Re: The Evolution of Human Birth

Francis Maloney (
Tue, 30 Jun 1998 22:16:02 -0400


I will readily concede that humans have unique problems in birth
and need midwives or obstetricians more than wild animals do. It is the
evolution part that is not substantiated.
Because you cannot isolate one of a complex of circumstances,
conclusions must be narrow and consequently tedious to consider.
Projection of the results of research beyond the scope of the data should
be clearly distinguished as such. First assemble the data, second draw
conclusions from the data and third speculate beyond the data to choose the
next spot to focus research. These three stages are muddled together in
this type of book because the researcher has accepted evolution as a
fore-gone conclusion. This is fine for most readers but I read this list
because I am incredulous, because I do have questions and because I want,
for my own peace of mind, to separate
fact from fiction.
I cannot put my finger on exactly what the Trevathan is saying, but
I believe her presumption is that human behavior, including compassionate
assistance, is genetically based and evolutionarily derived. I spent a
great deal of time studying biopsychology because, wow!, I realized,
human beings, including their mental processes, can be dissected into
machine parts by drugs and electrodes. That idea, like evolution, is more
powerful than the facts that support it. Now I want facts when I read
about this subject, otherwise I am not interested.
You admonish me for not having the facts when that was exactly what I
requested. I do not have the depth of knowledge of geology or physical
anthropology that you have, and I do not read all of the longer posts on
this list because I don't have time, but I have been considering the ideas
presented here. I have sent for your book, Adam, Apes and Anthropology,
to get a comprehensive look at where you are coming from.

Fran Maloney