From: Keith Henson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 04 Feb 2004 - 02:58:44 GMT
At 08:16 PM 03/02/04 +0000, Douglas wrote:
snip (Chris's posting)
>Fine, this is fairly clear; glad to have got up your nose.
>In a lot of words you set out in the above qualifications that maybe should
>have been attached to your original statement in the first place. ("This sort
>of thing makes clear why this area _should_ be left to biologists.") How
>can biology possibly explain chauvinism?
>Would it want to? Don't take it
>personally, it's common enough in any academic discipline, few of which make
>these aspects of their culture an object of their own study. It's an area
>of particular interest, maybe it would be in the remit of what you've
>described as the 'dark side' of biology, an area that historically suggests
>strong reasons for calling biologists - or any discipline to account at all
>In your response, you provide a good account of how biology is nurtured by
>other disciplines, has a rich history, has borrowed widely, is a very big
>tent, collaborative. Thanks. So what exactly are we understand then from
>your original statement that the field "_should_ be" left to biologists?
As opposed to sociologists and related "soft" subjects.
>Your qualifications take the statement in the opposite direction - suggesting
>it would possibly be accurate to recast the original statement in the
>negative. In this case, we either seem to be left with contradictory
>messages or a problematic definition of the boundaries of biology.
>There are a lot of takes on the meaning and usefulness of the idea of 'social
>life' or 'society'. (Is it a leap on my part to conflate the two?)
No. Bees, ants and termites figured out the advantages long time before
>it's a perennial debate. You're welcome to your beliefs but within and
>without academia it's perpetually unresolved, so your dismissal of other
>approaches is on the absolutist side. Someone in a recent message referred to
>a "dogma of biology," maybe the idea the social is just the sum of individuals
>is one of these dogmas,
Might be, but if so, it is bad dogma. Social is a lot more than the sum of
individuals, and the bigger society gets, the more advantages it
has. (Problems get bigger too of course.)
>role of the biological. From my perspective of anthropology classing
>anthropology under the biological umbrella would mean biologists have to
>account for their individual selves in their work
Indeed. But let me warn you all about this. *Admitting* you are a social
primate with standard social primate drives--even if you are not
consciously aware of them--will get in big trouble. In my case, a federal
judge lambasted me in writing for admitting to having the very same kinds
of status seeking drives that *he* had clearly displayed when he gave up a
lot of income to become a (higher status) federal judge.
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