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As the old saw goes, science advances through the deaths of senior professors. One wonders what it would take in the way of evidence or argument to convince the principal critics of sociobiology that they had been mistaken. Dealing with dangerousness: Community risk management strategies with violent offenders. The next two chapters (Marks & Nesse; Nesse) treat anxiety disorders. The first three chapters (Nesse & Williams; Mc Guire, Marks, Nesse, & Troisi; Wilson) are general reviews that make the argument that mental diseases are usefully viewed from an adaptationist perspective.
A comparison of rapists' and non-sex offenders' sexual preferences for mutually consenting sex, rape, and physical abuse of women. Wakefield (1992a; 1992b) has bravely conceptualized a disorder from an adaptationist perspective as a harmful dysfunction.
On the other hand, their attempts at explanation are what Tooby and Cosmides would label "theories of the mid-range.” Kind of a formalization of folk psychology that is unconnected with any other area of science. Altemeyer pulls no punches here and he clearly links religious fundamentalism, especially Protestant fundamentalism, with high RWA attributes. In the jacket blurbs, Dawkins observes that “Every sentence sparkles with wit and charm”. The author is funny but tries so hard to be entertaining that her witticisms become distracting. Bakker teaches us to appreciate the beauty of dinosaur design. I’m sure better cooks would know a lot more of this stuff. The author doesn’t have a clear idea of his audience. "If universal aspects of the mind, together with their neural mechanisms, are adaptive, then the breakdown of such mechanisms should be maladaptive.
The authors are very respectful of their informants, scrupulously evenhanded, and gather interesting information. He ends the book with a list of their characteristics and it isn't pretty. She does a very good job and has a knack of explaining things clearly and describing how the scientific view of the world is so very different from our everyday experience of it. Whether Bakker turns out to be correct about some of his controversial views, such as the warm-bloodedness of dinosaurs and the nature of their extinction, his views are closely and sensibly argued. The author explains the chemistry of quite a few things in cookery of which I, at least, was ignorant. The editor, Simon Baron-Cohen from the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, introduces the theme of this edited volume in the preface.
The fact that none of the critics changed their mind in response to the steady empirical progress of the sociobiological research program ably summarized in this book is one of the most salient aspects of Segestråle’s (2000) detailed description of the long history of the sociobiology debate.
However, I do not believe that the latter has ever been a defining characteristic of sociobiology.