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Darwin-L Message Log 23: 1–30 — July 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 July 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.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 23: 1-30 -- JULY 1995
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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 July 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
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, 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 listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or connect to the
Darwin-L Web Server at http://rjohara.uncg.edu.

Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu), 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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Jul  1 00:20:32 1995

Date: Sat, 01 Jul 1995 01:20:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner's monthly greeting
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
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.  For additional information about the group please visit the new
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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
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I am grateful to all of our members for their continuing interest.

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Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:2>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Sat Jul  1 07:52:32 1995

Date: Sat, 01 Jul 95 07:52 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Languages and dialects, species and subspecies
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

This is a belated response to Bob O'Hara's posting of 23 June, asking
if linguists fret over questions of language vs. dialect. The quick-
and-easy answer is a qualified no. The reason, it seems to me, is that
very little--if anything--that's crucial depends upon the distinction
between language and dialect (whatever that distinction may be).

There do, of course, arise questions of relationship, as in the Native
American cases Bob suggests, but I'm not aware of discussions which
hinge crucially on a language/dialect distinction.

One reason for this may be the enormous difficulty in establishing
foolproof definitions to keep the two terms separate. Attributed
to various linguists is the dictum "a language is a dialect with an
army and a navy". That is, some dialects get lucky: their speakers,
and eventual writers, gain political advantage over other speakers,
a monolithic (in principle) standard is engineered out of the
dominant group's speech, and we end up with what most people would
call a language, as opposed to dialect. Is/was Latin a dialect? Sure,
the dialect of Rome. Is/was Latin a language? Sure, in two ways:
1) totally banal: all dialects are languages, i.e. speech types with
a grammar (regardless of whether anyone has written down the grammar,
of course); 2) politically engendered: Romans succeeded in making a
form of their speech the standard over a large geographical area for
a long time span.

More interesting, perhaps, than the language/dialect distinction, is
the dialect/variant distinction. There seem to be two uses of dialect
floating around. One is pretty much the same as the (North American)
popular understanding: dialect=variant, and always implied is the
idea "dialect of X". In this view the stereotypical speech of, say,
Baltimore, Chicago and New Orleans represents three dialects of North
American English. In the other usage, dialect and variant (or variety)
are kept separate as terms. The linguistic situation of Italy may be
a good example for illustration, comparing to North American English.

There is such a thing as Standard Italian, studied in school, used in
various publications, heard on radio and TV, and used by a large
number of people. There are also local varieties of this, the Italian
of Rome, of Florence, of Milan, Venice, etc. But natives of the country,
linguists as well as laypersons, do not refer to these as dialects, but
as regional Italians (l'italiano regionale di X). For there exists a
linguistic type missing from the North American English situation:
local languages with grammars distinct from Italian, not in any way
descended from the standard or its regional varieties, but cognate to
them, descended from the Latin which, presumably, once covered the
Peninsula in the way that Italian does today. These are called the
dialects of Italy (i dialetti d'Italia) , or the Italian dialects
(i dialetti italiani). "Dialect of ..." doesn't make much sense
in this situation (unless it's "modern dialect of Latin", which makes
sense, but which in turn can't distinguish between the local language
of a tiny village and the national languages of Italy, France, etc.,
modern dialects of Latin which ended up with armies and navies).
FN-- Now, I really should mention that there have been and are local
movements muddying the waters, usually allied to achieving some measure
of political autonomy. It's going on in Sardinia right now (and in
Corsica, vis-a-vis France): an attempt to create a standard (a limba
sarda 'the Sardinian language') out of a chosen dialect. If it ever
works, linguists will no doubt go along with it and call the new
standard 'the Sardinian language', but with full knowledge of its
humble origins (as also of Florentine-derived Standard Italian).

Enough. Hope this helps a little bit. One point to draw from all this
may be that the concept of dialect varies according to the linguistic
situation in which it is employed.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:3>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Jul  1 11:58:48 1995

Date: Sat, 01 Jul 1995 12:58:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 1 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 1 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1646: GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ is born at Leipzig, Germany.  One of the
most brilliant and wide-ranging scholars of his age, Leibniz will be best
remembered by future generations for his work in mathematics and philosophy,
but his writings will span genealogy, history, jurisprudence, geology, and
linguistics as well: "The study of languages must not be conducted according
to any other principles but those of the exact sciences.  Why begin with the
unknown instead of the known?  It stands to reason that we ought to begin with
studying the modern languages which are within our reach, in order to compare
them with one another, to discover their differences and affinities, and then
to proceed to those which have preceded them in former ages, in order to show
their filiation and their origin, and then to ascend step by step to the most
ancient tongues, the analysis of which must lead us to the only trustworthy
conclusions."

1858: CHARLES LYELL and JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER present three short papers by
Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace before the meeting of the Linnean
Society at London, addressing their introduction to the Society's secretary,
John Joseph Bennett:

  My Dear Sir, --

    The accompanying papers, which we have the honour of communicating to the
  Linnean Society, and which all relate to the same subject, viz. the Laws
  which affect the Production of Varieties, Races, and Species, contain the
  results of the investigations of two indefatigable naturalists, Mr. Charles
  Darwin and Mr. Alfred Wallace.

    These gentlemen having, independently and unknown to one another,
  conceived the same very ingenious theory to account for the appearance and
  perpetuation of varieties and of specific forms on our planet, may both
  fairly claim the merit of being original thinkers in this important line of
  inquiry; but neither of them having published his views, though Mr. Darwin
  has for many years past been repeatedly urged by us to do so, and both
  authors having now unreservedly placed their papers in our hands, we think
  it would best promote the interests of science that a selection from them
  should be laid before the Linnean Society.

    Taken in order of their dates, they consist of: --

    1. Extracts from a MS. work on Species, by Mr. Darwin, which was sketched
  in 1839, and copied in 1844, when the copy was read by Dr. Hooker, and its
  contents afterwards communicated to Sir Charles Lyell.  The first Part is
  devoted to "The Variation of Organic Beings under Domestication and in the
  Natural State;" and the second chapter of that Part, from which we propose
  to read to the Society the extracts referred to, is headed, "On the
  Variation of Organic Beings in a state of Nature; on the Natural Means of
  Selection; on the Comparison of Domestic Races and true Species."

    2. An abstract of a private letter addressed to Professor Asa Gray, of
  Boston, U.S., in October 1857, by Mr. Darwin, in which he repeats his views,
  and which shows that these remained unaltered from 1839 to 1857.

    3. An Essay by Mr. Wallace, entitled "On the Tendency of Varieties to
  depart indefinitely from the Original Type."  This was written at Ternate in
  February 1858, for the perusal of his friend and correspondent Mr. Darwin,
  and sent to him with the expressed wish that is should be forwarded to Sir
  Charles Lyell, if Mr. Darwin thought it sufficiently novel and interesting.
  So highly did Mr. Darwin appreciate the value of the views therein set
  forth, that he proposed, in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, to obtain Mr.
  Wallace's consent to allow the Essay to be published as soon as possible.
  Of this step we highly approved, provided Mr. Darwin did not withhold from
  the public, as he was strongly inclined to do (in favour of Mr. Wallace),
  the memoir which he had himself written on the same subject, and which, as
  before stated, one of us had perused in 1844, and the contents of which we
  had both of us been privy to for many years.  On representing this to Mr.
  Darwin, he gave us permission to make what use we thought proper of his
  memoir, &c.; and in adopting our present course, of presenting it to the
  Linnean Society, we have explained to him that we are not solely considering
  the relative claims to priority of himself and his friend, but the interests
  of science generally; for we feel it to be desirable that views founded on
  a wide deduction from facts, and matured by years of reflection, should
  constitute at once a goal from which others may start, and that while the
  scientific world is waiting for the appearance of Mr. Darwin's complete
  work, some of the leading results of his labours, as well as those of his
  able correspondent, should together be laid before the public.

    We have the honour to be yours very obediently,

      Charles Lyell    Jos. D. Hooker

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 listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
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_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:4>From dasher@netcom.com Sun Jul  2 17:35:28 1995

Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 15:34:17 -0700
From: dasher@netcom.com (Anton Sherwood)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: language vs dialect

Tom Cravens wrote:
> . . . . Attributed to various linguists is the dictum
> "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy". . . .

It is often quoted, but only once have I seen it attributed:
to Max Weinreich (1894-1969).  Who else has been blamed?

--
I have heard that if you walk from Austria to the Netherlands,
or from Portugal to Calabria, you find no sharp language borders
but rather an accumulation of small differences in dialect.  (I
refer here to the vernacular, of course, not official or learned
speech.)  Will hypertext make posible a new kind of reference
grammar, able to portray the two-dimensional Romance and West
Germanic complexes in their full glory, replacing the paradigm
of isolated standard languages?

Anton Sherwood   *\\*   +1 415 267 0685   *\\*   DASher@netcom.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:5>From jacobsk@ERE.UMontreal.CA Mon Jul  3 07:35:21 1995

From: jacobsk@ERE.UMontreal.CA (Ken JACOBS)
Subject: Re: Languages and dialects, species and subspecies
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 08:34:02 -0400 (EDT)

Having stumbled into (over?) this thread rather late in its development, I
wonder whether anyone yet has cited the standard, "a language is a dialect
with an army"?  The essence being, as I at least took it to be, that the
greater the geopolitical/military significance (in the eyes of the beholder)
of the people(s) speaking a dialect, the more likely would their `dialect' be
seen as a true language.  Which, as I think of it, is no less of a slippery
definition than the "X% interfertility" standard on the biological scale.

Happy 4th from the Great White North.

Ken Jacobs     Anthropologie     U de Montreal

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:6>From straker@unixg.ubc.ca Mon Jul  3 10:39:32 1995

Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 08:39:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stephen Straker <straker@unixg.ubc.ca>
To: Jeremy <ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu>
Cc: Darwin List <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>,
        ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu,
        "John B. Ahouse" <ahouse@calvin.usc.edu>
Subject: Re: evolution and creationism

Coming into this discussion a little late, I wish to suggest an idea
that has made much sense to me lately.  In the midst of all these
problems about teaching and knowing, wouldn't it make alot of sense
simply to teach the HISTORY of ideas, work, and evidence concerning
"species" from, say, 1750 to the present??

If this were done well, students would get to know "all" about evolution,
what it really is, the various theories about how it happens, as well as
all about the many different kinds of "creationist" hypotheses -- and
then would have the whole business in perspective.

I don't know how much time teachers have for these things at the various
levels, but if science teachers were somehow required to KNOW the
histories of the various sciences they teach (as well as to have some
sophistication in philosophy of science), they would certainly be better
science teachers.

I know there's alot of debate and discussion about HPS in science
teaching.  I think this "problem" of creationism and evolution is exactly
the kind of problem where good history of science would help alot -- not
to avoid the issues but to clarify all and get them in perspective.

Stephen Straker             straker@unixg.ubc.ca
Arts One // History         (604) 822-6863 or -3430 // -5173 or -2561
Vancouver, BC               (604) 734-4464  or  733-6638
Canada  V6T 1Z1             FAX  (604) 822-4520

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:7>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Mon Jul  3 18:27:51 1995

Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 19:27:52 -0400
To: Darwin List <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy)
Subject: Re: teaching the Hx of evolution

>Coming into this discussion a little late, I wish to suggest an idea
>that has made much sense to me lately.  In the midst of all these
>problems about teaching and knowing, wouldn't it make alot of sense
>simply to teach the HISTORY of ideas, work, and evidence concerning
>"species" from, say, 1750 to the present??

        I like Stephen's idea of teaching evolution by rehearsing the
history.  I see three issues to be overcome if we were to follow his lead.

        1. The worry from the historians will be; how do we do this without
tilting completely to the victors (especially in Science class).  i.e. how
do we avoid the modernist exercise of telling a story of individual
decontextualized heros who build steadily to our current (e.g. best)
understanding.

        2. The problem for the creationists is that this telling will
(apropriately) marginalize them even further as historical defenders of the
faith against evolution were probably a bit more sophisticated than the
current crop.  Check out these pages for a flavor of what it looks like
today:
ftp://calvin.edu/pub/chemistry/ASA/ASA.html
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/crs/crs-home.html
http://www.usit.net/public/capo/capohome.html

        3. We are up against O'Hara's 'archipelago' problem; namely that
his students won't even look up unfamiliar words when reading.  I take this
to be surrogate measure of their level of interest and attention span.
Adding a short history of evolutionary ideas in a course that may already
be full of important ideas may overburden these (island-less) students.

Now we are up to 5 (by my count) different solutions that either soften the
tension between evolutionism and creationism OR explain why we must walk
into this conflict especially cautiously:

>>         1. no-domain-overlap:  ...
>>         2. God as Descartes'-deceiver: ...
>>         3. Psychological 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...
        4. the 'archipelago' problem: ...
        5. sacred pedestals: S.J. Gould's column in Natural History (7/95)
suggests that our own sense of self importance blocks our ability to
embrace evolutionary theories.  (I wish that I could include the graphic
that accompanies Gould's article, it captures my feelings well.  Please go
look it up. Call Number: QH1 N13)

        - Jeremy

__________________________________________________________
Jeremy Creighton Ahouse
Biology Dept.
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02254-9110

        (617)736-4954 Lab
             736-2405 FAX
        ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu
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    __--'/`           \         If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
        /              \        You will softly and suddenly
       /        "o.  |o"|       vanish away,
       |              \/        And never be met with again!"
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               ;-.___,'
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_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:8>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Jul  4 00:26:58 1995

Date: Tue, 04 Jul 1995 01:26:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 4 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 4 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1795 (200 years ago today): KARL EDUARD IVANOVICH EICHWALD is born at Mitau,
Latvia.  Following study of science and medicine at a number of European
universities, Eichwald will take his doctorate in medicine at the University
of Vilnius in Lithuania in 1819, and will work for a time as a physician.
Successive teaching appointments at the Universities of Dorpat, Kazan, and
Vilnius will widen his experience in zoology, botany, and paleontology, and he
will eventually take up a teaching post in St. Petersburg in 1838, remaining
there for the rest of his career.  Eichwald will become one of the leading
paleontologists of Russia, and will make substantial contributions to the
development of a geologic column for eastern Europe.  His monumental _Lethaea
Rossica ou Paleontologie de la Russie_, a comprehensive synthesis of Russian
paleontology, will appear over the course of fifteen years beginning in 1853.

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 listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:9>From neve@ecol.ucl.ac.be Tue Jul  4 02:30:13 1995

Date: Tue, 4 Jul 1995 09:27:56 +0200
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: neve@ecol.ucl.ac.be
Subject: Evolution and Catholics

On Thu, 29 Jun 1995, Charbel Nino El-Mani <charbel@ufba.br> wrote :
(...)

>I think that creationism is stronger in USA because, historically, US
>religious formation is related to christian fundamentalism. In Brazil,
>catholic church was far more important than protestant ones (which are
>now in expansion. Creationism in the horizon?...). It seems catholic
>church was not so dedicated to combat evolution. Am I right, or is this a
>kind of false impression, arising from the fact that post-darwinian
>debates in England were between fundamentalist protestant christians and
>evolutionists?
>
>Charbel Nino El-Hani
>Institute of Biology, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.

It seems to me that in the catholic church there is a more open view on
science, at least since the 18th or 19th century. Last century, the
official timetable of the _Universitas_Catholica_Lovaniensis_ started with
the date of creation of the World, as this was taken at the time from a
literal reading of the Genesis. However, after the publication of
_The_Origin_of_Species_, much debate arose, and Darwinism was officially
reconciled with theology, as - for example - the Catholic University of
Louvain sent an envoy to the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the
publication of _The_Origin_of_Species_. Canon Henry de Dorlodot, Professor
of Geology and Paleontology, subsequently published in 1921 a book entitled
"Le Darwinisme au point de vue de l'orthodoxie catholique" (Darwinism from
the Catholic Orthodoxy Point of View). In this book, it is shown how many
references to evolution are found in the Scriptures and in the writings of
Saints and Fathers of the Church.

Many priests, and particularly jesuits, were important in the development
of paleontology as a science, such as Theilard de Chardin. In Louvain, the
laboratory of paleontology was directed until recently by Fr Prof Bone,
S.J.

I may be wrong or oversimplifying, but I think that scientific research is
encouraged in the catholic church as a way of knowing more about God,
through His creation, but also for its own sake as a quest for knowledge
and understanding of the world for the good of human beings.

I can thus only agree with Eugenie C. Scott <ncse@crl.com>, who wrote on
Fri, 30 Jun 1995 :

(...)

>Thank your for your information on Brazil.  There is indeed a big
>difference between Catholic theology and Protestant fundamentalism
>regarding evolution.  Perhaps it is the influence of Teilhard de Chardin
>(doubtless others, too!) but official Catholic doctrine is not hostile to
>evolution.  Maybe the word "official" is important here:  a hierarchical
>institution like the Catholic church, which sets theology from on high,
>is in a better position to control the beliefs than the more
>congregational organization of most Protestantism.

Some conflicting views remained, as to the importance of Natural Selection
in the evolution of humanity, but these tend to be resolved now in a
separation of theological and paleontologicical research. Nobody asks
whether Neanderthal man had a soul or not!

Here are three refs which discuss these subjects :

Bowler, P.J. 1989 Evolution: The History of an Idea. University of
California Press, Berkeley, 432 pp.

de Dorlodot, H. 1921. Le Darwinisme au point de vue de l'orthodoxie
catholique. Premier volume : L'origine des especes. Collection Lovanium,
Vromant, Bruxelles, 193 pp.

Lack, D. 1957. Evolutionary Theory and Christian Blief. Methuen, London, 128 pp.

Best wishes,

Gabriel

===========================================================
Gabriel NEVE                                  o   o
Unite d'Ecologie et de Biogeographie           \ /
Universite Catholique de Louvain           ***  Y  ***
Croix du Sud 5                            *   * I *   *
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve                   *    *I*    *
Belgium                                   *    *I*    *
                                          *   * I *   *
EMAIL: NEVE@ECOL.UCL.AC.BE                 ***     ***
Fax  : +32/10/473490
Tel  at work : +32/10/473495
     at home : +32 10 61 62 36
===========================================================

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:10>From ad201@freenet.carleton.ca Tue Jul  4 06:36:45 1995

Date: Tue, 4 Jul 1995 07:36:35 -0400
From: ad201@freenet.carleton.ca (Donald Phillipson)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Bible vs. evolution
Reply-To: ad201@freenet.carleton.ca

Peter Simons (simons@edvz.sbg.ac.at) asked
darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu from Salzburg June 22 : Is
anti-evolutionism only American? since when there have been
particularly interesting comments by Eugenie Scott, Ian Lowe &c.

LATE B.C. NEWS FOR Eugenie Scott who wrote June 26:

> Canadian law, I am informed, is not as clear on this issue as
> the US Constitution's First Amendment....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.

The British Columbia Schools Act forbids religious instruction in
public schools.  The BC minister of education therefore ordered the
Abbotsford school board to delete all mention of non-evolutionary
theories from its local biology curriculum guide, which specified
(since 1983) equal time pro and con.   Resistance in Abbotsford is led
by a school board chairman who also teaches at a small evangelical
college, and there are several thriving fundamentalist congregations
in the town.

The minister has the power to write the curriculum guidelines himself,
but has given Abbotsford until September to draft material that
conforms to the Schools Act.  The first attempt directed teachers to
allow non-biological explanations, to allow debate of (unspecified)
theories, and to respect students' views without showing a preference
for any one theory.  Minister Charbonneau vetoed this as attempting to
introduce creationism without naming it.  He has been reported as
saying:

"The religious right in the States is exerting considerable political
power through seizing hold at the local level.  If we have here a
situation where the religious right thinks they are able to seize hold
of a portion of the public school system in BC, they will be
disapppointed, because I will not let that happen."

GENERALLY I suggest that anti-evolutionism is a peculiarly American
phenomenon but not a primary one.  It is derived from other
institutions that are peculiarly American:  biblical literalism and a
multiplicity of dissenting Christian denominations that compete for
members but share the same theology and politics.

You do not find in other countries nearly the same intensity of
Biblical literalism or the sheer number of independent Protestant
denominations, let alone their being intimately associated.  So you do
not find in other countries the Bible-based opposition to evolution
that is characteristic of the USA today.  (Of course, the world-wide
permeation of US culture in the last 100-150 years has blurred this
picture.)

Elements of Americanism seem to include:

1.  Reverence for the printed word.  This was normal in Europe
centuries ago, where literacy and books were rare, but much less so
since they became abundant (by steam printing and compulsory schooling
in the 19th century).  Perhaps because of its recent "frontier"
tradition, reverence for the printed word seems much stronger in the
USA today than elsewhere:  i.e. in debate, Americans suggest more
often than other people that a single book on a topic of argument
settles the matter decisively.

(Current literary and intellectual fashion, be it observed, has swung
to an antipodal opposite.  Post-modernism and deconstruction do not
suggest generally that no single book can settle any subject:  they
suggest that the meaning of a book is never what it literally says, or
that no book has any meaning at all.  This suggests a quasi-religious
conversion to the opposite of the received wisdom, of reverence for
the printed word.)

2.  American history and the American constitution combine to support
better than European countries the emergence of a multiplicity of
independent Christian congregations -- and even a few genuinely
non-Christian religions, most obviously the Mormon Church of Latter
Day Saints, Christian Science, and Scientology.  It is, however,
noticeable that these are all scripture-oriented religions, whether
their book is the Bible or something else.

It is a pleasant paradox that all these (including the non-Christian
ones) fit in so well with the American tradition that they coexist
peacefully and form successful alliances (the "Moral Majority")
without losing their independence, which tends to confirm the
congregational or dissenting strand in American history and culture.
The many American sects are politically secure, i.e. each is
recognized by the state and general society (viz. their ministers
allowed to perform marriages, the churches enjoying tax-exempt status
etc.) so they can afford to be liberal about each other. None
proclaims (as the Catholic church used to) that there is "no salvation
outside our (one true) church."

This political liberality is unrelated to theology.  Some sects in the
recent past maintained strict race segregation (and could cite
Biblical support for it) but this did not inhibit their collaborating
with Negro branches of their churches when it was to their mutual
advantage.  Similarly, some sects interpret such Biblical elements as
kosher food regulations to proscribe such modern practices as blood
transfusion -- but the American tradition of polymorphous tolerance
allows individuals to vary their behavior without impeaching their
beliefs or theology, or supposing non-members of the sect ought to
follow the same rules.  (Opposition to abortion may be the principal
exception to this.)

3.  So few ordained and licensed American Protestant clergymen read
any other language than English that monolingualism sustains a
characteristic American Protestant attitude to the Bible.  In Europe
until very recently, theological training before ordination required
some knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  European pastors usually
knew the Bible in two or more languages, and were familiar with its
origins as a human compilation (of the 3rd or 4th century) and a
translation, not put into English, German, etc. until the Renaissance.

Protestants since Luther have valued Bible study more than the
authority of popes and bishops:  so that Bible knowledge is much more
important in all the Protestant denominations than it is in Catholic
faith and practice.  The Anglican liturgy is so organized as to read
the whole Bible aloud every year (the Old Testament once and the New
Testament twice) in the two "Lessons" of every Matins and Evensong.
In principle, even an illiterate would thus come to know the Bible
well, if he were a faithful churchgoer.  The Catholic hierarchy has
always encouraged priests to reread Bible and breviary, but never set
out to expose the congregation to every word of the Bible on a
systematic basis.

I believe many American denominational leaders (such as the founders
of the Mormon and Jehovah's Witnesses denominations) had no academic
training in theology, and knew no language but English, and were for
that reason more likely to interpret the English Bible literally, as a
divine gift verbatim -- and to feel threatened by any form of
contradiction, whether a non-literal interpretation of the Bible or
the argument that, as a document written by men over 1,000 years, its
contents had to be interpreted in relation to those times.

Comparisons with Judaism and Islam might be interesting, since these
two world religions are also scripture-oriented.  Although Judaism and
Christianity both use the same Old Testament, Bible-based
anti-evolutionism seems much rarer in Judaism than in American
Protestantism;  i.e. Judaism seems more like European Protestantism in
that respect.  Since Islam gives unique status to Arabic, as the
language in which God dictated the Koran, it would be interesting to
know whether Islamic fundamentalists react to evolutionism the same
way as Christman fundamentalists.

One indicator of modern liberalism is that it no longer seems
important either that Roman Catholicism anathematized Darwinism at a
certain date and later withdrew its condemnation.  In the late 19th
century Darwinism was so important that Roman doctrine mattered;  in
the early 20th, Roman doctrine was so important that its application
to evolution mattered;  but neither now in 1995, it seems.  I've no
idea how well they work, but there are nowadays Pontifical Academies
of Science and whatnot, to help popes avoid painting themselves into
unscientific corners as in the case of Galileo.  It may be relevant
that, while the liturgy and church structure of Roman Catholicism and
Anglicanism are extremely similar, and the theology different only in
isolated domains (papal doctrine and Mariology) the Anglican church
never bet the whole farm for or against any particular point of
science.

I'd like to hear from Moslems what Koranic discussions of biology
there might be, and how Islamic scholarship tends to approach
evolution.

A collateral inquiry might be how modern Calvinism relates its traditional
doctrine of Predestination to science.  It suggests to me (though
formulated before Newton) a totally mechanistic world view, that did
indeed predominate until this century but has now been contradicted by a
variety of discoveries (from Einstein to Heisenberg to modern genetics.)

(Core Anglican doctrine is the Thirty-Nine Articles, written in 1562,
which every Anglican priest must sign before ordination.  This lays down
Trinitarian theological doctrine in some detail, e.g. that Jesus was the
Son of God, born of a Virgin, crucified and resurrected etc., and says
"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation," listing the
Canonical books of the Bible, as well as the non-essential Apocrypha.
Other articles deal with doctrinal points such as free will (contra
Calvin), sin and forgiveness, salvation, predestination, etc. and church
government, e.g. sacraments, authority of ministers, church synods,
marriage of priests etc.  None of the 39 Articles insists the Bible is
literally true in every particular.)

To sum up, we are used to associating Bible-based anti-evolutionism with
"fundamentalism" or doctrinal rigidity.  In America, however, I think
Bible-based anti-evolutionism is also partly fuelled by doctrinal
liberalism.  The many US dissenting sects (and possibly Mormons, Christian
Scientists etc.) swallow their political and doctrinal differences to
agree to the Constitutional separation of church and state while (for
example) endorsing that Congress's daily deliberations should begin with a
prayer by a recognized minister of religion, political parties should hold
"prayer breakfasts," and so on.  This works in America because all
denominations stand on an equal footing, regardless of their size,
theology, church structure, and so on -- the obvious confirmation being
the acceptance of such non-Christian religions as Mormonism and
Scientology on a par with Roman Catholicism and the Anglican episcopal
church.

Biblical literalism appears to be the reason why only in American
religious discourse do the oldest anti-Darwinist arguments survive in the
late 20th century, notably Bishop Usher's chronology (that the Creation
took place in approx. 4000 BC, calculated from the generations of man from
Adam to Jesus chronicled in the Bible) or Gosse's "omphalos" theory,
discussed in Darwin-L last year.  Gosse belonged to a fervent but very
small Bible-oriented English dissenting sect called Plymouth Brethren,
that probably survives to this day.

(Incidentally, I question whether it is just to call the omphalos theory
"anti-evolutionary" or antiscientific.  It seems to me to aim very
explicitly at reconciling pre-Darwinist signs of evolution with the divine
word of the Bible.  Of course it is unfalsifiable, which makes it
"unavailable" to science -- where it is also not needed (cf. Ockham.) But
it remains available to religion, because of its strong orientation
towards valuing material science as the informed wonder and worship of the
inventive mind of God.  Even none of his books is nowadays read for
pleasure, Gosse is on a continuum between the nature poets (obviously
Wordsworth, Tennyson, etc. and possibly earlier Pope and others influenced
by Newton -- and the anti-mechanistic Blake) and such contemporary writers
as Hubert Reeves and many environmentalists.  This is why the omphalos
theory could still be practically useful at Abbotsford BC.)

--
 |          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 |

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:11>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Jul  5 00:10:11 1995

Date: Wed, 05 Jul 1995 01:09:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 5 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 5 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1795 (200 years ago today): ANTONIO DE ULLOA Y DE LA TORRE GIRAL dies at
Isla de Leon, Cadiz, Spain.  A naval officer and explorer, Ulloa travelled
to America in the 1730s and 1740s to conduct navigational research under the
auspices of the Paris Academy of Sciences.  The results of his expedition,
_Relacion historica del viaje a la America meridional_, were published in
Madrid in 1748.  Ulloa played an important role in the establishment of the
royal natural history collection at Cadiz in 1752, and his extensive service
in Spain's American colonies led to the further publication of _Noticias
americanas: Entretenimiento fisico-historico sobre America meridional y
septentrional-oriental_ in Madrid in 1772.

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 listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:12>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Wed Jul  5 16:27:28 1995

Date: Wed, 05 Jul 95 16:27 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: language vs dialect
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Anton Sherwood asks who other than Max Weinreich has been blamed/
credited with the saying "A language is a dialect with an army and
a navy". I've heard at least two other sources given, Fred Householder
and Charles Hockett. Anton: do you have a precise reference to
the Weinreich quote?

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:13>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul  6 20:57:56 1995

Date: Thu, 06 Jul 1995 21:57:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Analogues of the species/subspecies//language/dialect problem?
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

There are obviously a great many similarities between species and subspecies
on the one hand, and languages and dialects on the other, as we have been
discussing.  The boundaries of these different entities are often fuzzy
because they are products of historical descent, and the problems they
manifest are very different from simple classificatory problems where
history is irrelevant (such as deciding whether some particular color is an
instance of the class "red" or the class "yellow".)

Can anyone think of any other disciplines that deal with entities that have
these same characteristics/problems, disciplines other than linguistics and
systematics?  What have geologists had to say (in a philosophical vein)
about "formations", "members" and the like; anything?  (Of course these
entities aren't populational in the way that species and languages are.)

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu; http://rjohara.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:14>From dasher@netcom.com Thu Jul  6 21:37:37 1995

Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 19:36:25 -0700
From: dasher@netcom.com (Anton Sherwood)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: language vs dialect

Tom Cravens reasonably asks:
> Anton: do you have a precise reference to
> the Weinreich quote?

Alas, no.
*\\* Anton                                               Ubi scriptum?

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:15>From simons@edvz.sbg.ac.at Fri Jul  7 05:54:06 1995

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 12:56:59 +0200
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: simons@edvz.sbg.ac.at (Peter Simons)
Subject: Historical entities with fuzzy boundaries

Alongside organisms and languages, what about stars, galaxies, other
astronomical objects? They have histories, they begin, change and end, they
fall into different classes or types, and the boundaries between types are
unsharp. There are big differences of course, but...

Peter Simons
simons@edvz.sbg.ac.at

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:16>From delancey@darkwing.uoregon.edu Fri Jul  7 09:50:27 1995

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 07:50:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott DeLancey <delancey@darkwing.uoregon.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: language vs dialect

On Wed, 5 Jul 1995, Tom Cravens wrote:

> Anton Sherwood asks who other than Max Weinreich has been blamed/
> credited with the saying "A language is a dialect with an army and
> a navy". I've heard at least two other sources given, Fred Householder
> and Charles Hockett. Anton: do you have a precise reference to
> the Weinreich quote?

That's Uriel Weinreich, isn't it?  Thats the source most people seem
to agree on, but my impression is that he *said* it, not *wrote* it,
so there isn't a cite to give.  (I've heard several other sources
named, starting with Sapir, but Weinreich is the name that keeps coming
up from folks who might know.  Very definitely not Householder
(I was a grad student at Indiana while Householder was still there,
and oral tradition preserved his bon mots; that wasn't one of them).
Hockett sounds very unlikely too.

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

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:17>From CHODGES@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU Fri Jul  7 11:21:20 1995

Date: Fri, 07 Jul 1995 09:21:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: CHODGES@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Subject: Chauncey Wright and Evolution
To: DARWIN-L <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

Charlie Hodges here;
   I've just skimmed through Edward H. Madden's book (1963) _Chauncey Wright
and the Foundations of Pragmatism_ and decided to take a closer look at some
of Wright's essays on evolution.  In particular, I'm interested in the
following essays: "The Philosophy of Herbert Spencer", "Limits of Natural
Selections", "Evolution by Natural Selection", "The Genesis of Species", and
"Evolution of Self-Consciousness" from the volume edited by Charles Eliot
Norton (1878) _Philosophical Discussions by Chauncey Wright_.  According to
Madden, Darwin was favorably inclined toward "Limits of Natural Selection" and
had "The Genesis of Species" privately reprinted and distributed in
England.
   I am an archaeology graduate student with a rapidly growing interest
in selectionist approaches to archaeological explanation.  My problem is
that I haven't done philosophical analysis since I was an undergraduate
and I would like some guidance to help me approach Wright.  My feeling is
that Wright, since he is writing about natural selection before the
synthesis with genetics, might be very appropriate in an archaeological
context where trait transmission is not necessarily (or at
least not obviously) controlled by genes.  Anyway, if someone would be
willing to share with me their views on Wright's arguments, even if
superficially, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,

Charles Hodges
chodges@oregon.uoregon.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:18>From rjm3@axe.humboldt.edu Fri Jul  7 14:25:11 1995

Date: Fri, 07 Jul 1995 12:22:30 -0700
From: rjm3@axe.humboldt.edu (Richard Meyer)
Subject: species/language
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On parallels 'twixt species/subspecies and language/dialect:

While I have enjoyed following the dialogue, are we perhaps in both cases
talking about nothing?

Sure, Mayr and others have given us a definition of species based on
reproductive isolation, but we really don't know how to apply or test that
notion.  So if we must define species, say it is what a competent
taxonomist says it is and don't try to impose unproven characteristics on
what you observe in nature.

It sounds like the linguists are saying the same thing about language and
dialect.  When you really try to find "living" proof of a distinction, it
disappears.  Both species and language are simply words, and what we think
they mean are mental constructs only hypothetically applicable to the real
world.

I think Bob O', for all his virtues, is conferring undeserved credibility
to the notion of reproductive isolation in the framing of the comparative
look at species and language.  I will grant that individual organisms do
reproduce with the passage of time, and that what we perceive as "kinds" of
organisms persist over time and thus have a history.  In like manner,
socially-connected people talk to each other, and we perceive kinds of talk
that persist over time and thus have a history.  But we should take care to
distinguish real things like organisms and talk from abstract perceptions
like species and language.

Richard Meyer
Department of Biological Sciences
Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA 95521
phone 707/826-3245, fax 707/826-3201, e-mail rjm3@axe.humboldt.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:19>From mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca Fri Jul  7 16:00:21 1995

From: Mary P Winsor <mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: species definition
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (bulletin board)
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 16:59:59 -0400 (EDT)

I am doing a tiny bit of research on a famous (or infamous) 1925
lecture by C. Tate Regan, ichthyologist at British Museum, where he
defines a species as whatever a competent taxonomist chooses to call
a species (really he said "A species is a community [which he defined as `a
number of similar individuals that live together and breed together'],
or a number of related communities, whose distinctive morphological
characters are, in the opinion of a competent systematist,
sufficiently definite to entitle it, or them, to a specific name."

Some of us will be discussing species definitions at the International
Soc. for History, Philos., and Social Studies of Biology meeting in
Belgium in a few weeks. We know this is an area of eternal strife and
confusion, and I doubt this group would find it rewarding.
But Tate Regan's approach reminded me of the
language-as-dialect-with-army-and-navy idea.  Is there an analogue,
that is, has the distinction between mere dialect and full-fledged
language been defined as "whatever is distinct enough that a compete
linguist has called it a language"??
Polly Winsor  mwinsor@epas.utoronto.ca

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:20>From jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu Sat Jul  8 08:37:55 1995

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Species, languages, ... what else
Date: Sat, 08 Jul 1995 09:42:04 EDT
From: Joshua Lederberg <jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu>

<<<<<<
Can anyone think of any other disciplines that deal with entities that have
these same characteristics/problems, disciplines other than linguistics and
systematics?

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 1995 21:57:42 -0400 (EDT)
>>>>>>>

Fritz Zwicky's Morphological Astronomy, and Martin Harwit's
Astrophysical Concepts are interesting treatments of the
problems of classification in astronomy.  But if you want interesting
analogies, I think you want to go beyond material classifications.
As suggested: species/languages have a history (evolve) and the units
interact with one another in an interesting way that reflects that
history.  It is hard for me to think of inanimate objects that would
have that property; though of course that reflects a subjective
judgment of what's interesting.

The units might be (bio)molecules, cells, organisms, sets of
organisms, and their issue like ideas [embracing language].  You've
already put your finger on one manifestation, namely "disciplines"
themselves; and their reflections in the classification of ideas,
books [Dewey decimal e.g.].  Histogenesis tends to have less
fuzzy boundaries than species, but the lymphoid system can well be
described as a zoo.  Ask what are the boundaries of an organism,
when you contemplate syncytia, symbioses.

There is something rather special about language, with linguistic
interaction and evolution feeling rather like interbreeding as a
way to sustain the coherence and identity of the complex.  and
geographic and other isolating mechanisms (class) likely to lead
to speciation.  and all the nice metaphors of mutation and
recombination.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:21>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Sat Jul  8 12:32:05 1995

Date: Sat, 08 Jul 95 12:31 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: species/language
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I know naught of species, but if I've grasped his point, I think
Richard Meyer essentially is correct regarding the language/dialect
question: it's a pseudo-problem. That is, (preface everything with
'it seems to me'; I can't pretend to speak for everyone in a field
as divided and contentious as linguistics) we can quibble endlessly
over the definitions of language vs. dialect, but to little practical
purpose, for nothing--or at least very little--scientific hinges crucially
on the usage. Even the semi-technical use of 'dialect' in the example of
Italy's linguistic situation is really just short-hand for something
like 'local language not derived from the national standard'.

The distinctions observed in popular usage (cf. 'mere dialect' vs. 'full-
fledged language') seem to be defined not linguistically in any
cogent way, but by socio-political success, e.g. something along the lines
of a language being written, or having a codified prescribed grammar, or
being the instrument of a great literature, or--armies and navies again--
being the enforced or accepted standard of a political entity. While such
success or lack thereof is certainly of interest to speakers, and
excellent grist for the sociolinguistic mill, ranked status is of
little interest itself in the world of nuts-and-bolts linguistic
analysis. (Putting aside the practical interest of finding
funding for research--a very complex socio-political can of worms!)

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:22>From prsdrhs@UCHIMVS1.UCHICAGO.EDU Sat Jul  8 19:45:48 1995

Date: Sat, 08 Jul 1995 19:45 -0600 (CST)
From: Dick Schmitt <prsdrhs@UCHIMVS1.UCHICAGO.EDU>
Subject: Analogues
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

> Can anyone think of any other disciplines that deal with entities that have
> these same characteristics/problems, disciplines other than linguistics and
> systematics?

What about Max Weber's historical/sociological "ideal types", especially
the "elective affinity" between the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of
Capitalism?

Of course that has generated an extensive critical literature,
generation after generation, but much of it has misinterpreted what
Weber was up to, often as some simplistic causal relation.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:23>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Jul  8 23:11:30 1995

Date: Sun, 09 Jul 1995 00:11:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Species and languages, armies and navies, and nominalism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Regarding species and languages Richard Meyer writes:

>I will grant that individual organisms do reproduce with the passage of
>time, and that what we perceive as "kinds" of organisms persist over time
>and thus have a history.  In like manner, socially-connected people talk
>to each other, and we perceive kinds of talk that persist over time and
>thus have a history.  But we should take care to distinguish real things
>like organisms and talk from abstract perceptions like species and
>language.

And Tom Cravens replies:

>I think Richard Meyer essentially is correct regarding the
>language/dialect question: it's a pseudo-problem.  That is...we can
>quibble endlessly over the definitions of language vs. dialect, but to
>little practical purpose, for nothing -- or at least very little --
>scientific hinges crucially on the usage.

I probably agree with Richard more that he may think I do here.  I tend
to regard "the species problem" in systematics as something of a pseudo-
problem also, just as Tom regards the language/dialect problem.  It is a
problem only when we ask the species (or subspecies, etc.) that systematists
recognize to play more precise roles in our work than they are able to.  The
situation is like that presented by cartography in many ways: if I want to
know how many bodies of water there are in North Carolina I can just look at
a map and count them up: one, two, three, etc.  But if I then go out and
walk around in the world I may discover that there is a little stream
running through the UNCG campus that wasn't on the map, and so my count of
bodies of water was incorrect.  Do I then go and say that the map was wrong
and worthless?  Not at all; the map represented the space in question to a
certain level of detail, and if I was expecting it to tell me all bodies of
water including streams 3' wide then I wasn't being realistic in my
expectations.  Similarly, if I ask "How many species of parulid warblers are
there?" and one "map" tells me 115 and another tells me 120, I shouldn't be
too disturbed.  What I should then ask is, "What is the consequence to my
theory/paper/conclusion/policy if the question can't be answered more
precisely than this?", because it may be that it cannot.

I've explored this cartographic analogy in one of my own papers; people
interested in the topic might find some useful ideas there:

  O'Hara, R. J.  1993.  Systematic generalization, historical fate,
  and the species problem.  _Systematic Biology_, 42:231-246.

There is an interesting political aspect to this issue, of course: if one
has laws that protect species (but not subpecies), then it becomes important
to governments and policy makers to be able to decide whether any particular
population is a species or a subpecies.  American linguists would probably
find that if the US Congress were to pass a law that somehow protected
endangered languages, but did not protect "mere" dialects, a lot of people
would suddenly start talking about the language/dialect distinction.  They
might not make any particularly novel contribution to the topic nor solve
it, but more discussion would arise.

Richard's original comment leads me to ask another question, however.  The
strong version of Richard's position is usually called the "nominalist" view
of species: species as such don't really exist in nature, only individuals
exist; we humans may invent species names, but these are just convenient
labels for our own use, and don't actually reflect some real thing in
nature.  Here is the question: has anyone ever proposed and defended a
genuinely nominalist view of languages, i.e. that there really aren't any
languages as such, just individual speakers, and that what we call
"languages" are just mental constructs for our own convenience?

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu; http://rjohara.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:24>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jul 10 00:14:17 1995

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 1995 01:15:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 10 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 10 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1802: ROBERT CHAMBERS is born at Peebles, Scotland.  He will become a popular
and prolific writer and publisher, especially of works on Scottish character
and history.  Chambers will be best remembered, however, for his widely read
and controversial _Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation_, which will be
published anonymously in 1844.  The _Vestiges_, "the first attempt to connect
the natural sciences into a history of creation", will comprehensively trace
the development of the human race, of animals and plants, the earth, and the
cosmos as a whole: "if we could suppose a number of persons of various ages
presented to the inspection of an intelligent being newly introducted into the
world, we cannot doubt that he would soon become convinced that men had once
been boys, that boys had once been infants, and, finally, that all had been
brought into the world in exactly the same circumstances.  Precisely thus,
seeing in our astral system many thousands of worlds in all stages of
formation, from the most rudimental to that immediately preceding the present
condition of those we deem perfect, it is unavoidable to conclude that all the
perfect have gone through the various stages which we see in the rudimental.
This leads us at once to the conclusion that the whole of our firmament was at
one time a diffused mass of nebulous matter, extending through the space which
it still occupies.  So also, of course, must have been the other astral
systems.  Indeed, we must presume the whole to have been originally in one
connected mass, the astral systems being only the first division into parts,
and solar systems the second."

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:25>From junger@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu Sun Jul  9 06:20:28 1995

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 07:22:56 +0100
From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>
Subject: Re: Species and languages, armies and navies, and nominalism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Sun, 9 Jul 1995 Robert J. O'Hara <DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu> wrote:

> Richard's original comment leads me to ask another question, however.  The
> strong version of Richard's position is usually called the "nominalist" view
> of species: species as such don't really exist in nature, only individuals
> exist; we humans may invent species names, but these are just convenient
> labels for our own use, and don't actually reflect some real thing in
> nature.  Here is the question: has anyone ever proposed and defended a
> genuinely nominalist view of languages, i.e. that there really aren't any
> languages as such, just individual speakers, and that what we call
> "languages" are just mental constructs for our own convenience?

Doesn't the contrast between ``languages as such'' and ``individual
speakers'' rather miss the mark?  Leaving aside, for the moment, the
possibility of speaking to oneself, is it not pretty clear that
speaking--or language use, or whatever one chooses to call it--must
involve more than one individual speaker?  So would not the contrast be
between ``languages as such'' and ``individual conversations''--or
between ``languages as such'' and the communicative practices of a
particular community, with the community itself being a construct whose
members are the ``individual speakers''.

But doesn't the fact that I often speak to myself suggest that I am not an
``individual speaker'', but rather a construct made of up, among other
things, of individual acts of speaking?  And once one realizes that, is
one not well along on the path to realizing that there is nothing that we
ever come across that is not exactly a construct?  And isn't that path the
path of the Buddha's teaching that everything is inextricably connected to
and dependent upon everything else, so that there is no individual self or
essence to be found?

But rather than dwelling on such weighty matters, let me give you an
example of another ``discipline''--now there's a real construct for
you!--that can get upset over the issue of how one can tell one species
from another.

As I mentioned here a couple of years ago, I am interested in the
evolution of the ``forms of action''--the various claims that one has to
make if one is going to bring a valid law suit--in the common law system.
I have noticed that at least one legal historian can get into a
squabble--or perhaps only half of a squabble--over the issue of whether a
fourteenth century writ is a writ of ``trespass on the case'' or of
``assumpsit''; the underlying issue being whether the modern action of
``assumpsit'' descended from the action ``on the case'' or whether there
was an ancestral form of ``assumpsit'' that was contemporary with the
original action ``on the case''.  (At least I think that was what the
issue is.)

--
Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
Internet:  junger@pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu    junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu
Bitnet:    junger@cwru
NOTE:      junger@pdj2-slip.dialin.cwru.edu NO LONGER EXISTS

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:26>From timhunt@u.washington.edu Sun Jul  9 11:20:25 1995

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 09:21:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Timothy Hunt <timhunt@u.washington.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Analogues of the species/subspecies//language/dialect problem?

On Thu, 6 Jul 1995 DARWIN@steffi.uncg.edu wrote:

> Can anyone think of any other disciplines that deal with entities that have
> these same characteristics/problems, disciplines other than linguistics and
> systematics?
>
> Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Archaeology is a prime example of a discipline which has long struggled
with the problems of unit construction in an historical science.  Parsing
the temporal and spatial continuum of the archaeological record into
meaningful units with which to measure cultural change and social
interaction has been a problematic (and often unexamined) endeavor since
the inception of the discipline (Dunnell 1971,1986).  Unit construction
is of particular importance when using Darwinian approaches to the
explanation of cultural change in prehistory: units which represent sets
of interacting individuals must be defined within which variability can
be tabulated into phenotypic frequencies, changes in which are explained
by the use of evolutionary mechanisms.  One of the biggest problems, of
course, is identifying the appropriate scale for a particular empirical
situation: what is the *individual*, what is the *deme* (Dunnell 1995)?
The other problem is to isolate one set of interacting individuals from
other sets (Lipo, et al 1995).  The following references pertain to some
of these issues.

Dunnell, R. C.
	1971 Systematics in Prehistory. New York; Free Press.
	(also WWW hypertext version available at:
		http://weber.u.washington.edu/~anthro/BOOK/book.html)

Dunnell, R. C.
	1986 Methodological Issues in Amercanist Artifact Classification.
	Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 9:149-207.

Dunnell, R. C.
	1995 What Is It That Actually Evolves? In, Evolutionary
	Archaeology, edited by P. A. Teltser, pp. 33-50. University of Arizona
	Press, Tucson.

Lipo, C., M. Madsen, and T. Hunt
	1995 Artifact Style Dynamics: Population Structure, Cultural
	Transmission, and Frequency Seriation. Papers and poster presented
	at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology,
	Minneapolis, MN, 2-5 May, 1995.
	(also WWW hypertext version available at:
	http://www.law.washington.edu/~madsen/saa/)
______________________________________________________________________________
Tim Hunt, Graduate Student			Phone:            (206)685-6970
Department of Anthropology, Box 353100	FAX:              (206)543-3285
University of Washington			Office:          Denny Hall 421
Seattle, WA 98195				EMAIL: timhunt@u.washington.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:27>From andy@dep.philo.mcgill.ca Sun Jul  9 11:29:33 1995

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 12:33:34 -0500 (GMT-0500)
From: Andrew Burday <andy@dep.philo.mcgill.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Species and languages, armies and navies, and nominalism

On Sun, 9 Jul 1995 DARWIN@steffi.uncg.edu wrote:

> strong version of Richard's position is usually called the "nominalist" view
> of species: species as such don't really exist in nature, only individuals
> exist; we humans may invent species names, but these are just convenient
> labels for our own use, and don't actually reflect some real thing in
> nature.  Here is the question: has anyone ever proposed and defended a
> genuinely nominalist view of languages, i.e. that there really aren't any
> languages as such, just individual speakers, and that what we call
> "languages" are just mental constructs for our own convenience?

Well, it's going to depend on what you mean by "languages as such".  If
you mean languages as public entities, used by many speaker/hearers but
not defined in terms of any of them, then yeah, there are nominalists
about language.  One of them is a minor researcher called Noam Chomsky.
Perhaps you're heard of him?  ;*) Chomsky thinks that public languages are
just abstractions from the grammatical knowledge of speakers.  He endorses
many of the points that have been made on the list about how political and
normative issues make their way into the individuation of languages.  In
that sense, he does think that there are "no languages as such, just
individual speaker[/hearer]s".  However, he thinks that individuals'
grammatical knowledge, realized as structures of their brains, is very
much a part of the real world.  Furthermore, he thinks there are facts as
to which parts of a person's knowledge constitute knowledge of language.
In that sense, he is not at all nominalist about language.  The study of
language is the study of a well-defined part of the human mind --
"ultimately", as he likes to say, the brain -- and as such is very much
the study of something that exists in an observer-independent reality.
So there definitely ARE languages; but they're internal to individuals.

In the stronger sense of denying that there is any observer-independent
thing that deserves to be called 'language', MAYBE the philosopher Donald
Davidson has denied it.  See his 'A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs', in
_Truth and Interpretation_, ed. E. Lepore.  However, it's not clear
that Davidson is denying that there is any such thing as language, as
opposed to denying that language is the kind of thing it has usually been
taken to be.  (I tend to think he is denying that there are languages.  I
think that denying the distinction between knowing a language and knowing
one's way around in the world generally adds up to denying that there are
languages.  But the point could be -- has been, by my supervisor --
debated.)

I don't know of any clear cases of denying that there is anything in
nature that deserves to be called 'language'.  There probably are some
such cases.  Arguably, some work in AI could be seen as doing that.  Some
AI workers seem to believe that there is no principled distinction to be
made between knowing a language and knowing all sorts of arbitrary facts
about the world.  If that were combined with a dismissal of public
languages, I guess it would add up to a complete denial of the existence
of language as such.  I'm a little out of my field here, though.

Of course, there are all kinds of positions that get called 'nominalism'.
I've been trying to limit myself to the position that O'Hara outlined.
Getting into more global nominalisms -- in fact, just distinguishing the
various flavors -- would take us off on a rather long tangent.

Best,

Andrew Burday
andy@philo.mcgill.ca

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:28>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu Mon Jul 10 20:05:55 1995

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 95 20:07 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Species and languages, armies and navies, and nominalism
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Let me follow up very briefly on Andrew Burday's excellent precis of
Chomskyan beliefs in answer to Bob's question, with a (sort of
caricatured, but not, I think, misleading) extreme version of the
Chomskyan paradigm.

Language exists, if it exists at all, only in the mind of the
individual speaker. Chomsky distinguishes (reformulating a bit
some terms of Saussure's) between *competence* (the speaker's
linguistic knowledge, typically subconscious in the sense that
a typical native speaker of English, for example, can't articulate
what the difference is between 'say' and 'tell', but can produce
results which illustrate the distinction) and *performance* (actual,
real-world utterances, only faintly and imperfectly reflecting the
speaker's linguistic knowledge). One way to look at it is that the
first is language, the second is manifestations of language.

Humans come into the world predisposed to speak human language. A
good part of the natural, first-language acquisition of whatever
language the child is exposed to is in part a process of sorting out
what constraints on this universal human grammar are relevant to the
particular language being acquired. Thus, in a sense -- this is
stretching it, but not distorting enormously, I don't think -- the
child is born with 'language', and only (!) needs to sort out which
peculiarities are appropriate to the language of interest, i.e. the
one being heard constantly.

I think there may be two points in this which are relevant to the present
discussion. Language as language faculty surely exists only within the
individual (banal). And a particular language--English, Tagalog, whatever--
also exists only as a set of rules and constraints in the mind of the
speaker. The second is a particular manifestation of the first, and what
we hear is an implementation of the second. Language communities are
groups of people which share very similar (probably never identical)
language-particular grammars.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu

Caveat: This is a watered-down personal interpretation of Chomskyan
presuppositions, not necessarily reflective of what I hold to be
justified.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:29>From PTENGLOT@summon.syr.edu Fri Jul 14 07:53:44 1995

From: "Peter T. Englot (Graduate School)" <PTENGLOT@summon.syr.edu>
Organization:  Syracuse University
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 08:54:45 EST5EDT
Subject: Species/Languages

Tom Cravens wrote about Chomsky's hypotheses on language:
> I think there may be two points in this which are relevant to the present
> discussion. Language as language faculty surely exists only within the
> individual (banal). And a particular language--English, Tagalog, whatever--
> also exists only as a set of rules and constraints in the mind of the
> speaker. The second is a particular manifestation of the first, and what
> we hear is an implementation of the second. Language communities are
> groups of people which share very similar (probably never identical)
> language-particular grammars.

To take Tom's post one step further (though I'm not sure I understand
his use of the term "language faculty"): Chomsky's hypothesis about
all human languages being variants of a single human language, or
"grammar," seems to rest on the assumption that  all humans share a
genetic heritage.  After all, the Chomskyan argument is that this
grammar isgenetically encoded.  How else would humans have arrived at
the hypothesized present state of sharing a grammar, but by sharing a
genetic heritage for that grammar?  The counterproposal that the
present state was reached through the separate evolution of identical
grammars seems improbable statistically.

I'm interested in reactions to this problem from those who study
physical evidence of human evolution, as well as from linguists.
Being relatively new to the list, I don't know whether or not this
has been discussed before.  If it has been, I apologize for raising
it.

Peter Englot
Syracuse University
PTENGLOT@SUMMON.SYR.EDU
(315) 443-4492

"Out of the crooked timber of humanity,
no straight thing was ever made."  Kant

_______________________________________________________________________________

<23:30>From JMARKS@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu Fri Jul 14 08:36:31 1995

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 95 09:27:48 EDT
From: Jon Marks <JMARKS@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu>
Organization: Yale University
Subject: Don't believe everything you read
To: darwin-l <darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

Here's something that may amuse some on this list.  I'm not very far into "The
Language of Genes" by Steve Jones, which may still turn out to be the greatest
book on human biology ever written by a snail geneticist.  But here's a
notable quotation from p. 15:

   The most famous line in The Origin of Species expresses the hope that
   "light may be shed on man and his origins."

[Don't bother to look it up.  It's p. 488 of the 1st ed.: "Light will be
thrown on the origin of man and his history."  Apparently still not famous
enough.]

         --Jon Marks

_______________________________________________________________________________
Darwin-L Message Log 23: 1-30 -- July 1995                                  End

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