Re: More on brave maidens

Dwight W. Read (dread@ANTHRO.UCLA.EDU)
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 12:45:57 -0700

O'Dea comments:
>I find it fascinating that people want to invoke genes rather than culture
>in this regard. I am personally happy to consider that some human
>behavioural traits (eg. sex differences in psychology) may have an innate
>component. So I am not averse to such explanations. It is just that I
>find such explanations (eg. Trivers') far-fetched in the case of human

If we think of behaviors as haveing contributing components ranging from the
genetic, to individual experienc, to social-based learning, (with culture
making the picture even more complex) then it is evident that it is evident
that trying to link a given behavior to one of these factors and ignoring
the other is problematic with humans. Nonetheless, one can ask: if behavior
X is altruistic, could it arise without first having a genetic based
biological "constitution" that enables such a behavior to occur, even if it
then has substantial elaboration via "culture?" If the biological
foundation must be there first, then it is reasonable to ask about the
conditions under which that foundation could arise via natural selection.

D. Read