biosocial rituals

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sat, 10 Dec 1994 14:32:10 CST

I had promised myself that I wouldn't spend any time on e-mail this weekend,
but John Stevens brings up such interesting points in the spirit of healthy
discourse that I am unable to keep my promise.

1. I'm sorry the discussion on human rights got side tracked, but there were
a whole lota issues involved . . . and the headers of my posts were
pretty clear . . . and you do have a delete key, so . . .

2. Lectures and homilies. Lectures I'm not so worried about, but homilies . .
. Here I think you confuse academic and religious fervor (perhaps intentionally
). I learned early on (from non-biosocial types) that anthro was weak on
theory. Evolution to me seemed to be the most powerful explanatory tool
available. So I think what you view as religion is really more the give-a-guy-
a-hammer-and-the-whole-world-becomes-nail phenomenon. Incedently, I don't
remember using the word "converted", perhaps it was daly and wilson. Anyway,
I think you should read it in the converted to a different brand of beer sense.

3. Scientific method is rhetorical. I have no problem with this. And how I
view reality is a matter of my beliefs -- I'm with you there too. But I do
believe in an objective reality and so do lots of people. If I didn't think
the things I say were true, then I would truly be a scoundrel.

4. Misc. Culture as "lint on a sweater" was an analogy used to point out how
some theories tend to remove people as intelligent beings from the discussion
of cultural transmission. It was not intended as a biosociological stance on
culture. Perhaps I was unclear. Jargon. I really think you need to know less
jargon to follow an evolutionary arguement than you do to follow the vast
majority of cultural anthropology -- particularly postmodernism! Culture and
oppression. If anthropology is a culture, then evolution and behavior types
are an oppressed minority. That should be quite clear from the tone of a lot
of garbage slung in the direction of biosocial anthropologists. How often do
you see non-biosocial postings responded too with accusations of racism, proges
sivism, and fanaticism? Basically, I think people are so set against evolution
and behavior approaches based on what they think they know about it that they
fail to consider what's actually being said. Thus, I see it as part of my
job as a wantabee academic to clear up misconceptions and to provide people
with heuristic tools. Secondly, I want to clearly state where it is I'm
coming from so that every comment I make doesn't have to be preceded by
a an apology or introduction to what is a reasonable and relatively easy
to understand theoretical position. Enough (maybe too much) said.

Anyway, thanks for your indulgence.

Rob Quinlan

P.S. It was exciting to me to see some thoughtful discussion on biosocial issu
es. It is also educationally useful. I would ask in the interest of education
that we suspend this anthro-l version of the Scopes Monkey trial and allow
each other to get on with our respective interests.