Re: Biological = trivial?

Gary Goodman (sap@TANK.RGS.UKY.EDU)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 11:51:44 EDT

If I understand what Adrian Tanner has been saying, then the idea is
there is a hierarchy of universality to behaviors. And one that is
influenced by the cultural element greatest among humans.

Whereas, the observed behaviors of eating, eliminating and reproduction
(at some stages of the individual organism's existence) is totally
universal, there is a descending degree of universality to behaviors not
directly mandated by the immediate biological needs, down to those of
very particular application in human culture as the fad of going after a
"street brand" of heroin after a recent rock star's OD from that drug, as being
very much not universal. And even further, to behavior between two
persons influenced only by each other.

With the genetic factors also deceasing in relationship.

That about right?

Gary D. Goodman

Pentad Communications
McDaniels/Hardinsburg, KY

PS On a side note. Tanners discussion of the difference in the shared
amount of genetic material as a criteria of species brought back to mind
the continuing fuss about whether Neanderthal is Homo neanderthalensis
or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis? A sub-species or a separate species.
The two chief arguments for the later seem (especially I note in France
and England) the physical differences between Cro-Magnon and
Neanderthal (I stick with the old spelling thank you), but ever time I
see a dog show that argument seems rather racialistic. The other
argument is the apparent lack of mixing between the co-existing
populations. But here again racial thinking seems at work, this time is
ignoring the cultural element of racism. Perhaps what we see is the
first evidence of racism. With all evidence of "miscegenation" being
killed with the bodies destroyed, or exiled to near certain rapid death
away from the sites of long-term population where we have as yet gain
just about all fossils.

Personally I think the evidence is far too small to be making the
pronouncements about Neanderthals NOT being part of modern human ancestry.
especially when I see some of the mugs in the bit players Hollywood
loved to use to populate its films. Especially the gangster and monster
movies. Quite a few of them could model for the more recent
reconstructions of Neanderthal. And from the few who actually had
speaking parts, seemed to have little better than what vocal abilities
of Neanderthal that we theorize.

Personally I suspect that the human (male especially) willingness to
have intercourse from everything from turkeys to balloon-figures managed
to overcome the "racial" barrier at least a few times...