Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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It only seems natural that scientists would be deeply influenced by their culture in the questions they ask and how they conceptualize the problem. In the case of Darwin; it was at least a brilliant first approximation. A friend of mine who was an engineer at NASA, and deeply spiritual in a non-traditional way as well, considered evolution to be beautiful for it revealed the unity of all life. Scientists love parsimony, sometimes to a fault, there is something beautiful to the notion that all this complexity could possibly arise from mere environmental pressures acting on random genetic variation.

However life arose, there is something elegant and this self-assembly process. Nonetheless, there is no doubt a cruel aspect to it, and I do not doubt (or rather, like to think) that there was some subtle guidance. I prefer to imagine beneficient Buddhas in meditation operating just beyond the physical veil applying gentle pressure so that despite the world's deep flaws, that beauty would be not absent.


...deelpy influenced by their culture, and deeply prejudicial against those who don't share it.


And how does any of this, if true, dispute the overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of evolution that's been accumulated since Darwin? Besides, it's not like ID propornents have any ulterior motives or anything.

Chris Hallquist

Anyone able to provide a longer quote of the passage? (I have to ask because I've seen one too many quotes from prominent scientists taken out of context.)

Darwin was, to my knowlege, liberally inclines, contrary to what you might think from hearing about "Social Darwinism." On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me if he drew on a social thinker like Smith, he certainly drew on Malthus.

And I second Sarah's comment.

Randy McGregor

If Darwin had the good sense to agree with Adam Smith, more power to him.

But that neither supports nor detracts from the validity of the theory of evolution as an explanation of the process by which life has come to organize itself at this point.

The notion that culture influences science does not invalidate science. On the contrary, it pays a compliment to those cultures that contained the ingredients from which the scientific method was slowly put together over hundreds (thousands?) of years.


It seems to me that any similarities between Adam Smith's theories and the theory of evolution are likely due to underlying rules governing success in competition for resources, and not due to the social prejudices of those making the observations.

There is a collosal amount of evidence supporting the theory of evolution which does not require any external 'guidance'.

Although I suspect that individual scientists certainly can be influenced by their prejudices and social environment, these prejudices crumble, with time, in the face of evidence.

Could it be that it is those unwilling to accept evidence or those whose theories cannot be tested (Intelligent Design) and are hence outside the realms of science, have points of view are most influenced by their personal prejudices?

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