Re: Joel and Bryant /talk/ about Sociobiology and other stuff

CU Student (
17 Aug 1996 02:28:51 GMT

In article <>, Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax
<> wrote:

> Bryant wrote:
> >
> > In article <>....

> > Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> wrote:....
> >
> >As I have understood some vulgar variants on sociobiology, everything
> a human being does goes to helping the gene pool in some way. I see
> it in a different fashion: I say that there are some things which
> happen in this little world of ours which happen for no reason. /But/
> the important thing is that they are not significant enough to affect
> the gene pool!
> Let's take the example of suicide....
> What I would add is that the gene pool /doesn't care/ about suicide. The
> species /doesn't/ care. Individuals may or may not care about surviving.
> In vulgar versions of sociobiology, the talk is as if the gene has a
> mind of its own. I say that it has no more mind than any other chemical
> reaction or property. Some of the atoms in this universe have come
> together to form living organisms. Is there a plan in this? A pattern,
> yes, but when you start anthropomorphizing the gene, calling it "selfish",
> little alarm bells ring in my head. Isn't this making a gene into
> some kind of God? We're giving /it/ a motive when we do that. I
> don't think it is that smart, merely luckilly programmed by the process
> of evolution.

To Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx:

Ruskin termed it the pathetic fallacy: the imputation of human feelings to
inanimate nature.

-- Orson Olson
Univ. of Colrado, Boulder