The Social Animal

Paul Marsden (
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 12:02:39 -0000

From: "Paul Marsden" <>
To: "memetics" <>
Subject: The Social Animal
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 12:02:39 -0000

Runciman's new book The Social Animal - The first academic text book to my
knowledge that exploits the memetic framework. Here's what Steve Rosenthal
misunderstood it for - a good plug if there ever was one

"E.O Wilson's British Counterpart

A colleague shared with me today the latest issue (9/17/98) of the
London Review of Books. Natural scientist Armand Marie Leroi
reviewed "The Social Animal," by W.G. Runciman, one of the leading
sociologists in Britain. Runciman"urged the necessity of refounding
sociology along Darwinian lines." Runciman also recently gave a
seminar as part of a series titled "Darwin at LSE" at the London
School of Economics.

The reviewer first applauded Runciman for dressing conspicuously in
clothing that "spoke of money and influence." He then condemned
Immanuel Wallerstein as an "attitude merchant" whose "hatred" has
"blinded [him] to facts which do not fit his Neo-Marxist theory of
transnational economic exploitation."

The reviewer makes one further significant point: Runciman's "The
Social Animal" intends "to do what [C. Wright] Mill's "The Sociological
Imagination" did nearly forty years ago: capture the hearts and minds
of generations of sociologists yet unborn."

Sociobiologists in Britain, like their counterparts in the U.S.,
aspire to win over many people and to transform the social sciences
to be "consilient" with a fascist ideology of biological determinism.

Runciman is attempting to do in Britain what E.O. Wilson called for
in "Consilience," to transform the social sciences into bastians of
fascist biological determinism. We should not underestimate this
threat. During the rise of fascism between the first two world wars,
the ruling class funded and promoted the rise of eugenics as the
centerpiece of fascist ideology in the academic world in the U.S.,
Britain, Germany, and Italy. We must recognize the symptoms of this
recurrent disease, especially as the global economic and political
crisis spreads.

Steve Rosenthal"

Paul Marsden
Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences
University of Sussex
tel/fax (44) (0) 117 974 1279

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