Re: evolution archive list
Sun, 30 May 1999 12:10:30 EDT

In a message dated 5/30/99 3:42:13 PM !!!First Boot!!!,

<< Subj: Re: evolution archive list
CC: (Brian D Harper)

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the delightful response. If anything were to cure me of
stereotyping, more posts such as yours might do it. Isn't stereotyping
attributing the characteristics of a minority to the whole group? It's
pretty difficult, when one so rarely encounters the so-called non-stereotype.

#### Agreed.

>One problem that I have thus far with your criticisms is that they
>seem so one sided. As if it is only evolutionists that are
>"defending the faith" so to speak.

You are right, my criticisms are one sided. The creations frankly admit
their argument is one of ideology,

#### They DO? Which ones?

I'm grateful to them for pointing out some
of the weaknesses of Darwinism, they are generally polite, and I have no
desire nor expectation of persuading any of them to change their beliefs.

##### What do you/they mean by 'Darwinism'?

Maybe there are other reasons, but, emotionally I find myself siding with
them, and I don't have that much choice about where my emotions land me.
an attempt to cure myself of stereotyping, I will refrain from listing what
bothers me about Darwinists.)

##### Emotions can be deceptive. That you don't like some evolutionists
should not logically drive you to reject evolution.

>Now, let me offer some advice. If you really want to learn about
>the science of evolution then you have to discipline yourself
>not to take too seriously what you read in the public debate
>about evolution/creation. Sure, it is interesting to follow,
>but don't rely on that as being representative of the real science.

You are right. If the scientists don't object to being misrepresented, why
should I care?

##### Scientists do object to being misrepresented, hence the often angry
letters to editors or book reviews.

>. It is my experience
>that there are certain extremists (fundamentalists) on both sides
>who are not content to show someone is wrong, they have to show
>they are stupid or immoral or evil ... The reason I believe has
>to do with the politics surrounding the public debate. So, I
>personally don't take anything I read from public debates as
>being reliable.

>I am very skeptical about this claim. (That anyone publicly expressing
>skepticism of Darwinism would be denied tenure.) First, I happen to know
>that there are many biologists who have publicly expressed skepticism
>about Darwinism. The natural follow up to this might be to ask
>whether those individuals already had tenure at the time. I have
>no idea.

Again, I'm sure you are right. In the only case I know of, Dean Kenyon at
SF, the rest of the faculty came to his defense when the biology department
tried to take his classes away from him. (He had tenure.)

#### Well, he was injecting creationist orthodoxy into an evolutionary
biology class - sort of like saying "Satan isn't so bad" at Sunday school, no?

>Let me give a word of caution. Conspiracy theories tend to
>be self confirming. For example, I might try to give reasons
>why I'm skeptical about your claim. But then someone may
>whisper in your ear "well, what do expect him to say, he is,
>after all, one of THEM."

>Well, of the various reasons for skepticism I might give,
>I believe the most persuasive would be to look at the legal issues.
>What you need to try to appreciate is that Universities have
>to protect themselves in this age of law suits. There have
>been several high profile law suits at Ohio State involving
>denial of tenure to an assistant professor. I imagine there
>have been many others that haven't made the front pages. If
>a law suit is filed, the university must show objective criteria
>according to which the candidate was found unsuitable. If a
>university can't do this, their in trouble. When I was hired
>it was explained to me in no uncertain terms what I would
>have to do to get tenure. The three most important ingredients
>are (1) external funding of research (2) publications in quality
>journals (3) good teaching evaluations. If someone establishes
>themselves in these three areas, yet doesn't get tenure, then
>there will be hell to pay, pardon my french :).

>If anyone has evidence to the contrary then let's here it.
>I will be the first to take the side of any qualified
>assistant professor who fails to get tenure because they
>are a creationist. I'm sure that there would be many who
>would join me.

>Despite what you may have read, the idea that
>macroevolution is just microevolution extrapolated is not
>universally accepted, not by a long shot. So, we agree on
>this, it is simplistic, IMHO.

If this were to become public knowledge, the both creationists and I might
have to find something else to argue about, wouldn't we?

#### If what were to become public knowledge? As for the tenure/firing
business, I know that that is certainly not the rule - I know of at least 2
faculty members in my department alone that are openly creationist.