Has anyone ever tried to find out why it is only creationism that is so grossly politicized?
Most other pseudosciences are not nearly as politicized.
One does not see astrologers demanding equal time for astrology in astronomy classes, despite the fact that large numbers of people seem to believe in astrology.
And one does not see supporters of various "alternative" medical therapes demanding equal time for their therapies and theories in class presentations on medicine.
Scientologists are not big on demanding that discussions of psychiatry give equal time to Scientology, for example.
It must be noted that the Christian Scientists are an exception; they had once tried to outlaw the teaching of the germ theory of disease in some places, at least as a proven fact. Christian Scientists believe that the physical world is not real and that disease is really a sort of stubborn false belief. However, the sect's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, had been known to take the painkiller morphine. And some more recent Christian Scientists have been known to put air conditioners in their churches.
[This message has been edited by lpetrich, 04-21-2003]
quote:FYI, there are other countries that endorse non-scientific issues in academia. Once I attended a lecture by an Indian scholar, Meera Nanda. She complained that there is a movement called 'Vedic science' propagated by Hindu nationalists, and it is quite successful in India. As a result, some pseudoscience such as astrology, numerology, etc. is taught as serious subject matter.
I've seen some articles on that also; IIRC they like to present some medieval Indian mathematicians' computational formulas as "Vedic" mathematics.
In the early to mid 20th cy., some other pseudosciences have been grossly politicized, it must be said. But even those have been the exception rather than the rule for pseudosciences.
In Germany, early in the 20th cy., the Welteislehre (WEL, "Cosmic Ice Theory") was proposed by the Austrian mining engineer Hanns Hoerbiger. The Moon is covered with ice, as are most of the planets. The Milky Way is a big ring of ice blocks. Ice blocks passing by the Earth glint in the Sun, making meteor glows, and when they hit the Sun, they make sunspots. The planets outside of Earth are covered with ice blocks, while those inside Earth are covered with fine ice from evaporated ice blocks. An ice block hitting the Earth causes a long line of storms.
The Earth has had many satellites other than the Moon, all of which had spiraled in, leaving big sediment layers. The Earth's current Moon was captured a few thousand years ago; it was captured not long after the Tertiary or Cenozoic Moon spiraled in, causing Noah's Flood and legends of the end of the world.
When someone pointed out how this or that set of numbers did not work out correctly, Hoerbiger would respond, "Calculation can only lead you astray!" And he claimed that astronomers had faked all the pictures that resolve the Milky Way into enormous numbers of stars.
His followers would heckle astronomers' meetings, saying "Out with astronomical orthodoxy! Give us Hoerbiger!" And would apply lots of pressure to get people to accept it. When Nazism was on the rise, the WEL guys attached themselves to it, saying how the WEL represents Nordic heritage and how Hoerbiger was like Hitler -- an Austrian "amateur" who got rid of those pesky Jews and their theories and activities. However, Hitler did not like the idea very much, and his government issued a statement saying that one can be a good Nazi without believing in the WEL.
After the war, the WEL dropped out of sight, but it revived some years later, but without the Nazism; the WEL guys eventually decided that the Moon's surface is not icy.
Going even further was Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union.
Trofim Lysenko was a crop-plant breeder and quack geneticist who claimed that he could alter crop plants' heredity in useful ways, and that he could do a better job of it than mainstream geneticists ever could. However, by the 1930's Lamarckian inheritance, the inheritance of acquired characteristics, was becoming totally discredited -- there was no evidence that it happened, and no mechanism for it to happen. Its last big supporter in the West, Paul Kammerer, had "evidence" that was discovered to have been faked, and he committed suicide in shame.
But Lysenko got some official favor -- official favor that extended to Joseph Stalin himself. And his Mendelist Weismannist Morganist opponents started getting in trouble for "Menshevik idealism" and other sins. Even the great biologist Vavilov, who had discovered the "Vavilov zones" where crop plants were first domesticated, was not immune. He stated that developing a certain improved breed of wheat would take about 5 years. Lysenko claimed 2. Vavilov was found guilty of being a British spy, and he died in a Soviet prison some months after that.
The triumph of Lysenkoism was completed in 1948, when he became head of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The remaining geneticists then "confessed" their "errors" and accepted the guidance of the Party.
Lysenko himself was practically a scientific illiterate; he had no idea of how to construct a controlled experiment, and he considered doing statistics a waste of time. His mentor Michurin did not need statistics, he would shout, so why should he? However, he likely got enough success out of continued crossbreeding to have a continual supply of "evidence".
On genetics, his views were almost too vague to be called a theory. But he believed that genes do not exist, that there is no distinction between genotype and phenotype, and that all parts of an organism contribute to its heredity (the old theory of "pangenesis").
[This message has been edited by lpetrich, 06-12-2003]
Part of the politicazition can be explained by evolutionists also being very politicized.
Most evolutionary biology is researched in a very apolitical fashion. I suggest that you check PubMed some time and see how much politics is in it. In fact, I suspect that that claim is nothing but projection -- accusing others of doing what one does.
William Jennings Bryant for instance, a two time presidential candidate, who demanded evolutionary theory to stop being taught, had to fight Darwinist imperialists in Washington.
Like who? Be specific. Name names.
The nobel prize winner Konrad Lorenz slanted his books towards nazi-ideology, having first published his papers in a Nazi journal.
Darwin, sought for inferior not to marry superior, and wrote against labour unions because they would stifle competition between workers, on account of his Darwinism.
Quote chapter and verse from his writings. If anything, he had stated the opposite, objecting to how his views were used to prove that might makes right, implying that Napoleon was right and that every cheating tradesman was right.
The Hitler youth were taught Darwinism in Darwinist styled Hitler-schools, as part of their political indoctrination. etc.
Quote chapter and verse from their curricula. Adolf Hitler himself had little interest in biological evolution; he would talked about how our distant fishlike ancestors had struggled to live on land and stuff like that.
Apart from that, the issue of creation has exceptional philosphical importance. For instance if we would deny creation by God, then we would also tend to deny creation by humans, and continue on to tend to deny choice by humans. (other mudslinging deleted...)
I've yet to see any convinced atheist claim that nobody ever creates anything. I certainly don't believe that.
[This message has been edited by lpetrich, 12-01-2003]
[This message has been edited by lpetrich, 12-01-2003]
I meant that unlike in other sciences such as physics or chemistry, evolutionism / darwinism is mainly advanced in prosaic books, which books tend to have much political or religious meandering in them.
Demonstrably false. There's a huge bulk of professional literature on the subject of evolution, and Syamsu, if you don't want to study it, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
Syamsu: Science papers aren't easily accesible to me, pubmed only gives abstracts as far as I can tell.
Syamsu, you can purchase papers online in many cases -- you pay by credit card or whatever, and then download a file. And failing that, the abstracts will give good summaries of the papers' contents. If those papers are as blatantly political as you say, then it should show up in their abstracts.
The rise of pseudobiological racism is inconceivable without the intellectual climate of opinion that developed as a result of the Darwinian revolution. (Klaus Fischer, talk.origins)
However, there was plenty of non-biological racism, and even some pseudo-biological racism, before Darwin published his magnum opus. A favorite one was how black people bear Noah's curse of Ham for having been a Peeping Tom -- or worse.
A pre-Darwinian controversy in anthropology was whether humanity had one set of original ancestors ("mongeny") or several ("polygeny") -- whether there was only 1 Adam-Eve pair or several Adam-Eve pairs. Thus, white people would be descended from one Adam-Eve pair, black people from another, Oriental people from another, etc. Monogenists, by comparison, often considered Adam and Eve to be white people and black people to be degenerate white people.
But as evolution became more commonly accepted, these conceptions were grafted onto evolutionary biology, where versions of the debate have continued to the present day. "Out of Africa" is an updated version of monogeny -- a single ancestral human population gives rise to all existing ones. "Multiregional" is an updated version of polygeny -- several populations evolve in approximate sync by exchanging genes..