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HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE.

Chair: Robert Hamilton, Mississippi College

Vicechair: Robert Waltzer, Belhaven College

FRIDAY MORNING

Deer Isle

8:30 THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT

Robert G. Hamilton, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS 39058

The Human genome Project is another major step in the development of our understanding of life in general, and human life in particular. At each step in the development of our understanding of life, the loss of mystery has had minor to profound effects on our sense of self, and related ethical issues. The Human Genome Project will allow for the definition of a human purely in terms of the genome. The implications of such a definition are profound, not only relating to well known issues such as health care, but in allowing for a whole new means by which individuals can be categorized. Such implications raise the central issue of such privacy to both the individual and society in general. The Human Genome Project will allow for a development of a sense of self that includes a more complete understanding of our genome, and thereby, our biological "strengths" and "weaknesses." The interaction of this view of self with societal norms, also based on a more complete knowledge of genomics, has the potential to radically alter ethical practices, particularly in areas such as government, clinical practice, insurance risk assessment, education, and research.

9:00 MiniSymposium on Biological Species

A BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE CONCERNING SOME CURRENT ARGUMENTS ON THE NATURE OF SPECIES

Kenneth J. Curry [*] and Paula J. Smithka, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Confusion concerning the concept of species is inevitable because it has served distinctly different groups within biology and because of uncertainty as to the nature of species. The most embracing concept of species should fit all subdisciplines. It should fit our intuitive concept of natural kinds, it should reflect phylogeny, it should include a mechanism for evolution, and it should have pragmatic and predictive value. The most widely applied concept in recent years, the biological species concept, postulated species as a group defined by reproductive isolation. This met some of the requirements for a species concept, but it has proven not to have good predictive value outside of a few groups and apparently does not reflect phylogeny accurately or promote a reasonable mechanism for evolution. Recent candidates for he species concept have included Van Valen's ecological species based largely on cohesion through ecological forces, Cracraft's evolutionary species based on diagnosable groups, and Templeton's cohesion species that combines interbreeding populations and environmental constraints. Mishler and Donoghue have promoted a case for a pluralistic species concept that would embrace different concepts or different groups of organisms. Philosophers are debating whether species should be treated as individuals or classes. The weight of argument seems to be on the side of classes, but the nature of both classes and individuals is still fertile ground for discussion.

A PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE CONCERNING THE DEBATE REGARDING THE STATUS OF SPECIES: CLASSES OR INDIVIDUALS?

Paula J. Smithka [*] and Kenneth J. Curry, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Species have historically been considered to be classes or groups of individual organisms. Recent literature suggests that species should not be regarded as classes, but rather as individuals, analogous to particular organisms. Ghiselin and Hull maintain that in order for species to be units of evolution, they must be historical entities. Their contention is that classes are atemporal, and hence, ahistorical concepts and therefore cannot be units of evolution. Individuals, on the other hand, exist within a spacio-temporal framework, and so are historical entities. This is why Ghiselin and Hull think that species are better thought of as individuals. We examine this debate and argue that the notion of species as individuals generates problems o.f its own and maintain that species really are better thought of as classes and that classes need not necessarily be ahistorical.

10:00 Break

10:15 WHAT HAPPENED WHILE FOUR GENERATIONS OF WHITFIELDS STUDIED CHEMISTRY IN MISSISSIPPI

Johnnie-Marie Whitfield, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA and Millsaps College, Jackson, MS 39210

Four generations of Whitfield women in my immediate family have studied chemistry in central Mississippi for over 100 years as well as three generations of Whitfield men. The threads of these lives weave an intriguing web with numerous, dramatic chemical advances that have directly impacted their lives as well as many others in the twentieth century. Family anecdotes will be intertwined with materials from the Chemical Heritage Foundation archives in this fast-paced presentation. Support from Millsaps College and the Chemical Heritage Foundation is gratefully acknowledged for this presentation.

10:45 MISSISSIPPI SECTION OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY SALUTES POLYMER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Johnnie-Marie Whitfield [1][*], Stella Elakovich [2][*], and Robert Y. Lochhead [2][*], (1.) Millsaps College, Jackson, MS 39210-0515 and 2University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5043

On February 19, 1999, the Mississippi Section of ACS honored the Polymer Science Department at USM with a Global Salute as part of the International Chemistry Celebration Year activities. The Section was then invited to make a presentation at the National ACS Meeting in New Orleans in August of 1999 in the History Division. Come and share the latest version of this team presentation by the Councilor, the 1999 Chair of the Mississippi Section, and the Chair of Polymer Science Department -- now part of the new School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at USM.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Deer Isle

1:00 THE MYTH OF REDUCTIONISM: PROBLEMS POSED TO REDUCTIONISM BY KUHN'S THEORY OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS

Edison M. Williams III, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 3 9406-5024

The issue of reductionism is important for science. Reductionism claims that entities, laws and theories can be reduced from the more complex to a simpler form. For example, the reduction of sociological trends to theories of genetic mapping. The purpose of this paper is to provide an examination of reductionism and to explore the difficulty and, in fact, the impossibility of achieving such a goal. 'Reductionism is a vague term unless it is accompanied by qualifiers. So unless 'reductionism' is defined more stringently, the goal of reductionism may be viewed as ambiguous. The three qualifiers are ontological, methodological and inter-theoretic. Within the parameters of this paper all three types of reductionism will be challenged with inter-theoretic being given the most attention. Reductionism in its most general sense assumes the existence of two elements, transtheoretical terms and a cumulative progression of scientific development. Both transtheoretical terms and a cumulative progression of scientific de velopment are challenged by Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions with the specific challenge arising in Kuhn's description of paradigm shifts and the resulting incommensurability of such paradigms. If a Kuhnian perspective of scientific development is accepted and I argue that it should be, then the goal of reductionism can not be achieved.

1:30 EVEN MODEL BASED SCIENCE IS STILL DRIVEN BY LINGUAL THEORY

Benjamin Maddox, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

In this paper I intend to show that scientists are forced to use lingual theories even when the methodology of models, described by Aronson, Harre, and Way, in their book Realism Rescued, is used. According to Realism Rescued theories are models and models are ontological chunks of the world. Aronson, Harre, and Way try to show that science is reality driven and not a function of lingual theories or paradigms. My point is that in most modem experimentation and/or modeling the data is too complicated to understand without some sort of key for translation. I intend to show that when scientists attempt to use the methodology of Realism Rescued their views will still be a function of lingual theory and not a direct line to reality because of the complexity of the data used.

2:00 Break

2:15 INVESTIGATION INTO THE ONTOLOGICAL NATURE OF MENTAL STATES AND PROCESSES

Takasha Lewis, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Twenty-five years ago neuroscience was forever changed with the discovery of the opiate receptor in the brain. This led to the discovery of the body's natural opiates known as endorphins. Endorphins, a class of proteins known as peptides, were found to regulate our behavior, mood and health. This pinnacle discovery, and the research that followed spawned debate after debate over the real nature of mental states and processes. Are these events reducible to processes of a complex physical system--the materialist thesis? On the other hand, are mental states and processes the result of a distinct kind of phenomenon that is nonphysical in nature--the dualism thesis? My goal is to analyze the mind-body debate in conjunction with its related scientific research, and formulate an answer to the ontological question, --what is the essential nature of mental states and processes?

2:45 SCIENTIFIC-SPIRITUAL APPROACH OF HEALING: ANCIENT INDIA'S GIFT

S. Kant Vajpayee[*] and T.M. Parchure[*], University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406 and US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS 39180

Several fields of science such as mathematics, astronomy, pharmacy, and medicine were highly developed in ancient India. Some of the pioneering literature is available in Sanskrit even today, and has been translated in other languages. The pharmaceutical science as an element of the Ayurveda deals with the use of bio-ingredients derived from flora and fauna in healing human ailments. Since they are already associated with the living tissues of plants and animals, their use has minimal side effects and the treatment usually offers permanent cure. The bio-ingredients are widely used in India for medicinal purposes in competition with the Western inorganic synthetic medicines. Diet control, fasting, self-discipline and use of mental power are some of the techniques of treatment leading to healing. Yoga and meditation, now popular in the West, are the other ones. The human body is spiritually considered to be a microcosm of the whole universe created from five "spirits"--earth, water, wind, space, and fire (cosm ic energy). Based on a strong mind-body interaction, it is believed that there are eight strategically located centers in our body; their excitation and control lead to a long, happy, and healthy life. This concept, not well known in the West, will be discussed in the presentation.

3:15 Break

3:30 CREATION SCIENCE AND THE PRINCIPLE OF TOLERANCE: AN ILL-CONCEIVED PHILOSOPHIC PLOY

Michael J. Fitzgerald, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Creation "scientists" usually invoke a Principle of Intellectual or Political Tolerance in order to have their views taught in High Schools or Universities along side evolutionary theory. The paper will argue that such an invocation is an ill-conceived philosophic ploy for the creation "scientist" for several reasons. 1) A Principle of Intellectual Tolerance is not a principle of philosophic relativity that would maintain "All explanations are equally plausable." 2) There is no good reason to suppose that Creation "scientists" would abide by such an intellectual principle, if their views were in fact taught in tandum with evolutionary theory, and 3) A philosophically tolerant intellectual outlook does not require one to give "equal treatment" to scientifically worthless views.

4:00 POSITIVE EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN IN THE NATURAL WORLD

Robert Waltzer, Belhaven College, Jackson, MS 39202

This presentation will examine intelligent agency, consider applications in the biological world, and conclude with a perspective on scientific progress. (See Dembski, 1999 Touchstone 12:4 p. 76). Fields such as forensic science, archaeology and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) have developed criteria to evaluate intelligent agency. First a determination between necessity and contingency is made. If contingency is evident then a further determination is made between chance and design. In the movie Contact the sequence of beats and pauses of the space signal evidenced design in that it was not explainable by physical laws and displayed a pattern containing information. Contingency can also be evidenced by the detection of purpose. In biological systems the parts of the eye evidence purpose. Also, DNA shows order and possesses information, which is not reducible to the laws of biochemistry. This is positive evidence for design in the natural world. And it can be taken further. Just as one sp eculates about the nature of ancient civilizations, speculation about the nature of the designer can provide a foundation for the generation of new hypotheses regarding both the designer and that which is designed. The designer displays great knowledge, skill, organization, economy, and creativity and these characteristics can assist in the discovery of as yet unknown facts. Mainstream science should be open to design theory because it follows the rules of science and could lead to discovery.

4:30 Divisional Business Meeting
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Publication:Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:2091
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