Re: Royal Society Endorses Immediate Green OA Self-Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 20:42:13 EDT

On 2010-06-30, at 12:04 AM, Joseph Esposito wrote:

> No comment about the Royal Society's practices, but perhaps a
> listmember can assist in the origin of the phrase "the side of
> the angels." My understanding is that the phrase was uttered by
> Benjamin Disraeli in a speech in which he challenged Darwin's
> theory (law?) of evolution. To be on the side of the angels was
> to oppose the idea that people descended from apes. To be on the
> side of the angels thus means to oppose science.
> If I have my history wrong, I would like to be corrected.
> If I am correct, however, it would be more appropriate for
> Professor Harnad to say that the Royal Society was on the side of
> the apes. "on
the side of the angels" supporting what is kind, right, or good
"She was on the side of the angels even though it was neither
profitable nor popular." See also: angel, side Cambridge
Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright Cambridge University
Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.

Joseph's etymology for the idiom may or may not be right. (I
rather suspect the idiom pre-dated Darwin.)

That said, I'd be only to happy to see a green policy on Open
Access self-archiving as being on the side of our
fellow-hominids, the apes!

I am right now attending a summer institute on the origins of
language -- --
and happily supporting the hypothesis that language created our
"Cognitive Commons, "and could never even have arisen, let alone
have conferred its untold mutual benefits on our species, had we,
from the outset, clammed up rather than spoken (or gestured,
rather) freely, for all to see and hear... (Paid consultations,
keynotes and how-to books came only much later.)

Poynder, R. (2007) From Glottogenesis to the Category Commons.
The Basement Interviews.
Received on Thu Jul 01 2010 - 02:20:55 BST

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