My hunch was that it has something to do with greater civic mindedness,
since these are gardens visible to passers by, and also to wanting to
be revealing rather than concealing. I think instead of jungles,
socialists would disregard property lines.
On Sep 12, 2004, at 6:25 PM, Wren Osborn wrote:
> That concept of gardens reflecting political preferences is
> interesting. Would a socialist tend to have a jungle? Would this by
> any chance have anything to do with control, dare I say anal
> retentiveness (Republicans), with concern, respect for varied species,
> not wanting to be bored (Democrat).
> Wren Osborn
> On Friday, September 10, 2004, at 11:34 PM, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:
>> Dear Sam,
>> I think this may prove to be a very worthwhile endeavor, but there is
>> certainly a danger of substituting one oversimplification for another.
>> Just as "conservative" can mean evolution-denying, anti-abortion,
>> pro-military, but can also mean libertarian, supporter of EP, etc.,
>> "liberal" denotes a wide variety of positions. Obviously no supporter
>> of EP is likely to be a religious conservative, so in
>> to that view all can claim the status of liberal if they find it
>> helpful. It would thus seem that what we would need is a larger matrix
>> of positions, to more fully specify the kinds of differences that
>> matter. (We would of course find that then even those on this list are
>> far from full agreement, but it would be a start.) We would need to
>> know stances on issues such as government support of social services,
>> limitations of the market, nationalism, immigration, feminism, etc.
>> way to proceed might be simply to prepare a questionnaire, sending it
>> to those on your list, some control group, our own list, etc., and
>> see what emerges.
>> On the other hand, we might look at something more evanescent, but
>> still very revealing — style. I once did a small pilot study of to see
>> whether I could guess people's political affiliation on the basis of
>> their front-yard gardens. The sample was too small to be terribly
>> convincing, but to a rough approximation my hypothesis worked:
>> Republicans prefer order and boring amounts of the same greens (or
>> paving) while Democrats prefer more varied, wild and colorful
>> plantings, and this held for quite different degrees of apparent
>> On Sep 10, 2004, at 6:20 PM, Samuel Waite wrote:
>>> Val Dusek has written about the tendency in the press to portray the
>>> sociobiology controversy (and now, the science wars) as a conflict
>>> between Objective Scientists and Leftists Who Won't Accept Reality.
>>> I've only recently (in the last year or so) begun investigating --
>>> indeed, even really been aware -- of these topics, and I too find
>>> narrative frighteningly commonplace. In fact, the only thing I've
>>> found that even comes close to an alternative view (at least for
>>> sociobiology and evolutionary psychology) is Dusek's "Sociobiology
>>> There have been some ostensible attempts at balanced expositions, but
>>> virtually all are either pretty blatantly biased (Defenders of the
>>> Truth) or obviously (to me, anyway) poorly researched (Man, Beast and
>>> This narrative must be challenged. This is a book that needs to be
>>> written (Dr. Dusek? ;-)). In any case, in the spirit of
>>> an alternative narrative, I'd like to discuss the politics of
>>> sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, and science warriors.
>>> I think it's important to point out, first of all, that one can
>>> be ideologically biased without necessarily being politically biased.
>>> In addition to conscious political bias, there are matters of race,
>>> gender, class, careerism, and scientism. As is well known, many
>>> left-wingers supported eugenics.
>>> Still, if the critics of EP and of big science are to be successful,
>>> they must show that the sociobiologists and their current descendants
>>> were and are as ideological as their opponents. So actual political
>>> bias should certainly be one of our first considerations.
>>> So, let's consider the political and broader ideological biases of
>>> following individuals (please add any comments you might have to my
>>> Desmond Morris - ?
>>> Lionel Tiger - recently admirably penned an editorial against "race"
>>> as a scientific concept.
>>> E.O. Wilson - commonly portrayed as a liberal in the press, but I'm
>>> very much in doubt. I'm almost inclined to think that he encourages
>>> the idea in order to make sociobiology more credible. In
>>> and On Human Nature, of course, he suggested that homo economicus is
>>> inscribed in the genome, as well as racism, women's oppression, and
>>> women's inferiority, and suggested that it might be a good idea to
>>> poor people starve to death (albeit not quite in those terms).
>>> Referred to black students who dumped ice water on him as
>>> by whom he felt like he'd been "speared". Has privately praised J.P.
>>> Rushton. Has been wined and dined by major corporations and recently
>>> allied with Thernstrom in attacking women's and ethnic studies at
>>> Harvard. In Conscilience he descbribes himself as a social
>>> Richard Dawkins - again, commonly portrayed as liberal, but I'm in
>>> doubt, given his remarks about welfare recipients in The Selfish
>>> Gene. Most of his writings on social issues deal with
>>> religion. Terribly scientistic, IMHO.
>>> Napoleon Chagnon - described in National Review article as a
>>> Democrat", but referred to by Terence Turner as a "right-wing
>>> character". Macho persona.
>>> David Barash - ?
>>> Michael Ghiselin - some anti-feminist comments in his works.
>>> John Tooby - ?
>>> Leda Cosmides - ?
>>> Helena Cronin - claims to be left-wing.
>>> Matt Ridley - certified right-wing lunatic.
>>> David Buss - has allied himself with racists.
>>> Peter Singer - adherent of all manner of bizarre ideas.
>>> Martin Daly - ?
>>> Margo Wilson - ?
>>> Robert Trivers - supposedly a Leftist. Coauthored a book with Huey
>>> Steven Pinker - books bask in "political incorrectness". He thanks
>>> Thomas Sowell and several AEI Fellows in the Acknowledgements in The
>>> Blank Slate, and has given a lecture sponsored by the AEI.
>>> Scientific racists (from Jensen to Sarich and Rushton) - most of
>>> are pretty obvious, but what motivates people like Ernst Mayr, James
>>> Crow, and George Williams (or maybe it was William Hamilton...) to
>>> side with them (at least insofar as they defend the validity of the
>>> race concept)?
>>> Behavior geneticists - some have obvious biases, but what about
>>> like Plomin and Scarr?
>>> Paul Gross - reactionary.
>>> Norm Levitt - again, claims to be left, but I'm not buying it.
>>> Praises sociobiology and Living Marxism.
>>> Alan Sokal - a well-meaning liberal who's served as a convenient dupe
>>> for the culture warriors.
>>> The rest of the science warriors seem to be known political
>>> conservatives and/or largely apolitical scientists who they've
>>> into a frenzy.
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