Re: Applied Evolution

Nick Corduan (nickc@IQUEST.NET)
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 17:31:13 -0500


> I read this just now as I pulled it out of my mailbox, and wanted to
> ask a quick question. You say that evolutionary thought can help us see
> cultures, not as discreet developments in a historical series, but as all
> united in some grand development of a "single culture." I just wanted to
> know if you mean that evolution unifies historical development, so that
> cultures grow out of each other in some way analogous to biological

To some degree, perhaps. It could be said, for instance, that American
culture is the product of cultural breeding betwen the mishmash of European
cultures and native American cultures and African cultures. IT could even be
said, I suppose, that European culture was also a byproduct of the culture of
its neighbors in the Near East, etc...

That wasn't really the point of the example I gave, however. I've posted up
a lengthy explanation of that one. Hope it cleared it up for you . . .

> evolution. I did not seem any sense in thinking that history is necessarily
> analogous to biological evolution. On the other hand, if you meant that
> people of all different regions of history are in basically the same region
> of biological change, and evolutionary thought will help us see that, then

This could also be argued, but it, too, was not the gist of the example I was
giving. <g>

> what you said seems much more sensible. The problem, then that you rightly
> bring out is where people see separate cultures as isolated entities, with
> no connection to the myriad other factors of life, like our common
> bio-evolutionary region. This is the common problem that all sciences face,
> of course, the fact that no area of the world, or our inquiry, can never
> honestly be isolated from another.

*This* was the point! <BG>

> I believe this is probably an old-hat question for evolutionary

I wouldn't know. <g>

> anthropology, but I am a young Master student, new to anthro studies. My
> background is in other humanites, and philosophy, so I hope you don't mind
> if I have missed the point.

Heh. Don't fret -- I'm an undergrad . . .


Nick Corduan "...there is as much dignity in tilling
at a field as in writing a poem."
( --Booker T. Washington