Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh look I am being sciency

Update: the first title sucked and was unfair so i chnged it. 

While looking for comments on the Cyprus "deal", I stumbled across a "feminist" piece by Julia Voss on Archaeological and Biological anthropology. It is one of the most blatant examples of anti science literature - outside of religious fundamentalism - I have seen. The whole thing comes down to this:
Man are hunters, women gatherers? What nonsense.
 Even the arguments she uses in the beginning seem to be right out a creationist textbook.  Something about dinosaurs, science is changing therefore in the end our "science" will prevail. The only real difference I made out is, that she seems to think science is lying because of an evil patriarchy and not because it is evily anti christian.

The whole article boils down to a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the scientific method is. It is nothing but an attack at a straw man as I will show below the fold.

See I wrote straw MAN and not straw human. The same happened in the (1968!) book "Man the hunter" she attacks. The book is in fact a collection of scientific papers. The claims she goes on to make about the book are utterly nonsenical. All technological innovation goes back to hunting? (Like nukes? If dynamite fishing just doesn't yield enough, one just needs maor BAM) Only males hunted?

The book says that males hunted predominantly and also - just like her - states that cases of women hunting small animals were quite common (e.g. page 74).  Even occasional instance of females hunting large animals are known, acording to the same paper. That is a totally different claim. Most of the article in the FAZ is showing that yes women hunted. Well no one said otherwise.

We know for a fact, that males and females of our species are quite different. That is called sexual dimorphism. In human physiology it boils down to this (on average):
  • Males are heavier
  • Taler
  • Stronger
Especially, the difference in strength is significant. Men being on average 1.5 times to 2 times as strong as women. This needs explaining. A hypothesis that males and females had different occupations for the most part of our evolution makes sense. Another one would be women are more likely to choose men who have more muscles and taller. Now the hypothesis needs to be tested.

This is exacly what for the first hypothesis is done in the book. It shows that in at that time (1968) existing hunter-gatherer societies different role models could be observed, it showed that this is consistent with the archeology.

It is not the fault of the "evil patriarchy". It is science. Now if you have a different idea I would suggest that you should submit a paper about this. Show some evidence. Don't just attack straw man. Other people both male and female have done so.   

So just go out and study some existing hunter-gatherer cultures.Feminism seems to become just complaining about everything and not doing something. This is annoying. It used to be about standing up against all odds and getting something done.

Just one more thing. Males are disposable, females not so much. If the man dies while hunting, the baby will have a chance to survive. If the woman dies, little children still dependant on their mother's milk, will most likely die. Of course, there are the Agta she mentions. Still those seem to be an exception and no the rule.

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