|Cartoon by BALOO.|
I just received my copy of Napoleon Chagnon's Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes -- the Yanomamo and the Anthropologists, and haven't started reading it yet. (I have a stack I'm working through.) And I've already mentioned Gavin McInnes' review of it, which is a lot of fun, but now it's been reviewed by Kevin MacDonald, who is an evolutionary psychologist, which is a sort of anthropologist. Probably better than an anthropologist, at least for reviewing a book of this sort, because Dr. MacDonald has been at the cutting edge of not only his academic discipline, but of the discipline of academics, if you get my drift. He writes:
Yanaomamo club fight scars
Evolutionary anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon’s new book, Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes—The Yanomamö and the Anthropologists, is creating a considerable stir because it (gasp!) reiterates his findings that the behavior of the Yanomamö tribe of the Amazon basin was a good fit with an evolutionary model. In his review, Nick Romeo summarizes the central findings:
Or, more colorfully, as Chagnon (who is nothing if not colorful) phrased in hisSkeptic interview with Frank Miele,
Chagnon’s work quickly became a standard ethnological account among evolutionary anthropologists, but he was “ effectively blacklisted” by the wider field. The second part of Chagnon’s book recounts his war with the anthropological establishment clinging to romantic views of the human past populated by peaceful gift givers living in harmony with nature. Based on the main combatants arrayed against Chagnon over the years (Marshall Sahlins [an early ideological opponent of sociobiology who recently resigned from the National Academy of Science to protest Chagnon's election to the NAS], Nancy Scheper-Hughes, the notorious Ashley Montagu [whose given name, as Chagnon notes in a footnote, is Israel Ehrenberg], Marvin Harris, and now yet another anti-evolutionary crusader, Jonathan Marks), the entire controversy might be a good addition to the material on the decline of Darwinism in anthropology (Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique; Montagu is discussed on p. 26).