Re: Pig-headedness and anthropology

Ronald Kephart (
4 Sep 1996 15:55:59 GMT

Shannon Adams <> wrote:

>And while I personally believe that an individual has the RIGHT to >decide what he/she believes to be correct [...]

Yes, everyone has the right to their beliefs. But, as I tell my students in linguistics and anthropology classes, unless you can ba=
ck up your beliefs with EVIDENCE you do NOT have the right to have your beliefs taken seriously by anyone else in the context of sci=
entific discourse.

For example, I always have linguistics students who refuse to learn that Black English is, from a linguistic perspective, as good an=
example of human language as any other. They nearly always say that they were taught that Black English is ungrammatical, and they=
claim, they can't change their beliefs. These people have a right to their belief; but they do not have the right to insist that I=
take their belief into account as I grade their test questions. This is because in class I have provided them with evidence that B=
lack English is in fact "grammatical" and that there is nothing in Black English which lies outside the possibilties of human langua=

You could construct a parallel example using the "creationism" vs. evolution "debate". Which one is backed up by EVIDENCE?

Ron Kephart
University of North Forida