Re: midwifery

RDehaan237 (
Sun, 5 Apr 1998 06:32:05 EDT

In a message dated 4/4/98 1:00:03 PM, (Glenn Morton)

<<My my my. We jump from selective pressure to genetics when I never said
anything about genetics. Cultures evolve also and are subject to selective
pressures. The agricultural revolution may have been such a thing. Because
the farmers produced more children and covered more territory, they
displaced hunter-gatherers by having more children and converting hunting
grounds into farms. The hunter-gatherer had a choice either adapt to
farming, or be replaced. There was not a farming gene so I doubt there was a
midwifery one either.>>


You don't have to say anything about genetics. But you are talking about
genetics nevertheless. The words "selective pressure", connote genetics.
"Selective pressure" is defined as, "Those factors that influence the
direction of natural selection" Natural selection is defined in part as,
"...only those progeny with favorable variations [i.e., genetic variations,
DH] survive through subsequent generations and descendants..." (Both
definitions from *McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Bioscience*1997).

So when you use "selective pressures", don't be surprised if I ask you what is
the genetic basis. It comes with the territory. You say you doubt that there
is a midwifery gene. I agree. That being the case, your use of the term
"selective pressure" is inappropriate; it is a metaphor or analogy at best.

I come from a social science tradition, where social learning is a major
mechanism of change. Midwifery is a socially learned behavior, that is passed
on from generation to generation by mentoring, imitation, tutoring, to those
who have a special empathy for birthing mothers and babies. The connections
to "selective pressures" are so remote as to be negligible. Much more
fundamental to midwifery is that it is a manifestation of the Image of God in

I've had my say, Glenn. Thanks for the opportunity.