Darwin-L Message Log 1:185 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<1:185>From msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu  Tue Sep 21 09:09:39 1993

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 09:11:12 -0600 (CDT)
From: Morris Simon <msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu>
Subject: Re: A reply to Ramsden
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Thu, 16 Sep 1993, Mark Rushing wrote:

> the problem with Epistomology is that it is easy to become lost in a
> categorical tangles. ....... [OMITTED MATERIAL]

You bet it's easy, Mark, as you can see from our current exchange. I think
we're talking about different things, or about the same thing from very
different perspectives. You speak of a "Power structure" [which] "is the
Tool we call Science." In fact, I simply spoke of pragmatics of empirical
science -- a "power structure" in C.P. Snow circles, perhaps, but not in
the ones most of my scientist colleagues and I move in.

> well, i'm a poet, not a scientist.  i would say that the meaning you find,
> if any, is more relevant that anything i could tell you.  i simply supply
> the words, like a woodcutter shaping small, lettered cubes.  maybe they're
> made for children.  maybe they're like casting runes.  maybe they make you
> feel angry because this should be Science.

No anger here. Just curiosity.

> when you say, "a person uses his/her cortex to modify sub-cortical
> perceptions" do you notice that Person is outside of his own mind?

My clumsy way (science, not poetry) of distinguishing conscious thought
from unconscious physiological perception.

> so when you look into the world, when you look into the mind of another
> person, through their messages (in their eyes, on your screen, in the
> vibrational waves through aether), i Believe it is important to attempt to
> understand what you are hearing and seeing (perceiving) before you so
> abruptly return to the Inner Sanctum to grab the clubs and instruments of
> Dialectic Warfare.

No flames were intended, I assure you.

> large out there.  it just bothered me that you were a rifle-toting
> Dialectician in an interdisciplinary setting.  we have the opportunity to
> be so much more....

Ouch! That burned! Was that a bullet, or a red-hot synthesis?

> end of appeal to the modern church.


> to me that the notion of Objective Analysis in science is very relevent to
> the consideration of evolution.  do you believe that such a thing exists
> (Objective Analysis), or do we simply get infinitely close?

I do think "Objective Analysis" exists within the epistemological paradigm
of "empirical methodology." In fact, it becomes a self-defined objective in
the statement of the methodology. Such tautologies are common in
philosophical systems. Perhaps this would be a good moment to switch the
subject of the thread to one which is more directly pertinent to the list.

To what degree did the Deism movement in the West provide an epistemological
basis for the empirical study of evolution, as opposed to the idealistic one
sanctioned by earlier theological traditions? We have all learned about
the influence of William Paley and other Deistic theologians on the young
Charles Darwin. How much influence did Deism have upon other scientists of
the late 18th and 19th centuries?

Morris Simon <msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu>
Stillman College

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