Dogma

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Tue Sep 30 15:54:13 CDT 1997


James Lyons-Weiler wrote:

>Religion and mythology have their place in society, but
>not here.  Therefore, I suggest we stop wasting bandwidth and time on a
>useless pursuit of the ethereal.  It  would be a shame to have to invoke a
>moderator to ensure that the discussion of the science of taxonomy stays
>scientific.

It depends, I think, on how far afield the discussion strays, but I would
echo Peter Rauch's sentiments (and he, after all, is the moderator), that
this issue *IS* a concern to us all. If evolution is no longer taught in
schools, if our politicians start passing *laws* which affect us all,
including the next generation, based on anti-evolution propaganda, this
most certainly should be something evolutionary biologists should be
prepared to fight, and a discussion such as this one can help us. Our
livelihood, and our primary contribution to society, is at stake here,
ultimately, and none of us is immune to the threat.
        Would you prefer to refrain from even thinking about such matters
until the day UNR eliminates your position because the board of trustees
has privately decided that no one on *their* payroll should be studying
evolution? It may seem ridiculous, but I would NOT be surprised to see
another "Scopes Monkey Trial" in the headlines in the next 5-10 years, with
someone getting fired (or worse, physically assaulted) for teaching
evolution someplace like Alabama, which *already* requires anti-evolution
disclaimers, by law, in all their textbooks. If the people who STUDY things
like speciation won't stand up for evolution, who will? Much to my shame, I
had an opportunity to attend a presentation by Duane Gish here on campus
last week, but didn't make the time to go. Had this discussion already
begun then, I might have been more motivated to go (and make a public
spectacle of myself, for better or worse). I *should* have gone, and I'll
probably never have another such opportunity. In an ideal world, there
would be at least one well-prepared biologist in *every* crowd attending
his talks. Part of that is preparing biologists, and messages like the one
Greg Zolnerowich posted here helps that cause.

Sincerely,

Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
                  http://www.icb.ufmg.br/~dyanega/
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82




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