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Being that humans are biological beings, to start with, i don't see the problem with trying to trace certain traits  to their biological roots.
As for meme theory, the jury is still out on its validity on explaining cultural phenomena, and i agree other avenues may prove more fruitful.

Having said that, i do believe that most cultural human diversity we witness is a fruit of it's environment. (Here im using a broad definition of environment, including history and other cultures).

"Need to believe" or the "need to construct compelling narratives" are, for me, one and the same thing. Both are attempts at a coherent and functional representation of reality.

As a side note i think there is a lot of prejudice regarding Darwinism. Darwinism is a description not a prescription. "Social Darwinism" and other similar ideas gave it a bad name, but anyone familiar with the naturalistic fallacy should be able to see through the misconstructions.

Finally, i must add that i don't feel qualified to extend this debate much further as i got my understanding of these matters mostly from my Biology course and books of popular science. I admit sometimes i'm lost when you go deeper into anthropology 's terminology. :)

by Torres on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:57:54 AM EST
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No problem whatsoever to look for bioogical explanations int he environemnt biology and culture when there are universal traits. No problem.. my problem is with the so-called purely darwinian explanation (oh yes i know darwin was a much more better scientists that all his followers make it to him, it is amazing how many things people say he said that he never actually uttered. Darwin was an incredibly good scientist by any measure of the word).

And as I have said we disagree in your second paragraph in the sense that most cultural evolution is probably self-contained. Some elements can certainly have a mixture of biology and culture..and be two sides of the smae coin.. but I really fight out any attempt to disentegrate culture and environment and fix biology and environemnt as the leading role for cutlure. Not at all.Cultural questions should be answered either with purely cultural frames/research or with integrated research. Normally, people who do not follow that path  and try to explain culture as a sbusidiary of some kind of folk biology have a clear agenda behind.. they try to fix our cultural situation as soemthing given by "nature" that you can not fight. It is one of the most dangerous aspects of the bad-use of science. I feel responsable for it .. so I fight back at every iopportunity :)

Third paragrpah and fourth.. could not agree more!!!

And finally..well I am  physicist working in biology.. go figure!!!

A real pleasure to argue with you torres!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 01:56:38 PM EST
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