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Evolution is not progress

Arseny Nikolaev Markov nexus at matt.ksu.ksu.edu
Wed Jul 8 15:37:39 EST 1992

una at phy.duke.edu (Una Smith) writes:

>Steve Modena wrote, regarding a comment by Arseny Nikolaev Markov:

>>>What is news to me is that anything is clearer by viewing the
>>>"molecular level."

>To which Arseny Markov replied: 

>> No wonder, Steve. That way you see things "closer". It can be even expli
>> cable when you reduce enough parameters of "environment". But it's nice
>> to wonder. Not many people nowadays can do that.

>Arseny, you missed the sarcasm in Steve's comments.  I think he
>meant that the "molecular level" _does not_ make things clearer.

Thank you for explaining that to me. I, as a poorly educated foreigner
don't always sense the depth of the american(english related?--doubt it)
sarcasm. That's why I answer to that that some people have lost their
ability to wonder.

>By the way, Arseny, I thought it very strange that you refered to
>me as "Ms. Smith" when deriding my comments about evolution and
>"progress".  I thought it strange because, here in cyber-space,
>we usually refer to one another by our full names, or by the name
>that each of us ends our messages with.  In real life, it has been
>my experience that some men refer to a woman as "Ms. Surname" when
>they want to belittle the woman, to lessen her status.  Your use of
>my name was so odd, in fact, that Steve Modena, who corresponds
>with me frequently and has always previously refered to me as "Una",
>used "Smith" in his reply to your note.

I'm sorry if I have insulted you, "Una" if you like it that way. I did
not mean to be rude. It's paradoxical because I guess that's pretty
much an american thing. I've lived about a year in London where a woman
that you don't know is usually refered to as "Ms. X" or  "Mrs. X".
Once again I do apologize if I have offended you.
About bandwith--allow me to have my doubts that you save on it by
skipping the "Ms." or "Mr.". Pardon me, but I don't agree with the
voluntarily and arbitrary use of the word "cyberspace" for a network.

>Perhaps you meant to be ultra-polite, in which case you might want
>to consider refering to me as "Dr. Smith", which is the courteous
>thing to do in academic circles, whether the person in question
>is known to have a PhD or not. [,]

I didn't mean to be "ultra"-polite, merely polite. And in the "academic
circles" around we usually call a "Dr." a person with earned Ph.D.

>I am inclined to believe that you meant to be rude and insulting,
>and to put me in my (mere female) place.  You may be rude and
>insulting, if you like, but using stereotypical sexist language
>will do more to make you look bad than it will hurt me.  It's
>similar to what people would think of me if I were to say that
>you, given your name and the strange spelling of some words (eg,
>"evoluting" for "evolving") in your note, are clearly a poorly-
>educated foreigner.  I am NOT saying that you are poorly-educated,
>I am simply using you as a hypothetical example of how I might
>possibly embarrass myself with seemingly tactless, bigoted
>comments, were I to ignore certain conventions of civility.


Well, I prefer not to answer the speculations of my "sexist" intentions.
But I'll try to be more carefull from now on, so that my language(style)
cannot be interpreted thatways.
BTW "evoluting" or "convoluting" has had some legitimate use in the past
in the system theory. I might be wrong and will check with Webster's


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