Theory in anthropology

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John Wilkins

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Sep 15, 2004, 8:29:03 AM9/15/04
to
I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
both cultural and physical, as they see it?

--
John S. Wilkins jo...@wilkins.id.au
web: www.wilkins.id.au blog: evolvethought.blogspot.com

God cheats

Philip Deitiker

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Sep 15, 2004, 8:56:46 AM9/15/04
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john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) says in
news:1gk6d8j.lk4reogp2jlxN%john...@wilkins.id.au:

> I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an
> anthropology publication (but not from an anthropology
> perspective).

Theory, whats a theory.
How about the radiator hypothesis.
How about the Neotony theory. Look up Langdon's critique ot AAT
in JHE 33.
How about MREH
Anthropologist tend to have alot of hypotheses, being due to the
fact they are so frequently wrong. The Amatuers have joined the
fray to show them how to really be wrong, I mean if one is going
to be wrong, hell call it a theory.

For some theories how about the.
MAT - Mad ape theory (mine)
CAT - Cannibalistica ape theory (mine)
PPCT - PLiocene pussy cat theory (lorenzo's)
CPAT - clitoral possition ape theory
MOONAT - Ah yes, staring at the moon induce women to menstrate.
LDAT - long dong ape theory.
OTAT - over testoseteronized ape theory.
$AT - Capitalisitic ape theor
FLOAT - [figure it out]
GRGT - Great white genius theory.
MARTAP - Little green men from mars
GODiDiT - 'Noah, get off the boat'

Did I leave any out ;^).

Google ape theories, I used to have all these organized.
Remember that these are theories, but may have nothing to do
with anthropology. Some are ruses, but most are just fools
making themselves more foolish.

Here's is a theory consistent with most of the above.

Humans evolved from Apes.
Details to be published.
[and retracted, and republished, and argued over . . . . . ]

> I wonder if anyone can tell me how the notion

> of theory is used by [professional] anthropologists, both


> cultural and physical, as they see it?

See you had to mess everything up. Why didn't you add linquist
also.

--
Philip
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mol. Anth. Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DNAanthro/
Mol. Evol. Hominids http://home.att.net/~DNAPaleoAnth/
Evol. of Xchrom.
http://home.att.net/~DNAPaleoAnth/xlinked.htm
Pal. Anth. Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paleoanthro/
Sci. Arch. Aux
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sciarchauxilliary/

Tedd Jacobs

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Sep 15, 2004, 10:10:36 AM9/15/04
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"John Wilkins" wrote...

>I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
> publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
> anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
> both cultural and physical, as they see it?

bottom line-- it's gonna depend on who you ask and their theoretical
orientation. (ive got a prof right now that will argue there is no such
thing as "culture" and turns purple when you call him a 'cultural
anthropologist'). ;-)

multiple factors contribute to the development of anthropology, largely
it is a product of western philosophy and historical events. ideas re human
behavior originated in questions re the nature of man. early ideas about
mans nature were limited by perception based in traditional beliefs. the
development of scientific studies in the late 19th cen. provided a more
accurate cross-cultural comparison, opening up a wider horizion than an
ethnocentric view.
the theoretical basis for anthropology is influenced and modified by
other disciplines. interactions between anthropology have contributed
information and stimulus; as change and advancement occurs in one field a
chain reaction begins.
antropological theories basically forcus on the questions of "why do
people behave the way they do?" and "what causes human diversity?". as the
anthropologists my "theoretical aproach" dictates the epistemology of what
is knowable and how it is knowable. an erronious supposition of this calls
to question the manner of methods and, without getting into the
methodenstreit, a better method does not make a better science. there are
many ways of looking at facts, none has scientific sanctity, but all should
have a theoretical foundation, i.e. relating back to the question of the
nature of man, and an epistemology.

at least that is my view on it. i've barely started on my coffee, so
step in an correct me where there is error.

tedd.

--
How can i be an A(nthro)pologist? I dont have an armchair.


N A Sides

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Sep 15, 2004, 12:48:59 PM9/15/04
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On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 22:29:03 +1000, john...@wilkins.id.au (John
Wilkins) wrote:

>I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
>publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
>anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
>both cultural and physical, as they see it?

What's the article's purpose? Is it going to be just a survey of how
theory (or the concept of theorization) has functioned or developed in
various disciplines, or is it going to get theoretical about the
nature of theory? You know that "theory" means something different
when used by a physicist and a social scientist, and that "hard
science" people have disparaged the lack of rigor in anthropology, but
are you going to slam anthropologists, in an anthropology publication,
with the opinions of those self-rightious physical scientists who
point out that anthropological "theories" often haven't been *real*
theories in the sense that the term is used in those more rigorous
disciplines?

Actually most anthros no doubt already know that they rely on less
rigorous conceptual frameworks, but also that these frameworks
undergird their thinking and research. So, as a philosopher, and if it
were in the article's scope, you could get all philosophical (and
historical) about how anthropology developed out of the more general
Western intellectual tradition, how its development was influenced by
enlightenment ideas about progress, by Spencerism and "Darwinism" and
by the romantic tradition of the "noble savage" that partly shaped the
early anthropologists' opposition to innatist thinking. And knowing
you, John, you'll probably want to throw something about memes into
the mix ;0)

NAS

Paul Crowley

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Sep 15, 2004, 1:27:06 PM9/15/04
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"John Wilkins" <john...@wilkins.id.au> wrote in message
news:1gk6d8j.lk4reogp2jlxN%john...@wilkins.id.au...

> I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
> publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
> anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
> both cultural and physical, as they see it?


It's whatever happens to be politically correct.

Let's suppose (purely for the sake of
argument) that there was evidence that
human or hominid males routinely beat
their wives.

Would anyone dare to publish it?
If it was somehow published, would
anyone incorporate it into any kind
of theory?

There is nothing that can be counted
as a theory in anthropology or in paleo-
anthropology. There is no room for one.


Paul.

J Moore

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Sep 15, 2004, 2:25:40 PM9/15/04
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John Wilkins <john...@wilkins.id.au> wrote in message
news:1gk6d8j.lk4reogp2jlxN%john...@wilkins.id.au...


WAAY too vague, dude. :) And probably the wrong venue..

--
JMoore


Philip Deitiker

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Sep 15, 2004, 2:18:53 PM9/15/04
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In sci.anthropology.paleo, N A Sides created a
message ID news:8dngk05nbkfnmo71o...@4ax.com:

> What's the article's purpose? Is it going to be just a
survey of how
> theory (or the concept of theorization) has functioned or
developed in
> various disciplines, or is it going to get theoretical about
the
> nature of theory? You know that "theory" means something
different
> when used by a physicist and a social scientist, and that
"hard
> science" people have disparaged the lack of rigor in
anthropology, but
> are you going to slam anthropologists, in an anthropology
publication,
> with the opinions of those self-rightious physical
scientists who
> point out that anthropological "theories" often haven't been
*real*
> theories in the sense that the term is used in those more
rigorous
> disciplines?

The theoretical evolution of the thesaurus.

--
Philip
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mol. Anth. Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DNAanthro/
Mol. Evol. Hominids http://home.att.net/~DNAPaleoAnth/
Evol. of Xchrom.
http://home.att.net/~DNAPaleoAnth/xlinked.htm
Pal. Anth. Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paleoanthro/
Sci. Arch. Aux
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sciarchauxilliary/

DNApaleoAnth at Att dot net

Rick Wagler

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Sep 15, 2004, 7:18:39 PM9/15/04
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"Paul Crowley" <slkwuoiut...@slkjlskjoioue.com> wrote in message
news:WY_1d.27970$Z14....@news.indigo.ie...

> "John Wilkins" <john...@wilkins.id.au> wrote in message
> news:1gk6d8j.lk4reogp2jlxN%john...@wilkins.id.au...
>
> > I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
> > publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
> > anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
> > both cultural and physical, as they see it?
>
>
> It's whatever happens to be politically correct.
>
> Let's suppose (purely for the sake of
> argument) that there was evidence that
> human or hominid males routinely beat
> their wives.
>
> Would anyone dare to publish it?
> If it was somehow published, would
> anyone incorporate it into any kind
> of theory?
>
You think there are no feminist anthros who would
not shout this from the rooftops if it were true?
Do you think all the arguments and analysis of
male patriarchy and its attendant evils are a
figment of the collective imagination?

Rick Wagler


John Wilkins

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Sep 15, 2004, 10:45:02 PM9/15/04
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J Moore <anthro...@yahoo.com> wrote:

Well, I know what *I* (and the philosophers of science since Whewell)
think a theory is. But I find that in the social sciences words are used
differently than in the "hard" sciences, and so it's worth checking...

God cheats

J Moore

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Sep 15, 2004, 11:42:41 PM9/15/04
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John Wilkins <john...@wilkins.id.au> wrote in message
news:1gk729g.scwl9u1vo4qvlN%john...@wilkins.id.au...

But wouldn't you want to get the view of actual social science people,
instead of interested amateurs of wildly varying degrees of expertise, which
is mostly what you'll find here?
--
JMoore


John Wilkins

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Sep 16, 2004, 12:00:18 AM9/16/04
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J Moore <anthro...@yahoo.com> wrote:

Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals see this and
respond :-)

J Moore

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Sep 16, 2004, 1:09:01 AM9/16/04
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John Wilkins <john...@wilkins.id.au> wrote in message
news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au...

I thought they'd all fled to greener online pastures by now. :) We used to
have Ralph Holloway here ten years ago, and he's a good guy, but mostly it
was amateurs and some grad students. Good info lots of times, but maybe not
what you want.

--
Jim Moore


Philip Deitiker

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Sep 16, 2004, 10:40:09 AM9/16/04
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In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created a
message ID news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:

> Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals see this
and
> respond :-)

I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of someone
like Su.

Paul Crowley

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Sep 16, 2004, 1:50:54 PM9/16/04
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"Rick Wagler" <taxi...@shaw.ca> wrote in message news:j542d.422576$M95.114359@pd7tw1no...

You may well be right on this. My point
though stands. The 'debate' is not on what
the facts are, but on what the 'scientists'
want the facts to be.

It's roughly similar to the Hollywood
conception of history. The 'record' of any
historical event depends almost entirely on
when the film was made. Except that modern
PA makes Hollywood look good.


Paul.

Su Solomon

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Sep 16, 2004, 2:36:19 PM9/16/04
to
Philip Deitiker wrote:
>
> In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created a
> message ID news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:
>
> > Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals see this
> and
> > respond :-)
>
> I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of someone
> like Su.

You called?

The idea and topic is madly vague.

One assumes that John is going to write for either the Australian Womens
Weekly or a re-run of the 'Mavis Bramston' show : )

There are as many theories as there are anthropologies and
anthropologists ; )

And most are crap :)

Just googling gives me:

http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/hopkins_guide_to_literary_theory/free/anthropological_theory_and_criticism.html

http://www.macalester.edu/~guneratne/Courses/Anthro87.html

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Anthropology/21A-110Anthropological-TheorySpring2003/CourseHome/

http://www.deaflibrary.org/nakamura/courses/anthrotheory/index.shtml

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/maxinem/ant4034.html

http://www.uvm.edu/~lvivanco/theory.html

http://www.susqu.edu/sociology/an400j.htm

http://www.smsu.edu/anthropology/ANT%20595%20for%20Web.htm

Which should completely confuse John.

A necessary start is to have an idea where the idea of any "theory"
comes from and a good place to start is this little book:

Landau, Misia. 1991. Narratives of Human Evolution. Yale University
Press, New Haven.


Good luck

Cheers,

Su

Mikey Brass

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Sep 16, 2004, 4:12:43 PM9/16/04
to
john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in news:1gk6d8j.lk4reogp2jlxN%
john...@wilkins.id.au:

> I am writing a short piece on the notion of theory for an anthropology
> publication (but not from an anthropology perspective). I wonder if
> anyone can tell me how the notion of theory is used by anthropologists,
> both cultural and physical, as they see it?

Do you have any idea of how wide this is *grins* What theory? Binford's
view, Chris Tilley's? Hodder's? What form of processual construct of what
constitutes theory, a myriad of post-processual definitions of theory...
Ouch dude.

John Wilkins

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Sep 16, 2004, 8:11:13 PM9/16/04
to
Su Solomon <su...@zemail.com> wrote:

> Philip Deitiker wrote:
> >
> > In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created a
> > message ID news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:
> >
> > > Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals see this and
> > > respond :-)
> >
> > I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of someone
> > like Su.
>
> You called?
>
> The idea and topic is madly vague.
>
> One assumes that John is going to write for either the Australian Womens
> Weekly or a re-run of the 'Mavis Bramston' show : )

Something like that. An encylopedia...


>
> There are as many theories as there are anthropologies and
> anthropologists ; )

There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not asking what
*theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking how anthropologists
understand the notion and term "theory". In short, what is a theory in
anthropology, no matter what the content of the specific theory is
(philosophically: what is the theory type, not the theory token)? For
example, I have a lovely old book entitled _The rise of political
theory_ and yet nowhere does it dicuss what is *meant* when someone
calls something a theory, or what criteria should be used to construct,
revise or reject a theory...


>
> And most are crap :)

I am not competent to do more than agree with you ;-)

The Durkheim stuff is relevant (but rather dated of course).
>
> http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Anthropology/21A-110Anthropological-TheorySpri
> ng2003/CourseHome/

Some useful refs. Ta.
>
> http://www.deaflibrary.org/nakamura/courses/anthrotheory/index.shtml

???

Useful as a general outline of what theories have been used. Perhaps I
need to generalise into, say, functional theories, historical
(narrative) theories, literary theories, and so forth...


>
> Which should completely confuse John.

Naw. I started confused. At worst I can stay in my resting state.


>
> A necessary start is to have an idea where the idea of any "theory"
> comes from and a good place to start is this little book:
>
> Landau, Misia. 1991. Narratives of Human Evolution. Yale University
> Press, New Haven.

It's in the library. I'll pick it up this afternoon. Thanks.

Now, can I bother you for your *own* conception of what a theory is?
>
>
> Good luck
>
> Cheers,
>
> Su
>
>
Thanks.

John Wilkins

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Sep 16, 2004, 8:11:14 PM9/16/04
to
Mikey Brass <mi...@nospam.antiquityofman.com> wrote:

See my response to Su. I am not, repeat *not*, covering all the
individual theories, but what the notion of a theory itself is. This
problem arises from the naive use of Kuhn and Popper by social science,
and it's not peculiar to anthropology, any more than it is to (say)
chemistry among the physical sciences.

Philip Deitiker

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Sep 16, 2004, 10:17:34 PM9/16/04
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john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) says in
news:1gk94uj.bdinz4tm97zdN%john...@wilkins.id.au:

> Su Solomon <su...@zemail.com> wrote:
>
>> Philip Deitiker wrote:
>> >
>> > In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created
>> > a message ID
>> > news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:
>> >
>> > > Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals
>> > > see this and respond :-)
>> >
>> > I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of
>> > someone like Su.
>>
>> You called?
>>
>> The idea and topic is madly vague.
>>
>> One assumes that John is going to write for either the
>> Australian Womens Weekly or a re-run of the 'Mavis
>> Bramston' show : )
>
> Something like that. An encylopedia...

From Sci.arch [David B.] I found this amusing:
>> That sounds a lot like the very famous Stephen Leacock
>> 1869-1944, author of "Literary Lapses", "Frenzied Fiction"
>> and some 30 other humorous books. Quote: "I would sooner
>> have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopaedia
>> Britannica."

> There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not
> asking what *theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking
> how anthropologists understand the notion and term
> "theory".

There are as many opinions about what constitutes theories as .
. . .

John Wilkins

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Sep 16, 2004, 10:48:37 PM9/16/04
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Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote:

> john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) says in
> news:1gk94uj.bdinz4tm97zdN%john...@wilkins.id.au:
>
> > Su Solomon <su...@zemail.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Philip Deitiker wrote:
> >> >
> >> > In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created
> >> > a message ID
> >> > news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:
> >> >
> >> > > Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals
> >> > > see this and respond :-)
> >> >
> >> > I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of
> >> > someone like Su.
> >>
> >> You called?
> >>
> >> The idea and topic is madly vague.
> >>
> >> One assumes that John is going to write for either the
> >> Australian Womens Weekly or a re-run of the 'Mavis
> >> Bramston' show : )
> >
> > Something like that. An encylopedia...
>
> From Sci.arch [David B.] I found this amusing:
> >> That sounds a lot like the very famous Stephen Leacock
> >> 1869-1944, author of "Literary Lapses", "Frenzied Fiction"
> >> and some 30 other humorous books. Quote: "I would sooner
> >> have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopaedia
> >> Britannica."

I'm just writing some small bits. But I would rather have written Alice
in Wonderland.


>
> > There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not
> > asking what *theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking
> > how anthropologists understand the notion and term
> > "theory".
>
> There are as many opinions about what constitutes theories as .
> . . .

So, *give* already!

Tedd Jacobs

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Sep 16, 2004, 11:34:56 PM9/16/04
to

"John Wilkins" wrote...

> There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not asking what
> *theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking how anthropologists
> understand the notion and term "theory". In short, what is a theory in
> anthropology, no matter what the content of the specific theory is
> (philosophically: what is the theory type, not the theory token)? For
> example, I have a lovely old book entitled _The rise of political
> theory_ and yet nowhere does it dicuss what is *meant* when someone
> calls something a theory, or what criteria should be used to construct,
> revise or reject a theory...

ohhh,... well in that case allow me to revise my answer...

theory is what you use to justify why the final write up is late to the gods
funding your research.

tedd.

--
"Well, what special theoretical insights have you come up with today?"-
Louis R. Binford.

"He has always asked the question to early in the day's work to get any sort
of coherent answer"- David J. Wilson.

"Got a cigarette?"- Russell T. Gould.


John Wilkins

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Sep 17, 2004, 12:25:10 AM9/17/04
to
Tedd Jacobs <Jac...@mail.boisestate.edu> wrote:

> "John Wilkins" wrote...
>
> > There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not asking what
> > *theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking how anthropologists
> > understand the notion and term "theory". In short, what is a theory in
> > anthropology, no matter what the content of the specific theory is
> > (philosophically: what is the theory type, not the theory token)? For
> > example, I have a lovely old book entitled _The rise of political
> > theory_ and yet nowhere does it dicuss what is *meant* when someone
> > calls something a theory, or what criteria should be used to construct,
> > revise or reject a theory...
>
> ohhh,... well in that case allow me to revise my answer...
>
> theory is what you use to justify why the final write up is late to the gods
> funding your research.
>
> tedd.

Yes, my reading is tending towards that position. I shall dub it the
Cynical Theory Theory.

firstjois

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Sep 17, 2004, 7:58:30 AM9/17/04
to
J Moore wrote:
[sni]

>> I thought they'd all fled to greener online pastures by now. :) We
>> used to have Ralph Holloway here ten years ago, and he's a good guy,
>> but mostly it was amateurs and some grad students. Good info lots
>> of times, but maybe not what you want.
>>
>> --
>> Jim Moore

What about grad students? Cough up, you guys!

Jois

Su Solomon

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Sep 20, 2004, 11:23:48 AM9/20/04
to
John Wilkins wrote:
>
> Su Solomon <su...@zemail.com> wrote:
>
> > Philip Deitiker wrote:
> > >
> > > In sci.anthropology.paleo, John Wilkins created a
> > > message ID news:1gk7lio.1q8p0m919s6sr3N%john...@wilkins.id.au:
> > >
> > > > Yes, but it may happen that some actual professionals see this and
> > > > respond :-)
> > >
> > > I am not a professional anthropologist in the sense of someone
> > > like Su.
> >
> > You called?
> >
> > The idea and topic is madly vague.
> >
> > One assumes that John is going to write for either the Australian Womens
> > Weekly or a re-run of the 'Mavis Bramston' show : )
>
> Something like that. An encylopedia...

A re-run of the Mavis Bramston Show for sure : )


> >
> > There are as many theories as there are anthropologies and
> > anthropologists ; )
>
> There is a bit of confusion here - my mistake. I am not asking what
> *theories* anthropologists produce. I am asking how anthropologists
> understand the notion and term "theory".

We dont, we make it up as we go along ; )


Anything that will explain how it happened?

Naw, sorry for the jokes, but it does lead on and on.

The theory that I rely upon in my small field of expertise is that of:

Uniformitarianism or Acutuopalaeontology, both geologically inspired.


But you will note, that I said: "Anything that will explain how it
happened"

and not

"Anything that will explain why it happened"

Because there are two ways at looking at the universe and asking a
question: Structualism and Functionalism.

And .............. having asked the question and got an answer then one
must be able to either replicate or refute it, and if this does not
work: go ask the question in a different way. And when this fails,
then you can be sure that you are asking the wrong question!

Just have a look at the Aquatic people (I wont give it the appelation of
a theory, because it aint)

They dont have a question, they have an answer!

Cheers and confusion,

Philip Deitiker

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Sep 20, 2004, 4:39:38 PM9/20/04
to
In sci.anthropology.paleo, Su Solomon created a message
ID news:414EF6...@zemail.com:

> Because there are two ways at looking at the universe and
asking a
> question: Structualism and Functionalism.

The good ole structure function relationship.

But that is a good point, before you can ask why the how, or
mechanism will make the why more clear. If you don't have the
how, then how can you ask the 'why', because the 'why' covers an
undefined number of mechanisms.

This is the point of all 'ape' theorist IMHO, because they but
the reasoning for a change before the mechanism by which it
occurs, and they create a paper argument based on their
assumption of why.


Su Solomon

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Sep 21, 2004, 11:08:00 AM9/21/04
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You are tooooo easy to please Phil : )

But thank God, you understand how it works ; )


Cheers,

Su

Philip Deitiker

unread,
Sep 21, 2004, 10:05:02 PM9/21/04
to
I have made a good effort to apply the basic modalities of
propoganda identification to these theorist. I have noted that
propoganda in ape theories is more important than actual
substance. Algis, as you should note is exhibiting these traits
as we speak. If you put discovery of the mechanism of evolution
first, it means that you have to wait on a convincing trail of
artefacts, skeletal material and/or, lately, genetic material,
first. If you put the theorization first then you simply have to
rearrange the existing material, edit out what is inconsistent,
twist and turn the facts, and Walla you have a 'why' theory that
no-one can absolutely disprove. Of course you also have a theory
that is also beyond actual proof.
One common feature how the theorist actually behave, in an
instance whereby they make a claim, it is often based on the
lack of evidence they use as evidence for their theory. When the
evidence for something arises, then they twist the theory such
that lack-of-evidence that previously supported their theory
becomes the presence of evidence that supports their theory.
Negative of positive, the evidence always supports the leading
theory. Why else do you create a theory before you have
sufficient evidence, so that you can lead the data as it comes
out, at least until so much data comes that the theory looses
all support. Very seldomly does the theorist actually back out
of supporting his theory because new data fails to support it.
An excellent example of this are the C13/C12 levels in
africanus, as it became increasingly clear that africanus was a
grassland derived carbon consumer, the AAT theorist tried to
manuever their theory such that it had to be an aquatic
grassland that was providing the C13/C12 levels, and the focus
then became, see C13/C12 levels support aquatic theory because
sedges are also aquatic and thus Africanus must have consumed
sedges (not might have, may have or could have, but must have).
From a practical point of view one does not need Africanus as an
intermediate to humans, nor any identified hominid, but the
catch here is the problem, because if Africanus is not an
intermediate and if you tolerate the loss of a hominid because
of C13 ratios, then the transition between Apiths and humans is
not sudden because the transition is no longer evidence, and if
it is not sudden or evident, then AAT is not required as an
explanation. Which gets us back to Morgan's claim that something
wild ass had to have happened. They're whole reasoning, and in
general ape theory reasoning is based on a percieved rapid
transition between australopiths (i.e. the fossil species) and
early homo. As Algis for example tries to discount Morgan, she
does capitulate the logical foundation for AAT.
By and large Ape theorizing is not all-crap. There are some
credible aspects of some of these theories. The basic problem
one should have with all these theories is how do you get a
generalized adaptive ape from these 'theory' pathways that have
extreme caveots into non-generalist behavior, and then go about
proving plausibility. Some of the human behaviors exhibit
derivation from ape patterns to a notable degree. Examples are
the ability to spread by water, the ability to forage by water
born technologies; however, this drive to spread by
transportation technologies is not solely limited to water. This
then takes us back to the 'why', because if are factual basis
for 'why' is based in the observation of current behavior it is
a consequence of the total of human evolution, how much could it
be involved in the 'how' of evolution unless the 'how' and 'why'
generally coevolve.

You can see that all their facts stack like this.
1. S.C. fat -Evolved when?
2. Hairlessness - Evolved when?
3. Ability to swim - Evolved when?
4. Human menstral cycle -evolved when?
5. Size or structure of male _____ - evolved when?
6. Human speech - evolved when?

One can gather from these there is little evidence as to when
these evolved in human evolution, however the are constantly
said to evolve 'at some rapid pace' before bonafida homo
appears. Secondarily we don't know when bonafida homo appears so
that these things can proceed its evolution.

This then builds a hypothesis that these changes are
generalizing traits and that generalization is the extension of
capability of doing more things and at the same time doing more
things adaptations is selective. In most instances the 'it' in
the 'it' ape theories appears to be of late origin and more a
general consequence of general evolution than a cause.

This little discussion is of little help to Wilkins, since he
has no interest in ape theorist. However I should point out that
the enlightened period of anthropology, which I would say really
begins in the 70s to 90s whereby people are asking the critical
questions about bias, that at least some theorizing went into
the formulation of 'theories' or beliefs even if they were not
presented as theories, but widely accepted paradigms. Your
favorite theory, MREH is one of those examples. This theory
followed a history of fraud and bias towards a european and then
eurasian origin. Each new belief comes forth, followed by the
evidence that gradually pulls the individual away from that
belief, and results in the formation of a new beleif as
consistent as possible with ones bias and the new data.
This is also true of molecular genetics and populations
genetics. The level of really bad or useless publications before
1990 has given way to streams of really useful data sources in
the last 10 years. Much of the data I deal with is information
with no interpretation. Some of the problems in the feild have
been recognized by both layman and professional before the
authors realize the errors themselves, and the focus over the
last 2 years is correcting information and avoiding erroneuos
publications.
I will hand Wilkins a quote from Vigilante et al. 1991 which
shows the degree of bias in formulating a theory.

"
In order to estimate the rate of mtDNA evolution, we need to
know not only the amount of sequenc divergen between chimpanzee
and human mtDNA control region, but also when human and
chinpanzee mtDNA diverged. The best estimate for hiuma-chimpanze
mtDNA divergence in 4 to 6 million years agon (39). The rate of
divergence of the hypervariable segments is thus roughly 11.5%
to 17.3% per million years.
"

This one paragraph and the one that follows will launch about 15
years of debate. However, I found many errors in Vigilante et
al. some they could have known and other they could not have
known at the time. However it seems to me that they were lead by
Sarich and others with the proclamation that humans and chimps
split 4 to 6 million years ago, even though we have no chimp
fossils and very little good fossil evidence before 3.5 million
years ago.
The spread of human mtDNAs is STILL locked into this original
proclamation, the recent 'Descent of Man' documentary relies on
this, so also the predictions of N/H divergence. However the
actual paleontology has markedly drifted and the suggestions now
from the fossil evidence is that the C/H lca was more like 6 to
8 million years ago. Little has been done to revise the theories
of when the human mtDNA MRCA was, or when humans have migrated.
In addition to this new molecular studies indicate both
patrilinear exclusion of Y types and matrilinear exclusion of
mtDNAs based on mating patterns in small populations. Something
not seen in animals because animals don't place reasoning on
Male (god) inheritance or Female (goddess) like schemes as a
neccesity to belonging to groups.
This is not to fault the study of mtDNA, but to proclaim that
there is bias. Normally we would ignore the bias, but we have
situations like LiuJiang with fossils of essentially
australonegroid morphology in china 113 kya and we have a MRCA
for eurasaian population of 52kya +/- 29 kya. We have cultural
evidence in indonesia from 80 kya, the same exit times, LiuJiang
to (conservatively) 52 kya. There is mounting evidence from all
directions that 52 is more or less late considering that genetic
expansion should precede 'finds' by 1000s to 10000s of years.
The critical problem here is that 4 to 6 million years became
a paradigm that everyone accepts. I accepted it, and I only
began to reject it when I tried to put the mtDNA evidence (all)
into a big picture and realized that some pieces did not fit.
IOW everyone was biased by what a few experts had concluded but
no exact theory was ever made, no statistics were done, no
confidence interval set out.

1. When did mammals evolve, a big assumption was mammals
radiated at or near the KT boundary. This turns out to be an
assumption that based on inadequate fossil evidence. IOW the
lack of fossil evidence before the KT boundary was evidence that
radiation took place at the KT boundary. This is an ape theorist
error. What type of statistics did we actually have on the
mammalian fossils discovered older than the KT boundary did we
do statistics.

2. When did chimps and humans evolve. The argument is solely one
sided, there are no chimp fossils, and the prehuman fossils were
always subject to many interpretations, one of which is that
apiths identified never evolved to humans, and the critter that
did has not yet been uncovered. Why would we make such errors,
the assumption is that any protohuman in africa would at some
time cross the great rift valley, and when it did it would leave
a fossil and we would find it because the great rift valley is a
great place to find human fossils.

3. Where did the MRCA range and where did protochimps and humans
range. The argument of human evolution has been heavily biased
toward savanah, remarkably because most of the fossils found
come from paleosavanah habitats. The problem is that the great
rift valley, in east africa cuts through alot of paleosavannah
habitats, and yet no-one seems to be particularly concerned that
this singular focus on the rift valley may be biasing.
Particulalry troubling is that in the current human, chimpanzee
and gorilla populations, the actual pMRCA (place of the genetic
MRCA) is in the jungles of the Congo basin and not in east
africa. For most of the loci, if the biaka pygmies were typed,
they generally had most of the ancestral DNA types and
frequently had the most within group divergence, and yet we
conclude that humans evolved from an early split with the !kung,
a savannah/desert dweller. And yet no formal theory which argues
why we choose the !kung group over forest dwellers, even though
I have a bunch of 2 component plots with show the efe and !kung
smack in the center of all the human groups. In fact if we look
around the world, the most primative groups with the most
divergent looking patterns are from tropical jungle environments
close to the equator. The earliest evidence for something
outside of that is LM3 from 55 kya or later in australia.

4. What did the ancient humans look like. With some bit of
astonishment the literature has all but ignored the pygmy
phenotype as being anything but an anomoly of human evolution.
Some of the publications commented on how skull X in asia looks
like african, or in the new world looks like african skulls of
moderns. How could skulls that come from humans on the far ends
of the earth look like some odd groups of africans. However once
again genetics reigns in, when one looks at these old divergent
groups pygmies or negritos are disproportionally high in their
ranks. Three groups come to mind, the biaka, the efe and the
!kung. In eurasia the group with the most divergence from other
asians is negrito, the andaman islanders, and this is followed
all the way to the solomon chain by deeply divergent peoples.
The assumption was that erectoids got taller, slimmer and more
able to hunt in ranges. Therefore alos humans evolved from these
tall skinny guys.

The blame for the flawed thinking is not solely due to the
antics of layment. It is very annoying discussing with these
Mario and Algis types trying to reason with them that they need
to wait for better data, because with the data they are using
they are highly prone to make foolish errors, then they point to
the past of PA and set out to create their own folly.

Ross Macfarlane

unread,
Sep 22, 2004, 2:50:50 AM9/22/04
to
Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<i554d.618241$Gx4.3...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>...
> ... What did the ancient humans look like. With some bit of
> astonishment the literature has all but ignored the pygmy
> phenotype as being anything but an anomoly of human evolution.
> Some of the publications commented on how skull X in asia looks
> like african, or in the new world looks like african skulls of
> moderns. How could skulls that come from humans on the far ends
> of the earth look like some odd groups of africans.

Nice to see you beating the drum on your pet theories again Phil (the
leg must be better I take it :-).

I would point out that what Homo fossils we do have are all sized like
your average 5'8" non-pygmy. But your valid counter-argument would be
that just as there are no Pan fossils known from acidic rainforest
soil sediments, the rainforest humans you're postulating based on
genetic evidence didn't live in an environment conducive to
fossilisation...

> However once
> again genetics reigns in, when one looks at these old divergent
> groups pygmies or negritos are disproportionally high in their
> ranks. Three groups come to mind, the biaka, the efe and the
> !kung. In eurasia the group with the most divergence from other
> asians is negrito, the andaman islanders, and this is followed
> all the way to the solomon chain by deeply divergent peoples.
> The assumption was that erectoids got taller, slimmer and more
> able to hunt in ranges. Therefore alos humans evolved from these
> tall skinny guys.
>
> The blame for the flawed thinking is not solely due to the
> antics of layment. It is very annoying discussing with these
> Mario and Algis types trying to reason with them that they need
> to wait for better data, because with the data they are using
> they are highly prone to make foolish errors, then they point to
> the past of PA and set out to create their own folly.

Ross Macfarlane

John Wilkins

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Sep 22, 2004, 9:04:06 AM9/22/04
to
Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote:

> I have made a good effort to apply the basic modalities of
> propoganda identification to these theorist.

...


> I will hand Wilkins a quote from Vigilante et al. 1991 which
> shows the degree of bias in formulating a theory.

...

None of which gives me any better idea on the nature of a theory in
anthropology, I'm afraid, although it might hint at how theory is
formulated and applied in genetics and phylogenetics, which I already
had an idea of. But thanks.

Incidentally, bias in the formulation of a theory is widely regarded as
irrelevant - what counts in most sciences is the lack of bias in the
confirmation, disconfirmation and acceptance or not of it by the rest of
the discipline.

Philip Deitiker

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Sep 22, 2004, 9:56:36 AM9/22/04
to
john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) says in
news:1gkil8d.1hluacu1nyp5wwN%john...@wilkins.id.au:

> Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote:
>
>> I have made a good effort to apply the basic modalities of
>> propoganda identification to these theorist.
> ...
>> I will hand Wilkins a quote from Vigilante et al. 1991
>> which
>> shows the degree of bias in formulating a theory.
> ...
>
> None of which gives me any better idea on the nature of a
> theory in anthropology, I'm afraid, although it might hint
> at how theory is formulated and applied in genetics and
> phylogenetics, which I already had an idea of. But thanks.

See Vigilant et al 1991.


> Incidentally, bias in the formulation of a theory is widely
> regarded as irrelevant - what counts in most sciences is
> the lack of bias in the confirmation, disconfirmation and
> acceptance or not of it by the rest of the discipline.

That actually was my point, although I did not emphasize it.
The followups to Vigilant's work continued to use the same
assumptions and only some shift has been seen in the last couple
of years. The theory of Vigilante has been largely accepted as
well as the proposed expansion times. Very few individuals have
challenged the boundaries of the confidence interval. There have
been those that have challenged the study as a whole, but those
have fallen on their face do to poor quality of evidence.
Therefore the nature of the theory becomes complex, and in this
case it creates consistencies that many, like Klien, seem
perfectly content on not resolving in favor of there own
Paradigms. The grand debate between MREH and OoA that went on
for what, 20 years, before the MREH folks scampered out of the
argument was a debate that MREH supporters had at least one
valid argument, the expansion from africa is too recent to
explain the late pliestocene evolution of humans, even if it
does explain extant morphology. IOW there is a dislinkage
between the two feilds in terms of chronology.
A second line of evidence of this is the Neandertal mtDNA
sequences. Paabo and company looked at these an claimed that
they the divergence was from 400 to 700 kya. However there are
stage neandertals in europe that are now believed to be in
excess of this period, the physical anthropology now reveals
that these neandertals were derived from more african
morphologies and the first arrrivals were probably ~1 to 800 kya
well before the 400 to 700 kya date, given the branching time in
Africa one might estimate based on morphology that the branch
times were 0.9 to 1.3 million years ago. This apparently has had
no affect on Paabo's thinking on the matter. I reexamined this
and the human data based on the chimp and gorilla sequences
collected in the last 5 years, created an expanded time interval
for the MRCA, and tried to include as many statistical parameter
as possible. In both the instance of vigilants work and Paabo's
work I found their mean MRCAs to be late and confidence
intervals truncated with regard to the distribution. Just about
all work that has followed makes the same errors when
calculating the ages of various populations. Ergo one person
commits and error and all that follow with the kind of work
commit the same error, until someone comes along (like the mtDNA
people did with MREH) and rattle the feild, and force a
reexamination of an accepted paradigm.

Lee Olsen

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Sep 22, 2004, 10:26:32 AM9/22/04
to
rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote in message news:<18fa6145.04092...@posting.google.com>...

> Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<i554d.618241$Gx4.3...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>...
> > ... What did the ancient humans look like. With some bit of
> > astonishment the literature has all but ignored the pygmy
> > phenotype as being anything but an anomoly of human evolution.
> > Some of the publications commented on how skull X in asia looks
> > like african, or in the new world looks like african skulls of
> > moderns. How could skulls that come from humans on the far ends
> > of the earth look like some odd groups of africans.
>
> Nice to see you beating the drum on your pet theories again Phil (the
> leg must be better I take it :-).

Although it is true he does most of his thinking with his middle leg,
I fear it's his brain that is still suffering most from overdosing the
meds.



> I would point out that what Homo fossils we do have are all sized like
> your average 5'8" non-pygmy.

As accurate as your comprehension of the fish debate.
Perhaps you would be more at home over at the alt.mis-information
group which is more in keeping with your level of expertise.

Tedd Jacobs

unread,
Sep 22, 2004, 11:09:58 AM9/22/04
to

"John Wilkins" wrote...

> Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote:
>
>> I have made a good effort to apply the basic modalities of
>> propoganda identification to these theorist.
> ...
>> I will hand Wilkins a quote from Vigilante et al. 1991 which
>> shows the degree of bias in formulating a theory.
> ...
>
> None of which gives me any better idea on the nature of a theory in
> anthropology, I'm afraid, although it might hint at how theory is
> formulated and applied in genetics and phylogenetics, which I already
> had an idea of. But thanks.
>
> Incidentally,...

incidentally... if you ever get it figured out forward over a copy. i'd be
interested in knowing what it is i believe as well.

tedd.

--
"Pompeii is not an example of the Pompeii premise."- Christopher L. Hill.


richard01

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Sep 23, 2004, 2:05:51 PM9/23/04
to
Philip Deitiker <Donev...@worlnet.att.net> wrote in message news:<i554d.618241$Gx4.3...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>...
> I have made a good effort to apply the basic modalities of
> propoganda identification to these theorist.

Snipped

Absolutely. I have a brand new theory - not only was Piltdown Man the
'First Englishman', but he was also the LCA of the majority of
Americans, including the current president, which is proven by the
fact that GWB has the jaw of a second-hand car salesman, and the
cranium of an extinct ape. (Or vice versa, depending on who did his
latest hairstyle).

So far, I have not come across anything which could disprove this
theory. Piltdown Man was a fake, but then, so too is George W Bush,
which only goes to show that I'm more than right.

Richard

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