Re: The Real Place of Fuzziness in Anthropology

Len Piotrowski (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 18:51:07 GMT

In article <> Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> writes:


>> However, the human organism is anything *but* a
>> chaotic system, scientifically speaking.

>Au contraire, it IS a chaotic system, otherwise every one of us would
>be exactly alike. Ever heard of genotypes and phenotypes? This is
>a term we use in anthropology to discuss the difference between what
>is in your DNA versus what gets actually expressed in your biological
>makeup as you go through life.


I don't want to get in the middle of this particular flame war, in fact, I
haven't the gumption to finish reading this entire text. But I would make one
comment with regard to the above statements. Selection processes, whether they
are of DNA or socio-cultural features, are not universally considered
"chaotic" in the sense they have no underlying structure except perhaps random
statistical chance. All choices are not equally weighted and probable in all systems for
reasons that defy "chaos," especially with regard to human sociol-cultural
systems. Purposeful choice is a problem for "chaos" thoery.

Humans have a pool of words and meanings to choose from, but our sentences are
not constructed helter-skelter in random orders and chaotic grammars, even
though the domain of all possible sentence constructions, even only
grammatically correct sentences, is infinite. If "chaos" theory is to make any
contribution to human social studies it will have to come to grips with this
and other examples of meaningful human action. In my opinion, until that time
comes, it seems to me "chaos" theory is nothing more than a fad for the
business management entrepreneurs rather than a serious social-psychological

Just my personal take on the subject.