John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Sun Aug 20 18:27:51 CDT 2000

Further (and perhaps final) response to Start Poss:

>Sophistry is about crafting convincing argumentation based on false

My understanding of sophistry was fallacious argument for the purposes of
deception. Ironically I would argue that Darwin's biogeography represents
an example of convincing argumentation based on false premises.

>  I certainly do not understand the concept of
>science based on sophistry.

Neither would I. My reference was to the inclusion of sophistry as a
technique used within science.

> >
> > It has been argued by philosophers of science that falisifiability is not
> > the last word on what science is or does.
>  Science is bounded by the proposition that observation of the
>natural world can make assertions of fact concerning that world untenable.

But assertions rendered untenable by observation have been retained by
scientists at least in some circumstances according to Lakatos who
pointed  out that such positions actually resulted in the discovery of new

>  In any event, I think turning this into a philosophical
>discussion does a disservice to other subscribers of TAXACOM and I have no
>wish to
>debate philosophy here.
>It would be an inappropriate use of TAXACOM.

My apologies. I did not know of this demarcation criterion for TAXACOM
given that most of the theoretical discussions on the list were
"philosophical" in nature.

>  My only point in commenting on
>your remarks was that I could not let the notion pass that somehow,
>have accomplished anything in the arena of science education, except to create

And my basic point would be that creationists are not so much creating
confusion as exploiting it due to the abysmal level of science teaching.

>It didn't strike me as obscure

Understood, but my request for clarification was certainly genuine.

>It seems evident to me that because intelligence concerns the
>capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, it was (nearly) self-evident that
>intelligence is an essential component of critically evaluating the
>of observations bearing upon the reality of organic evolution by means of

This is an interesting observation on intelligence which was certainly not
self evident in the original statement. According to the criterion set by
Stuart I am rendered unintelligent for failing to accept the "reality of
organic evolution by means of natural selection" - orthodox selectionists
are intelligent but unorthodox non-selectionists are not. So Haacke, Rosa
and Croizat were stupid, while Darwin (at least when he did not slip into
his "laws of growth"), Wallace, Simpson, Mayr, Gould etc. were, or are,

John Grehan

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