Re: evolution-digest V1 #961

Glenn R. Morton (
Thu, 04 Jun 1998 20:05:45 -0500

At 03:28 PM 6/2/98 -0600, John W. Burgeson wrote:
>>> I
>have sent messages through his friends who have assured me that they
>contacted him about the 'rodents gave rise to whales' and 'rodents gave
>rise to bats' error he makes. He claims it is a joke and doesn't see any
>reason to change. I don't see the humor.>>
>Seems the problem, Glenn, is on your end, not his.
>1. He claims something is meant in jest.
>2. You don't "see the humor."
>3. You therefore treat it as a solid (erroneous) argument.
>4. That does not make sense to me.
>Maybe Johnson's humor IS "strained" in this case.
>So what?
>As long as HE claims it is in jest, how can you insist he means it

good point and maybe you are right. But I would make the suggestion that
1. there are no other 'jokes' in the book (at least nothing less obscure
of a joke than these). 2. Generally he presents his arguments as if they
have scientific and logical validity. Jokes are a rarity in literature,
especially scientifically oriented literature which is meant to be taken
seriously. 3. When we make a 'joke' that is then taken seriously, the
proper response should be to withdraw the joke (especially if it serves to
undermine one's credibility) and put out the correct data.

> Burgy
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