Re: evolution everywhere?

Shannon Adams (
Mon, 09 Sep 1996 16:52:40 -0700

Gerold Firl wrote:
> 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. --
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
> 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

I really got a good laugh when I read Gerold's first sentence of number one.
I really don't think anyone has been able to *predict* how a culture will
change. Once the change has occured it is *sometimes* possible to retrace
the change but predict, I don't think so. Of course, I could be making a
complete fool of myself but I don't think anthropology is about *predicting*
anything. Thanks where the natural sciences come in, at least according to
many of the people on this newsgroup. This also could be an incredibly naive
question but What about free choice? I think that element of human
motivation cannot be ignored.