Re: Feminist critique of sociobiology...critiqued

Paul Gallagher (
9 Sep 1996 02:46:29 -0400

In <50k9du$> (Bruce Scott TOK ) writes:

>So what's the problem? Why do feminists see this as their enemy? I've
>never understood why that should be the case and would be quite willing
>to see a serious explanation. I can't believe simple misrepresentation
>is the only reason. I hope simple caricature is not the only reason.

Perhaps you should consider, at least tentatively, that it's because most
human sociobiology is empty speculation, presented without evidence and
without a tractable research program to evaluate its hypotheses. You
will dismiss this as "simple caricature," but try this for an exercise:
describe any aspect of human culture, not in respect to its teleology,
but solely in terms of the biological mechanisms that give rise to it,
from the level of individual codons through all phases of its development.
If that's too difficult, provide evidence that variation in any aspect of
human culture is genetically determined. (Extra points if you can do this
without referring to "g".) These are the sorts of questions you need to
answer before you can even start sociobiological research, much less
ditch traditional psychology and anthropology and philosophy and replace
them with sociobiology.

Some people think human sociobiologists haven't done this this adequately,
quite apart from their personal and political dislikes.