2016-04-05

Sorry, but try to understand human sacrifice is necessary to maintain social class order

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by Neil Godfrey

Elaborate ritual killings such as being crushed under a newly built canoe and decapitation after being rolled off a house laid the foundations of class-based structures in modern societies, a new study of Austronesian cultures suggests. — http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-05/human-sacrifice-may-have-helped-build-social-class-structures/7297460

The source article is Ritual Human Sacrifice Promoted and Sustained the Evolution of Stratified Societies in Nature magazine. I see from its first paragraph that it uses our old favourite, Bayesian analysis.

James Cook witnessing human sacrifice in Tahiti c. 1773 -- Wikipedia
James Cook witnessing human sacrifice in Tahiti c. 1773 — Wikipedia

Egalitarian societies are a good thing.

Don’t we see even in class societies that no longer practice human sacrifice the upper classes expending the blood of the lower classes in other ways — all buttressed by noble and praiseworthy ideologies, of course.

 

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Neil Godfrey

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3 thoughts on “Sorry, but try to understand human sacrifice is necessary to maintain social class order”

  1. Neil, can you spell out in more detail what you mean by a desirable “egalitarian” society – politically, economically and socio-culturally?

    1. Read the context — and the linked article the post is directing readers to. I don’t like the idea of human sacrifice. One is less likely to find it in the record of egalitarian societies.

  2. All tribal societies have had a practice of killing strangers much like chimpanzees. We have bigger brains but killing others its what we’ve done since the beginning. We are improving a bit though. Keeping out immigrants is better that killing them and many of us have moved past that.

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