February 10, 2011

"Last fall anthropology declared itself no longer to be a science."

Is that a fair statement of what happened?



Note that John Hawks is at the University of Wisconsin—Madison (where I am), which made this other segment — "Does academic blogging fit a university’s mission?" — especially interesting to me. According to Hawks, the UW has always been especially savvy about the value of blogging professors. And here's Hawks's blog. (Did you know it's "Darwin Day" here on campus today and also Friday and Saturday? I guess the commitment to science represented by the celebration of Darwin doesn't exclude calling 3 days a "day.")

31 comments:

PatCA said...

I like this Darwin poster.

Fred4Pres said...

The use of anthropomorphic language in any studies of animal behaivor is considered unobjective. But if you do essentially the same thing in imposing your own personal or societal values on a groups of people from somewhere else--that is still perfectly okay.

That is why athropology is not really science. It could be science, but you would have to start over and throw out much of the work for the last couple of hundred years.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




I’m not sure that it ever WAS a “Science.” Does it have an over-arching, ordering Paradigm? Does it have a Common Lexicon? Does it perform experiments? Those are three hallmarks of a Science.

edutcher said...

I suppose archaeology and a few other disciplines fall into the same boat.

I would assume the use of the scientific method, however, as a means of qualifying findings is still in use.

Paul Zrimsek said...

They should make Darwin Day six days, and everyone can rest on the seventh day.

William said...

Female bloggers tend to be more attractive than the males of the species. I suppose that there is a valid anthropological explanation for this phenomenon....If you think Darwinian time moves slow, you should try hanging out with geologists.

Crimso said...

From your headline, I thought this was going to be an Onion thing.

"I guess the commitment to science represented by the celebration of Darwin doesn't exclude calling 3 days a "day.""

Depends upon the planet.

PaulV said...

Why do I think of Temperance Brennan (aka Bones)? She is actress, not a scientist.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




Temperance Brennan IS a Scientist, Emily Deschanel is an actress….

traditionalguy said...

What science declares itself to know all that there is to know, and lets no new evidence can change their minds? Why Anthropology does that. So it is no science and never has been. They are Myth Makers for the partially insane.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Do they give out any Darwin Awards on Darwin Day?

ricpic said...

The anthropologists keep insisting that I'm descended from schvartzes. What a crock.

rocketeer67 said...

I guess the commitment to science represented by the celebration of Darwin doesn't exclude calling 3 days a "day.")

Well, if this is allowed by Darwinians (i.e., call any ol' random number of days a "day"), it would seem the story of creation as recounted in Genesis gets a boost in support from... Darwinians.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

The anthropologists keep insisting that I'm descended from schvartzes. What a crock.


Ironically, that demonstrates some of the problems with Anthropology…African Genesis is only ONE interpretation of the genetic record, but because it makes certain folks “feel good’ it has become the Accepted Interpretation. Now why having genetic ancestors from Africa would or would NOT make you feel better, today, when they have absolutely no connection to your life, is beyond me, but to some folks it seems to resonate….

t-man said...

Do they expect Darwin to rise from the dead on the third day?

Schorsch said...

We scientists are wary of being accused of religiosity. Otherwise, we would call these three days Darwin Eve, Darwin Day, and Boxing Day.

PaulV said...

Rocketeer67,
In Genesis they were counting days before there was night and day. I think that the opponents are being too literal. It was a list and not a calendar.

Triangle Man said...

That is not a fair statement of what happened, but it is a fair statement of what some people wanted to happen.

John Hawks said...

Do they expect Darwin to rise from the dead on the third day?

In our case, it's the Neandertals that rise on the third day!

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I guess the commitment to science represented by the celebration of Darwin doesn't exclude calling 3 days a "day."

D'oh! You got them! I'm sure that must sting like a knife!!!

Joseph said...

Will Sociology, the Voodoo of Liberal Arts colleges, soon follow?
At Notre Dame, these who flunked out of other majors slid into the Sociology department.

Big Mike said...

@Joe, you are tantalizingly close, but just off the mark.

The two hallmarks of a science are (1) its theories make predictions that can be tested (by experiments or otherwise); and (2) it is willing to change its theories when falsified by tests.

This is, BTW, why liberalism is unscientific. It predicts certain behaviors in response to financial investments or in response to forms of coercion, the predicts fail to match reality, and the response is always that the tests weren't done right (socialism, Marxism) or not enough money was thrown at the problem (the so-called stimulus bill).

jimspice said...

I don't think so. If science had died, the Koch brothers would have thrown the biggest party ever seen by man.

Revenant said...

They should make Darwin Day six days, and everyone can rest on the seventh day.

That is a hilarious idea. I really wish I'd thought of it. :)

Revenant said...

African Genesis is only ONE interpretation of the genetic record, but because it makes certain folks “feel good’ it has become the Accepted Interpretation.

That's one of the stranger claims I've read this week.

The theory that all humans are descended from common African ancestors was first posited in the 19th century and gained widespread acceptance during the first half of the 20th century. This was not a time during which Europeans were eager to claim African ancestry.

The theory is almost universally accepted today because it is separately confirmed by fossils, archaeological records, and mitochondrial haplogroup distribution. We can say with a very high degree of certainty that either all our ancestors have a "recent" African origin, or *almost* all of them do.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say with this comment, but I don't have one friend who looks like either one of these people.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've seen them, and I've met them, but we are not friends.

My music collection, alone, would intimidate the both of them.

Dan said...

Per Ann's aside about Wisconsin and professors blogging, I think the University is being very smart and forward-thinking by encouraging the profs. I know my perception of quality for Wisconsin is higher because of Althouse, and my perception of UT is higher because of Instapundit. Both were neutral at best ten years ago.

JAL said...

That's okay.

Here in NC we have a state highway engineer muckety muck who is really an anthropologist.

Maybe he was one of those who jumped off the anthropology ship. Or was on the governor's personal Christmas card list. Or something.

Speaking of AAA Fail -- my first word association is: Margaret Meade

JAL said...

I have always had trouble with the "social sciences."

Much eevil has been done in their name.