Sociobiology

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    Bethell, Tom

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    Against Sociobiology

    "To future generations, the Sociobiology Wars may come as something of a puzzle. The shared beliefs of the disputants were so much more impressive than their disagreements that historians may wonder what the fuss was about. Perhaps the controversy will come to resemble the Wars of the Roses, all of whose contestants believed in the divine right of kings. Their differing opinions as to succession seem rather trivial by comparison. In the case of sociobiology, all the principal actors accept the premise of materialism, sometimes called naturalism. They believe, or at least for the purposes of doing science they believe, that matter in motion is all that exists, and that mind and consciousness are merely special configurations of that matter."
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    Bohlin, Raymond

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    Sociobiology: Evolution, Genes and Morality

    "You might be thinking, "What in the world is sociobiology, and why should I care?" That's a good question. Sociobiology explores the biological basis of all social behavior, including morality. You should care because sociobiologists are claiming that all moral and religious systems, including Christianity, exist simply because they help promote the survival and reproduction of the group. These sociobiologists, otherwise known as evolutionary ethicists, claim to be able to explain the existence of every major world religion or belief system, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and even Marxism and secular humanism, in terms of natural selection and evolution."
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    Brand, Leonard R. and Ronald L. Carter

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    Sociobiology: The Evolution Theory's Answer to Altruistic Behavior

    "Sociobiology is a hotly debated theory which proposes to explain the evolution of behavior. The debate, especially as it deals with the application of sociobiology theory to humans, has been the cause of much misunderstanding between scientists with different views on the subject. Sociobiology has important implications for the nature of man, and consequently it is important for a Christian who is searching for a strong foundation for moral values to understand those implications of sociobiology before deciding what to do with the theory. A theory is not necessarily all correct or all wrong, but must be analyzed with care. Could it be that sociobiology theory correctly describes some of the changes that have occurred, even in man, in a post-creation world in which mutations are affecting behavior as well as morphology, but not necessarily implying that major groups of animals have evolved from common ancestors?"
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    Malik, Kenan

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    E. O. Wilson: Consilience

    "What is it with sociobiologists? Once in a while they get stricken by a strange malady which transforms rational thinkers into ones given to endless (and often mindless) speculation; turns elegant writers into verbose ramblers; and infects them with the delusion that the answer to life, the universe and everything will be revealed in the pages of one book – The Origin of Species. EO Wilson has long suffered from this malady: it is almost 25 years since his book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis introduced the word sociobiology to a popular audience and generated enormous controversy with its claim that 'the social sciences, as well as the humanities, are the last branches of biology'. Consilience shows that he still hasn't shaken off the bug. 'It can all be explained', he claims, 'as brain circuitry and deep, genetic history'."
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    Meisinger, Hubert

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    The Phenomenon of “Love”: The Significance of its Biblical Account and its Sociobiological Reconstruction

    "This paper argues that there are three basic motives in sociobiological research on altruism which are also characteristic for the biblical account of love: (1)An Awareness of Expanding Inclusiveness which pertains to the recipient of love or altruistic behavior and the extension of this circle of recipients beyond the most immediate neighbour, (2) an Awareness of Excessive Demand that deals with the question of the capability of human beings to meet what seems to be an excessive demand for love or altruism, and (3) a Threshold Awareness which concerns the question of whether love or altruism constitutes a step on the way to a 'new human being' and a 'new world'. All three motives appear in characteristic ways in both research on altruism in sociobiology and investigations on the love command in the bible."
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    Rosenblum, Jonathan

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    Is Sociobiology Nuts?

    "The influence of Darwinism has long since penetrated into the popular consciousness, and spawned new pseudo-sciences, such as sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, which attempt to explain every aspect of human nature as an outgrowth of a hypothesized ruthless struggle for existence. Popular Darwinism, and its pseudo-scientific offshoots, properly belong more in the realm of the history of ideas than the history of science."
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    Rosenblum, Jonathan

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    Sociobiology isn't science

    "Marc Hauser and Peter Singer, professor of psychology at Harvard and professor of bioethics at Princeton respectively, recently sought to prove in these pages that our sense of morality is the result of evolution, and has nothing to do with God ('Godless morality,' January 8). They succeeded instead only in confirming suspicions that much of evolutionary psychology (or sociobiology, as it is variously known) is pseudo-science and an Ivy League education is grossly overpriced. Hauser and Singer's arguments are part of a larger effort to employ evolutionary psychology to refute religious belief. The very ubiquity of belief in spiritual beings, souls, an afterlife, etc., it is argued, is ipso facto proof that these beliefs have their roots in human evolution."
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    Sharpe, Kevin J.

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    Science and Religion: From Warfare over Sociobiology to a Working Alliance

    "Science continues to confront religion. Unfortunately, religion continues to respond defensively. A new discipline of science and religion is emerging, a primary aim of which is exploring constructively the interaction between the two areas. A current topic is sociobiology's relation to religion. Sociobiology could undermine religion's claim to truth; thus it threatens theology. Theologians frequently respond by separating sociobiology from religion, thus setting up a dualism. There are reasons, however, for questioning this response. Theology could embrace sociobiology's findings and work with it toward a better society."
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    Statile, Glenn

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    Sociobiology and Christian Virtue

    "Christian theology divides the virtues into two categories: a) Theological – (Faith, Hope, Charity); and b) Human – (e.g., Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance). These cardinal human virtues are spiritually nurtured and nourished by the theological virtues (2 Peter 1:4), the greatest of which is love, or charity, as we are told by Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 13:13). Sociobiology is the interdisciplinary life-based collection of sciences that purports to provide a scientific basis for the explanation of behavior in both humans and animals...In this paper I examine the major Christian virtues through the interpretive prism of sociobiology."
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    Stove, David

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    A New Religion

    "Dolphins and some other animals have lately turned out to be more intelligent than was formerly thought, and present-day computers are capable of some amazing things. Still, if the question is asked, what are the most intelligent and all-round-capable things on earth, the answer is obvious: human beings. Everyone knows this, except certain religious people. A person is certainly a believer in some religion if be thinks, for example, that there are on earth millions of invisible and immortal nonhuman beings which are far more intelligent and capable than we are. But that is exactly what sociobiologists do think, about genes. Sociobiology, then, is a religion: one which has genes as its gods."
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    Wilson, Edward O.

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    The Biological Basis of Morality

    E.O. Wilson is the father of the science of sociobiology and understanding his thought is essential. He predicted that research into this area would result in the eventual "secularization of the human epic and of religion itself." In this essay, he asks, "Do we invent our moral absolutes in order to make society workable? Or are these enduring principles expressed to us by some transcendent or Godlike authority? Efforts to resolve this conundrum have perplexed, sometimes inflamed, our best minds for centuries, but the natural sciences are telling us more and more about the choices we make and our reasons for making them...Which world view prevails, religious transcendentalism or scientific empiricism, will make a great difference in the way humanity claims the future..."