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
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.
We can't afford to lose any time when it comes to the future of science education.

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