Talk:Sociobiology

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1[edit]

Removed link to Dawkin's article "Race and Creation" because this was to an incomplete copy posted to a racist bulletin board. The original article was published in Prospect magazine.


Hey, I changed the lead to what i feel is more straight forward -- with an emphaisis on the interdisciplinarynature and the applicability regarding all species. Hope y'all agree... -Jeffrey


I removed quite a lot of text concerned with how race might shape society. The removed text was not at all about measurements of social behavior, and correlating those with genetic traits. The theories didn't seem like main-stream theories proven with lots of facts, suitable for an encyclopedia, but more like social speculations or research topics. I also removed a lot of verbiage. If you want to restore the text, it's in the history. I suggest putting it a different article, something like "racial philosophy"

User:Ray Van De Walker


Can someone expand this statement. It looks a bit suspicious.

Sociobiology applies strict mathematical models to animal behavior. Therefore its results are recognized more widely than results of any of previous social or ethological theories.
I think what it's trying to say is that since it uses mathematical models it's taken more seriously by "hard" sciences than its predeccessors...
I agree. But it's still nonsense. That's just a claim put about by (some) sociobiologists to advance their cause. Psychlogists claim that they have the keys to human understanding. Economists know that those other disciplines are hocus-pocus, and only a proper understanding of economics can lead to truth. In reality, of course (as I and my colleagues know for a fact), only history can provide the answers. :) Tannin 11:50 May 13, 2003 (UTC)

If I may paraphrase the two sentences at the start of the third paragraph of the controversy section, it says: Wilson is not an authoritarian, he's an environmentalist!. Obviously many people will know what this means sociologically speaking, but it doesn't sound very encyclopedic. -- Alan Peakall 17:14, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

We can work on the wording if you wish. The point is that he was criticized for promoting an authoritarian "right wing" agenda. Yet, he himself claims not to be an authoriatarian of any kind, and had no intention of promoting such an agenda. His most coherent political stance is pro-environmental.
Wilson and his admirers countered these criticisms by saying that Wilson had no political agenda, and if he had one it was certainly not authoritarian. (Wilson is an outspoken environmentalist.)
Is there a better way of phrasing that?

Peregrine981 23:27, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

My point is that there is no logical connection being being authoritarian/anti-authoritarian and being environmentalist vs environmentally complacent; of course there is a sociological link. Among right wing sceptics of environmentalist concerns, many are libertarian (which is formally the antonym of authoritarian). Since, in your observation above you introduce the term "right wing" to contextualise the polarity, it would probably suffice to repeat it explicitly in this paragraph. If there is evidence of how people not involved in the controversy placed Wilson on the left/right political spectrum, that would be ideal. Certainly he is right wing in the sense of not being a marxist, but there is plenty of room for in the political spectrum for the non-marxist left.
Assuming that we agree on these points, then maybe something along these lines:
Wilson and his admirers countered these criticisms by denying that Wilson had a political agenda, still less a right wing one. They pointed out that Wilson had personally adopted a number of liberal political stances and had attracted progressive sympathy for his outspoken environmentalism.
-- Alan Peakall 09:27, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That seems like an excellent revision. I understand the need to clarify the authoritarian/environmentalist comparison. It is true that they are not necessarily opposed, although it seems to me that his opponents basically had a "good/bad" conception of the world in which environmentalists fell firmly into the good side. Thanks for the clarification, it is a much better text now.
--Peregrine981 16:44, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Could someone please explain why group selection is espoused (hugh cringe)?

Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Dennett[edit]

Should the book Darwin's Dangerous Idea be listed with Dawkins and Steven Pinker? Dennett does describe sociobiology in the book. —Vespristiano 06:08, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Confusing paragraph[edit]

5th graph, under Sociobiological theory, reads:

"Anthropologist Colin Turnbull found another supporting example (described in The Mountain People, 1972) about an African tribe, the "Ik," which he said so lacked altruism that the society lost battles with neighboring tribes. His controversial conclusions raised responses among anthropologists and journalists."

This paragraph needs a lot of explanation. Colin Turnbull's findings were "another supporting example" of what, exactly? Also, what is the connection between altruism and losing battles? Why would a society lacking in altruism lose battles with neighbours? Also, what exactly were his controversial conclusions?

--User:Pariah 05:56, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Memetics[edit]

I hope everyone is fine with my minor editing of the last paragraph contasting sociobiology and memetics. Aside from that, doesn't it seem a little odd finishing an article about one thing by denying its connection with another? It seems like memetics steals the scene a bit here, but I could be wrong.Maprovonsha172 29 June 2005 02:49 (UTC)

Branch of Social Evolutionism[edit]

I removed the following line (sic), because I believe it needs clarification.

It is one of the more modern branches of the Social evolutionism theory.

Apart from s/more/most, is Sociobiology really a branch of Social evolutionism? The article on Social Evolutionism doesnt seems to make it clear. And more so, what does it means to be one of the most moderns branches of something? --Abu Badali 13:55, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Franz Boas[edit]

Sociobiology as such has existed since the 1970s. How can Franz Boas have criticized it? It is most certainly not to be identified with Social Darwinism or the racial theories that Boas is well known for debunking. Marshall D. Sahlins wrote a frequently cited, albeit rather flawed, critique of sociobiology; why isn't he mentioned here?

--NakedCelt

Come to think of it, where are Robert Trivers, Frans de Waal, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy? Apart from in the edit I've done? Where's Mary Jane West-Eberhard? All these people are leading sociobiologists. This article seems to confuse sociobiology with genetic determinism, which most sociobiologists today, and West-Eberhard in particular, are strongly set against.

Recent edits / additions by "Dissembly" appear to be negatively biased[edit]

There are many errors in this article about what adaptationists do and/or believe. No mention is made of evolutionary exaptations, byproducts, etc. I wish I had the time to correct these errors. Perhaps someone can review Alcock's book "The Triumph of Sociobiology" and include Alock's rebuttals to these criticisms, misunderstandings, and caricatures.

Pov-pushing by WeijiBaikeBianji[edit]

WeijiBaikeBianji just changed the words "race and intelligence" in this article back to a link to History of the race and intelligence controversy. This part of the article is about the current debate, not the history. His edit summary says "Actually, it makes more sense to link to that article than to the worse article previously linked to." This seems really strange to me. He’s also replaced links to r&i with links to the history article on several templates. If there's something objectively wrong with the r&i article, removing links to it just makes it less likely to be improved. But if he just doesn't like the article, then removing links to it is the next best thing to getting it deleted in an AFD, which I doubt could happen.

This looks to me like incredibly transparent pov-pushing; barely a step above vandalism. I feel it is my duty to restore this link to its proper article until such a time that he can provide relevant justification for changing the link.-SightWatcher (talk) 03:20, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

It is a little sad when people go straight to accusations of bad faith after a single edit.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:38, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
But it isn't based on a single edit. He's done this same thing in a bunch of places lately, such as [1] [2] [3] [4] often against the will of other editors. I've also recently looked over the discussion in Coren's user talk about WeijiBaikeBianji's behavior lately, where this AFD was linked. [5] Have you seen this? Four different users are raising issue that WeijiBaikeBianji has a conflict of interest on these articles and should withdraw the AFD, but he's ignoring all of them and Coren has suggested an RFC/U about it.
He also said in Woodsrock's user talk [6] that he thinks other people's concerns about him are "kind of hilarious." It really seems like he just doesn't care about listening to other people's concerns. I hope you understand how from a new editor's perspective, these combined events look fishy to me and make it difficult for me to assume good faith.-SightWatcher (talk) 23:35, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
You are entitled to your opinion. Now, which of the articles to which the article text here could be linked has more to say about sociobiology? In a word, why is the article here linking to either article? (That would be one possible approach, to not link to either article.) I am not aware of which wikipedian first put the link into the article, but now that you and I have reverted each other, we are each responsible for making the case for our edits. My case is that the article History of the race and intelligence controversy is a better sourced, more balanced article than Race and intelligence and tends to have a more stable text because of less edit-warring. It is a pretty good guide to the literature for people who might like to know why sociobiology (the subject of this article) has been controversial in some circles. You are of course welcome to explain why you think Race and intelligence is a more appropriate link, as you have begun to do above. I invite editors who mostly watch this article on sociobiology, and don't watch either of the recently linked articles, to kindly suggest new sources for the source lists I keep to share with other wikipedians. Perhaps some of those sources may directly suggest edits for improving this article or some of the other of the 4,608,627 articles on Wikipedia that you care about. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:48, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, you were involved in arbitration, right? To help familiarize myself with this topic I've read over many of the arbitration pages. I have read that the History of the race and intelligence controversy article was created as a pov fork by user mathsci, who was later topic banned. This was mentioned here if you don't believe me [7] but I figured you would know since you were involved in the arbitration too.
The history article is still a decent article and should still be linked to from other articles, but it looks suspicious to me when you replace a link to a very old article with one that was created as a pov fork by a now-banned editor. Especially when your reason for changing it is because the pov fork article is "better sourced and more balanced." If there are pov or sourcing problems with Race and intelligence then it should be linked to in as many places as possible, so more editors will notice the article and help to improve it.-SightWatcher (talk) 04:33, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
The article was not a pov-fork, some users who are now banned accused it of being so at first, but they had to agree that the article was of very high quality. You should read the case findings more carefully.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:41, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Wait, Ludwigs2 was banned? I didn't think he was and he's the one who called it a pov fork. I apologize if I'm mistaken but I don't think I am. I can see his point about this. The main race and intelligence article is about the modern debate, the raw data and how to interpret it. The history article is about the connection to eugenics, segregation, and Nazi Germany without really discussing any of the data. The main article seems to be arguing that race and intelligence is a legitimate field of research, while history article reads to me like it's arguing that it's just a bunch of racist crackpots trying to justify their prejudices. I'm sure this is relevant to have on Wikipedia in general, but I don't think it should be linked to in place of the R&I article only because it's "more balanced." As long as this is how the articles are divided, I don't like seeing WeijiBaikeBianji indiscriminately replacing links to the main article with the history article while giving this as his reason. When he does that, it just looks like he agrees more with the pov of the history article and wants to stop people from reading the main race and intelligence article if he can.-SightWatcher (talk) 00:19, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
No Ludwigs wasn't topic banned. He decided to leave the topic before any resolution was found. The other editors who expressed similar concerns Captain Occam and David Kane were topic banned - but both eventually accepted that the article was not a pov fork and that it was in better condition and more neutral than the main article. ·Maunus·ƛ· 00:24, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually, by the terminology of Wikipedia dispute resolution, I was not "involved" in the Arbitration Committee case. I was an onlooker to the case file, as were several other wikipedians. I had already seen edit-warring on the Race and intelligence article just as the case began, so I followed along on the case to get a reality check on what editing guidelines are here on Wikipedia. You are incorrect (you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts) to describe Mathsci as "banned" in the same sense that three other editors were banned in that case. He volunteered to cease editing articles in the topic, and he has kept his promise. Several arbiters took care to note that he is a thorough and conscientious article editor in the case file. I also don't think that History of the race and intelligence controversy is well described as a "POV fork," particularly when it has been praised and edited by other editors. Now I will ask all onlookers who are following this discussion, is there a Wikipedia policy-based reason to have one link rather than the other in article text here? What's best for article text in this article on the topic of sociobiology? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 12:47, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
That's not what I read in the actual case...it said mathsci "consented to a binding topic ban from race and intelligence related articles" and Carcharoth said "it does not mean that Mathsci can un-volunteer later, except with the committee's approval per the enforcement provisions below," same as all the other topic bans. The arbitrators' findings about mathsci described him engaging in incivility and personal attacks, making threats against other editors, and edit warring. If they described him as a "conscientious article editor", they were referring to his edits outside of this topic. If you think this is a good description of his behavior on race and intelligence topics, it bothers me that you evidently think the behavior described in his finding of fact is okay.-SightWatcher (talk) 02:05, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Is any of this about how better to edit the article Sociobiology? If not, it is in the wrong place. Do you have any sources to suggest to improve this article? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 05:06, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, my suggestion would be that you stop replacing the race and intelligence link on this article. I think the article was fine the way it was before you did that.-SightWatcher (talk) 05:24, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Follow-up to 14 May 2012 Arbitration Committee decision The uncivil tone and lack of commitment to using reliable sources to build an encyclopedia in the discussion that opened this talk-page discussion spoke for themselves, and the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee listened, and responded with a topic ban of SightWatcher after observing further examples of his conduct. I note for the record that I have never been under any Wikipedia behavioral sanction whatever, despite great provocation. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 23:49, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

You never responded to my point about how even if you think the history article is "better" than the main r&i article, removing the link to r&i won't help improve it. Yet you've gone and removed it again from Template:Human intelligence. This is the fifth time you've done this- the other four times it was reverted by other editors. You have never made an attempt to justify this edit with any of these editors. What are you doing here? Do you think for some reason there's no need to justify this change? So you can just keep doing it over and over and hope that everyone will eventually stop caring?-SightWatcher (talk) 02:48, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Sociobiology is not a "branch of sociology"[edit]

Reverted this edit which asserts that sociobiology is a "branch of sociology." It isn't. If there is disagreement, please provide reliable sources that suggest that it is. Memills (talk) 05:49, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

First, please stop undoing this. Omnipaedista undid a bold edit per BRD and you are reverting it. Sociology has been in the lead since the beginning of 2012. I've already provided a source: http://www.asanet.org/sections/evolution.cfm. Compare that section description to the page. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 17:18, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
The source you provided does not support the statement. First, the source does not use the word "sociobiology," and nowhere does it state that sociobiology is a "branch" of sociology. Further, the source you provided, the American Sociological Association's "Section on Evolution, Biology, and Society" own mission statement states that its purpose is to counter sociobiology by "critiquing new research in this area." E. O. Wilson, the father of sociobiology, himself stated in his book "Sociobiology" that sociology would eventually be subsumed by sociobiology (not the the other way around) -- a comment which did not endear him to many sociologists. Sociobiology developed from evolutionary biology, ethology and zoology.
The statement that "sociobiology is a branch of sociology" is flat out wrong, both in current and in historical contexts, and there are no sources to support it. The statement should be removed. Memills (talk) 17:42, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
There are sociobiologists in that section of ASA, but can't find anything to say that sociobiology is a branch of sociology. Go ahead and remove it. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:06, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively. Will do the revert later to avoid a 3RR violation. Memills (talk) 19:46, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 20:38, 24 August 2014 (UTC)