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The sun always rises: Scientists also need semantics

  • Gordon M. Burghardt (a1)


Penn et al. do not demonstrate Darwin made a mistake, because they largely ignore the semantics underlying the meanings of “degree” and “kind.” An analysis based on the work of Mortimer Adler shows such terminology conflates at least three different meanings of “kind,” only one of which challenges Darwin – and one which the authors almost certainly would reject.

We must also admit that there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the higher apes, than between an ape and man; yet this immense interval is filled with numberless gradations.;>

— Charles Darwin (1871, p. 35)

The distance between man and ape is greater than the distance between ape and ameba.;>

— William Gaylin (1990, p. 8)



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Adler, M. J. (1968) The difference of man and the difference it makes. University of Chicago Press.
Burghardt, G. M. (1977) Of iguanas and dinosaurs: Social behavior and communication in neonate reptiles. American Zoologist 17:177–90.
Darwin, C. (1871) The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. John Murray.
Gaylin, W. (1990) Adam and Eve and Pinocchio Viking.


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