a super(b) paper on human evolution

Mark P. Line mark at polymathix.com
Thu Aug 11 15:09:49 UTC 2005

Lise Menn wrote:
> I think a major reason for the failure of people to 'not understand
> the methods' of science is that science teachers up until graduate
> school (and even then) - that is, the overwhelming amount of teaching
> received by the population - teach students about the FACTS - which
> is what they will be tested on - and pay at most a little lip
> service to how those 'facts' were discovered and how they came to be
> accepted as facts.

Interestingly and unfortunately, there are numerous well-accepted facts
(or 'facts', as the case may be) whose origins even many scientists would
be hard-pressed to explain:

- how do we *know* that HIV causes AIDS?

- how do we *know* that the average global temperature is rising?

- how do we *know* that electrons can move backwards through time?

- how do we *know* that the mind supervenes on the brain?

- how do we *know* that there is a class of constructions in English that
are best referred to as "raising"?

To my mind, it's far worse for an M.D. not to know the answer to the first
question above than it is for a stockbroker not to know how distance to
the sun was measured. (It's also pretty bad for linguists not to reflect
on the answers to the last two questions above...)

-- Mark

Mark P. Line
San Antonio, TX

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