Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-12 > 0914457043
From: "David L. Carson" <>
Subject: Re: genetics & genealogy
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 18:50:43 -0500
>Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 18:46:31 -0500
>From: "David L. Carson" <>
>Subject: Re: genetics & genealogy
>How nice it was of Gary to define the arguments you and I might use
>against pseudo (or real) scientists who innocently or otherwise debunk
>your genealogical work.
>In general, like most of on this list I assume, I support him, but I have
>a little difficulty with his commentary in the first two paragraphs--which
>>Tell your physician friend that it is really a misnomer to call your research
>>"genealogy", because he is correct. You are not studying genes or DNA purity
>>and that this misnomer lends itself to the very misunderstanding that the
>>physician addresses. Genealogy is simply a trail to follow. And that
>>genealogists can and do branch to follow whatever ancestor they wish. And
>>that "dilution" the physician speaks of are all your ancestors. You are
>>diluting your ancestors with other ancestors. It is not the DNA you are
>>interested in, it is the adventure of seeing one generation link to and build
>>The closest comparison to genealogy is not genetic science, but history. If
>>the physician has read history, he has read somebodys genealogy. Perhaps a
>>better name for genealogy would the Ancestorhistorology.
>Tugging my forelock appropriately, I would respectfully suggest to Gary a
>modest adjustment to his genealogical etymology. You see, GENEALOGY,
>according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a word already established
>in English by 1300. It derives from Old French GENEALOGIE, penultimately
>through Late Latin GENEALOGIA and finally from the original Greek
>GENELOGA--which meant "tracing of descent."
>GENE and GENETICS, as we now use them, are therefore Johnny Come Lately
>terms. GENE first appeared in the American Naturalist in 1911. GENETICS
>was apparently coined by W. Bateson in 1905 to define the science of
>"heredity and variation."
>So, Marilyn, it seems to me that when we come across obdurate ignoramuses
>like your know-it-all physician, we might simply and gently advise them
>that GENEALOGISTS have a much older pedigree than do GENETICISTS and that,
>although we appreciate their superb work, it has only ancillary impact on
>our own, senior, genealogical science. More directly, I would suggest you
>just say, "Down Boy!"
>You might also point out to such people that Jung, among others, suggested
>many decades ago that the genes apparently carry tribal codes which
>transmit all sorts of information across generations which have nothing to
>do with "familial" characteristics. Might I suggest you refer them to
>Lord Raglan's interesting little tract, The Hero, c. 1935 which has more
>to say on this subject from a non-Jungian point of view.
|Re: genetics & genealogy by "David L. Carson" <>|