus' estimate of total fauna and flora worldwide so low?) is a very interesting and complex one. It is more a matter of 'worldview' than 'experience.' According to his own calculations most species would _already_ be discovered (cc Ray's work of c. 18,000 plants): this does not mesh with rates of new discoveries Linnaeus himself experienced nor with species distribution (why would Europe have so many more per area compared to other landmasses). Part of the answer here, however, lies simply with the fact that Linnaeus is largely innumerate--he means by eg "20,000" something akin to "a big number," but, importantly, not "a number so immense that I can classify only a minute fraction within my life-time". Another answer can be sought in his Biblical literalism: his notion of Eden as a lone isle in a watery world (where altitude would function as ersatz latitudional zones) sets a physical boundary around the nr of species created in the beginning. Against that stands Linnaeus' later view that presentday species were hybrids that originated from a kind of Edenic "Ur" animal/plant that were somehow akin to presentday taxonomic level of order. Lisbet Koerner Department of the History of Science Harvard University email: email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:23>From brunson@Okway.okstate.edu Thu Jan 19 16:54:28 1995 Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 16:34:24 -0600 From: brunson@Okway.okstate.edu (Darin Brunson) Subject: newbie introduction To: firstname.lastname@example.org The subscription notice included an invitation to introduce myself to the list, so here goes: My name is Darin Brunson, and I am a graduate student in Philosophy at Oklahoma State. My area of interest is in philosophy of science, particularly biological/historical science. I am currently writing a thesis on systematics and epistemology. I promise I am not rehashing the transformed cladism debates, rather I am approaching the whole mess from a "post-analytic" perspective (Kuhn, Feyerabend, Rorty, et al.). Any and all comments, suggestions, and warnings would be welcome. Darin Brunson email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:24>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Jan 20 09:26:22 1995 Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 10:28:39 -0500 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Jeremy) Subject: systematics and epistemology Darin, sounds interesting. I would be very interested to read what you have written. I don't think that you will be able to sidestep all the transformed cladism debates. You may be able to shed some interesting light from Feyerabend's perspective. I suspect that his later thoughts on the underdetermination of theory by observation could be directly relevant. Cladistics is willing to provisionally privelege the minimum trait reversal tree while acknowledging that this is an aesthetic (or pragmatic) position until observation constrains the possible tree topologies in another way. This seems to engage (tacitly) the very problem of underdetermination and to take a stand. A stand which serves to draw out the biases of workers who would demand a consensus that is more elaborate _before_ the data set demands it, because they _know_ that it will be. Importantly they are almost certainly correct that the REAL tree will be something other than the minimum but some cladists would withold using this intuition because they don't know how to unpack it. As to warning; the cladistic revolution was/is only partial and the zealousness of early adopters and the resultant (maybe) intransigent positions of the "evolutionary" taxonomists means that you will still have to grapple with those who find Cladistics to be a hollow distraction from the project at hand. And then there is the issue of what the project at hand is (transformed cladism...). Finally there are the turf wars that rise up during naming, where grade informed naming schemes hold a fascination for so many. In this area as much as any (since so many allied fields depend on classifications - ecology, conservation biology, molecular evolution, comparative anatomy...) the social aspects of epistemology and issues about how the group "knows" can also be productively explored. - enough! good luck. - Jeremy _________________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse (firstname.lastname@example.org) Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617) 736-4954 (617) 736-2405 FAX __________________________________________________________________ o/ \ / \ / / \o /# ##o # o## #\ / \ / \ /o\ / |\ / \ _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:25>From email@example.com Fri Jan 20 17:11:22 1995 Date: Sat, 21 Jan 1995 07:10:37 +0800 (WST) From: Dave Rindos <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: sex chromosomes Just a quick observation (from memory). Even in the case of mammals (including good old h.s.s.), I seem to recall that autosomals can reverse the 'normal' phenotypic sex expected from the genotype. Hence, on rare occasions, phenotypic sex and chromosome compliment will not correlate (XX males and XY females). Dave, hoping his memory is not failing him. Dave Rindos firstname.lastname@example.org 20 Herdsmans Parade Wembley WA 6014 AUSTRALIA Ph:+61 9 387 6281 (GMT+8) FAX:+61 9 387 1415 (USEST+13) [you may also reach me on email@example.com] Rabbits exist, hence we may speak meaningfully to the evolution of the rabbit. Some people attempt to study the evolution of human intelligence. We may well have a real problem here. _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:26>From hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU Sun Jan 22 18:12:23 1995 From: hineline@helix.UCSD.EDU (Mark Hineline) Subject: Re: diversity To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sun, 22 Jan 95 16:12:21 PST Problems with the list server have made discussion of my original posting on diversity something of a long-term commitment, a rarity in times of fax-and-fedex. I have found Professor Winsor's comments quite to the point, and appreciate them considerably, as I do the contributions of others on the subject. I would certainly soften my original claim that there was a substantial qualitative and quantitative change in the conception of diversity after Darwin. However, the following quotation from Thoreau (FAITH IN A SEED, 1993, Shearwater Press), p. 102, is I think, worth pondering: "The development theory implies a greater vital force in Nature, because it is more flexible and accommodating, and equivalent to a sort of constant new creation." (By development theory he of course means evolution; the very next paragraph begins: "Darwin, in his Origin of Species ....") A previously unpublished aside from Thoreau does not a worldview make, but I think it is significant. Mark L. Hineline Department of History UCSD La Jolla, CA 92093 email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:27>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jan 24 07:23:13 1995 From: Mary P Winsor <email@example.com> Subject: Thoreau on diversity To: firstname.lastname@example.org (bulletin board) Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 08:23:06 -0500 (EST) Mark Hineline taught me something interesting; I had imagined Thoreau was dead by the time the Origin of Species was published, but no indeed, he lived to 1862! Three years later Louis Agassiz set sail for Brazil, proclaiming that he would let the facts of nature decide between him and Darwin. As early as 1850 he had suggested that the distribution of fishes in rivers were a nice way to investigate laws of what we would call biogeography, the land between tributaries making for isolation the same way that ocean between islands does. What neither he nor anyone else expected, though, was that the number of species of freshwater fish in South America was so much higher than in Europe or North America. (in the thousands instead of hundreds). Well, the story kind of fizzles out, I'm afraid (though it gave me a cover illustration for my book Reading the Shape of Nature) because Agassiz didn't publish much about his collections, but I'm not aware of any of his opponents (and there were many, beginning with Asa Gray, who were Darwin's defenders around Harvard) seizing on this fact of abundance as a fact Darwin's theory could deal with better than Agassiz's theory could. More generally, the issue Mark raises will be tricky to tease out. It comes down to the tracing of cause and effect in intellectual history. You can't depend only on a person's testimony, because humans can rationalize, and there are powerful influences of which they can be unconscious. Linnaeus ought to have seen the quantity of new species as a sign of the future, but he also was strongly motivated to claim that he and his students would soon have everything under control. That's why the evidence I am thinking of in the 1860s is not Agassiz's opinion but the silence of his adversaries. However, since I never asked myself the question Mark Hineline has put, I have never really looked, and I distinctly do not claim that this issue was never raised by his adversaries (only that I do not recall noticing it); I have not systematically gone through the anti-Agassiz literature. You see why I agree that the Thoreau quote is indeed nice historical evidence (but not, please note, about the Brazil fish, which came a few years later). Polly Winsor email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:28>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Jan 25 01:37:21 1995 Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 09:37:19 +0200 (EET) From: Jouko Lindstedt <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Cavalli-Sforza et al. This week's newspaper "European" reports about _The_History_and_Geography_ _of_Human_Genes_ by L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza and his research team. I haven't seen the book itself yet, but certainly some of you list members have already, and I'd be interested to hear your opinions: how solid piece of work is this? The story in "European" tells that with some exceptions, genetic groupings correlate with linguistic groupings. This is how Cavalli-Sforza's work has been reported before, too. But in fact the rather unclear "genetic map of Europe" presented in the article rather shows that the correlation is quite weak. For instance, there is no genetic group corresponding to the Slavonic languages (which is precisely what one might expect knowing the early history of the Slavs), and Greeks and Turks, for instance, seem to be close to each other genetically. The article says that "it is now widely agreed that most modern Europeans spread gradually from the Middle East between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago"; of course if the foundations of the genetic map of Europe were lain that early, it couldn't reflect modern linguistic groupings at all. But what I see on the map are simply cultural and economic areas of historical times, with the exception of an odd-looking "Celtic" belt through Ireland, SW England and parts of France. "...in Africa, where the Khoisan people, who include Hottentots, are thought to be direct descendants of the Neanderthals. Their language has unique clicking sounds, which some academics feel may be a relic of the primordial language spoken by Neanderthals -- and studies of DNA confirm this connection." -- Clicks and DNA? Is this in the book? The Lapps (Sami) are presented as the "most genetically isolated group in Europe"; but on the map you have the same colour for the Sami and most Fennic peoples. And of course it is not right to say that they "speak various dialects, which originated in the Urals". Much in the newspaper report may simply be false reporting, so let it be. But what about the book itself? Jouko Lindstedt Department of Slavonic Languages, University of Helsinki e-mail: Jouko.Lindstedt@Helsinki.Fi or email@example.com fax: +358-0-1912974 PS. As this is probably the first time I'm writing on this list, let me introduce myself: I am professor of Slavonic Philology, and my main interests are Bulgaria and the Balkans, language typology, and the early history of the Slavs. _______________________________________________________________________________ <17:29>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jan 31 09:14:22 1995 Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 10:13:48 -0500 (EST) From: "Fr. James Cassidy O.S.B." <email@example.com> To: Darwin-L <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Cope-Marsh Darwiners, I'm currently working on a project on F.V. Hayden and his Geological Survey of the Territories in the 1870s. E.D. Cope worked for Hayden, and O.C. Marsh worked against him, to put it in simple terms. But of course it wasn't all that simple. What I'm looking for right now is a good, clear description of the "agreement" that Cope and Marsh (and Joseph Leidy) came to circa 1872 regarding sharing their publications, so as to avoid priority disputes. It didn't last long, but I'm interested in a clear description of how it came about and failed, and am particularly interested in finding out whether or not Hayden had any active part in its evolution. Any ideas are welcome. Jim Cassidy Saint Anselm College email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ Darwin-L Message Log 17: 1-29 -- January 1995 End
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