Re: Early men and women were equal, say scientists


  #3  
16th May 2015, 03:35

I mean, what's new here though? Have numerous studies not already confirmed this? What is also particularly dangerous is the legitimization of present political questions through biology and "human nature". What's even more dangerous is how it steps into the territory of evolutionary psychology, almost implying that the present demand for sexual egalitarianism somehow has its basis in our genetic composition. A proper Marxist would recognize that, on the contrary, there is no dissonance between society and human nature - and that sexual egalitarianism existed not out of some kind of evolutionary pressure but as an irrevocable consequence of a specific relation to nature. It's rather simple - a society that lives in precarious existence, that is always on the move, and whose survival is contingent upon food supplies from both sexes will obviously be egalitarian sexually.

Furthermore, is this egalitarianism in the political sense, as we know it today? No. Gender roles still existed, and while they weren't perpetuated through violence, and while both genders may have "shared power", the mere reality of social ramifications being ascribed to biological sex is not a model for 21st century feminism perhaps even by the standards of capitalism following neoliberalism which saw a great rise of women in various sectors and professions (of course followed by a violent and rabid reaction).

The point of what constitutes man is rather simple: Man has never been an animal. The species homo sapiens was already out of the animal kingdom when it possessed the capacity to leave its ecological space and surroundings through the dynamic mobility of the upright posture and the freeing of the hands for intricate transformative tasks. When the species homo sapiens was no longer bound by a specific ecological condition of survival, it was no longer an animal with specific and indefinite ramifications ascribed to its behavior that have political significance today. The truth is that it does not matter what hunter-gatherers actually lived like. There's no reason to think they had war, or sexual domination, but at the same time there's no reason to think that this should inspire an iota of hope into present Communist or egalitarian struggles. Even if they were completely brutal, even if there was horrible shit, we can recognize that this brutality has nothing to do with the brutality of present day society. When scum evolutionary psychologists talk about war being "innate", demand that they give us the exact genetic sequences in our DNA which are responsible for war, and if they can't (just like they can't with intelligence) then they can shut the fuck up and hopefully resign from ever speaking publically. That's how you deal with this. If anything the idea of primitive Communism being a model for the future should introduce a radical anxiety of a basic question: If this is all we have going for us, what's to impede the same conditions which led to class society in a Communist world?

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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
There are a LOT of hunter-gatherer tribes that are not even remotely egalitarian. Among many hunter-gatherer tribes in the Arctic, living in areas where agriculture is virtually impossible, many tribes still consider women to be slaves. Many, many hunter-gatherer tribes also engaged in raiding and warfare, often to obtain more women.
Tell me, Dillusionists, how do you go about living your life? How do you contently fall asleep at night thinking that present day arctic tribes, whose existence has been defined by not only its initial interaction with European settlers, missionaries and their technology, but whose existence is dependent upon trade with non-primitive societies? What a stupid fucking example! To add insult to injury, there is a plethora of evidence which indicates that the various hunter-gatherer tribes, such as the Innuits, were sexually egalitarian for their entire existence before the arrival of European explorers and civilization! It's absolutely shameless, dishonest and disgusting that you would use this example: because the various tribes of the arctic are actually used as primal examples of the alternation of primitive, isolated people's with civilization. The gender roles that are practiced in some tribes, for example, TO THIS DAY resemble the sexual morality of 19th century Britain! Tell me, Dissilusionist, why have there bene no hunter-gatherer societies found (that is, societies which do not practice systemic cultivation of plants, wherein private property does not exist) that were not sexual egalitarian, wherein women were traded and tribal warfare is common? Give me ONE fucking example!

Now this has nothing to do with any kind of innate goodness of man, it simply reflects the fact that there are vast complex social symbolic mechanisms, incredibly complex, learnt ritualistic mechanisms that are necessary to sustain present sexual relations, and so on. What does this mean? It means violence takes EFFORT, it does not exist by default and there is no reason to think it does. The idea that warfare, for example, is an adaptive evolutionary trait is not only unsubstantiated, it makes no sense from a logical standpoint. Considering the vast precarious nature of humanity's existence at several points in history, it makes no sense that human survival, marked by constant migrations, mobility which required vast social coordination and complexity would have been strengthened with warfare. The reality is that this has NOTHING to do with any meaningful analysis of the sexual relations of the pre-historic man, it is simply a means by which PRESENT sexual relations are reified as eternal conditions of man, legitimized and justified in a vulgar manner. You fail to understand that the so-called "evidence" compiled by evolutionary psychologists DOES NOT stand on its two feet as bare empirical evidence, it requires vast metaphysical and philosophical foundations that are simply not questioned. The end result for the cowardly, and cretinous evolutionary psychologist making broad, sweeping conclusions that defile the domain of the philosophical and spiritual WITHOUT REGARDING THEM WITH AN IOTA OF RESPECT. And to be clear, it is not SIMPLY agriculture which causes "gender inequality" but the advent of private property which was a consequence of the cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals. Private property irrevocably leads to women as property - what is hilarious about evolutionary psychologists is how pathetic they are in this respect - relations of sexual inequality, as well as the complex relations to production literally have to be perpetuated through intricate rituals and so on. Even war - war is an ART if anything. These things not only have to be learned, they require immense effort to be perpetuated, for the perpetuation of relations to production!

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Hunter-gatherer tribes often didn't engage in full-scale agriculture simply because their own subsistence strategies worked better within the ecology that they were living.
Oh and tell me, which tribes don't engage in the domestication of plants, and whose survival isn't dependent on an external totality, whose existence wasn't defined by interaction with outsiders, can be conceived as not being primitive communist societies in the 'dogmatic' Marxist sense? None. There is a difference between domestication of plants, and continually picking berries out of the bush every season. All evidence points to that the traits conceived as timeless biological realities by evolutionary psycholomagicians did not emerge before the neolithic revolution, or the transition to it. The power which sustains the theory is NOT a plain and direct interaction with empirical evidence, and it is not a coincidence that it rose to prominence and CASUAL popularity (even as a replacement of religion!) at the exact same time that 20th century politics died. Now POLITICAL concerns are given eternal qualities. Evolutionary psychology is a metaphysical doctrine precisely because of this, because it is incapable of fathoming the social dimension of humanity, incapable of conceiving historic change. On evolutionary psychological terms, something like "cultural variation" will NEVER be explained, even in 'natural' environments which are IDENTICAL.

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We don't "create our own ecology". That's also ridiculous. Humans have managed to create a number of cultural/technological mechanisms that mediate our relationship with our ecologies, making us able to live within those environments more efficiently, but ultimately, we do not control our environment, our environment controls us and we simply try to gain what leverage we can through culture.
And this is precisely why it is a metaphysical doctrine: I ask a SIMPLE question for you - can you isolate and define this "trans-historical" ecological environment that we simply "altered" with technology and culture (which apparently came from our ass, or even worse, "spontaneous imagination")? What is the eternal ecological existence of humankind, how do you define it, and why? Humans DO create their own ecological existence, and humans are precisely NOT animals because they are unbound by a singular ecological existence. The difference between a human and any kind of chimp (bonobo and common) is that a chimp and bonobo has a definite habitat and environment which it is biologically best suited to, in terms of expressing its behavior, in terms of, for example doing things that are considered irrevocably universal desires of animals - eating and mating and so on. What is the "natural" habitat of a man? It doesn't exist. Because man is precisely distinguishable from the animal in his ability to define his ecological reality, and not as he pleases. This is why your assertion that "Marx didn't pay enough attention to ecology" is a bunch of fucking bullshit - he DID, and he will remain a hero of the miserable and exploited for all eternity for his ruthless destruction of that philistine reactionary Malthus's theories.

Humans are unbound by ecology, precisely because ecology concerns a dimension already superseded by the social. That is to say, it is not that we understand our social reality by looking at the interaction between animals and their environment, it is that we understand the latter by projecting our ideological presumptions about the former. And how could it be otherwise, even by this vulgar Darwinist standard which understands man as a biological being concerned with his own survival, and not some kind of abstract spectator capable of fathoming the universe "as it really is"? The necessity of survival and "environmental pressures", so to speak, ARE present in human societies, the point of the social dimension however is that humans create these pressures themselves (NOT as they please) by constituting definite relationships to production.

What is disgusting about pseudo-darwinism is ultimately that it reveals the perverse nature of man (irony intended): the anatomy of an ape is best understood by the anatomy of a man. We project our own ideological prejudices upon the animal kingdom and because of our metaphysical ideas about "nature", in turn legitimize these prejudices through this.

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Hunter-gatherers are widely varied, and don't all have the same cultures. This idealization of hunter-gatherers is a remnant of the old idea of the "noble savage," and it's obsolete.
Again, where does culture come from? Someone's ass? If we are to define culture so broadly as to encompass the humans' very means of survival and life, then the term loses all purpose. Culture is the mere aesthetic representation of this, and what we consider "culture" becomes crystallized only after it is no longer conceived as an essential means of perpetuating social relations. That is to say, some neolithic pottery with icons on it to pay homage to the gods is not a "cultural" thing for those who used it, it has an actual and real utility. The fact of the matter is that natural environmental variation here has made absolutely no difference in this regard - all culture, besides mere aesthetic representation, represents man's relationship to production and survival. The cultural variation that can encompass sexual relations is dependent on an entirely different one - two hunter gatherer societies CANNOT have different sexual relations. If they do, this reflects a poverty of an understanding of their way of life (i.e. one may not be a "hunter-gatherer"). The aztecs or Mayans, ancient despotic societies were not particularly different from ones that existed in the East. And there's no evidence that these societies even interact with each other. "Cultural variation" if it does exist between them, is an aesthetic triviality (Let's worship the panther god instead of the tiger god). This just goes to show HOW definitely the base determines the superstructure.

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Finally, humans are absolutely animals... And we act like it too, despite all of our convoluted attempts at pretending we don't. All empirical evidence shows that humans are primarily motivated by food and sex, just like all the other animals.
The vulgarity here is the fact that it ignores that humans are capable of SPIRIT, animals are not. Humans can make a distinction between themselves and the "animal", irregardless of its particularities. An boar, a panther, a chicken and a mammoth all share a particular dimension of animality that we are distinct from. This cannot be explained in vulgar evolutionary psychological terms. What separates man from the animal is simple: People can go on hunger strikes, starve themselves to death for higher spiritual purposes, and humans can go chaste and never so much as touch their dick until they die. How does one explain the monk?

We can see an evolutionary psychologist either doing two things: Dismissing this as "culture" (A game of picking and choosing then?!) or actually going through honestly and claiming that monks can be chaste because of some innate biological mechanism which allows one to refrain from fucking when the population is exceeding its environmental capacity (Right, which is why early humans migrated just about around the whole fucking planet not giving a single fuck about this, constantly defying their respective "capacities"), and that hunger strikes happen because of some mechanism which prompts humans to refrain from eating in a self-sacrificial manner so more food can go to the women and children or some stupid garbage. They don't understand the difference between correlation and causation and instead find these theories NECESSARY because they have no other means of explaining them, being vulgar empiricist philistines with no regard at all for higher philosophical, social or theoretical truths. It's either we explain this biologically, or concede everything to religion.

The fact of the matter is that evolutionary psychology, if it has an iota of truth (which so far, there is no reason to think it does) would only ever concern things that are completely trivial so much so that it can't explain anything about our society.

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Marxism is obsolete. It's a narrow worldview incapable of explaining even the slightest variation in societies with similar material cultures. It doesn't even have a basis to compare that variation to, because none of the orthodox Marxists seem believe in psychology...
There is, again, little variation between societies with the same material culture, and this variation has no political significance - it is merely, again, an aesthetic variation. Evolutionary psychologists dismiss that which is attributed to the social-symbolic order to metaphysics, ehem, genetics. They cannot prove any of this is in our DNA, so this already falls flat on its face. Lacanian psychoanalysis, conversely, only begins with the recognition that what is there is already known by everyone. Marxists do "believe" in psychology, but pseudo-darwinist metaphysics is not psychology. It is ideological reification with no scientific basis, again contingent upon ideas that have philosophical significance, which if were for a SECOND regarded as philosophically conceivable would be laughed at. They don't care about philosophy, basically, yet pre-suppose ideas which are philosophically relative, but are deemed as a "given". That's why. It's degenerate nature is apparent once we compare it with the sophisticated psychological theories of the 20th century. What a damned abomination. One almost wishes for another crazy cultural revolution where all evolutionary psychologists, who breed the stepping stone (if they're not already there) to scientific racism and fascism, are crucified en masse.

And I bet you won't for a second bring your little theories to their logical conclusion regarding race, or rape without taking the risk of being banned from the site. You know this, and I know this.
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Originally Posted by Antiochus View Post
I noticed that Rafiq wrote some rant blog titled "Against Ecology" or something of the sort 0.0. Personally I am against most forms of "Evolutionary Psychology" because much of it has been used in the field as a thinly veiled cover for scientific racism or fuel for the "PUA" community. Nevertheless it is a useful and necessary tool in many instances. As a biologist it would be impossible to describe animal mating behavior without it. For instance there is tons of evidence that highlights the evolutionary advantage of decorative ornaments in birds for example that convey virtually no evolutionary advantage to the individual but nevertheless allow it to mate at much higher rates than individuals without the trait. You cannot explain that without an ecological understanding of the organism. Saying "show me the genes" is as irrelevant as asking a geneticist to "show you the genes" of height, even if it is a self-evidently heritable component.
This is besides the point. I am regrading ecology here in terms of ideology, its application to human societies and so on, as a metaphysical doctrine. The point isn't to discard the whole field of biology. Even if one couldn't find the genes in birds (which you could, meanwhile "scientists" are still looking for the genes that determine "intelligence" and will never find them), the inference its justified insofar as we can recognize that birds do not have history. And for the record, we have largely found the genes responsible for height. We have not even come close as far as "intelligence" goes. Finally height being a genetic trait is not and cannot be a point of controversy, as no alternative explanation could ever hold up.

The vulgarity stems from applying the same mechanisms we use to determine why animals possess the behavioral and physical characteristics that they do, to humans in today's society. This doesn't stem from some kind of wealth of evidence that confirms this among humans, but the presumption that humans are "animals" in the same sense. What is unique about humans is simple - there are physical characteristics we have inherited that were undoubtedly a result of, for example, sexual selection. But the point is that when humanity left the garden of eden, that's all they'll ever be: remnants of our animality long overshadowed by spirit, or our collective social dimension. If we recognize that humans have no innate ecological predisposition, because we change our "ecology", then this is the death of ecology fetishism itself.

The gap between our biological constitution, and our behavior, in other words, is there. We act in spite of our biology.

And to further reply to TGU (by the way, I absolutely take no offense, and I very much appreciate such mediums of discussion), even in primitive societies - of course there was no kind of innate connotations of gender that are comparable to how it exists in class society. It was purely a manner of convenience in approximation of their biological constitution, but the gap was none the less still there. That is to say, if one is born on an island with an axe, one will make do to cut down the trees with it, but the presence of the axe is not integral to your existence when you were born. At the same time, our biological constitution in primitive societies did not have any innate predispositions to gender, merely through the development of the symbolic order in approximation to the social means of survival, sexuality was used no differently than one would conveniently use an axe (of course, the difference is a matter of will).

The human species left the domain of the animal through a collective dance of madness, the same dance that has miraculously defied all the laws of first nature, then the gods, god himself, and finally the bourgeois state.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
Marriage is a human universal, not because it should be, but because statistically, it is present in some form or another in every single recorded culture. To ignore that because it doesn't suit your narrow-minded ideologies doesn't make it any less relevant, it just makes you irrelevant.
And even if this were true (which it is not, frankly), all this suggests is that in various different cultures marriage was necessitated by a definite relationship to survival. This is not evidence that marriage has a biological basis, it is evidence that every culture was not without the same conditions which made marriage probable. The fact of the matter is that you, like any other evolutionary psychologist, can do nothing but repeat the same old metaphysical logical fallacies - that something may have always existed does not mean it is innate.
And yet was it not you who argued that because marriage was "always present" that it would probably not dissolve with the destruction of class society?
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
Yeah. With the data that we have, it would be ridiculous to expect marriage to go away completely with the destruction of class society when it is present in some form or another in every recorded society. And given biological/hormonal mechanisms of pairbonding, mechanisms such as the production of oxytocin (a fairly well understood mechanism nowadays), it's highly unlikely that marriage will ever completely dissolve. Marx was probably wrong in that regard.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of evolutionary psychology. The point is not to make claims wholly deduced from "data we have", but to justify things which exist today. What you fail to understand is that marriage in a hunter-gatherer society (assuming it existed) existed for entirely different reasons than it does today. And it cannot be called "marriage" in any meaningful sense, as marriage denotes a relationship of power. Even, if we play the devil's advocate, even if it is true that humans are "hormonally" predisposed to pair bonding, this enough does not sustain the structural mechanism of marriage! In present society, most people are capable of having multiple partners and "pair bonding" with multiple people. Communists do not argue that humans will somehow automatically have group-relationships, but that marriage has no biological basis and that only Communism is capable of destroying the foundations which sustain it. Marriage exists to control women's reproductive capacities, in order to reproduce the condition of life. A society that is socially self-conscios does not have to do this, and in addition, with modern day contraceptive methods the entire material basis for marriage in Communism will disappear.

If something is of political significance, it cannot be attributed to "biological mechanisms". Even so, humans do not have
"natural" mating practices. I mean, if anything all you reveal is a lack of imagination. Are you fucking kidding me? We go from the production of oxytocin to the institution of marriage? Oxytocin is not responsible for "committed" inter-sexual relations, it is involved in the facilitation of intimacy. Any idiot with a semblance of experience in matters of love know that intimacy alone cannot sustain not only marriage, but any relationship. The fact that you can't even imagine a world where intimacy between people can exist, but marriage would not, reveals the innate ignorance of the evolutionary psychologist. You simply doesn't understand the variation such biological mechanisms are capable of, you are completely limited by present standards of sexuality. In addition, 95% of marriages at the very least throughout history most likely didn't have a basis of direct intimacy in their inception but were pre-meditated by families. Oxytocin production, if you will, came afterwards as wives learned to adjust to their sexual slavery.

And yet, with all of this in mind, you claim "Marx was probably wrong in this regard". Because of course, during Marx's time, people just didn't know that oxytocin production was real. This philistine, ladies and gentlemen, would have us believe that if Marx and Engels were aware that there was a compound in the brain that was involved in the facilitation of intimacy and its usage in pair bonding, their entire conception of the family would have fallen to pieces. This perfectly encapsulates the sheer arrogance and naivity of those who attempt to challenge Marx in a way that only takes advantage of the fact that he know longer lives to respond, i.e. something that Marx could have been WELL AWARE OF and would have changed nothing.

I mean, even in animals, you're telling me they're monogamous? Let me ask you a very basic question: If marriage 'probably will not disappear' (which is not interchangeable with committed relationships) because we are biologically predisposed to it, why then were societies for thousands of years able to sustain a system of polygamy, i.e. men possessing multiple wives? The question is rather simple: If humans are naturally predisposed to fuck each other solely in pairs, how was this possible? Then comes the hypocrisy: They'll say - "Well men have more sex cells, so it was a biological mechanism all along". They will justify and legitimize any institution which embodies the sexual domination of the female sex, even if it violates their immediate conception of "natural" marriage. So explain away, Dillusionist. Tell us all how humans are "biologically" predisposed to marriage. "It's existed in every human culture". Let's assume this is true (And it's NOT for the last time! There are recorded cultures that simply did not have marriage) - this does not mean it has a biological basis. The fallacy is rather pathetic because hunter-gatherer societies were not the 'natural state' of man, there is no 'natural' state of man wherein he is reducible to an animal. If marriage existed in those societies, it was because it was materially necessiated. Societies that live in a precarious existence, which cannot produce enough food to feed more than small groups, could be posited to have to regulate reproduction in some way. Again, there is no feasible evidence to suggest marriage in any form existed in hunter-gatherer societies.

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Again, this is wrong. Plenty of non-industrialized hunter-gatherer people have had stratified societies that were unequal to the point that women were treated like slaves.
Here's your qualifications for material variance? "Non-industrialization"? All of the differences in sexual relations are reflected in the productive domain, and you know this if you have a) a shred of honesty b) even a mere mediocre conception of what constitutes 'material' foundations.

No hunter-gatherer societies ever recorded practiced the domination of women. They were all sexually egalitarian. I challenge you to bring forth the evidence which sustains your claim, what "hunter-gatherer" societies practiced sexual slavery or female subservience? Can't you give us just one example? Even the aborigines in Australia, contra to what people had thought, had complex agricultural practices much longer than with the arrival of Europeans.
Every animal has mating practices, but humans are not animals in this qualified sense. That is because animals have a define, static relationship to survival and the environment around them, they are genetically predisposed to behave within a single, definite habitat or one that is similar to theirs. Meanwhile the human, and the bipedal apes which proceeded it capable of migrating in a way that is not pre-determined biologically (i.e. animals can migrate, but they have patterns, seasons and so on which determine their patterns) is defined by its departure from animality. We do have mating practices, but these are not biologically innate to the slightest degree. There are chemicals involved with matters of sexuality, but they do not DETERMINE it, they are involved in it.

So your argument is worthless. Why respond to me if you aren't even going to address my fucking argument? I already demonstrated, with logic alone, that humans do not have definite mating practices. For someone so keen on stressing "cultural" differences, this should be rather obvious. Every historic epoch (that is, class society) has different rituals, customs and institutions which have defined the regulation of female's reproductive capacities. To conceive these in evolutionary terms is to demonstrate a staunch inability to understand the very essence of what it means to be a human.

And frankly your "opinion" is worthless. Firstly, let's scrap this "culture" fetishism. I do not understand how people can go about their lives acting in such a predictable manner. Can't you realize that "culture" fetishism is SOLELY a neoliberal, globalization phenomena? Cultures do not come from nowhere. They reflect definite relations to production and survival. This is not some kind of general tendency, there is no exception to the rule. The means by which man feeds and clothes himself defines the domain of the cultural, which only serves to reproduce the conditions of man's survival. This is the dilemna of the evolutionary psychologist at its purest - for all the harking of "cultural" variance, they cannot explain cultural difference in evolutionary terms. It is the excess of their vulgar inability to explain ANY behavior in evolutionary terms. The notion that it is has its sole basis on geographic difference is also worthless, because two entirely different "cultures" can exist with the same geographic conditions and furthermore, the evolution of different "cultures" in different geographic circumstances does not fit any scientific or consistent paradigm of geographic difference.

With of course the exception of the fact that more temperate places were able to undergo historic change in a faster way as a result of being unbound by the precarious, subsistence dictated harsh climates of freezing cold or burning hot.

Marriage cannot be understood outside of an understanding of property. There is a difference between "marriage" and regulated "pair-bonding". Societies with marriage are societies wherein women are an extension of the logic of property relations. So marriage varies "far more than Marx said" and yet you aren't able to demonstrate this at all. How does it vary in a way which shatters the Marxist conception of marriage? What variations can we not account for?
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Originally Posted by RedMaterialist View Post
"You can't evolve...complex psychological concepts." Isn't that the whole point of evolutionary psychology?

Well, oxytocin is a mammalian hormone which has been around about 500 million yrs, according to wiki. Why did it "manifest itself" in humans only a few thousand yr ago?

Group marriage existed long before pair bonding. What hormonal or psychological mechanism explains group marriage?
By no means am I fan of Mao, or his notion of dialectics, but he accurately pointed out (after Lenin did) in a very succinct way that bourgeois rationalists are incapable of conceiving the notion of one thing changing into another. Things for them cannot change in terms of quality, only quantity. Hence, the pre-conditions of capitalist society in their mind have always existed throughout history, they have just expanded - through technology or "cultural" (a category defined by globalization) evolution.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
Oh, and as for tribes that practice the domination of women, the Chukchi (along with most other northern Eskimo/Aleutian tribes), the Chenchu (along with many other tribes in India), the Yanomamo, the Sioux (native american tribe), and many of the Pacific Coastal native american tribes as well. I'm an anthropology student, I didn't even have to look those up. Many, many, many hunter-gatherer tribes were very clearly patriarchal, often having practices such as bride kidnapping (or larger scale raiding for women) and considering women to have a status as slaves. We cannot demonize or idealize these past tribes on Marxist principles because Marxist principals are not even capable of explaining them fully.
Are you fucking kidding me? The Chukchi are not even primarily a hunting based society. The Chukchi were introduced to modern and advanced means of survival through state-run enterprises during Soviet times, and afterwards these were privatized. This is hardly an example of a hunter-gatherer society which is patriarchal. Furthermore, ample evidence suggests that in their prehistoric days (as hunter-gatherers) (just as the innuits were) they were completely sexually egalitarian. Are you literally using poor examples on purpose?

The Yanomamo practice a very complex form of cultivation of plants, they are not a hunter-gatherer society. How is this an example? What evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers practiced agriculture in a form even a fraction as complex as the primitive agricultural societies in the Amazon? None! Furthermore, the region itself is by no means an a-historical one. Unless of course we want to say the Aztecs, Mayans, etc. were all hunter-gatherers. This is the crux of the fucking problem here - you are unable to differentiate any society which is "primitive" by western standards. And while it has been recorded that petty practices regarding the cultivation of plants were present in hunter-gatherer soceities, there is no evidnce that hunter-gatherer societies practiced the domestication of plants and animals. Picking out of the berry bush every year and maybe destroying the poisonous berry bush next to it isn't domestication. Meanwhile, the Yanomamo do this.

As for native american tribes like the Sioux, first of all, these tribes were defined and ripe with complex historic changes, most definitely including their interaction with the Europeans. Throughout the past 300 years the Sioux have dramatically underwent drastic social changes. Sexual relations among the Sioux, furthermore, were recorded in the 19th century, long after they were in contact with Europeans and had integrated into a larger totality of European civilization. But to add insult to injury, finally, the Sioux, in historic terms, were much past the stone age way before European arrival. The Sioux were not simply "marginally" a farming society, they were an agricultural society period that also had hunting practices. You may as well designate fucking vikings or Germanic tribes as hunter-gatherers, because they lived in tribes and so on. From every example you have provided, none of them properly fit the qualifications of a hunter-gatherer society, so much so that if we are to accept that any one of these are hunter-gatherers, the whole term loses meaning and we then become unable to properly establish qualifications for what it means to be a hunter-gatherer.


Is it a coincidence that you can't provide a single example which isn't muddied with aesthetic prejudice? These societies "seem" primitive, so you assume that they are. It's so pathetic. I ask you again - give us an example of an actual hunter-gatherer society that is patriarchal.

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There has never been a time when humans were not modifying plants and plant populations for their own gain.
This only reveals your dishonesty - look how you WORD it! Plants were modified not through a selective process of domestication but modified consequentially of complex gathering practices. These societies are hunter-gatherers, not "hunters" only. There is a difference between the domestic cultivation of plants, and the alteration of plant populations as a result of picking them. All of the examples you provided that were not already completely conformed to higher social totalities practiced complex agricultural practices. These practices are not known to pre-date the neolithic era, some 10-12 thousand years go.

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Also, the tribes with the least access to farmable resources, the northern Arctic tribes, tend to be those with the most rigid, most patriarchal gender roles. Farming cannot be automatically linked to patriarchal gender roles.
This is a worthless hypothesis. The arctic tribes don't have rigid, patriarchal gender roles because of scarcity of arable land, but because they were at present day defined by their interaction with other people's. Again, the innuits still have the sexual morality and customs carried over form the British in the 19th century. Before then, ample evidence suggests they were sexually egalitarian. There is no exception to this rule.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
For example, in polyandrous relationships (one woman, many men), usually it is either the first-born man, or the man who was favored initially as the primary husband, who actually has children with the women (genetically this has been tested), while the other men serve as economic helpers. In polygynous relationships this is similar... though men in many cultures prefer polygynous marriage because it gives them more children (thus increasing their evolutionary fitness), there is often hidden conflict between men and women over this, because really, only a preferred wife in a polygynous marriage stands to gain from it, the rest of the wives actually do worse in those relationships in general than in pair-bonded relationships.
In reality, group marriages are not always reducible to polyandrous relationships. Some group marriages can have, for example, three men and three women, with swapping in between. So this already falls flat on its face. And how ironic that you do EXACTLY what I predicted - claiming that polygamy has an evolutionary basis! For fuck's sake! Any idiot with an iota of an understanding of evolutionary behavior knows that the intentional strive to increase evolutionary fitness does not exist. Evolutionary fitness can be increased consequentially, but among humans, whose relationships to each other are not defined by their DNA, it is a meaningless category. There is no application to the strive for "evolutionary fitness" among humans. The reality is that men tended to have more than one women as wives only in circumstances wherein women were regarded as property, in patriarchal societies where property relations can be extended down more than one line. It is vulgar and quite frankly rather disgusting to claim that this is because of some kind innate desire to "increase evolutionary fitness". There have been multiple recorded instances wherein the children of a mother have multiple different fathers in such relationships, i.e. where all women would become pregnant. Provide insight on these genetic "studies" so we can evaluate them in a meaningful way, otherwise, we can assume theyr'e just as credible as the examples you've provided regarding hunter-gatherers that were patriarchal.

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As a result, a simple change in material conditions, as Marx predicted, is not likely to change that as fundamentally as Marx thought.
You begin with the premise that humans are biologically predisposed to marriage, and then go on to claim that Marx was wrong because of this. Yet you have provided no evidence to support this assertion. Of course, you can't fuck two things at once. That reality alone is enough to explain why two humans together, as far as intimacy, will never be the same as four humans together. This doesn't demonstrate anything of consequence, however, it doesn't explain marriage and it doesn't explain long term "pair-bonding". I mean, again, intimacy and pair-bonding are not enough to sustain a monogamous relationship. You can have multiple different partners, but not in the same proximity at every degree. That is to say, on all seven days of the week you can have seven different lovers. This alone demonstrates marriage has no biological basis.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
If this was not true, Marxism could not be true in any way. If humans had no psychological mechanisms that allowed capitalism to develop, it wouldn't have. If we weren't capable of the abstract thought needed to develop financial systems for example, then we wouldn't have. Cats, dogs, and manatees do not have the pre-conditions of any kind of complex economy in their minds, and thus, surprise, they have not formed complex economies... That is not to say that capitalism is the natural end result of any kind of process, it is just to say that, as Marx argued with his theory of CULTURAL evolution, capital is a response to certain technological, material (and ecological and psychological) conditions.
The reason this is a worthless assertion is that it is akin to saying that without having two hands, capitalism would not be able to exist. of course capitalism is COMPATIBLE with human biology, but it is NOT a logical extension of it. That's the point. Saying that our relations to production "use" this or that process which has a biological basis means nothing. Take racism for example. Racism requires black people to have black skin, but this isn't the cause of racism. Saying that because blacks have black skin is the reason why racism exists is a worthless statement. Capitalism has existed for the past 500 years. That is a rather small fraction of humanity's existence

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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
I see you don't believe in archaeology or the ability to understand the pre-contact history of any tribes either... Ethnoarchaeology and other research has demonstrably proved that, yes, these tribes were patriarchal before contact.
Where's the fucking evidence? What evidence is there that supports the notion that, for example, the Chukchi were patriarchal societies before contact? Show us.

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Oh, and yes, the domestic cultivation of plants is exactly what I was referring to. Hunter-gatherer tribes not only picked plants, but replanted those that they saw as favorable in order to encourage continued growth of plants with that quality. It was hunter-gatherers that caused corn to evolve from the relatively non-productive grass that it was into the major food source that it is today. It was hunter-gatherers that bred the poison out of the earliest potato species, and it was actually hunter-gatherers that bred stronger poison INTO many species in South America (the poison repelled other animals, and could then be processed out by hunter-gatherers). These are ancient processes that go back as far as humans do.
Considering meso-america underwent actual history and civilization, the origins of corn as a domestic plant was not through the workings of hunter-gatherers. There is a difference, also, between the consequential alteration of plant populations (which would have required tasting poisonous foods and knowing what you can, and can't eat in the wild) and conscious domestication. There is no evidence that the domestication of plants existed before the epi-paleolithic, which marked the transition to agricultural practices. Your claims regarding potatoes and so on is based purely on speculation, and not actual hard evidence. So clearly these are not "ancient processes" that go as far back as humans do.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
If you don't even want to see those arguments, then there is not really any argument here to be had.
We have a word for "seeing" arguments. It is ideology. And clearly, you are on the wrong side. And before you claim that I obfuscate facts with partisanship, remember that taking a side is a pre-condition for properly understanding "facts", without which facts have no meaning.
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Originally Posted by The Disillusionist View Post
"As internet arguments become less and less productive, the probability of someone invoking postmodernism exponentially increases until science has ceased to become relevant and the nature of the argument has completely devolved into a matter of opinions about perceived opinions."
Yes, let's not play this game. In an earlier thread I already explained how Marxist epistemology has no basis in postmodernism or relativism. The point is not that science is relative to opinion, for the notion that subjectivity is reducible to individual opinion is itself the real postmodernism. Rather the point is the opposite - scientific truth can only be conceived if the social predispositions which make it possible are there. That is to say, only with the existence of an antagonistic proletariat does the linguistic, and ideological space that allows for the rejection of bourgeois metaphysics, and ruling ideology open up. Otherwise, we ideologically reproduce the conditions of production as they exist, in spite of knowing its reality. The ideology of Communism designates an unknowable reality only insofar as it designates a reality no one is capable of knowing (the future, the horizon of Communism). Meanwhile, the reality bourgeois ideology designates (one that is understood scientifically by Communists) can be known by those who oppose it.

That is to say, 'reality' is designated ideologically with or without Marxism, but it is not made knowable in thought. There are unknown knowns, things that we designate and believe that we are incapable of fathoming. That's ideology.

Marxism replaces bourgeois ideology with science in designating the social scientifically, rather than substituting it with unworkable metaphysical notions of "nature" or inconsistent, paradoxical biological arguments in explaining the complexity of human behavior. The only reason evolutionary psychology exists is precisely because the social dimension is substituted ideologically, and the only meaningful means by which our outwardly behaviors, consequential of our social totality is understood is in the same fashion that we understand animals. Because like any good bourgeois rationalist, they recognize religious ideas of divine providence, and the religious elevation of man into a creature made in god's image of course have no basis in science.
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Originally Posted by Invader Zim View Post
Life is too short to bother with the academic fad that was poststructuralism and which ceased to be relevant (not that it ever really was for historians) to working academics in empirically minded fields after the backlash against such crap in the 1990s, let alone to try to parse her godawful, unintelligable prose.
Indeed, because such academics hold the kingdom of truth. What is your point that this "ceased to be relevant"? Is there supposed to be some kind of aura of legitimacy we are all to recognize by merit of your own predictability? The fact of the matter is that it's quite coincidental that during the "1990's" the international worker's movement underwent a staunch ideological retreat, it's quite coincidental that it was during this era that the most vile and black counter-revolution in virtually all domains of life arose victorious.

There are no "empirically-minded" fields that concern that which critical theory regards. Even the actual empirically-minded fields are only "empirically minded" because they rest upon philosophical foundations that are not a point of controversy, i.e. mathematics has no political significance, so when a field can solely rely upon it, it means we simply all agree and so on.

It is rather easy to understand that all empirical knowledge rests upon a wide variety of assumptions. Those assumptions by default cannot have an empirical basis. Amid the confusion, the point is that something like biological sex can exist objectively, but only if the point of reference is solely the process of reproduction. So biological sex can exist objectively, but one should question just how far this goes beyond reproductive functions. Even as far as physiology goes, and other "empirically minded" fields, it goes much further. Much of what we attribute to each sex exists to reproduce gender.
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Originally Posted by Invader Zim View Post
Given that your epistle, here, is apparently a defense of Butler's thesis - an academic thesis penned by an academic, for academic purposes, and for a niche academic audience - you clearly seem to think so.
This is meaningless. The point is t =hat any defense of Butler has nothing to do with her credibility or standing among academics, or indeed whether or not she is one herself. The point is that you attempted to argue by authority by speaking on behalf of academics. While you may or may not be qualified to speak on their behalf, it doesn't matter what the "majority" of academics think. If anything, the only useful indication of this is the spontaneous ideological inclinations of capitalist ideology. And to be clear, regarding Butler, I fully identify with Zizek's criticism of her. Namely, not so much her notion of gender, but its intertwined relationship with her solution to it is fully a consumerist ideology, i.e. to express yourself in such a way that cannot be systematized by any ruling ideological designation of gender, to break the binary logic of sexuality, etc.

There is nothing here which is incompatible with ruling consumerist ideology, nothing particularly radical about it. This criticism, however, was not wrought out by letting others think for you, by disregarding critical theory in favor of "empirically minded" fields or whatever you want. It is possible only through critical theory. This fetishism of the 'academic' as some kind of category that is either a pejorative, or a scepter of legitimacy is staunchly anti-democratic and reactionary. That is to say, nothing can be disqualified because it is "academic", indeed the intellectual apparatus of society is there - but at the same time, nothing should become legitimate, nothing should command respect BECAUSE it is 'academic' either.

Things must be taken for what they are, no matter where they come from. Conclusions can be drawn about how the nature of the author influenced this or that idea, but this is not grounds for dismissal. That is the unspoken rule of every Communist.



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That the pomo arguments were tried and tested and found to be of little practical value.
And this alone is evidence of the ultimately unscientific, hypocritical and totally ambiguous nature of empiricism. It automatically assumes that "practical value" is useful to everyone universally, i.e. or "society as a whole". That it is not useful pre-supposes a definite system which allows one to designate something as useful or not. But where is the point of reference? In other words, not useful to who? There is no "objective" drive to "understand our existence" as you put it, not independently of the fact that our existence is divided into several antagonisms.

Exploring the world, and "our own existence" is not only ambiguous, it pre-supposes coordinates of importance and relevance that are solely ideological.

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I have no idea what this means.
In other words, are we supposed to care about what's popular among academics for the sake of itself? Should we care that most "experts" agree with you?
[Invader Zim: Touché. What she said might be correct and useful on its own terms, rather than the terms upon which Butler wrote it. That's true. Sadly, it isn't. Her work is a mixture of derivative ideas wrapped as new and often indecipherable prose - and that Bodies That Matter is no different. I'm sorry, but if its possible to get past cultural influences on how we think about anything or conceive of anything at all, then what's the point in thinking about anything or searching for any kind of truth? Her's is the classic problem with all things pomo, nothing can be read with any hope of acheiving anything approaching truth. Sorry, but no.]
Because the question of truth is a practical question, not one reserved for the neutral and curious spectator.