Re: evolution everywhere?

Len Piotrowski (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 21:56:10 GMT

In article <511v2t$> (Gerold Firl) writes:


>In article <>, (mb) writes:
>|> In article <>, Shannon Adams <> wrote:

>|> > Is is just me or does every topic on this newsgroup evolve ;) into a
>|> > discussion of evolution? Just wondering why.

>|> Yes! I have noticed this, but it seems to have occurred rather recently.
>|> Has anyone some insight into this? When did this preoccupation take root?
>|> Was there some recent event that has focused this interest (yes, I know
>|> about the NM school debate). Anyone?

>I would suggest two reasons:

>1. Evolutionary perspectives provide greater explanatory and
>predictive power in understanding human culture than pure narrative
>modes, and that is changing the long-term direction of anthropology.
>As dobhinazky (<-- spelling dubious; a famous biologist) said,
>"nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution"; the
>case might not be quite so strong in anthro, but it's not far off.

Well, that certainly dumped a useless amount of social-psychological and
anthropological work from the last century! But what do we do about all those
intellectual fossils still hangin' around?

[Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975)

"The business of proving evolution has reached a stage when it is futile for
biologists to work merely to discover more and more evidence of evolution.
Those who choose to believe that God created every biological species separately
in the state we observe them, but made them in a way calculated to lead us to the
conclusion that they are the products of an evolutionary development are
obviously not open to argument. All that can be said is that their belief is an
implicit blasphemy, for it imputes to God an appalling deviousness. "

"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol. 35
(March 1973), reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism , J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press,
Phoenix, 1983. ]

>2. Individual preference: there happen to be a few people on this
>newsgroup who are interested in understanding human culture in terms
>of adaptationist principles.

Namely, Firl, Steve, and Bryant, in large.

>I have been posting to this newsgroup for a few years now, and one
>thing which I find interesting is that there always seems to be
>someone here who gets very emotional about using an evolutionary
>perspective on humans and our cultures. I'm not sure why that happens,
>but it does tend to keep threads going. There may not be much in the
>way of intelligent discussion, but the threads do keep going ...

Just the nincompoops trying to hang on by their non-adaptive skin of their

>The lamented gil hardwick used to be the standard-bearer of the
>anti-adaptationist crew; now, we have lenny, and mary beth, and
>brunner. They don't contribute to the discussion, except to create
>interminable dialogues consisting basically of alternating (largely)
>patient attempts to explain and understand using the evolutionary
>view, intertwinned with hysterical howls of protest and personal
>attacks advocating a more "humanistic" approach.

That's what I love about you, Firl, you're even handedness and
dispassionate character. You really stay above all that "protest and personal
attacks" stuff, despite how your patience is tried.

>Pretty weird. There must be some kind of psychological insight to be
>gained from it.

I await the profound perfection!



"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle