Sociobiology Essay

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This notorious book outlines several possible human rape adaptations, virtually all of which concern reproductive strategies.

The works of such authors have been criticized by the social sciences, including feminist academics like Susan Brownmiller, who claim that rape is not about sex, but power and domination (Thompson, 2009).

Sociobiology has been less successful in its application to human behavior than in its application to non-human systems.

According to many critics of human sociobiology, standard sociobiological models are inadequate to account for human behavior, because they ignore the contributions of the mind and culture.

For example, evolutionary biologists have been long puzzled by cases of apparent altruism in certain animal societies: sterile workers in insect colonies, warning calls, resource sharing, and many others (see Darwin, 1859, pp. Such behaviors appear to incur a cost to the cooperating or altruistic organisms, which would seem to make them impossible to evolve by natural selection.

To explain the existence of altruism, sociobiologists first articulated the conditions under which altruistic behavior might be advantageous.Advocates of sociobiology tend to see humans as just another species of animal and as part of nature, whereas its critics tend to envision humans as radically different from animals and as separate from nature.These competing conceptions of nature and of reason, morality, and culture obviously extend far beyond the ‘Sociobiology Wars’ (see, e.g., the entry on evolutionary epistemology), but the disagreements are especially acute here (see Holcomb, 1993).As the above example demonstrates, sociobiologists are engaged in the construction and evaluation of theoretical models of evolutionary change and in the empirical testing of aspects of those models for particular cases.The result is an expansion of standard Darwinian evolutionary theory (which traditionally explains morphological adaptation) to a new domain: namely, animal sociality.In response to Christian conservative political action, some gay rights advocates have embraced a biological argument.The argument maintains that because homosexuality may have a biological basis, homosexuals should be protected from discrimination.(1975) as the application of evolutionary theory to social behavior.Sociobiologists claim that many social behaviors have been shaped by natural selection for reproductive success, and they attempt to reconstruct the evolutionary histories of particular behaviors or behavioral strategies.A second criticism concerns genetic determinism, the view that many social behaviors are genetically fixed.Critics of sociobiology often complain that its reliance on genetic determinism, especially of human behavior, provides tacit approval of the status quo.


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