Re: Evolutionary Envelopments (also excessively long)

Matthew S. Tomaso (Tomaso@MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU)
Wed, 4 Oct 1995 18:31:41 -0500

Karl Schwerin makes some very useful points regarding survival of the fit,
etc. I thought it would be worthwhile to note that the following statement.
to which his criticism applies:

>> "Selection acts on the group rather than the individual in cultural
>> Criteria for selective value include, efficiency of energy capture, survival
>> and reproductive success, and even perceived satisfaction of needs and

was not and will never be iterated or reiterated by me. It was something I
quoted from John Giaccobbe.
In fact, I agree very much with Karl in his assessment of the problems with
the 'survival of the fittest' perspective - since I've had to defend
Darwinian evolutionism in rooms full of antiscientists myself.
I also would like to extend my support of everything else Karl said
regarding diversity (in both the postmodern 'multivocal' sense and the
modern 'relativistic' sense), and I certainly hope that he did not mean to
infer that my criticism of Giaccobbe's idea was in any way postmodern. It,
in fact, has roots going back to Max Weber, Franz Boas and various other
great modernists. My concern is that we don;t make the same stupid
mistakes our discipline has made so many times in our intellectual history.
That does not by any stretch, mean that I am averse to the Stewardian brand
of evolutionism, for example.

Matt Tomaso.
Anthropology. University of Texas at Austin.
Phone/Fax 512-453-6256