From: Keith Henson (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 29 Dec 2004 - 05:46:32 GMT
While looking for good quote to put in my memes EP and war article, I came
Confessions of a Closet Sociobiologist: Personal Perspectives on the
Darwinian Movement in Psychology
Irwin Silverman, Psychology Department, York University, Toronto
"I realized also that I had retreated at least part way back into the
closet before SHEACC came into my life, as had most of us in the field. The
reader may have noted that my course was called Evolutionary Psychology
rather than Sociobiology, the standard label for its subject matter at the
time of its inception in 1984. This was not based on happenstance. I had
realistic doubts about whether a course with sociobiology in the title
would have been approved by the necessary academic committees.
"Was discretion the better part of valor? In his Presidential Address to
the first HBES meeting in 1989, William Hamilton declared to the 200 or so
present that we were a deme, striving to survive in a hostile surround.
Taking Hamilton's analogy further, a deme must reproduce quickly and
effectively in order to survive, and reproduction in the memetic realm of
ideas requires placing students in academic positions. Given the extent to
which sociobiology had been besmirched by its detractors, that goal would
have been exceedingly difficult without a change in label. Camouflage is a
commonly used means of predator avoidance.
"The new label was evolutionary psychology (EP).
"My contention, simply put, is that the evolutionary approach is the only
approach in the social and behavioural sciences that deals with why, in an
ultimate sense, people behave as they do. As such, it often unmasks the
universal hypocrisies of our species, peering behind self-serving notions
about our moral and social values to reveal the darker side of human
nature. Thus, evolutionary based studies of molar human behavior may
readily be disquieting to those who tend, themselves, toward
self-deception, or who believe that mass deception can and should function
as a palliative for societal ills.
"Encouraging also was the observation by Silverman and Fisher that the
evolutionary material in introductory texts encompassed a wide range of
topical areas, including learning, language, cognition, personality,
emotion, sexual attraction, and familial and social processes.
"In all, it appears that the deme is surviving well."
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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