[Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: ignore this, it's about women and sexism ...]]

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.princeton.edu
Fri Nov 26 14:56:02 PST 1999


You are not trying to bend the stick in the other (biological) direction, are you?!

What about Wendy Kaminer's criticism of LBO list hero John Stossel's misusage of some neurological data to make a sweeping statement about deep differences in the way men and women think?

Or: in their explanation of uxoricide, evo psychologists (Margo Wilson and Martin Daly) argue that male proprietariness is a consequence of our evolutionary heritage. Let's even say that male proprietariness did indeed evolve as an adaptation in the social conditions that existed in the Pleistocene. Now you wouldn't disagree that the pattern would be expressed in a different and non violent form in a different social and cultural environment? You certainly would not make the equations 'evolved by natural selection'='natural' and 'natural' = 'right', correct?

Also: what indeed are we to make of our reproductive dimorphism? That child rearing arrangements are not variable and changeable because our roles have been genetically determined (from how men and women share in the rearing to new, always changing arrangements for the raising of non biological, non-related children)? You are not making this set of equations: 'evolved by natural selection'='genetically determined', 'genetically determined=unalterable', correct?

(just raising points randomly from Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, ed. Patricia Adair Gowaty. Chapman Hall, 1996)

And: is there indeed not a problem of substituting typological description for immensely variable behavior. If we take Rob's selfish gene caricature, then shouldn't all men be by nature rapists, murderers, warriors, and perpertrators of genocide? Should those of us who have never engaged in, or even fantasized, such behaviors doubt our species identity, as Lewtontin quips in his review of Michael Ghiglieri The Dark Side of Man, Nature 400 19 August 1999?

And of course there are all kinds of explanations for the incest taboo--from Levi Strauss' sociological to the evolutionary biological explanations. Of course even its universality is questioned-Bourdieu, Schneider, Butler etc. I tend to be persuaded by Godelier in his critique of Levi Strauss that there may indeed be some biological basis for the taboo, but all this seems to me quite speculative.

Yours, Rakesh

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list