Robert Snower (rs219@IDIR.NET)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 18:05:06 -0500

At 06:50 AM 4/26/96 -0500, you wrote:
>> my opinion, of Mark Shapiro's
>>THE SOCIOBIOLOGY OF HOMO SAPIENS. The latter presents a unifying theory
>>which has genuine application to the immense body of utterly diverse and
>>disorganized detail anthropology has provided us. Yet the work has received
>>no attention, to my knowledge. Mo one seems to be aware it exists.
>Shapiro's book has been ignored because it is not very good. Truly, it is
>filled with short chaapters that are at best thoughtful, but usually not
>very helpful. OOther books I think have shown much better the systhesis you
>refer to.


Thanks for your response. I was very pleased that you take the notion of a
synthesis of physical and cultural anthropology seriously. But you can't
just say Shapiro's book is "not very good" because it offers a very precise,
detailed, specific, radical, theory which has direct application to the data
of anthropology, which other people in sociobiology do not. You have to say
it is dead wrong, and therefore utterly silly and absurd, or maybe it is
right, and therefore very very interesting.

R. Snower


Sociobiology does not have much to do with ecology. The social aspect of
ecology, or "ecological pressure," (the term Wilson uses) has a great deal
to do with evolution, but sociobiolgy's interpretation of society is not
based simply on evolution, but is predicated on the concepts of
"coefficients of relatedness" and altruism. (Without these, it is not
sociobiology. This does not mean people have to be related to be members of
society. But sociobiology, to be sociobiology, must trace the evolution of
the cohesiveness of a culture by way of these concepts.}