Evolutionary Psychology - The Moral Animal

Jonathan Badger badger at phylo.life.uiuc.edu
Sun Oct 15 13:09:54 EST 1995

ghanenbu at inter.nl.net (Gerrit Hanenburg) writes:

>I really think you should be a little more careful about what you are
>saying.To discredit a respectable scientist like Wilson by accusing him of
>calling his critics Marxists *whenever* they oppose to his ideas on
>sociobiology is at best rather disgusting.

Well, Wilson's attacks of his critics are at best "rather disgusting". And
these critics include the likes of Steven J. Gould and John Maynard-Smith,
hardly "unrespectable" scientists themselves.

>If this is indeed the strategy Wilson uses to deal with his critics then
>you should be able to give us lots of references.

You can read Wilson's autobiography "Naturalist" for a good
description of how Wilson thinks on this subject. In the chapter on
"Sociobiology" he states that he hadn't realized how "Marxist
academics" would react so violently to "Sociobiology". Later in the
chapter, he very strongly suggests that the only reason why anyone
could possibly disagree with "Sociobiology" is because their leftist
politics prevent them from accepting Scientific Truth. Nowhere does he
address the genuine criticisms (such as the total lack of supporting
experimental data) others have brought up. Clearly Wilson isn't
interested in scientific argument -- he just wants to paint his
critics with a Red paintbrush to scare off any future criticism.

He also has called Steven J. Gould a "Lysenkoist" in some writing or
another.  I only know this indirectly from a seminar given by Gould
where he jokingly said "But, hell, what do I know about this? If
yoou've read Ed Wilson's ____ you know I'm just a ignorant Lysenkoist".
Actually I think it's quite ironic for Wilson to call anyone a
"Lysenkoist", as Trofim Lysenko's primary argument style was name
calling as well.

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