I’ve not asserted (nor has Boehm) that these egalitarian impulses can necessarily be extrapolated out to larger populations in the exact same way, but I don’t know how you can with a straight face say that we don’t have enough information when some of these cultures have been studied extensively over many years, in person, and not by reading a 50-year-old study as was purported in the piece you linked and which you have also asserted without support for such assertion. It simply fits your worldview to believe so.

Although there were comments at the end which disagreed with him, they weren’t for the reasons you have named, and there were comments from those whose own research supported the same kinds of findings. The egalitarianism in these groups is primarily between men, but I did not take away that women were essentially chattel or that inter-group violence was the norm. I think you are bringing your own biases to the fore. And so far, you’ve provided no documentation or citations that support that. The one article you did link “calculated that hunter-gatherer societies have a ‘moderate’ level of inequality, roughly comparable to that of Denmark.14

The societies mentioned in that article that talked about warfare or the overt mistreatment of women fit right in with Boehm analysis. When you have tribes that are no longer roving nomads, but participate in some agriculture/animal husbandry, and upon marriage women go and join the family of the man, that is when these conditions arise.

As a sociologist, I take great exception to your comments about the social sciences not being scientific and having an inherently sloppy methodology. Imaging that the so-called “hard sciences” are pristine also makes me giggle, but I do appreciate the opportunity for the conversation.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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