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  Topic: Is ID/Creationism Largely an Oral Trad?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Kristine



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Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2011,10:52   

I'm indexing a professor's textbook on communication, reading The Origin and Development of Cultures, and also contemplating my own book (nowhere near the proposal stage yet) on the chicken-egg question of the creation of records and archives and a mind that thinks in terms of records and archives. (Ugh, does that make sense?)

A weird thought ran through my head as I read this professor's textbook discussing oral versus written communication: are anti-evolutionary movements primarily oral rather than written?

Certainly, books on "creation science" and ID have been written, but their secondary life strikes me as orally passed down in a manner not unlike Bible studies, in which a presumed authoritative text is interpreted, and understood, and ingested orally. I would consider Bible studies to be largely an oral tradition, just as in the past one literate member of a community reading the Bible to members who could not read is largely an oral trad. Homeschooling could also fall into the oral trad category, despite the use of study aids. (The culture of "Jesus Camp" struck me as placing the oral/experiential above the written text and above cultivated literacy.)

Then, of course we have UD, which is written but which seems to engage in largely oral tradition behavior (uncritically repeating the quote mines of ID "authorities," rehashing rumors and urban legends, personal testimonials (GilDodgen in particular) etc.). I'm beginning to wonder if this professor might classify some online behavior as "oral" rather than written. But then, Pharyngula and other blogs could fit this "oral" category, as well - or do they?

Is it fair for me to label anti-evolution movements as largely oral, in contrast to the obvious written legacy of scientific literature? If fair, what could be the consequences of such a dichotomy?

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
midwifetoad



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Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2011,12:31   

I'm not sure I find that distinction useful, particularly when written communication can suggest oral tradition behavior.

I find it more useful to distinguish between people who are tentative in their beliefs (call it the skeptical temperament) and people who desire certainty.

From my perspective, the content of one's opinions is less important than how one goes about acquiring them and defending them.

Another dimension I find interesting is inner directed vs other directed. I see people of all opinions following the crowd ,or their team, regardless of where the evidence points.

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”let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Pat Robertson

  
Southstar



Posts: 150
Joined: Nov. 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 28 2011,13:17   

Quote (Kristine @ Nov. 28 2011,10:52)
I'm indexing a professor's textbook on communication, reading The Origin and Development of Cultures, and also contemplating my own book (nowhere near the proposal stage yet) on the chicken-egg question of the creation of records and archives and a mind that thinks in terms of records and archives. (Ugh, does that make sense?)

A weird thought ran through my head as I read this professor's textbook discussing oral versus written communication: are anti-evolutionary movements primarily oral rather than written?

Certainly, books on "creation science" and ID have been written, but their secondary life strikes me as orally passed down in a manner not unlike Bible studies, in which a presumed authoritative text is interpreted, and understood, and ingested orally. I would consider Bible studies to be largely an oral tradition, just as in the past one literate member of a community reading the Bible to members who could not read is largely an oral trad. Homeschooling could also fall into the oral trad category, despite the use of study aids. (The culture of "Jesus Camp" struck me as placing the oral/experiential above the written text and above cultivated literacy.)

Then, of course we have UD, which is written but which seems to engage in largely oral tradition behavior (uncritically repeating the quote mines of ID "authorities," rehashing rumors and urban legends, personal testimonials (GilDodgen in particular) etc.). I'm beginning to wonder if this professor might classify some online behavior as "oral" rather than written. But then, Pharyngula and other blogs could fit this "oral" category, as well - or do they?

Is it fair for me to label anti-evolution movements as largely oral, in contrast to the obvious written legacy of scientific literature? If fair, what could be the consequences of such a dichotomy?

In most cultures going back a few centuries you would have an extremely high portion of the population as illiterate. So yes most scripture and creation ideas would only be possible to pass orali. A few detained the knowlege to read and interpret, and preached the word.

It might be useful to take a look at how oral traditions have influenced various African cultures, which do not have handwriting. In South Africa certain myths are still passed down through the generations without any writen text at all.

Marty

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"Cows who know a moose when they see one will do infinitely better than a cow that pairs with a moose because they cannot see the difference either." Gary Gaulin

  
Woodbine



Posts: 753
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2011,00:03   

Quote (Kristine @ Nov. 28 2011,16:52)
Is it fair for me to label anti-evolution movements as largely oral, in contrast to the obvious written legacy of scientific literature? If fair, what could be the consequences of such a dichotomy?

I don't think there's much of a distinction.

Both scientific and religious ideas are usually disseminated via some intermediary 'popularizer'. That might be the press, the pulpit, books, school, friends and relatives etc.

Only an incredibly tiny fraction of ideas are engaged at the source - I suspect the proportion of believers in predestination who've actually read John Calvin is roughly equivalent to those who believe in evolution and have read the Origin.

  
Kristine



Posts: 3037
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 30 2011,22:11   

Thank you all. I too am not sure if the distinction I make is helpful, and I certainly don't want to go snootily around slapping "oral culture" on anything I don't agree with.

It does strike me, though, that Bible study is such an important part of Protestant belief yet it leaves few written records. Any archivist abhors a vacuum with few or no records. This just intrigues me from an info sci/information seeking behavior standpoint - in which, if you are sane, you have no similar interest. ;)

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
dnmlthr



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Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2011,01:15   

This is a really interesting question.

I'm speaking from a position of absolute ignorance here but are there linguistic markers that you can use to distinguish oral communication from written communication, even if the oral communication has been transcribed?

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Guess what? I don't give a flying f*ck how "science works" - Ftk

  
Kristine



Posts: 3037
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2011,09:26   

Quote (dnmlthr @ Dec. 01 2011,01:15)
This is a really interesting question.

I'm speaking from a position of absolute ignorance here but are there linguistic markers that you can use to distinguish oral communication from written communication, even if the oral communication has been transcribed?

Where's our linguist? Hey! Arden!

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 01 2011,12:24   

Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 01 2011,07:26)
   
Quote (dnmlthr @ Dec. 01 2011,01:15)
This is a really interesting question.

I'm speaking from a position of absolute ignorance here but are there linguistic markers that you can use to distinguish oral communication from written communication, even if the oral communication has been transcribed?

Where's our linguist? Hey! Arden!

Just off the top of my head, I think I'd want to view this as a quasi-anthropological thing and not a linguistic thing; i.e., I would evaluate this question in terms of what the 'oral culture' on IDC is, and how it's passed from person to person, and how much it varies from its original published sources.

There probably already have been studies on things like this, i.e., 'folk interpretations' of the Bible. It's well known that most fundies barely ever read the Bible and have an appalling understand of its content, but essentially get it 2nd or 3rd hand via Sunday school, sermons, or Xtian websites.

But in terms of what Kristine says about IDC being an 'oral tradition', I think I know what she's getting at. Several years ago I realized that ID and Creationism, at least as propagated by the vast majority of its believers, is what I would call 'folk science'. As such it's disseminated in a manner that's identical to fundie Protestant belief for most Americans. In other words, your average internet buffoon arguing for IDC is probably no better read in the primary IDC sources than your average fundie citing his favorite passages of Leviticus to rationalize why he hates gays. And they're usually one and the same person.

But it's inevitable that this would be the case: considering that arguing for IDC is basically attempting to argue science, and given that most Americans don't know shit about science, it's not surprising that when fundies argue for IDC, you basically get this sort of bizarre folk interpretation of the IDC literature.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Henry J



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Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2011,21:38   

I think the distinction of oral tradition vs. written was made back when distribution of written material was difficult, either due to being expensive, or due to the target audience being illiterate.

  
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