Darwin-L Message Log 20: 1–22 — April 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 April 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 20: 1-22 -- APRIL 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 April 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. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Apr 1 11:47:38 1995 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. 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. Darwin-L was established in September 1993, and we now have over 600 members from more than 30 countries. I am grateful to all of our members for their continuing interest and their many contributions. 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 group 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. 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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. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:2>From bpearce@sol.UVic.CA Sat Apr 1 14:19:10 1995 Date: Sat, 1 Apr 95 12:21:46 PST From: email@example.com (Barbara Pearce) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: history of biology I am currently working in prosthetics and orthotics (fabricating false limbs and braces) as well as completing my B.Sc. in Biology. I would like to do some research on the first artificial limbs built by the famous surgeon Ambroise Pare. Can I get help? thank you in advance. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:3>From email@example.com Tue Apr 4 07:11:27 1995 Date: Tue, 4 Apr 95 08:11:25 EDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kent Holsinger) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Mayr's use of "Darwinian" Just a minor quibble with Jeremy Ahouse's interesting post. >>>>> "Jeremy" == Jeremy <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes: Jeremy> Mayr ends by insisting that ecologically important Jeremy> information can be contained in a classification based (in Jeremy> part) on similarity. Presumably this is because, Mayr Jeremy> might argue, (non-synapomorphic) similarity is due to Jeremy> convergence which is due to environmental selection. I don't think Mayr would argue for including ecologically significant information that arose through convergence. Mayr is, if I understand him correctly, arguing for the legitimacy of paraphyletic groups. The ecological similarities reptiles share with one another, in his view, they share because of common ancestry. The similarities are shared primitive states in the clade containing birds and mammals, but they are still uniquely derived. -- Kent Kent E. Holsinger Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Connecticut, U-43 Storrs, CT 06269-3043 _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:4>From C9WILSON@a1.stthomas.edu Tue Apr 4 16:31:32 1995 Date: Fri, 31 Mar 1995 08:04:58 -0600 (CST) From: Chester Wilson 962-5234 <C9WILSON@a1.stthomas.edu> Subject: evolution and ethics To: email@example.com Reading George Williams' recent new edition of Huxley's "Evolution and Ethics" (Princeton U. Press) might prove interesting for folks curious about any relationship between the two topics. Chester Wilson Biology University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:5>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Apr 4 18:56:27 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Mar 1995 09:14:45 -0800 To: email@example.com From: psparks@CERF.NET (paul sparks) Subject: paridigm shifts in geology As I remember it there are basically two reasons that the theory (plate drift) was ignored. First there was at that time no know force that would drive the dynamics of the drifting plates. Now it is known/believed that the circulation in the mantle is the force that drives the plates. The upwell in the mid ocean rifts (eg mid atlantic) and the driving of the sea floor beneath the continental crusts along the trenches are examples of this effect. The second reason is it was too far ahead of its time. There was no need at that time to have drifting continents so it was just ignored. Hope this helps. paul w. sparks Psparks@cerfnet.com "over the heather the wet wind blows I've lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose." anon _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:6>From J.Carr@uts.edu.au Tue Apr 4 23:07:31 1995 Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 14:05:50 +1000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: J.Carr@uts.edu.au (John Carr) Subject: Re: Pop-culture and societal evolution Hugo Bouckaert wrote that >The question whether popular culture drives social change or is a >response to it depends on to what degree human society is >still fundamentally linked to our natural environment. To acknowledge >that that link is very indirect does not mean it is not important. I certainly was not claiming that it was unimportant, just that our species has progressively distanced itself from the 'natural' environment [as i sit here in my constructed 'cave', under a constructed 'sun', and no doubt even breathing constructed 'air']. In effect, we have shifted from a type of 'natural selection #1' in which the vicissitudes of the environment could select the genotypes which would reproduce successfully, into a 'natural selection #2' in which we actively select what nature will be. Not only does this allow us to create artificial environments to suit our purposes [and this does depend on our image of who we are], but we have dramatically and perhaps catastrophically altered the nature of nature itself. Hugo Bouckaert further wrote >Popular culture may drive itself, but to state it is a motor of >inevitable social change is harder to accept. It seems to me that our >image of who we are and what we might yet become are responses to our relationship to nature,rather than causes for it. I was actually in part questioning whether the change was inevitable. The more critical issue though could be that the focus on 'our responses to nature' paints a very passive picture of us, relevant perhaps when we confront nature in the form of earthquakes and tornaodoes, but not at all applicable to our primary encounter with nature in which we actively transform it [shooting it if it moves, tearing it down if it doesnt etc]. So that whether we are actively polluting the environment, or denuding it, or laying concrete over its most fertile parts, or -like I'm about to do - going home to mow a lawn and plant a tree, then in all of these ways we demonstrate that we are not passive responders to an all-powerful nature, but [and nature may not gain from this] our species has evolved to be active creators of nature itself. The character of how we re-create nature seems to proceed directly from the image we carry of who we are. Hence the claim that human evolution may be powerfully influenced by any change in our image of what it means to be human. John Carr Communication Studies Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney Sydney Australia email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:7>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Apr 5 13:49:32 1995 Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 11:49:11 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Darwin on Trial on Trial Dear Dr. Cziko, Alas! I have been up to my eyebrows coping with the AAPA meetings in Oakland this last week, and didn't get your inquiry on Johnson until today! For future reference, I have a very thick file of reviews and commentary on Johnson's views for you or anyone who wishes more information. NCSE is a clearinghouse for info on the creation/evolution controversy, of which lawyer Johnson is a fairly recent addition. I suspect what he argued was that evolution didn't happen, scientists are keeping their doubts about evolution from the public in a conspiracy to protect their own interests (even if they know evolution doesn't have a leg to stand on); that the methodological materialism of science equates with philosophical materialism, which he thinks is bad, and that evolution as a classically materialistic science needs to be overthrown. He probably did not get into the age of the earth (he is an old-earther, unlike Gish *et al* from the ICR) and he didn't mention the Bible. Am I right? And yes, he has been making the rounds at "major research universities" like yours, as well as lesser-known venues. ECS ***************************************************************** SUPPORT SCIENCE EDUCATION! Eugenie C. Scott NCSE 925 Kearney Street El Cerrito, CA 94530-2810 510-526-1674 FAX: 510-526-1675 1-800-290-6006 email@example.com ***************************************************************** _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:8>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Apr 5 20:26:32 1995 Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 21:26:39 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy) Subject: Re: Mayr's use of "Darwinian" (more) .. more thoughts On reflecting on the adjective 'Darwinian' this last week I came across a paragraph from Michael Ruse. I myself am not at all comfortable with way that different camps attempt to own the names' of patron saints. Maybe Ruse's comment will help to remind us that diverse views walk under the same flag. "...Different people believe very different things, and the same people believe different things at different times - and yet rally under the same banner. I myself discovered this when I wrote a book on the Darwinian revolution and wanted to characterize 'Darwinian' (Ruse 1979). Chalrles Darwin acceptied natural selection and sexual selection, and applied his ideas to humans. Thomas Henry huxley accepted evolution, applied it to humans, but was unenthused by selection. Alfred Russel Wallace accepted natural selection, had sever doubts about aspects of sexual selection, and pulled back from the evolution of humans. And so the story went. In the end, I had to be satisfied with some mushy sociological notion. A 'Darwinian' was someone who thought of himself as a Darwinian, or som such thing." (Ruse 1989) ====== Kent E. Holsinger suggests that Mayr wants to preserve/cling to his ability to name paraphyletic groups, not that he wants to broaden the utility of a classification by adding a smattering of "similarities" that would allow us to make ecological (and other) inferences... i.e. those similarities that could be correlated with shared environmental selective pressure (convergences). Kent writes: >Just a minor quibble with Jeremy Ahouse's interesting post. > > Jeremy> Mayr ends by insisting that ecologically important > Jeremy> information can be contained in a classification based (in > Jeremy> part) on similarity. Presumably this is because, Mayr > Jeremy> might argue, (non-synapomorphic) similarity is due to > Jeremy> convergence which is due to environmental selection. > >I don't think Mayr would argue for including ecologically significant >information that arose through convergence. Mayr is, if I understand >him correctly, arguing for the legitimacy of paraphyletic groups. The >ecological similarities reptiles share with one another, in his view, >they share because of common ancestry. The similarities are shared >primitive states in the clade containing birds and mammals, but they >are still uniquely derived. "The fundamental difference between the method of morphological and phylogenetic systematics is that the latter breaks up the simple concept of resemblance. (Hennig 1965)". Here Hennig is referring to the distinctions that can be drawn between similarity based on convergence, on shared ancestral characters, and on shared derived characters. Mayr in the _Science_ letters we have been discussing (and previously Mayr(1981)) wants to glue this simple concept back together. But even he admits that if you want a phylogenetic classification then you should use the 'Hennigian' approach. Still he wants to bring back some use of overall similarity and appeals to the increased utility of a classification that is built this way. Mayr certainly recognizes and would reject classifications that are based on convergence (polyphyletic). And as Kent claims he would be willing to associate in a group species who share ancestral characters (in 'cladospeak': paraphyletic groups i.e. those based on symplesiomorphy). His reason for doing so (he claims) is that there is more information in this kind of classification. He ends his rejoinder to Padian in Science by writing (Mayr 1994), "The Darwinian approach which groups together similar organisms is indispensible for ecological researches, and futhermore, as pointed out be several recent authors, it provides more information than the Hennigian ordering system." I resisted this claim in my previous post. ===== Finally, it feels a bit odd to recapitulate arguments that were anthologized long ago (see my references to Hennig and Mayr). These discussions seem far from current. I think part of the irritation that I feel with Mayr's ever willing insistence for his ever lonelier position is that he confuses intransigence with defending a precious truth. Philosophically a more interesting critique comes from Sober, who claims that the notions of the model of minimum evolution that are used by cladists to discover/generate phylogenetic hypotheses are problematic. I won't address his concerns suffice it to say that the kind of criticisms that he has are only possible because cladistic methods are clear enough to be examined in this way. I doubt that his kind of careful analysis would even be possible for the ever slippery 'Mayrian' taxonomy. If Mayr offers us something important, it is that as a practicing ornithologist he finds phylogenetic classifications cumbersome (too bushy in places too spare in others). This complaint should be taken seriously. How can we make our current best reconstructed phylogeny easy to use? This is an important challenge to theorists and practicing taxonomists. Encumbering the classification with paraphyletic groups is an ever less compelling solution to this problem of human interface design. cheers, Jeremy ________ Hennig, W. (1965) "Phylogenetic Systematics" From _Annual review of Entomology_ 10. p97-116. Also in _Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology: an Anthology_ ed. by Elliot Sober (1984). Second edition (1994). Bradford. MIT Press. Mayr, E. (1981) "Biological classification: Toward a synthesis of opposing methodologies." _Science_ pp. 510-516. Also in _Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology: an Anthology_ ed. by Elliot Sober (1984). Second edition (1994). Bradford. MIT Press. Mayr, E. (1994b) "Ordering Systems" p715, Science v266, 4 November. Ruse, M (1989) "Is the theory of punctuated equilibrium a new paradigm?" The paragraphs quoted above are from page 120 in chapter 5 of _The Darwinian Paradigm: Essays on the history, philosophy, and religious implications_ by Michael Ruse. London. Routledge paperback 1993. Ruse, M (1979) _The Darwinian Revolution: Science Red in Tooth and Claw_. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. __________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617)736-4954 Lab 736-2405 FAX email@example.com ___________________________________________________________ o/ \ / \ / / \o /# ##o # o## #\ / \ / \ /o\ / |\ / \ _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:9>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Apr 5 22:06:27 1995 Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 23:06:25 -0400 From: Henry Stephen Sharp <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Pop-culture and societal evolution Be patient. The glaciers will soon return & it will be business as usual. Henry S. Sharp Anthropology University of Virginia email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:10>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Apr 5 22:37:10 1995 Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 03:38:13 +0000 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (CZIKO Gary) Subject: Phillip Johnson's Imperfect God Eugenie Scott said: >Alas! I have been up to my eyebrows coping with the AAPA meetings in >Oakland this last week, and didn't get your inquiry on Johnson until >today! For future reference, I have a very thick file of reviews and >commentary on Johnson's views for you or anyone who wishes more >information. NCSE is a clearinghouse for info on the creation/evolution >controversy, of which lawyer Johnson is a fairly recent addition. > >I suspect what he argued was that evolution didn't happen, scientists are >keeping their doubts about evolution from the public in a conspiracy to >protect their own interests (even if they know evolution doesn't have a >leg to stand on); that the methodological materialism of science equates >with philosophical materialism, which he thinks is bad, and that >evolution as a classically materialistic science needs to be overthrown. >He probably did not get into the age of the earth (he is an old-earther, >unlike Gish *et al* from the ICR) and he didn't mention the Bible. > >Am I right? And yes, he has been making the rounds at "major research >universities" like yours, as well as lesser-known venues. Sounds like you were in the audience! I wish I had known you were there. I found that I was not really concerned with Johnson's anti-evolution arguments per se, since I don't see how any scientist would take them seriously, especially his reincarnation of the argument from design. I found his argument against what he calls scientific naturalism more interesting. In a note I sent to my friend Donald T. Campbell, I wrote: ============================= >I got another chance to interact with Johnson on a local radio talk show >this morning, and I think I have found his softspot. It is his assertion >that belief in a creator is inconsistent with scientific naturalism. > >One could argue that an omniscient and omnipotent creator could set up the >laws of physics and set the initial conditions of the universe with the >purpose of having life and humans evolve according to these natural laws. >Only an imperfect creator would have to fiddle with the universe to keep >things on track using miracles which violated natural laws. So evolution >could be both purposeful and naturalistic. It is not that the creator >cannot intervene [as I believe deism contends], he simply does not _need_ >to. > >Such a creator can do nicely with just one initial miracle and belief in >such a creator is completely consistent with scientific naturalism for all >scientific inquiry. Johnson's creator needs many miracles to keep things >on track. Only such an imperfect God cannot abide by naturalism. Has >anybody made this type of critique of Johnson's critique of scientific >naturalism? =============================== --Gary Cziko ------------------------------------------------------------------ Gary Cziko Associate Professor Telephone 217-333-8527 Educational Psychology FAX: 217-244-7620 University of Illinois E-mail: email@example.com 1310 S. Sixth Street Radio: N9MJZ 210 Education Building http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/csg/gary.gif Champaign, Illinois 61820-6990 ------------------------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:11>From brunson@Okway.okstate.edu Thu Apr 6 10:15:51 1995 Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 10:05:25 -0600 From: brunson@Okway.okstate.edu (Darin Brunson) Subject: Re: Mayr's use of "Darwinian" (even more) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Being intrigued by this discussion, I decided to check the big book (Origin of Species) to see if I could come up with what "Darwinian" classification is, i.e., according to Darwin. There is no doubt that Darwin has certain objectives in his argument, even when taking that (historically) into consideration, CD has some pretty clear things to say: "I believe that the *arrangement* of the groups within each class, in due subordination and relation to the other groups, must *strictly* be genealogical in order to be natural; but that the *amount* of difference in the several branches or groups, though allied in the same degree in blood to their common progenitor, mey differ greatly, being due to the different degrees of modification which they have undergone; and this is expressed by the forms being ranked under different genera, families, sections, or orders."[p.420] CD talks like this in other places as well. But most importantly, he says with respect to genera, families, sections, or orders, that those choices are arbitrary. He also (Chapter 2) goes on to say that species and varieities are "terms arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience..."[p. 52] I would think that the first quote would support Mayr's use of "Darwinian". But, in matters of convenience, as in placing a group in a class or sub-class, it seems that Darwin has no advice (at least none that I could find). Which makes me question whether Darwin should be interpreted as saying the *placing* of a group is arbitrary or *where the group ends up* is arbitrary. That is to say, is it the giving of a term like "class" or "family" that is arbitrary and done for the sake of convenience, or is the fact that groups are given these terms at all that is arbitrary and for the sake of convenience? Darin Brunson page #'s are from the 1st ed. facsimile from Harvard Press _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:12>From email@example.com Thu Apr 6 10:48:39 1995 Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 16:47:39 +0100 (BST) From: "J.E. Jeffery" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Darwin-l <email@example.com> Subject: Biodiversity and Extinction Dear All, I wonder if anyone knows of a text about man's role in extinction in the recent (eg Dodo and Thylacine) and not-so-recent past (eg Mammoth and Giant Elk?). It is for an 12 year old girl doing a project at school and so it must be fairly simple. She asked at our museum (Zoology Museum, Cambridge University) because she couldn't find anything suitable. The project covers insects/inverts, fish, birds and mammals. Thanks for any help, Jon Jeffery University Museum of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:13>From email@example.com Thu Apr 6 12:12:45 1995 Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 10:11:15 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Phillip Johnson's Imperfect God On Wed, 5 Apr 1995, CZIKO Gary wrote: > Eugenie Scott said: > > > (material deleted to save space) > >I suspect what he argued was that evolution didn't happen, scientists are > >keeping their doubts about evolution from the public in a conspiracy to > >protect their own interests (even if they know evolution doesn't have a > >leg to stand on); that the methodological materialism of science equates > >with philosophical materialism, which he thinks is bad, and that > >evolution as a classically materialistic science needs to be overthrown. > >He probably did not get into the age of the earth (he is an old-earther, > >unlike Gish *et al* from the ICR) and he didn't mention the Bible. Gary Cziko writes: > Sounds like you were in the audience! I wish I had known you were there. > > I found that I was not really concerned with Johnson's anti-evolution > arguments per se, since I don't see how any scientist would take them > seriously, especially his reincarnation of the argument from design. It is true that scientists don't pay much attention to Johnson's scientific arguments: they have largely been made before by the "scientific creationists" (gaps in the fossil record, inability of natural selection and genetic variation to produce new "kinds", etc.). But we must not forget that the majority of members of our society (who vote for representatives who vote for the NSF budget, etc.) are not scientists. The majority of people in a university audience are also not scientists, and I think if you had talked to some of them after Johnson's presentation, you would have found that he had generated some doubt in the minds of your colleagues. (talk to some of your deconstructionist colleagues in the social sciences or humanities, for example...) Johnson is a good speaker, he is smooth and articulate, and he avoids the sand traps of young-earth arguments of the ICR spokesmen, thus appearing more reasonable to the general public. Plus he has an endowed chair at a very presitgious univesity (even though he is not trained in science) and can't be brushed aside like most of the antievolutionists without those credentials. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Johnson's *scientific* attack on evolution does sell to nonscientists, who outnumber us. He also has appeared on large-audience christian TV and radio programs like James Dobson's and D. James Kennedy's, which makes his outreach far greater than yours or mine. His scientific ideas do need to be corrected, publically, at presentations where he speaks. I encourage my colleagues to do so if he appears at a venue near you. But Cziko's next comments are especially important, and get at the ultimate goal that Johnson and other "intelligent design theorists" have: the overthrowing of science as we know it: a materialist enterprise that is limited to explaining the natural world using natural forces. Cziko makes the point well, and it should be made not so much to Johnson but to the general audience -- which is inclined to accept the false assertion that evolution has removed ULTIMATE purpose along with proximate purpose (teleology). Something that those of us who teach should keep in mind as well: The demonstration that the fossil record does not show orthogenesis is a commentary on proximate cause/purpose. Ultimate cause is in the eye of the beholder, and fewer students will reject evolution if you allow them to maintain their religious beliefs. If anyone is interested in this topic, I have written an article about "Science and Christianity Are Compatible -- With Some Compromises" in The Scientist, January 9, 1995, p. 12. If you have problems getting a copy, send me your snailmail address and I'll send you one. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:14>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Apr 6 12:49:48 1995 Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 13:49:42 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Brandon) Subject: Mayr's use of "Darwinian" I thought I would share the following quote from Darwin's Descent of Man (1st ed. p. 188): "but naturalist have long felt a profound conviction that there is a natural system [of classification]. This system, it is now generally admitted, must be, as far as possible, genealogical in arrangement,--that is, the co-descendants of the same form just be kept together in one group, separate from the co-descendants of any other form; .." This, it seems to me, is as clear a statement as one could want of the requirement that all groups, at whatever level in the taxonomic hierarchy, be monophyletic. It certainly rules out paraphyletic groups. I agree with what Ruse said about the term "Darwinian", and I don't want to fight over it, but I thought it worthwhile to at least look at this quote. Robert Brandon _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:15>From email@example.com Thu Apr 6 13:59:20 1995 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: workshop at Penn Date: Thu, 06 Apr 1995 14:59:17 EDT From: Don Ringe <email@example.com> Tandy Warnow (Computer and Information Science, U. of Pennsylvania) and Don Ringe (Linguistics, U. of Pennsylvania) are organizing a WORKSHOP: MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF LINGUISTIC RELATIONSHIPS Institute for Research in Cognitive Science 3401 Walnut St., West Entrance, 4th Floor University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA April 17-18, 1995 Tentative schedule (including time for discussion after each presentation): MONDAY, APRIL 17 8:30 - 9:00 Coffee 9:00 - 9:30 Introductory remarks 9:30 - 12:00 "A character-based method for inferring evolutionary trees." Three interrelated presentations: "Historical and methodological overview of the problem," Don Ringe, U. of Pennsylvania "Computational aspects," Tandy Warnow, U. of Pennsylvania "Indo-European," Ann Taylor, U. of Pennsylvania 12:00 - 1:30 Lunch 1:30 - 3:00 "Shaped by some common contingency: historically but not genetically related," Johanna Nichols, U. of California at Berkeley 3:00 - 3:30 Coffee 3:30 - 5:00 "Mathematical methods in dialectology," Sheila Embleton, York U. TUESDAY, APRIL 18 8:30 - 9:00 Coffee 9:00 - 10:30 "Modelling the time course of language change," Anthony Kroch, U. of Pennsylvania 10:30 - 12:00 presentation by William Labov, U. of Pennsylvania (title to be announced) 12:00 - 1:30 Lunch 1:30 - 3:00 "The mathematics of n-way comparison," Bill Poser, U. of Northern British Columbia 3:00 - 5:00 General discussion All sessions will be held in the large conference room at IRCS, at the address given in the heading of this announcement. The public is invited to attend. ACCOMMODATIONS Among regular hotels we especially recommend the Sheraton University City at 36th Street and Chestnut (about a block and a half from IRCS), phone 215-387-8000. Dormitory-style accommodations are available at International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, phone 215-387-5125 (ext. 2220), fax 215-895-6535. Bed and breakfast accommodations can be found through Bed and Breakfast Connections of Philadelphia, phone 610-687-3565. Those for whom economy is imperative might consider the Divine Tracy Hotel, run by a local religious group at 20 South 36th Street (a stone's throw--literally --from the Sheraton), phone 215-382-4310. This is amazingly inexpensive, but there is an early curfew (I think 10 p.m.) and an amazingly conservative dress code, especially for women (skirt and hose mandatory). Still, students assure us that it is safe, clean, convenient, and cheap. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:16>From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Apr 7 00:44:54 1995 Date: Sat, 8 Apr 1995 03:45:46 +0000 To: email@example.com From: michaels@SciFac.su.OZ.AU Subject: ROMANES Dear Colleagues A PhD student in the Unit for HPS here at Sydney proposes a research topic based on the work of George John ROMANES, author of works on evolution, monism, animal intelligence, psychology, biology; friend of DARWIN; controversialist on physiological evolution with WALLACE, etc, etc. A neglected figure? I am aware of discussions of Romanes in books by Frank Turner and Robert Richards, but of no full-scale treatments. Does anyone know of PhDs on the topic, particularly in UK universities (a searce through the USA Diss. Abstracts on CD-Rom hasn't revealed anything)? All help much appreciated. Thanks Michael Shortland ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael Shortland Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science F07 _--_|\ University of Sydney / \ Sydney NSW 2006 \_.--._ /* Australia Fax : 02 351 4124 Tel : 02 351 4801 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:17>From email@example.com Thu Apr 13 11:10:50 1995 Date: Thu, 13 Apr 95 08:54:18 PST From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ghiselin, Michael) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 382 Polly Winsor has asked if anybody has responded to Mayr's claim that his own principles of classification should be called "Darwinian" in contradistinction to those used by cladists and others. I have, and the response is to be found in my paper "Mayr versus Darwin on paraphyletic taxa" in Systematic Zoology, 34:460-462 (1985). Mayr's claims are based upon confusing Darwin's descriptions of the views of others with his real sentiments, a mistake he had previously made with Darwin's species concepts. My paper was published in response to a personal attack on me, and of course Mayr has never responded to my response. He doesn't have a leg to stand on. _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:18>From firstname.lastname@example.org Sun Apr 16 17:43:25 1995 Date: Sun, 16 Apr 1995 18:20:34 -0400 (EDT) From: Patricia Princehouse <email@example.com> Subject: Hist of Radiometric Dating To: firstname.lastname@example.org I've been on postpone for several months, so if this topic has been discussed, please point me to the right gopher hole. I'd appreciate recommendations of books for use in a History of Science seminar next fall on Deep Time, particularly any books specifically about radiometric dating or other (successful or failed) 20th C attempts to measure geologic time with instruments as opposed to faunal succession. I'll be assigning Rudwick's _Meaning of Fossils_ & _Scenes from Deep Time_ & articles by Gould, Moore, Desmond, Albritten, & perhaps some of McPhee's _Basin & Range_ as students may have little acquaintance with geology fieldwork. Thanks, Patricia Princehouse email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:19>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Apr 18 06:19:36 1995 Date: Tue, 18 Apr 95 07:21:47 EDT From: email@example.com (Steven D. Brewer) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Subjects needed for study of expert phylogenetic tree construction I am looking for phylogenetic biologists to participate in a study I am conducting for my dissertation. I hope to improve the teaching of systematic and evolutionary biology by having students solve realistic problems of phylogenetic inference. My study, which examines how experts solve these problems, will be useful for developing curricula and instructional materials. If you agree to participate, I will ask you to volunteer about four hours of your time to become familiar with the software I am using and to draw a series of phylogenetic trees using coded and polarized data that I will provide. I'm looking for people who regularly perform phylogenetic studies as part of their research. It would be particularly helpful to find people who are close to Michigan and in groups. If you and a group of colleagues are engaged in this work, please help me recruit them so that I can stretch my extremely limited travel budget. I know that everyone is short on time and nervous about making commitments, but this is a way that you can directly help improve how systematics is taught to non-majors. Although I can't offer any direct compensation, you may keep the software we use for teaching purposes, if you like. In addition, this may be an opportunity for you to think about your teaching in a way you haven't considered before. Finally, if you find our work interesting, we are setting up a long-term project that will use this study as a foundation: We are looking for people who would be willing to collaborate in creating a microworld that students could explore that is composed of multiple data sources. We think that this project has the potential to be a powerful tool for teaching systematics and evolutionary biology. To find out more and/or volunteer, please call me (616-387- 7638) or send me some email (email@example.com). You can also check out our website to find out more: http://18.104.22.168/PIGuide/piguide.html The newest version of PI (1.5b) has also been uploaded to all of the major Macintosh FTP sites. Steve Brewer <firstname.lastname@example.org> | Se iu diras 'Mi havas korpon,' oni http://22.214.171.124/WWW/I_sbrewer.html | povas demandi 'Kiu parolas tie ^ci Science Studies WMU Kalamazoo MI 49008 | per tiu ^ci bu^so?' --Wittgenstein _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:20>From maisel@SDSC.EDU Tue Apr 18 14:07:44 1995 Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 11:59:13 -0700 (PDT) From: Merry Maisel <maisel@SDSC.EDU> Subject: Re: Hist of Radiometric Dating To: email@example.com For Patricia Princehouse: There's _The Age of the Earth_ by G. Brent Dalrymple (or at least the first two chapters--the book is $50). Also, _Lord Kelvin and The Age of the Earth_ by Joe D. Burchfield_ (paper edition, U of Chicago Press, $16.95). Martin usually reprints a lovely bunch of readings in a packet when he gives this course, usually beginning with Ussher or Scaliger. Gould's _Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle_ is in paper, and so is the Goodfield/Toulmin work (which I don't recommend, since it is filled with a kind of presentism). Merry Maisel UC San Diego firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:21>From email@example.com Tue Apr 18 17:42:35 1995 Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 16:42:27 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Ellery Lanier) Subject: somatotypes Many members have asked me to supply information about how to measure the bisexuality of an individual or the degree to which the members of each sex exhibit the secondary characteristics of the opposite sex. Also if it can be applied to animals. The first question is answered in detail in Physique and Delinquent Behavior; A Thirty Year Follow Up by Hartl, Emil M. pub by Academic Press in 1982.Offices in New York and London. The book contains scaling techniques andstatistical data. Hartl worked with Sheldon and I have had some very pleasant phone contacts with him. As to the second question, animal breeders know the condition well. I have a delightful book to recommend which may be difficult to find. The Physical Basis of Personality by Charles R. Stockard pub by W W Norton in 1931. Stockard did his extensive research at Cornell and there is little doubt that he inspired much of Sheldon's research. The book is about dogs and a pleasure to read. Ellery firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <20:22>From email@example.com Mon Apr 24 12:43:28 1995 Date: Mon, 24 Apr 1995 14:34:58 -0300 (GRNLNDST) From: Charbel Nino El-Mani <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: send darwin-L <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu> Subject: End of evolution Human beings are subjects and objects of their histories. This is a solid idea not only in social sciences, but also when we lead with the relations between man and nature as a whole. We are not merely creators of or responders to nature, as John Carr and someone else (sorry, I do not remember) have been discussing, but we create new environments, historically and socially contingent, that by its turn produce new transformations in ourselves. This is also true for the other living beings, which do not relate to the environment, but to some class of defined environmental conditions, which are in fact selected by the species in its evolutionary history. The relation between man and environment is a dialectical one, and any dichotomy between our species and its environment makes difficult to understand the evolutionary process which our species has been undergoing. Levins and Lewontin write, in *The Dialectical Biologist*, that parts and wholes have a special relationship one another, in which one cannot exist without the other, in the same way that up cannot exist without down. Waht constitutes the parts is defined by the whole which is considered. Moreover, the parts acquire new properties by being parts of a certain whole, properties which they do not have when isolated or as parts of a different whole. It is not that the whole is more than the sum of the parts, but the parts acquire bew properties. But as the parts acquire new properties because they are together, they impart to the whole new properties, which are reflected as changes in the parts, and so on. Parts and wholes evolve as a consequence of their relation, and the relation itself evolves. These are the properties of the things we call dialectical: that one cannot exist without the other, that one acquire its properties from its relation to the other, that the properties of both evolve because of their interpenetration. This assertion by Levins and Lewontin can enlighten the debate on the relations between man and nature, I think. We have been selecting, for a long time, the environment which selects the genotypes which can survive and reproduce succesfully. But the creation of a homogeneous environment throughout the world, in which a highly homogeneous man can live, is making not also the environment but our own lives poorer and poorer. What kind of natural selection is happening then? We know about economical and political privileges. Does the selection based upon the economical and political structure contribute to the future survival of our species? A homogeneous species, at least in cultural terms, living in a homogeneous environment, manufactured to favor its survival, is capable of surviving to environmental challenges, when it is away from its selected environment? Indeed, the images we construct about ourselves necessarily influence the kind of selected environment we deserve to live in. I agree with Carr, if the media is forming, predominantly, the image we have of ourselves we have to worry, because this image tends to be increasingly homogeneous. What is the impact of the contemporary images of the human being on the evolution of the species? One thing is certain: life becomes dull and monotony fills in our days. Charbel Nino El-Hani _______________________________________________________________________________ Darwin-L Message Log 20: 1-22 -- April 1995 End
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