Darwin-L Message Log 22: 36–70 — June 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 June 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 22: 36-70 -- JUNE 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 public messages posted to Darwin-L during June 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com, or connect to the Darwin-L Web Server at http://rjohara.uncg.edu. Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:36>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Jun 18 00:05:29 1995 Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 01:05:22 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: June 18 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JUNE 18 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1858: CHARLES DARWIN receives a manuscript in the post from Alfred Russell Wallace, who is travelling in the Malay Archipelago, titled "On the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type." Later in the day he writes to Charles Lyell, initiating the chain of events that will lead to the publication of the _Origin of Species_ in November of the following year: My dear Lyell Some year or so ago, you recommended me to read a paper by Wallace in the Annals, which had interested you & as I was writing to him, I knew this would please him much, so I told him. He has to day sent me the enclosed & asked me to forward it to you. It seems to me well worth reading. Your words have come true with a vengeance that I shd be forestalled. You said this when I explained to you here very briefly my views of "Natural Selection" depending on the Struggle for existence. -- I never saw a more striking coincidence. if Wallace had my M.S. sketch written out in 1842 he could not have made a better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as Heads of my Chapters. Please return me the M.S. which he does not say he wishes me to publish; but I shall of course at once write & offer to send to any journal. So all my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed. Though my Book, if it will ever have any value, will not be deteriorated; as all the labour consists in the application of the theory. I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him what you say. My dear Lyell Yours most truly C. Darwin Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences. Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:37>From email@example.com Sun Jun 18 02:28:09 1995 Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 02:06:50 -0500 (CDT) From: Mike Salovesh <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Geographical isolation - species and languages To: Historical sciences list <email@example.com> Sally Thomason points out that Labov's work is at the level of "dialect", not "language", divergence. She avers that historical linguists don't expect to find language divergence without geographical separation. Gary Cziko responded by pointing to the historical splitup of Latin into Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese, etc. Then Kent Holzinger asked: > Sally, > > Can you clarify the difference between a ``dialect divergence'' and a > ``language split'' for me (and probably for other biologists, too). > Is it simply a matter of degree, or is it a difference in kind? If > the latter, what sorts of differences distinguish languages that do > not distinguish dialects (or vice versa)? I don't know what Sally's answer might be, but I can't resist jumping in on this thread. When you get down to problem cases, linguists are no better off than biologists. (What do you do when two populations are phenotypically and genetically indistinguishable, but they are in complete reproductive isolation, because, e.g., learned mating calls are different? Do you have one species or two? Presumably, speciation is likely at some point in the future--but has it happened yet?) I'd cite two anecdotal cases. Before I do, let me specify that I'll be working at the level of language as she is spoke, not national traditions of how an educated person is supposed to write. In writing, Hindi and Urdu or Serbian and Croatian (and there are many other examples) are totally distinct. They were kept that way by deliberate effort, for politico/religious reasons. But if we're talking about how the languages sound, and how they are spoken, it would be better to refer to Hindi/Urdu and Serbo-Croatian as if each was a single language. Now for example 1. I speak Spanish with near-native fluency. At an international congress a couple of years ago, I found myself seated next to a Bulgarian who was very comfortable in Italian. We had no language in common. I spoke Spanish to him, he spoke Italian to me, and we managed to have a long and interesting conversation about theoretical anthropology. I've had similar experiences with speakers of Brazilian Portugese, which I don't speak--but can understand if the speaker is aware that I speak Spanish, even when the Portugese speaker doesn't speak Spanish herself. And the Portugese speakers seem to have little trouble understanding me. Now are Spanish, Italian, and Portugese mutually intelligible dialects of one language, or are they three separate languages? Example 2: I have visited San Bartolome de los Llanos, Chiapas, Mexico many times over more than 35 years. The language of the community is Tzotzil. San Bartolenos claim that the differences among varieties of Tzotzil spoken in other communities are trivial, and that they understand those related dialects with ease. But Tzotzil speakers from Chamula and Zinacantan, the two largest Tzotzil communities, are convinced that San Bartolome Tzotzil and their own languages are so different that they are not mutually intelligible. So they try to speak Spanish to communicate with San Bartolenos. (I say "try to" because few people in Zinacantan and Chamula are comfortably fluent in Spanish. All San Bartoleno adults are bilingual Spanish speakers.) Tzeltal, another Maya language of Chiapas, is spoken in a geographically separate but immediately adjacent territory. The two languages have been separate for around 1000 years, not that different from, say, Spanish and Portugese; somewhat shorter, but not far off in orders of linguistic magnitude, than the split between German and English. San Bartolenos claim that it's easy for them to understand Tzeltal, even though they can't speak it. I tested their claim with the cooperation of informants who are highly fluent in both Tzeltal and Spanish, but NOT in Tzotzil, and the translations of Tzeltal into Spanish I got from San Bartolenos were not seriously different from the translations I got from the Tzeltal speakers. Ordinarily, linguists are quite content in holding that Tzotzil and Tzeltal are distinct languages, not dialects. Things get even worse when you look at San Bartoleno claims about Tojolabal, a considerably more distant Maya language. Twice a year, people who speak Tojolabal (and little Spanish) walk up to 100 miles in pilgrimage to San Bartolome. San Bartolenos say that they understand what the pilgrims say to them in Tojolabal. In a practical sense, they demonstrate such understanding by the arrangements they make for lodging and feeding the visitors and what happens as the two groups jointly participate in Maya rituals. To say that Tojolabal and Tzotzil are the same language would be not unlike claiming that English and German are the same language. Tojolabal has been separate from Tzotzil considerably longer than English has been separate from German. (I suppose, to be careful, I should be saying the ancestral forms of these languages, but I think my meaning is clear.) So what am I to make of my friends from San Bartolome? Part of the answer has to do with what people of San Bartolome value. They appreciate cross-cultural knowledge: They think it's a very good thing to know about the customs of other peoples, and it is traditional for couples--before the birth of their first child--to leave town, live in what amounts to another culture for a while, then return home. (They are, in fact, pretty good anthropologists in their own right.) They also set high store by the ability to communicate well in both Spanish and Tzotzil. In difficult cases, the distinction between "dialect" and "language" is much less a linguistic question than a political one. But I'll let others pick up on that theme for now. -- mike salovesh <firstname.lastname@example.org> Anthropology Department Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL 60115 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:38>From mhyde@AGSM.UCLA.EDU Sun Jun 18 23:57:23 1995 From: Matthew Hyde <mhyde@AGSM.UCLA.EDU> To: email@example.com Date: Sun, 18 Jun 95 21:57:19 PDT Please excuse me if this posting seems a little out of place. I have been "lurking" for a little bit and thought the list might be an interesting place to pose a question I have been interested in for some time. My international work (geology) related travels have opened my eyes to a rather large disparity in "work ethics" worldwide, even given that ours in the U.S. tilt to the extreme on the "plus" side. I have discussed this issue at length with local people and their responses have proven diverse and interesting, causes ranging from geographic isolation to climate to economics. My impression is that climate, particularly extremes, play a significant role in controlling "work ethics." I would be interested in hearing from evolutionary scientists what their thoughts might be on this subject matter. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:39>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 19 06:43:50 1995 From: Mary P Winsor <email@example.com> Subject: Moore "Sci.as a Way of Knowing" To: firstname.lastname@example.org (bulletin board) Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 07:43:44 -0400 (EDT) John Moore's history of biology text, "Science as a Way of Knowing" - I am close to deciding to use it in an upper-level undergraduate history of biology course for bio. students. If any of you have taught biology students from this book, I would be very grateful to hear from you directly, with your experience and advice. Polly Winsor email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:40>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 19 07:06:06 1995 Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 08:05:55 -0400 From: email@example.com (Donald Phillipson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Diversity in "Work Ethics" > My international work (geology) related travels have opened my >eyes to a rather large disparity in "work ethics" worldwide, even given >that ours in the U.S. tilt to the extreme on the "plus" side. I have >discussed this issue at length with local people and their responses >have proven diverse and interesting, causes ranging from geographic >isolation to climate to economics. My impression is that climate, >particularly extremes, play a significant role in controlling "work >ethics." There is a standard literature on this theme, from 19th century writers on imperial geography to Toynbee ("challenge and response" theory, cf. the greater challenge of a cold climate.) The full exposition may be in Ellsworth Huntington's 1945 Mainsprings of Civilization, of which the paperback blurb claims: "with devastating logic and sound scholarship, E.H. shows how climate, weather, geographical location, diet, health and heredity govern the character of a nation -- and determine its dominant or defensive position in history and the advance of civilization." The general idea persists today but is notoriously Politically inCorrect. -- | Donald Phillipson, 4180 Boundary Rd., Carlsbad | | Springs, Ont., Canada K0A 1K0; tel: (613) 822-0734 | | "What I've always liked about science is its independence from | | authority"--Ontario Science Centre (name on file) 10 July 1981 | _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:41>From maisel@SDSC.EDU Mon Jun 19 10:22:53 1995 Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 08:15:35 -0700 (PDT) From: Merry Maisel <maisel@SDSC.EDU> Subject: Climate and work ethics To: email@example.com The chief exponent of a relationship between "work ethic" and climate must have been Ellsworth Huntington of Yale, a turn-of-the-century climatologist who wrote a series of enormous tomes boosting the temperate climes over the torpid and explaining Biblical history thereby. The science involved, however, was very clearly tempered by the imperialist climate of Huntington's world. I wonder what inclines Dr. Hyde to search for such explanations today? Merry Maisel firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:42>From email@example.com Mon Jun 19 15:44:53 1995 Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 13:44:01 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Roizen) Subject: Re: Climate and work ethics To: email@example.com For the deep historical context of climate/enviromental theories of culture, don't forget Clarence J. Glacken's monumental _Traces on the Rhodian shore; nature and culture in Western thought from ancient times to the end of the eighteenth century_, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1967. Prof. Glacken's obituary may also shed light on this classic book's reception & contributions (I haven't seen the obit, but MELVYL offers the following citation: D. GLACKEN, CLARENCE - 1909-1989 - IN MEMORIAM. ANNALS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS, 1991 MAR, V81 N1:152-158). Also: Current Contents offers two or three reviews of new books whose titles seem to suggest examinations of the relation between environment & culture--including: GOODEY B. IMAGINED COUNTRY - ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE AND SOCIETY - SHORT,JR. AREA, 1993 SEP, V25 N3:333-334. Pub type: Book Review. Ron Roizen in Berkeley _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:43>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jun 19 22:34:54 1995 Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 23:34:37 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Huxley anniversary next week (and other major anniversaries) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro Thursday of next week, 29 June 1995, is the 100th anniversary of the death of Thomas Henry Huxley. Does anyone know if there are any special commemorations taking place? I have added to the Darwin-L calendar page on our web server a list of some of the major anniversaries in the historical sciences that are coming up in the next few years. (Centennials, bicentennials, etc.) 1996 will feature the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Jones; 1997 contains the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Lyell; and so on. Anniversaries such as these offer many opportunities for teaching and publication (not to mention parties). Feel free to browse the list at your convenience; I will continue to add to it as time permits. The address is: http://rjohara.uncg.edu/darwin/calendar.html Bob O'Hara (email@example.com) _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:44>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Jun 20 00:09:57 1995 Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 01:09:46 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: June 20 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JUNE 20 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1849: WILLIAM CLIFT dies in London, England, aged 74 years. The son of a miller, Clift's artistic talent had won him an apprenticeship in his youth as an illustrator and dissection assistant to the famed anatomist John Hunter. When Hunter died in 1793 his executors appointed the young Clift as curator of Hunter's extensive anatomical collections of more than 13,000 specimens, collections that were eventually bought by the British government and then given to the Royal College of Surgeons. Clift spent the entirety of his career as curator of the Hunterian Museum, establishing a reputation as a noted comparative anatomist, paleontologist, and illustrator. Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences. Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to email@example.com or connect to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:45>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jun 20 08:10:55 1995 To: Kent@darwin.eeb.uconn.edu Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: Geographical isolation - species and languages Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 09:10:51 -0400 From: "Sarah G. Thomason" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kent Holsinger asks about the difference between dialect divergence and language split. Same basic process -- no essential difference there. But there's a difference in degree: with continued communication between partly-isolated dialects, the amount of divergence is kept to a low enough level that no language split occurs. There's no sharp boundary, admittedly, between "different dialects" and "different (but closely related) languages": the boundary is fuzzy, and the criteria -- like mutual intelligibility (think lack of interbreeding possibilities) -- don't always work. But, of course, there are clear cases: German and English are certainly separate languages; Southern American English and Northeastern American English (roughly) are certainly dialects of the same language. -- Sally email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:46>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jun 20 10:46:06 1995 Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 08:44:37 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Huxley anniversary next week (and other major anniversaries) Another major anniversary (for some of us!): 1995 is the 70th anniversary of the Scopes Trial. Anyone for a party? Genie ***************************************************************** 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 ***************************************************************** _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:47>From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Jun 21 23:11:39 1995 Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 23:11:38 -0500 (CDT) From: Mike Salovesh <email@example.com> Subject: To: Historical sciences list <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Tue, 20 Jun 1995 Eugenie C. Scott said--in part: > Another major anniversary (for some of us!): 1995 is the 70th anniversary > of the Scopes Trial. Anyone for a party? Now, Genie, you of all people know better than that: Why celebrate? Scopes LOST. All you have to do is look at biology textbooks published over the following half century to see what a disastrous loss it was!! (Never mind the oft-misinterpreted fact that his conviction was, essentially, vacated on appeal. That was on a technicality that still left the Tennessee anti-evolution law untouched.) Of course I support science education .... But shouldn't we give ALL "theories" equal time? I think the theory of Divine Levitation is just as likely as Newton's so-called "gravity". After all, God did stop the sun from going around the earth while Joshua fought at Jericho, and that should prove that Newton, who was only human, must have been wrong. I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for me to fly by flapping my arms if only I believed strongly enough that it could be done. If faith can move mountains, why can't it move me? Please, folks on Darwin-L, don't think that was serious. Genie and I are old friends and have been known to kid each other on at least one other occasion. What IS serious is the gross ignorance my introductory anthro students bring to my classroom. Most of them have never heard about even the most basic of Darwin's ideas. The impression I get from years of talking with undergraduates is that nobody taught them anything about evolution in high school because it's too "controversial", and nobody wanted to go out on a limb. Even those who did hear about natural selection tell me that "of course, that was in an elective course". I don't think it's going too far to say that their ignorance is the direct result of the Scopes Trial and its aftermath. Which is why I would go along with a Scopes Trial memorial service, but I can't think of having a party over such a disaster. (Besides, I think it's only a matter of time until we suffer from demands that "Creation Science" be given equal time in De Kalb classrooms. God forbid, and I choose my words carefully.) SUPPORT SCIENCE EDUCATION !!!! --Mike Salovesh Anthropology Dept. Northern Illinois University De Kalb, IL 60115 <email@example.com> _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:48>From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jun 22 04:37:54 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 11:39:24 +0200 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Simons) Subject: Is anti-evolutionism only American? Lots of US American colleagues complain about the ignorance of their students about evolution and the pressures evolutionists face in education from creationists. I am not a biology teacher so I have limited experience, but my impression is that such pressures are almost completely absent in Europe, that hardly anyone questions the fact of evolution or tries to peddle creationism. So a question to our European colleagues or others with European experience, and likewise to those on other continents. Is there any _serious_ opposition to the theory of evolution in your country's education at any level, or is anti-evolutionism a US American isolate? Peter Simons University of Salzburg Philosophy Department email@example.com _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:49>From I.Lowe@sct.gu.edu.au Thu Jun 22 06:41:36 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 21:40:58 +1000 (EST) From: Ian Lowe <I.Lowe@sct.gu.edu.au> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Is anti-evolutionism only American? In response to Peter's question, anti-evolutionism was essentially unknown even in Australia until its relatively recent export to this country from the US. There were occasional mumbles from individuals, as when a grade 10 student told me that their minister of religion disagreed with the teaching of evolution, but no serious attempt to peddle pseudo-science in schools. In the last ten years, however, the Us material has been distributed in Australian through an organisation calling itself the Creation Science Foundation. Perhaps the height of their limited influence was when they persuaded a religious Queensland Minister for Education to tell science teachers that "evolution could be taught as a scientific theory, but creation must be taught as the origin of species"[sic!]. That individual, and indeed his whole nineteenth century government, have since been swept into the rubbish-bin of history. Little damage was done to science teaching, as most teachers just ignored it, though there were a couple of schools in which a cadre of creationists were licensed by the Minister's remarks to peddle their line. The whole creationist push have been delightfully debunked in an irreverent recent book, "Telling Lies for God", by Ian Plimer, a local geology professor. There has been no serious attempt to introduce the creationist myths into school science since that one short-lived push for "equal time", treated with the derision it deserved by science teachers. It is interesting to reflect on the reason for the influence of the creationists. My view is that it is at least partly a result of an inappropriate style of science education. all too often, science teaching gives the impression that it is the transmission of a fixed body of eternal truth, rather than our current best fumbling attempt to make sense of the complexity of the world, subject to revision in the light of new data or better theories. If science were truly a body of eternal truth, those who could claim divine backing for their version of the eternal truth are in quite a strong position. If science is seen, as it should be, as a continuous process, those who state at the outset that their views are immutable place themselves outside the scientific process in the realm of other styles of knowledge. Thus it may well be quite appropriate for creation myths to be taught in classes on religious belief, along with virgin birth, bodily resurrection, walls destroyed by trumpet blasts, seas divided to allow the faithful to pass and so on. But there is no defensible case for =C6claiming that these fall within the boundaries of SCIENCE, if the way science is defined requires refinement in the light of observation and experiment. Ian Lowe School of Science Griffith University Nathan 4111 Australia _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:50>From email@example.com Thu Jun 22 11:37:18 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 10:36:49 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Ellery Lanier) Subject: creationism All this palaver about Darwinism versus Creationism gives me a chance to let my computer have some self-expression. When I asked my Word Speller to correct my spelling of creationism, it offered as an alternative- cretinism. How could I argue with that? When I did my teaching Practicum some years ago (1969) in a neighboring state I had written in large letters on the chalkboard the word EVOLUTION. My supervisor who was a very sweet person quickly pointed out to me that I had committed a criminal act. Having grown up on Darwinism, I was startled. I pointed out that the school library had many books with that title. Here at New Mexico State University I have been told by faculty of numerous students who protest the teaching of evolution. The local media steer clear of the issue. Even Dawkins titles his new book 'River Out of Eden.' What I find most interesting is that many of the engineering students I talk to never heard the name Darwin let alone evolution. It is of course ironic that many of the fundamentalists, especially in the Middle East, can attack scientific knowledge but have no hesitation in using the latest killing technologies. I think there is a powerful survival factor in what to my mind looks like stupidity on top of ignorance. The arthropods that developed chitinous shells gained much in safety. A chitinous brain surely could serve a similar function. I see it every day. Ellery firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:51>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jun 22 12:13:11 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 13:12:59 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: June 22 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JUNE 22 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1767: WILHELM HUMBOLDT is born at Potsdam, Prussia. Following study at Berlin, Gottingen, and Jena, Humboldt will become a leading figure in European politics, diplomacy, and intellectual life. His extensive travels will lead to wide-ranging comparative studies in language and culture, including _Prufung der Untersuchungen uber die Urbewohner Hispaniens vermittelst der baskischen Sprache_ (_Researches into the Early Inhabitants of Spain by the Help of the Basque Language_, 1821), and a comprehensive study of the ancient Kawi language of Java. Humboldt's younger brother Alexander will become equally famous as a geographer and naturalist. Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences. Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:52>From email@example.com Thu Jun 22 13:20:04 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 14:20:16 -0400 (EDT) From: "Mark A. Nadler" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Is anti-evolutionism only American? To: email@example.com On Thu, 22 Jun 1995, Ian Lowe wrote: > It is interesting to reflect on the reason for the influence of the > creationists. My view is that it is at least partly a result of an > inappropriate style of science education. all too often, science > teaching gives the impression that it is the transmission of a fixed body > of eternal truth, rather than our current best fumbling attempt to make > sense of the complexity of the world, subject to revision in the light of > new data or better theories. If science were truly a body of eternal > truth, those who could claim divine backing for their version of the > eternal truth are in quite a strong position. If science is seen, as it > should be, as a continuous process, those who state at the outset that > their views are immutable place themselves outside the scientific process > in the realm of other styles of knowledge. Ian, you're quite right. I find very few American highschool students (actually, I find very Americans) who either understand the status of scientific statements or undertstand that science deals with testable propositions. Many American scientists contribute to this state of confusion by going on American airwaves and espouse views held with 100% certainty without telling their audience that they're no longer talking as scientists. Creationist ideas may be true and they may be false but their not scientific. Mark A. Nadler Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org Ashland University Phone: (419) 289-5912 Ashland, OH 44805 Fax: (419) 289-5949 _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:53>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jun 22 13:22:55 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 14:22:43 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Languages and dialects, species and subspecies To: email@example.com Organization: University of NC at Greensboro The linguists' comments on the species/language topic have been very instructive. Let me pose another question to them. There is a long tradition in natural history of dispute about what species are, and sometimes even whether "species" as a real category exists or not. These disputes have gone on for ages, and are generally put under the heading of "the species problem." Darwin in the origin refers to the "endless disputes whether or not some fifty species of British brambles are true species", for example. This problem arose in part because in the pre-evolutionary world view there is indeed a sharp distinction between species and varieties (or subspecies): species are separate creations whereas varieties are not. The task of the systematist in this world is then to find some practical means for distinguishing the separately-created forms from the not-separately-created forms. The question for the linguists is: did/do linguists ever expend time, publications, symposia, etc., trying to decide whether, say, 10 American Indian languages in California are "really" separate languages or are "just" dialects of one language? Have they ever been, as Darwin claimed many pre-evolutionary systematists were, "incessantly haunted by the shadowy doubt whether this or that form be in essence a species [language]." If lingiusts have not traditionally viewed this as one of the core controversies of their subject, to what extent might the difference between their attitude and that of systematists be attributable to: (1) the fact that systematists did at one time think of species and subspecies as essentially different (one the product of independent creations, and the other not), whereas linguists had never thought of most languages as having been independently created. (Is that accurate?) (2) The practical consequences of there being so many species, with the consequent need for formal rules of species nomenclatue and the development of species catalogs as a genre of literature, both of which force systematists to make ranking decisions. It is interesting to note that if I refer to "Catalan" then one can't necessarily tell whether I think it is a dialect or a language, but is I say _Larus argentatus_ then I am necessarily referring to a species because of the way the name is formed. Perhaps if there had been a convention in linguistics that required one always to specify whether the entity being named was a language or a dialect, then there would have been much more dispute along these lines. Whenever someone said 'Spanish catalan' there would be an opportunity for an opponent to say, "No, you mean 'Catalan catalan', not 'Spanish catalan'", even though they were talking about exactly the same thing. 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. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:54>From VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Thu Jun 22 13:57:45 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 14:57:23 -0400 (EDT) From: VISLYONS@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Subject: Creationism and ignorance To: email@example.com Organization: University at Buffalo Alas, the ignorance that our students show about evolution is just one part of a much larger problem which is that students dont read anything anymore. I think all us college profs should quit and teach in the primary and secondary schools. I just got the CAT scores of my 5th grade son. Not to take away from him because he is a great smart little guy but he tested out reading, vocabulary at 12.6. This means he is reading at the equivalent of a highschool senior in school for 6 months. I'm afraid this is more of a commentary on the pathetic state of the education level of most American high school students than my son's brilliance. We need to support all kinds of education and especially reading. Sherrie Lyons firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:55>From email@example.com Thu Jun 22 14:39:03 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 12:36:49 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Scopes/Evolution/Undergrads Mike is absolutely right about Scopes losing, and evolution disappearing from textbooks until the mid 1960's. There was a brief flurry, and then evolution disappeared from textbooks again until the early 1990's: modern high school biology textbooks have more evolution in them than their predecessors -- but a lot of the time the authors get it wrong. Sigh. But -- hey -- when I was at UK we'd have a birthday party on Oct. 23 to celebrate the Creation (not at 9:00 AM, though -- too early in the day for cake). Any excuse for a party, in my opinion! Mike is running into college undergrads who don't know anything about evolution: he's not alone. A community college teacher called me a couple of weeks ago and told me that high school teachers in her community weren't teaching basic Linnaean taxonomy (Kingdom, phylum, order, class, etc.) because "it was too much like evolution." Have others on Darwin-L had similar experiences? Undergrads who have either not been taught evolution, have been taught that humans and dinosaurs lived together (or other tenets of creationism), or have been taught that "scientists don't believe in evolution anymore." Please let me know. (I don't know why I'm asking: my office gets enough depressing calls!) Genie ***************************************************************** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org ***************************************************************** _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:56>From email@example.com Thu Jun 22 14:49:16 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 12:47:41 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Is anti-evolutionism only American? I would also like to hear directly from European, Asian, and African correspondents. From my experience, however, I may have some light to shed on Dr. Simons' question. On the continent, there is not much enthusiasm for creation science, except for a small movement in the Netherlands (Dutch Reformed tradition is very active in the US in this movement as well.) There is a small but not very active movement in Great Britain (esp. England), but since Anglicanism is not a literalist theology, it hasn't taken root much. Where you see creationism growing is where there has been an upsurge in evangelical Protestant missionary activity: Russia and former Soviet Union countries, the Philippines, Korea, and south Africa come to mind. My office received a complaint from a scientist in Poland who was looking for video materials to counter the broadcast on state TV of a series of creationist films. Because of the failure of the Catholic church to cope intelligently with Liberation Theology (they just abandoned it), many central and South Americans are turning to evangelical Protestantism: I expect to see creationism increase in popularity in this hemisphere as well. Australia has had a strong creationist movement for many years, and is even exporting key figures and publications to the US now. New Zealand does not have a formal movement to my knowledge, but there is considerable tacit support, according to one of our NCSE members there. It is useful to distinguish between the actual teaching (advocating) of creation science (which is relatively rare in the US) and the watering down or eliminating of evolution (which is far more common.) In either case, science education (and students' knowledge) is shortchanged. Like Dr. Simons, I look forward to hearing from foreign correspondents. Eugenie C. Scott ***************************************************************** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org ***************************************************************** _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:57>From HAAVN@Corelli.Augustana.AB.CA Thu Jun 22 15:10:01 1995 From: "Haave, Neil" <HAAVN@Corelli.Augustana.AB.CA> Organization: Augustana University College To: email@example.com Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 14:03:27 MDT Subject: Re: creationism AUGH!!!! Sorry that's my gut response whenever the evolution/creation beast rears its head. It is such a non-issue unless you want FACTS and the unchangeable TRUTH. As a Christian working at a small church related college I am often faced with this question from some of my students, "which is right? Creation or Evolution?" After a quiet groan I let them know that the two are NOT mutually exclusive, unless of course you believe that the Bible is a scientific document. This distinction between two different ways of knowing (ie. revealed vs experiential) usually helps my students enter the study of evolution without feeling that their beliefs are being compromised. I guess I find it difficult to understand and accept that their are still people who want to make faith into science and science into faith. Is the fault our education system which fails to validate the many ways of knowing. Is our culture so enamoured with the glitter of the scientific and technological "successes" of this century that all knowledge must be substantiated through science and technology? Anyways,... this is a minor concern (thankfully) in Canada. We don't seem to have quite the same cretionist political voice as there is to the the south of us. Neil Haave, Ph.D. Department of Biology Augustana University College 4901 - 46th Avenue Camrose, AB Canada T4V 2R3 phone 403 679 1506 FAX 403 679 1129 email firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:58>From Bob.Hill@plant.utas.edu.au Thu Jun 22 16:41:46 1995 Date: Fri, 23 Jun 1995 07:41:23 +1000 To: email@example.com From: Bob.Hill@plant.utas.edu.au (Bob Hill) Subject: Is anti-evolutionism only American? I don't quite share Ian Lowe's optimism about the poor standing of creation science in Australia. A fairly recent survey (that I haven't seen first hand) claimed that 10% of first year university biology students in Australia believe in the literal truth of the bible. That translates to about 20 people in our first year class and I sometimes run across them arguing their case. However, I have never seen one of them try to answer an exam question from that viewpoint. I don't believe that is because we have "converted" them all, and thus it must mean that either they are prepared to lie for the sake of grades or else they can somehow separate two sources of conflicting information in their minds or reconcile them somehow. Maybe there is some other explanation. There are a number of people in Australia who spend a great deal of time and energy fighting a creationist upsurge. Ian Plimer is one, but there are others who have done so, sometimes at great personal cost (and also satisfaction). More power to them. However, I suspect a big difference between Australia and the US is that teaching of evolutionary theory in schools is a standard practice here and as far as I know causes little controversy. Bob Hill Department of Plant Science University of Tasmania GPO Box 252C, Hobart Tasmania 7001 Australia _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:59>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jun 22 22:58:07 1995 Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 23:57:57 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: Chauncey Wright on palaetiology To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro We've discussed the work of the 19th-century philosopher Chauncey Wright here a few times before. I just came across an appearance of the term "palaetiology" in his writings, and since collecting references to the term palaetiology is one of Darwin-L's minor aims, I thought I'd share Wright's passage with the group. It is part of a negative review of Herbert Spencer's work, originally published in the _North American Review_, April 1865, and reprinted in the volume of Wright's collected papers called _Philosophical Discussions_ (1877). The passage below is on pp. 70-71. It was Mr. Spencer's aim to free the law of evolution from all teleological implications, and to add such elements and limitations to its definition as should make it universally applicable to the movement of nature. Having done this, as he thinks, he arrives at the following definition: "Evolution is a change from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity through continuous differentiations and integrations." But teleology is a subtile poison, and lurks where least suspected. The facts of the sciences which Dr. Whewell calls palaetiological, like the various branches of geology, and every actual concrete series of events which together form an object of interest to us, are apt, unless we are fully acquainted with the actual details through observation or by actual particular deductions from well-known particular facts and general laws, to fall into a dramatic procession in our imaginations. The mythic instinct slips into the place of the chronicles at every opportunity. All history is written on dramatic principles. Surely someone among us will have to use the marvellous phrase "teleology is a subtile poison" in print one of these days. Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner Robert J. O'Hara (email@example.com) Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology 100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:60>From firstname.lastname@example.org Sun Jun 25 12:27:23 1995 To: email@example.com Subject: Creationism as science ? Date: Sun, 25 Jun 1995 13:31:22 EDT From: Joshua Lederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org> <<<<<< Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 14:20:16 -0400 (EDT) Creationist ideas may be true and they may be false but the['yre] not scientific. Mark A. Nadler Internet: email@example.com Ashland University Phone: (419) 289-5912 Ashland, OH 44805 Fax: (419) 289-5949 >>>>>>> I don't think I need to corroborate my credentials as an evolutionist. But I am a little concerned at the extent to which our (scientists') reflex reaction to "creationism" doesn't also reek of dogma. Why do we have to denounce the exposition of alternative views? For example, Philip Gosse's well-worn model is in my view irrefutable: God created the world in [whatever date, perhaps the last millisecond] exactly as we see it, including every feature that we now explore as evidence of history, evolution, our own biographical pasts. It would teach something of the limits of science to explore whether that is a testable hypothesis, and what are its implications. If we accept the model, we are now fairly close to the Theism that identifies Nature with God, and is completely compatible with the pursuit of science as a vocation -- the unravelling of God's revelation. In fact, I imagine that Spinoza would have taken that as a metaphor for natural science. And Newton not far away. [But Newton, Spinoza experts please correct me on this] I am not optimistic that theological debates will be any less shrill; but we might try to look beyond the nominal semantic categories. Reply-to: (J. Lederberg)firstname.lastname@example.org Prof. Joshua Lederberg Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Informatics The Rockefeller University 1230 York Avenue New York, NY 10021-6399 212: 327-7809 _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:61>From email@example.com Mon Jun 26 04:07:00 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 10:06:46 +0100 From: W I Sellers <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Scopes/Evolution/Undergrads Since we're on the topic of teaching evolution, I'd like some advice/help/sympathy. I'm starting a job as a lecturer in October, and I've been told that my first block of lectures will be on "Comparative Anatomy and Evolution". Like most researchers in the area I have a very eclectic expertise and rather limited teaching experience, and what I'd really love is some suggestions of the sort of things that should go into this sort of course (it's not aimed at beginners, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the students only have the normal, fairly hazy idea about evolution and evolutionary theory). From reading this list for a while, I'd also like to incorporate at least some historical context, about which, I suspect the students will be almost completely ignorant. I am told I have a fairly free rein, so I ought to make the most of it. As I said, any suggestions, experiences, personal reminiscences, comments will be appreciated. Just how does everyone else go about teaching evolution these days? Are there any logical pitfalls to be avoided? What causes most trouble? Thanks in advance Bill Sellers Centre for Human Biology, University of Leeds W.I.Sellers@leeds.ac.uk _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:62>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 26 04:23:28 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 10:23:20 +0100 From: W I Sellers <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Is anti-evolutionism only American? In the 25th April 1995 edition of New Scientist there is a report on a survey that was presented at the US Annual Earth Day celibration. It's based on a survey of over 25,000 people in (I think) about 20 countries and concerns levels of basic scientific knowledge. Apart from a depressingly high percentage of people in Britain believing that "Astrology has some scientific truth", it also asked the question, "Human beings developed from earlier species - true or false?" Apparently, worldwide, 70% of people put this down as true (82% in Britain) but only 48% in America. It certainly suggests that evolution is doing badly in the US compared to elsewhere. Anyway, I imagine the full study, which is broken down by country, and includes a reasonable selection of Eastern and Western European nations as well as Japan, should give you some interesting food for thought. If someone sees a more complete reference to where this study exists in print (or even better, on the internet), then I appreciate seeing it. Bill Sellers Centre for Human Biology, University of Leeds _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:63>From email@example.com Mon Jun 26 05:25:32 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 11:24:42 +0100 (BST) From: "J.E. Jeffery" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Dawkins and Creationism Dear all, In reply to the question of creationism affecting science Ellery seemed to imply that Richard Dawkins was pushed into using a biblical reference for the title of a book about evolution; > Here at New Mexico State University I have been told by faculty of numerous > students who protest the teaching of evolution. The local media steer clear > of the issue. Even Dawkins titles his new book 'River Out of Eden.' Although Dawkins is (by his own admission) a 'militant' atheist, I don't think he was making a point. Here in the U.K. creationism simply isn't an issue, in schools or elsewhere. Dawkin's usage of a biblical metaphor does not, therefore, have any of the connotations that it might have in the U.S. Jon Jeffery, University of Cambridge, firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:64>From FINNR@bot.ku.dk Mon Jun 26 06:31:57 1995 From: "Finn N. Rasmussen" <FINNR@bot.ku.dk> To: email@example.com Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 13:31:03 GMT+0200 Subject: Re: Anti-evolutionism outside the USA Anti-evolutionism appears to be largely endemic to the US. Evolution is part of the standard curriculum in all Danish schools, and I think the situation is the same in the other Scandinavian countries. There was, as far as I know, very little controversy (if any at all) when it became introduced at the beginning og this century. Of course there are a few creationists who publish pamphlets etc., but they are looked upon the same way as anthroposophists, astrologists, spirists and UFO-watchers. In actual fact, astrology is a much more widespread belief than creationism, it is probably the worst of the pseudoscientific threats. However, Europe has another kind of irrational believers that may be compared to the creationists of the US: the history-revisionists. It is often rooted in nationalism - it is not nice to be taught that your heroic king lost a battle to his villainous cousin in the neighbour-country (I remember being taught in school that Adm. Nelson was defeated at Copenhagen, at least it was a draw...). The most agressive of this kind are the neo-nazi's, who claim that nobobdy were murdered in concentraton camps during world war II. Like the cretionists, they often go into pseudotechnical argumentation (like chemical analyses of bricks from alleged gas-chambers) to "prove" their claims. I think that all this kind of "pseudo-knowledge" stems from a subconscious wish for rebellion - a desire to denounce the authorities, they be the history teacher, the science teacher, the established state church, the European Commission or the Federal Government. Finn N. Rasmussen Botanical Laboratory, University of Copenhagen Gothersgade 140, DK-1123 Copenhagen K., Denmark phone: +45 35 32 21 55 * fax: +45 33 13 91 04 email: FinnR@bot.ku.dk _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:65>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 26 11:52:04 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 12:52:11 -0400 (EDT) From: "Mark A. Nadler" <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Creationism as science ? To: firstname.lastname@example.org On Sun, 25 Jun 1995, Joshua Lederberg wrote: > For example, Philip Gosse's well-worn model is in my view > irrefutable: God created the world in [whatever date, perhaps the > last millisecond] exactly as we see it, including every feature > that we now explore as evidence of history, evolution, our own > biographical pasts. It would teach something of the limits of > science to explore whether that is a testable hypothesis, and what > are its implications. If we accept the model, we are now fairly > close to the Theism that identifies Nature with God, and is > completely compatible with the pursuit of science as a vocation -- > the unravelling of God's revelation. In fact, I imagine that > Spinoza would have taken that as a metaphor for natural science. > And Newton not far away. [But Newton, Spinoza experts please > correct me on this] Philip Gosse's model may be true or it may be false but it is not scientific. When one tells me that something is "irrefutable" then we're either in a world of pure logic or metaphysics -- two resources, I admit, science draws on to put forth refutable hypothesis. Does Gosse's model belong in a science class? I think the answer to that question belongs to the instructor. The students I meet already have their fill of various forms of mysticism. My preference is to present a purely scientific view of the world -- at least as far that is possible given my own non-conscious forms of bias etc. Most scientists are not dogmatic in simply pointing out that creationism isn't science. Because it's not a science it doesn't belong in a science class. Again, this doesn't say that creationism is wrong. It simply means that creationists don't want to put forth refutable hypotheses. I myself have played the "game" of science called unraveling G-d's will. But this was to K-8 Catholic school students. I think that it's pathetic if we have to play this same "game" for college and university students. Mark A. Nadler Internet: email@example.com Ashland University Phone: (419) 289-5912 Ashland, OH 44805 Fax: (419) 289-5949 _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:66>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 26 12:11:52 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 10:10:17 -0700 (PDT) From: "Eugenie C. Scott" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: creationism On Thu, 22 Jun 1995, Haave, Neil wrote: > Anyways,... this (creationism) is a minor concern (thankfully) in > Canada. We don't seem to have quite the same cretionist political > voice as there is to the the south of us. Well, not exactly. Given the difference in explicit statuatory law regarding church and state separation, I'm surprised there is not more. Canadian law, I am informed, is not as clear on this issue as the US Constitution's First Amendment. NCSE's Ontario liaison has been battling creationists in the Canadian science teachers' association for years, and our BC liaison has a controversy on his hands over the school district of Abbottsford which has had since 1983 an "equal time" for creation and evolution provision in its regulations. It is currently being challenged by the BC Minister of education. See the latest McLeans for a discussion. We have also had reports of creationism and antievolutionism (but no direct NCSE involvement) in the prairie provinces, which is not surprising. As in the US, the c/e (antievolutionism) issue is primarily a phenomenon of suburbs and small towns, and Canada, like the US, is full of them. ***************************************************************** 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 ***************************************************************** _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:67>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 26 12:37:53 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 13:37:48 -0400 (EDT) From: "Jeffrey Streelman (BIO)" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: evolution-creationism dogmas could someone please list all the "pseudoscientific threats" out there so that i as a scientist can steer clear? thanks todd J. Todd Streelman Department of Biology USF Tampa, FL 33620-5150 email@example.com (813)974-2878 _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:68>From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Jun 26 13:43:51 1995 Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 13:25:58 -0500 (CDT) From: czbb062 <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Creationism as science ? To: firstname.lastname@example.org On Sun, 25 Jun 1995, Joshua Lederberg wrote: For example, Philip Gosse's well-worn model is in my view irrefutable: God created the world in [whatever date, perhaps the last millisecond] exactly as we see it, including every feature that we now explore as evidence of history, evolution, our own biographical pasts. Gosse's effort to save the phenomena is just silly metaphysics and untestable. I guess that's one sense of irrefutable but not a very serious one. Science and faith will always be at war. Imagine living your life in the age of faith: prison for life. Michael Eisenstadt (email@example.com) _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:69>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Jun 27 04:26:50 1995 Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 01:12:17 -0400 (EDT) From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Subject: June 27 -- Today in the Historical Sciences To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: University of NC at Greensboro JUNE 27 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES 1829: JAMES LOUIS MACIE SMITHSON, F.R.S., a minor chemist and mineralogist and the illegitimate son of Hugh Smithson Percy, first duke of Northumberland, dies at Genoa, Italy. His will, written three years earlier, left his considerable estate to his nephew, Henry James Hungerford. However, In the case of the death of my said Nephew without leaving a child or children, or the death of the child or children he may have had under the age of twenty-one years or intestate, I then bequeath the whole of my property subject to the Annuity of One Hundred pounds to John Fitall, & for the security & payment of which I mean Stock to remain in this Country, to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. The Smithsonian Institution, finally established in 1846 after many years of legal and political debate, will grow to be the largest complex of science, art, and history museums in the world. Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences. Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to email@example.com or connect to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information. _______________________________________________________________________________ <22:70>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Jun 27 09:01:43 1995 Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 10:01:49 -0400 To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List) From: email@example.com (Jeremy) Subject: we rage Periodically this list is incited by the question of American (and as we hear now Australian, etc...) Creationism. I am so tempted to throw my own rage on the pyre. I will refrain. It is nice to know that there are still issues that will fill my in-box with messages after a few months of intermittent dispatches. I do want to ask how list members (largely educators) feel about the solutions to the Creation/Evolution tension. To recap the solutions suggested in this last go round. (My apologies for any inadvertent caricature of positions.) 1. no-domain-overlap: The no-domain-overlap solution as championed by Eugenie Scott and Neil Haave suggests that there are separate domains of knowledge and "believers" out not to fear evolution "science" as it is (only) scientific knowledge and doesn't need to impinge on their world view. Neil suggests the 2 domains strongly setting them side by side implying a kind of parity between the two. This position seems to gain strength by noting the (many) areas that scientism falls short. It implies that the successes of science/technology are limited and thus humans must seek in other (orthogonal) directions. While the limits of science part of the argument has my sympathies I tend with the creationists on the domain of inquiry issue. Their (holy) texts do seem to make claims about the empirical world. They go on to claim a naive textual position, i.e. they aren't qulified to separate universal transcendent truth from myth in these books and so cleave to "literalism". I follow their claim that the texts make claims on the empirical - but so many of the claims are unsubstantiated and without evidential support that (for me) the house built is one of cards and it falls in on itself. The no-overlap position offers peace at the cost restricting the domain of claims. Here I suspect (I may be way off here) Eugenie and Neil part ways. Where for Eugenie this ploy avoids an argument and gets science education in the door. Then armed with this "knowledge" students will find the domain of relevant "revealed" knowledge ever more circumscribed. Neil might encourage it to move the other way. 2. God as Descartes-deceiver: Joshua Lederberg offers the possibility that everything (including our memories, fossils, etc...) were created last Thursday just after tea (or any arbitrary time). He claims that this possibility can (by definition) not be challenged empirically. Descartes "Cogito" is of no help since his claim is not "I remember therefore I was" or "I found Lucy therefore I evolved from a lineage that includes her" or... From this ploy he naturalizes "god" synonimizing the empirical world with the works of the creator. Again this attempts to abolish the tension. This can't be satisfying to creationists, can it? 3. Psycological denial: It was suggested that students can keep a stock of factoids in their heads (enough to pass exams) but that this knowledge is kept at a distance from actual ownership. This avoids cognitive dissonance and still makes for good grades the week that you have to pass the evolution test. Our psychological homeostatic mechanisms are powerful forces. Is it the place of education to jeopardize the peaceful, if ill-informed, mind? In the face of these three options mano-a-mano struggle is tempting. Do we really want to be so passive about the hard won and wonderful knowledge that evolutionary biology (paleontology, molecular biology, physiology, development, ecology,...) have bestowed on us. Or is the political climate really so hostile and dangerous that we do what we need to to diffuse the tension and then introduce our ideas into the ever expanding domain of the empirical? cheers, Jeremy p.s. Maybe we can build on this enthusiastic discussion to heated debate about gene-centrism vs. developmental systems (it might be profitable to hear the linguists on this one), the related issue of canalization and bauplane, artifacts of categorization, etc... __________________________________________________________ Jeremy Creighton Ahouse Biology Dept. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 02254-9110 (617)736-4954 Lab 736-2405 FAX firstname.lastname@example.org _ _ /\\ ,'/| "But oh, beamish nephew, _| |\-'-'_/_/ beware of the day, __--'/` \ If your Snark be a Boojum! For then / \ You will softly and suddenly / "o. |o"| vanish away, | \/ And never be met with again!" \_ ___\ - L. Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark `--._`. \;// ;-.___,' / ,' _-' You may use PGP to send me private email. My public key is available by fingering my account. Information about PGP encryption can be found on the web at http://web.mit.edu/network/pgp.html _______________________________________________________________________________ Darwin-L Message Log 22: 36-70 -- June 1995 End
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