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ERIC Number: EJ882848
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0092-055X
Better Informed, Still Skeptical: Response to Machalek and Martin
Lucal, Betsy
Teaching Sociology, v38 n1 p46-49 2010
After accepting the editor's invitation to write a response to Richard Machalek and Michael W. Martin's "Evolution, Biology, and Society: A Conversation for the 21st-Century Sociology Classroom," the author took up their recommendation to learn more about recent work on biology and social behavior. She considered seriously Machalek and Martin's observation that it might not be simple "biophobia" that had resulted in her distaste for biological explanations but her ignorance of recent developments in the field. Thus began her quest to overcome her ignorance, to understand the five concepts Machalek and Martin cite as central to sociobiology: epigenesis, the interaction principle, the norm of reaction, prepared learning, and emergence. Machalek and Martin seemed to be arguing that armed with such knowledge, she would conclude that the four criticisms of biological approaches often leveled by bioilliterate sociologists are based on stereotypes that result in misrepresentations of the "logic and substance of evolutionary theory." In other words, as Machalek and Martin put it in an earlier article, the author would see that much criticism of sociobiology "appears to target a "straw man"." The author points out that Machalek and Martin do not give any indication that they agree with biological and evolutionary approaches that make these kinds of arguments. After all of her study of these perspectives, the author remains troubled by Machalek and Martin's implication that her skepticism is a product of ignorance, that it cannot possibly represent an informed critique.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A