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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  July 2007

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE July 2007

Subject:

Re: Why did SftP (the organization) die?

From:

Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 8 Jul 2007 18:21:54 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (100 lines)

"But where are the science quotes???  Aside from a few mild Einstein 
statements, Snopes only has an apocryphal comment on the electric motor by 
James Faraday. Asked if his electromagnetic invention had any value, Faraday 
reportedly said, "Why, Prime Minister, someday you can tax it." "

I think you meant Michael Faraday.  James was his father.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Claudia Hemphill Pine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List              
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Why did SftP (the organization) die?
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2007 15:07:47 -0700

Yup, my recall is that I looked it up once just to see, and with no
published original record, it looked like total urban legend.  Concocted
perhaps with good intentions, to summarize a general trend or encapsulate an
attitude -- as Snopes says, quote, misquote, misattribution, or paraphrase?
What's interesting in these myths is what's being said, and by whom - not to
mention who gets lambasted by the false attribution.  I have no idea why
Carmichael, for instance, is saddled with this one -- though I also have
little doubt that women's rights were, and are still today, squashed by many
male-led minority rights movements, for patriarchal reasons including sexual
access and essentialist definitions of women.

Amazing, though, that such questionable quotes are everywhere, and get
repeated by academics, too. Some that are common in environmental science:

--  the invented Mariah Carey quote
<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/carey.htm>about
famine keeping you nice and thin, widely circulated to support charges of
the ignorance and self-indulgence of highly-paid pop icons (sadly true for
many in sports & entertainment - but whose fault is that?)
-- not invented: the appallingly similar Barbara Bush
"Let-Them-Eat-Cake"<http://www.discourse.net/archives/2005/09/the_modern_let_them_eat_cake_moment.html>moment
when, seeing Hurricane Katrina victims crammed into a refugee center
in Houston, was recorded by NPR saying, ""What I'm hearing is they all want
to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many
of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so
this--this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them."
-- the so-called "Chief Seattle"
speech<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/seattle.htm>,
repeated in every other environmentalist essay or book (including by an
embarrassing number of academics, and in Gore's "Earth in the Balance.")
Obviously not many check the literature, or recognize the over-elaborate
rhetoric as purely Euro-American.  What gets me the most is that the "web of
life" cliche, so overused by ecologists and environmental writers, which has
been popularized largely by this pseudo-speech, actually has nothing to do
with the Nature of spiders.  Rather, it's the web & woof (or warp and weft)
of clothweaver's terms, which go back to Homeric literature.  Weaving wasn't
a major craft for Northwest Pacific Indians, hence its irrelevance to them
as a metaphor (spiders weren't either).  Once the "web of life" metaphor is
properly relocated into the Biblical, Greco-Roman, and medieval traditions,
more useful ideas come to light, such as what this longtime western metaphor
means. Is culture a "weave" of nature and human society, or is nature the
Master Metaphor (the book of life), or is nature a human construction, ours
to weave and pattern to our desires?
-- James Watt, former Secretary of Interior, allegedly working toward that
happy day when "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come
back."<http://brian.carnell.com/archives/years/2005/02/000001.html>
This one, I'd love to see Snopes look into. Like the Reagan "if you've seen
one redwood, you've seen them all" statement, I suspect it's really a
paraphrase of equivalent statements.  Hard to tell, since the anti-enviro's
aren't looking into it, and Bill Moyers, who drew the most fire for
repeating it, owned the error and moved on.

Snopes.com (Urban Legends) is a great reference. I guess I should send in
the Stokely Carmichael, James Watt, and Barbara Bush quotes so she can add
them.

But where are the science quotes???  Aside from a few mild Einstein
statements, Snopes only has an apocryphal comment on the electric motor by
James Faraday. Asked if his electromagnetic invention had any value, Faraday
reportedly said, "Why, Prime Minister, someday you can tax
it."<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/faraday.htm>
What's interesting here, I think, is that Snopes correctly notes this myth
makes politicians look like ignoramuses who are solely interested in
tax-and-spend, but doesn't go on to speculate on what it equally says about
scientists.

Claudia

On 7/8/07, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>At 12:34 PM -0700 7/8/07, Claudia Hemphill Pine wrote:
> >These are epitomized by such classic examples as the reported
> >(Stokely Carmichael?) comment that the only place for a black woman
> >in the movement was 'on her back,'
>
>A friend of mine who is writing a PhD thesis on the civil rights and
>black liberation movements tells me that it is a myth that Carmichael
>ever said this. My friend says that the comment (not restricted to
>black women) was made by defenders of women's rights complaining of
>the way that women were treated. --PG
>

_________________________________________________________________
http://newlivehotmail.com

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