Letters

First, Turner's contributions to the field of anthropology are immense. He is the first anthropologist to import psychology, sociology and chaos theory into modern anthropological thought. From these he has integrated a theory of political and social disorder, which can be used to identify such episodes and test theories about them in the archaeological record.

Turner's hypothesis of Anasazi cannibalism is based on this theoretical framework combined with the "hard-science" concepts of forensics, which in archaeology are called taphonomy. Turner has experimentally verified his work, and all of his hypotheses are designed to be falsifiable. So, if Armelagos disagrees with Turner, then he is more than welcome to experimentally falsify Turner's results.

On the other hand, Brainerd's allegations that Turner is conspiring with the Mormon church are simply absurd. Those of us who are interested in doing science as science, as Turner is, care about the truth of what we investigate, political correctness be damned. Furthermore, any brief history of anthropology, or science for that matter, will reveal a deep historical schism between science and fundamentalist religion. Truthfully, what does Mormonism have to do with cannibalism in the Southwest?

Whining about the arrangement of Turner's office as Armelagos does, or criticizing him for humanizing the noble savage as Brainerd does, is weak, ad hominem and subjective in the worst sense. We are glad that neither Galileo nor Darwin capitulated to such criticisms. We believe that science is a dynamic learning process rather than a retrograde process.

Long live Dr. Turner!
Roberta Ohlinger, Tempe
Mark Howe, Mesa
Annette Smith, Phoenix

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