Illustration of Sociobiology

1975 Sociobiology

The book of science

Tom Sharp

E. O. Wilson sociobiology Illustration of Sociobiology


E. O. Wilson didn’t invent sociobiology, but he wrote the textbook on it, asserting that social behaviors have evolved as have physical traits, but he raisied controversy by his application of sociobiology to human societies, showing that even humans have instinctual behaviors, and that kin or group selection supports altruism.

Nature versus nurture

Cultural universals suggest something is natural about many human behaviors. Some thought that what made humankind human was the lack of instinctual behavior. Behavioralists taught they could train anyone to do anything whatsoever when they grew up. Others maybe didn’t want to give anything credit other than their own efforts.

Biologists and sociologists criticized E. O. Wilson’s textbook by rejecting biological determinism, which can steer too close to eugenics, even though Wilson claimed that only a tenth of human behavior was determined by genes. Others criticized Wilson for his theme that evolution is progressive, called orthogenesis, which its original proponents described as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

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