Definition of Culture

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 10:37:47 -0400

On Thursday, 15 August 1996, John R. Cole replied:

"I can teach someone stone toolmaking basics in hours..."

How many hours, John? Have you *ever* tried to teach someone how to make
stone tools? Do *you* know how to make stone tools? Have you actually
*ever* tried making stone tools?

"...and I *doubt* it entails any verbiage at all--perhaps grunts of approval
or disapproval or encouragement--but *certainly* not via a highly verbalized
explanation." (Emphasis added.)

It apparently does takes a "highly verbalized explanation"--for us anyway. See:

Schick, Kathy D. and Nicholas Toth; *Making Silent Stones Speak: Human
Evolution and the Dawn of Technology*; Simon & Schuster, New York; 1993

especially Chapter 4, "Fashioning our Future: The Making of Early Stone Tools.

"His [Cook's] assertion that chimps do not hunt routinely...has been shown
to be erroneous by research over the past ten years or so..."

I challenge you to back up that statement with specific citations of the
ethological literature.

"...and chimps and other animals are found to be making and using tools and
*teaching* each other about it." (Emphasis added.)

Found by whom, John? And how do they teach without language, John?

"Cook has also noted that my argument against human exceptionalism appeals
only to fundamentalists..."

This is what I *actually* said: "The only ones I can think of who might be
'anxious' [about proving we're not just animals] or 'desparate' [to show
that we humans are unique] would be fundamentalists..."

Finally, I wondered about your use of the expression "species-centrism" in
your first posting, and here it is again in this posting. I've never run
across it before. Is it something you made up, John?

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. In our genus, there is only one
extant species. In fact, in our taxonomic family, there is only one extant
genus. Now, in our superfamily, there are two other families, so I suupose
you could say "family-centrism". But that's supposed to be good, isn't it?
How can you be against it, John?

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."