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Evolution is not progress

Una Smith una at phy.duke.edu
Wed Jul 8 11:29:30 EST 1992

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.

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.

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.  However, given that you previously

>Wrong! Giving us Darwinian lessons, Ms. Smith forgets to look
>at the modern evolution theory and it's contemporary 

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.


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