Bryan’s Quartet, Part 3

William Jennings Bryan (1902)

In a so far successful effort to avoid having to unpack a bunch of boxes that are cluttering my office at the moment, I’m talking about four scientists cited in a footnote in William Jennings Bryan’s In His Image (1922), evidently to support Bryan’s assertion, “If Darwin had described his doctrine as a guess instead of calling it an hypothesis, it would not have lived a year.” They are Robert Etheridge, Albert Fleischmann, and William Bateson, discussed in part 1, and Lionel S. Beale, discussed in part 2. In the preceding posts, I offered sporadic criticism of Bryan for his handling of these scientists, but here I’m going to adopt a systematic approach, listing seven desiderata—accuracy, provenance, currency, venue, expertise, relevance, and representativeness—for judging such citations of scientists, and assessing how well Bryan fares when judged accordingly.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.

branch@ncse.ngo
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