Re: This used to be on disease and immunity
Sun, 07 Jul 1996 18:48:25 -0700

Eric Brunner wrote:

> This is _sci_._anthro_, not a dictonary-of-the-week quotable quote dumping
> ground. If you can't find definitions for terminology in the literature, I
> suggest asking for assistance, rather than recourse to some source which
> has little or no committment to providing a useful (in this context) text
> for definitional clarity. Just to reality check, does Merriam-Webster have
> the _mathematical_ definition of a "field"? If it doesn't, then when a
> mathematician writes "field" it isn't because he or she is thinking of some
> parcel of real estate. Why are terms of art in the discipline of anthropology
> more faithfully/usefully rendered in Merriam-Webster than they are for maths?

First, my purpose was to clarify my own comments, not to dump definitions. As my
comments are based on my own understandings, it is hardly likely that finding the
'terminology in the literature' would be applicable. Nor is it likely that the
definitions provided by asking someone will serve to clarify my own comments.

For the record, Merriam-Webster does provide a mathematical definition for field.
But, as I say, this is hardly relavent to defining the meaning in my own comments.
I have tried to make it clear that I am not a professional anthropologist, and as
such my vocabulary in this field is probably quite limited. However, this does not
mean that I cannot make an effort to express myself clearly. If you can suggest
better terms for the meaning which I've tried to present, then by all means share
them. Until then, Merriam-Webster seems just as good a place to find a match
between word and concept as any other reference.

> Since Aztec "culture" is defined as beginning in 1325 AD, I suspect that
> you ment something else than what you've written, and Mesos in general are
> exculded from your area(s) of prior examination.

Since the topic seemed to have been an cultures existing around the time of
European contact, the Aztecs seemed a good place to begin. Just because I chose to
examine a single culture in depth does not mean that I excluded examination
of other 'Mesos'. I do think I have a basic grasp on the interactions between
these cultures, as well as an understanding of preceeding cultures. However, these
concepts are vague, and my grasp was not enough to utilize these cultures in this
particular post. I think that I wrote what I meant. It is possible that I was not
clear, but my comments, I believe were focused on Aztec practices.

> : As to the concepts of 'backwards' or 'behind', the Aztec practices of
> : irrigation, fertilization, and terracing are still standard in agriculture

> Sigh. These are hardly the inventors of these technologies.

And the concepts of evolution and atomic theory were first presented before the
current era. However, this does not stop us from crediting modern scientists who
advanced these areas of study. My point was not that the Aztecs invented these
technologies, nor that they were the only culture to utilize them. My point was
that they did utilize them, and that they are still heavily used in modern
agriculture. This appears contradictory to the concepts of a 'backwards' or
'behind' agricultural system.