Evolutionary Psychology - The Moral Animal

Gerrit Hanenburg ghanenbu at inter.nl.net
Mon Oct 16 02:04:02 EST 1995

badger at phylo.life.uiuc.edu (Jonathan Badger) wrote:

>>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".

Well,I seem to remember that until 1989 Marxism was a political movement
with quite some influence in the world.In the days of publication of
"Sociobiology.The new synthesis"(1975) "Marxist academics" were as real as
"Republican academics" in particular in the Sovjet Union and Eastern
Europe.Suggesting that human social behaviour is determined by genetic
factors was moreless blasphemy to them.
This looks more like an observation to me,not name calling.

>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.

He very strongly suggests? What *does* he write?

>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.

If Wilson really wasn't interested in scientific argument he would never
have become the prominent academic he actually is.
I do not deny that Wilson never could have said something wrong but to
suggest that he did it *whenever* he was met with criticism is just
absurd.It seems to me that in the case of Wilson you are using a little too
much black paint.

>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.

Before you take it for granted that Wilson wrote something like that (and
if so,in what context) I think you'd better check the primary source.
Hearsay is rather shaky ground.


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