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Darwin-L Message Log 28: 31–56 — December 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 December 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 28: 31-56 -- DECEMBER 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 December 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 Web Server
at http://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.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:31>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Tue Dec 19 17:39:37 1995

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 15:39:15 -0800 (PST)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: Affinity

IN his book _Beyond Objectivism and Relativism_ (1983),
Richard Berstein gives an account of his use of the
term 'affinity' in the context of a discussion of the
problem of grasping understandings and traditions
deferent from our own current understanding and tradition:

Berstein writes:

"I have used the term 'affinity' to indicate the
relationship that exists between us and the alien
test or tradition that we seek to understand and
appropriate."  (1983, p. 142)

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:32>From PRSDRHS@UCHIMVS1.UCHICAGO.EDU Wed Dec 20 10:20:07 1995

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 10:19 -0600 (CST)
From: Dick Schmitt 708-848-4932 <PRSDRHS@UCHIMVS1.UCHICAGO.EDU>
Subject: Elective Affinities
To: DARWIN LIST <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

Peter H. Salus has already noted the use of "affinity" in the
translation of Goethe's _Wahlverwandtschaften_ (Wahl = elective;
Verwandtschaft = affinity); and indirectly that the term has roots in
the "romantic" chemistry and physiology of the late 18th and early 19th
centuries.  In Goethe's novel (1809), of course, the elective affinities
stand for emotional attraction outside of existing bonds of marriage.

The phrase has one afterlife (I suppose among many in German letters) in
the sociology of Max Weber.  According to Reinhard Bendix, Weber used
the term "to express the dual aspect of ideas, i.e., that they were
created or chosen by the individual ('elective') and that they fit in
with his material interests ('affinity')."  One passage of _The
Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism_ talks about
"investigating whether and at what points certain 'elective affinities'
are discernible between particular types of religious belief and the
ethics of work-a-day life."  Bendix, _Max Weber, An Intellectual
Portrait_ (N.Y.: Anchor, 1962), pp. 63-64.  Talcott Parsons translates
the passage as "investigating whether and at what points certain
correlations between forms of religious belief and practical ethics can
be worked out." (pp. 91, last paragraph of pt. I).  In this Parsons
obviously carries on the work of "disenchantment" that Weber described
as a center aspect of modern life!

Dick Schmitt   <prsdrhs@uchimvs1.uchicago.edu>

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:33>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Dec 23 00:11:37 1995

Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 01:11:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: December 23 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

DECEMBER 23 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1749: MARK CATESBY dies at London, England, aged 66.  Catesby was born in
Essex, England, and from 1712 to 1719 lived with his sister in the Virginia
colony.  The plants Catesby collected during his stay in America brought him
to the attention of a number of prominent naturalists, including Sir Hans
Sloane, and Catesby was commissioned to return to America specifically for
the purpose of natural history exploration and collecting.  From 1722 to 1726
he traveled through South Carolina, Florida, and the West Indies, and upon his
return he published the acclaimed _Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and
the Bahama Islands_ (1731-1743).  This work will be used later by Linnaeus
as the source for his descriptions of the North American bird fauna.

1790: JEAN-FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION is born at Figeac, France.  While still a
boy at the Imperial Lycee in Grenoble, Champollion will become fascinated
by Egyptian hieroglyphs and will devote himself to their decipherment.  He
will study Arabic, Chinese, Coptic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit,
and Syriac, and will come to believe that Coptic is the modern descendant of
the language of the ancient Egyptians.  His breakthrough in decipherment will
come in the 1820s with study of the Rosetta Stone, a trilingual Greek, Coptic,
and hieroglyphic inscription discovered by Napoleon's expeditionary forces in
1799.  Champollion will correctly realize that some of the hieroglyphic signs
are phonetic, some syllabic, and some ideographic, and his first decipherment
will appear in 1822 in the monographic "Lettre a M. Dacier a l'alphabet de
hieroglyphes phonetiques."  His _Precis du systeme hieroglyphique des anciens
Egyptiens_ will follow two years later.  Champollion will die in Paris at the
age of 41, reportedly from exhaustion after returning from an expedition to
Egypt.

1810: EDWARD BLYTH is born at London, England.  Although his mother will
encourage him to enter the ministry, natural history will be Blyth's favorite
study from a young age.  While in his twenties, Blyth will publish a series
of important papers on organismal variation that Darwin will later study with
care, among them "An attempt to classify the 'varieties' of animals, with
observations on the marked seasonal and other changes which naturally take
place in various British species which do not constitute varieties" (_Magazine
of Natural History_, 8:40-53, 1835).  In 1841 Blyth will be appointed curator
to the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal and will move from England to India,
where will be remembered as one of the founders of Indian zoology.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:34>From hineline@helix.ucsd.edu Sat Dec 23 11:03:00 1995

From: Mark Hineline <hineline@helix.ucsd.edu>
Subject: Re: December 23 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 07:31:46 -0800 (PST)

Like many on the Darwin-l list, I'm sure, I am indebted to Bob O'Hara for
the "Today in the Historical Sciences" postings. Therefore, I hope the
following request does not seem too ungrateful (or ungraceful).

Bob: Although I understand the convention involved in using the present tense
to begin your historical vignettes, the "is born"s and "dies" stop me in
my tracks every time. Could you be persuaded to use the past tense?

I'm posting to the list so that should others think I am being a crank, they
can say so.

Best regards,

Mark Hineline
Department of History
UCSD
La Jolla, CA 92093
hineline@helix.ucsd.edu

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<28:35>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Dec 24 00:46:05 1995

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 01:45:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: December 24 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

DECEMBER 24 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1856: HUGH MILLER dies at Portobello, Scotland, a suicide at the age of 54.
One of the great geological writers of the early nineteenth century, Miller's
graceful prose earned fame for his many books, including _Scenes and Legends
from the North of Scotland_ (1835), _The Old Red Sandstone_ (1841), and also
_Foot-Prints of the Creator; Or, the Asterolepis of Stromness_ (1847), all
of which attempted to reconcile Scripture and the geological record.  In his
later years Miller had begun to suffer increasingly from mental illness, the
delusional aspects of which eventually led him to take his own life.

              Unknown he came.  He went a Mystery --
                A mighty vessel foundered in the calm,
              Her freight half-given to the world.  To die
                He longed, nor feared to meet the great "I AM."
              Fret not.  God's mystery is solved in him.
                He quarried Truth all rough-hewn from the earth,
              And chiselled it into a perfect gem --
                A rounded Absolute.  Twain at a birth --
              Science with a celestial halo crowned,
                And Heavenly Truth -- God's Works by His Word illumed --
              These twain he viewed in holiest concord bound.
                Reason outsoared itself.  His mind consumed
              By its volcanic fire, and frantic driven,
              He dreamed himself in hell and woke in heaven.

1868: ETIENNE-JULES-ADOLPHE, DESMIER DE SAINT-SIMON, VICOMTE D'ARCHIAC drowns
in the Seine river in Paris, a suicide.  Following a short military career for
which he received a life-time pension, d'Archiac turned to geology and became
one of the leading stratigraphers in Europe.  In addition to many research
papers on paleontology and stratigraphic correlation, d'Archiac published a
nine-volume _Histoire des Progres de la Geologie_ from 1847 to 1860, and
served several times as president of the Societe Geologique de France.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:36>From jcouper@freenet.npiec.on.ca Sun Dec 24 08:45:12 1995

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 09:41:12 -0500 (EST)
From: Jim Couper <jcouper@freenet.npiec.on.ca>
Subject: Re: December 23 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I accept Mark Hineline's invitation to call him a "crank."  A Christmas
crank at that.  Using the present tense is an acceptable literary device;
always is and always is.
                                jcouper@freenet.niagara.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:37>From ronald@hawaii.edu Sun Dec 24 16:31:07 1995

Date: 	Sun, 24 Dec 1995 12:30:31 -1000
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@hawaii.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: December 23 -- Today in the Historical Sciences

On Sun, 24 Dec 1995, Jim Couper wrote:

>I accept Mark Hineline's invitation to call him a "crank."  A Christmas
>crank at that.  Using the present tense is an acceptable literary device;
>always is and always is.
>                                jcouper@freenet.niagara.com

Not a crank.  Just a historian.  <joke suppression mode on> At the
insistence of an editor/historian I once had to revise  a 10,000 word
manuscript for tense consistency.  I was embarrassed to discover how
promiscuously I had  flopped back and forth between "Darwin
writes" and "Darwin wrote".   Philosophers, dealers in Timeless Truths,
[timelessly] neglect tenses.  I have no position on the dispute (unless I
have to do the editting).

But if we're _really_ going to be tensefully sensitive, shouldn't "Today
in the the Historical Sciences" be "On This Date in Some Previous Year in
the Historical Sciences"?  I mean _today_ is 12/24/1995!  So maybe the
present tense is proper after all, under the literary pretence that _today's
events_ are being reported.  ;-)

Cheers,

Ron

__
Ron Amundson
University of Hawaii at Hilo
ronald@Hawaii.Edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:38>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sun Dec 24 21:29:09 1995

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 22:28:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Tense
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Apologies to Mark Hineline for making his head spin with my unusual
tenses.  ;-)  I remember devoting some thought to this when I created
the first "Today in the Historical Sciences" messages a couple of years
ago, and each way I tried sounded a bit odd to me, with the one I settled
on seeming to be the least so.  The literary conceit is (as others have
noted) that the messages are written on the date they mark, rather than
today; i.e. the item for 20 May 1750 is written as though today were 20
May 1750.  This use of what some people call the "dramatic present" is
not very common, it's true, but I think it is used from time to time.
One consequence that no one may have noticed is that the birth notices
use future tense to talk about the person's life, while the death notices
use past tense.

This actually brings up some issues that are quite interesting in the
historical sciences; disciplinary conventions, at least.  I remember talking
to a literary colleague once who complained that she had to keep correcting
student papers that said "In this poem, Tennyson wrote that..." to what
in her field was more conventional: "In this poem, Tennyson writes that...."
Clearly, Mark would do just the opposite, as would most historians I
suspect.  (Maybe our students' heads are spinning, too.)  I think Ron
is certainly on to something when he says philosophers are less aware
of this specifically because they think in terms of un-tensed abstractions.
Does Kant argue in his work, or did he argue in his work?  Philosophers,
for whom the work is immediate, are more likely to use the first form.

There is a problem in logic, I believe, relating to "future contingents."
If I say, "The war will begin tomorrow", is my utterance true or false
_today_?  In traditional logic, _when_ a statement is uttered is not
relevant to its truth value.

Surely there is some interesting stuff to think about with respect to
tensed language and historical understanding?  I think Arthur Danto and
Paul Ricoeur have both written on this.  Can anyone provide any leads?

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

(Wishing a Merry Christmas to all among us who
celebrate the holiday wherever they may be around the world.)

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:39>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Dec 25 00:35:05 1995

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 01:34:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: December 25 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

DECEMBER 25 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1642: ISAAC NEWTON is born at Woolsthorpe, England.  Following study at
Cambridge University, from which he will graduate in 1665, Newton will make
revolutionary breakthroughs in astronomy and mathematics, and after his death
in 1727 he will be remembered as the principal founder of modern physical
science.  Newton's work in physics, however, will constitute only a fraction
of his output, and he will devote almost as much time to studies of Biblical
chronology as to mathematics.  Believing that the ancient Temple of Solomon
was a divinely-inspired model of the cosmos as a whole, Newton will teach
himself Hebrew and attempt to calculate the exact length of the ancient cubit
so that he can reconstruct the Temple's plan from Ezekiel's description of it
in the Bible.  Among Newton's many historical writings will be _The Chronology
of Ancient Kingdoms Amended: To Which is Prefix'd, A Short Chronicle from the
First Memory of Things in Europe, to the Conquest of Persia by Alexander the
Great_ (London, 1728), and also _The Original of Monarchies_: "Now all nations
before they began to keep exact accompts of time have been prone to raise
their antiquities & make the lives of their first fathers longer than they
really were.  And this humour has been promoted by the ancient contention
between several nations about their antiquity.  For this made the Egyptians &
Chaldeans raise their antiquities higher than the truth by many thousands of
years.  And the seventy have added to the ages of the Patriarchs.  And Ctesias
has made the Assyrian Monarchy above 1400 years older than the truth.  The
Greeks & Latins are more modest in their own originals but yet have exceeded
the truth."

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:40>From lhcole@rain.org Mon Dec 25 11:42:03 1995

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 09:43:09 -0800 (PST)
From: "Lester H. Cole" <lhcole@rain.org>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Tense

Bob,

No matter how tense we all get -- and exactly
*how* does one split a hair? -- the important
thing is this:  "Today in the . . ." is a
really neat thread, and I thank you for it!
Merry Xmas
Les Cole (lhcole@rain.org)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:41>From anave@ucla.edu Tue Dec 26 08:30:38 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 18:27:45 +0400
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: anave@ucla.edu (Ari Nave)
Subject: Measuring success, increased complexity

Can anyone point me to the pinnacle articles on the following two subjects:

1.   The idea of progress as it has been used in evolutionary theory, or
evolutionary drives toward increased complexity or increased diversity.  I
am interested in papers which have discussed the directionality of
evolution.

2.  Measuring success between species (e.g. via biomass, species units...).

3.  Work which has been done on Alu repeats.

I need this info for a paper I am writing which compares the concept of
race and ethnicity.  I normally wouldn't bother you all by asking, but I am
in Mauritius doing field work where there is no descent library.

Ari Nave
                   Dept. of Anthropology
                   University of California, Los Angeles
                   Los Angeles, CA 90024-1553

Field site:   (till 31 March 1996)
                  3 Queen Alexandra Street, Beau Bassin
                  Republic of Mauritius
                  Tel./Fax. (230) 464-3896

e-mail:  anave@ucla.edu
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/nave

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:42>From vallen@iastate.edu Tue Dec 26 15:20:16 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 15:21:10 -600
From: vallen@iastate.edu (Virginia Allen)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Today in the.....

Let me second Les Cole's thanks for the "Today in..." thread.  It's been
easy to take it for granted as a kind of priceless but free educational
bonus to lurking on this list for quite a while.  Sometime the entries
should be put together in a pile and published as a collection.  I
always save them for myself.
Virginia Allen
<vallen@iastate.edu>

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:43>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Dec 26 19:29:41 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 20:29:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Course on conservation of geological specimens (fwd from NHCOLL-L)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 14:45:10 -0800 (PST)
From: San Diego Natural History Museum <libsdnhm@CLASS.ORG>
To: NHCOLL-L <NHCOLL-L@ucmp1.Berkeley.EDU>,
Subject: Geological conservation course announcement

        PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION OF GEOLOGIC MATERIALS
                        May 13-17, 1996

        ADVANCED CONSERVATION OF GEOLOGIC MATERIALS
                        May 20-23, 1996

        presented by the San Diego Natural History Museum
          in conjunction with Yellowstone National Park

        sponsored by International Academic Projects, London

Geological-origin specimens and objects in museums are subject to a wide
range of causes of deterioration and damage. Recognizing, monitoring and
isolating causes of damage to these collections is the focus of the
preventive conservation course. In the advanced course, open to anyone
who has completed the first course, participants work with interventive
conservation measures to repair and restore geological materials.

Course topics:
* Nature, identification and characteristic degradation of mineral and
        stone types
* Monitoring key environmental variables
* Cleaning, adhesion, and consolidation
* Special concerns of fossil and fossil-bearing materials
* Special concerns of stone artifacts
* Health and safety concerns
* Weathering, salt migration, and efflorescence
* Geological elements in art and architecture
* Concerns of site conservation
* Product information

Course instructors:
Chris Collins, Conservator, Geological Conservation Unit, Sedgwick
Museum, Cambridge University. Mr. Collins heads the Geological
Conservation Unit and is chair of the 1996 Second World Congress on
Natural History Collections. He has taught the only post-graduate diploma
course in geological conservation.

Sally Shelton, Director, Collections Care and Conservation, San Diego
Natural History Museum. Ms. Shelton specializes in preventive
conservation techniques for natural history collections. She is a council
member of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
and a graduate of the Cambridge course.

Course site:
Both courses will be hosted at Yellowstone National Park, courtesy of the
National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. Information on
lodging, meals and transportation will be sent with the course readings
to registrants.

Course costs: $350 for registrations received before May 1, $375 after
that. There is a combined registration fee of $650 for both courses. The
advanced course is open to people who have previously completed the first
course or who are registering for both courses together. Course fees do
not include transportation, lodging or meals.

Further information on International Academic Projects courses can be
found at the Web site http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~tcfa313, or may be obtained
from James Black, IAP, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, United
Kingdom. phone (171) 387 9651, FAX (171) 388 0283.

Further information and registration materials for the geological
courses may be obtained by contacting Sally Shelton at the addresses below.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                                                                       |
|                 San Diego Natural History Museum                      |
|                          P. O. Box 1390                               |
|                San Diego, California   92112  USA                     |
|             phone (619) 232-3821; FAX (619) 232-0248                  |
|                     email LIBSDNHM@CLASS.ORG                          |
|                                                                       |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

--end forwarded message----------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:44>From rmontero@chasque.apc.org Tue Dec 26 19:36:49 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 22:17:56 -0300
From: Maria Florencia Montero <rmontero@chasque.apc.org>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Tense

I agree with wirh Cole and I hope you continue "Today in the...".
By the way, that tense in Spanish is called "Historic Present".
Prof. Raul Montero
Constituyente 1663
Montevideo, Uruguay
rmontero@chasque.apc.org

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:45>From mew1@siu.edu Tue Dec 26 20:38:26 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 20:26:35 -0600
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: "Margaret E. Winters" <mew1@siu.edu>
Subject: tense

Many languages have a distinctive use of the present for historical
narration, and I've always viewed the present in the Today in the Historical
Sciences as that use.  Sounds good in French too!

Mostly I echo Les Cole's statement that the feature is a pleasure to
read - fussing about tense really is splitting hairs!

Cheers,
Margaret

Margaret E. Winters
Academic Affairs
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, IL, 62901-4517
Phone:  (618) 549-0106 (Home); (618) 536-5535 (Office)
mew1@siu.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:46>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Dec 26 21:44:53 1995

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 22:44:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Tense (and comparative perspectives on past time)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

The issue of tense (generally speaking) appears to be quite complex and
interesting.  Here is the entry for "tense" in David Crystal's _A
Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics_ (3rd ed., 1991):

  TENSE.  A category used in the grammatical description of verbs (along
  with aspect and mood), referring primarily to the way the grammar marks
  the time at which the action denoted by the verb took place.
  Traditionally, a distinction is made between past, present and future
  tenses, often with further divisions (perfect, pluperfect, etc.).  In
  linguistics, the relationship between tense and time has been the
  subject of much study, and it is now plain that there is no easily
  stateable relationship between the two.  Tense forms (i.e. variations in
  the morphological form of the verb) can be used to signal meanings other
  than temporal ones.  In English, for example, the past-tense form (e.g.
  "I knew") may signal a tentative meaning, and not past time, in some
  contexts (e.g. "I wish I knew" -- that is, "know now").  Nor is there a
  simple one-to-one relationship between tense forms and time: the present
  tense in English may help to refer to future or past time, depending on
  context (e.g. "I'm going home tomorrow", "Last week I'm walking down
  this street...").  [RJO's note: this last example is what we have been
  calling the historical present, and it seems to give a sense of
  immediacy to the narration of past events.]  Furthermore, if tenses are
  defined as forms of the verb, it becomes a matter of debate whether a
  language like English has a future tense at all: constructions such as
  "I will/shall go", according to many, are best analysed as involving
  modal auxiliary verbs, displaying a different grammatical function (e.g.
  the expression of intention or obligation, which may often involve
  futurity).  English illustrates many such problems, as do other
  languages, where tense forms, if they exist, regularly display analytic
  difficulties, because of overlaps between tense and other verbal
  functions, such as aspect or mood.  Alternative terminology (e.g. "past"
  v. "non-past", "future" v. "non-future", "now" v. "remote") will often
  be needed.

A question for the linguists and anthropologists: are there any languages
or cultures that have (from an English-speaking point of view) unusual
ways of conceptualizing history or the past as a result of their unusual
tense structure?  I am not phrasing the question very clearly, but perhaps
the intent is clear.  We tend to take the notions of "past" and "history"
to be core parts of human thinking, but are they for everyone?  What about
concepts like the Australian aboriginal "Dreamtime"?  Is this a "time"
in our conventional sense of the word?  Is past tense or historical present
used when speaking about it?  I guess what I am asking about is comparative
studies of how past time is conceived in different languages or cultures.

Bob O'Hara
darwin@iris.uncg.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:47>From hineline@helix.ucsd.edu Tue Dec 26 22:17:45 1995

From: Mark Hineline <hineline@helix.ucsd.edu>
Subject: Re: Tense
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 20:17:28 -0800 (PST)

Now that Darwin-l list members have voted, unanimously, I am rather sorry
I brought up the subject of tense. I am sure we all appreciate the work
Bob does. That is not the issue.

What is the issue, or was the issue, is the sense of inevitability -- of
necessity -- in the convention used in "Today in the Historical Sciences."

Of course, in any retelling of historical narrative, inevitability is
inevitable. In the retelling, it is inevitable that *The Origin of Species*
follows from the statement "Darwin is born." But *The Origin of Species*
DID not follow from Darwin's birth. It was the consequence of umpteen
contingencies (not least of which was the appearance in Darwin's mail
of a letter from Wallace).

As a historian, I prefer grammatical usage that conveys a sense of the
contingent, rather than necessity. But I'll go on reading Bob's contributions
because they are, as others have pointed out, a very nice service.

Mark Hineline
hineline@helix.ucsd.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:48>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Dec 27 00:14:12 1995

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 01:13:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: December 27 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

DECEMBER 27 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1831: His Majesty's Ship _Beagle_, Robert Fitzroy commanding, sets sail
from Plymouth, England, for South America, after having been beaten back for
several days by unfavorable winds.  Charles Darwin will write in his diary:
"A beautiful day, accompanied by the long wished for E wind. -- Weighed anchor
at 11 oclock & with difficulty tacked out. -- The Commissioner Capt Ross
sailed with us in his Yatch. -- The Capt, Sullivan & myself took a farewell
luncheon on mutton chops & champagne, which may I hope excuse the total
absence of sentiment which I experienced on leaving England. -- We joined
the Beagle about 2 oclock outside the Breakwater, -- & immediately with every
sail filled by a light breeze we scudded away at the rate of 7 or 8 knots an
hour. -- I was not sick that evening but went to bed early."  The Beagle will
return five years later having circumnavigated the globe.

1839: "My first child was born on December 27th, 1839," Charles Darwin will
write in his _Autobiography_, "and I at once commenced to make notes on the
first dawn of the various expressions which he exhibited, for I felt convinced,
even at this early period, that the most complex and fine shades of expression
must all have had a gradual and natural origin."

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:49>From bayla@pbfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us Wed Dec 27 12:54:04 1995

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 13:52:36 -0500 (EST)
From: Bayla Singer <bayla@pbfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us>
Subject: Re: Tense (and comparative perspectives on past time)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I've been pondering the question of tense in a different context;
Biblical Hebrew has, according to my textbook, only two "tenses" --
perfect and imperfect.  The verb does change form, via prefixes &
suffixes, but the same morphological process of accretion also provides
for indications of gender, number, posession, & position, so I don't know
if these are technically 'tenses' or not.

There is one school of Biblical interpretation which holds, quite
independently of grammar, that there is "no before and after" in the
Jewish Bible; that it is entirely within reason to suppose characters
from apparently separate time periods might confer with each other --
Moses and Abraham, for example.

--Bayla Singer  bsinger@eniac.seas.upenn.edu
or
   bayla@pbfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:50>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Dec 28 20:05:10 1995

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 21:04:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Tense, inevitability, historicity
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Regarding the use of "historical present", Mark Hineline interestingly
writes (or wrote):

>What is the issue, or was the issue, is the sense of inevitability....
>Of course, in any retelling of historical narrative, inevitability is
>inevitable.  In the retelling, it is inevitable that *The Origin of
>Species* follows from the statement "Darwin is born."  But *The Origin
>of Species* DID not follow from Darwin's birth.  It was the consequence
>of umpteen contingencies (not least of which was the appearance in
>Darwin's mail of a letter from Wallace).  As a historian, I prefer
>grammatical usage that conveys a sense of the contingent, rather than
>necessity.

Mark is right to want to get across the non-inevitable character
of history, and historians have long commented on this problem.
I myself, however, don't detect a difference in inevitability when
the past tense or the "historical present" tense is used -- it seems
to me that the sense of inevitability comes from the narrative
structure more than the tense, but others may well disagree here.
What the device of present tense produces when I read it is more
a sense of immediacy -- of "being there" rather than hearing about
the events afterward.  This may be why this particular grammatical
structure is sometimes also called the "dramatic present" as well as
the "historical present."  Perhaps linguists have investigated the
circumstances under which speakers or writers lapse into the dramatic
present, and the specific effects it may have on hearers.  Does anyone
happen to know?

In passing I note an interesting remark on historical contingency
and narrative that a friend pointed me to in the Wall Street Journal:

  And many, such as David Shulman of Salomon Brothers, went badly
  astray by puzzling over what broad "story" or "scenario" was
  unfolding -- as if one only had to choose the script to which events
  would necessarily conform.  As the bearish Mr. Shulman discovered,
  stories are imposed on markets only in retrospect.  The script
  doesn't exist.

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.

Postscript: Virginia Allen kindly suggested that the Today in the
Historical Sciences messages be published somewhere.  I appreciate the
suggestion very much, but I fear they aren't original enough work to
warrant that (being derived from standard sources like the _Dictionary
of Scientific Biography_ and others).  The ones I have written have
been gathered together on the web, however, and can all be found on the
Darwin-L web server at http://rjohara.uncg.edu.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:51>From princeh@husc.harvard.edu Fri Dec 29 14:43:12 1995

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 14:58:41 -0500 (EST)
From: Patricia Princehouse <princeh@husc.harvard.edu>
Subject: Re: Tense, inevitability, historicity
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Thu, 28 Dec 1995 DARWIN@steffi.uncg.edu wrote:

> Regarding the use of "historical present", Mark Hineline interestingly
> writes (or wrote):
>
> >What is the issue, or was the issue, is the sense of inevitability....
...
> >I prefer
> >grammatical usage that conveys a sense of the contingent, rather than
> >necessity.

When I joined Darwin-L, I was put off by the use of the historical present
for somewhat the same reasons Mark has expressed. However, after a couple
months, I came to enjoy the game of not knowing what direction the author
will be facing when I get the day's installment of "Today".

Bob says:
> What the device of present tense produces when I read it is more
> a sense of immediacy -- of "being there" rather than hearing about
> the events afterward.

I'm not sure I feel any greater sense of "be here now" but I certainly
engage more with the text -if for no reason other than novelty. It's sort
of like reading a non-idiomatic statement in both one's native language &
a foreign language. You tend to think they "really mean" the same thing,
yet they feel just a little different (something like using the term
bauplan when it's no more precise (ie less metaphorical) than any number
of English equivalents).

-Patricia
princeh@fas.harvard.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:52>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Sat Dec 30 01:16:22 1995

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 02:16:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: December 30 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

DECEMBER 30 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1705: GEORG WOLFGANG KNORR is born at Nuremberg, Germany.  At the age of
eighteen Knorr will become an apprentice engraver, and will spend much of
his life writing and publishing finely-illustrated natural history works.
His most important volume will be the encyclopedic folio _Sammlung von
Merckwurdigkeiten der Natur und Alterthumern des Erdbodens_ (_Collection
of Natural Wonders and Antiquities of the Earth's Crust_) (1755).

1723: AUGUSTUS QUIRINUS RIVINUS dies at Leipzig, Germany.  Trained in medicine
at the universities of Leipzig and Helmstedt, Rivinus became a lecturer in
medicine at Leipzig in 1677.  He devoted most of his energies to the study of
materia medica and botany, and the precise characterizations he gave of many
plant groups in his _Introductio Generalis in Rem Herbariam_ (1690) and his
series _Ordo Plantarum_ (1690-1699) anticipated the later floral studies of
Linnaeus and Tournefort.

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:53>From abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk Fri Dec 29 15:50:31 1995

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 21:37:17 -0100
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Andrew Brown <abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Today in the.....

On 29 December 1995, Andrew Brown will also thank Bob O'Hara for his
charming and thought-provoking Today messages.

Andrew Brown
Religion writer for the Independent newspaper in London
but right now footling at home
abrown@lazy.demon.co.uk

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:54>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Sat Dec 30 14:41:30 1995

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 12:42:42 -0800
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: rejoinder to DCD (part 1 of 2)

        rejoinder to DCD (part 1 of 2)

        Jeremy C. Ahouse
        Biology Department
        Brandeis University
        Waltham, MA 02254-9110
ph:     (617) 736-4954
fax:    (617) 736-2405
email:  ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

______

Hello Darwin-L (and other interested friends),

        Dan Dennett has responded promptly to my review of his chapter on
Gould in "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (from now on DDI, Dennett 1995).  I will
offer some thoughts as a rejoinder.  I will begin with a few comments to
specific things he writes and then pull back to a different vantage point
and ask what draws some people to vapid rather than epicurean selectionism
in popular expositions.

        Dennett seems to want release from technical descriptions of
algorithms; "I am not cleaving to one of the standard concepts of
algorithm," but has yet to realize that this could undermine his excitement
about the guarantee that he hopes for when invoking a selectionist process.

        Further discussions on Cranes and Skyhooks (thank you Larry Moran)
have left me even less enthusiastic about this analogy.  Not only does it
draw the false dichotomy between believers in miraculous ropes hanging from
the heavens against those who would use only materialist cranes building on
their previously built foundations, and encourage lay readers to imagine
that there is some kind of volition to the cranes (they are building some
"thing") but they also imply a direction.  Why think of evolution as
building a vertical structure up to the sky, where the skyhooks are
located?  Why up, why cranes?  The catalog of living forms does not support
this kind of linear (ever higher) progression.  So we are left with an
analogy that doesn't work as history or is a good description of current
tensions and it has unseemly invitations to sloppy thought.

        In his response to my points about Gould and his arguments Dennett
insists:

                "The real Gould has made major contributions to
                evolutionary thinking, correcting a variety of
                serious and widespread misapprehensions, but the
                mythical Gould has been created out of the
                yearnings of many Darwin-dreaders, feeding on
                Gould's highly charged words, and this has
                encouraged, in turn, his own aspirations to bring
                down 'Ultra-Darwinism," leading him into some
                misbegotten claims." That sentence expresses the
                main theme of the chapter on Gould. Ahouse has not
                cast serious doubt on it that I can see.

        What I tried to cast serious doubt on was Dennett's understanding
of Gould's positions.  Actually I tried to do three things; challenge the
utility of Dennett's main metaphors (cranes vs. skyhooks and natural
selection as an algorithm whose results are guaranteed), show that Dennett
misunderstood or misrepresented Gould's positions, and finally to reassert
that selectionism does not by itself and a priori fill the demands of an
evolutionary biology.

        Dan is correct, I did not engage the sociological claim that the
creative force of a worldwide network of passionate Darwin dreaders summon
forth a mythical Gould.  (Should we envision a ceremony with hexagrams
painted on the red clay with blood from a flamingo?)  My experience does
not include these mythmakers.  To the extent that I see mythic confusion it
is members of the cult of the gene, who have gone even(!) beyond Dawkins
with single genes for rape, sexual orientation, IQ, obesity... (for an
attempt to stem this tide see Rose 1995).  None of these one simple gene:
one complex trait world-views is required by ultra-selectionism.  If you
make your notion of traits complicated enough you can salvage the excesses
of gene-centrism (1).  But they are the result of popularized reductionist
panselectionism much sooner than anti-Darwinism is the result of Gould's
writings.

        With Dennett there is only the claim that his colleagues think some
dumb things (evolution didn't happen, the Burgess fauna don't share common
ancestors, ...).  These "colleagues" may be representative (2) of a cult of
anti-Darwinists (lurking in every archway) but Dennett does not give us any
compelling reason to think so.  There is a real and muddled actively
anti-evolution minority of our citizenry who do have an agenda in our
schools - but they are no friends to Steve Gould.  I suspect that the
majority opinion in this country (I am writing in the US but my comments
may apply in other places) is one of no considered opinion.  I take it as
our task as evolutionists to work unflaggingly with this large group.

        More interesting is Dennett's next claim; that the mythic Gould
(face ringed by snakes and eyes burning with a cold fire) has "encouraged"
the real Gould (fewer snakes, warmer eyes) to invent a non-existent enemy
"ultra-Darwinism" (though I suspect Gould, real or mythic, would prefer
"ultra-selectionism") to burn in effigy.  I don't see Dennett proving this
claim either.

        Michael Coffin insisted to me that Gould's preference for arguments
that make contingency and constraint central (to what Coffin sees at the
expense of adaptationism) have a major flaw in being untestable (or should
we say unverifiable?).  I think this is an interesting avenue to pursue.
When amassing the circumstantial evidence in an evolutionary story in what
situations are adaptationist "hypotheses" more or less examinable than
constraint and contingency "hypotheses".  Dennett believes that good
adaptationism includes attending to other factors and as I read Gould he
would make the symmetrical claim about contingency and constraint.  Is
being impressed by the exquisite intricacies of nature the same thing as
measuring natural selection?  I hope we can pursue this line.

        We have to allow that relieving his audience of their
misunderstandings of Gould's writings (reasserting Gould's intentions)
really was Dennett's intent.  I will leave it to you to judge whether this
is accurate self reporting.  Little of chapter 10 trumpets the
contributions of Dennett's "real Gould."  Rather, this chapter is an
exercise in savaging the mythic Gould through the shallow readings that I
challenged in my previous note.  Dennett takes shelter in the claim that he
has no issues with the "real" Gould (if we ignore his continuous pleas that
Gould take a stand on the crane analogy and the demand that the real Gould
be responsible for the actions of Dennett's antinomian Gould).

        I said early in my review that:

                "I want to distinguish the belief that Darwinism
                has been gutted of explanatory force (what Dennett
                views as the "Gould-myth") from what Gould has
                actually done or attempted. I will be criticizing
                Dennett's misunderstanding of theories he ascribes
                to Gould and not second guessing the motives of
                Dennett's critics. This may already put us at
                cross-purposes."

        By reemphasizing his enthusiasm for Gould, Dennett seems to be
saying that we are indeed at cross-purposes.  That he doesn't actually
intend to say anything negative about Gould's work, just Gould-myth's work.
To paraphrase, it isn't that Gould believes these things but rather that
people with a particular anti-Dennett agenda have read Gould in a certain
way and so since they think these things, they must be convinced that
Gould-myth is wrong.  So then Dan and I may be much closer than you might
have thought on reading Ch 10 of his book.

        In answering my critique Dennett repeats the following claim:

                If you believe:
                1. that adaptationism has been refuted or
                relegated to a minor role in evolutionary biology, or
                2. that since adaptationism is "the central
                intellectual flaw of sociobiology", sociobiology
                has been utterly discredited as a scientific
                discipline, or
                3. that Gould and Eldredge's hypothesis of
                punctuated equilibrium overthrew orthodox
                neo-Darwinism, or
                4. that Gould has shown that the fact of mass
                extinction refutes the "extrapolationism" that is
                the Achilles heel of orthodox neo-Darwinism,
                then what you believe is a falsehood.
                        (DDI, p.265)

        He then goes on to try to show not that these conclusions are
actually false, but that Gould (or is it mythic Gould?) hasn't shown them
to be the case.  Let me comment on these points in order:

1. I think it is safe to say that Dennett thinks that adaptationism is the
main game in town.  If you make sure to avoid just-so stories, admit that
everything is an exaptation, and remember to include some of the
"fascinating controversies within evolutionary biology that I [he] do not
discuss in DDI".

2. He may or may not think that sociobiology is flawed, but (surprisingly?)
doesn't think that sloppy hyperadaptionism (what Gould clearly means by
'adaptationism') is the chief problem for Sociobiology.  As this
conversation develops it will be interesting to hear from Dennett what the
central intellectual flaw is in the subject that is now using the moniker
'Darwinian Psychology' (!?).  Maybe Dan thinks there are so many flaws that
identifying a central one is a waste of time.  If so he is probably right.

3. Did Gould and Eldredge really claim that punctuated equilibrium
overthrew neo-Darwinism.  I guess it depends in part on how "neo" you go.
Dennett as we have seen is happy to filigree adaptationism to include any
new information.  I don't really have a problem with this, but if you are
going to argue that an ever expanding neo-Darwinism holds every new
observation then this does become a strongly historical debate.  Was stasis
really a vivid prediction of the gradualist world view?

4. Does Dennett mean that "extrapolationism" is not an Achilles heel for
adaptationism or that mass extinctions aren't the way to show this?  I
think even Gould would be happy to admit that mass extinctions due to
external causes (meteors etc...) are trivial ways to undermine a cluster of
adaptations.  And while they do undercut extrapolationism this isn't nearly
as interesting as the claims about developmental constraints and
canalization that make extrapolationism difficult to sustain.  Or maybe
this is a case like sociobiology where Dennett agrees that successful
extrapolationism should not be used to judge the success neo-Darwinism.  If
this last is the case, he is again agreeing with Gould.

        Dennett goes on to say:

                Now there is simply no question that these four
                propositions are widely believed by the interested
                bystanders to whom Gould's words reach. The
                primary goal of my chapter was to show that Gould
                had shown no such things... Ahouse does not make
                it clear whether he agrees with me that Gould has
                not shown any of these claims to be true. If he
                agrees, almost all our disagreements over
                substance are resolved.

        It is difficult to know what to do with Dennett's immoderate
"falsehoods."  1. Gould has argued that adaptationism is less important
than pan-adaptationists would claim.  2. He has argued strongly against
prejudice masked as "science" in sociobiology.  3. Giving a name,
punctuated equilibrium, to a common pattern (stasis) in the fossil record
has required additional hypotheses to be deployed by gradualists.  Even if
gradualism is not equivalent to constant speedism, discussions about the
dynamics of rate of morphological change is precisely the topic that Gould
and Eldredge wanted to bring into the foreground.  4. Precious few
biologists think that you can predict future shapes and adaptations using
no theory but natural selection.  Maybe armchair philosophers are more
sanguine (3) about the possibility of predicting without reference to an
empirical base.  I hope that my comments about the intricacies of
developmental genetics in my earlier critique have helped to disabuse
Dennett and others of this hope (a nice historical review of the
relationship between development and evolution can be found in Gottlieb
1992)).

        continued...

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:55>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Sat Dec 30 14:41:55 1995

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 12:43:07 -0800
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: rejoinder to DCD (part 2 of 2)

        rejoinder to DCD (part 2 of 2)

        Jeremy C. Ahouse
        Biology Department
        Brandeis University
        Waltham, MA 02254-9110
ph:     (617) 736-4954
fax:    (617) 736-2405
email:  ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

        So as we reposition these "devastating" falsehoods on a more sober
foundation, we see that Gould has had a salutary effect on these debates,
even though he has not necessarily won them.  Many others have also worked
to elaborate these issues.  So while I agree that Gould has not proved
Dennett's "falsehoods"  I am not impressed by this claim.  Dennett has
chosen to disprove the overstated, presumably this comes from his sole
empirical claim that "there is simply no question that these four
propositions are widely believed by the interested bystanders."  No
question?  Are the interested bystanders served by Dennett's intemperate
critique?  Or rather, has Gould himself given a more nuanced reading to
these topics?

        There is no reason to become "pan-Gouldian" in the face of
Dennett's excessive criticism of Gould's doppelganger.  At the same time
the presumption that these issues have all be resolved by the a priori
commitment to all-explanatory selectionism found in DDI is premature.

        What attracts some biologists and some who would reflect on biology
to the kind of oversimplification that we find in Dawkins' work and now
reflected in Dennett's?  I was reading an essay in Elliot Sober's recent
collection ("Why not solipsism?" in Sober 1994) that lead me to the
following.  It is a somewhat tentative suggestion - but I thought it might
push this discussion forward.

        A case can be made that early commitment to the reality of
theoretical terms allows science to flourish.  Briefly, if you insist that
your sense impressions are caused by an external reality then you can start
making abductions and this is a much more helpful heuristic for generating
hypotheses than solely inducing over statistical correlations in sense
impressions (4).  On his way to trying to provide the conditions when
non-solipsism (theoretical terms are real and thus causal) is more adaptive
than a puritan solipsism (you are only allowed to make inductions over
statistical correlations in your sense impressions) he argues that
deploying hypotheses is in itself an adaptive heuristic.  Maybe we can see
part of Dennett's debate with Gould as being between those who are
enthusiastically rush to embrace natural selection as the locus of
explanation and those who would choose among a number of loci.  As Bob
Richardson wrote to me "Gould doesn't have a yearning for skyhooks.  He
just doesn't think there's a single type of crane."

        This view makes part of the debate between vapid and epicurean
selectionists hinge on the utility of various theoretical terms.  Do you
start with vapid selectionism and then add filigrees until the full
complexity of the theory stretches from one horizon to the other resulting
in an epicurean selectionism... or do you dispense with the exclusive
emphasis on selectionism (happy to be spared from the excesses of just so
stories, false implications of gradualism, politically expedient
sociobiology, ...) and build the story back up with a contemporary take on
heritability and the potential of a genome and its (mutation, inversion,
contextual) neighborhood?  The theoretical entities in the second approach
are more detailed and models built from them may be more intricate.  This
doesn't make this approach superior.  Some parts of physics has had great
success using less than detailed models of the world.  Cladistics has had a
terrific effect on systematics (and slowly taxonomy) with it's admittedly
caricature models of trait state changes.  (Why prefer the shortest tree?)

        And Dennett seems to feel that popular expositions are especially
prone to comic exaggeration:

                Explanations of science for a wider public,
                whether by Gould or me or anybody else, are liable
                to misunderstanding because of the rhetoric and
                attempts at simplification that are not just
                inevitable but actually valuable.

        This still allows that the theoretical terms you cleave to can
depend on the problem you are working on and a judgment on what will
expedite your work.  Dennett seems to feel that selectionist models
facilitate understanding irrespective of the domain of inquiry.  I
respectfully demur.

        Jeremy C. Ahouse
        Biology Department
        Brandeis University
        Waltham, MA 02254-9110
ph:     (617) 736-4954
fax:    (617) 736-2405
email:  ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

________
notes:

(1) Some people don't feel that a detailed understanding of development is
necessary to understand the dynamics of the evolutionary process.  It is
black box that can generally be ignored but might be nice to fill in as we
have time.  A recent interview with Richard Dawkins highlights this
position.

        Skeptic: What are the areas in biology into which
        Darwinism should be extended?

        Dawkins: ...Then there's the embryological gap. In
        our Darwinism we postulate that there are genes
        for this and genes for that. We just leave the
        embryological causal link between genes and
        phenotype as a black box. We know that genes do,
        in fact, cause changes in phenotypes and that's
        all we really need in order for Darwinism to work.
        But it would be nice to fill in the details of
        exactly what goes on inside the black box.

This interview with Richard Dawkins can be found at
http://www.skeptic.com/03.4.miele-dawkins-iv.html.

(2) It is disheartening how many people make it through college without
even a smattering of evolutionary biology.  I think Dennett would agree
with this sentiment.  I can't imagine a more interesting topic than
learning about the distribution and abundance of living forms and their
detailed history and individual development.  Dennett is seduced and
fascinated by the power of the selectionist argument.  While I think the
argument is interesting and can be motivated by looking at living forms, I
don't think that the argument itself is the sole the reason for our
enthusiasm.

(3) Those of you with an interest in language evolution might enjoy this
from the American Heritage Dictionary Third edition. Word History: Perhaps
one has wondered what the connection between sanguinary, "bloodthirsty,"
and sanguine, "cheerfully optimistic," could be. The connection can be
found in medieval physiology with its notion of the four humors (blood,
bile, phlegm, and black bile). These four body fluids were thought to
determine a person's temperament, or distinguishing mental and physical
characteristics. Thus, if blood was the predominant humor, one had a ruddy
face and a disposition marked by courage, hope, and a readiness to fall in
love. Such a temperament was called sanguine, the Middle English ancestor
of our word sanguine. The sources of the Middle English word were Old
French sanguin and Latin sanguineus, the source of the French word. Both
the Old French and Latin words meant "bloody," "blood-colored," Old French
sanguin having the sense "sanguine in temperament" as well. Latin
sanguineus in turn was derived from sanguhs, "blood," just as English
sanguinary is. The English adjective sanguine, first recorded in Middle
English before 1350, went on to refer simply to the cheerfulness and
optimism that accompanied a sanguine temperament, no longer having any
direct reference to medieval physiology.

(4) Maybe an example will be help to clarify this distinction.  (I will
lift Sober's.)  Tiger images may cause you to have beliefs that lead to
behaviors (like "hide" or "move quietly").  If you now perceive images of
dismembered antelopes you can either wait until you have enough dead
antelope image experiences to make inductions over the statistical
correlations between dead antelopes and the presence of danger (tigers) or
the non-solipsist can use a tiger theory that "explains" the dead antelopes
and allows the conclusion; "present danger" before the statistical
correlations would warrant.

________
references:

Dennett, D. C. (1995). Darwin's dangerous idea: evolution and the meanings
of life. New York, Simon & Schuster.

Gottlieb, G. (1992). Individual Development and Evolution: The Genesis of
Novel Behavior. New York, Oxford University Press.

Rose, S. (1995). "The Rise of Neurogenetic Determinism." Nature 373(2
February): 380-382.

Sober, E. (1994). From a biological point of view: essays in evolutionary
philosophy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<28:56>From john@ic.h.kyoto-u.ac.jp Sat Dec 30 23:23:34 1995

Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 14:29:31 +0900
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: john@ic.h.kyoto-u.ac.jp (John Constable)
Subject: Hugh Miller Memorial Sonnet

Dear Dr. O'Hara:

        In Today in the Historical Sciences for the 24th of December you
described Hugh Miller, and quoted a sonnet about him. I am at present
collecting poems, both metrical and non-metrical, for an anthology,
concentrating on materials actually by scientists (I put a letter in
*Nature* this summer about the project), and so am very curious to know the
source of the Miller piece.

        Sorry to trouble you with this.

Yours sincerely,
John Constable.

John Constable,
Department of International Culture,
Faculty of Integrated Human Studies,
Kyoto University,
Yoshida Nihon-matsu-cho,
Sakyo-ku,
Kyoto, 606-01,
J A P A N.

Tel: 075 711 8892
Fax: 075 753 6647
e-mail: john@ic.h.kyoto-u.ac.jp

_______________________________________________________________________________
Darwin-L Message Log 28: 31-56 -- December 1995                             End

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