Re: Incest taboos

Gil Hardwick (
Fri, 19 May 1995 11:34:03 GMT

In article <>, Joseph Askew ( writes:
>There is a certain level of proof every rational person must
>demand. Especially those with claims to be doing science.
>This does not exclude Anthropologists. Obviously in a claim
>like this the question of proof is going to come up.

This here thread still goes under the Incest Taboo header, Joseph, yet
it has gone all the way around through Dr Roosen's ideas about the
psychic powers of Hawaiian Kings who mated with their own sisters, to
the Japanese Emperor and World War 2 to the Europeans in Asia and now
back again here to the question of scientific proof.

Let's recap, shall we? What claim has been made which is drawing your
attention back and back again like a bee around a honey pot, and what
proofs do you require either supporting or refuting it.

>Nor do I. But I do not see that it follows from the observation
>of Charles Manson that he has psychic powers that he does have
>psychic powers. Proof is required before any rational person
>accepts the claim.

Is it these claims to "psychic powers" which worry you so? Perhaps
that is where we differ, yes?

Having spent so much of my life away out in the bush, and up in the
desert with people among whom I have experienced some pretty strange
things indeed, I simply don't care that much any more what someone
else in the city might expect of a "rational person". Here on this
Internet thingy I don't find much rational either; people to my mind
can be irrational in the extreme at times.

My observations as a person however, which I am quite free to express
as such, do not require scientific proof. Rational people can accept
or reject what they will, without it bothering me.

Were I to claim that I have finally discovered scientific proof which
explains these phenomena, on the other hand, then I myself may perhaps
accept your caveat.

>Because noone is that gullible. Nor is it a question of
>presupposing problems but a healthy degree of skepticism.

Who is "that gullible", Joseph? You must be more clear in what it is
you are talking about here. Are you complaining perhaps about the
"clairvoyants" who make a living selling tickets to their shows?

That they do make a living out of it demonstrates that people are in
fact "that gullible". The problem as I see it there, however, is the
not the entertainers themselves but the violent fascist "skeptics" who
invade their entertainments and decide wholly unto themselves that it
is to be banned.

People ARE that gullible, Joseph, else you'd not be worrying so.

Which goes nowhere at all near to explaining why you would want to be
discussing the matter here with me.

>Yes it does actually. Any claim is just a claim.

Who says it is otherwise, Joseph? What is prompting you to say all
this to me, in particular?

>I am perfectly aware of what I am posting about. The problem
>does not lie with me. The psychic phenomena was brought up
>by someone who claimed that stone age people had it, which I
>doubted, and which you have been going on about ever since.

I don't know what problem lies with you, or anybody else for that
matter. As I had replied to Dr Roosen, so I reply to you as well.

>Not at all. I think that you are the only confused person
>here. Perhaps it is over work. I certainly am not.

Yes I am confused. Not it is not overwork. Yes please do explain what
it is you want from me.

>Because it is something that most people would suspect
>the Japanese wanted to avoid. If they failed to foresee
>it it brings into question any claims they might make to
>special psychic powers.

"Most people would suspect"? Surely you merely suppose that if some
people suspect that the Japanese wanted to avoid having the bomb
dropped on them if they were in fact psychic they would have known
about it ahead of time and maybe sent saboteurs into Los Alamos to
destroy the laboratory years before, and even then failed because
the Allied force was too strong so they couldn't do anything about it
anyway and therefore COULD NOT have been psychic as third parties
unknown had claimed, then we would have had a different story to
tell and maybe the Japs would not have been buying Australia they had
won anyway and we would have all been happy little vegemites after

Or are you saying that Hirohito being divine might simply have waved
his arm like Yoda The Jedi and dumped the entire Pacific Command on
the North Pole, and because he did not therefore he was not divine
after all CONFIRMED by his radio announcement that he is not in fact
and that proves it.

Sorry, Joseph, I'm getting more than lost here. I think maybe I'm in
the middle of some Japanese cult movie here. There was one on SBS I
had seen a couple of years ago, you know, about these four pubescent
boys kept at a private boarding school over the entire holidays.

They were quite pretty, you know, hairless of upper lip and chin as
Asians are wont, and their kissing and canoodling was really very

>I have no general USphobia that causes me to bring it into
>the conversation.

You don't? How about four pretty japanese school boys kissing?

>I don't like to presuppose things. Let's just call it research
>to be done.

Like my efforts at trying to discover where this rambling exchange is
finally goiong to take us both . . .

>Then when I described the Japanese as intruders your objections
>were simply irrelevant and their out of confusion or deliberate
>malice? Why did you bother to bring the Europeans into it then?

Oh, sorry, the Australians and the Americans are European, yes? So
are the European Europeans who wanted their colonies back.

>I never claimed otherwise, it is a red herring of your own

Yes, my imagination is really beginning to run wild on this one. I
can just see an entirely new genre emerging at Cannes, were anyone to
bother getting any of it on film.

>Which is simply irrelevant and clearly if you had a point at
>the time you brought the Europeans into it you have forgotten
>by now. I suggest we keep them out of it.

Oh, which Europeans do you want left out? The ones in the prison
camps or the ones who dropped the bombs.

Are they the same bombs the Emperor had failed to clair voir, by

>So it was. Odd that the Japanese Emperor, for a man with
>Divine abilities it has been claimed, did not forsee any
>of this. Or perhaps any rational person would stick to
>the original claim I made which is that such powers have
>no proven existence.

Ah, here we are back again talking about poor old Hirohito. Sorry for
all of the above, but it seems I was confused. I'm feeling much
better now.

Perhaps you might explain what being divine has to do with divine
abilities. What are divine abilities, Joseph?

That Hirohito didn't have else he'd have seen what was coming.


Everything under the sun is arguable. We can take anything we want
and argue about it until kingdom come, as you wish. I wonder if we
both work hard enough at it, we can keep this silly thread running
for as long as, say, The Mousetrap?

>The relevance of this escapes me but no doubt you will come
>up with something. What is this obsession with Europeans?

I can only guess the Europeans Hirohito failed to see coming, him not
really being divine as he'd claimed. Or maybe the Europeans who had
dropped the bombs that he didn't see coming either?

I'm getting lost again, Joseph . . .


I guess so. Did you know that our young Albert had discovered how to
split the beer atom in Tasmania before swimming off to the mainland
to fall on love with one young Mary Curry? No, there was no incest
taboo invoked since they weren't even remotely related.


>I am not going to refute any of that simply because it is
>neither here nor there and bears no relation to anything
>I have said. If you want to play by yourself don't let me
>stop you. Usually though a dialogue has two participants.

We have a dialogue? Oh. Sorry. You were talking about Hirohito not
being divine else he would have seen the bombs coming, is that right?

I got lost with it somehow, what with all these fiery debates going
on around us about incest taboos and programming genetics into
computers and people rooting their sisters and whatnot, while Dr
Roosen began rabbiting about Hawaaiian Kings and then you came along
on Americans and nuclear bombs being dropped in Japan.

I just plain got lost, Joseph old chaps. Now that it has taken on a
life of its own, however, maybe we can get some money together and
make some sort of surrealist cult movie about it, eh?

>Nice to see you have been bothering to read any of this
>thread at all. Comforting somehow. That was what I was
>replying to originally and what I have been discussing
>since. Why have you been following up my posts if you
>are not interested in the discussion?

I know it may sound a really pathetic sort of excuse, but maybe I had
an idea that you might eventually get back to discussing incest
taboos, which is what the thread is about. See the header above.

Why have I been following up your posts? Only because you have been
following up my posts, Joseph, and it got to be sort of fun. Know
what I mean? The diversion just took on a life of its own, and is
likely to remain a classic in the annals of Usenet anthropology.

>Nice to see we are in agreement.

Oh good. How nice. I really do like you, you know.

>I suspect that I am one of the few people here in remotely
>competant to do so but I won't take your comments as the
>patronising crud many people might.

Aha! A glimmer of light appears on the horizon. You are competent to
comment on the Shogunate, so that makes you, what, an historian?

An anthropologist? Please don't make me sit here trying to guess,
why, come on right out here in the spotlight so we can introduce you
to the audience.

>Which is just not true actually. He usually was a marginal

Usually marginal . . .

>I imagine that I do not disagree.

OK, fair enough.

>The Japanese Emperors have interfered in this worldly affairs
>for sizable chunks of Japanese history.

Probably. I defer to your greater wisdom.

>Only after little Vicky.

Yes, silly girl with bad teeth and a recessive gene, and all that.

Which is right about where all this began, I dare submit.