An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of July 21, 2008
Issued from the woods near Natchez, Mississippi, USA

SOCIOBIOLOGY

Referring to my notes last week on our need to overcome human genetic programming in order to save Life on Earth by behaving rationally, Bill in Illinois wrote that my line of thought fell into the realm of sociobiology, made famous by the 1975 book of ant-specialist Edward Wilson. Bill recalls that the book "elicited fierce opposition, not from religious conservatives, but from leftists, who see it (with good reason) as giving biological justification for racism, nationalism, social classes and so on." Wikipedia provides a helpful introduction to sociobiology and provides many links, some supporting the concept and others critical of it, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociobiology.

What's missing in the debate about sociobiology are insights offered by two of Nature's most obvious, easy-to-interpret paradigms: First, that few things are as beautiful, necessary, and sacred as diversity, and; second, things always change, always evolve.

For example, despite its being politically incorrect to say so, it should be obvious to everyone that the various human subgroups sometimes known as races are different from one another. How did this diversity arise? Humanity's ancestors evolved in different environments, each subgroup developed exquisite adaptations for its own local conditions, so today's resulting humans are programmed to function best under conditions of their ancestors' evolution.

What a majestic, interesting process and outcome this is, and I fail to see anything less than beautiful about it.

When we humans behave according to impulse and instinct we are slavishly expressing our programming. The problem with that is that behaviors programmed on the African savannah and afterwards are cumulatively destructive in today's world. Programmed behaviors such as the urge to possess more than we need and to strive for dominance over our neighbors, when multiplied by humanity's billions, threaten Life on Earth.

Happily, all human races can think, and from what I've seen all human races are equally capable of participating in the Sixth Miracle of Nature, which enables thinking individuals to overcome genetic programming and behave rationally.

So, human races are different from another. Great! Arabs don't live like Westerners. Stupendous! One social group finds survival harder than another...

Well, history shows that if a species, biotic community or human social group focuses its attention on what it needs and wants, and works and fights hard enough and long enough to change things, eventually things do change, sometimes for the better, sometimes in unexpected ways.

This messy, unpredictable Darwinian competition among individuals and groups is called LIFE, and it evolves and evolves. Facebook Icon.