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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  November 2002

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE November 2002

Subject:

Re: Sociobiology in the Nation Magazine

From:

Ivan Handler <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 4 Nov 2002 20:34:23 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (64 lines)

Good examples Phil.  Going even further, it appears that physical
proximity can explain much of this.  Because humans bear other humans,
at least until recently, they tend to live in family or family related
units such as Bedoin tribes.  What sense would it make to treat people
who live farther away than those in the immediate vicinity?  It makes
sense to have the most devotion to those whom you spend the majority of
your time and are dependent upon or are dependent upon you.  It seems to
me that culture would develop around this simple fact and there is no
need for any other reasoning.

This seems to me to be more akin to what physicists call "The principle
of least energy," namely whatever involves the least expenditure of
energy such as loving the members of your family is what you would
expect to see.  Of course, that is not all you do see and as I assume we
are all aware, the actual way that kin relations go can vary widely from
family or tribal group to similar groupings.  If something like kin
preference was selected for, I would expect less variation than we see
in its actual practice.  If it were an opportunistic behavior based on
situations, not biology, I would expect to see more variation, which is
what I believe we see.

As usual, the appeal is based on the stereotypical reasoning that
determinism is so well known for.  How many people (aside from
therapists) would think to question kin preference?

-- Ivan

Phil Gasper wrote:

>> Finally, do you really think that humans are not inclined to treat their
>> immediate kin preferentially? In other words, the only reason that
>> people
>> love their children more than they love total strangers is because
>> culture
>> has taught them to?
>
>
> These two explanations are hardly the only options. In my experience,
> parents of adopted children show just as much devotion to their
> children as other parents. That is not because they are biologically
> programmed to treat their adopted children preferentially or because
> it is a cultural norm, but because they choose to become parents and
> live in an intimate social relationship with their children.
>
> I am not a parent, but I have special affection for my own dog
> compared to many other similar creatures. I assume that even the most
> enthusiastic sociobiologist will not attempt an explanation in terms
> of kinship in this case.
>
> --PG
>

--
Ivan Handler
Networking for Democracy
[log in to unmask]


--
--
Ivan Handler
Networking for Democracy
[log in to unmask]

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