Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm

By Anthony Walsh | Go to book overview

strongly at different stages of development and within different social contexts. We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into the assumption of a constancy in either individuals' constitutions or the social environments they find themselves in. Human beings engage in dynamic transactions with their environments; and in the process, they change both themselves and their environments. Although genes play a role in determining the life course, there is no neat linear cryptography existing by which genes code for certain types of brains, which, in turn, code for different kinds of behavior. But genes do provide directions by which our development and our behavior are guided in ways favored over alternatives.


NOTES
1.
In a critical response of Sandra Scaff's presidential address to the Society for Research in Child Development, Diana Baumrind ( 1993:1313) offers a standard social science argument against genetic explanations: "For psychologists, as for medical researchers, the purpose of identifying undesirable predispositions of individuals should be to devise more health-promoting interventions, not to discourage such attempts on the supposition that these predispositions are genetically based and therefore intractable." Scarr ( 1993:1351) responds with three statements. First, "We might want to know the scientific truth (about undesirable predispositions) per se, because deceit does not enhance the scientific enterprise." Second, she asks that "if some predisposition were found to be 'genetically based' (presumably genetically variable), would denying the results enhance intervention efforts?" She answers, "Surely not." Tliird, she exclaims that "genetic does not mean intractable!" Scarr ( 1993:1351) suggests that social scientists' fears would be allayed greatly if only they would become educated about genetics.
2.
The classic example is selection for black coloration of the English peppered moth. At the time of the Industrial Revolution, the black variety of this moth constituted about I percent of an otherwise gray population. With the blackening of trees caused by factory pollution, black moths were camouflaged against predators, a survival and reproductive advantage formerly enjoyed by gray moths on gray trees. Over about 100 generations, the black moth constituted almost 100 percent of the peppered moth population in England. With the implementation of strict antipollution rules in the 1960s, gray moths are making a comeback as black moths become more and more the victims of predation ( Futuyama & Risch, 1984:159).
3.
MZ and DZ twins reared together share common genes and common environments. Consequently, when we subtracted 0.60 from 0.80, substantively we subtracted the variance in the trait for DZ twins due to common genes and common environment from the variance for MZ twins due to common genes and common environment. The only source of variance left after subtraction (except for measurement error) is the greater genetic similarity of MZ twins. Because the coefficient of genetic similarity is 1.0 for MZs and 0.5 for DZs, we are left with a quantity that represents one-half of the genetic variance (the covariance of DZ twins includes only one-half of the genetic influence as compared with the covariance of MZ twins), which is represented by the difference of 0.20 in the example. Thus, the estimate of variance in the trait due to genetics is obtained by twice the difference between the rs for MZ and DZ twins.

-41-

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Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Note xv
  • Chapter 1 the Case for Biosociology 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 Genetics and Human Behavior 19
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 3 the Brain and Its Environment 43
  • Notes 66
  • Chapter 4 Emotion and the Autonomic and Endocrine Systems 69
  • Notes 90
  • Chapter 5 Intelligence and Society 93
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter 6 Sexual Dimorphism and Sex-Role Behavior 121
  • Notes 142
  • Notes 144
  • Chapter 7 Human Sexuality and Evolution 145
  • Notes 170
  • Chapter 8 the Nature and Nurture of Criminality 173
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 9 Love, Marriage, and the Family 201
  • Notes 224
  • References 227
  • Name Index 259
  • Subject Index 269
  • About the Author 273
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