JUNE 2000

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:

Book Review Editor: Marcel Roele, Meeuwenlaan 111a, 1021 HX Amsterdam, The Netherlands, E-mail:

ISSN: 0929-0206. Published by Origin Press, Groningen, The Netherlands

The Future of ESS

Twenty-five years after the publication of Ed Wilson's Sociobiology and eighteen years after the foundation of the European Sociobiological Society, it is time to reflect on ESS's future. It is a fact that it is very difficult to find a younger generation to take over the organizational responsibilities of the current board members. The treasurer is stopping with his duties (after many years) in the upcoming ESS business meeting; the secretary and ESS Newsletter editor has been nominated as president-elect of the International Society for Human Ethology and will probably have much less time the coming years; and also the book review editor has indicated his lack of time in the near future. A few issues of the ESS Newsletter ago, readers were called to give their opinion on the future of ESS, but only a handful of reactions came in. These practical reasons, in combination with a slowly but undeniably growing acceptance of evolutionary thinking in the human social sciences and the existence of two other flourishing societies (HBES and ISHE), make it logical and justifiable to think about an other form of continuation of ESS. The ESS Board has opened preliminary talks with ISHE's Board to see if a merger of both societies is a viable option to ensure (a) regular meetings on a larger scale than the last few ESS ones since Cambridge and (b) alternating meetings in Europe and Northern America. ISHE provides both, and its Human Ethology Bulletin would be an excellent alternative for our ESS Newsletter. ISHE has a good working system of self-renewing administration, so there is little chance of dying from gerontocracy, such as ESS might do if it continues without adaptation.
In summary, the ESS Board will propose at the Washington business meeting to mandate the Board for merging with ISHE. To facilitate a discussion, all ESS members are invited to express their opinion to the electronic version of the ESS Newsletter, to be reached at (see page 'Future activities').
We hope that the European dimension of evolutionary thinking will remain recognizable in ISHE, while the much larger HBES remains our natural but friendly organizational competitor. This is not a case of competitive exclusion, since many members - the ESS Board members included - are also HBES members. This year ISHE meets in Salamanca, Spain, and in two years' time in Northern America. Next year, we have heard very recently, HBES will come to London, so no one needs to be afraid that without ESS the evolutionary approach is dying a silent death.
One practical aspect of this proposal is that the treasurer thought it unfair to charge the members an annual fee if there is a fair chance that ESS does not reach its next year.

Vincent S.E. Falger (treasurer) for the ESS Board:
Peter Meyer, Johan M.G. van der Dennen, Marcel Roele, Marina Butovskaya, and Vincent S.E. Falger

Calendar of Forthcoming Meetings

* June 7-11, 2000: Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) at Amherst College, Amherst MA, USA. Local hosts will be William Zimmerman and Paul Ewald. For more information visit the HBES website or
* June 23-25, 2000: The New York Academy of Sciences Conference on "Unity of Knowledge: The Convergence of Natural and Human Science" at the Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, USA. Keynote speaker will be E.O. Wilson, the founding father of sociobiology. For further information visit the Academy's website
* July 1-4, 2000: The twenty-third Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA. The theme of the conference will be "Hopes and fears in the transition to the new millennium". Paper proposals can be submitted to Program Chair Kristen Monroe, e-mail: View the meeting information online at:
* July 9-14, 2000: The XIV World Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) will be held in Valencia, Spain. The meeting will be arranged by Prof. José Sanmartin and Prof. Manuela Martinez. E-mail: For details on the meeting see the ISRA website:
* July 16-22, 2000: World Congress of the Systems Sciences in conjunction with the 44th annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in Toronto, Canada. Chief organizer will be Peter Corning, President, International Society for the Systems Sciences, 560 Waverley Street, Suite 202, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA. Tel: 1-650-325-5583; Fax: 1-650-325-3775; E-mail:; Website: There will be a panel on "the Evolution of Political Systems".
* August 9-13, 2000: The 15th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Human Ethology will be held at the Palacio Fonseca in Salamanca, Spain. Plenary speakers Jaak Panksepp, Russell Fernandez-Dols and Carol Worthman will be addressing the theme "ethology of emotion". Suggestions for symposia and abstracts of individual papers or posters are due April 1; these should go to Linda Mealey at the address or FAX below or, preferably by e-mail to this address. For more information about Salamanca and conference organization, contact Sally Abati at or by fax at: +34-923-361-569. Linda Mealey, Psychology Department, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN 56374, USA. Phone: 1-320-363-5481, Fax: 1-320-363-5582, e-mail: The url for info on registration costs and the Salamanca site is: /events.html

* August 31- 3 September 2000: ESS Conference: 25 Years of Sociobiology.
This year it is 25 years ago that Edward O. Wilson's seminal book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis has been published. For the European Sociobiological Society (founded 1982) this has been a natural stimulus to organize a retrospective conference and to inventarize the reception of sociobiology in various disciplines as well as in different countries. The ESS board now is happy to inform you that ESS has been invited by the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS) to organize in its annual conference a main section to evaluate 25 years of sociobiology.
APLS is an international and interdisciplinary association of scholars, scientists, and policymakers concerned with problems or issues that involve politics or public policy and one or more of the life sciences. Among other things, the Association is deeply interested in the biobehavioural approach of evolutionary biology, psychology, and anthropology, as will be clear from a glance at the programs of its previous conferences (see
APLS will have its 20th annual conference in Washington, DC, from August 31 to September 3. By means of a keynote speech of a top scientist (1998 E.O. Wilson, 1999 Frans de Waal), plenary lectures by other prominent speakers, round table discussions, panels for paper presentations, poster sessions, etc., the conferences are highly inspirational for open-minded social scientists and life scientists alike, and promise to serve as an excellent platform for presentations for ESS members. The conference will take place in a first class hotel at a comparatively attractive rate. ESS members who are not APLS members will pay $15 more (see below for more details on prices).
The intention is to bring together in maximally five panels papers that critically assess the influence, or lack of influence, of sociobiology. So far, commitments have been made by scientists from Northern America, Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and other European countries, and Japan. Ullica Segerstråle, the author of the very recently published Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond (Oxford UP), will deliver a plenary lecture. Also, a prominent opponent of sociobiology has been invited. As usual with thematic ESS conferences, an edited volume of presentations is planned. This reception history hopes to give an answer to the question how viable sociobiology has been amidst competitive approaches like those of classical ethologists, evolutionary psychologists and evolutionary biologists/anthropologists. The usual ESS free paper session will this conference take place directly under the aegis of APLS.
Proposals for papers on the sociobiology anniversary theme in the form of a circa 200 words abstract should follow standard APLS procedures of evaluation. Please, send proposals in not later than May 15, with a c.c. to Vincent Falger (ESS treasurer). Also for more practical details - as far as available now - please contact Vincent Falger at
We will be meeting at the Washington Marriott Hotel, 1221 22nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 (tel: +1-202-872-1500). The member rate for both singles and doubles will be $119 per night, plus taxes (nonmember rates are $209 for a single and $239 for a double). Individuals should make reservations by calling +1-800-228-9290. To receive the group rate, one must indicate that he or she is making reservations for the meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences. Reservations must be made by July 31, 2000. Reservation requests received after that date can be accepted only on a space available basis. To qualify for member rates, an attendee must be a member of APLS or ESS. Since our room block is limited, it is advisable to make reservations early.

* September 5-9, 2000: The 16th Annual Meeting of the Language Origins Society (LOS) will be held at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.A. It will be organized by Dieter Steklis. Deadline for abstracts is May 15, 2000. For more information please contact Prof. Bernard Bichakjian at e-mail:, or H. Dieter Steklis, Dept. of Anthropology, Rutgers University, Box 270, Doglass Campus, New Brunswick, NJ 08930, U.S.A. Fax: +1 732 932-1564; E-mail: The website of the LOS is
* September 8-11, 2000: 12th Congress of the European Anthropological Association Millennial Perspectives - Past, Present and Future in Cambridge, UK. Info: Prof. N. Mascie-Taylor, University of Cambridge, Department of Biological Anthropology, Downing street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK (Tel.:+44 1223 33.54.56; Fax: +44 1223 33.54.60; e-mail:
* September 8-11, 2000: Annual Symposium of the SSHB on Hominid Evolution in Cambridge, UK. Info: Dr. Robert Foley, University of Cambridge, Department of Biological Anthropology, Downing street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK (Tel.:+44 1223 33.54.52; Fax: +44 1223 33.54.60; e-mail:
* 2003: The International Union for Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) will held its 15th International Congress on Humankind/Nature Interaction: Past, Present and Future, in Florence, 5-12 July 2003, under the Presidency of Prof. Brunetto Chiarelli. The Union s plenary congresses (ICAES), held every five years, have always represented a major occasion for international researchers to meet and discuss a wide range of topics related to Man; from physical anthropology to genetics, to human ecology and ethnic conflicts. One of the aims of the Congress, in fact, is to elucidate the state of the art of this area of study. For more information please contact the Congress Secretariat Anna Lisa Bebi, e-mail: antropos


Defenders of the Truth. The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond by Ullica Segerstråle, ix+493pp., endnotes, bibliography, glossary, index. Oxford University Press, 2000. Price: ú 18.99

by VINCENT S.E. FALGER, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands (E-mail:

In the first chapter of her impressive book on the history and significance of 25 years of debate on sociobiology, Ullica Segerstråle makes two comparisons about her work. It could be seen as opera with great dramatic quality, or as a detective story. I agree absolutely that the book is full of very strong characters, drama, rhetoric, changing scenery, action, and not least of all a lot of public attention. But I think the book is better characterised as a scientific detective story with many noble characters who, however, have hidden motives and agenda s to play their own power games, convincing mainly those who belong to the own party of good guys. And best we look at Defenders of the Truth as an epic of tribal warfare in science, complete with ghosts and gods, rituals, battles, changing coalitions, and claimed victories.
However one may want to see it, the book is fascinating and written vividly by what I would call a scientific sleuth. Segerstråle s account of the sociobiology controversy is the first detailed overview of an emerging and disputed paradigm about the relevance of biology for the analysis of behaviour, in particular human behaviour. Defenders is not about sociobiology though one can learn much about it but about people and their conceptions of science and truth. I consider this as an important contribution to self-reflection on the practice of science in action (to use Bruno Latour s phrase), and a very welcome tool for anyone who deals with evolutionary biology in behavioural research, whether or not strictly to be considered as sociobiology . So, by definition, this book should be on the shelves of all ESS members, and from now on taking position on any question of methodology, philosophy of science, political and moral implications, and interdisciplinarity of sociobiology and its interpretation will be easier and more coherent with reference to this book. I have no hesitation to say that this is the best anniversary present the field could hope for, and it illustrates the intellectual ripeness not only of the author but also of the scientific domain it covers in particular evolutionary approaches of human behaviour.
What does the book cover? The main themes are in the three parts of the book. The first part deals with what the sociobiology debate in fact is. It gives detailed and well-informed information of who s who in the debate, from 1975 on. One of the threads is the relationship between Ed Wilson, namegiving protagonist, and Richard Lewontin, the population geneticist turned Marxist but who came to Harvard on recommendation of Wilson. Wilson hoped to cooperate closely with Lewontin, but in particular Lewontin s conception of good science led to his rejection of sociobiology as a bad science, such as adaptionism. Lewontin, more than any other of the antagonists, displayed a general scientific attitude that is summarised as follows:

1) arguments should be correct rather than simply plausible; 2) correctness is more likely to be obtained by the experimental method than any other process; 3) speculation about past evolution can be at the most plausible, never proven; therefore it is not scientifically fruitful; 4) big generalizations are almost sure to be incorrect because of the complexities involved in evolutionary processes; 5) therefore, the most scientifically sound thing to do is to concentrate on prediction, use the experimental method, and ask restricted questions. (p. 105)

For Lewontin, population biology is an end in itself: a testable theory that has to be a true account of an underlying process in the real world (p. 40), while Wilson endorsed a positive program in which population biology is a means to a larger goal: involving evolutionary theory as a total explanatory scheme in which the classical elements of testability, parsimony and deliberate oversimplification (crucial for theory formation) bear witness of its scientific character. The prominent conservative political dimension of sociobiology, attributed to it by the many critics but vehemently denied by Wilson and others, is easily constructed on top of the bad scientific foundation. This, in essence, is the conflict, and Part One gives all the background and that is a lot! varying from scientific critiques and attempts to adapt to that (Lumsden & Wilson s Genes, Mind and Culture) to the personal colouring of the many participants in the debate. Throughout the book, these personal touches by means of reading between the lines, many interviews with practically everybody involved, and a very civilised sort of gossip make the book extremely readable and intriguing, and sometimes even laughable.
In this Part One, an other important thread is the British connection . Segerstråle is absolutely right to make clear at the very first page of her Preface that Wilsonian sociobiology is only one of many sociobiologies . The sociobiology debate would be a provincial American affair only if the contributions of Bill Hamilton, John Maynard Smith, George Price and, of course, Richard Dawkins had not played an equally important part in this intellectual history (not to forget Steve Jones criticism). The British connection makes also clear in what way sociobiology is related to ethology, the only link to developments outside the Anglo-American world.
Part Two, Making sense of the sociobiology debate , covers six of the book s 20 chapters and is mainly a continuation of the detective work into the deeper layers under the controversy s both camps . But although there are many dividing lines, it is incorrect to reduce the debate to the one- dimensional pro s and cons. In chapter 12 Peter Medawar, John Maynard Smith and Patrick Bateson are analysed as uncouplers or mediating figures, and also non-participants are discussed. In particular Chomsky s staying out though invited by the Science for the People Group is described in detail, the consequence of Ullica Segerstråle s participatory observation in the meeting where Chomsky explained why the critics were wrong. Salvador Luria, also a well-known leftist critical scientist, had an even more original reason not to participate in the discussion: the whole sociobiology debate is a non-issue compared to the in his eyes much more serious IQ debate that preceded the one central in this book.
Luria s argument that because of limited time available, scientists should be very selective in their engagement against certain developments in science, leads to one of the deep structures of the sociobiology debate: what do the critics win in participating in this time and energy consuming public display? Detective Segerstråle reconstructs two main benefits. One is being able to display as the guard of public morals which produces symbolic capital . The moral dimension, closely connected to the political one, feeds upon demonising the proponents of any link between behaviour and biology. This was the right thing to do in combatting racism and IQ-ism, and the political climate of the 70s and 80s made victories over practitioners of bad science quite easy. Stephen Jay Gould is the best example, but the book also gives strong examples of what Segerstråle calls massaging texts trough moral reading . Not what the sociobiologists meant counts, but what the critics read in and behind these words. Moral reading becomes a scientific excercise, and if you dare to disagree you are automatically suspect yourself.
The other benefit, at least for some critics, was that coupling the public interest raising discussion of sociobiology, one can promote one s own favourite theory, paradigm or discipline that of itself would not draw much interest outside professional circles. Eldridge and Gould s theory of punctuated equilibria is a good case because "The more adaptionism could be debunked, the more power would presumably go to punctuated equilibria" (p. 304). But don t forget Ed Wilson himself. His shift from a broad sociobiological synthesis to human sociobiology was very much promoted by the apparent attraction exerted by kin selection and other sociobiological models. Besides, the bad Wilson succeeded in becoming a good Wilson by paying more and more attention to biodiversity and declearing biophilia as a substantial part of human nature. However, after 25 years the circle seems to close again with the publication of Consilience (1998), the holistic program for unity in the sciences.
In Part Three, the cultural meaning of the battle for science the Science Wars between the defenders of science and the anti-science movement of (de)constructionists, feminists and postmodernists of all feathers is the latest scene of the dispute and leads to the ironic conclusion that the Marxist Lewontin and the reductionist Wilson both belong to the science of the past because they both believe in objectivity and truth. But with modern science as only one view of reality, next to mythology, religion and other attributes of the newest age, not the content of science, etc., is important any more, but the way of communicating itself and the in particular the practitioners. The last two chapters, on evolutionary biology incorporating both science and values, and on the true nature of human nature which is the central issue in the sociobiology debate, according to Segerstråle (p. 391) try to look ahead and brings in morality. At the end of the 20th century "morality was no longer seen as linked to the notion of free will in an essentialist vision, but instead as connected to the genes responsible for human essence" (p. 396-7). Robert Wright s The Moral Animal apparently appeals to total explanations, and the Human Genome Project is an external and extra drive to build knowledge about our evolutionary heritage. The sociobiology debate may be over by now, but the discipline, or approach, has won in significance. Not because the critics were just wrong, but because biological approaches of human behaviour are apparently as promising and appealing as a full century ago. In the light of historic experience, this is not something to be unreservedly confident about. The author, however, has an important message in het concluding paragraphs of her book. Reacting on Maynard Smith s argument that the sociobiology controversy in the end has been healthy for the field because it gradually eliminated the political content of the discourse, she is making a rather different point.

I am arguing that moral/political concerns, far from being an obstacle to be eliminated, were in fact a driving force both in generating and criticizing scientific claims in this field, and that the field was better off because of this.
We see, then, the importance of moral and metaphysical commitments in science. They motivate scientific work, they sustain it in the face of adversity, and they drive scientists to closely scrutinize the claims of opponents. It seems to me that moral/political criticism is an important and healthy phenomenon in science, particularly in fields which depend largely on plausibility arguments. (p. 408)

This book is one long argument for detecting Russian doll systems in scientific literature, for analysing the relationship between politics and science, and for realizing that scientists are unique human beings who compete for recognition and reputation. Neither of these is new or surprising, but reading this book with such a multitude of names and a great number of complicated issues made me realize that the author is perhaps the only person in the world who can oversee all the finesses of the long debate. Everybody with the slightest interest in the history of biology will learn numerous new things and gets an excellent example of striving for objectivity. It would have been much easier to write a partisan history of the controversy, but the nuanced taking position is much more productive. However, being nuanced without sterile diplomacy takes time, and patience of the reader. The strength of the book completeness, details, fairness also results in a very long parade of names and ideas that will probably lead readers astray who are not quite familiar with the debate beforehand (the glossary is helpful, but is it sufficient?). This is of course not a problem for most ESS members although they all will discover loads of new facts and insights but it will automatically become one in ten or twenty years time. And then also the paradox of completeness wil become manifest: Defenders of the Truth covers all we need to know about the sociobiology debate, and yet a few gaps are manifest. For example, Derek Freeman, whose criticism of Wilson is described as one of the most detailed the author has seen, is covered in only one page (145), and so is Lynn Margulis who dismissed all neo-Darwinism as pseudoscience: "The neo-Darwinist population genetics tradition is reminiscent of phrenology ( .) it is ridiculous" (p. 329). I would have liked to read more about this, and it struck me that no interview with her was held in many other cases good for a vivid sequence of questions and highly original answers.
Although I tried to find fault with everything, I only succeeded a very few times, so I won t mention them. But one aspect intrigued me throughout the book, and that is the person of the author herself. About ten times she makes clear that she really followed the debate from the very beginning, and her reports from various meetings of the Sociobiology Study Group and the Science for the People Group are indicative for her observatory participation, but she nowhere tells us what exactly took her off her original belief that the critics were right (p. 14-5). That, in the end, made me wonder if she herself has been infected by the Science War virus that keep researchers busy with questions about scientists themselves and their strategies, not with scientific questions. I tasted more than once Bruno Latour s Machiavellian analysis, but although she considers herself as an observer only, Ullica Segerstråle is also a defender of the truth without being irritatingly partis pris. Perhaps the only structural shortcoming of this admirable book is that it pays no attention to the sociobiology debate outside the English speaking world. But we hope to cover some of that in the coming ESS Washington meeting where the comparative reception of sociobiology is dealt with truely internationally. It will be no surprise to read in the program that Ullica Segerstråle has been invited to give a plenary lecture on the sociobiology debate in that meeting; no one is better qualified to do this than she.


Roger S. Fouts & Stephen Tukel Mills (1997) Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me about Who We Are. New York: William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-14862-X (Hdbk) US$25.00 CAN$32.95 Pp. xi + 420.

by KAREN PARHAM, Davidstraat 29 B, 3023 KA Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Next of Kin is one of the many titles about chimpanzees and their capacities to come out over the last ten years. It is a very touching biographical/autobiographical novel about the personal and working relationship between the main author, Fouts, a comparative psychologist and now professor of Psychology at Central Washington University, and the chimpanzee Washoe, her family and her friends. Other contributors include Stephen Mills, an environmental and wildlife journalist, and Jane Goodall who wrote the foreword.
Fouts first came face to face with Washoe after he had graduated in psychology and was looking for a further research post. At the time Fouts rather had ideas of entering into child psychology but was offered an opportunity to work with the Gardners (Allen and Beatrice) on their Project Washoe. The project entailed assisting in teaching Washoe American Sign Language (ASL), with the intention of discovering whether it is possible to communicate with chimpanzees and in how far their grasp of language stretches. It was already common knowledge that chimpanzees could understand human words but could they talk back? On their first meeting Washoe jumped straight into Fouts' arms and so their future was decided.
Washoe demonstrated that, apart from being able to use simple words and construct simple sentences, she was also capable of solving problems and could understand and use abstract concepts. In one incident Washoe persisted in using an unknown sign for 'bib', unknown that is to Fouts and the Gardners, until one day a group of deaf children pointed out that she was, in fact, using the correct term. The mistakes Washoe did make were with visually similar signs, signs that look similar to the sign they mean. Children also make the same mistakes by using words that sound similar but are incorrect.
When the project with the Gardners came to an end, Fouts, together with Washoe, moved to Oklahoma where Dr. William Lemmon, head of the Institute for Primate Studies, was situated. Lemmon's programme involved allowing human couples to adopt chimpanzees, to bring them up and to observe their behaviour in rearing their own children. Fouts was offered what appeared to be a great opportunity with an ideal environment to raise Washoe, to integrate her into a chimpanzee community and the opportunity for Fouts to continue his research. However, Lemmon with his authoritative approach showed very little respect towards Washoe and the other primates in his captivity. Fouts was in continuous battle with Lemmon to gain some liberties for these animals during his ten years at Oklahoma.
Convincingly Fouts reveals to the reader the ruthlessness of Lemmon and how this instigated him into becoming a compassionate campaigner for ape rights. For example, one of Lemmon's schemes was to sell some of the chimpanzees to LEMSIP, part of New York University, who infected them with the virus hepatitis B. Fouts did his best to stand in his way by broadcasting it on national television with the result that two of the chimpanzees were released. Although unknown to the public's eye, one was sent to another laboratory.
Washoe's integration with the other chimpanzees at Oklahoma was not easy at first, calling her fellow chimpanzees the lowest of the lowest 'black bugs', but her position as the eldest soon made her protective over her younger playmates. Fouts continued his analysis of language acquisition by teaching Washoe's playmates ASL. The results were varied but still proved that chimpanzees are an even closer relative of ours than we thought.
Fouts' research emphasized the evolutionary principle of individual variation and proved that language was not an innate set thing in the left side of our brain. Fouts explains why his discoveries received an unwelcome reception in the scientific community; many eminent scientists at the time, being followers of Chomsky or Skinner, believed in the exclusiveness of language as a 'human' neurological process.
When Washoe reached puberty she started showing signs of sexual interest, first in a male student, but later with her own species who she would communicate to in ASL. Not so long after Washoe became pregnant. Unfortunately the baby was born with a damaged skull and did not survive. Fouts blamed it on the small cages within which Washoe had to live. Should Washoe become pregnant again Fouts was determined it would be born in better conditions, conditions where he could also observe the interaction between mother and child and the learning of ASL. Washoe did become pregnant again. The baby, Sequoyah, was born quite motionless so Fouts nursed him back to health before giving him back to his mother.
Meanwhile Lemmon's plans for a new chimpanzee home had been completed and the chimpanzees could move in. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Lemmon had paid very little attention to safety, everywhere there were sharp metal edges. It did not take long before Sequoyah cut himself which lead to an infection causing eventual death to the baby. Washoe, wondering what had happened to her baby, began to show signs of depression so Fouts adopted a ten month old baby chimpanzee, Loulis, from the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Centre. Washoe had no problems accepting the infant as her own. Fouts' further investigations into the passing on of ASL from mother to child could now continue.
Fouts also applied his techniques to autistic children. By teaching ASL using a method combining signs with spoken words the visual can be associated with the auditive, something which, at first, is confusing for an autistic child. As speech is made up of motorized movements just like ASL, the move from making signs to making movements with the mouth is automatic. In this way Fouts was able to teach a few children how to speak.
Fouts' more radical activities in preventing cruelty to chimpanzees did not just remain at protesting against Lemmon. In 1987 Fouts received a video containing shocking footage of the treatment of chimpanzees tested for the HIV virus. Despite the fact that the HIV virus in chimpanzees does not develop, experiments still go on. Fouts and Jane Goodall were invited to the laboratory in question and were shocked by the conditions and the size of the cages the chimpanzees had to live in. The visit was followed by protesting articles, written by Goodall, and long meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture on how things could be changed. Unfortunately, no measures were taken to improve the situation for these chimpanzees and, to top it all, both the NSF (National Science Foundation) and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) boycotted Fouts' research by refusing his requests for financial support.
Fouts' endeavours have highlighted the narrow-mindedness and unprofessionalism within the scientific community. But there is also a glint of hope as he mentions other scientists, such as the renowned linguist William Stokes, who support his theories. Hopefully his actions, despite having alienated him from his profession, will have changed a few attitudes and brought science forward by demonstrating the banalities of animal testing.
In the final chapter Fouts talks of the fate of all other chimpanzees he has not been able to help. Because chimpanzees are an endangered species in their home territory in Africa, laboratories, like that of Lemmon's, breed them for scientific research. Most chimpanzees are disposed of - euthanasia - when they reach the age of seven as they are no longer of use to the laboratories (usually because they have been overinjected with viruses). The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System, set up by concerned scientists like Fouts, helps in providing some freedom and social interaction for contaminated chimpanzees. Washoe's own spacious home at the Central Washington University, known as the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, is never entered without the chimpanzees' approval. Fouts does the best he can but what he does is still exploitative, he admits, he still uses the animals but reminds students that they are not theirs.
The final moral to the story is that Fouts' findings have shown how closely related chimpanzees are to us humans. If chimpanzees are raised by human parents they will even go as far as considering other chimpanzees as an inferior species. Fouts believes that we should, therefore, respect them as if they are our own next of kin. Fouts admits that it is difficult to draw the line at chimpanzees - what about all the other animals used for pointless experiments - but his personal relationship with Washoe has made him more biased towards the case of the chimpanzee. Other animals are not able to learn ASL but still deserve a right to be protected against injustices. Although you have to start somewhere, I suppose.


John W. Bennett (1995) Human Ecology as Human Behavior: Essays in Environmental and Developmental Anthropology. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. ISBN 1-56000-068-6 (Hdbk) 1-56000-849-0 (Pbk). US$23.95 UKú15.95. Pp. X + 387.

by GUY RICHARDS, 327 666 Leg in Boot Square, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4B3, Canada

Bennett is a brilliant liberal minded anthropologist with ideas congenial to sociobiologists, but he does not write for us. He writes anthropology for anthropologists. His book comprises a number of essays written at different times but they integrate well. He seeks to explain human behaviour in terms of three underlying ideas: ecological transitions, socionatural systems, and adaptation.

Ecological transitions
These are changes in resource acquisition made possible by some new tool or skill, resulting in greater abundance. This then bestows greater power on the innovators and their progeny, and a consequent increase in numbers of kin and kith (friends). The change from hunting-and-gathering to horticulture and farming, and the industrial transition are obvious examples. Improved hunting weapons such as the spear-thrower and the bow-and-arrow increased human efficiency as predators.
The more closely one looks at this subject the more transitions one finds, each causing great changes in the human environment. Improved hunting weapons are improved fighting weapons. The taming of horses helped hunters, but it helped fighters immensely. Irrigation increased agriculture, which made bigger cities possible, the most obvious and profound change in human ecology. More recent examples have resulted from successive harnessing of physical energy from wind, water, coal, oil, uranium fission, soon may be solar power.

Socionatural systems
These result from social adaptation to the above transitions. Humans, and, we might add, their ape ancestors, shaped sticks and stones into tools and weapons. Using and adapting to their most effective use then shapes us and our behaviour, so that technology change becomes culture change. A society or part of a society especially adapted to a particular way of exploiting a resource becomes socially and culturally shaped to that end. This is especially so for dangerous occupations such as ocean fishing, coal mining, forestry, sea-faring, which engender strong traditions and co-operating communities. These with their resources constitute socionatural systems.

Adaptation is a fitness enhancing response to an environmental change, and in biology, Bennett reminds us, they come in two kinds: evolutionary adaptation resulting from the environmental selection of genes, and individual adaptation occurring within an individual's life time. Human behavioural sciences are largely concerned with the latter, although anthropologists realise that the necessary flexibility depends on the brain provided by evolution.
Again if we look more closely as a sociobiologist we can see a whole spectrum of many kinds of adaptation, responses of graded urgency to threats of graded severity. Some changes like asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions may threaten many genera, others a species may easily track because it already contains enough genetic diversity. Likewise individual adaptation can be expanded to include: (1) long term bodily adaptation, say, to high altitudes, climate changes, or immunity to local bacteria; (2) changed habits such as those advisable in a city, locking one's car and house doors against human predators rather than bears, as one might in rural Canada; (3) short term adaptations requiring fast neuromuscular responses to immediate threats.

Environment shapes culture
Bennett's thesis is that environment is more powerful in shaping human behaviour than is culture. Cultures are products of past environments, and past human perceptions of those environments - behavioural inertia's analogous to phylogenetic inertia's.
Bennett's values and opinions will be shared by many sociobiologists. Anyone who values biodiversity - 'biophilia' is Ed Wilson's word for it - will approve of his book, but a biologically minded reader will not find it easy reading. Bennett is fond of abstract and verbal nouns, so that his sentences do not readily bring clear images to my mind. The references are not those a biologist is used to, but he can scarcely be blamed for some of his readers being less well educated. To begin with I was annoyed with his style or my own difficulty with it - I am not sure which - but as I persisted with it I warmed to his book.
Pre-industrial societies, he says, were sufficiently efficient predators to extinguish many bird and mammal species, a process occurring now with alarming speed. All organisms face slow or fast changing environments, if only from degradation by their own depletion and pollution. So we neglect Van Valen's Red Queen at great cost, because of our culture's seemingly reluctant, certainly slow, response to pollution from our own excreta and from our mechanical progeny. He is concerned by the process Garrett Hardin dramatised as 'The Tragedy of the Commons' in which private profit from resources provided at public cost leads to over-exploitation, as in forestry and ocean fishing.
Human ecology is a normative science, by which I take him to mean that it cannot be studied without implying remedial action. This could explain why it tends to be seen as an ideology. Ideologies differ from sciences in that theory and action are so closely linked that the desired action tends to shape the theory about reality. Scientists try to separate the two processes, or at least pause between them. For human ecology the pause is short. This could be seen as one example of the principle that all communications are efforts to influence, or in Ed Wilson's words, "an action by one organism which changes the probability of behaviour of another organism in a way adaptive for one or other or both." Bennett is very much aware of the urgent need to curb population growth and is gloomy about our prospects of doing so in time to avoid disaster.
From the start anthropology has been an applied profession, studying colonised societies as advisors or critics of colonial administrators, and out of a desire to examine them before they become westernised - now surely a forlorn hope. 'Development', as we now call it, poses anthropologists a moral dilemma: should they refrain from helping with the destruction of cultural diversity, or should they assist so that development is as smooth as possible?

Saskatchewan Socialism
This prairie province, being our home for 40 years, made chapter 6, 'Ethnographic Research on Allocation and Competition for Land and Water in the Canadian Great Plains' particularly interesting for me. The extremes of a continental climate - often +40C in summer and -40C in winter - and the aridity of the great plains of N America dictate forms of agriculture, land use and laws governing these activities, very different from what farmers from eastern Canada or western Europe had been used to; whereas Ukrainian immigrants might have been familiar with such conditions, and have adapted well to western Canada. In eastern Canada a family farm of 160 acres (65 hectares) would be adequate, in Saskatchewan 4 times as much, a section (1 square mile: 259 hectares), would be needed to give a similar income.
The harsh conditions have engendered a vigorous co-operative movement among farmers, and Saskatchewan is the one area of N America which since 1944 has regularly elected a mildly socialist government championing their cause. The disastrous 7 year drought of the 1930s has left its mark on the province's memory, and the hardest hit region in the south west, Swift Current, in 1966 was the first area of N America to institute a publicly supported full medical care insurance plan. Public hospital services were extended to the whole province in 1947 and full tax-supported medical care insurance plan, also for the whole province, was introduced in 1962. This occasioned an extremely serious political conflict between the government and the majority of the medical profession, which a friend accurately described as "The nearest thing to civil war I ever hope to see." In 1964 the Saskatchewan plan became the model for the rest of Canada.
Similar populist politics have arisen in the adjoining US states to the south, N Dakota and Montana, but American culture is less tolerant of socialism than are Commonwealth countries like Canada. The preservation of Canada is very much an up-hill cultural battle to preserve east-west communication. The border at the 49th parallel protects us from some of the excesses of American democracy. We think we have a simpler and more understandable political system, although there is much to admire and be grateful for in the USA. If Bennett's thesis is right - that environment transcends culture - the international border must eventually disappear, but one consideration gives me pause. In this region of N America a lot of people prefer to live north of the border, so that the larger cities are in Canada.
Many birds migrate north to the Arctic in spring to nest away from predators. Saskatchewan has proved a safe nest in which to raise young humans.


Patricia Adair Gowaty (Ed.) (1996) Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, Boundaries, Intersections and Frontiers. New York: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0-412-07351-x (Hdbk) US$76.00 ISBN 0-412-7361-7 (Pbk) UKú39.00. Pp. Xxi + 623.

by DOROTHY TENNOV, RR 9, Box 251, Millsboro, DE 19966, U.S.A.

In June 1994, Patricia Adair Gowaty organized the "Society for the Study of Evolution - University of Georgia State of the Art Symposium at the University of Georgia's Institute of Ecology". The objective of the two-day conference was to provide a forum that would foster "interdisciplinary work between feminisms." It was a rare attempt at alchemy designed for the purpose of bringing rapprochement among diverse constituencies. Although it seems to have failed to achieve this aim, it was well worth doing for the insight it provided about the relationship between activist politics and the practice of science. Participants in the event (symposium and book) differed in reaction to the topic and expressed those differences in their contributions to Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, Boundaries, Intersections and Frontiers (FAEB).
The 29 papers included, display a diversity of opinion that was as revelatory as it was disturbing. According to Editor Gowaty, most of the 34 contributors (20 women, 14 men) were evolutionary biologists, and had also attended the Symposium. The dirty linen displayed was intransigence regarding two issues that Gowaty had not even expected to be raised: resistance to evolutionary approaches that claimed heredity to affect behavior, and, among some of the nonscientists, a general "antipathy" toward science itself. Partly because, as Gowaty notes, both evolutionary biology and feminism have undergone changes so that neither is quite what it used to be, both camps are most critical of characteristics of the other that no longer hold true, or were never true except for a minority.
Furthermore, as was pointed out by several contributors (Gowaty, Rosser, Fausto-Sterling and Tang-Martinez), feminisms vary. Whether called feminism or not, social changes affecting female opportunities are rampant. In fact, they are so all-embracing that being "feminist" says little about any other aspect of a person's political opinions, religion, religiosity, attitudes toward science or to the idea of being "genetically programmed." Just as to the fifteen-year old of today computers have always existed, to college women of today the social barriers to the exercise of female potential faced by women in the time of their grandmothers are unimaginable. It was more than simple male brutality that had kept women chained to the homestead. When people have no discretionary income and no discretionary time, when their struggle for existence consumes all available resources, there is little left for political action. Early in the 20th century, maintaining the middle class lifestyle, that is, keeping ahead of the cooking, shopping, and house care, required at least a full time homemaker. Even in the 1930s, one "housewife" could barely manage it, and some "help" filled in. A person alone, who was not rich enough to keep servants, lived in a boardinghouse. The transition has been more recent and more rapid than younger people probably realize. Although major appliances - refrigerators, freezers, laundry equipment, gas and electric stoves - had, by mid-20th century, greatly reduced the time and personnel needed for maintaining a household, the role of the accumulated "minor" aids is easily underestimated. Such "conveniences" as plastic containers, detergents, clothing that doesn't need ironing, washable carpets, blenders, beaters, pizza delivery, and microwave ovens, each seemingly of little significance in itself, when added together produced a major transformation in daily living. Today it is possible for an adult of either sex to live alone and yet enjoy the comforts that earlier required servants. Or a wife.
Although the inspirational words of Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and other Second Wave feminists may have helped to enlist large numbers of women and men into a political force, the changed nature of ordinary living created a more propitious atmosphere than had ever before existed. This fact has evolutionary implications. Many have assumed that the ubiquity of male-dominating social forms was gene based and hard wired. But the universality of male domination can now be seen as the result of universal environmental conditions that have only changed within the lifetime of persons living today. Female capacities for making contributions to all facets of life, including science, politics, and the arts lay largely dormant until the awakening of the 20th century when liberation of the inherent potential began to be freed by technological developments, including birth control. But the change made possible by technology still required a movement to help bring it about, and the rumblings continue, reflected by the animosity toward feminism hinted at even here, and known to be widespread in the general population.

Controversies frustrate Gowaty's search for the "Darwinian Feminists." Nature-nurture arguments persist. Anti-reductionists oppose selfish gene ideas. The study of sex differences runs a gauntlet between opposing political opinions that largely reflect those of the larger society. There is disagreement concerning the relationship between science and feminism. Some maintain that politics and science don't mix, and therefore it does not make sense to try to relate them. This apparently extreme position is in principle indisputable. There is indeed a level of "immiscibility" (Patten, p. 563) between a goal-directed political position and the scientific quest to unravel the secrets of nature. The bias introduced by trying to mix political goals is exactly what science is dedicated to removing. Political movements are aimed at altering behavior in a particular way; that is, they are aimed at introducing a type of bias, just the opposite of science. Obviously, science helps achieve political goals, including feminism, by supplying tools and knowledge. For example the fax, the copier, and now the Internet, products of science, are friends of political movements because they permit communication across social, geographical, and other barriers thereby helping activists to get their messages out. Of greater significance, scientific findings may also be used to demonstrate consistency between political goals and scientific knowledge. Evidence from scientists is typically cited to support political positions, for example, on environmental and, increasingly, on judicial matters. Conscious effort is exerted toward separating political opinion and scientific behavior by (a) avoiding obvious vested interests and removing or minimizing those that can be objectively assessed, (b) admitting bias with the expectation of thereby diminishing its effect, or (c) selecting those upon whom fall the responsibility of judgments important to scientific progress from among persons for whom the issues are less likely to be biased in any particular direction. Efforts are also made to prevent the contingencies of reward from influencing the scientific endeavor.
That feminism affects science is the thesis of a number of papers in this collection. First of all, political action that expands opportunities is one of the accomplishments of feminist efforts that affected science by expanding the pool from which scientists are drawn. Events over the last decades have verified this. The number of women making significant scientific contributions has increased over recent decades as female opportunity grew. As the Women's Movement made gains, much evidence supported the feminist contention that it was prejudice, not innate ability, which had held women back. To cite but a single example, in 1950 symphony orchestras consisted entirely of men. Women harpists, the single exception, sometimes played from behind a curtain, hidden from the audience. With the use of a screen during auditions to prevent bias, female instrumentalists poured in. What it had been assumed a woman could not do, women did and did well. This doesn't mean that discrimination in hiring has ceased. Musical uditions are the rare exception.
With women entering the workforce in large numbers, problems centering on parenthood and the care of children arise. Yes, there are sex differences, and we just beginning to discover which are the constants (like genitalia), which are a matter of degree with large overlap (like height), and how the behavioral phenotypes can be changed with changes in conditions. A straightforward effect of feminism on science, according to several papers in this volume, is that the female perspective leads to scientifically fruitful new lines of research, research that is overlooked from the male perspective. Feminism can also help science by pointing out discriminatory and prejudicial practices. Thus feminism, or any political movement or ideology can affect meta-science by providing the motivation to explore certain phenomena that would otherwise be missed. For example, the push toward the study of breast cancer was supported by feminist organizations.
Feminism (and every other political movement or predilection) by definition influences science to the extent that it influences the process of science. Political biases affect what topics can be subjected to scientific scrutiny and who is allowed to do it. They control funding. Without support from the larger society, science that depends on funding, as almost all science does, founders. In other words, feminism and science are multiply interrelated despite the clear and undeniable fact that science must, at core, maintain objectivity and be independent of any political goals.
Ultimately, theoretically, the data must reign, but humans select. Although rumbling claims of female inferiority can still be heard, as women are suddenly subordinate no longer, basic social institutions have altered, and women have assumed greater power in setting the course of individual lives, as well as the nature of the institutions and customs of their societies. Women have demonstrated capacities never before thought possible by members of the "inferior" sex. In complementary fashion, men have demonstrated proficiency and the ability to take joy in domestic and child-rearing functions. If intensity of empathetic reactions is at least statistically greater among women, a new kind of society, perhaps a somewhat different kind of scientist, may yet emerge.
Although greater female influence will alter science as it has already done in several of the cases included in this volume, "feminist science" is a contradiction. Just because female interests influence subjects and methods, is not feminist science in the sense that feminist goals must not be allowed to distort. Science must be free of political bias and feminism is, by definition, political. But the rejection of "feminist science" does not preclude that there may be differences in approach to science by women scientists that will forge new lines of investigation. The position held by some contributors is that it is impossible to attain objective science in a male-dominated world is an embarrassment to those of us who are scientists. We cannot but agree that male scientists have demonstrated prejudice in their selections of topics, methods, and in the theories they have promoted, but to call science pseudoscience, bad as some things called science have been, is not reasonable. Pat Gowaty (and I) bemoans the nonscientific, sometimes even anti-scientific, ideas promulgated by those feminist sisters who would close the door on scientific progress. Movements tend to coalesce along ideological party lines, and in science there must be no such. We understand that countering biases is the very essence of the scientific method (Fausto-Sterling), but to think that that therefore ends a relationship between feminism and biology is to miss the point.
Another relationship between politics occurs when politicians set explicit goals and then call on science to work for its achievement. The scientific study of sex differences could help in achievement of the goal of having all persons live up to their own potential and not be hindered or halted due to the unreasonable and competitive prejudice of those with power over them. In this respect, many of the papers could be said to contribute to this effort, whether their focus is on humans or, as reported in this volume by several writers, other species.
To the contention that "sex [or race] differences exist and should be taken into account" I am in agreement. There are two ways of looking at the situation: (1) when means differ but distributions overlap, individuals are categorized and treated according to their group identity and (2) base evaluations of individuals uninfluenced by group identity and solely on individual assessment. The first method gives bases for probability estimations and can be useful, for example, in canvassing for a genetically transmitted disease that has a high proportion of occurrences in one group and low incidence in another. Of course, only those individuals who actually develop the disease are treated for it. But it is prejudicial and unwarranted to use group identification as a measure of an individual when the group average is not the issue and individual measures are available. To factor in a group measure, is what is meant by prejudice. By the first method, a proportion of individuals is categorically excluded thereby reducing the pool from which the best can be drawn. The conclusion, if there is one, is that feelings run deep and are not easily changed.


Jörg Albertz (Ed.) (1999) Renaissance des Bösen? Berlin: Freie Akademie. ISBN 3-923834-17-9 (paperback).

by JOHAN M.G. van der DENNEN, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (E-mail:

This small volume contains the papers of a conference (May 21-24, 1998) on the general theme of evil (das Böse): two contributions by Franz Wuketits ('Die Faszination des Bösen', 9-26; 'Sind wir zur Unmoral verurteilt?', 137-56); Peter Meyer ('Krieg - das kollektive Böse?' Evolutionistische Perspektiven zum Verhältnis von Gut und Böse', 65-82); Cristoph Antweiler ('Zur Ethnologie des 'Bösen'', 83-112). I shall confine my review to these contribitutions. The other contributions, Bernhard Verbeek ('Der Umgang mit dem Blauen Planeten - Das Naive und das Böse', 9-26) and Wolfgang Kaul ('Die Religionen und das Böse', 43-64) only tangentially touch upon the problem of evil; and Maria Wuketits ('Böse Frauen - die Schattenseite des 'schwachen Geschlechts'', 113-24) and Udo Jesionek ('Böse Kinder - Jugendliche als Täter', 125-36) discuss the criminal psychology of women and juveniles respectively, and show that some of the crimes perpetrated by women and children may be quite hideous, ghastly and repulsive (such as Lizzie Borden slaying her parents with an ax) - but these crimes generally still are a far cry from what is commonly called 'evil'.
Wuketits utilizes the concept of 'evil' to designate human behavior (in contrast to a metaphysical notion of 'Evil') that is considered to be 'immoral'. Fortunately, we do not habitually commit acts of evil, but that does not necessarily mean that most of us are - therefore - more or less morally superior creatures. On the contrary, we abstain from such acts mainly by the fear of negative sanctions, and cowardice. The other side of the medal is that we often secretly admire those who are not troubled too much by inhibitions in social affairs.
Lies and tactical deceptions are some of the aspects of what Wuketitis calls 'everyday evil'. We have to realize that we are designed by natural selection to be egotists, kin altruists (nepotists), and ethnocentrists.
Why does evil fascinate? Firstly, because we have the tendency to react to possibly hostile strangers with fear and diffidence, and this fear is easily converted into blind fury and 'fraternal' murder - in which case the 'evil' act is perceived as meritorious by the perpetrator. Secondly, political and economic institutions can override individual moralism, providing their members with 'sanctions for evil'. Thirdly, there is the fascination of everything that is forbidden - as everyone remembers from his own youth. Evil and its fascination is of all times and places, therefore Wuketits does not believe that there is a particular renaissance of evil.
In his final contribition, Wuketits reasons that morality is a biological category and arises because there exist conflicts of interests in every socially living species. The paradox of human existence is the fact that humans are capable of contemporaneously of utterly egostistic (selfish) and extremely altruistic acts, hostility to outgroup members and self-sacrifice toward ingroup members. "While human beings are clearly capable of extreme cruelty and violence toward their fellow human beings, people also display extraordinary acts of kindness, generosity and sacrifice on behalf of others" (Clary, 1994: 93). An important component in the explanation of morality (or immorality) is that humans evolved in small kin groups (Sympathiegruppen). Our morality is essentially a small-group morality (meaning, among other things, that "Thou shalt not kill" applies only to ingroup members, not to the rest of mankind). Beyond this small-group nepotism, which is governed by rules of reciprocity and indirect reciprocal altruism, sympathy and empathy and social responsibility toward outsiders were never strongly selected.
Antweiler discusses the phenomenon of ethnocentrism in more detail. A clear attribute of the ideology or world view behind ethnocentrism is a closed, unfragmented, unitary cosmology, which leads to a superiority delusion ('chosen people complex') on the one hand, and a dualistic moral universe on the other hand (a 'good' endosphere and a 'bad' exosphere: Us [morally superior] versus Them [morally inferior]). Small wonder that universally 'evil' is located in persons outside (or on the periphery of) the own in-group.
Also Meyer notes that humans (at least human males) have always been ready to fight for the maintenance or consolidation of their own cosmic order, and to regard everything outside this order as a potential threat, or even 'evil': the basic pattern of ethnocentric thinking ("Man kann dies als Grundmuster ethnozentrischen Denkens bezeichnen") (p. 68).
Regarding the split moral (Manichaean) universe, Meyer explains that the duty to reciprocate originally applied only to members of the own kin group, to individuals who contributed to one's own self-interest in the first place. Against this background, it is not difficult to understand that everything which threatens this reciprocity network, and therewith the individual self-interests, is unreflexively perceived as evil. Consequently, ingroup members seldom hesitate to apply violent measures not only to outgroup enemies, but also to ingroup 'renegades' by means of ostracism.
In human history, wars (as collisions of organized and armed collectives) arose some 8 to 10.000 years ago. They were conflicts about territory, water, and other vital resources, between and among sedentary communities. Individuals would probably not have had many opportunities to disengage from these violent clashes, but beyond this coercive aspect, people seem to have a 'natural' inclination to cooperate, to obey and to subordinate - which is only an extension of the individual imperative to survival. In case of collective conflict, the survival of the group and the survival of the individual are equivalent, so it is only sensible to subordinate to the group's (strategic) demands and fulfil one's duties of reciprocity (especially on behalf of kin). "Es zeigt sich, daß die Bereitschaft zur Teilnahme an kollektiven Gewalthandlungen wie dem Krieg vor allem durch unser Bestreben unterstützt wird, uns mit anderen zusammenzuschließen" (p. 80).
Though Wuketits emphasizes the banality of evil and addresses the concept of 'everyday evil', Meyer considers warfare to be evil, and Antweiler underlines the evil of the ethnocentric worldview, it is a pity that the authors hardly touch upon what is generally considered to be the real evil in the literature: 'senseless' violence, genocides, massacres and war atrocities, and gross human rights violations such as torture and random state terror.


Valentina Leonovicova

On February 3, 2000, Valentina Leonovicova, who organized the successful ESS Prague (Liblice) Conference (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 1991) on 'Sociobiology and Ethics', died in her home near Prague, at the age of 69. She will be remembered with love by the participants of this unique meeting. We wish her husband Vaclav, her children Tatyana and Sergei, and her brother Mark much strength.

William D. Hamilton

Professor W. D. Hamilton, FRS, biologist, was born on August 1, 1936. He died on March 7 aged 63.
The evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton was one of the leaders of what has been called "the second Darwinian revolution", and Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, has called him one of the most important Darwinians of the 20th century. Hamilton, who taught at Oxford for his last 15 years, proposed the theory of kin selection as an explanation of why organisms are sometimes (nepotistically) altruistic towards each other, despite inherent tendencies towards selfishness. He then moved on to the difficult problem of the evolution of sex from asexual reproduction, and proposed the now widely discussed parasite theory. His good friend Robert Trivers wrote in his obituary (
"WD Hamilton was the greatest evolutionary theorist of the 20th century. Certainly, where social theory based on natural selection is concerned, he was easily our deepest and most original thinker. His first work - his theory of inclusive fitness - was his most important, because it is the only true advance since Darwin in our understanding of natural selection. Hamilton's work is a natural and inevitable extension of Darwinian logic. In Darwin's system natural selection refers to individual differences in reproductive success (RS) in nature where RS is the # of surviving offspring produced. Hamilton enlarged the concept so as to include RS effects on other relatives, ie not just fitness or reproductive success but inclusive fitness, defined (roughly) as an individual's RS plus effects on the RS of relatives, each devalued by the appropriate degree of relatedness (r)".

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