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RE: [SACC-L] Survey of national populations--acceptance of evolution

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  • Dorothy Davis DDBRUNER
    Brian, You should develop this into a presentation for a SACC meeting. I think that we need to be aware that most church s do not accept the funadamentalist
    Message 1 of 34 , Sep 5, 2006
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      Brian,
      You should develop this into a presentation for a SACC meeting.

      I think that we need to be aware that most church's do not accept the
      funadamentalist view of creation, including the Catholic Church.
      To me what is really happening today is the politicising of religion. When
      a president takes tons of $$$$$$$ from the Christain Right, what do we
      expect?


      Dorothy Davis
      Anthropology Department
      UNCG
      Tel- 256-1099



      "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...>
      Sent by: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      09/02/2006 12:48 AM
      Please respond to
      SACC-L@yahoogroups.com


      To
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      cc

      Subject
      RE: [SACC-L] Survey of national populations--acceptance of evolution






      Out of a very personal interest and history, I pursued my first round of
      Masters studies some decades ago in theology-- as much to understand my
      own faith at the time (from a social, cultural, and historical
      perspective) as to do anything else with such a degree. My background
      happens to be from a working class, Irish Catholic context-- which gave me
      the experience of much "faith" and "mystery," and little encouragement to
      think critically, culturally, or historically, about any of this.

      My Dad was a wonderful chemist, amateur electronics buff (in the age of
      vacuum tube technology, radio, and B/W TV's), and something of an
      ecologist. He was a scientist formed in the context of the "Power City"
      (Niagara Falls, which was something of the birthplace of hydroelectric
      generation in North America), in the home of Alcoa Aluminum, Carborundum,
      Hooker Chemical, and many other scientifically based industries that grew
      with the advent and development of polyphase, alternating-current
      electrical generation. He and the many residents of the Niagara region
      grew in the context of a social order that increasingly relied on the
      products of chemistry, biology, and physics (my dad even worked with radar
      in the Navy, during Second World War--a cutting-edge technology at the
      time).

      At the same time, many of such citizens of the Niagara Frontier were
      working class Roman Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians,
      Jews, Spiritualists-- and more. There were many in our city who were
      skilled, technical workers, and many chemists, engineers, and physicists.
      Local work eventually contributed even to the building of technologies for
      the moon-landing space era, and other pioneering developments of related
      aviation. These folks went to the many local churches, prayed to their
      God, read their holy readings, communicated with spirits (did I mention we
      had our share of Spiritualists in the Niagara region?), lit candles,
      carried holy objects for protection and healing, and so much more.

      The chemistry and physics and engineering didn't wipe out-- or necessarily
      undermine-- the belief systems through which people lived their everyday
      lives. Certainly there was no uniformity of belief in the region, but I am
      sure there were those who understood things, like evolution, as perfectly
      acceptable explanations of the world around them, without any necessary
      contradiction to their "faith." And then there were others who saw an
      absolute conflict! There was even a strange experience of discontinuity
      at times between "official" positions of faith, and what was generally
      left to its own development among the "ordinary people": from a Roman
      Catholic exprerience, it was officially understood even back in the late
      1950's and early 1960's that there was no necessary conflict, for
      example, between "faith and science" when it came to the theory of
      evolution! Yet most everyday Catholics would probably have believed that
      their faith required them to reject evolution, and take the "Seven Days of
      Creation" story literally. But this was the era of the Cold War! And
      because "The Russians" were "Godless Communists" there was a perceived
      risk among the officials of the Church that the teaching of evolution in
      place of a God Centered, Seven Day creation, might undermine people's
      faith all together, and open them to the influence of the
      Athiests/Communists!

      Why don't people (U.S. Americans) "believe in evolution"? It is a great
      question. As a cultural anthropologist I think our investigations will be
      short circuited on this one if our vocabulary characterizes what is
      happening as "invincible ignorance." Imagine if it were an "other"
      culture we were talking about (in Papua New Guinea, or Guatemala) and we
      were trying to understand something like "how could they be so practically
      skillful in some things, and then believe in underworld spirits?" What
      would we think of the anthropologist at the annual meeting who couched
      her/his research question in terms of the "ignorance" of the people being
      studied?

      Certainly, this question of evolution brings our focus right close to
      home-- where traditionally Anthropology has often only reluctantly turned
      its attention. Can we be as "objective" in such attention, as we would
      like to think we are when studying "others"? Is the "evolution debate"
      too close to us, for us to practice the cultural relativism--and
      concomitant, potentially rich research--we so carefully cultivate
      elsewhere?



      Brian

      ________________________________

      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Tbbyrnehom@...
      Sent: Fri 9/1/2006 6:59 PM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Survey of national populations--acceptance of
      evolution


      Jo Brian and all, How about this! Americans like to think of themselves as

      practical people. How many times have you heard "Experience is the best
      teacher."? Yet how many Americans will understand that the scientific
      method
      based on Inductive reasoning IS the experience of repeated experiments.
      Evolution is based on the experience of species undergoing mutations, such
      as the
      flu virus we see from year to year. However, there is plenty of evidence
      that
      some people have invincible ignorance and we just need to face that fact
      also. Of course some people don't accept the fact that there are facts.
      Have a good year teaching. From that old retired sad SACC Bill Byrne




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      Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
      ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
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    • Mark Lewine
      Bill, the story that I was told is that Dubya got his only A in college from Margaret Mead who was replacing a friend at Yale on Sabbatical. She announced
      Message 34 of 34 , Sep 20, 2006
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        Bill, the story that I was told is that 'Dubya' got his only A in college from Margaret Mead who was replacing a friend at Yale on Sabbatical. She announced that she did not believe in grading her students so that everyone in the class received an A.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Tbbyrnehom@...
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 8:29 AM
        Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Survey of national populations--acceptance of evolution


        Hi a all, Lloyd, I am reminded that W. actually took a course in
        Anthropology as an undergraduate and received a "B". I wonder if we could find out
        who was the professor at that time. Bill Byrne

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