RE: an article on the creationist's plea "teach the controversy"

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Thu Oct 14 2004 - 02:42:33 PDT

Oooh, how interesting - "negative politeness." And what an interesting
project and presentation. Besides the obvious, not responding, what are
some other ways "negative politeness" is revealed?

~ Steve

(PS: humanism could be considered more than just species survival - but I
am happy to see what Bateson has to say, we can peek more at that later)

At 07:29 PM 10/13/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>AH! An answering word..
> I feel humanized. :)
>Steve, thanks for the below. I would be happier to call the curricular
>concerns beyond 'science-itself' "humanism" than to call those concerns
>"religion" -- but I would not be completely happy with that. "Humanism"
>lends itself to a kind of hubris. We need something more, beyond concern
>for our own survival as a species.... I think there is more to pull from
>the Bateson quotes, and I promise to work on it.
>Regarding your note to Phillip, I used Eva's analysis of xmca discussions
>over time to frame my own analysis of an xmca thread, in a presentation at
>the University of New Mexico, "Reflexivity and Its Limits," where I
>showed, in part, how the authors of messages perceived to be 'dominant/
>dominating' subscribed to "negative politeness" (Brown & Levinson), a kind
>of "live & let live" attitude -- an ethic that might be reduced to:
>"Avoid Flaming." The authors of messages that expressed hesitation,
>tentativeness, fear, even, of venturing into the frey (most of them
>graduate students, most of them female) appreciated the alternative, or
>"positive politeness" -- explicit take-up / recognition of all
>contributions. Regarding the notion of "community" here -- the "meta"
>returns, ineluctably.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Steve Gabosch []
>Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 3:48 PM
>Subject: RE: an article on the creationist's plea "teach the controversy"
>Hi Judy,
>Sorry for ignoring you! I'm glad Phillip engaged you on Bateson. I
>personally need more education about Bateson's general approach to be
>helpful in a discussion of his ideas. I appreciated your quotes and the
>encouragement to study him in your post a few days ago.
>As for science teaching and the caveat you raise below - the problem of
>ethics - you make a vital point. Can science really be taught without
>ethical considerations, without taking into account what is good for
>society? I agree with you - it can't - at least, not very well, not in a
>relevant and honest way. Science can be taught without confusing it with
>religion, but it cannot be taught without at least implying, if not
>explicitly stating, what social and ethical choices are being made in any
>science-related activity. I agree that the general discussion of science
>needs to be integrated together in a general discussion about society and
>the projects facing humanity.
>Posing it this way creates some automatic controversy, of course, and this
>is where students - and teachers - (not to mention scientists and the
>citizenry in general) - will have to develop their critical thinking to
>the extent they engage in this kind of discussion. For if different
>ethical considerations imply different kinds of scientific enterprises,
>theories, technologies, etc., then people must find ways to discuss
>science in terms of moral and social issues. What are the consequences of
>employing different technologies? What are the moral and ethical
>implications of these results? Who benefits, who loses from different
>approaches? What are social bases of possible choices and conflicting
>ideas in science? Should decisions about science and technology be based
>on, say, property rights - or human rights? Etc.
>To answer your question, if not religion - what? - I would say: humanism.
>~ Steve
>At 09:41 AM 10/13/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>>Well, Steve, you addressed your harangue to Michael, but I will jump in
>>regardless. I agree with you, with one caveat, which I tried to introduce
>>previously. Science does not answer questions of what is good for us.
>>Scientists funded by pharmaceutical & oil & etc. companies or the defense
>>department use science to water down environmental and consumer
>>protection regulations. Science is not, then, a good-in-itself, a
>>responsible guide to practice -- ought we shuttle questions of 'the good'
>>to different disciplines? I would argue that we need to integrate the
>>varied life projects that we as cultural-historical beings face. I am not
>>arguing for religion in the schools, but for rigorous attention to
>>questions of 'whole-ness' -- ethics. The ethics of how we deal with
>>difference seems implicated here, as well. Not religion, but what?

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