Re: Culture & symbols

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 20:12:21 -0500

Oh, this *is* fun.

On Mon, 5 Aug 1996, Robert Snower wrote:

> The tattooing process (the tatooing plus the mentality) is a pretending that
> the tattooing establishes real biological kinship between those tattooed.
> 'Pretending the real link" is the construction of an imaginary link. So the
> "mentality" I speak of is the mental process of constructing an imaginary
> link out of a real biological link.
> Therefore the pre-existing link, from my perpective, is not the mentality.
> There is no preexisting link except the real biological link from which
> indeed the hypothesis was a "play" on. Thus the tatooing process is a
> hypothesis making, a mental creation, about the tattooing, without any
> previous foundation other than the real biological link, whose reality is
> not incorporated into the hypothesis, but rejected, denied, in favor of an
> imaginary creation, which is what makes it a hypothesis. Yet we cannot say
> the imaginary creation came from nowhere. It came from biology, which it
> expressly rejects.

If anyone else can make any sense out of this, I will leave it to them.
It is not worth the trouble to parse the logic of "real biological
links" created by tattoing (except insofar as hepitis or HIV may have been

> When my original statement was made that sociobiology could account for
> societies, animal or human, above the nuclear level, we had come to no
> agreement that human societies have never ever included groups which exceed
> the nuclear families yet contain only relations. We still haven't. It is
> quite possible such societies existed. If they did, then sociobiology can
> explain it with inclusive fitness. If they didn't, then it can't.

Once again, can any one parse this paragraph and get a conclusion other than
"it can't."