“Science is the ultimate legitimator of bourgeois ideology.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of “Dialectical Biology.”

E.O. Wilson’s article in Edge discusses the advancements in socio-biology. This is, perhaps, represents the triumph of evolutionary psychology and Neo-Darwinism over its Marxists opponents. I looked back and read about the Socio-Biology War. This should be told at least as often as the Scopes Trial.

E.O. Wilson published Sociobiology in 1975, and was received by the secular left in much the same way Darwin was received by Christian fundamentalists. The scientific idea contradicted an ideology.

It was brilliant and respected to write about how genes contributed to the social structure of ant colonies and monkeys. For that, Wilson won much praise and started a new field of exploration. But to say the same of human being was blasphemy. The “Social Sciences” led by the Arts and Humanities and faux-sciences like Sociology used the myth of the Blank Slate to claim that all of human society and behavior are cultural constructs. Human nature, if there even was any, was malleable and could be reshaped by deliberate policy to create a better world. Humanity was liberated from the oppression of its own biology and genetics.

This wasn’t the first time the Left rose against science. In the past, they attacked nuclear scientists as warmongers. There was Lysenkoism and the mass murder of geneticists. Today, they oppose Biotechnology.

Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon Kamin published “Not in Our Genes” that criticized the strange idea that biology influences human culture and behavior. They explained the flaws of science as such:

We share a commitment to the prospect of the creation of a more socially just–a socialist–society. And we recognize that a critical science is an integral part of the struggle to create that society, just as we also believe that the social function of much of today’s science is to hinder the creation of that society by acting to preserve the interests of the dominant class, gender, and race. This belief–in the possibility of a critical and liberatory science–is why we have each in our separate ways and to varying degrees been involved in the development of what has become known over the 1970s and 1980s, in the United States and Britain, as the radical science movement.

In true Marxist fashion, the authors espoused the Blank Slate mythology that genetics and Darwinism does not influence humanity. Also in true Marxist fashion, they lied. Steven Pinker catalogued them doctoring quotes and fabrications to slander evolutionary psychologists.

Richard Dawkins responded to this Marxist attack against Darwinism.

Those of us with time to concentrate on our historic mission to exploit workers and oppress minorities have a great need to “legitimate” our nefarious activities…So we developed one: Science.

The Left twisted the meanings of Reductionism and Determinism. Reductionism simply means scientists look at a system by studying the way its component parts interact. Each simple part and its simple operations combine into a complex system.

As an analogy, a car has a number of parts. If you lay out the parts of a table – you don’t have a car, you have a scrap heap of metal. But, if you combine them so they interact in a certain way, then you have a car in motion.

The holistic canard is just that. It pretends that machines like cars or the human mind are mystical and off-limits to reductionist analysis.

The myth of the “inevitability” of genetic effects has nothing whatever to do with sociobiology, and has everything to do with Rose et al’s paranoiac and demonological theology of science. Sociobiologists, such as myself[…] are in the business of trying to work out the conditions under which Darwinian theory might be applicable to behaviour. If we tried to do our Darwinian theorising without postulating genes affecting behaviour, we should get it wrong.

Evolutionary Psychology (and Neo-Darwinism) must be combined with other tools in serious social science. The combination of applied mathematics like game and network theories with biological instinct will greatly improve our understanding of human society.

A flurry of adjectives from English Lit Crits and Marxists won’t stop this from happening.

E.O. Wilson responded to them here. He described scientific pursuit to discover by highly concentrating one’s studies in a very narrow field.

Which brings me to anti-science. I know less about postmodernism than most of you here, but let me give you my impression of how it relates to science. Postmodernist critics present a Disney World representation of science, a fantasy of what science is, and how scientists work, and why they work, a distortion embellished variously by obsolete theories of psychoanalysis and the battle cries of political ideology. Within the academy, it seems to me that postmodernism and the divisive forms of multiculturalism are substantially a revolt of the proletariat, wherein second-rate scholarship is parlayed into tenured professorships and book contracts–not by quality, not by originality, but by claims of entitlement of race, gender, and moralistic ideologies. But as I will show in a moment, some of it runs deeper, to turn the minds of even a few otherwise respected scientists.

E.O. Wilson notest that his critics in Not In My Genes and statements like this:
“Science is the ultimate legitimator of bourgeois ideology.”

True science, in other words, must be defined intrinsically to be forever separate from political thought. Ideology can then be constructed as a mental process insulated from science.

“What is” threatens “What should be”

In formulating sociobiology, I wanted to move evolutionary biology into every potentially congenial subject, including human behavior and even political behavior, roughshod if need be and as quickly as possible. Lewontin obviously did not.

By adopting a narrow criterion of acceptable research deserving the title of science, Lewontin freed himself to pursue a political agenda unencumbered by science. He purveyed the postmodernist view that accepted truth, unless based upon unassailable fact, is no more than a reflection of dominant ideology and political power. After his turn to political activism, around 1970, he worked to promote his own accepted truth: the Marxian view of holism, envisioning a mental universe within which social systems ebb and flow in response to the forces of economics and class struggle. He disputed the idea of reductionism in evolutionary biology, even though it was and is the virtually unchallenged linchpin of the natural sciences as a whole. And most particularly, he rejected it for human social behavior.

Here is the great secret explaining why biology is so threatening to Marxism: it is individualist. Whether you are talking about bacteria, ants, or humans, they function as individuals. If you try and model them as a unitary collective group, the model will not describe reality. The Marxist “Science for the People” would overturn this reality. To unburden itself of being completely wrong, it was not open to scientific proof.

Anyone who continued to espouse traditional science, evidence, logic and other tools of oppression were labeled as right-wingers.

In the standard leftward frameshift of academia prevailing at that time, Lewontin and members of Science for the People were classified as progressives, admittedly a bit extreme in their methods, while I–Roosevelt liberal turned pragmatic centrist- -was cast well to the right.

The Left, you see, occupies the center of the universe. Everything else is the Right-wing.

E.O. Wilson today comments in Edge magazine about the continued advancement of Sociobiology.

Scientists are learning more and more about how biology and societies interact to form complex behaviors. This includes the new understanding of Swarm Theory in insects.

The goal is always the same: to discover what is, whatever the political implications.

You say that we’re going to deal with two great principles that are the substance of biology and which you must know: One, that everything that’s in the body, including the brain and the action of the mind, is obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry as we understand it. And two, that the body, the species, and life as a whole evolved by natural selection. You take it from there and explain as best we can what we know about science, recognizing that there are still unanswered questions. If you sensibly ask what the meaning of life is, you don’t have to worry about science haters or mathophobes. You’ve got ’em.