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Sociobiology - theory and practical application

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 24, 2007   #1

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback? Thank you very much!
The prompt is:

What is the general focus of sociobiology (also known as evolutionary psychology and behavioural ecology)? How is this applied to human behaviors?

I really appreciate your help
Thank you in advance

PS: If you need help in French, I would be pleased to help you

What is quite surprising as regards anthropology is that, despite an almost unanimous concord over the fact that the human species has biologically and culturally evolved, fierce debates arise concerning individuals' psychological development over the years. Some scientists, the sociobiologists, have engaged in the study of the interrelations between human's biology and behaviour, and endeavour to apply the findings of their research to current issues. However, as abovementioned, the undertaking of such a research is based on a highly disputed paradigm. Indeed, one could ask to what extent biology and behaviour are linked whereas the biological and cultural determinism have been proved invalid. The comprehension of the theories, which are buttressed by the recognition of three assumptions, and applications of sociobiology, also known as evolutionary psychology and behavioural ecology, helps to appreciate the scientific implications of such a research.

First, the psychobiologists assume that humans' behaviour, which are the aggregate responses to internal as well as external stimuli, stems from genetics. Indeed, the conduct of an individual in a social context, such as the expressions of love, hatred, or fear, is supposed to originate from information that is coded into human DNA, in the same as the production of antibodies to preserve the healthiness of an organism. The major implications of that suggestion are, on the one hand, the affirmation that freewill is just an illusion, and on the other hand, the declaration that the influence of culture is severely restrained, because behaviours that have been supposed to be the fruit of intellectual assessments are only involuntary responses. From an anthropological point of view, the belief that biology acts more deeply and widely than culture on humans' behaviour seems quite consistent. Indeed, scientific breakthroughs progressively reveal underlying biological influences behind behaviours that have been considered the consequence of volition until now.

Second, the corollary of the precedent point is the acceptation that humans' behaviour has to be understood in terms of natural selection and adaptation, namely in an evolutionary context. Since humans' behaviour is said to evolve through the ages, two key consequences have to be kept in mind. On the one hand, diverse psychological patterns are the result of adaptations to ecosystems through natural selection to aggrandize the individuals' reproductive success. Consequently, to imagine that feelings such as love are the product of gamete reshuffling during meiosis is singularly a lack of romanticism but is certainly more scientifically accurate. On the other hand, since the human genes are transmitted from parents to offspring and since microevolutions happened, the genes that are supposed to code the humans' behaviours change as well. Consequently, although the inheritance of acquired characteristics has been scientifically rejected, humans' behaviours are, to some extent, transmitted through descent lines and abnormal behaviours are the fruit of genetic mutations or the result of detrimental genotypic combinations.

Third, the sociobiologists presume that the contemporaneous humans' behaviours originate from the Homo sapiens individuals' behaviours during the Neolithic. The early Homo sapiens are believed to have developed particular behaviours to solve problems posed by ecosystems or habitats, and have transmitted their behaviours until now through genetics. The sociobiologists especially emphasize that epoch because the Homo sapiens species have significantly developed during that period, which covers an important part of the whole Homo sapiens evolutionary history. However, accurate accounts of those early humans' lives are not available because there are neither written records nor reliable oral transmission, which poses a formidable obstacle for accrediting that hypothesis.

Finally, the ones who accept those three postulations reshape their whole comprehension of human cultural evolution and discover innovatory and multifarious theoretical and practical applications. An application for individuals may be for example medical therapies. Indeed, if the early human mating patterns can be unveiled, therapists could prescribe efficient treatments composed of drugs to create sexual inhibitors for preventing paedophilia. The understanding of the predisposition towards belligerence or altruism could help the social scientists to comprehend the behaviours that underpin obscure economic and political phenomena. Thus, the entrepreneurs could plan advertising campaigns for ameliorating their sales and lawmakers could implement effective frameworks for pacifying international relations. There are as many applications as concerns rose by human behaviours.

However, in spite of its considerable interests, the scientific corroboration of the paradigm of the sociobiology would lead to far-reaching consequences. Actually, the major corollary would be a complete reshaping of humans' worldviews since the causes of behaviours could be found into everyone's genetic code. Psychotherapy, social sciences and philosophy would undergo massive disruptions because of the possibility to forecast and control humans' behaviour, ranging from ontogeny to phylogeny, namely from the individuals' evolution to the species' evolution. Therefore, highly controversial ethical issues as regards some possible eugenic implementations would be raised. Ultimately / eventually, "come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be," those lyrics from a song of the band "Nirvana," would reverberate in a quite desperate way.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Jul 25, 2007   #2

Merci beaucoup! Bien que je ne puisse pas personnellement recevoir votre aide, I am sure that if any students need help with their French essays, they would be very appreciative if you wanted to post some comments to assist them!

Here are a few editing suggestions for you:

the sociobiologists, have engaged in the study of the interrelations between humans' biology and behaviour,

First, the psychobiologists assume that humans' behaviour, which are the aggregate responses to internal as well as external stimuli, - This is a tricky one, but I feel certain that "behaviour" must always be singular; therefore, you would need to use "is" instead of "are"; however, "which is the aggregate responses" doesn't sound right either! I would suggest saying "human behaviour, comprising the aggregate responses to..." Although it is not incorrect to say "humans' behaviour" you are also allowed to simply say "human behaviour." (So that our American students won't be confused, I will point out that, although you attend an American university, you use British English, which I am sure you were taught when you learned English in school--hence, "behaviour" instead of "behavior.")

and have transmitted their behaviours until now through genetics. - The phrase "until now" is used slightly differently in French and English. There is an implication, in English, that if you say "until now" you mean that the action is now stopping, in which case you'd be saying the behaviors were transmitted until now, but no longer are, which is not what you mean. It would be better to say "have transmitted their behaviours, over time, through genetics."

An application for individuals may be, for example, medical therapies. [add commas]

There are as many applications as concerns raised by human behaviours.

the scientific corroboration of the paradigm of [delete "the"] sociobiology

causes of behaviours could be found in everyone's genetic code

Tres bien!


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