Re: Evolution of Sexism

Len Piotrowski (
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 21:17:10 GMT

In article <4vl1r0$> (Gerold Firl) writes:


>The north american indians seem to have done a pretty good job of
>keeping their populations down below the level where they would have to
>abandon the hunter-gather lifestyle, though maize cultivation was
>encroaching on the woodlands throughout much of the eastern seaboard.

Boggles! You mean, as "maize cultivation was encroaching on the woodlands
throughout much of the eastern seaboard" the "north american indians" couldn't
help but begin to overpopulate their econiches? Go figure!

>The california indians were more successful at avoiding the escalating
>spiral of population growth, war, and more intensive food-production

Funny! I don't recall any such "spiral" process. Would be rather easy to avoid
something that doesn't exist, neh?

>how did the woodland cultures regulate their population? War?
>Infanticide? On what do you base your characterization of them as
>egalitarian? Grave goods are a reasonable measure of status
>differences, especially when that's all we have, but is that all we

No need to regulate something that isn't growing out of bounds, eh? Why are
the Woodland Cultures so much different from you Californian Cultures in this
respect? Egalitarianism, by definition, refers to non-ascribed status, power,
authority, and lack of specialization or functional differentiation. Every
subsistence unit (the family) operates economically and socially as every
other social unit. Grave goods are *not* reasonable measures of status
difference in this case - that should be obvious from your California
Cultures. Grave inclusions in egalitarian cultures do not reflect status
differences because - status differences don't exist, neh?

>|> >[snip]

>The example that really stands out is your denial of iroquios
>cannibalism, in the face of large amounts of eyewitness testimony as
>well as physical evidence.

Knock it off, Firl! Your personal campaign to smear an entire culture with the
"cannibal" label is pathetic and boring.

>Your reaction seemed to be entirely
>emotionally based, stemming from a desire to view the indians as "good

Even "good guys" eat their Christ figures!

>|> >[snip]

>That sounds really interesting, though I must confess that I view any
>of your statements about indian egalitarianism with caution, given your
>political slant.

More like your slant into obfuscation. I guess if Firl can't see egalitarians,
they must not exist!

>I must also confess that I don't know wabanaki from susquehannock, but
>here is a quote from powers, _tribes of california_, 1877. Here he
>compares the martial qualities of the california indians to the tribes
>of the northeast:

... unbiased assessment that ...

>[snipped for questional relevance]

> (end quote)

>Powers certainly paints a picture of the iroquois as being more than
>slightly chauvinistic. Do you believe his characterization is
>erroneous? If so, on what basis do you make that judgement?

Do you believe his characterization? On what basis do you assume the truth,
fairness, and objectivity of his story?

>|> >|>[snip]

>A cite? Mr. Olson presented a _hypothesis_. A hypothesis should be
>discussed, with pros and cons weighted and balanced; there is no
>authoritative text with "the answer".

There is a difference between _hypothesis_ (as empirically testable
formulation) and unfounded assertion. Which do you think this is?

>My first reaction to his idea was pretty negative; using the 105/100
>male/female birth ratio, any biological male preferance based on such a
>slight difference in robustity should be small.

"105/100 male/female birth ratio," "biological male preferance," "slight
difference in robustity?" What the heck are you talking about?

>however, on further
>consideration, a small bias might well be amplified by culture into a
>much larger one;

We have some definite evidence of that around here!

>the 150/100 male/female ratio of the yanomamo being a
>case in point. Immediate concerns of military capability are the
>obvious proximate cause of such gross imbalances as that,

Mind explaining how "concerns of military capability" are the "obvious
proximate cause" to differences in *birth ratio* in contrast to something
like mortality rates or living population proportions?

> but perhaps
>a small biological bias could act as a seed from which such customs

I hate to ask: what "small biological bias" is behind these purported birth
ratio differences in the Yanomamo?




"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle