Re: These guard dogs (Re: Evidence for "Big Bang Theory")

Eric Shook (Panopticon@oubliette.COM)
Thu, 11 May 95 02:45:01 CST

In article <3on1da$> carl@SOL1.GPS.CALTECH.EDU (Carl J Lydick) writes:

> Gil's demonstrated himself to be either a liar, a moron, a fraud, or some
> combination of the three. Is that explicit enough for you? There was a time
> when anthropologists as a group had a tendency to lump all things about
> cultures foreign to them which they didn't understand into the category of
> "religion." Their doing so resulted in quite a few uttrly bogus claims. For
> at least several decades, most anthropologists have recognized the flaw in that
> technique. They've learned that you can't, in general, generate a valid
> explanation of some aspect of a culture unless you're willing to take the time
> and effort to learn how the society in question deals with that aspect of the
> culture. In the case of this thread, that would mean learning something about
> the Big Bang theory before categorizing it, as Gil has repeatedly done, as
> "religion." Now, Gil CLAIMS to be an anthropologist. Yet he doesn't seem to
> have learned this particular lesson regarding anthropology. He's still using
> the rule, "If it's not related to food, sex, or shelter, it must be religion."

Fair enough answer. I have noticed that Gil speaks with a great amount of
asperity in his tone. I know that when I first came into this newgroup that
I was lost upon that tone. Without a fuller context it is likely to incite
one to disregard him. I also know that Gil has said some worthwhile things,
and I am glad that he represents himself consistently. I often find his
points to be extreme, but not much more so than many others, and at worst,
it is a point of view that contains anthropological knowledge, unlike many
others here. Albeit, that knowledge seems to be frosted by certain singular
assumptions. I think that the gravitation towards religious explanation may
characterize him generally, but I am not certain that he could be
catagorized as belonging to some old school which was overly dependant upon
specifically turning only to religion as explanation.

Also, while I am hedging all of my bets and posturing here, did I mention that
I had some wicked frozen yogurt earlier this eve?

I wonder if Anthropology in Australia suffers from its very own bias just
like ours does? Could it be that Gil's point of view focuses more strongly
upon areas which Australians really found themselves to be guilty of
stomping on? This would be something like our Western guilt over
modernization. We keep turning right back to that point no matter what, and
eventually we might find that it has shaped our version of Anthropological
inquiry, and out lived its utility. So, perhaps Gil is speaking from the
POV of Australia, replete with its focus upon problems that are very real
and in need of greater intention down under?

In other words, the focus may change as we move along, and I think that it
is highly important to keep this in mind.

It almost shocks me to imagine anthopologists not allowing for this type
of predisposition elsewheres. In fact, regardless of how applicable Gil's
POV is in reality, I have learned not only factual information from him,
but I have also found his sense and form to be informative. He also has
a pleasant vocabulary, and a keen sense of humor.... Of course, I recall
that this was not my first reaction to him, and only after I thought that
there might situational factors attributable to his actions did I loosen

Speaking of loosening up, I do frequently think that Gil needs to back
off a step and realize that he sometimes doesn't make the clearest sense in
this written media. It emphasizes the negative, and is fractured and easily
misunderstood, and easily taken out of context.

Not to mention the fact that he is riding a white horse on this cosmology
argument. Certainly he has had some points, and often I note that the
sci.astro folks have some points. In between though, Gil sometimes gets up
on that horse and rides into battle. Problem is, nobody else knows where
this battle is! I mean, Gil! Come on, old fruits! You often seem to be
suffering some paranoid delusion which attributes great evils to those
from Dr. Scott's camp, without providing a clear context by which your
claims would make sense to anyone else uninformed of whatever past
incursions you may refer to. It certainly makes you, Gil, look the odd one.
Whereas, you probably know what you mean, when you get up on your haunches
we sometimes don't. Which only causes all other points you make to suffer
invalidation in some degree.

(and now, for the little boy appeal.....)

I just wish we could all get along better than we have been....
Its not like we are stupid. Couldn't we just all be anthropologists
instead of enemies? (Quick switch towards the end there to my Grandmother's
old appeal...)

This medium is certainly volatile.

-- Eric Nelson --
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: