Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
12 Sep 1996 07:29:26 -0600

In article <515dmo$>,
Mary Beth Williams <> wrote:

>Bryant, I would check out your own anthro department's, even those
>selectionsists, reaction to being termed *sociobiologists*. Really is
>considered a *dirty word*, even more so than *marxist* ;-D.

Well, that's semantics. The only fundamental error I see in the old
sociobiological texts that has not been completely corrected is the
"sociobiological fallacy" assumption that humans (or any critters) are
consciously fitness-striving in a general way, instead of acting within a
framework of specifically evolved psychological adaptations.

>As far as Rindos, he's one of the top *selectionist* archaeologists, (a
>student of Dunnell, whom I assume you _have_ heard of, as the foremost
>selectionist in the field whom Lenny can quote chapter and verse <g>)
>and a well-renowned expert on the origins of agriculture.

To be honest, I've been very reluctant to get into social evolution
theory very much. So Rindos is a selectionist when it
comes to cultural traditions?

My reluctance to approach social evolution is probably tied up with my
view of evolution constructing the psychological architecture from which
cultural diversity in different ecologies spring. Darwinian
anthropologists are some of the last folks in the sociobiological
tradition still applying optimality models to human behavior. Optimal
foraging in non-evolutionarily-relevant environments doesn't suggest
foraging adaptation so much as rational thinking, which may have evolved
to serve other purposes. Or be a side-effect (as Williams argued in 1966).

I have no problem, of course, with models of social behaviors which posit
that individual (evolved) drives/desires/needs shape various aspects of
culture. 'Just have dealt more with rooster crowing and baby crying than
less limbic behaviors. :)