Re: population resource imbalances

Janet Gillis (jgillis@NOVA.UMD.EDU)
Wed, 5 Oct 1994 08:48:31 -0400

On Tue, 4 Oct 1994, Read, Dwight ANTHRO wrote:

> Loker writes:
> Loker seems to accept uncritically the syllogism:
> populations have not grown at their potential rate; there are cultural
> practises such as infanticide, abortion, sexual taboos, dietary restrictions,
> etc. These practises have the effect of reducing number of offspring
> conceive, or surviing. Therefore these are cultural controls of population
> size.
> Implicit is the assumption that "cultures" somehow take a pan-societal view
> and determine that unchecked population growth is harmful and then, in an
> unexplained manner, produce cultural practises to prevent that harm. (Or if
> put into a pseudo-Darwinian framework, those cultures with such cultural
> practieses are selected for and survive while cultures without those
> practises die out).

> This is pseudo science at its worstd via couching an argument in technical
> terms to give the illusion that something profound is being said. the
> failure to actually DEMONSTRATE (as opposed to suggest) that such cultural
> practises in fact serve to stabilize population size

Dear Powers that Be,

One question: has *anyone* done a broad survey of cultures and simply
ASKED them if they practice population control, or is this what the above
remarks are implying? [I edited the above statement to save space; hope it
doesn't throw anyone off.]

This question may sound naive, but it seems like "the shortest distance
between two points", and I don't remember having seen it addressed.

Humble thanks,