Re: evolution everywhere?

Gerold Firl (
9 Sep 1996 20:35:41 GMT

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.

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.

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 ...

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.

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

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf