Robert Snower (rs219@IDIR.NET)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 16:05:34 -0500

I am still deleting too much, because of my crowded hard disk, and I really
apologize--to whoever it was who was kind enough to respond to my original
IS ANTHROPOLOGY A SCIENCE? by questioning whether a synthesis was ever
possible between physical and cultural anthropology, analogous to the famous
synthesis between evolution theory and genetics, the synthesis which
dominates biology today.

Not only is such a synthesis possible, but has actually occurred, with
sociobiology. Granted the effort mostly has not been very satisfying, or
very competent, with the great exception, in my opinion, of Mark Shapiro's
THE SOCIOBIOLOGY OF HOMO SAPIENS. The latter presents a unifying theory
which has genuine application to the immense body of utterly diverse and
disorganized detail anthropology has provided us. Yet the work has received
no attention, to my knowledge. Mo one seems to be aware it exists.

I think comprehensive theory, regardless of merit, is ignored by a great
many anthropologists. Why? Because too many treat anthropology as a
vehicle for personal solace rather than as a scientific pursuit. As a
result, the kinds of stories which turn data gathering into science, i.e,
which render the empirical details objectively significant, and not merely
matter for a subjective fix, arouse neither support nor opposition. They
just do not arouse, period.

R Snower