I’ve Been Used!
|February 4, 2011|
by Juliana Adelman
In theory, there is nothing more exciting for the academic than to find that her work has actually been read by someone and even, gasp, cited! It is less exciting, however, to discover it being mustered in the cause of intelligent design. Someone in cyberspace has seized upon an article of mine as evidence that evolution never happened. Mind you my article does not have much at all to do with evolution or intelligent design. Instead it is about the importance of personality, reputation and media exposure in the consolidation of scientific opinion. Nonetheless, since I do mention Darwin one time it was doubtless this that brought the article to the reader’s googling. I am not going to provide a link to the website, but if you are curious you can google ‘Eozoon’ and it will come up.
The fact that my article is being used by a pro-creationist lobby is slightly disturbing, although I have to admit that the lobbiest in question clearly read and understood the article and used my ideas in a rather subtle and clever attack on scientific authority. While most historians of science are neither creationists nor relativists, recent historiographical trends have offered ample ammunition for these groups to seize upon. Historical narratives depicting a heroic quest for scientific truth are now limited to popular science. Instead, we tell stories of how one idea gathered support at the expense of others offering diverse nonscientific causes including social, political and cultural needs.
This puts us historians in a camp which might be uncomfortably adjacent to that of the proponents of intelligent design and other anti-scientific movements. Of course we claim that it is historical objectivity that tells us to question scientists’ motives and definitions of ‘truth’. I don’t doubt that the creationists believe they have truth on their side as well.
Historians generally like to claim some level of objectivity and avoid using their research to promote a particular social or political end However, there are historians who are open about the ideological inspirations for their work. One obvious example is the Marxist historical tradition led by figures like Eric Hobsbawm and E. P. Thompson. As any of you who have studied historiography have probably been told, every historian is imbued with certain ideological biases that he or she may not even be aware of. We, like the people we study, are creatures of our time and place.
Science, although overtly claiming to eschew social influences is no different. And historians of science are also equally susceptible to the world around them. My work, although it examines the nineteenth century, is informed and shaped to some degree by our current scientific concerns. In particular, recent developments in genetics, medicine and neuroscience all seem to push for a scientifically-bounded concept of what a human is and how it works. Scientists are not so limited as to see humans and society as a predetermined outcome of a set of chemical reactions, but the scientific explanation increasingly dominates. I am worried about the limitations of these explanations and the consequences they may have for human society as a whole. Therefore I acknowledge that I am inclined towards a critical perspective on science, which tends not to privilege scientists as arbiters of truth. So in some way the intelligent designers have simply managed to read between the lines quite precisely.
Piece crossposted with Pue’s Occurences
The Death of Romance in the Shadow of the Colossus
These are the two modalities through which you engage the world of Shadow of the Colossus: In the journey, you are the lost soul; in the encounter, you become the lover and the warrior, carried by your passions into mortal struggles with the Colossi. These guardian monsters, your adversaries, fill in the emotional frame established by your travels through the Forbidden Land.
I Know You Ain't Perfect, But I Like You To Try
DMX’s lyrics have always been excessively violent, even within the standards of the genre. As a performer, DMX gave his all to his audience, sharing his darkest thoughts, psychological troubles and drug abuse struggles. Beyond his darkness, the singer also shared with his listeners his desperate quest for God, by featuring a prayer – usually delivered a cappella – on every one of his albums.
Penny Goring & Rauan Klassnik jst spk, woa
words or pics, it’s all the same to me, i don’t draw lines. my exes mum, after reading a poem of mine, he told me she sed to him: ‘someone needs to get her to stop. will she ever draw the line?’ but i won’t. because i don’t want to. if something happened to me it is mine. i can do what i like with it.
You may also like :
The Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is currently undergoing a revival with a recent exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She has long evoked interest not only because of her distinctive style but also because of her eccentric personality, her dominant — very dominant — role in a circle that in many ways prefigured the Bloomsbury of her grandniece, Virginia Woolf. But there was another strand in her life that was quintessentially Victorian: the imperial. She was daughter, wife and mother of Empire.
On the morning of November 14, 1889, John Brisben Walker, the wealthy publisher of the monthly magazine The Cosmopolitan, boarded a New Jersey ferry bound for New York City. Like many other New Yorkers, he was carrying a copy of The World, the most widely read and influential newspaper of its time. A front-page story announced that Nellie Bly, The World’s star investigative reporter, was about to undertake the most sensational adventure of her career: an attempt to go around the world faster than anyone ever had before.