Creationism, Black Confederates. (Forum)

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

Creationism, Black Confederates. (Forum)


Pack Your Lunch for Creationists

In his review of Stuart Kauffman's Investigations (Vol. 9, No. 3) Dr. Marvizon is too generous in his agreement on the issue of the significance of the "no-free-lunch theorem" to evolutionary biology. Quoting from the review, Dr. Marvizon states: "Just one example of the many remarkable ideas derived from this approach to the 'no-free-lunch theorem' of Macready and Wolpert, which has profound implications for evolution theory."

This is the idea which has recently been championed by William Dembski in his book No Free Lunch. However the notion that this theoretical result has any applicability to biology is entirely mistaken. Rather than reiterating the case for this myself, I will simply point to sources which are plentifully available as a result of reviews of Dembski's book. To start with, Richard Wein has published an excellent review and analysis of Dembski's ideas: www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/#nflt. In addition, Alan On has reviewed this book and discussed the same issue: www.polisci.mit.edu/BR27.3/orr.html.

--Alan Wright, alan@yahoo.com

Historians and Ideologues

Regarding Christopher Centner's article, "Neo-Confederates at the Gate," (Vol. 9, No. 3), I take exception to his lumping the work of a serious historian, Dr. Eivin Jordan, in with the motley assortment of oddballs that are the "neo-Confederates" Centner is overreacting to. I reviewed Jordan's book, Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia, during my graduate work, and found the book to be solidly researched, even if it lacked a guiding thesis.

While there has been much ink spilled on the ante-bellum lives of slaves, as well as the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction lives of freed-men, there has been surprisingly little done on what was happening in black communities during the war years themselves. Jordan and a few other historians are helping to fill that void. …

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