#1
post your sociobiology thoughts here. if this thread gets a lot of good posts and funny or enlightening arguments i will compile useful information and funny insults into a front page post.
#2
[account deactivated]
#3
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#4

toyotathon posted:

tears posted:

toyotathon posted:

the only other animals that have division of reproductive labor (non-parents teaching culture and behavior to the next generation, like teachers in school) are the eusocials

this is not true

what are the exceptions, where the norm is raising children that aren't the animal's own



tears posted:

Against “Sociobiology”

Elizabeth Allen, Barbara Beckwith, Jon Beckwith, Steven Chorover, and David Culver, et al.
November 13, 1975 Issue

In response to:
Mindless Societies from the August 7, 1975 issue

The following letter was prepared by a group of university faculty and scientists, high school teachers, doctors, and students who work in the Boston area.

To the Editors:

Beginning with Darwin’s theories of natural selection 125 years ago, new biological and genetic information has played a significant role in the development of social and political policy. From Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest,” to Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, and now E. O. Wilson, we have seen proclaimed the primacy of natural selection in determining most important characteristics of human behavior. These theories have resulted in a deterministic view of human societies and human action. Another form of this “biological determinism” appears in the claim that genetic theory and data can explain the origin of certain social problems, e.g., the suggestion by eugenicists such as Davenport in the early twentieth century that a host of examples of “deviant” behavior—criminality, alcoholism, etc.—are genetically based; or the more recent claims for a genetic basis of racial differences in intelligence by Arthur Jensen, William Shockley and others.

Each time these ideas have resurfaced the claim has been made that they were based on new scientific information. Yet each time, even though strong scientific arguments have been presented to show the absurdity of these theories, they have not died. The reason for the survival of these recurrent determinist theories is that they consistently tend to provide a genetic justification of the status quo and of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race or sex. Historically, powerful countries or ruling groups within them have drawn support for the maintenance or extension of their power from these products of the scientific community. For example, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. said.

The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest…. It is merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.

These theories provided an important basis for the enactment of sterilization laws and restrictive immigration laws by the United States between 1910 and 1930 and also for the eugenics policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany.

The latest attempt to reinvigorate these tired theories comes with the alleged creation of a new discipline, sociobiology. This past summer we have been treated to a wave of publicity and laudatory reviews of E. O. Wilson’s book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, including that of C. H. Waddington . The praise included a front page New York Times article which contained the following statement

Sociobiology carries with it the revolutionary implication that much of man’s behavior toward his fellows…may be as much a product of evolution as is the structure of the hand or the size of the brain.

Such publicity lends credence to the assertion that “we are on the verge of breakthroughs in the effort to understand our place in the scheme of things” (New York Times Book Review, June 27). Like others before him, Wilson’s “breakthrough” is an attempt to introduce rigor and scope into the scientific study of society. However, Wilson dissociates himself from earlier biological determinists by accusing them of employing an “advocacy method” (deliberately selecting facts to support preconceived notions) generating unfalsifiable hypotheses. He purports to take a more solidly scientific approach using a wealth of new information. We think that this information has little relevance to human behavior, and the supposedly objective, scientific approach in reality conceals political assumptions. Thus, we are presented with yet another defense of the status quo as an inevitable consequence of “human nature.”

In his attempt to graft speculation about human behavior onto a biological core, Wilson uses a number of strategies and sleights of hand which dispel any claim for logical or factual continuity. Of the twenty-seven chapters of Sociobiology, the middle twenty-five deal largely with animals, especially insects, while only the first and last chapters focus on humans. Thus, Wilson places 500 pages of double column biology between his first chapter on “The Morality of the Gene” and the last chapter, “From Sociobiology to Sociology.” But Wilson’s claim for objectivity rests entirely upon, the extent to which his last chapter follows logically and inevitably from the fact and theory that come before. Many readers of Sociobiology, we fear, will be persuaded that this is the case. However, Wilson’s claim to continuity fails for the following reasons:

1) Wilson sees “behavior and social structure as ‘organs,’—extensions of the genes that exist because of their superior adaptive value.” In speaking of indoctrinability, for example, he asserts that “humans are absurdly easy to indoctrinate” and therefore “conformer genes” must exist. Likewise, Wilson speaks of the “genes favoring spite” and asserts that spite occurs because humans are intelligent and can fathom its selective advantages. Similar arguments apply to “homosexuality genes” and genes for “creativity, entrepreneurship, drive and mental stamina.” But there is no evidence for the existence of such genes. Thus, for Wilson, what exists is adaptive, what is adaptive is good, therefore what exists is good. However, when Wilson is forced to deal with phenomena such as social unrest, his explanatory framework becomes amazingly elastic. Such behavior is capriciously dismissed with the explanation that it is maladaptive, and therefore has simply failed to evolve. Hence, social unrest may be due to the obsolescence of our moral codes, for as Wilson sees it we still operate with a “formalized code” as simple as that of “members of hunter-gatherer societies.” Xenophobia represents a corresponding failure to keep pace with social evolution, our “intergroup responses…still crude and primitive.”

This approach allows Wilson to confirm selectively certain contemporary behavior as adaptive and “natural” and thereby justify the present social order. The only basis for Wilson’s definition of adaptive and maladaptive, however, is his own preferences. While he rejects the “advocacy approach” and claims scientific objectivity, Wilson reinforces his own speculations about a “human nature,” i.e., that a great variety of human behavior is genetically determined, a position which does not follow from his evidence.

2) Another of Wilson’s strategies involves a leap of faith from what might be to “what is.” For example, as Wilson attempts to shift his arguments smoothly from the nonhuman to human behavior, he encounters a factor which differentiates the two: cultural transmission. Of course, Wilson is not unaware of the problem. He presents (p. 550) Dobzhansky’s “extreme orthodox view of environmentalism”:

Culture is not inherited through genes; it is acquired by learning from other human beings…. In a sense human genes have surrendered their primacy in human evolution to an entirely new non-biological or superorganic agent, culture.

But he ends the paragraph saying “the very opposite could be true.” And suddenly, in the next sentence, the opposite does become true as Wilson calls for “the necessity of anthropological genetics.” In other words, we must study the process by which culture is inherited through genes. Thus, it is Wilson’s own preference for genetic explanations which is used to persuade the reader to make this jump.

3) Does Wilson’s analysis of studies in nonhuman behavior provide him with a basis for understanding human behavior? An appeal to the “continuity of nature” based on evolutionary theory will not suffice. While evolutionary analysis provides a model for interpreting animal behavior, it does not establish any logical connection between behavior patterns in animal and human societies. But Wilson requires such a connection in order to use the vast amounts of animal evidence he has collected. One subtle way in which Wilson attempts to link animals and humans is to use metaphors from human societies to describe characteristics of animal societies.

For instance, in insect populations, Wilson applies the traditional metaphors of “slavery” and “caste,” “specialists” and “generalists” in order to establish a descriptive framework. Thus, he promotes the analogy between human and animal societies and leads one to believe that behavior patterns in the two have the same basis. Also, institutions such as slavery are made to seem natural in human societies because of their “universal” existence in the biological kingdom. But metaphor and presumed analogy cannot be allowed to mask the absence of evidence.

4) Another way Wilson confronts the difficulties in making the jump from non-human to human societies is by the use of ad hoc arguments. For example, a major problem exists in Wilson’s emphasis on innate biology: how can genetic factors control behavior if social structure within a group can change rapidly over the course of just a few generations? Wilson, of course, does not deny the enormous flexibility and rapid change in human action. But Wilson admits that according to standard population genetics, this period is far too short for the changes observed. He turns instead to the “multiplier effect,” which is a concept borrowed from economics. He uses this “effect” in an attempt to show how small genetic changes can be amplified enormously in a limited time span. But nowhere does Wilson present any basis for introducing the multiplier. A crucial point in Wilson’s explanation remains purely speculative. Further he relies on the unproven assumption that genes for behavior exist.

5) Many of Wilson’s claims about human nature do not arise from objective observation (either of universals in human behavior or of generalities throughout animal societies), but from a speculative reconstruction of human prehistory. This reconstruction includes the familiar themes of territoriality, big-game hunting with females at home minding the kids and gathering vegetables (“many of the peculiar details of human sexual behavior and domestic life flow easily from this basic division of labor”—p. 568), and a particular emphasis on warfare between bands and the salutary advantages of genocide. But these arguments have arisen before and have been strongly rebutted both on the basis of historical and anthropological studies. (See, for instance, A. Alland, The Human Imperative or M. F. A. Montagu, Man and Aggression.)

What we are left with then is a particular theory about human nature, which has no scientific support, and which upholds the concept of a world with social arrangements remarkably similar to the world which E. O. Wilson inhabits. We are not denying that there are genetic components to human behavior. But we suspect that human biological universals are to be discovered more in the generalities of eating, excreting and sleeping than in such specific and highly variable habits as warfare, sexual exploitation of women and the use of money as a medium of exchange. What Wilson’s book illustrates to us is the enormous difficulty in separating out not only the effects of environment (e.g., cultural transmission) but also the personal and social class prejudice of the researcher. Wilson joins the long parade of biological determinists whose work has served to buttress the institutions of their society by exonerating them from responsibility for social problems.

From what we have seen of the social and political impact of such theories in the past, we feel strongly that we should speak out against them. We must take “Sociobiology” seriously, then, not because we feel that it provides a scientific basis for its discussion of human behavior, but because it appears to signal a new wave of biological determinist theories.

Elizabeth Allen, pre-medical student, Brandeis University; Barbara Beckwith, teacher, Watertown Public High School; Jon Beckwith, professor, Harvard Medical School; Steven Chorover, professor of psychology, MIT; David Culver, visiting professor of biology, Harvard School of Public Health, professor of biology, Northwestern; Margaret Duncan, research assistant, Harvard Medical School; Steven Gould, professor in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University; Ruth Hubbard, professor of biology, Harvard University; Hiroshi Inouye, resident fellow, Harvard Medical School; Anthony Leeds, professor of anthropology, Boston University; Richard Lewontin, professor of biology, Harvard University; Chuck Madansky, graduate student in microbiology, Harvard Medical School; Larry Miller, student, Harvard Medical School; Reed Pyeritz, doctor, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston; Miriam Rosenthal, research associate, Harvard School of Public Health; Herb Schreier, psy chiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital. (Affiliations for identification only.)

Editors’ Note: We regret that C. H. Waddington, who would have been asked to reply to this letter, died on September 26.



tears posted:

its the 70s sociobiology debates but every time someone says the word fitness i get madder



tears posted:

The Politics of Sociobiology

Stephen Jay Gould, Joseph Alper, Bertram Bruce, Robin Crompton, and Val Dusek, , et al.
May 31, 1979 Issue

In response to:
The Illusion of Sociobiology from the October 12, 1978 issue

To the Editors:

We were pleased to read Stuart Hampshire’s review of On Human Nature (NYR, October 12) in which he shows the crucial philosophical flaws which undermine the entire structure of human sociobiology. However, in restricting himself purely to the philosophical problems inherent in On Human Nature, Hampshire neglected the social and political issues which are at the heart of the sociobiology controversy. Three years ago many of us wrote a letter (NYR, November 13, 1975) in response to a review of E.O. Wilson’s earlier book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, in which we pointed out the political content of this new field. We expressed concern at the likelihood that pseudo-scientific ideas would be used once more in the public arena to justify social policy. The events of the intervening years have fully justified our initial fears.

Numerous articles in the popular media have used sociobiological theories to justify the status quo. In an article entitled, “A Genetic Defense of the Free Market,” Business Week (April 10, 1978) stated: “Bioeconomics says that government programs that force individuals to be less competitive and selfish than they are genetically programmed to be are preordained to fail.” Newsweek and Time have both run articles on sociobiology which comment upon the inevitability of male dominance. Considering the upsurge over the past ten years in women fighting for equality, it is no coincidence that the press has seized upon theories that can be used to perpetuate and justify the subordination of women.

Fortunately, human sociobiology has not gone unchallenged. Hampshire, in his review, points out how Wilson’s theory founders when he attempts to explain mental states such as indoctrinability by a causal physical theory based upon genetics and neurophysiology. Hampshire argues that only those human processes that can be described entirely in terms of objective observable behavior, without recourse to descriptions of mental states, are amenable to a proper sociobiological analysis. The example of a trait accessible to proper study chosen by Hampshire is male dominance. We disagree. Since we live in a society that is rife with sexism, the definition and measurement of male dominance, by necessity, depends upon the outlook of the observer. In its entire treatment of sex roles and sexual selection, On Human Nature reveals the sexism of our culture. For example, Wilson casually, and without substantiation, makes such statements as: “In general, girls are predisposed to be more intimately sociable and less physically venturesome.”

Because human behavior such as male dominance is intimately connected with political concerns, sociobiology has been able to achieve a public prominence totally incommensurate with its intellectual worth. It is precisely as a result of this link to political questions that a purely philosophical critique, even one which amply reveals the emptiness and illusion of a human sociobiology, does not undermine the acceptance of this new discipline.

That On Human Nature is political, that it contains prescriptive and proscriptive conclusions for social policy, is apparent. Wilson states without any scientific evidence: “Even with identical education for men and women and equal access to all professions, men are likely to maintain disproportionate representation in political life, business, and science” (p. 133). He goes on to say that society could compensate for this innate inequality, but at a price: “…the amount of regulation required would certainly place some personal freedoms in jeopardy, and at least a few individuals would not be allowed to reach their full potential.” There is no evidence that equality entails such costs. And on a broader political front, Wilson also is confident, without evidence, in declaring that certain social organizations are inaccessible to us: “We already know, to take two extreme and opposite examples, that the worlds of William Graham Sumner, the absolute Social Darwinist, and Mikhail Bakunin, the anarchist, are biologically impossible” (p. 208, emphasis ours).

At the present time, many technical criticisms of sociobiology have come from within anthropology and biology. Among the issues that have been raised are the misuse of animal analogies, the methodological flaws in studies claiming to show evidence for the genetic basis of human social traits, and misreadings and distortions of the anthropological literature. Despite the sociobiologists’ disavowal of Social Darwinism, the science that stands behind sociobiology has as little rigorous standing in its application to human society as Social Darwinism did in its attempt to explain the social order. Unfortunately, there are those who have been attracted by the spurious promise of reducing such disparate fields as economics, government, and psychology to a biological science. Given the lack of scientific justification, this has only been made possible by certain ingrained cultural beliefs in biological determinism. Instead of quaint historical notions about individual human traits “running in the blood,” we now have “spite,” “competitiveness,” and “xenophobia” running in the genes, and with as little empirical evidence as had the outdated notions.

The application of sociobiological reasoning to the study of human behavior has met with controversy wherever it has been introduced. Since sociobiology has such political underpinnings, philosophical and scientific critiques alone will not deny it a receptive audience. Human sociobiology will rise and fall as one element in the political conflicts that surround the social institutions it tries to legitimate and defend.

Joseph Alper, professor of chemistry, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Jonathan Beckwith, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, Harvard Medical School; Bertram Bruce, scientist, artificial intelligence, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc.; Robin Crompton, graduate student, bioanthropology, Harvard University; Val Dusek, professor of philosophy, University of New Hampshire; Edward Egelman, graduate student, biophysics, Brandeis University; Stephen Jay Gould, professor in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; Ruth Hubbard, professor of biology, Harvard University; Hiroshi Inouye, research fellow, Harvard Medical School; Robert Lange, professor of physics, Brandeis University; Lila Leibowitz, professor of anthropology, Northeastern University; Richard Lewontin, professor of biology, Harvard University; Freda Salzman, professor of physics, University of Massachusetts, Boston



toyotathon posted:

so neither of those posts address eusociality as a coherent system of animal organization, they address lazy biological determinism from the mid-70s. no argument here.

wilson's a big-name thinker with garbage politics, but since i'm not a liberal i know scientific truths exist external to the features of the people making them. doesn't say much of anything about the truth of GR that einstein was a socialist or early QM that heisenberg was a willing nazi. aside from his politics wilson has bad intellectual habits like being a massive reductionist, which slips into biological determinism; he's a bad mascot. but there are hundreds and hundreds of ecologists and biologists now studying eusociality because there's acceptance that 2 out of 3 characteristics of the eusocials are shared by humans (cooperative child care and overlapping generations in same dwelling). the widely-rejected third (reproductive division of labor) is the last eusocial trait to form, and locks in a class society as caste society. plenty of eichmanns in the human ruling class today salivate over total social control through genes, so to imagine this is an impossible path seems like a good way to unknowingly walk it.

the mass curiosity over human eusociality, whether we've invented a brand-new social system or are iterating on a rare (but successful) social system discovered by other animals first, is wider than just EO wilson. your arrows about the debate in the 70s miss the mark, sorry tears.



toyotathon posted:

probably a sign that it was written in the 70s and doesn't address eusociality, is the just-so, lazy sociobiology explanations for patriarchy. eusociality is matriarchal in every instance. like the giant female nest-guards hound and peck at lazy workers like asshole bee cops. like i said tho that current is the last to form and transition species with eusocial labor organization sans reproduction have been discovered (i can dig up the paper if you want..)

good thing humans haven't discovered how to breed animals and don't exclusively eat and make company with plants and animals they've bred, otherwise our species might get taken over by enthusiastic human-breeders and lock in a caste society very quickly!!



Petrol posted:

Note: C. H. Waddington died on his way back to his home planet



tears posted:

toyotathon posted:

probably a sign that it was written in the 70s and doesn't address eusociality, is the just-so, lazy sociobiology explanations for patriarchy. eusociality is matriarchal in every instance. like the giant female nest-guards hound and peck at lazy workers like asshole bee cops. like i said tho that current is the last to form and transition species with eusocial labor organization sans reproduction have been discovered (i can dig up the paper if you want..)

good thing humans haven't discovered how to breed animals and don't exclusively eat and make company with plants and animals they've bred, otherwise our species might get taken over by enthusiastic human-breeders and lock in a caste society very quickly!!

How can you say this when the 70s sociobiology debates were specifically about eusociality and the extrapolation of Wilson's research in insects to humans? Which seems exactly what you are doing. I completely reject the Wilsonian hypothesis that humans are eusocial creatures in the way Wilson characterises eusociality i.e. as formulated through the lens of insect eusocials, while you seem to accept that basic starting point.

It seems like you should at least post something more developed than just repeating how soon we are all to be locked into caste society because eusociality is a single rigid concept equally valid across the entire animal kingdom. To me what you are saying seems as ludicrous as if you were making claims about about the similarities between humans and colonial hydrozoans, or slime molds.

Evolutionary biology is such an ideological mess on the one side you have the Wilsonians who go “humans cooperate because they are just like ants, observe, these ants are cops”, then the Dawkinsians pipe up going “no humans cooperate only when they are related to each other, observe the genes”, and that's it, thats the extent of the “debate”, Gould why did you die so young.



tears posted:

What you're doing is projective natural history, but from the left, projecting capitalist control structures etc onto the poor little ants - its just naturisation, looking for analogues to human behaviour in animal behaviour, and in doing so distorting the complexity of the subject your discussing in favour of fitting a narative. It's ridiculous to say things like ants go to war, or ants engage in policing, with any reference to what those things mean in human society - because they are fundamentally incomparable, like my facetious slime mold example above; there's no difference between this and the usual sort of projection of dominance heirachies into humans and saying thats "natural". It seems so strange to see someone latch onto sociobiology's erroneous projection of eusocial insects onto human society then flip it round the other way with no attempt to challnge the underlying assumptions. Especially since the very reason for drawing parallels between insect eusociality and humans is to serve an extremely repressive system that already exists in humans.


In the late 1970s I attended meetings at which sociobiologists E. O. Wilson and David Barash, critic Stephen J. Gould, and others were on a panel. Standing blocked by the crowd in the hall outside the doorway to the packed hall I was unable hear the speakers. I spied a little door near the stage, and figured that if I could get to that door, I could get next to the stage and the front row. I sneaked through the hotel kitchen and found the door. Just as I opened it I was passed by a number of African American students who ran up on stage and poured water on Wilson's head. Wilson responded by saying to the audience that he felt like he had been speared by an aborigine. The crowd applauded the martyred Wilson (on crutches at the time--from a skiing accident) and some in the front row muttered epithets at the disrupters and at me, who appeared to have held the door for the demonstrators. The water pitcher story has been repeated scores of times in journalistic accounts, but none of these mention Wilson's racially tinged response.



toyotathon posted:

tears posted:

Especially since the very reason for drawing parallels between insect eusociality and humans is to serve an extremely repressive system that already exists in humans.

i mean that's silly. that's as silly as saying the reason for studying atoms is to make bombs, or that studying vietnamese concentration camps is to run them more efficiently. we don't study class society to support it, we study it to destroy it. the reason it's apt to compare social systems is because human class society and class/caste society in other animals formed to address the same material problems of what to do with surplus value.

here's Engels in Origins:

The increase of production in all branches – cattle-raising, agriculture, domestic handicrafts –
gave human labor-power the capacity to produce a larger product than was necessary for its
maintenance. At the same time it increased the daily amount of work to be done by each member
of the gens, household community or single family. It was now desirable to bring in new labor
forces. War provided them; prisoners of war were turned into slaves. With its increase of the
productivity of labor, and therefore of wealth, and its extension of the field of production, the first
great social division of labor was bound, in the general historical conditions prevailing, to bring
slavery in its train. From the first great social division of labor arose the first great cleavage of
society into two classes: masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited.



the physical, on-the-ground reality of "the capacity to produce a larger product than necessary for maintenance" is the permanent food store, a building, containing value, that must be defended from parasitism. if the food store can be defended, there are advantages to the animal: it averages out nature's fat and lean times, fat times can be exploited beyond the capacity of what can be eaten on the spot, young can be raised in safety, elaborate divisions of labor can develop, fed from the food store. in animals there is a range of food behaviors, based on the length of time that prey was killed or a plant was robbed, from a bear eating a berry immediately off the vine, to a cougar dragging a deer up a tree for a long feast, all the way to bees reprocessing plant sugars to honey for very long term storage.

but the longer the animal waits between gathering the food and eating the food, the greater the risk that something else will eat it first. so there are also disadvantages: it ties the animal to a sedentary lifestyle occupied with food store defense, it reduces food gathering range (no more seasonal movements), and the guards of the food store can quickly become social parasites while workers perform the physical labor of collecting food.

food store defense, the nest, is the most basal characteristic of eusocial animals. it's the most common feature and is reasoned to be the material driver of the transition into eusociality. here's for instance the proposed (using intrinsic fitness) path from wasps to ants by Howard E Evans:

1. Female stings prey, lays egg.
2. Female stings prey, places it in a convenient niche, lays egg.
3. Female stings prey, constructs a nest on the spot, lays egg.
4. Female builds a nest, stings prey, transports it to nest, lays egg.
5. Female builds a nest, stings and transports a prey item, lays egg, then mass provisions with several more prey (added quickly, before egg hatches).
6. As in (5) but prey items are progressively provided, as the larva grows.
7. As in (6) but progressive provisioning occurs from the start.
8. In addition to progressive provisioning in a preconstructed nest, female macerates prey items and feeds the pieces directly to the larvae.
9. Founding female is long-lived, so that offspring remain with her in the nest, add cells, and lay eggs of their own.
10. Little colony of cooperating females engages in trophallaxis (liquid food exchange), but there is still no division into reproductive and worker castes.
11. Behavioral division between a dominant queen caste and subordinate worker caste appears; unfertilized workers may still lay male-destined eggs.
12. Larvae are fed differentially; queen and workers that result are physically distinct, but intermediates remain common.
13. Worker caste is physically strongly differentiated, and intermediates are rare or absent.



the well-provisioned nest, the food store, is the first step in an elaborate path to eusociality. i didn't notice it the first time i read that, but it's funny that the communal food exchange in step 10 was the precursor to full caste society, because we know from our history how early agriculture used common, shared food stores. for the ants it's to explain the development of trophallaxis, though. interesting, anyway. all the other eusocials start with the nest as well, the eusocial marine shrimp defending a section of reef, the naked mole rat collecting and storing tubers. it is a rare-but-widespread behavior adaptation to food storage.

~~~~

i extremely love being called a nazi for being against human class-breeding though. those 13 steps in ant evolution took millions of years and we've been dealing with the food surplus for 8,000 or so. even at the rates of human artificial selection, any bio-determinism would struggle to explain history. but in any case here's fellow nazi friedrich engels who, by revealing human class-breeding, is clearly also in support of it, along with slavery and bridewealth for good measure

For now slavery had also been invented. To the barbarian of the lower stage, a slave was
valueless. Hence the treatment of defeated enemies by the American Indians was quite different
from that at a higher stage. The men were killed or adopted as brothers into the tribe of the
victors; the women were taken as wives or otherwise adopted with their surviving children. At
this stage human labor-power still does not produce any considerable surplus over and above its
maintenance costs. That was no longer the case after the introduction of cattle-breeding,
metalworking, weaving and, lastly, agriculture. just as the wives whom it had formerly been so
easy to obtain had now acquired an exchange value and were bought, so also with the forces of
labor, particularly since the herds had definitely become family possessions. The family did not
multiply so rapidly as the cattle. More people were needed to look after them; for this purpose use
could be made of the enemies captured in war, who could also be bred just as easily as the cattle
themselves.


#5
thanks for making the thread and especially for taking an interest. it might be a dead-end investigation for our class but who wants to leave swords on the ground for the class enemy to wield against us? like tears points out the people interested in sociobiology now are basically class enemies and are rooting around in it to serve our masters and carry out eugenics in disguise. lots of sciences suffer this, though.

about EO Wilson: pretty much all of tears' comments about him are right; he's a stopped clock. most researchers spend their whole lives being wrong in private. EO Wilson must lack the shame-gene and prefers to be wrong in the spotlight. like for instance, in 'Social Conquest of Earth', he doesn't even identify the human 'nest' correctly. the nest is a defended site of food storage and raising young, and he says it's the fire-pit. clearly if it's anywhere, it's the granary. the granary came with the early eusocial culture adaptations. he is wrong about human society so often that rifling through his body of work to recover anything of value is labor intensive. fortunately there are many eusociality/superorganism researchers today with less baggage.

about biological determinism: the way you know biological determinists are all full of shit is that all their just-so explanations flatter themselves and their nations. if they were honest and consistent, they'd worry about how white amerikans are the most genocidal humans who have ever lived, their europeans cousins not far behind. they'd admit things like the white blood (or whatever nickel substitute word they use to mean the same thing) has poisoned earth's rivers and oceans, 3/4 of carbon pollution is due to whites. if they were consistent they'd look at the real white history and conclude that whites are a pestilence, but they consistently conclude the opposite, because they aren't scientists, they're little eichmanns. we've got 8,000-some-odd years of highly varied gene flow since the dawn of class society but live in a world of human workers; whatever effect human breeding has had on us can't be very large, yet.
#6

toyotathon posted:

tears posted:

Especially since the very reason for drawing parallels between insect eusociality and humans is to serve an extremely repressive system that already exists in humans.

i mean that's silly. that's as silly as saying the reason for studying atoms is to make bombs, or that studying vietnamese concentration camps is to run them more efficiently. we don't study class society to support it, we study it to destroy it. the reason it's apt to compare social systems is because human class society and class/caste society in other animals formed to address the same material problems of what to do with surplus value.


you completly misunderstand what I am saying, im not saying that the study of eusocial insects is somehow wrong, i'm saying that the origin of eusocial naturisation lies in seeking justifications for human class society in other organisms, which is exactly what sociobiology is, as is the current evolutionary psychology paradigm that has supplanted it;

and that humans are not "eusocial" in the way that insect eusociality is understood and that the very concept of a blanket "eusociality" across all organisms is bunk science.


also sorry i was mad as hell yesterday, today i am calm and collected and happy to discuss this now, also sorry i called you a nazi, ive got a thing about evolutionary biologists, a field predominantly made up of nazi scientists, guess its because i used to be one of them once

#7
oh boy
#8
sociobiology greatest hits

#9

Cuntessa_Markievicz posted:

oh boy



hell yea

#10
One final thing and ill lay off for a bit is that this:

toyotathon posted:

1. Female stings prey, lays egg.
2. Female stings prey, places it in a convenient niche, lays egg.
3. Female stings prey, constructs a nest on the spot, lays egg.
4. Female builds a nest, stings prey, transports it to nest, lays egg.
5. Female builds a nest, stings and transports a prey item, lays egg, then mass provisions with several more prey (added quickly, before egg hatches).
6. As in (5) but prey items are progressively provided, as the larva grows.
7. As in (6) but progressive provisioning occurs from the start.
8. In addition to progressive provisioning in a preconstructed nest, female macerates prey items and feeds the pieces directly to the larvae.
9. Founding female is long-lived, so that offspring remain with her in the nest, add cells, and lay eggs of their own.
10. Little colony of cooperating females engages in trophallaxis (liquid food exchange), but there is still no division into reproductive and worker castes.
11. Behavioral division between a dominant queen caste and subordinate worker caste appears; unfertilized workers may still lay male-destined eggs.
12. Larvae are fed differentially; queen and workers that result are physically distinct, but intermediates remain common.
13. Worker caste is physically strongly differentiated, and intermediates are rare or absent.



is just an example of what i have been saying, they're superficially analogous structures, but when you actually look at what is going on what seems analogous actually falls apart. YOu even say so yourself that all eusociality is matriarchal. And the different castes are born from the colonies' queen, so how does this have any relation or link to say the dominant class-led slave breeding programs example of engels, or anything to do with human class society, which is already stratified into classes with relatedness playing no role? again im not denying the existence of a hypothetical future slave breeding class structure, or past attempts at doing this, im saying that comparing such programs to eusocial insects is an incorrect assumption of convergent evolution based on projective natural history

#11

tears posted:

is just an example of what i have been saying, they're superficially analogous structures, but when you actually look at what is going on what seems analogous actually falls apart. YOu even say so yourself that all eusociality is matriarchal. And the different castes are born from the colonies' queen, so how does this have any relation or link to say the dominant class-led slave breeding programs example of engels, or anything to do with human class society, which is already stratified into classes with relatedness playing no role? again im not denying the existence of a hypothetical future slave breeding class structure, or past attempts at doing this, im saying that comparing such programs to eusocial insects is an incorrect assumption of convergent evolution based on projective natural history



when i look at that evolutionary path i actually see the comparison get even stronger. like let's look at the development of 10, trophallaxis. trophallaxis is a development within bees, eusocial wasps, ants, and termites, that allows one individual to share food with another. it balances the food supply within the colony, it allows a colony to store the most possible food in the sum of all stomachs.

there isn't really any reason for this to develop except for like parent food regurgitation to offspring. basically it does not exist outside eusocials. there is no evolutionary reason for it to develop, to share food. food is precious and scarce and to offer it freely is long-term suicide.

except humans do this really weird animal behavior too. i just got back from a bday party where everybody shared food, like the host had to beg everyone to bring less food. we humans have a communal food culture. again this is animal behavior that is normalized in eusocials but very rare or strictly reciprocal in other animals, even chimps. other animals don't just give food away freely to neighbors. it's just us and the eusocials.

you can also see that it developed in other animals prior to class society. that is true in humans too. all the indigenous, non-class societies i've read about also have strictly communal food cultures, insulting the meat and whatnot.

i've talked about breeding the most but while the social insects had to evolve these behaviors over millenia, we inherit cultures that reasoned all these behaviors out. they aren't bred into us. the long-term breeding in the human class war is a problem because it will someday lock in this rotten thing, but we're not there yet. doop de dooo

Edited by toyotathon ()

#12
I don't know what any of the words in this thread mean but i think humans are probably different to bugs. Thank you all.
#13
humans are bugs
#14
again, without falling into the trap of hamilton's rule ultra biological reductionism, eusocial insects live in matriarchally structured colonies with a high degree of relatedness between individuals in the colony, with all castes are born by a reproductive queen, and with very short generation times. I see no way that this is anything but superficially analogous to human class society which has neither a high degree of relatedness in "colonies", nor the biological potential for different classes being produced by a single reproductive female (my eyes are rolling so hard as i write this), nor very short generation times. If you take your slave breeding analogy to its extreme you would surely be implying that humans could undergo some sort of ruling class led forced speciation into a dominant and subordinate species based social and "genetic" control, not that humans would start to organise themselves into highly related matriarchal societies with a single breeding queen.
#15
also it would be helpful to know what model(s?) you are using to explain the development of altruism in the pre-eusocial stage of eusocial insects, and if you are applying the same model universally including to the evolution of cooperation in humans
#16
Humans are effectively well on the pathway to becoming lichens and its only a matter of time before the bourgeoisie breed us into lichen-like superstructures.

Consider this, lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture – seem familiar?

Lichens involve the use of slaves – fucking hell!

Lichens go to war against each other – holy shit!

Let me explain this, prepare to have your minds blown.

Some lichens work in capturing free living photosynthesis capable cyanobacteria or algae, just like the slave catchers of old, installing them into a nest where they will toil away until they die, with the majority of the surplus value they produce in the form of sugars stolen away by the ruling fungi caste. Other lichen work by breeding their own captive algae which are incapable of existence outside of the lichen system, a true example of reproductive division of labour. These enslaved algae have now become incapable of free living existence, dependant on their slave masters, the fungi to survive. Hell, sometimes the fungi capture two different types algae in a tripartate structure, one to photosynthesise and one to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, both farming and chemical industry.

Regardless of whether the slave breeding or slave capture system is used the installed slaves become entirely dependant on their fungal overlords for access to water and shelter from the elements and predation, if they fail to give up significant surplus value to feed the fungi they will be killed.

And get this, while many of the cyanobacteria and algae are perfectly capable of living free from exploitation and domination in the lichen, all of the fungal bourgeoisie, regardless of species, are incapable of a free living existence, they are entirely dependant on their slaves for sustenance

Lichens go to war against each other just like humans, when one lichen colony expands and meets another a vicious bio-chemical warfare ensues, while humans have prohibitions on the use of chemical and biological weapons, the fungal bourgeoisie has no such compunctions and millions of innocent algal slaves are caught in the crossfire.

Think of this, every time you see a lichen you are seeing a micro slave plantation directly comparable to human social organisation.

Humans class society already demonstrates most of the traits found in lichens – overlapping generations in the same colony/nest, and cooperative care of and raising of young (bacteria or algal slaves in the case of lichens), only the lack of reproductive division of labour in humans stands between us and locking class society in as lichen society and plenty of members of the ruling class salivate about turning human society into lichen society.

It is imperative that we understand the lichen slave-system if we are to prevent this happening to us.
#17
tears please return this gif to its rightful place in a stickied thread atop the forum
#18
i will do this for you
#19

tears posted:

Humans are effectively well on the pathway to becoming lichens and its only a matter of time before the bourgeoisie breed us into lichen-like superstructures.



roseweird if anything from this crazy thread ends up frontpage it's this post

my bus is leaving in like an hour and with it my internet for a week, can't respond to everything sorry. but feudal humans already were forming closed reproductive groups along class lines, right? hereditary monarchies were independently invented in all(?) civilizations (not sure about coast salish). in amerika the class prison system just-so-happens to lock kids up age 18-30++ during family-making years but i get a trickle of news reports where judges offer sterilization in exchange for reduced sentences. don't got some extensive prison gene flow study tho sorry, just a thought.

i don't really have confidence in any evolutionary model i've read about for non-human eusociality development... intrinsic fitness rested on haplodiploidy, but that isn't true in even half the creatures. wilson (sorry sorry) has a new theoretical model where if i understand it the reproductive gradually breeds itself by selectively killing worker-daughters, but 1) wilson and 2) it's new and untested and controversial since the last 50 years people assumed it was a solved problem. the model to me is less important/interesting than the very strange end-adaptation and the material pressures that birthed it across the animal kingdom (maintaining food stores).

there are major human differences obviously (patriarchy) to arrive at the adaptation of class society... gotta go bye merry xmas etc

#20
[account deactivated]
#21

toyotathon posted:

roseweird if anything from this crazy thread ends up frontpage it's this post



yeah well done tears

#22

toyotathon posted:

wilson (sorry sorry) has a new theoretical model where if i understand it the reproductive gradually breeds itself by selectively killing worker-daughters



oh, just like humans 🐱‍🐉

#23
- You'll finally see.
- What, that I've been right this whole time?

He thought he'd cared but now he wasn't sure. They'd been following the termite trail for 6 hours through sweat-forest and bramble. No, he was sure: he wanted to be wrong, and learn an extra lesson to never do this again.

- I think I see it.
- But how would you know?
- It's a termite mound.

He picked up two squirming workers, which confused everybody.

- Look, both these workers--
- They aren't workers.
- Okay. Both these termites are returning to the nest with food. Other animals don't do this, see? Other animals eat then gather then eat then hunt. These social insects (he ignored her frown) collect food and store it for long-term survival.

He knew her silence meant disapproval. So he pressed.

- Watch.

Blue latex glove out of pocket, blue latex glove on left hand, left hand into mound, hoping he'd get lucky. And, yes.

- Look in there.
- What am I looking at?
- The queen.
...
- That isn't a termite.
- What?
- Look at it. It's not a termite.
- It's a termite. It's their mother.
- THOSE are termites, THAT looks totally different.

He was going to fucking lose it.

- Look at those things by it. Why are so many different insects living in this mound?
- The LARVAE?
- They aren't even termites.

This wasn't going to work, but he started to fantasize he was having a conversation with somebody completely different, who'd recognize the sense of the point he was about to make.

- Look over here, this is an ant trail --
- I mean, it's a trail, I wouldn't call it an ant trail.
- ...
- This one is carrying a leaf, this one is carrying a different color leaf. And look (she grabbed a handful) they're all acting different, running different directions! They don't even all look the same. Maybe a couple of these are ants, but they can't all be ants. Ow!

Either the humidity did it or an honest moment of clarity. The bugs would listen! They would understand his point, even better than he did.

- If we follow those ants to their nest, we will find what we found in this termite mound. Many workers, carrying food instead of eating it, to store it near the queen and larvae. These animals don't talk to each other, but they developed these same social systems independently, in response to the same food pressures.
- Look at how naive you are. Those aren't ants. There is no such thing as 'ants'. How do you know what's at the end of this bug trail? You don't. And how do you know the bugs didn't talk to each other? This is all just a bunch of bugs in the forest. In fact, now that I think about it, I wouldn't even call this a forest. All I see is a bunch of trees. Why did you even bring me out here?
#24

toyotathon posted:

He was going to fucking lose it.

This wasn't going to work, but he started to fantasize he was having a conversation with somebody completely different, who'd recognize the sense of the point he was about to make.



this is a sick own and i will include it in the summary for sure but for my part i really don't think i understand the deeper connection between social insects and social mammals that you seem to see.

i think you are trying to argue that humans are moving down the path of social insects, solidifying social classes into biological castes, and that by drawing analogies to social insects and their development you can demonstrate that human society is somewhere along that path. so we can learn about ourselves by studying insects, and we can draw conclusions about our future development by doing this.

i hope i got that right.

i understand the various connections you've made between social insects and mammals, but i don't understand the basis for extending what we know (or anyway what you know) about social insects to a general theory of the development of social animals. i don't think points like "bugs are matriarchal" and "even mold has slaves" are trivial either.

#25

toyotathon posted:


this post owns toyotathon, and i think that in some alternate timeline i would have been happy to study eusocial insects with you. I'm pretty sure that i understand the point you are trying to make about social control and its potential to be developed into even more fixed structures, in-fact i have made the same sort of linkage, though not as overt and from a completly different perspective when i am talking about MK-ULTRA and mind control. Where we differ is in you extrapolating from eusocial insects which i dont think i will ever see as anything but projective natural history, but you have made me think very deeply about this and rekindled my interest in something that i thought was well in my past, so thank you, anyway, i hope you have a nice christmas, i might use this thread to poke fun at sociobiology and its even more idiotic child gene centric evolutionary theories some more since thats something we can both agree on and maybe people are interested in, maybe

#26
cool i hope ny post was not mean... if i can be indulgent i tried to made this insane pedant D&D man wandering 6 hrs in the sweaty forest with a latex glove in his pocket, the lady determined to humor him, to be not sympathetic, because internet debates are silly and bourgeois and liberal and are entertainment not a way to learn... i hope when she told him she literally would not see the forest for the trees that he (i) Got It and like died, have a good xmas, greyhounds have wifi when they stop by subways and mcdonalds, goodBye

Edited by toyotathon ()

#27
damn we neeed another spinoff thhread already to talk about tears' past as a nazi scientist O_O
#28
[account deactivated]
#29

tpaine posted:

answer for your crimes, tears


i mod an unpopular web forum

#30
[account deactivated]
#31
Tears aka Raskalnikov, finding happiness through suffering after immense tribulations.
#32
#33
#34
[account deactivated]
#35
#36

roseweird posted:

i don't think points like "bugs are matriarchal" and "even mold has slaves" are trivial either.



yah i don't either. but has there been any slam-dunk historical-material explanation, from any discipline, for human patriarchy esp post-class society? i've only read caliban, and the martha mies that swampman posted... maybe it's out there and i'm just ignorant. there's engels development of the gens and i've read scattershot anthro about bridewealth.

cookin up a post about the {other} class mammals, the two african naked mole rats. we and the mole rats are related equally to the insect eusocials like wasps and bees, sharing the same distant chordate ancestor.

Edited by toyotathon ()

#37

toyotathon posted:

we and the mole rats are related equally to the insect eusocials like wasps and bees, sharing the same distant chordate ancestor.


we are also just as equally related to tapeworms as we are to bees, the split is way back in cambrian explosion - 500MY time frames, so im unsure what the relevance of drawing attention to the evolutionary link between chordates and members of the prostostome clade is in relation to eusociality; we're far more related to starfish & sea cucumbers - unless you're trying to highlight how unrelated we are to eusocial insects?

#38
i thought he meant that we and the molerats are both the same evolutionary distance from insects? although im not really sure what that means. kind of an unclear sentence all around
#39
but since all extant deuterostomes (which includes all chordates) are of the same evolutionary distance from all the extant protostomes (which includes all insects) in not seeing the relevance, - its the same evolutionary distace from your dog to your dogs roundworm infestation as from a molerat to a wasp, or from a human to a clam, or an eel to a spider, because the first lot are deuterostomes and the second protostomes...
#40
didn't mean much except that it is not a social adaptation unique to insects (or close insect relatives like the eusocial sponge-dwelling shrimp), it is widely and thinly spread over the animals

the eusocial mole-rats are interesting b/c their ranges border non-eusocial cousins. and so they make a nice test case about what food situations lead to class societies (but if you're reading this thread you already know )