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Evolutionary Psychology - The Moral Animal

Radford Neal radford at cs.toronto.edu
Tue Oct 17 10:41:30 EST 1995

In article <badger.813859912 at phylo.life.uiuc.edu>,
Jonathan Badger <badger at phylo.life.uiuc.edu> wrote:

>When I took a history of science course as an undergraduate I read many
>excerpts from the arguments concerning "Sociobiology" when it
>appeared. When Wilson and his followers referred to "Marxists" it was
>clear that they weren't talking about Soviets -- they were talking
>about Western opponents of "Sociobiology" who they claimed opposed it
>for political reasons.

I too have read some polemics against sociobiology.  Some of these are
absolutely bizarre, attributing beliefs to sociobiologists that no
reasonable person could possibly obtain from the sociobiologists'
actual writings.  

Eg, one critic (sorry, I can't give a reference, this was some years
ago) clearly thought that sociobiologists favoured a social system
in which a few dominant men get to impregnate all the women.  Now, I
suppose it's possible that some sociobiologist somewhere actually
favours this, but it is incredible that anyone could think that such
an ideology follows logically from the scientific tenants of sociobiology.

My conclusion, which I think is inescapable, is that such critics (not
all critics, of course) were blinded by ideology.  There is nothing the
least bit objectionable in pointing this out.

    Radford Neal

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