The idea of a sociobiology goes up with Galton. This discipline is regarded as a pseudo-science in racist matter.
Origin and definitions
The term sociobiology was forged by in 1975 in its book Sociobiology: In New Synthesis, the title positioning Sociobiologie clearly as a study of the social effects which the mechanism of evolution of the species made foreseeable discovered by . Before the publication of this book, one studied already genetics as well as, but only in a separate way (although Konrad Lorenz had evoked in its works the possibilities of interaction).
With regard to the application to the animal species, the point of view was allowed of start. With regard to the human ones, one regarded it some time as a subject polemic :
- Scientifically, did the important cultural component in the behavior of the man leave all his validity with only models genetic?
- Politically, the consideration only darwinienne of the human behaviors could evoke, that this impression is founded or not, the last mistakes of . Wilson defended himself very vigorously against this charge.
- Lastly, believing them of the majority of the religions admitted with difficulty which the rules of behavior of the man can be allotted to other thing that with divine laws, in same time that the unbelievers were quite as reticent to consider that the man did not work out them with its only reason.
One sometimes as estimated as the sociobiology, when it considers the human being, tends to underestimate the skill of the subjects to modify their environment. If one in addition takes it as dogma instead of using it like simple working tool, it can lead some to believe in one biological determinism, from where need for specifying them contexts (see General semantics).
The sociobiology applied to not-human companies did not create as for it not as much controversy: the work The egoistic gene, of Richard Dawkins, which took up the same ideas by developing them, was on the contrary a world success without for all this that does not rehabilitate the image of Wilson in the spirit of general public.
The way of the center, increasingly popular, declares that them genes establish a range of potential behaviors which can be affected by socialization, and that reciprocally such or such type of socialization will be more favorable or less favorable to the expansion of the carriers of associated genes, which one can also regard as one tautology. Socialization can increase, modify, make change the priorities and change the sequence of propensities of the behavior determined by the genetic luggage. In this direction, it is so much the genetics which the social institutions which can be studied by the sociobiology.
Some criticize refute the scientific statute of the sociobiology. Despite everything, it uses one scientific method. A social behavior before is very explained by a sociobiologic assumption by establishing a strategy évolutionnairement stable. This stability can on the other hand be difficult to prove. An adequate strategy will predict the genetic sequence. The assumption can after being confirmed by establishing a correlation between the genetic sequence envisaged by the strategy and that which is found in the studied population. However, the measurement of genes and its frequencies can also be problematic because a simple statistical correlation can sometimes be circular, it employs measurements which were in addition used to establish the strategy. In spite of its difficulty, this strategy is rather favoured.
For example it satisfactorily was explainedaltruism in the animals. Those which were carried to turn to the others it were potentially by their genetic luggage.
Another conclusive example is the quantitative description of the child murder in the animals from which the coupling of the males occurs in group when the male dominating left this same group. One actively studies the child murder by the females as well as the resorption of the f?tus. In general, the females whose potential of pregnancies is highest are carried to give birth to. Moreover, it appears that the females regulate their potential of pregnancies in order to maximize the access to food and the protection of the males.
Criminality is also an important field of research although highly discussed. Some argue that in the the least integrated environments, the criminal behavior is about the adaptation. (see inter alia Mealey 1995)
An important problem of the sociobiology is historical. Some of its fields of interest resemble, at least theoretically, with those of the party socialist national (Nazi) since convincing results sociobiologic can justify a massive oppression of innocent human beings. This line of attack was developed with the end of 1970 by Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. One should not forget nevertheless only the field of description is a thing, and that that of values in is another: a description of reality does not establish as such of value. Thus, for example, observation of the cruel indifference in fact nature does not have any particular reason to justify the same attitude as drank. One could say on the contrary with Michel Greenhouses that it is precisely what displeases to us in what we let us observe who goes contibuer to to forge our values.
This war (which remained very virulent on the American campuses until the end of 1990) encouraged the researchers John Tooby and Leda Cosmides to re-elect Sociobiology in Evolutionary psychology at the end of 1980. The principal difference between the two approaches is that the evolutionary psychologists (David Buss, David C. Geary, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, etc.) consider that the evolution mainly proceeded at one time which does not exist any more (itEEA), and that the programs which control us more or less today are thus adapted to a world which does not exist any more: there is mismatch (inadequacy).
Nowadays, there is always debate between the researchers to determine if this difference in approach were enough to justify a renaming. The term Sociobiology, too connoted politically, is not used any more. The works of Dawkins, as for them, remain successes of edition... just like those of Gould.