kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A flurry of activity, and then . . . silence. Maybe I should consider a post about abortion, and whether llamas are protected under the Supreme Court's ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut?

There has been too much news to keep up on to try and add something more to the great non-read content of the blogosphere. A friend of mine did suggest I check out this link:

Open Letter

and I suggest you do, as well. The changes rung upon the basic idea--art work, religious wars, miracles, and what all these things do those arguing that Intelligent Design (which, as the old saying goes, may well be neither) should be offered as a competitive alternative to evolution--is pretty amusing, and provides some perspective on the debate that is missing in much of the relevant discussion. Three things seem to emerge:

1) Some defenders of ID will be forced to admit that--in the name of ID--some religions are better than others. My guess is that longevity will be indicated as one of the criteria for "legitimate religion" vs. "illegitimate," but that sets up a slippery slope, or the possibility of a hierarchy. Where, on such a criterion, does Evangelical Christianity come out, relative to Judaism, Confucianism, and/or Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholicism?

2) Other--perhaps more subtle or honest--defenders of ID will be forced to indicate what the criteria are for legitimate scientific explanation. Testability, fecundity, falsifiability, predictive value used to be prominent among those criteria. One might take the path shared by Jerry Falwell and Paul Feyerabend (who really aren't that tight, conceptually), and call everything science--but then nothing gets taught (if everything is). Or we might want to be honest and say what we mean when we use the word "science" in a way sufficiently meaningful to distinguish it from something else.

3) Finally, we may have to start to come to terms--as biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists do already, of course--and recognize that "evolution" itself is not a univocally-referring term. Lamarck was, in some sense, an evolutionist, as was Kant's predecessor Lambert, as far as that goes. Assume, for the sake of the argument, that "evolutionary theory" began in 1859; does anyone vaguely familiar with the history of biology since then think all those folks working in biology and its subdisciplines agree on everything? And assuming, further, that the answer to this quasi-rhetorical question is "no," then when the opposition starts challenging "evolution," it adds clarity to the discussion to discover what, precisely, it is that they mean by this term.


Blogger damon said...


You neglected, in your otherwise comprehensive and engaging post, to mention the T-SHIRTS.

Religious fervor is nothing without the doctrinal soveriegnty and well-thought-out-ed-ness that a cool sik-screen logo suggests.

You seem to be mocking FSM... As a very recent convert, I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Also, it is curious to note how strained the logic of the anti-evolution camp becomes. One of the "opposition" (as you call them) could even quote YOU in trying to portray the scientific community as hopelessly at odds:

"Assume, for the sake of the argument, that "evolutionary theory" began in 1859; does anyone vaguely familiar with the history of biology since then think all those folks working in biology and its subdisciplines agree on everything?"

Since science is not of one mind/voice about the whole enchilada, then they can't be right about any of it. See: You said so yourself.

1:57 PM  
Blogger damon said...


I can comment on my comment.

THAT is solipsistic.

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Blogger kmosser said...

Who are you talking to?

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Blogger Bowlegged_Lou said...

The legitimacy of FSM should be clear in the huge amount of pirate-related scholarship that supports it. I don't see any Zoarastrians explaining global warming, do you?

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Blogger kmosser said...

You have to listen carefully to really "hear" the Zoroastrians. The point is essentially that made by Wesley Snipes in "White Men Can't Jump," relative to whether honkies--or pirates--really "hear" Hendrix.

'scuse me.

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