Savage Minds Around the Web

This week, I was happy to find blogs that I hadn’t seen in the past (and no, I’m talking about the Economist online).  If I’m missing a blog (like your blog), email me, and I can include them in future weeks and put them on our blogroll.

So Over It: The Philosophers’ Magazine interviewed Alan Sokal, the physicist most remembered for publishing a fake deconstructionist article in Social Text and then announcing that it was a hoax.  In addition to lamenting that he will, in all likelihood, only be remembered for that incident, Sokal lamented the anti-philosophical ethos of the  younger generation of physicists.  Where could they have gotten that from?

If there’s an idea floating in different corners of the blogosphere, count on Daniel Lende at neuroanthopology to put it all together.  That’s just what he did for this post on 5 rules for anthropologists to reach broader audiences.

The Economist has a short piece on gendercide- the systematic abortion or infanticide of female children.  Almost more troubling that some areas of the world have a 120:100 male to female birthrate is the fact that neither poverty, education, rural/urban locality, or national policy alone can account for the rise of such cases.

Disciplined Struggle: Ryan Anderson of ethnografix posted on anthropology vs. economics–that intellectual cage match within the human sciences to explain social behavior.  Economics get more recognition, Anderson reasons, because its basic premises lends itself to models that are easy to pick up and apply to any number of situations.  But anthropologists’ attention ethnographic detail shouldn’t be a reason to fold our arms and say the world doesn’t understand us.  But, Anderson argues, anthropologists have arguments in their toolbox that can scale up too.

HTS To Go: Maximillian Forte at Zero Anthropology posted on the latest development in the anthropomilitary strategy–the continuation of Human Terrain principles in Afghanistan without Human Terrain Teams.  Forte shows that more and more of this knowledge production will be shifted to actual soldiers or military contractors.

A Nice Piece of History: Ethnocuba has a great piece about Edward Tylor’s little-known excursion to Cuba before he went to Mexico and collected information for his first book, Anahuac.

Biologists Get All Biosocial: Has the world turned right side up?  Nicolas Wade at the New York Times reports on new research that is getting biologists to recognize the role culture has played in recent human evolution.

9 thoughts on “Savage Minds Around the Web

  1. Thanks for the link to the Sokal article, but that’s a cheap shot you take at him; there is no causal connection between his past actions and the lack of interest in philosophy displayed by physicists today. He is clear on the differences between the philosophy up and coming physicists lack and the particular philosophy of science that he lampooned. This is a distinction that is also very much present, as he pointed out, in philosophy departments in the US.

  2. For the Economist article. It is stated that major demographic variables fail to account for the increase (if there is an increase, or if people just started to keep records in certain places). There is a good deal of research on the cultural ecology of different places, and their effects on such phenomenon. This is also something that wouldn’t be accounted for by most economists.

    For example, the much higher rate of bride burning in Northern vs. Southern India (I think I got that right), was accounted for by one anthropologist by the different farming environment, due to soil differences. This difference in material conditions, changed the cultural ecology of the two regions, and produced differential pressure through the political economy on households, which lead to more brides getting burned. It should also be noted that it was usually the matriarch of the household who was responsible for the pressure to burn the bride.

    I would look for differential pressures placed on households in different environmental conditions, but subject to the same legal, and economic ones.

  3. You’ve got to check out the comment section from that ZeroAnthro post. A post that I wrote for here was swallowed by the spam filter, so I cut and pasted it from here on that site. (I now copy all posts before submitting. I recommend it.)

    Max really shows his ass on that one. I especially have to point to the part in his vitriolic rant when he says, “Fuck Darfur!”

    I was truly blown away. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone in real life who would say all of those things, yet he seems to do it consistently.

    Why does the community of practice continue to not only tolerate, but patronize this kind of frothing radical hate? Aren’t we the ones that she nuanced gray, when others see only black and white?

  4. Sokal was and is an opportunist whose “opportunity” has passed. He never had anything relevant to say, and indeed the point is very well taken by Jay Sosa.

  5. Everyone check out Ryan Anderson post about us vs. the economists, well the neoliberal ones anyway. The once that actually run for profession: I was great, but I think that we closer look what what is going of is needed. I’m gonna think a little, but I just took an ambien and, I’m gonna loose the power to spell pretty soon.


    A good book to read from an economist refused to drink the cool-aid:

    Why Economics Is Not Yet a Science (Paperback)
    ~ Alfred S. Eichner (Author)

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