Re: Reputation of Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer

John M. Lynch (
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 12:16:46 -0700

> She presents almost no data in support of her modification of
> anthropological history. All in all, having heard of this work from
> creationist friends, and not having read any of her stuff until now, I
> wonder why creationists are giving her such a big PR. I see nothing that
> solves the creationist problem except her adherence to basic type taxonomy
> which is not very different from normal taxonomies.

I agree with Glen here. There's little really interesting going on in her
argument other than her use of the ideas of baraminology. The few
paleontologists I discussed the paper with (including two of the describers
of OH62) were not terribly worried or indeed impressed. I think that the IDT
movement are just happy to have people using their "new" taxonomic methods.
However, these methods are not new, and even predate Marsh's 1947 work. It
is interesting to note, that the return to basic types is very similar to
the idealistic trend in biology before the turn of the century - "essential
kinds" which could vary among themselves (microevolve) yet were themselves
created from the mind of God (see, Peter Bowler, 'Lifes Splendid Drama',
1997, Chicago University Press). Many IDTers, PEJ included, thus seem to
merge this Kantian idealism with a certain postmodernist streak (for the
latter, see Rob Pennock's 'Tower of Babel', 1999, MIT Press). Idealism in
biology died due to conflicting evidence rather than any 'political
campaign' by Darwinists to remove it.