Did the left lost the sociobiology debate?

Sam Pawlett rsp at uniserve.com
Tue Feb 12 12:54:48 MST 2002

nemonemini at cosmiverse.com wrote:

> Below is an interesting review of two new books on sociobiology,
> including the 'Trumph of Sociobiology', the third in a series
> of 'Triumph' Books in the past two years, by Darwin defenders.
> This triumph needs to be greatly exaggerated since without it there
> is no such triumph at all, only the usual engineered paradigm shift
> that keeps having a bumpy ride, to the consternation of those who
> expected Darwin's easy success.

Hello, have you read Defenders of the Truth by Ullica Segerstrale? This
,while very good, is supposed to be the definitive account of the
sociobiology controversy. I'm currently writing a review of it and will
post when it's finished. It is important to remember that all sides of
this debate are strong Darwinists believing in natural selection at the
genic level. It's just that the critics emphasize macro-level forces and
the dialectical relationship between the macro and the micro, and the
sociobiologists while not denying macro level selection assert the primacy
of the micro level. The S-B's as opposed to the critics hold an old
philosophy of science claiming that science is value-free pursuit of the
truth and has nothing to do with politics. Many sociobiologists are quite
left wing in their personal politics (Robert Trivers was a member of the
Black Panthers, for example.) They just think politics is a red herring
when it comes to science and biology. Sociobiologists and the critics
agree on more than they disagree. More later.

Sam Pawlett

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