Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is Evolution a fact?

In 1986 Stephen Jay Gould assured a group of New Zealanders that they had nothing to fear from Creationism. It was, he said, a distinctively American aberration--a case of negative exceptionalism. The rest of the advanced industrial world was much wiser.

Unfortunately that has not proved to be the case. Per capita, there are almost as many Creationists in Canada than in the US. The movement has been successfully transplanted to Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain. It has been making great strides in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. One science writer in Amsterdam asks, “Is Holland becoming the Kansas of Europe?” South Korea represents a major bridgehead in Asia. And Turkey is now a major center for the spread of this knownothingism in Islamic countries.

This deplorable export parallels the flood of American products in popular culture: rock, rap, and heavy metal music; “action” movies featuring violent confrontations; and TV soap operas. Still, these things are offences to taste, but not to reason, as Creationism is.

All the same, there is evidence that some scientifically minded observers are overreacting, or reacting in a way that is counterproductive. One can understand how frustration at the advance of Creationism would produce sharp responses among the defenders of the scientific theory of evolution. Indeed, it must be defended. However, some excesses on part of the pro-evolution camp make them vulnerable to criticism.

Jerry Coyne is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. He is an energetic defender of evolution. Yet he has just published a book entitled “Why Evolution is True” (Viking), where he asserts that evolution is more than just a theory--it is a fact. These assertions have an air of dogmatism that is not helpful. Recently, in the columns of The Nation Coyne heatedly attacked Robert Wright’s book “The Evolution of God,” for being soft on the deity question. Now there are many problems with Wright’s argument as I have pointed out in two previous postings. Yet he does not actually affirm the existence of God; he is an agnostic. This is not enough for Coyne. Besides, Wright has taken the sacred name of evolution in vain, kidnapping it for his own theory. Coyne does not seem to realize that there is an ordinary use of the word evolution, which existed long before Darwin, to describe any orderly process. Thus one can speak of the evolution of the US Supreme Court and the evolution of classical studies.

Now the ubiquitous Richard Dawkins has weighed in with a new book “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution” (Free Press).

In his review in today’s New York Times Book Review, Nicholas Wade, a science reporter for The Times, salutes the worthiness of Dawkins’ effort to discredit the Creationists. Yet he also makes some telling points about the line of argument the English scholar deploys.

“There is one point on which I believe Dawkins gets tripped up by his zeal. To refute the creationists, who like to dismiss evolution as “just a theory,” he keeps insisting that evolution is an undeniable fact. A moment’s reflection reveals the problem: We don’t speak of Darwin’s fact of evolution. So is evolution a fact or a theory? On this question Dawkins, to use an English expression, gets his knickers in a twist.

“Evolutionary theory is a mansion that has been under vigorous construction for the last 150 years and is still far from complete. A ballroom-size controversy is whether natural selection can operate at the level of groups as well as that of individuals. The evolutionary theory of aging, which predicts that many genes must be involved in determining life span, recently collapsed when researchers found that the lifetimes of laboratory organisms can be tripled or better by changing a single gene. If the theory of evolution is still in full flux — as befits any scientific theory at the forefront of research — how can evolution be said to be a fact?

“Dawkins is aware that evolution is commonly called a theory but deems “theory” too wishy-washy a term because it connotes the idea of hypothesis. Evolution, in Dawkins’s view, is a concept as bulletproof as a mathematical theorem, even though it can’t be proved by rigorous logical proofs. He seems to have little appreciation for the cognitive structure of science. Philosophers of science, who are the arbiters of such issues, say science consists largely of facts, laws and theories. The facts are the facts, the laws summarize the regularities in the facts, and the theories explain the laws. Evolution can fall into only one of these categories, and it’s a theory.

“Other systems of thought, like religion, are founded on immutable dogma, whereas science changes to accommodate new knowledge. So what part of science is it that changes during intellectual revolutions? Not the facts, one hopes, or the laws. It’s the highest-level elements in the cognitive structure — the theories — that are sacrificed when fundamental change is needed. Ptolemaic theory yielded when astronomers found that Copernicus’s better explained the observations; Newton’s theory of gravitation turned out to be a special case of Einstein’s.
“If a theory by nature is liable to change, it cannot be considered absolutely true. A theory, however strongly you believe in it, inherently holds a small question mark. The minute you erase the question mark, you’ve got yourself a dogma.

“Since the theory of evolution explains and is in turn supported by all the known facts of biology, it can be regarded as seriously robust. There’s no present reason to think it has any flaws. But when we learn how life evolved on other planets, evolution could turn out to be a special case of some more general theory.

“When Dawkins asserts that evolution “is a fact in the same sense as it is a fact that Paris is in the Northern Hemisphere,” it seems he doesn’t know what a theory is. Yet he is justified in his passion to demonstrate how beautifully the theory of evolution explains the biological world. How can his knickers be untwisted?

“The best way, in my view, is to distinguish between evolution as history and evolution as science. Evolution is indeed a historical fact. Every living thing and every fossil-bearing rock bears evidence that evolution occurred. But evolution is not a scientific fact as philosophers of science see it. In science it plays a far grander role: it is the theory without which nothing in biology makes sense. The condition of this high status is that it cannot be the final and absolute truth that Dawkins imagines it to be; it is liable to future modification and change like any other scientific theory.

“This brings me to the intellectual flaw, or maybe it’s a fault just of tone, in Dawkins’s otherwise eloquent paean to evolution: he has let himself slip into being as dogmatic as his opponents. He has become the Savonarola of science, condemning the doubters of evolution as “history-­deniers” who are “worse than ignorant” and “deluded to the point of perversity.” This is not the language of science, or civility. Creationists insist evolution is only a theory, Dawkins that it’s only a fact. Neither claim is correct.”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

As John Searle, philosopher at U.C. Berkeley, wrote: No two facts are more established than atomic theory and Darwinian evolution. Not even gravity. Not even Einstein’s relativity. Why would he make such a bold claim?

Because ALL other sciences — anthropology, paleontology, embryology, genetics, biology, ethology, medical microbiology, physics, chemistry, anthropology — all have validated Darwinian evolution. No other science comes close in the different numbers of validation, and NOT ONE falsification.

If you’re not certain of atomic theory and Darwinian evolution, what would it take to make more than 2 billion evidences more secure? 2,000,000,000,001?

9:37 AM  
Blogger Burk said...

Hear hear! This is really an annoying semantic problem, which always takes a page or two of explanation to clear up- that scientific theories are not like theories in car repair or plumbing. The fact that one side of the debate uses this confusion to sow doubt is no excuse for the other side to somewhat rudely change the language. But something needs to be done. Perhaps religion could be so throughly ridiculed that none of its arguments are taken seriously, as theories, facts, or anything else.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Golly, if John Searle says it's a fact, then that settles it! I should have known better to waste time on this issue. It's res judicata. And yet . . .

Shouldn't we find out what L. Ron Hubbard thinks, though? I'm sure that he can be channeled.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The ad hominem, non sequitir, and the fallacy of irrelevant reason aside, perhaps you could address Searle's observation, not attack a straw man in yet another fallacy. Formal and informal logic may not be your forte, but you usually are not so fallacious. The observation is SOUND, even if your fallacies are not.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Thanks, TGS, but why should I take the trouble? The infallible oracle has spoken. Berkeley locuta est. That's enough for me. . .

Popper and all other serious philosophers of science that I know of adhere to the distinction between facts and theories. If a research program is fertile, it will generate new problems and eventually solutions to them. That is what is happening with evolution.

When evolution becomes a fact it will have lost this fertility. It will be dead. Fortunately, it is not.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

As regards ridicule, since the days of Jean Meslier and Baron d'Holbach, we have had 300 years of ridiculing religion. Yet we have daily evidence that this campaign seems to be having the opposite effect--as I noted with my summary account of the forward march of Creationism. What is needed now, if I may say so, is some ridicule of the priggish solemnity of individuals like Dawkins and Coyne. In its self-righteousness, their air of intransigent certitude mimics the false assurance of religious dogmatists. I am scarcely the first to note how these publicists are hurting themselves with this display of arrogance.

Common to many, perhaps most of these individuals is a failure to appreciate the arts--music, literature, painting, sculpture, and architecture--which have been nourished by religion. Without religion, it is fair to say, these things would exist in but a stunted form.

As major thinkers from Pascal to Rickert and Croce have emphasized, human creativity has two registers, the nomothetic and the idiographic. The denouncers of religion are, for the most part, aware only of the nomothetic aspect (what some would term the left-brain activities). To be sure, Dawkins wrote a book enthusing over Wordsworth and other poets, but his praise seemed superficial and unconvincing--designed, in other words, to counter the very argument I have been making. He did not succeed.

The other main problem with the New Atheists is that everything they say by way of critique is so coarse-grained. Not so long ago i devoted a piece to the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. According to the New Atheists it is enough to pronounce anathema on all such phantoms--and there is an end to it! Well, it isn't an end to it, because reasonable people seek to know how such beliefs begin and what sustains them. And one should seek to learn this.

This broader problem is the subject of my ongoing manuscript, which I hope to turn into a book by years' end.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Burk said...

Well, ridicule is gaining in effectiveness, as the new atheist movement makes clear. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but getting atheists out of the closet has been a very positive development.

Your book sounds very interesting. I agree that many of the new atheist pursuasion do not quite know what to make of the bizarre nexus of psychology, religion, and art. And that is where I think Jung helps quite a bit, but I won't get into that. The arts have been nourished by insanity as well- that does not make insanity true or desirable.

I'd agree that religion is a sort of art of living- an embodied, living, breathing art of doing and being, usually in community. Almost like making a beautiful painting and trying to live in it. My own ideal is finding a way to animate our ideals and loves without dealing in false beliefs. That is what makes the environmental movement so powerful, with its John Muirs, National Geographics, and Rachel Carsons- a new(/old) form of love for our world that looks it straight in the eye.

Much of the difference between participants in this discussion is based on temperament- if you don't "get" religious sentiment, then you are not only going to think it false, but may disparage it rather harshly, given its philosophical vacuity. Conversely, if you live within that sentiment and stake your very meaning upon it, attacks and ridicule, however sound, feel mean and personal.

One could easily imagine a truce (not a new idea) where personal beliefs are respected and not denigrated, but evangelism and public broadcast of such beliefs are subject to the same critical attack and disparagement as, say, economic quackery like those wanting to get back on the gold standard, or medical quackery. That is where I'm at, at any rate, more concerned with philosophical malpractice and the disparagement of theologians, than making individual believers feel bad.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Actually it is YOU that is not properly observing Popper's distinction between FACT and THEORY.

Evolution is FACT.

Darwin's FIVE THEORIES explaining evolution:

1. Non-Constancy of species
2. Common descent of all organisms
3. Gradualism (not saltations)
4. Diversity of species
5. Natural Selection

are ably and amply described by Harvard biologist Ernst Mayer in "What Evolution Is."

So don't tell me I'm conflating FACT for THEORY. I do know the difference, and I just spelled it out for you.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think Mayr, Professor of Biology, Harvard University, graduate of the University of Berlin, and Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, who lived 1904-2005, is much more of an "authority" on evolution and evolutionary theories than an art professor.

Yes, that is an appeal to authority. And, no, not all appeals to authority are fallacious. Critical Thinking 1.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're disentangling confusions, let's be clear that evolutionary theories and the fact of evolution OBVIATE any Creator and render the "Creationist" account FALSE.

These two entailments do NOT disprove the existence of a god, but a god is not needed to explain the origins of life, nor did life appear as Genesis 1-2 depicts it. By a simple logical operation,

(i) If A, then B.
(ii) Not B.
(iii) Therefore, not A.

If god exists, then the creation account is true. But the creation account is false, therefore the hypothetical condition "god exists" is also false. This is elementary MPP.

Now, what kind of god, if any, might exist must resolve immense logical, epistemological, axiological, and praxeological objections, not to mention ontological difficulties, all of which difficulties have never been overcome -- not even Spinoza's pantheism. This and similar claims are all that Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, et alia, claim.

The burden of "proof" is on the claimant, not on the skeptic. One cannot disprove "absence," so it behooves those that believe in superstitions to produce REASONS or EVIDENCE to support their claims, which, thus far, J. L. Mackie and George H. Smith, not to mention David Hume, have amply refuted all deistic claims.

If the proposition:

(1) god exists

is claimed in the sense that P. F. Strawson allows "exists" as a predicate x(Gx), it can be nothing more claimed than as the analogous proposition:

(2) Pegasus exists [x(Px).

Since x(Gx ~ Px) we have neither EVIDENCE nor REASONS for an ontological commitment to either proposition, and since both propositional predicates have never been confirmed, it is the FAILURE to substantiate all forms of deism and theism that the "New Atheists," like the Old ones, find deficient.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Now you have really surpassed yourself, TFS. So many confusions in three postings! Since their irrelevance is patent I won't critique them, except to make one point.

The notion of a stark choice between Creationism and atheism exemplifies the fallacy of two extremes: aut unum, aut nihil; tertium non datur. A good example occurred in the 1930s when one was told that the choice was between Hitlerism and Stalinism. Of course, NEITHER was the correct answer.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Here is the crux. If there is a valid distinction between a theory and a fact--and there is--evolution is a THEORY. It cannot be both theory and fact at the same time.

Case closed.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF evolution is a THEORY, whose THEORY is it? Not Darwin (he never used the term).

Evolution is a natural FACT, undisputed by all scientists.

DARWIN'S FIVE THEORIES explain Evolution, even IF YOU cannot grasp it.

You can change the goalposts all day, but you will not change evolution or Darwin's theories explaining it.

The "case closed," sounds like a tyrant. Are YOU a tyrant, Prof. Dynes?

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the "case closed" is still open for discussion:

When I came-out to my parents in 1971, it was my FATHER's DARWINISM that accepted biological diversity and variation of human sexuality.

My mother, not college-educated, thought "reparative therapy" by psychologists would work "straight works" on her son.

Want to BET who WON the "reparative" argument? You may find Darwin incomprehensible, but NO OTHER scientist SAVED MY LIFE from the Psyche Fucks. When, and IF, Psyches attach electrodes to your penis, nipples, ass, and ZAP you with electrical current, just remember SOME OF US fought back in Honolulu, 1973.

DARWIN saved my life, even if he makes no sense to you, and repudiated "reparative therapy" in 1973. What WERE YOU DOING?

11:19 PM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

I hardly think that I am a tyrant, TGS, since I have allowed you to air your musings unchecked (unlike some other sites which have proved less tolerant, I believe). In my expeerience overuse of CAPITALS generally indicates the absence of an objective correlative--revealing that emotion is bubbling forth inappropriately.

Looking back it seems that all three of us in these exchanges have neglected the really pressing problem: what can we do about the spread of Creationism? We all oppose it.

It seems to me that the contributions of the New Atheists are ineffective, since they mainly address other intellectuals. They are little ships that pass in the night, while Creationism's sinister flotilla moves on and on.

It cannot be that Creationism flourishes as the opium of the downtrodden, since it is spreading mainly in prosperous countries. You can't fight something with nothing, and atheism ultimately is nothing.

Perhaps Burk has the right idea with environmentalism, which offers positive values one can rally to. After all, worship of natural forces (animism) may qualify as humanity's earliest religious impulse. Can it return to dominance today?

7:28 AM  
Blogger Burk said...

Hi, GS-

I have to agree with Wayne here, that evolution is a theory as far as scientists are concerned. Jeepers, even "atomic theory" is a theory, as is heliocentric theory and the big bang theory. For all intents and purposes, they are also facts, but one point of science is to recognize that what we are making (in scientific theories) are models of the world, which in Kant's sense are not things as they are, but imperfect models, to be refined with time.

Theories can be, and usually are, communal projects, like the "modern synthesis" in evolutionary theory, which cemented its integration with population genetics and molecular biology.

Evolution should obviously be taught as fact in schools, and discussions of scientific theory vs fact should also be taught as part of the science curriculum, but that is a slightly more advanced topic.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Burk said...

Hi, Wayne-

What is left to say? If atheism is "nothing", then most of philosophy and all of science is "nothing". In my book, the proper core of religion is love, and if by your argument love and art have to be built on lies, I think you are doing a disservice to humanity. More likely, you are just repeating the common propaganda that the new atheists work to counteract.

And their work has been very effective, especially with the younger generation, which appreciates humor and critical thought, and has been trending towards both gay rights and atheism- I'd say in tandem.

Incidentally, creationism is only an issue in prosperous countries because they are secular to start with. It is a reaction to the dominance of rational thought. Islamic countries don't even have the debate, and creationism is the default position. Superstition is not confined to the prosperous by any means, but is the common bane of humanity. Hopefully, we can set more store by philosophy's role in human affairs (and that of education) and say that truth does not have to take a back seat to wish-fulfillments and fantasies confused with truth.

The issue should be separated completely from art, which is the investigation/play of the human inner life and experience, involving consciously generated fantasy and other forms of expression. Imagination and sensitivity utilize suspension of disbelief, not utter delusion.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

I'm sorry Burk, but this statement of yours seems very odd: "If atheism is "nothing", then most of philosophy and all of science is "nothing"." What do you mean by it?

I am not an atheist, but an agnostic. If I were an atheist, I would want to say (I think) that "that is that," now let us move on to other more productive subjects, which would certainly include philosophy, science, art, and many other things.

My point about atheism is that it is a negation, and consequently unsuited as such to form a basis for constructing a life. Religion may be an illusion, but billions of people think that it provides such a basis. Atheists of course have family, friends, self-cultivation, and professional interests to serve as the basis for life construction, but atheism itself doesn't do the job.

Atheism strikes me as a default setting, achieved when one realizes that there is no further to go on that particular path. It is something that one comes to accept personally, but not an effective weapon in the culture wars. In this respect I would distinguish militant atheism, the profession of a very small number of zealots like Dawkins and Hitchens, from "ho-hum" atheists, who form a much larger group.

Of course, I am speaking speculatively to an extent: I was brought up to be an atheist, and did not find my way to it. I do no know personally what it would be like to overcome the conditioning of early religious training. Yet as a result of my formative experiences with atheism--combined I must avow with the dreadful poverty of my youth--I cannot help but see atheism as a bleak and dreary credo.

Probably we shouldn't have the culture wars, but we do. As someone who has given a large chunk of my life to battling discrimination against a minority (gay people) I do not see that atheism has been a useful tool in that struggle. It has not been a hindrance, but it has not been particularly relevant either.

As regards TGS' question about what was I doing in 1973, that was the year in which I became one of the founders of the Gay Academic Union--at considerable risk to my livelihood. A few years before, I had joined the Mattachine Society, and almost been fired for that.

I too am an admirer of Charles Darwin (the subject of some 30 books in my library), but unlike my late friend C.A. Tripp, I don't see that he is much help in these particular, very real struggles.

As we get older, most of us come to reject gurus, whether they be Jesus, Marx, Freud, or Darwin. One should have the courage to discard such mental crutches. We are on our own, and that is as it should be.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two educated men, and neither knows that Darwin NEVER used the word "evolution?" Because NO theory of evolution exists. NEVER HAS.

Wayne is correct in his Popperian demand the FACT be distinguished from THEORY. And since evolution is FACT, and the FIVE THEORIES posited by Darwin never mention the word "evolution," I think you two are behind the eight-ball.

Educated? I wonder?

1:27 PM  
Blogger Burk said...

Hi, Wayne-

Sorry to get on my high horse there, but your formal negation of atheism doesn't cut it in the cultural setting where we find ourselves. If I were an a-alchemist that would indeed be a dead end of intellect and life. Yet the fact that you decry the rudeness and stridency of atheists indicates that they are not just spouting tautologies, but striking a nerve. When most of our fellow citizens are theists, and this theism has dreadful effects on public policy and civic discourse, gay issues included, then it would seem to be matter worth taking up, and with some stridency.

While one might think that a-anything does not a life make, human rights protesters and activists of other stripes do seem to make a go of such positions, generally being anti- whatever is the evil of the day, whether autocracy, oppression, globalism, patriarchy, etc. So a living critique does not seem to be inherently empty, when there is an significant object to critique. What was communism but a-capitalism, now having turned into capitalism by the irony of history?

I agree that atheism is a default setting and the end of the line, in terms of its own discourse. There are only so many ways to say that gods don't exist. So I do have other ways to spend my time, as I am sure the other new atheists do as well. Yet all the same, atheism needs saying in the cultural moment, when despite the huge intellectual advances and resources we are heir to, the basest forms of superstition and chicanery find homes right under our noses, in the form of creationism among many others.

I am sorry to hear that you do not see this fight as useful. I'll take that as offered, and just suggest that the horizon of the atheism fight is quite different from the gay rights fight- theism is far more deeply embedded in human psyche and may take literally forever to combat.

To GS:

Evolution is generally taken to mean the whole structure of theory started by Darwin so cogently, and continued through today with all its additions in theory and evidence. This is perhaps a semantic point, but theory refers to large intellectual constructs, which can not by their nature be facts. They can explain facts, and they can be true for all intents and purposes, and can be taken as facts in a lay kind of way. But to have such a huge and protean edifice be a fact is a lot to ask. Some areas of the theory/field are in different stages of dispute and resolution, even uncertainty. At the same time, the postmodernists made the very good point that all observations (facts) are theory-laden as well, so you can't really get away from theory in that sense. Sorry to get all language-ey, but scientists do refer to "atomic theory", because however accurate and true, such theories are models/perspectives on curious phenomena, not truth itself.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evolutionary biologists, including E. O. Wilson, were among the very first to insist homophilia is biologically normal, which was quite useful during the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Honolulu, HI, in 1973. THAT is what I did in 1973, helped to eliminate the "homosexual pathology" from the DSM-II. Wilson incorporated the notion in his 1978 Pulitzer Prize book, On Human Nature. Science led the way, and evolutionary biologist were in the forefront.

Maybe THAT does not ring your bells, but most people find it to be among the most important changes brought about by Gay Liberation.

I established the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Group in 1971 at U.C.S.B., since Berkeley already had one. I've been "out" and among the most promoted corporate employees -- not because I'm gay, but because I am a good employee and manager who happens to be gay.

I worked with Harvey Milk and Sally Gerhardt in a tireless effort to prevent the 1978 Proposition 6: The Briggs Initiative, from becoming law (here, Ronald Reagan deserves the credit, not us).

I was instrumental in changing corporate Human Resources policies regarding homophilia in 1975 at three different banks, and at age 25 managed Nor. California's Union Bank Installment Loan Center, passing employee rights for homophiles.

By age 29, I served Hibernia Bank's "gay branch" in the Castro (I was also Hibernia's Private Banking V.P., and headquarters manager by age 31). I worked with AIDS in the Castro in 1982-4, being the first corporation to import "grief counseling," in response to HIV-AIDS pandemic, that decimated the Castro Community. I also secured the services of Richard Jongordon's Neptune Society (to bury us, and he's a personal friend and former corporate client), since mortuaries would not "touch" the gay plague.

I also caused all my employers to implement the "first in the nation" non-discrimination policy for PWA -- before the A.D.A.

I worked with the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Archbishop John Quinn in establishing the first in the world pastoral response to the AIDS pandemic, including the annual Forty Hours devotion at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro, to bolster national public awareness of HIV-AIDS. I was also instrumental in placement of AIDS patients in the Mission Dolores during John Paul II's visit to San Francisco (even if the Prick chose an "innocent" baby instead). Oh, and I am not a Catholic.

We all must work for homophile equality, civil rights, and public awareness, and I have continuously since 1971. I'm proud of everyone's contribution to the cause, and we should rightly extol it. I also hope that we can aid those "neophytes" with suggestions on how to flourish through personal excellence, which is the term I've used for my managerial successes over the past four decades. Good job done by all.

But, I hasten to add, it might behoove two men to get current with evolutionary biology and Darwin's FIVE theories explaining it. I highly recommend Ernst Mayr's What Evolution Is. Oh, and he too, was instrumental in effecting the A.P.A. changes.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Karl Marx never used the word Kapitalismus (capitalism). It was introduced only in 1875, after his death. Nonetheless, we are correct is assuming that his work was aimed against the economic system that we call "capitalism." By the same token it is mere semantic quibbling to assert that Darwin did not describe his discovery as "evolution." In several nasccent forms the idea and term had been common for some 80 years before 1859; everyone knew what it meant.

The 1973 APA decision was achieved by Frank Kameny, no one else. I know this because I have been friends with Kameny for many years. And it was of course Alfred Kinsey who first masively demonstrated that homosexual behavior lies within the normal range. Sociobiology had very little to do with the matter (apart from the work of another friend James Weinrich. which came considerably later).

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did we ALL miss Frank? Was he at Queen's Beach, or Hula's. He sure was not at the A.P.A. that I and others attended. Maybe he was scouting tricks at the "Pink Hotel?" Maybe, he was a Psychiatrist, with electrodes in hand? Maybe it was "his intention," but his attention got diverted? After all, some very powerful and known individuals were present, but I don't recall any "Frank."

Maybe Frank was at the Surfrider, seeking out my Beloved. No not possible. Too old, for sure, and apparently available only to retired art professors. But who does not love to tell tales (and tails) out of school? I just prefer the FACTS, with the appropriate THEORY. Queens, size and otherwise, can tell tails.

Isn't Frank a pederast? Or do I have him confused for someone else? And to think, he did IT ALL by himself? You do buy BIG TAILS, don't you?

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read your "tale," I brought out my Hebrew Scriptures (1 Sam 17), and methinks you think David and Goliath are FACTS.

"Am I not a Philistine?"

"Give me a man, that we might fight together."

"All were dismayed and greatly afraid."

"So David [alone] prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a tone."

Yeah, right? And Jesus walks on water? And Tales from the Vault make "Frank" the Lone Ranger.

Well, you can answer for us which Tales are Tails, and which are fabricated stories.

At least Evolution is FACT, and Darwin's FIVE THEORIES have withstood scrutiny.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

Some ignorance is truly invincible. Frank Kameny was a panel member when John E. Fryer appeared at a 1973 American Psychiatric Association symposium on homosexuality and psychiatry as Dr H. Anonymous, the defining event which led the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the organization's list of mental illnesses. That finally occurred as a result of Frank Kameny's negotiations with Robert L. Spitzer who revised the DSM. Kameny is certainly not a pederast.

Someone who knows nothing of Kameny's role is completely ignorant of the history of the American gay movement. Please, please, try to learn something before you opine, TGS.

6:12 PM  

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