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katlittrell's picture

words, words, words

I agree. I think one of the big barriers to understanding, particularly in many of our class discussions, seems to be our individual conceptions of words. In normal conversation, it is generally assumed that all speakers have the same definition of particular words. From class discussion, we can see that this is simply not true, especially when we begin to discuss complicated concepts such as evolution which have changed over time and remain controversial today.

Words such as "foundational" mean different things to different people in different contexts. I think that in many of our discussions it is important to try to establish definitions of key terms so that all those involved in the conversation start on the same page, rather than having to backtrack over misunderstandings.

I still think that Grobstein's Tree is foundational, as you argued, in that entirely different sense of the word. For many people, it is the story from which all other stories are explained. Darwin's tree was, for Darwin, foundational enough for him to refute multiple other theories of his time, claiming that geology was wrong, not he, and that it was the classification system of species which needed revising, not his theory.

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