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.