While still a graduate student, Lee Ellis ( 1977) wrote a jarring futuristic polemic in American Sociologist entitled "The Decline and Fall of Sociology, 1975-2000." Although the piece described a hypothetical scenario, its message etched itself into my thinking. The substance of Ellis's article was that, since none of sociology's theories of social phenomena or deduced remedies for their ills had produced anything positive (and still have not almost twenty years later), a paradigmatic shift to a more biologically informed sociology was necessary if the discipline was to remain credible and viable. At the time of the appearance of Ellis's article, I was a former biology major who had gone on to do graduate work in sociology because I had decided I was more interested in people than plants. Like many others at the time, I saw a deep division between the life sciences and the "people" sciences; but Ellis convinced me that we should set our sights on building bridges between them. Ellis has done much to help lay the foundations of such bridges for sociologists, and he is perhaps the preeminent figure in biosociology today and the most productive "interpreter" of the biological literature for us.
With some important exceptions, sociology has paid scant attention to Ellis's argument without suffering the dire consequences he predicted. Nevertheless, we have recently witnessed entire sociology departments eliminated (e.g., Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rochester), others (e.g., Yale, San Diego State University) have been threatened with drastic faculty cuts ( Coughlin, 1992), and students declaring sociology majors have declined precipitously since the 1970s ( Das, 1989). In these times of tight budgets, sociology may be viewed by administrators as weak, vulnerable, and "expendable."