View by:  Subject  Theme  Question  Term  Person  Event


According to its ‘founding figure', E. O. Wilson, sociobiology is “the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior.” Unlike sociology, with its “structuralist and nongenetic approach” and its focus on “descriptive taxonomy and ecology”, sociobiology works entirely within the neo-Darwinist evolutionary paradigm in which “each phenomenon is weighed for its adaptive significance and then related to the basic principles of opulatin genetics.” Its primary assumption, then, is that the behavior of an organism is, at least partly, influenced by its genetics; thus biologically significant behaviors form the basis for the evolution of human culture. Sociobiology examines both differences between species and within species, particularly through research in behavioural genetics. Richard Dawkins, for example, has focused on the genetic constraints of social behavior, emphasizing that differences in the allele’s of even a ‘single gene’ might result in strikingly different social acts. We are, in effect, the “survival machines” by which genes perpetuate themselves. Dawkins has also proposed that ‘memes’, units which replicate cultural variations, play an analogous role in cultural evolution as does the gene in biological evolution. Lindon Eaves and colleagues have pursued extensive research on the relation between genetics and environment on personality and attitude by a comparitive study of fraternal and maternal twins

Related Topics:


Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

To return to the previous topic, click on your browser's 'Back' button.

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.