Re: "Retarding the Progress" - Some Specifics

Aaron Lynch (
Sat, 27 Feb 1999 11:22:33 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 11:22:33 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: "Retarding the Progress" - Some Specifics
In-Reply-To: <000601be6239$bb024a60$534595c1@notebook>

At 10:12 AM 2/27/99 -0000, Paul Marsden wrote:
>Oh Aaron, I give up - I cannot be more clear and the fact that you still do
>not understand is probably more a reflection of me than you: I have been as
>specific as I can about your Hutterite example, and it's my shortcoming not
>yours if you don't appreciate what is being said. Any credible analysis of
>religious movements and social influence should begin with a literature
>review, and a working knowledge of the field. Yours doesn't, and pays the
>inevitable consequences (as described in my commentary, and in my last
>Please post the inevitable last word you always have to have, and let's just
>leave it at that and move on to a more constructive debate.


No need to play the suffering martyr here. You knew, or should have known,
that the remarks you gave in your commentary would provoke rebuttal and
debate. If you do not wish to reply, that is your decision, not something
that I have forced upon you. But it does look like we will have to agree to
disagree on various points.

I am not claiming to write on the general topic of social influence. I
will, however, note that neither of us have been choosing our words in such
a way as to maximize social influence with each other: you had to know that
using words such as "vacuous," "retarding the progress," etc. are not meant
to be terms of endearment, likewise with my replies. Nevertheless,
scientific criticism is not based strictly on a need to make friends or
build a personality cult.

I disagree with you on the assertion that any credible analysis of a
religious movement such as the Hutterites should begin with a literature
review. A single but highly comprehensive source such as Hostetler (1994)
can be a basis for a useful and well-informed contribution to the subject.
I will note too that I see no one faulting Wilson and Sober (1994) for not
starting their discussion of the Hutterites with a literature review. One
can recognize the value of good literature reviews without demanding that
every application of every theory begin with one.

Hostetler, J. 1974. Hutterite Society. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press.

Wilson, D.S., and Sober, E. 1994. Reintroducing Group Seleciton to the
Human Behavioral Sciences. Behaviorabl and Brain Sciences 17, 585-654.

--Aaron Lynch

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