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EUROPEAN
SOCIOBIOLOGICAL
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NEWSLETTER Nr. 49

JANUARY 1999



Editor and ESS Secretariate: Johan M.G. van der Dennen, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Groningen, Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 5/9, 9712 EA Groningen, The Netherlands, Fax: +31 50 3635635, E-mail: j.m.g.van.der.dennen@rechten.rug.nl

Book Review Editor: Marcel Roele, Meeuwenlaan 111a, 1021 HX Amsterdam, The Netherlands, E-mail: m_roele@dds.nl

ISSN: 0929-0206. Published by Origin Press, Groningen, The Netherlands
http://rint.rechten.rug.nl/rth/ess/ess.htm



Calendar of Forthcoming Meetings



* 1999: SSHB Conference on "History and Biology" in Durham, UK. For more information please contact Dr. Malcolm Smith, University of Durham, Dept. of Anthropology, Old Elvet 43, DH1 3HN Durham, UK. E-mail: malcolm.smith@durham.ac.uk
* March 29-31, 1999: Easter Conference of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour will be held at the University of Newcastle, UK. For more information please contact Dr. S. Healy, Fax: +44-191-2225622, e-mail: s.d.healy@ncl.ac.uk, website: http//www.hbuk.co.uk/ap/asab/conferen. htm
* June 2-6, 1999: The 11th annual meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) will be held at the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, USA. The University is a 20-minute drive from the Salt Lake International Airport, and accomodation will be available both in University dorms and in the nearby University Park Hotel. The program committee chair is Steven Gangestad (sgangest@unm.edu), and the local organizers are Alan Rogers (rogers@anthro.utah.edu) and Elizabeth Cashdan (cashdan@anthro.utah.edu). Abstracts for papers are due March 1 and abstracts for symposia are due February 1. Contact: Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Fax: 801-581-6252. Details on abstracts and excursions will be forthcoming on the meeting web page: http://kimura. anthro.utah.edu/hbes99
* June 26-30, 1999: The Animal Behavior Society Meeting will be held at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA. For more information see the website: http://www.cisab.indiana.edu/ABS/index.html
* July 1-6, 1999: 15th Annual Meeting of the Language Origins Society (LOS) at Naples, Italy. Deadline for abstracts: 15 April 1999. Contact: Christina Vallini, Instituto universitario orientale, Dipartimento di studi letterari e linguistici dell'Occidente, Piazza S. Giovanni Maggiore 30, 80134 Napoli, Italia. Fax: +39 81 551-7770; e-mail: cvallini@iuo.it; website: http://welcome. to/LOS
* July 4-9, 1999: Sixth European Congress of Psychology will be held in Rome, Italy. For more information please contact the scientific committee: Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Dipartimento di Psicologia, località 'Sa Duchessa', 09123 Cagliari, Italia. Fax. + 39 70 291204; e-mail: psicolit@tin.it
* July 14-16, 1999: Summer Conference of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour will be held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal. For more information please contact: Dr. R.F. Oliveira, Fax: 351-1-8860954; e-mail: ruiol@ispa.pt; website: http://www.hbuk.co.uk/ap/asab/conferen.htm
* August 2-9, 1999: XXVIth Conference of the International Ethological Society will be held in Bangalore, India. For more information please contact Dr. S. Sridhara, Univ. Agricultural Sciences, G.K.V.K., Bangalore - 560065, India, e-mail: meenal@blr-sn.IN.DHL.COM
* August 18-21, 1999: Sixth Congress of the Gesellschaft für Primatologie will be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands. For more information see the GfP website: http://www.dpz.gwdg.de/gfp/
 August 24-28, 1999: The VIIth Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology will be held in Barcelona, Spain. The location is the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Contact person for submission of symposium proposals is: Dr. Lluis Serra, Departament de Genetica, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, 08071 Barcelona, Spain. Fax: +34-3-4110969, E-mail: sympeseb@porthos.bio.ub.es
* September 1-4, 1999: 20th Congress of the Czech Anthropological Society & International Congress of Dr. Ales Hrdlicka at Prague & Humpolec, Czech Republic). For more information please contact: Dr. M. Dobisikova, Department of Anthropology, The National Museum, Vaclavske namesti 68, 115 79 Praha 1, Czech Republic. Fax: +420 2 24.22.64.88; e-mail: ais@nm.anet.cz
* September 2-5, 1999: The American Political Science Association has made space available to Research Committee # 12 for two panels as well as a business meeting for the 1999 program, scheduled to be held from September 2-5, 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This opportunity may be doubly attractive, since the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences is going to, once more, sponsor a meeting concurrently with the American Political Science Association. Thus, a critical mass of those interested in the interface between biology and politics will be present in Atlanta at this time. Anyone who is interested in presenting a paper should send an abstract of the proposed paper to both Albert Somit and Steven Peterson (addresses follow at the end of this note). If you would like to serve as a panel chair or discussant, please send that information to Al Somit and Steven Peterson as well. Please send this material to us by December 31st, 1998. Addresses: Dr. Albert Somit, 276 Bright Creek Lane, Oceanside, CA 92056, USA, Fax: (619) 272-3535; Dr. Steven A. Peterson, Director, School of Public Affairs Penn State Harrisburg, 777 W. Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, USA, e-mail: sap12@psu.edu; Phone: (717) 948-6154, Fax : (717) 948-6320
* September 20-24, 1999: XI Congress of the Spanish Society of Biological Anthropology at Santiago de Compostela, Spain. For more information please contact: Dr. T.A. Varela, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Laboratorio de Antropologia Biologica, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Fax: +34 98 159.69.04; e-mail: tavarela@usc.es
* December 2-3, 1999: Winter Conference of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour will be held at the Zoological Society of London, UK. For more information please contact: Celia Hayes, e-mail: c.heyes@ucl.ac.uk


* 2000: ESS Conference Utrecht, the Netherlands. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of sociobiology, the main theme of the meeting will be: The reception of sociobiology in various countries and by various disciplines. Local organizer will be ESS treasurer Vincent Falger. Founding father of sociobiology, Edward O. Wilson, has promised to attend the meeting. More information will be available in coming ESS Newsletters. For up-to-date information one may also consult the ESS website: http://rint.rechten.rug.nl/rth/ess/ess.htm



* 2000: SSHB Conference on Hominid evolution in Cambridge, UK. For more information please contact: Dr. Robert Foley, University of Cambridge, Department of Biological Anthropology, Downing street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK. E-mail: raf10@cus.cam.ac.uk
* 2000: 12th Congress of the European Anthropological Association (EAA). For more information please contact: Prof. N. Mascie-Taylor. E-mail: nmt1@cus.cam.ac.uk



BOOK REVIEW



Johan M.G. van der Dennen (1995) The Origin of War: The Evolution of a Male-Coalitional Reproductive Strategy (2 Vols.). Origin Press (Parklaan 12, 9724 AN Groningen, Netherlands). ISBN 90-74528-06-6 (paper) pp. xiv + 863.

by MARINA BUTOVSKAYA, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Leninsky Prosp. 32-A, korp. B, 117 334 Moscow, Russia.

This book addresses one of the most debated and 'dangerous' issues in human life. As the title suggests, the writer endeavours to search for the most basic models underlying the origins of inter-group violence in human society. He specifically discusses the evolution of the male-coalitional reproductive strategy. The approach taken by him may seem seditious to those humanitarians who have traditionally viewed war as a cultural phenomenon par excellence, indeed possibly one of man's recent inventions, related to the emergence of the state. It is particularly these readers who can expect to gain the most from reading this book.
Being a sincere and ardent sociobiologist, and at the same time a peace researcher, van der Dennen has managed to integrate not merely principal theories and views, but to preserve a thoroughly unbiased attitude. As a result, his monograph may be regarded as an exemplary reference text, indeed an encyclopedia, on theoretical aspects of war, its occurrence in human societies, its cultural specificity, the relationships between peace-preservation policies, the history of scholarship, and related phenomena including aggression, cooperation, territoriality, differences between male and female strategies, use of social and Machiavellian intellect, etc.
Many of those who have discussed the roots and nature of violence in human society tended to emphasize the qualitative distinction of these behavioural patterns. War, being a form of inter-group aggression accompanied by extreme violence, bloodshed, and heavy casualties, has been considered as a uniquely human phenomenon. Van der Dennen's book is a reaction to these views and a comprehensive attempt at revising all our knowledge of inter-group aggression and war that accumulated up until now.
In Chapter 1, some general concepts of modern sociobiology (or evolutionary psychology, as some American scholars prefer to describe it) are explained, and the principal differences between classical Darwinian and modern 'synthetic' theory are discussed in a simple and concise manner. War and its preconditions are analyzed with reference to different types of selection. A brief summary of studies dealing with war in primitive societies is given. In the same chapter, the major anthropological schools are described (in my opinion, this digression is hardly justified since it turns the reader's attention away from the main topic of the book).
For those interested in war patterns practised in primitive societies, chapter 2 deserves special attention. A summary of definitions and concepts are given. Four fundamental principles are chosen for analysis: (a) war as an armed combat; (b) war as a political event; (c) war and organization; and (d) war as a group sanction for the implementation of collective policies. Data on warfare frequency among hunters-gatherers, the correlation between types of warfare and the level of economic development between belligerence and primitivity etc. are very illustrative.
Chapter 3 approaches the problem of nonhuman agonistic behaviour. As a specialist in primate ethology, I would like to dwell upon it in more detail. Important developments in ethology, cognitive and comparative psychology, and neuro-physiology, have made it necessary to revise our views concerning the nature and functions of aggressive behaviour. K. Lorenz and N. Tinbergen maintained that this behaviour has considerable adaptive value for the survival of the species. Recent ethological evidence, especially that related to primate socio-ecology, demonstrates the relationship between, on the one hand, the spatial distribution of food resources and predation risk, and, on the other hand, the nature of intraspecific relationships on the between- and within-population level.
More specifically, aggression, like social affiliation, is a means of maintaining social homeostasis. It has been noted that for species where the pressure of ecological factors is so strong that animals have no chance of surviving when living alone or in small groups, and the accessibility of resources is defined by inter-group competition and group size, individuals are ready to accept the most severe and destructive forms of violence from the side of the dominant members of their group. In contrast, if the ecological conditions are favourable for the species, the presence of conspecifics is itself a benefit regardless of social status, and animals enjoy greater individual freedom within the group, while aggression is milder. The opposition is not between carnivores and herbivores, like in Lorenz's oft-cited examples. Within a single primate genus (for instance, macaques), ritualization of aggression is pronounced in some species (Tonkeans and stumptails) while being virtually nonexistent in others (rhesus and crab-eating monkeys). According to Lorenz, aggression is the principal spacing mechanism triggering spatial dispersal of animals. In his theory, aggression was tightly linked with territoriality. Primates, however, are less territorial than birds or other mammals that are carnivores or rodents.
The most territorial primate genera (Callicebus, Callimico, Hylobates, and Pongo) live in family groups. With most primates contact between groups can be neutral or hostile. With hamadryas baboons, members of various groups inspect each other from a distance and sometimes exchange threat displays, actual clashes are quite rare.
Primatological evidence indicates that aggression is a highly complex phenomenon. With social primates, aggression results in dispersal mostly when there has been no attraction between the opponents. When a conflict occurs between group members linked by long-lasting friendly ties, its effect is precisely the opposite: animals tend to communicate and thus restore damaged relationships. Paradoxically, aggression in such situations acts as a powerful integrating factor. Primates can settle their conflicts using a third party as a mediator or redirecting their aggression to a third group member. Also, they can reduce social tension by directing aggression outside the group (using a neighbouring population or a single stranger as a target).
As more and more information is being gained concerning intraspecific killings, humans appear to be less and less unique in this respect. Murders have been observed amongst hyaenas, gulls, hippos, langurs, macaques, and chimpanzees. Lorenz was apparently wrong when he stated that human aggression with its fatal consequences was due to the absence of ritualization mechanisms in a species that lacks biological adaptations designed for murder (such as large canines or claws), and that man had no means of countering artificial means of destruction that he himself had created. Although birds and mammals, including carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores (primates being no exception), can kill their conspecifics, this ultimate means of solving disputes over resources, territory, sexual partners, or social status, is used in extreme cases only.
Information on actual warfare between two neighbouring troops of chimpanzees, obtained in the course of field studies in the early 90s, was a true sensation. Raids on the enemy's territory were accompanied by bloodshed and sometimes resulted in the death of the males. While man does retain the title of the most cruel and sophisticated mass murderer, he can no longer claim to be a unique species guilty of inter-tribal bloodshed and of killing his kin.
Van der Dennen concludes that intergroup agonistic behaviour is a high-risk/high-gain strategy. The absence of such behaviour in most species, then, would only mean that these species lack a requisite level of social and cognitive skills enabling males to cooperate for the sake of benefits in reproduction. Another conclusion is important as well: the role of females in primate intergroup agonism and human primitive warfare has been underestimated since the "reproductive interests of females in matters of war and peace are at least as great as those of males" (p.213).
Chapter 4 presents a brief history of social Darwinism and racism. Struggle for existence was an idea deeply rooted in Classic Greek philosophy (Heraclitus, Empedocles). Both Darwin and Spencer used it extensively. Importantly, however, Darwin was rather reluctant to apply it to humans and stressed that organisms should not be treated in terms of higher or lower. Struggle for existence as applied to human society was a purely Spencerian idea which should thus be referred to as Spencerism, not as social Darwinism (p.247). Principal biological and ecological theories of the origin of primitive warfare are analyzed and factors like population control, land, game, and territoriality are examined.
An interesting conclusion follows: a serious contradiction exists between evolutionary roots of warfare. "It can only have evolved to be common in circumstances in which the net inclusive fitness of warriors has been enhanced" (p.330). However, in modern warfare, no reproductive rewards can be gained by those who run the highest risk. Conflicts with lethal consequences, then, have become "counter-selective" and are motivated by proximate reasons only (p.331).
In chapter 5, cultural theories of war are presented. Their main point is that virtually all behaviour is learned and modified by cultural values and standards and that, in man, cultural evolution has allegedly replaced biological evolution.
In contrast to the approach taken by the evolutionary biologists, cultural theorists claim that warfare developed relatively late in human history, when humans had built up a certain amount of wealth (warfare as macroparasitism), or when class societies emerged (Marxist theories), or as a one-time cultural invention (diffusionist theories). Chapter 5 may be of interest to those who study witchcraft, magic, and head hunting, since geographical distribution and variations in beliefs underlying such traditions are presented.
Chapter 6 outlines theories of ethnocentrism. Evolutionary and sociobiological explanations of ethnocentrism and xenophobia are discussed. Differences between ethnocentrism and nationalism are highlighted, the basic one being the response of a large population to state leadership (more intense and on a larger scale in the case of nationalism). It is hardly incidental, however, that in both cases the principal role in clashes is played by young males. It is the representatives of this social category that extract profound satisfaction and pleasure from boundless power over others; it is they who organize coups d'état and revolt against the established order; finally, it is they who commit mass rapes. Van der Dennen points to certain weak places in sociobiological theories on ethnocentrisms when he mentions that "as soon as group competition for resources and the balance-of-power concept is introduced", most speculations regarding the evolutionary basis of ethnocentrism vanish (p.495).
Chapter 7 is one of the most intriguing. Being a specialist in peace research, the author presents abundant information on the policies of peace in primitive societies. "Peacebility and warlikeness" are viewed as "the outcomes of rational cost/benefit calculus... and an adaptive response to particular sociopolitical ecologies" (p.497). The chapter contains highly important evidence about the main patterns of peaceful primitive societies, a typology of peace, strategies of negative and positive peace. The conclusions are quite convincing: all discussions about human violence and nonviolence up until now have "suffered from ahistorical essentialism, treating particular historical moments as if they represented universal evolutionary trends". A Darwinian approach appears to be more promising in that it regards "peace and nonviolence as an adaptation to particular political ecological circumstances" (p.537).
The monograph is concluded in Chapter 8, where modern reconstructions of early hominid lifestyles and social structure are outlined. Information concerning the role of hunting in various hominid species is summarized, and possible factors underlying the emergence of concealed ovulation, relationships between the sexes, and dependence between group size and predator pressure in hominids are listed. As a conclusion, it is emphasized that intergroup violence is a complex phenomenon requiring a high intellectual level, a sense of group identity, an efficient cooperation, and an ability to form alliances to achieve common goals. Aggression is but a means of resolving conflicts, not their cause.
Finally, my conviction is that van der Dennen's book should interest precisely those people who are not directly engaged in evolutionary, ethological, or sociobiological studies. I strongly disagree with the author's claim that those who "are convinced that human social behaviour is somehow beyond evolutionary explanation... are recommended not to waste their time reading this book" (p.3). If at least a few sceptics become less straightforward in rejecting any role of the evolutionary scenario after having read this book, its author can be proud to say he has not wasted his time.



BOOK REVIEW



Johan M.G. van der Dennen (1995) The Origin of War: The Evolution of a Male-Coalitional Reproductive Strategy (2 Vols.). Origin Press (Parklaan 12, 9724 AN GRONINGEN, Netherlands). ISBN 90-74528-06-6 (paper) pp. xiv + 863.

by MARTIN van CREVELD, History Department, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, 91905 Jerusalem, Israel.

As the author himself says, this massive work grew out of an almost obsessive, fifteen year long search for literature concerning the origins of war. Consequently, its title is misleading: it should have been called, not The Origin of War but Theories Concerning the Origin of War.
Chronologically speaking, the ground covered by Van der Dennen starts with the biological and evolutionary roots of war - the question, in other words, whether animals go to war - and ends with the development of agriculture perhaps ten thousand years ago. In between, almost every conceivable theory that has ever been devised to account for the problem is presented, discussed and criticized; beginning with the killer ape hypothesis and ending with such questions as group identification, ethnocentrism, and man's remarkable ability to dehumanize others who do not belong to his own people or tribe. However, summarizing and then criticizing the work of others does not make for a coherent, let alone independent, answer to the problem. Long before this reviewer ever reached the book's conclusion, which is finally presented on page 593, he had lost sight of the central argument if any. Curiously enough, the same seems to be true of the author himself; who in his 'epilogue' speaks of "the main contention of this chapter" (my emphasis) as if the rest of the book did not exist.
What, then, is Van der Dennen's 'main contention', arrived at after so many years of intense effort? It is, and I quote, that "warfare evolved as a high-risk/high-gain coalitional reproductive (or parental investment) strategy. This, at least partially, explains why it is universally the males who are the warriors. Warring behavior is confined to typically high-social and 'brainy' species, cognitively capable of establishing relatively long-term polyadic coalitions, mainly Hominidae and Panidae. This, at least partially, explains why warfare emerged (relatively) late in the evolution and why it is so conspicuously absent in mammals generally." In plain words, warfare developed as an attempt by the males of one or two intelligent species to maximize their reproductive success by forming into groups and fighting other groups, thus simultaneously eliminating male competitors and capturing their families.
To the extent that this contention answers the question concerning the origins of war it may indeed be satisfactory or, to use Van der Dennen's own cautious way of expressing himself, 'at least' no less satisfactory than any other theory that may be presented. On the other hand, it creates a huge gap between 'original' and 'civilized' war which for millennia now has not had the reproductive success as its main goal. From the time that the first civilized polities were formed in the Nile Valley the decisions to go to war were made by rulers (who, as Van der Dennen notes, usually had all the reproductive opportunities they could wish for in the form of numerous wives and concubines) on the basis of completely different considerations: such as the need to defend against attack, or conquer land, or establish justice, or carry out a god's command. Reproductive success - whether in the form of sexual license, or the elimination of male competitors, or the capture of females belonging to other groups - entered the picture, if at all, merely as side benefits.
In other words, to the extent that Van der Dennen's answer is correct, it creates such a vast gap between 'original' and 'civilized' war as to make the former almost useless in explaining the latter. But does the quest for reproductive success in fact explain the incidence of war even among 'primitive' societies of Hominidae and Pongidae? To ask chimpanzees to explain themselves may be too much; but men, even men who still live in bands and make their living as hunters and gatherers, ought to be aware of their motives and capable of explaining them to others. Here the anthropological evidence which has been accumulating over the last two centuries or so is ambivalent. We do, in fact, have some quotes from tribal warriors concerning the need to keep their marriageable females as a motive behind the wars that they wage against other tribes. On the other hand, invariably it is but one of several factors that they mention; on a par with, say, their desire to avenge themselves for a physical injury inflicted, a garden destroyed, or a pig stolen.
In view of these criticisms, the greatest value of Van der Dennen's book may well reside not so much in its conclusion as in its systematic exposition of the various theories that have been propounded over the years. To this must be added the detailed appendices on the military customs of many societies as well as the immense, up to date, bibliography. All three will be invaluable to any person interested in the subject and indeed there are few better ways for such a person to familiarize himself with it. Unfortunately, though, one cannot say that the book provides a convincing answer to the question as to war's origins, let alone links that answer to the kind of war that we see being waged around us every day.



BOOK REVIEW



Nancy L. Segal, Glenn E. Weisfeld & Carol C. Weisfeld (Eds.) Uniting Psychology and Biology: Integrative Perspective on Human Development. Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 1997 (ISBN 1-55798-428-X, 568 pages).

by JOHAN M.G. van der DENNEN, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

"Even as smaller and smaller niches in psychology are carved out, the discipline moves toward a more holistic approach to behavioral science. Pursuing the 'big picture' has been the life's work of Daniel G. Freedman, PhD, a distinguished psychologist whose wide range of interests have provided remarkable variations on a single theme: an interactionist, holistic view of human behavior. His pioneering ethological analyses encouraged naturalistic studies of the evolved bases of behavior; his comparative view of human behavior helped set the stage for current cross-cultural research. Students and scholars interested in the twists and bedrock of human development will find in this volume a stimulating sampler of cutting-edge research on the topics that define Freedman's career: behavior genetics, human ethology, evolutionary psychology, and culture. An expansive ripple effect of scholarship has resulted from Freedman's broad-based research and teachings, and Uniting Psychology and Biology presents this intellectual ancestry."


This is the text on the wrapper, and though for some scholars 'holism' may evoke uneasy associations with 'New Age' obscurantism, Daniel Freedman indeed comes as close to the Renaissance ideal of the Homo universalis, pursuing the big picture, as a contemporary scientist can possibly get.
The volume Uniting Psychology and Biology is, first and foremost, an unabashed and unashamed homage to, and a Festschrift dedicated to, Dan Freedman, in honor of his unique scholarship. Dan Freedman is a brilliant and inquisitive mind, who pioneered and explored many novel areas of investigation: the genetics of dog behavior ("Constitutional and environmental interactions in rearing of four breed of dogs", Science , 127, 1958, 585-586), genetically based behavioral dispositions and motor patterns in human infants ("Smiling in blind infants and the issue of innate versus acquired", J. Child Psychol. & Psychiat., 5, 1964, 171-189), the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in the ontogeny of human (social) behavior (Human Infancy: An evolutionary perspective, Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1974), observational studies of dominance hierarchies, evolutionary psychology, MZ and DZ twin studies, and human cultures.
And, only four years after Edward Wilson's synthesis, Dan Freedman produced one of the first books on human sociobiology (Human sociobiology: A holistic approach, New York: Free Press, 1979), in which his propensity toward integration was already prominently present.
He worked with the finest minds of his generation: Abraham Maslow, Kurt Goldstein, Gregory Bateson, and John Paul Scott, and he was ahead of his time most of the time.
I had the honor to meet Dan Freedman 'in the flesh' a few years ago at the Ringberg Castle Conference on 'Indoctrinability and Warfare', organized by Eibl-Eibesfeldt and his assistants, in Andechs, Germany. It turned out to be a memorable meeting, and I can now understand the impression he must have made on his students who wrote this Festschrift for him.
The bulky volume contains almost 40 (including section introductions and conclusions) contributions by some 25 accomplished scholars, most of them former students and colleagues. The contributions are grouped into 8 sections: Section I: Introduction; Section II: Genetic Basis of Behavior: Contributions to Psychological Research; Section III: Biological Approaches to Developmental Issues: Rethinking the Data; Section IV: Naturalistic Studies of Behavior: How Does a Cross-Cultural Approach Inform Ongoing Research?; Section V: Evolutionary Analyses: New Issues and Continuing Controversies; Section VI: Film Retrospective: The Method and the Medium. Section VII: Behavior Genetics, Human Ethology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Culture: Looking to the Future; Section VIII: Final Overview: Uniting Psychology and Biology. It is, indeed, hard to think of a relevant subject-matter which is not represented in this book.
The quality of these contributions is, not unexpectedly, extremely heterogeneous in both readability and content. It is hardly possible, within the framework of a book review, to do justice to every single contribution in this Festschrift. Therefore I shall limit myself to presenting some impressions, necessarily biased by my own subjective preferences and taste, and finally summarize some of the conclusions as formulated by the editors. I apologize beforehand to those authors who are left out.
Dan Freedman's own contribution ("Is nonduality possible in the social and biological sciences?: small essays on holism and related issues") tries to transcend the classic dichotomies which have haunted our disciplines: mind versus body, innate versus acquired, culture versus biology, nature versus nurture, reductionism versus holism, etc. etc.
Michael Bailey's contribution ("Are genetically based individual differences compatible with species-wide adaptations?") is highly informative on a number of issues at the behavior genetics-evolutionary psychology interface, such as heritabilities of behavioral traits and sex differences as frequency-dependent reproductive strategies.
Genetics as a risk factor throughout the life span is highlighted by Irving Gottesman, Hill Goldsmith & Gregory Carey ("A developmental and a genetic perspective on aggression"). They present a sophisticated 'reaction surface' model of behavioral traits and conclude that "It is likely that insofar as genetic risk factors may be important, they are most relevant to a subset of individuals manifesting chronic antisocial behavior with nonacute onsets. That such a subgroup exists has been repeatedly shown in the literature...". This small group of young male, hard-core, chronic recidivists is, however, responsible for the majority of violent crimes, including rape.
John Paul Scott, grand old man of aggression research, describes in his contribution ("Genetic analysis of social behavior") two major lines of research, which span a 20-year period: the discovery of the critical period of social attachment, and gender and breed differences in agonistic behavior.
Nicholas Blurton Jones, Kirsten Hawkes & James O'Connell ("Why do Hadza children forage?") demonstrate the power of the evolutionary and adaptationist approach by simply asking what Hadza children might gain from foraging and how foraging might enhance their fitness. A refreshing exercise in evolutionary anthropology.
In a brief, but extremely fascinating, contribution ("Genetic basis of intrapsychic conflict"), one of the founding fathers of sociobiology, Robert Trivers, discusses 'genomic imprinting' or parent-specific gene expression, and its implications for internal conflicts between different sets of cells, for example the maternally imprinted neocortex and the paternally active hypothalamus.
One of the founding fathers of evolutionary psychology, Jerome Barkow ("Happiness in evolutionary perspective") notes that, oddly enough, evolution joins with Medieval Roman Catholicism in a discussion of how, although the 'seven deadly sins' definitely do not lead to happiness, they may have yielded adaptive advantages in older hominid environments. Unfortunately, evolution is not about maximizing the happiness of organisms, but about relative gene frequencies and reproductive success. Fortunately, unhappiness is predicted by evolutionary psychology to be just as episodic and situational as happiness.
Glenn Weisfeld ("Discrete emotions theory with specific reference to pride and shame") presents ten principles for constructing a list of the basic emotions, and he presents convincing evidence of homologies between pride-shame in humans and dominance-submission in other animals. Principle 10 provides the rationale for this finding: "If all human emotions possess at least rudiments in other species (Principle 3), then we can expect to find homologies between each basic human emotion and some motive in other species. These homologies support the notion that the human emotion in question evolved from the animal emotion and therefore is basic" (italics in original). This is an excellent theoretical exercise in a time-honored tradition starting with Darwin's Expression of the Emotions (1871).
In their final overview ("Final overview: Uniting Psychology and Biology"), Glenn Weisfeld, Carol Weisfeld & Nancy Segal wonder what such an integration - the application of evolutionary theory to our own species' behavior - would look like. They identify three requirements:

"First, there would be emphasis on species-wide behaviors, not on variability. No natural science dwells on diversity; all try to generalize, to establish laws that describe the main phenomena of interest. Psychology skipped over this descriptive stage in its history...
Once these universals, these building blocks of human behavior, were recognized, the causes of their variability could be addressed. Much interindividual variation is a result of genetic differences... Moreover, the influence of genes on most behaviors does not subside as children get older...
Perhaps most important, functional analyses of universal human behaviors and developmental events are needed. The great, unique contribution of biology to psychology is the Darwinian perspective, Tinbergen's 'why' question of function..."


In my own words - the credo I have tried to disseminate in my own publications - I would say that proximate explanations of behavior would benefit considerably if they were put squarely within an ultimate, evolutionary, context, and that it helps a lot if one tries to understand a behavioral phenomenon, including its neural and/or endocrinological substratum, to try to understand why it evolved in the first place.
Evolutionary psychologists, ethologists, sociobiologists, and even evolutionarily-informed sociologists like Pierre van den Berghe have often pondered the question why the social sciences resist Darwinism. Trivers suggested that widespread ignorance of biology is a factor. Certainly that must play a prominent role, but it cannot account for the intense hatred and hostility, the sometimes blood-spitting rage with which otherwise reasonable scholars have greeted attempts to unite psychology and biology, as demonstrated by a recent incompetent review of Frank Salter's excellent book Emotions in Command in Ethology (103[9], pp. 791-3), and by a maligning and humiliating review of my edited volume The Nature of the Sexes in Archives of Sexual Behavior (27[3], pp. 317-21). In Salter's case, Ethology denied him the right of reply even after prolonged pleading on his part, thus cramping the scientific process. There is apparently still a lot of educating to do, if only in basic scholarly standards and courtesy.

This review was also published in the Human Ethology Bulletin, 18, 4, 1998, pp. 18-20.



BOOK REVIEW



Matt Ridley (1996) The Origins of Virtue. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-86357-2 (Hdbk) UKú20.00. Penguin Paperback ISBN 0-14-024404-2. Pp. viii + 295.

by KAREN PARHAM, Hondiusstraat 23 B, 3021 NG Rotterdam, the Netherlands

The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley's second book in the Penguin popular science series (the first being The Red Queen), is an attempt to discover why there is so much cooperation, in particular among humankind, in a world full of competitive struggle. The foremost question being: Do the interests of the individual necessarily come before the interests of the group? Ridley draws the parallels between selfish gene-biologists and economists who are both essentially Hobbesians, believing we are selfishly vicious, as opposed to the romantic followers of Rousseau, who believe we are selflessly virtuous.
Ridley starts off by explaining that cooperation is present in and between all macro and micro levels of life, from humans, ants and corals to genes, cells and organs. Cooperation has survived the tests of evolution and has produced efficiently and effectively run ant colonies, human society and healthy bodies, with the occasional mutiny bringing things back into balance. Division of labour is the key to this cooperative success. It holds the group or entity together giving all parts a specific importance in functioning as a whole. Any progress made, in this respect, is as a result of self-interest. In order to survive, the selfish gene, for example, had to put up with the "sometimes selfless individual to achieve their ends." A truly selfless individual, Ridley goes on to explain, will operate out of "cold and unmoved conviction" for the good of another regardless of any personal gains or losses.
One of the main points Ridley makes is that emotions like empathy, love, guilt and shame, which we have come to associate with altruism, are merely products of our cooperative but selfish nature. On first reflection emotions appear to inhibit us from acting rationally, in our own interest. However, they are indications of trustworthiness which are ideal in a cooperative situation. Why, then, do we anonymously donate to charity or tip waiters in strange cities? Is it because we are afraid of any following repercussions whatever they may be? No, says Ridley, we are simply expressing emotions that were originally designed to benefit our own good and have now gone beyond that.
Chimpanzee and early hunter-gatherer societies, among others, shared meat in exchange for another (similar) favour from members of the group. Females offered either a portion of their gathered food or, more importantly, sex. Males generally hunt together, in true cooperative spirit, to increase their chances of a bigger and better kill. An individual also has the incentives to share his catch, even to the regular free riders. He can build up a good reputation and make others envious (and, I would add, gain power over others). Gift giving works on the same reciprocal principles. People often feel obliged to return the favour. It can even go as far as neighbours outcasting other neighbours who do not share their lottery winnings.
Ridley suggests that the starting-point for cooperation may have been a process of trial and error rather like the prisoner dilemma game where the contestants are given the choice to cooperate or defect. Defecting on the other, which would be perfectly rational for us selfish individuals, does not pay if there is a next round. The other selfish individual will also defect leaving both parties worse off. Staying silent is the happy medium. In the following rounds a continuous cooperative strategy provides long-term incentives, it builds up trust and reciprocity. Tit-for-tat is the most successful option designed to solve the prisoner dilemma. Daniel C. Dennett calls this nice tit-for-tat because you start off by cooperating. This initial step, I may add, would also be the most obvious choice for a contestant using his emotions. In the next stages you copy what your opponent did last time round. Ridley does mention other popular alternatives to tit-for-tat but he does neglect to mention the Kemari game (see Dark Nature by Lyall Watson). The Kemari is a game of cooperation where there are no winners only losers, who are punished by being thrown out of the game.
In reality cooperation, and reputations of trust, can only be achieved if individuals can distinguish the good from the bad. The size of the neocortex is linked to remembering, among other things, the good from the bad, for example, who last did you a favour. Vampire bats have large neocortexes and their groups consist of small but complex social networks based on reciprocity compared to lions, with their smaller neocortexes, who never punish free riders or reward successful hunters. In larger groups remembering everyone can become a problem. Ridley finds evidence for this in the antisocial behaviour of city dwellers. I do think city dwellers have a higher tolerance for outsiders implicating a more open attitude towards differences, changes and trust which is more virtuous than that of a closed community.
Following fashion or taking part in rituals show signs of cooperation. Away from home humans show they are flexible by adapting to their surroundings. At home it is easier and cheaper to copy what the rest do, years of experience prove it must be right, or does it? Psychological tests evince that humans are willing to conform even if they know they are wrong. Laws may be broken by selfish individuals, followed by universal struggles, but eventually an equilibrium is achieved whether it is the right decision or not. This makes cooperators more popular than trouble makers, us against them. The struggles between the established and the outsiders are the battles to maintain conformity and cooperation.
Baboons and bottlenose dolphins forming pairs or trios stand a better chance of getting a female. (Male bottlenose dolphins have to kidnap the reluctant female so they can all mate with her). Chimps form coalitions as a safer guard to their territory against the competition. Any outsider is viciously attacked. This xenophobia is also apparent in human behaviour as we have already seen. Warfare between tribes or nations are prime examples. So what is so virtuous about cooperation, a handy system used to achieve selfish goals, asks Ridley.
Cooperation does have a brighter side, claims Ridley. Trade is as old as the human race itself depending on a division of labour in and between groups. Alliances are built through exchange agreements made for mutual benefit. (Having alliances, to me, implies that there will also be outsiders, so what is so bright about this?) The Yir Yoront Aboriginals could subsist on simple barter economies and so could and can many other tribes. Trading laws have only become necessary since established traders have been threatened by outsiders with their better quality goods. David Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage states that a country can have advantage over any other with its product even if they are less efficient at making it. Trading is a specific human quality: no other animal exploits this law of comparative advantage between groups.
Ridley devotes only a few chapters to - what I first considered to be the subject of the book - virtues themselves. His short and incomplete list of virtues comprise cooperation, altruism, generosity, sympathy, kindness which he has proven to be ambiguously concerned with the welfare of others. Respect for nature is considered a virtue. People romanticize about the harmonious wild as opposed to the corrupt civilised society. But not all is as it seems, not only are other animals wiping out other species but so are indigenous tribes by overexploiting the environment. This is survival of the fittest and we are not, by nature, nature lovers. When it comes to practising restraint we would rather the other did it.
So how can this attitude be changed? Not by government intervention who only really have the interests of the civil servants in mind, states Ridley. Perhaps the prisoner dilemma can help. Hobbes believed cooperation needed to be enforced but Ridley has demonstrated that if individuals are left to their own devices they can persuade each other, in a game of cooperation, to exercise restraint. In cases where the government has intervened there are no incentives to preserve and people become lazy thinking that the government has everything under control. This is what is known as the tragedy of the commons, a kind of prisoner dilemma played by many people. Rousseau's cultural idealism is an illusion but small open communities built on trust would encourage our unique ability to cooperate and eliminate tribal thinking. Is this not what we started off with, small xenophobic communities trading only with those who had a trustworthy reputation? To avoid this we need to include outsiders and this would increase the size of the group, eventually escalating into a society as large as the one we have now. Richard Alexander pointed out that groups become larger to compete with other groups that become larger. Human interaction can not just be restricted to small groups. History has proven, to our advantage, that we need room to expand our horizons and evolve.
In his younger years, as a zoology student, Ridley was of the opinion that there was no resemblance between human and animal behaviour. While researching for The Red Queen he became aware of the similarities. In this book he looks for exceptions and considers both groupishness and trade to be products of human culture. My view is that humans may be the only species to trade to the extent that we do but we are not unique at putting the group first. Frans de Waal, in his book Good Natured, demonstrated that primates have emotions - which work out for the greater good of the group. Given the fact that humans have evolved from common ancestors, we can not be and are not exceptional in this seemingly 'virtuous' behaviour.

References:

Alexander, Richard (1997) Interview in ESS Newsletter, No. 43, pp. 13-17.
Dennett, Daniel C (1995) Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Evolution and the Meaning of Life. London: Penguin Books.
Waal, Frans de (1996) Good Natured. The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Watson, Lyall (1995) Dark Nature. New York: Harper Collins.



BOOK REVIEW



Daniel C Dennett (1995) Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Evolution and the Meanings of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster / Allen Lane. ISBN 0-684-80290-2 (Hdbk). US$30 CAN$40 UKú25. London & New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-1401-6734-X (Pbk). UKú9.99, AUS$17.95. Pp 586.

by GUY RICHARDS, 327, 666 Leg in Boot Square, Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 4B3, Canada.

Dangerous because, like the universal solvent, it is difficult to contain. The principle of natural selection seems to permeate all levels of life, threatening to explain everything, even God. As with Copernicus' model of the solar system, which defied Church dogma by placing the sun at the centre instead of the Earth, a lot is at stake. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is so successful in explaining the design of living things (biota) by a natural process that God the Designer is no longer needed.
For most biologists the burden of proof now lies with the opponents of natural selection. Dennett calls natural processes, firmly based on the physical world, which can lift biota to new levels of complexity, cranes'. Theories which demand some divine or miraculous intervention at some stage are depending on sky-hooks'.

Natural Selection as an Algorithm
Random minor changes to the DNA of each generation followed by environmental (natural or cultural) selection of the most fertile, viable or durable variants is applied like a reiterating algorithm. Some nucleotide changes if they do not change the amino acid for which they code, will go unnoticed by the environment. Those which do change the amino acid monomer in the polymer protein will usually have a damaging effect in utero or later. Very occasionally they will be beneficial in some environments.
The three dimensional shape of the folded protein chain contains more information than is present in the DNA. This must be added by the ribosomes reading the messenger RNA. Like all recipes the DNA under-specifies the final product.
This is all part of the long process of turning protons into people. It does not require the help of minds, miracles or sky-hooks, and there is nothing shameful about simple lowly origins.

Design Space: The Possible and the Actual
In probability theory the event space is all the ways two or more variables might combine and is therefore the denominator in calculating the probability of any one combination. Design space similarly provides a background on which to measure design, natural or artificial, from all the possible combinations that have not been selected.
Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borge envisaged a vast Library of Babel containing every book that could possibly be written on, say, 500 pages using all, some or one of the letters of the alphabet in any order or frequency. Obviously only a minute fraction of this library will make sense, and to find any one such book would be vastly more difficult than finding a needle in a hay stack. This inspires Dennett with the Library of Mendel which comprises all the possible genomes that could be assembled from the four nucleotides bearing the bases Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine (A, C, G, T) in any order of frequency of A-T and C-G pairs, which will be the DNA alphabet. Again only a fraction of these genomes would represent viable organisms and an even smaller fraction will have ever existed in living organisms.
Dennett admits his debt to Richard Dawkins' Biomorph Land' in The Blind Watchmaker. A similar idea came to British biologist C H Waddington, writing in the late 1930s, who pondered the probability that a million monkeys dancing on a million typewriters would eventually write all the plays of Shakespeare. Trouble is the sun would be long since dead before they had finished. He concluded that evolving a Shakespeare was a lot faster way of doing it.
Some nucleotide combinations, that is genomes, in the Library of Mendel, might be viable, but inaccessible, because they cannot be assembled by organisms now existing. This is a way of talking about phylogenetic inertia. Part of Darwinian theory is that all living things are descended, like a family tree, from some single ancestral organism. There may be some genomes that this family tree cannot reach. If the DNA system has evolved on some other planet, it may have been able to reach different regions of the Library of Mendel having traversed a different pathway. But now Earth's DNA tree' has evolved human brains, the latter are putting together new genomes, new gene combinations never seen before. In this way the Library of Mendel contains Jorge Luis Borge and therefore contains the Library of Babel, which also contains the Library of Mendel. They contain one another.
Design and depth of design are indicated by all the combinations which are not actualized, and by those which have been superseded. A flint tool reveals design in that its cutting edge depends on much of the original stone not being there. Similarly the uterine environment chips' away the majority, probably 75%, of the conceptua presented to it. By the time we are born we are already an elite.

Architecture and Biology: Reverse Engineering
Dennett complains that Gould's and Lewontin's attack on adaptation thinking has skewed public perception of evolutionary theory. Even some professional philosophers now think that to label an argument adaptationism' is sufficient to discredit it. Dennett defends it as a necessary part of understanding life.
Blame S J Gould for introducing architectural analogy into this argument. He introduced the word spandrel' to refer to traits that are not adaptations but arise merely as logical consequences of other traits which are adaptations. They are in no sense sought. Spandrels are the spaces between arches supporting a horizontal beam, such as are found along the sides of the nave of a gothic cathedral. Gould uses the word to refer to the spaces between four arches supporting a dome. Dennett amusingly objects that these should be called pendentives' and claims that the spandrels' of San Marco cited by Gould and Lewontin, did have a designed purpose in that they were selected as a good way to display Byzantine mosaic images of Christian icons. Gould's exaptation' and exaption' are presumably more scientific sounding words for spandrel'.
Gould thinks for instance that the big human brain, bigger than required for ordinary ape existence, may be a spandrel'. But Geoffrey Miller (1992) and others suggest our big brains are very much adaptations, useful and selectively modified in competing with other crafty hominids, a process probably accelerated by sexual selection.
The difference between adaptations and exaptations (or spandrels) may seem clear at first, but on further thought there is a difficulty. What is not an exaptation in Gould's sense? Darwin himself emphasized that traits arising anew, or from obsolete functions, are not for anything. If they persist and subsequently prove advantageous, we then call them adaptations. So many of an organism's current traits have previously served other functions. Pre-adaptation' is thought to be a bad word because it suggests deliberate preparation for its later function, but I think most modern users of the word are not deceived by this potential meaning.
Artifacts and organisms seem smoothly adapted to their present functions, but they must be viable at every stage of their development. If we look carefully they show signs of how they were built. Buildings, such as Gothic cathedrals, will show places where there was scaffolding. Our umbilicus reveals our stage of intra-uterine nurture. The outer and middle ear and Eustachian tube of mammals, being a vestige of a gill, reveal our distant aquatic ancestry.

Crying Wolf
Gould is a convinced Darwinist, but as Dennett says he is intent on challenging some part of accepted neo-Darwinian theory. Often the colleagues he criticizes inconveniently do not hold the views he would like them to have so as to be worthy of his criticism. The opinions he attacks are more likely to be held by lay' intelligentsia of a certain level of biological education. He usefully attacks the idea that evolution is in any way preordained, or, if not ordained, is a steady logical progression from amoeba to man. He usefully emphasizes the influence of contingency or accident on the course of evolution. He also usefully points out that evolution has proceeded at greatly different rates at different times in different species. Some people may hold contrary views, but as Dennett and Dawkins point out Darwinian theory is quite compatible with Gould's opinions. It has never been part of Darwinian theory to deny that evolutionary outcome may be greatly altered by catastrophic environmental change, locally or globally; changes too fast for adaptation, such as volcanism or asteroid impact.
Gould's and Lewontin's attacks on neo-Darwinism are eagerly interpreted by Darwin-dreaders as refutations of natural selection. When they protest that they meant nothing so outrageous, their retreat seldom reaches the ears of their over-eager disciples.

Sociobiology
Thomas Hobbes was the first sociobiologist. As Dennett says he obviously could not use Darwinian ideas, but he saw that there must have been an evolution away from a state of nature in which there had been no right and wrong, just amoral competition "... no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain... no arts, no Letters, no Society; and which is worst of all, continual feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short." Hobbes had it right.
Dennett approves the efforts to extend biological thinking into human social life, including the use of Dawkins' memes. Cooperation was a revolutionary meme - perhaps at first with kin, later with kith, those one knows or kens. Speech, the definitive human trait, enables cooperation to take the form of making a promise and keeping it - the basis of society. Was this development inevitable or was it a highly improbable bottle-neck' in our evolution like the formation of the moon?
The gene-centred view of natural selection has become so widely accepted now, that cases in which it does not seem to apply merit special scrutiny. Dennett speculates that we should think in terms of meme-selection. As successfully spreading genes are usually, but not always, good for their carriers, successfully spreading memes - skills, tools, mental tools (theories, ideas) - are usually good for their practitioners, but not always. Sometimes genes and memes, like real viruses and computer viruses, are just good replicators, with no regard for their carriers or hosts', or beneficial in some circumstances but not in others. As a single dose of the gene for sickle blood cells may confer benefit in malarial areas, and a single dose of the gene for fibrocystic disease may confer relative benefit where typhoid is common, but be a liability elsewhere; so a meme for fighting in moderation confers advantage in war, but is maladaptive at football matches and in support of unwinnable arguments over archaic religious issues. Like viruses, natural or computer, these memes persist because our brains and bodies are hospitable to them.
Although friendly to sociobiology Dennett does not give us uncritical endorsement. He says there is good and bad, but none of it is evil. Good sociobiology is characterized by careful reductionism; bad sociobiology, usually about human social behaviour, is characterized by greedy' reductionism, too enthusiastic seizing of too simple explanations. He quotes Gould complaining that sociobiologists think adaptive traits must be genetic. I think they err. Many sociobiology studies aim to show how some social behaviour is adaptive, or more adaptive than it seems, but the authors are quite content if the behaviour turns out to be purely cultural and learned. It may be just a good trick', a good meme. Or it may be a forced move', a behaviour necessitated by other aspects of the cultural, like moving out of check.

Can Ethics Be Naturalized?
Dennett and Darwin think it can be, but like most philosophers Dennett's writing on this subject is complicated. He criticizes Moore's Naturalistic Fallacy. Not everything natural is good, but it's often wise to consult nature. Before saying what ought to be, we need to know what is and what can be. Empirical knowledge is relevant. As a physician I am puzzled by anyone thinking otherwise. Doctors and health conscious people strive continually to derive ought' from the latest is', the latest medical knowledge. Some may object that they assume the value of life. They do, but this value, like many other values, has an evolutionary origin.
Thus far we have been able to assume that language portrays the real world, but Ed Wilson (1975) invites us to see language as an objective part of the world worth looking at critically. Communication, he says, is an action by one organism which changes the probability of behaviour by another organism in a direction adaptive for one or both organisms. For humans we may say all communication is an effort to influence or manipulate. Statements imply believe this' - questions imply inform me', and so all sentences, including is' sentences and ought' sentences, are either implicit or explicit commands. This goes for statements by ethicists, moral philosophers, clerics, lawyers, legislators, novelists and the rest of us.
Richard Dawkins calls this A surpassingly brilliant book'. He's right!

References:

Miller, G.F. (1992) in Matt Ridley (1993) The Red Queen: sex and the evolution of human nature. London: Viking.
Wilson, E.O. (1975) Sociobiology: the new synthesis. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.



A Brief Report of the Biopolitics Conference



Political science is not the first discipline one thinks of when human behaviour is analysed from an evolutionary perspective. However, biopolitics has a solid reputation meanwhile, at least in the United States. September 3-6, 1998, the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences had its 18th annual meeting in Boston, and since this was the first independent meeting (independent from the American Political Science Association), it was an experiment. It proved to be a great success, as some 180 participants showed up. With Edward Wilson as the most prominent speaker, and many other well known plenary lecture givers there was no time for missing a few hours. A program of more than 50 panels, many parallel, of course, expressed not only the eagerness of many to present papers, but also the organizational talents of APLS director Gary Johnson to get it done properly. For detailed information, see www.lssu.edu/apls.
December 4 to 6, 1998, Bill Thompson of Indiana University at Bloomington was the host of a much smaller and more specialised conference on Evolutionary Perspectives on International Relations. Sixteen presentations by political scientists, inspired by the work of George Modelski (University of Washington, Seattle), were mostly of a quite different character than the Boston party, but evolution here was taken to its least biologically based dimension: the development of human political cultures dating back from c. 3500 BC far into the 21st century. Models and metaphors were discussed, and although here nothing is institutionalised, it is to be expected that this group will meet again in the future (for more information, please write to V.Falger@law.uu.nl).
In conclusion, political science is a flowering branch of Edward Wilson's concilient science.

Vincent Falger





New ESS Volume: Sociobiology and Politics



JAI Press (Stamford, CT) recently published the papers of the successful ESS Meeting at Alfred University, New York State:
Albert Somit & Steven A. Peterson (Series Eds.); Vincent S.E. Falger; Peter Meyer & Johan M.G. van der Dennen (Vol. Eds.) Research in Biopolitics: Vol. 6. Sociobiology and Politics. Stamford, CT: JAI Press, 1998. ISBN: 0-7623-0536-3.
The volume contains contributions by (in alphabetical order): Nancy Aiken (Power through art); Robin Allott (Toward the ant heap, the drugged society or?); Howard Bloom (Beyond the supercomputer: social groups as self-invention machines); Robert Cliquet (Below-replacement fertility and gender politics); Peter Corning (Holistic Darwinism: synergy and the new evolutionary paradigm); Vincent Falger (Dangerous ideas in Dutch politics: evolutionary theory as a political issue in the Netherlands); James Fetzer (Group selection and the evolution of culture); Ada Lampert (Evolutionary social and developmental feminization of the human male); Kevin MacDonald (Creating evolutionarily effective groups: Judaism as a test case); Patrick Peritore (Complexity versus hierarchy in biological explanation); Philippe Rushton (Race differences: a global perspective); Ullica Segerstråle (Truth and consequences in the sociobiology debate and beyond); Irwin Silverman (Can behavioral science change society? Should we want to try?); Dorothy Tennov (The public image of sociobiology and evolution); and Johan van der Dennen (The politics of peace in preindustrial societies: the adaptive rationale behind corroboree and calumet).


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