"sociobiology" -catchy title, eh?

Lisa Rogers EQDOMAIN.EQWQ.LROGERS at email.state.ut.us
Mon Apr 10 17:31:40 MDT 1995


Justin,
Now you're starting to speak my language - evolution is my favorite
thing.  It thoroughly informs my view of nearly everything about
living things.  It is explicitly used as a foundation for
theory-building and hypothesis-making in my anthropology.  In fact, I
was feeling tempted to identify with your phrase "good sociobiology"
(except I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that) until I read the
post that contained the indictment of "The Bell Curve".

Every scientist I know is appalled to have the authors of "the BC"
claim it to be science.  Every scientist I know is well aware that BC
is not science.  BC represents no biology, no anthropology and no
logic.

BC can be and has been slammed on many grounds in addition to those
mentioned in the posted critique.  If it weren't for the public
interest and its evil social/political implications, if its subject
had been non-human, as an alleged work of "science" alone it is
considered so poor that it might not have sparked much debate, just a
few dismissive book reviews in the journals.  I mean, it's only
common sense that you have to control for a few things that are known
to be salient if you are going to use that method at all, and all
scientists and many others know that correlation is not causation.

(There is a study often mentioned to make this point - in Chicago one
summer it was found that the rape rate increased with ice cream
sales.  Of course, these both increased with the daily high
temperature and doors and windows left open.  Which one is "causal,"
if any?  And where were the authors of BC the day that was covered
in any science 101?)

One of the fall-out side-effects from "the debate" is that an
evolutionarily-informed understanding of human behavior (such as
mine) continues to be unfairly and inaccurately associated with
genetic-determinist bullshit.  Biology and evolution also do not
support or justify capitalism (even though I do think individual
lifeforms generally pursue their own interests and their relatives').

I disagree with Justin that people "act mainly on group interests,"
and I disagree that such behavior should be expected on evolutionary
grounds.  And I thank him very much for his replies to my posts.
Let's do it some more.

Later,
Lisa Rogers
UofU


>  > Lisa Rogers asks:  > How did humans come to be creature who act
on group interests?  Do
> they have other interests than "group"?  How do they define the
group
> with which they have interests or to which they belong?
>

Thereis probably ann evolutionary explanation for why we act mainly
on group interests. We're social animals, dependent on others for
survival, so there would be selection pressures for group solidarity.
(Don't have a cow about sociobiology, all you Marx-listers: there's
good SB, since we are biological organisms, and bad SB.)
.....



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