Re: We anthropological "obscurantists"

Gil Hardwick (
Wed, 10 May 1995 03:56:50 GMT

In article <3olmf3$>, Bruce D. Scott ( writes:
>And how both interact with the environment, being constrained by it and
>modifying it.

There is no question that that process is recognised, Bruce. What is
it precisely do you want to know about it?

Before you reply, would you like rather to respond to my post that
you had yourself triggered. Or is it that your pretence at presenting
Dr Roosen, a fellow physicist, to us here as an anthropologist was so
expeditiously exposed.

You have no leg to stand on in fact, do you.

>Too true. I asked a doctor about this, and the answer was that not enough
>is known about the human organism as a holistic system. He said that the
>particular system (cardiovascular) was functioning properly but could not
>say how it is influenced or is influencing other systems, given the
>diagnostics that he has. (This is why the physiology of stress is so
>little understood.) Understanding how these systems evolved in concert
>with each other will depend on (some) better diagnostics and in turn make
>(other) better diagnostics possible.

How on earth, BOTH OF YOU, does this argument place any of the work of
anthropology in dispute?

We are all centrally engaged here in working with community health
professionals, with biologists and ecologists, in epidemiology, in
agriculture and in an exceedingly broad range of activities.

Our interest in anatomy and physiology, on the other hand, is merely to
familiarise ourselves with the ideas and language of medicine to that
extent. None of us PRETEND to be doctors, however, or anatomists or
physiologists for all that.

Familiarising oneself with a particular specialist vocabulary does not
a specialist make. Surely you will agree it takes years of practice
in the specialty before earning recognition there. In the meantime we
have our own practice to follow; our own scientific integrity, and our
contribution to make.

>: Why are human blood groups distributed like they are? How did
>: humans come to be bipedal?
>: In my opinion, these are anthropological questions. The present
>: is structured by the past, after all.

Only up to a point, surely. The work carried out on blood groups and
genetic distribution represents only a very small part indeed of the
work of anthropology. The total corpus is vast.

Even then, the blood group and genetic data available for extant
populations overwhelms on a vast scale any available from "human
origins", such that the latter can only ever be viewed as of interest
in the most dedicated pursuit of the esoteric and trivial.

If somebody manages to win a museum appointment from it, well and good.
Let's just put this idea that such is representative of anthropology
well into perspective, shall we.

And, while we are discussing it, Bruce Scott, I find your response
to the facts presented to you itself remarkably poverty-stricken.

Or is it I suggest, that you SIMPLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW anything that
makes you uncomfortable. A poor scientist indeed, I say!

Not a scientist at all, I dare suggest, but just another among these
crud number crunchers and computer programmers infesting these media.