Re: What Is Natural?

Greg Stevens (
Fri, 27 Jan 95 19:23:00 GMT

In <> (JAMES BENTHALL) writes:

> Yes, culture *began* as a natural
>adaptation to the environment (as Service and Sahlins point out and expound
>on in _Evolution and Culture_) but it has, IMHO, developed into
>something far more complex and "unnatural."

By what kinds of processes did culture evolve to become unnatural? By
natural processes? What kinds of natural processes give rise to
unnatural things, and exactly how natural is that?

>Culture has become the buffer between us and the environment to such an extent
>that *it* evolves in our place.

Culture effects our environment. You're being environmentocentric. Why
are cars houses and cities less valid as "environments" than jungles?

>This is my basis for claiming that we have
>become so removed from nature...

You see, you presuppose that our environment is removed from nature, and
use that to conclude that....

>... that we, as well as our technology [what is
>natural about what I'm doing right now?], have become decidedly "unnatural."

.... we are unnatural. Hardly seems like good logic to me. We are evolving
just fine with respect to our environment. And we change the environment,

Are birds' nests unnatural? How about beavers' dams? Why are they more
natural than cities? Birds and beavers can destroy parts of their
"natural" surroundings because of these creations. Aren't they polluting
the "natural" environment with their "unnatural" acts?

Which, by the way, help them to survive, just as houses help us to
survive. Are bird nests "preventing birds from evolving" somehow?

Greg Stevens

> my $0.02,
> james benthall