Re: evolution everywhere?

Len Piotrowski (
Wed, 11 Sep 1996 16:15:51 GMT

In article <512m9c$> (Bryant) writes:


>In article <>,
>Shannon Adams <> wrote:

>>> Gerold wrote:
>>> 1. Evolutionary perspectives provide greater explanatory and
>>> predictive power in understanding human culture than pure narrative
>>> modes,

>>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

>The comparative method allows predictions about the distributions of
>traits (be they biological adaptations or elements of culture). This is
>clearly the sort of prediction Gerold refers to.

The "comparative method" isn't restricted to "evolutionary perspectives," "pure narrative
modes," or any other point of view. Neither do "comparative methods"
necessarily result in "predictions about the distributions." And too, there is
some dispute over whether or not "elements of culture" are anything like
"biological traits." Given these alternatives, Firl's reference falls short of

>It seems to be normal human behavior to laughingly dismiss novel ideas.

... you mean, as somehow differentiated from laughing at a joke (an ambiguous
laugh craving?).

>Just out of high school, I found the notion that the epidemeology of
>some diseases could be reconstructed from 400 year old bones laughable.

... you mean, the epidemiological implications of skeletal evidence for past
populations was a joke!?

>>This also could be an incredibly naive
>>question but What about free choice? I think that element of human
>>motivation cannot be ignored.

>Proximal motivations (for example, emotions) should not be ignored, I agree.
>They are themselves phenomena deserving study. How do you perceive
>biologists ignoring decisional processes?

... you mean, "free choice" = "proximal motivation" = "emotion." At the very
least, you conflate a selectional process with an emotional state. It makes me
wonder just what a sociobiologist means when they say "They are themselves
phenomena deserving study," when in fact it is not a subject of their study.
The brand of sociobiology practiced in this newsgroup has no idea what
"decisional processes" means for human social interaction, let alone how in
comes to be.