[DIS] Progress, the scientific world-view, and so on (was: what exactly do anthropologists do?)

Cameron Laird (claird@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM)
11 Jul 1995 11:23:44 -0500

In article <3ts9em$505@shell1.best.com>,
Todd Michel McComb <mccomb@best.com> wrote:
>In article <3ts3s2INN5bi@hpsdlmc1.sdd.hp.com>,
>Gerold Firl <geroldf@sdd.hp.com> wrote:
>>Lets see, what exactly were my grand generalizations?
>I believe we left off one of the more inane ones with your assertion
>that all animals "minimize energy" or some such thing.
>Is there anybody out there who buys that one?
Sure. I do, sometimes, and, by my observation, a fair
number of sci.bio.ethology participants do, and I'm
even willing to urge it on innocent bystanders, as a
useful model. I know it's not true, but it (or the
refinement of it that Gerold injected into this thread)
is a good perspective to have available.
>Damn right. I live in the present, thank you very much. I also
>try to get my facts straight.
>That's it. I'm done with this thread and with you. If you want
>to present any evidence to support your assertions (the two mentioned
>above would do for a start), then I might consider discussing them
>with you. But don't count on it.
I understand that Gerold can irritate, but you truly
are coming across in this particular dialogue as more
nihilistic than I've otherwise known you to be. C'mon,
fellows; I think both of you have more to offer than
this jousting.

Here's a question on which perhaps you can help me.
Let's suppose we all agree on how mainstream North
American Science (capital 'S', yes) sees out-of-Africa-
Eve. Do you know of any interesting cultural variations
in this assessment? One of the reasons I hang out in
sci.anthropology is to be challenged by views and back-
grounds different from my own. Is anyone in a position
to give a (post-)Soviet, or South Asian, context for
the molecular data?

Different sample question: do you understand how the
French nuclear testing, and specifically its impact on
Pacific indigenes, is playing in the Metropole? What
does this say about the nature of culture? Is Gerold's
narrative about the diffusion of "Western culture" of
service in understanding the raid on the Rainbow War-
rior II (or why Burmese and Chinese authorities haven't
simply executed Aung San Suu Kyi and Harry Wu)?


Cameron Laird http://starbase.neosoft.com/~claird/home.html
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