The Darwinian Heritage and Sociobiology


Edited by Johan M. G. van der Dennen, David Smillie, and Daniel R. Wilson


Praeger, London, 1999


(from the series Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence, Seymour W. Itzkoff, Editor)


Introduction – xi





  - Michael J.C. Waller - page 3

3 – Elliot Sober has battled Richard Dawkins’ selfish gene, saying there are multiple levels of selection.  Sometimes the gene and the individuals have antagonistic goals.

5 – Once all the available, optimally sized territories have been occupied, the unsuccessful males seem quietly resigned to a probable death by slow starvation.

7 – The unsuccessful grouse mice do not replicate more slowly, they do not replicate at all. Wynne-Edwards tells us that the benefits are at the group level herein.




8 – Ridley famously asked, “Is sex good for anything?” in the New Scientist.


It involves people altruistically sharing their genes with others.  Sexual selection gives Dawkins “blind watchmaker” some eyes, that work like a stockbreeder.


Perhaps it is the sexual reproduction genes (SRGs) that are replicating themselves.  SRGs are carried by all members of a species.




10 – The comparator mechanism makes its bearers continually assess themselves in relation to their peers.  The next step is to link the assessment with an emotional state.


Comparative genes are the most selfish of all: they can tell their host that he is worth less than his peers. They tell losers to get out of the gene pool.  


Thus we have a selfish gene that works on the group level if they are the same in all people. 



-       David Smillie – Page 17


Natural selection is a theory of individualism.


And having two parents means many traits that are successful in one generation are destroyed and displaced in the next.   And, bad traits aren’t eliminated.  Not all who have bad traits fail to make children.


Smillie takes issue with the prominence of Malthus and death in Darwin’s scheme.   Furthermore, the environment makes people select for social traits.


Darwin’s looking at genes and looking at competing organisms takes us in different directions.  We must investigate this.



-       Peter A. Corning – Page 25

25 – This article will look at the economics of cooperation at various levels of biological organization, with a particular emphsis on

26 – Cooperation may or may not be voluntary, look at slavery.

27 – Many cooperative arrangements have been to get rid of parasites, take cleaner fish for example.    Eukaryotic cells for example. 

29 – Sociobiology, by definition, is also concerned with cooperative relationships.  Social interactions with free riders, hunting and foraging, joint defense, cooperative movement, etc.

There are advantages to being in groups. 


Bioeconomics is focused on how a given organism pursues its personal “survival enterprise.”  The focus is on the organism and their environment.

Kinship is not the be-all of cooperation.  Species do not have as many offspring as possible; there is a tradeoff between raw numbers and viability given the lack of resources. 


African male lions have non-relatives with them.  Cooperative hunting is also found in a diverse range of species. 



The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Synergy, working together produces emergent properties. These are ubiquitous in the biological realm. 


Synergy has positive and negative consequences. Maynard smith uses the synergy concept in biology and game theory. 


Many of these synergetic events emerged at the behavioral level. Cooperation can best be maintained among individuals who have a continuing relationship.  That is why the Prisoner’s Dilemma is not so realistic. 


Sociality is not really always altruistic. 


In emergent properties, the group is the selective nexus.


Downward causation by Roger Sperry deals with leadership. 


Sociobiology needs to work at the systems level. Organisms do comprise “collective survival enterprises.”





-       Peter Meyer – page 49

Adam Smith thought sympathy very important to cooperation and survival.   Perhaps understanding this will help us retard the breakdown of cooperation.


Conflicts are likely to arise when individuals do not share the same genes.


But, Alexander has taught us to think about indirect reciprocity.   Emotions facilitate cooperation.  Reciprocity patterns can be complicated and are facilitated by long term storage of social obligations – the foundation of human social life.


In some cultures people’s families are even punished for social transgression. 


Our being able to detect free-riders and cheaters speaks to our social nature.


Primitive weapons required a lot of cooperation. 


We share drives and appetites that put us into a participatory universe .  Paying attention to kin has been correlated with survival for a long time. The three emotions “Bonding, attack, and flight” have been related to reproduction: finding a mate, survival, fleeing predators.


Newborn babies actively seek to establish bonds with others. 


Cooperating releases serotonin. It increases your emotional stamina.  Serotonin corresponds to high status; lower level the opposite.


The percentage of time organisms spend scanning for predators goes down with group size. 


61 schoolchildren ostrocize those who will disrupt cooperation.  People accept their ostracism and know it is for the best of all concerned.



-       Robin Allott – page 67


Cultural traits vary in significance from the trivial (volleyball) to the reproduction impacting.  Cultural selection can act to counter natural selection, but balance is expected. 


Lumsden said that human cultural transmission is gene transmission, ultimately.  Using math, he looked at the transmission of the “culturgen.”


Boyd and Richerson said the evolution of the structure of cultural transmission in humans was analogous to the evolution of the genetic system. 


Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman have developed their account of cultural evolution using the development and differentiation of languages.  There is a parallel between the processes. Speciation occurs after differentiation. 


These theories are not convincing.  The arguments are circular; culture is what gets transmitted culturally. 



The new approach looks at language as the foundation of culture.  Looking at language we can create a tree of descent for man.   


This will be helped along with a theory of the genetic basis of language.


Chomsky’s universal grammar is heavily informed by the English language.


Pinker notes that the principal error is the failure to see language as the possession of the group, rather than of individuals.  We also tend to concentrate on syntax at the expense of lexicon.  We also need to look at how organs can change their function.


Language may have been modeled on the visual system or throwing action or motor control.    It, perhaps, comes from the left hemisphere because that is in control of the fingers.  Motor control for speech being intricate provides evidence for this.  Perhaps individual words  relate to the perceived structure of the world. 


Such an investigation might lead to better seeing the connection between biology and cultural evolution. Language is the link between culture and biology. 



-       Dennis Werner – page 83


He looks at Plato and phenomenology and heavy stuff.  Then says, the study of how our ideas about morality evolved cannot tell us what is right, but can be useful in pointing out biases and cheating strategies we should look out for. We should, in particular, be wary of personal motives hiding behind altruistic statements.


We often take universals in expression to mean universals in culture.  We need to be wary.  We say what we know, not the truth.   Things are multicausal. 


Evolutionary thinking helps us qualify what we are capable of thinking and how we learn.



-       John Constable – page 101


Does Darwinism have anything to say to the study of literature?

102 – “Literature does not explain the world very well, and literary theory does not even explain literature.”


Literary study that was correctly naturalized would provide physicalist, causal explanations of cultural objects, by which we would mean not only ideational objects, brain states, but also consequent behaviors and objects external to our bodies such as books.


1)   Darwinized cognitivism (tooby and cosmides) provides a fully materialist psychology on which may be based a satisfying generational theory of culture

2)   Darwinism introduces population thought to the study of cultural objects, as in Dan Sperber’s epidemiological theories and Boyers look at the distribution of religious ideas.


He looks at Carrolls work, but doesn’t give it much credence.  Literary Darwinism is for him just another way to look at lit.  It is an end in and of itself. 


He wants ecologically oriented literary criticism. To make literature more socially responsible.  Yawn. 


Literary Darwinists want to get the authority of science without giving up any themselves.  Whereas the sciences work towards a coordinating of opinions, lit critics work to further their individual interpretation, schools do battle.


There must be some agreement: to produce an agreed-upon and robust theory of culture, and the best chance of achieving this is to base the attempt on theories that are already agreed upon, that is the sciences.     We must fit into scientists world and show what we contribute.


We must be physicalist and deal with reductionism.  This will require locating literature within the hierarchy of reduction.  We must look at the distribution of books and the examples of behavior in the stories. 


There are mental representations and public representations.  We need to see what kinds of cues lead to what kind of inferences.   While there may not be one meaning in a text, there is an intended inferential pattern.  How do they and how might they work on readers.  And, what psychological processes made the understanding happen?


After all, Sperber says, “culture is the precipitate of cognition and communication in human population.”  Then knowing the cognitive faculties involved helps us to see why some stuff precipitates and others don’t.   And, this involves an epidemiological model looking at a particular population.


The study of literary objects is to be justified by the light it sheds on the cognitive systems that precipitate them and on the process of this precipitation.


We can ask “why this particular style at this particular time?”  The same approach will work with a single author. 


Cultural objects are evidence of preference; these need to be related to the environment in which they  were manifested  to what is known of the modular system of the mind.


“The only reason for studying such cultural objects within a university is that they shed light on the psychologies that generate, use, and host them, and the history of these activities. Most important, no attempt is made to intervene directly in the public debate over ideologico-moral implications of cultural objects.”


Here is his big mistake; evolution screams morals. He has dedicated himself to being irrelevant.


He says, looking at marginal authors may “illuminate general psychological principles





-       Lucio Ferreira Alves – page 119


The author says the goal of sociobiology is to see how diverse humans and cultures adapt to their environments. This puts it in the nexus of many disciplines.


When the book came out, scientists loved it; social scientists hated it.


120- In the 1970s altruism was the central problem of sociobiology.” [This problem is solved if you accept group selection.]


This chapter uses Darwinism to explain the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe.  Marx and Engels misread man and Darwin.


People try to maximize their reproductive potential.


Even in stateless societies we have chiefs and leaders.  Egalitarianism goes against psychological laws.


Marx’s grave compares him to Darwin.


The compulsion to consume seems to be embedded in man.  The joy of money is not just consuming it, but having more than others and more than you did last year. 


Durkheim disliked putting biology in sociology.  Many moderns too as humans make the rules for humans.  But, our brains give us dispositions that are very old.  As Santayana said, “Those who forget the lessons of biology are condemed to repeat failures.”




            - Pouwel Slurink – page 135


To what extent is the human mating system impacted by culture? And vice versa?




Recently there has been interest in the connection between sexual selection and culture. Geoffrey Miller says the most important trait that has been selected during human evolution is simply the ability to produce impressive courtship displays in the form of music, dance, poetry, rhetoric, and humans create art to impress the girls.


[They why don’t women date artists?]


136 - Artists peak at a young age, at the time they are sexually peaking.


137 - To maximize their birth potential, women should look as young as possible, for as long as possible (neotony).  Neotony also influences brain / body ratio and overall behavioral flexibility and inclination to play and to learn – so general intelligence may correlate with neotony.  Neotony also gets parental investment.


138 – but this begs the question as to why women sought to stay with men for so long.


139 – “Children in father- absent households have significantly less time to stay at home and absorb culture.”  Children from unstable homes start sex relations earlier. And, children from small families with money get better jobs.


But how did this get off the ground?  Weren’t kids being reared okay.  How did the race for prolonged childhoods start?  Perhaps the switch to a meat diet 2.5 million years ago.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMMON HUCHIBO (human chimp bonobo ancestor).


Bonobos have larger groups but less food pressure as they graze.   Chimps live in fission, fusion societies.  At some point hunting may have caused chimp societies to get bigger.  Dunbar says that brain size correlates with group size. 



In bonobos women rule, chimps men.   Female rule comes from a lack of predators, relaxed food competition, and low dependence on meat.   Humans are chimp like.




HUCHIBOs sexual dimorphism may have been great. This may be a precursor for sex roles.




Group size helps predator avoidance.  With large group size the males associate together. Gorilla troupes can have several silverbacks.


The author does not think our monogamy could come from a gorilla like polygonous system due to their sperm competition meaning women are promiscuous.



In both chimps and bonobos there does not seem to exist a special father-offspring bond.


Hunting may have encouraged such a bond.


Even in our modern societies, women take some time off after birth, meaning a father is necessary. 


Concealment of ovulation and sexual privacy.  In terms of getting meat for sex, they could obtain more meat by increasing their period of sexual attractiveness.  Hiding ovulation could be to conceal cuckoldry.    This could spread confusion about who the father was.  And, it would do so as she could get good genes outside the family.


Swelling in bonobos is longer than in chimps.  (20 days to 9.6). 


Even after switching to pair bonding, women would have needed protection from dominant males.

The ice age started 2.5 million years ago.  Africa became drier and drier.  To assume that one line of australopithecines became increasingly dependent on meat is reasonable.


This could lead to male provisioning, which would give females more time to nurture.  Life expectancy may have risen.  It would be wrong for her to make babies that need ten years of rearing when she has less than 10 years to live.


So can hunting explain the origins of culture?   


153 - “Hunting may have afforded the extra proteins needed to grow a big brain; it may have necessitated a more complex stone industry; it may have encouraged increasing cooperation and the need to pass on skills and techniques from generation to generation; and it may have encouraged the use of complex communication;. Indirectly it may have brought together individuals from three generation, thus encouraging cultural transmission.  Finally, it may have eventually stimulated the occupation of home bases at which individuals from different generation could pass on their skills.”


But though you need to be clever to hunt, you don’t need to be able to write poetry. There are disadvantages to big groups, why would people get in them?


154 - Our ancestors became their own malignant force of nature when inter-group competition began. Large groups are not necessitated by hunting.


155 - With larger groups needing a place to exchange groups may have led to there being a home-base.  And increased competition for the best and most defensible sites would have led to bigger stronger groups.  And stability would allow children to be reared for longer.


So man went from a predator to a warrior.  Then groups members’ dependence on each other made the squashing of intragroup conflicts more necessary.  Monogamy might have correlated with less intragroup tension.  Leading to “reproductive opportunity leveling.”  This would also explain why we moralize outliers so much and are altruistic with those we don’t really know.




163 “Recurrent themes in Darwin’s times were (1) group-selection arguments; (2) orthogenesis or ortholinear progress and directedness of evolution; (3) belief in the inheritance of acquired characteristics; (4) obedience, cohesiveness, and compactness as decisive factors in mankind’s progress from barbarism to civilization; (5) in-group-out-group dual morality and ethnocentrism;(6) upiquity and constancy of warfare from the very beginning of the hominids and a consequent (7) instinct of belligerence; (8) the intimate connection between hunting and warfare; and (9) the (mostly implicit) idea of balance of power.”


164 – Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson points out that “warfare enforces civic unity, engenders civic virtue, promotes social organization, and in fact may be an essential condition for the very existence of civilization.”  “In – group amity depends upon out-group enmity, and vice versa.”


Comte dismissed the idea of a peaceful golden age. 


Spencer said, “Warfare among men, like warfare among animals, has had a large share in raising their organization to a higher stage.”


Spencer was also one of the first to discuss ethnocentrism.   Sumner coined the term “ethnocentrism.”


Darwin noted the “confinement of sympathy to the same tribe.”  This was a cause of low morality of the savages.  They did not extend their sympathy to the whole species.   People with military discipline triumphed over others.  He noted that early tribes were constantly at war. 


169 - He noted that if an altruistic tribe fought one with selfish members, the former would win.  “Selfish and contentious people will not cohere, and without coherence nothing can be effected.  A tribe rich in the above qualities would spread and be victorious over other tribes.”


However, the unselfish, fighting folks would not have the most offspring.


Darwin saw two ways out of this dilemma: 1) reciprocity:  2) It pays off in intergroup competition.  The whole tribe surviving is the advantage.  “It must not be forgotten that although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children . . . yet that an advanemenbt in the standard of morality and an increase in the number of well-endowed men will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another. “  Tribes with “patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection.” (Darwin 1871, Vol. 1, p. 166)


This still unresolved conflict asks how a trait that benefits the group, but not the individual could spread.  Well, I say, it is because there is selection at the group level too.


Darwin saw war favoring the smart (those who invented an advanced weapon) so pushing IQ up.  This too was group selection.


171 - As the author states, “What Darwin had in mind was clearly a model of group selection.”


Alfred Russell Wallace pointed out that intelligence could be a hindrance to battle ready attitudes.   He thought cold environs forced intelligence and that better races’ victories would drive progress.


Gumplowicz claimed to have found the genesis of human society in the primal conflicts of primitive hordes bonded together by intense feelings of kinship and instinctive pugnacity against rival hordes and aliens.


Sumner thought war constant.  But a lack of land increased war.  He was less optimistic than Spencer that war would uplift our intelligence.  Sumner coined the word “ethnocentrism” it is contrasted with xenophobia.


Marshall wrote in a fin de siŹcle instinct-psychology mode of the tribal instinct of a higher type, the patriotic instinct.


Davie did not add much to Sumner, but he scoured the available ethnological evidence to make the case.




It was a new thesis that aggression came from hunting.  Aristotle anticipated Robert Ardrey’s Hunting Hypothesis.



Meyer saw not aggression, but fear of other attacking that drives ethnocentrism. 


Eibl-Eibesfeldt said intergroup aggression involved “cultural pseudospeciation.”


In a recent elaboration all authors agree with van der Berghe’s theory of ethnocentrism as expanded kin selection.   


Bigelow thought intergroup selection had led to the tripling of our brains.  The more successful  groups, he argued, had the intelligence and foresight to cooperate with other groups. 


Even the highest human virtues were brought about in response to threats from the lowest human qualities. The self-control resisting war has engendered can now make for world peace.


When we replaced animals as our biggest threat to each other evolution jumped.


Alexander, R. D.  pointed out that we are great targets for group selection because we “are uniquely able to plan and act as units, to look ahead and purposely carry out actions designed to sustain the group and improve its competitive position.” 

Eventually, the fighting would lead to big groups and a balance of power.  This idea is a Spencer idea that he revised.


Alexander agrees with Spencer that fighting accounts for humans getting larger throughout history. 


-       Johan M. G. van der Dennen – page 163



-       Tatu Vanhanen – page 187


187  Many researchers argue that ethnic conflicts are cultural conflicts that need a separate explanation in each case!


“Ethnic conflicts seem to be common in all ethnically plural societies and across all cultural boundaries.   They can be national, tribal, racial, religious, linguistic, cultural, or communal.”


Vanhanaen plans to explain ethnic conflict from kin selection and test it via empirical evidence.


Fights are universal because of scarcity, but why are they taking place along ethnic lines?  Neoptism.  This answer is based on Hamilton’s kin selection theory.


Whenever cooperation increases individual fitness, organisms are genetically selected to be nepotistic, in the sense of favoring kin over nonkin, and close kin over distant kin.

189 – “The more a society is ethnically divided the more political and other interest conflicts tend to become channeled along ethnic lines.”


This nepotism can be racial, linguistic, caste, etc.  They are never absolute.    He hypotheses that:


1) Significant ethnic divisions tend to lead to ethnic interest conflicts in all societies.  And

2) The more a society is ethnically divided, the more political and other interest conflicts tend to be channeled along ethnic lines.


“The more genetic groups differ from each other genetically, the higher the probability and intensity of conflict between them.”  So blacks and whites would be more likely to lead to trouble than Protestant and Catholics.


There are intervening factors. Social and political institutions are intervening factors.  They can help to accommodate ethnic interest conflicts or deepen them. They can help because we also have a tendency towards reciprocity.  Egalitarian reduces conflict better than spoils.  This tendency should exist in all human societies.


Hypothesis 3) the degree of ethnic conflicts tends to be higher in societies in which political institutions are biased to favor some ethnic groups and discriminate against others.    But he has not enough info to test this.


This is different than non evolutionary theories of ethnicity and ethnic conflicts.


1)   In it ethnic groups are kinship, so this is primordial (racial) not based on the assumption of easily changeable and malleable cultural groups.


2) It assumes this nepotism is equal across the world and in all groups.    No cultural explanation could account for such a universal predisposition.


Indicators of Ethnic divisions -

But, how to define ethnic?  Cleavage based on race, nationality, tribe and language or religious communities. Race ones may be deepest as they are 10,000 years old, religion is only a couple of thousand.   He combines these to make an index of EH (Ethnic Heterogeneity).   The range is from 0 to 177. 


Measures of ethnic conflict -

To measure the conflict itself he will look at institutional conflicts and conflicts that involve coercion.    


Institutional Conflict: Here he lays out a 100 point scale from no ethnic involvement in the government, to lots. From no social ethnic groupings to lots. He looks from 1990 – 1996.


Coercive conflicts: he lays out a scale for measuring ethnic violence / conflict. Zero to ethnic wars.


As for the first hypothesis, ethnic divisions leads to ethnic conflicts in all societies, The conclusions support the hypothesis very strongly.  There are few exceptions and they are marginal.


The second research hypothesis says the more ethnically divided the more ethnic nepotism tends to channel political and other interest conflicts along ethnic lines.   The evidence supports this hypothesis, but many deviate from the average.


The more ethnically divided a nation is, the more goods get divvied along ethnic lines.  That is shown because groups with low EH have lower than expected conflict and the reverse.


Also most nations are relatively near the regression line equating EH with conflict – one goes up and so does the other.


197 – “According to my interpretation, or shared disposition to ethnic nepotism is the common factor behind all ethnic conflicts.  It does not seem possible to avoid the emergence of ethnic conflict in such societies, but it may be possible to mitigate them by inventing social and political institutions that help to accommodate interests of different ethnic groups.  It is a challenge for social scientists to invent institutions that could make it easier for different ethnic groups to coexist in our increasingly crowded world.”



-       A. J. Nabulsi – page 201


202 - Arab tribes are “definable as biological entities, as breeding populations.”


They look at the abbad tribe in Jordan.  Marriage of first cousins is a strategy to prevent the partitioning of the land. You get to “one village one clan.”  First cousin marriage is declining, but still makes the local tribes largely related.





-       J. Philippe Rushton – page 209


Darwin’s really dangerous idea is that not all races are equal.  And, egalitarianism has been the biggest reason the Darwinian perspective is not allowed in the social sciences.   


Instead Watson’s behavioral molding and Marx’s assumptions rule. 


This intellectual movement has been successful by coupling it to Third World decolonization, the US civil rights movement, apartheid and immigration. 


Good and bad tempers run in families, Galton found.  He also found racial differences in intelligence.


Most traits have about a 50 % heritability: intelligence, mental illness, criminality, political values, vocational interests and even religiosity. 


Brain size, intelligence, maturation rate, personality social organization, and (re)productive effort go from Asian to White to Black.


Across species, large brains are related to other life history traits, such as longer gestation, slower rate of maturation, higher rate of offspring survival, lower reproductive output and longer lifespan.


Many scientists clash with religion, few will with the Left.  The left is more of a threat.  They deal in “behavioral creationism.”  They are more of a threat cause they are taken seriously in universities.


He takes on Gould and Diamond.


15 percent of whites have two wisdom teeth missing and 30 percent of Asians.


To the extent that it is, the search is for universals. 


He considers the racial traits he has found the hinge for consilience.





-       Ada Lampert – page 233


234 – A number of studies indicate that the greater the genetic similarity between partners, the greater the fertility, the harmony and stability in the marriage, and the mutual support, efficiency, and satisfaction with family life (Daly & Wilson).


J. Philippe Rushton surveyed Canadian suits for parental recognition.  Genetic similarity between father and mother predicted if the baby was his or not.  Ultimately, a man should be expected to fall in love with his mother. 


But a no entry sign is posted on sisters and mothers. Positive imprinting takes you towards genetic similarity; negative imprinting says no close relatives.   Parental attachment to children is not blocked by negative imprinting.  Most deal with this though. 


Langlois and Roggman found people are seen as attractive when their facial features are an average of the same population. 


Brothers who look more alike love each other more.


Emma Darwin was familiar from childhood and genetically close ( a cousin). 



-       Harald A. Euler and Barbara Weitzel – page 243


Parental certainty is a successful predictor of grandparent input.  The mother of the mother, knows the grandchild is hers.  She puts in a lot of resources and is closest.  The grandfather on the mother’s side may have been cuckolded.  The grandfather on the sons side may have been twice cuckolded.  As predicted, this grand parent will spend the least amount of time and money on the grandchild.

Grandchildren are a better predictor of fertility success than children.



-       Norma J. Schell and Carol C. Weisfeld – page 253


In their research they found a balance between like marrying like (homogamy) and hypergamy (females marrying up).  The optimum situation was for the husbands to prevail a little bit more than the wives when it cameto making important decisions.  Overly dominant husbands made for less happy marriages.  And, overly dominant wives were associated with the least happy marriages.


Wives were most impacted by this dynamic.  They seemed to want a slightly dominant husband.


A researcher found that as women get employed, there is more equity and more happiness in marriage.

They watched husbands and wives in a decision making situation.  They asked them what film to give as a gift.   Then they gave a questionnaire with questions like, “Have you ever thought of divorcing your spouse.”


The husband acquired his choice via persuasion.  And several women decided without consulting the man.  But this did not correlate with happiness.  But, visual domination did.  This, not money made or decision making, but visual domination was tied to marital satisfaction.  His dominance was visible and public. This would correspond with tribal times where a man must be seen as a leader.



-       M. L. Butovskaya and A. G. Kozintsev – page 261

Some cultural practices and norms have derived from adaptive strategies.  Sexual dimorphism has increased over human evolution – Darwin noted that. 


262 – “It is an almost universal rule that social relationships among female conspifics center around food resources, which are so vital for pregnant females.”


“While females compete for resources, they themselves are the main resource and the main object of competition for males.”  They will try to monopolize the females.


262 - Natural selection favored females who were able to correctly predict the paternal investment potential of their would-be mates.  Traits like generosity, reliability, and readingess to establish a long-lasting alliance with the female were the most attractive and thus the most adaptive.”


263 – Sexual dimorphism in humans is more pronounced than in gibbons, but less so than in common chimpanzees or bonobos, and much less than in gorillas.


Divorce usually happens 4 years into the marriage.  This is the time that breast feeding usually stops in tribes.


An analysis of 58 countries in 1947 – 81 found life longmonogamy is not a mating strategy anywhere.


85% of societies surveyed were polygnous.  But, only 10 percent actually practiced it as it correlates with high social status and wealth.  A cross-cultural study by Daly and Wilson (1983) Suggests that both men and women in any society usually prefer to have a stable sociosexual and economic alliance with just one partner.  So serial monogamy is (and apparently was) the most typical marriage strategy in humans.


The authors do note that there has been a switch from life long monogamous to monogamous serial.  But, they see no danger in that.


Women’s strategy is to marry up; they like older men everywhere. Less beautiful women can be promiscuous and try to get resources from multiple males.


Women like masculinity, but it is not necessarily adaptive any longer.  Now days males must have few children and invest much in each.  That is the “K-Strategy.”  And the more successful his career the better his homelife and the more his genes will survive.


Standards of beauty have changed and our current one would be unsustainable in the tribal environ.  Fathers more and more have to be babysitters for aspiring women’s children.  The first Principle component (PC1) measures children's involvement in social life.   They have 56 variables. 


PC1 measures leadership characteristics and there was no boy / girl distinction. 


PC2 found girls look at more children and laugh together with them; this reduces aggression.  Boy to boy, boy to girl, and girls to boy had more aggressive interactions.  And the boys aggression was stronger. 


Girls select children with similar social characteristics. 


Some of their work supported the contention that boys are becoming more girlish.


Girls early peacefully negotiate their way into social situations.  Boys seem to depend more on adult coaching.  Since we have gotten rid of initiation rites in favor of coed education, we have less differentiation.


IN modern situations maternal relatives are still important, though men and male relatives less and less so. We are still adapting.






-       Michael Bradie – page 275

Are we moral?  Should we be? How to reconcile self interest and benevolence?



For Darwin the foundation for morality lies in the social instinct: Family ties, love and sympathy.  Other animals have these too, but since they have no words, it isn’t really morality.  Memory, anticipation and the power of reflection are needed for that.


4 basis of his morality:

1)   Social instincts

2)   Intelligence.

3)   Language leads to the development of common opinions, approval and disapproval.

4)   Habits.

Natural selection will makegood species more potent.


Butler on the other hand, found morality anchored in the hierarchical organization of 1) strength and 2) authority.


Many interpreted Darwin as a bit of a utilitarian. But evidence suggests he saw it otherwise.  Darwin said our sympathy is greatest for those more closely related to us. Darwin says the utilitarian’s have the argument backwards, actions don’t lead to good feelings, good feelings lead to actions.


But how does this bridge the gap between lower and higher morals?  E. O. Wilson says you can’t get from strength and moral authority; between the natural and the moral.



-       Charles Elsworthy – page 285

There are reasons that the other social sciences don’t take  to evolutionary psychology.  It tests very specific things.  The move from ape to human seems odd; and what was adaptive then is not necessarily adaptive now.  And the only social science that really needs a motivational model is economics.


Rather than homo economicus or homo sociologicus, he will argue for homo biologicus.


Seeking open spaces, panic disorder cognitive programs like the one that makes infants cry when apart from momma have neuro-chemical mechanisms.  Learning is important too and they vary.


Young male risk seeking seems hardwired.  He illustrates their being unconscious with a vignette from Feynman’s life when he was in a fight. 


The variance of male reproductive success was higher than that of women.  This means intense competition among men for resources. 

Choice under conditions of uncertainty is being searched for.  Evolutionary psychology says no, there are many domain-specific cognitive programs that  heuristically bias choices.  For this we need to know the context.


He thinks we need to redirect sociobiological research efforts from behavior itself to the psychological processes underlying behavior.  This will lead social scientists to base their analysis on a Darwinian foundation.




-       John S. Price – page 295

Two kinds of sexual selection from Darwin: 1) Inrasexual (sam sex) 2) Intersexual (between sexes).  Sometimes they cross over like when a female ram encourages two to fight and then sleeps with the winner.


Intrasexual selection


Some worms plug each other’s orifices.  Beatles spray each other with antiaphrodisiac gas.


In ritual agonistic behavior the loser, being unharmed, must consent to lose; they could keep fighting.


.  This ritual agonistic behavior postpones mating for younger males and keeps the hierarchy an ongoing battle. How do they choose to be hawk or dove? 


You use this battle to rate yourself. 


In human life, you have to make yourself higher in status than others in others eyes.  This is called polyadic comparison.  Chimps too have to ask if a potential ally will intimidate others. And females impact the rank in chimps.


Darwin wrote little about those not selected.   So it is ironic that he took Milton’s paradise lost with him on the beagle, because it involves Satan being cast out of competition.  Satan challenges and then retreats.  But will come back again via force and guile.


Only briefly, in the case of Samson, does Milton consider that the aggression of a defeated champion may be inhibited by a depressed mood.




When someone goes from selected to not selected depression is the result.   Biologists tend to the winner and ignore the unselected.


The switch from dyadic to polyadic sexual selection is very important.  It made selection cultural.  It alters the math behind altruism, the detection of free riders, and the possibility of selection at the between group level.   


Mates are often chosen by parents; this is polyadic. 


With polyadic choice in choosing leaders that go with prestige; and in most human groups this will be a combination of competence and dedication to the interests of the group.  Polyadic groups would outperform other groups. This would reduce the approval of direct violence for leadership choices.  


Parents stop boys from fighting because the noise.  But, they also want the chance to decide rank themselves by giving and taking away praise.


Bullying in the school yard would be mediated by parents in a tribal situation – the kids wouldn’t be alone. Ritual agonistic behavior  is mostly only seen  in situations over which society has little control – prisons, school yards, etc.


Latency is longer in humans so that we can take longer to evaluate each other. The induction of children into religious practices allows an evaluation of their capacity for submission and memorization. 


He thinks the wars of primitive man are ritualized and the death rate is low.


Niceness comes from millions of years of polyadic selection.


We are subordinates, and then learn how to conduct ourselves as such.  Niceness.










-       Daniel R. Wilson, Sean Stanton, and Sandra Wilson – page 309


Clinical depression is loss and mania is tied to winning.

Influence rather than raw intimidation is more commonly successful as a means to social dominance among primates.


Dopamine stimulates, serotonin inhibits.

Dopamine is heterogeneous. 


These mediate winning and losing moods and thoughts.


In some fishes inhibition of subordinates can cause change of sex.  Stress hormones in subordinate baboons have been linked to affective and anxiety disorders.


Sex hormones, adrogen, levels also vary depending on the social competition or cooperation in games. They even happen in nonphysical games such as chess.


We can see subordination and triumph in our neurotransmitters.  We must look for other archeology of the Darwinian mind.



-       Glenn Weisfeld – page 319


Darwin observed that expressions of pride / shame are homologous to those for dominance and submission. 


Shame seems to involve public humiliation whereas guilt refers to a private misdeed.  


319 – “Further, other psychological terms that refer to social success or failure – achievement motivation, prestige striving, success striving, social comparison, the power motive, competitive behavior, self-esteem and others – all seem to involve pride and shame and their typical emotional expressions and similarly can be subsumed under the same emotional modality.”


When we plan any action, we consider also the consequences for our reputation.  We may deceive ourselves into thinking we are behaving rationally, but we are being governed by anticipatory shame or pride.


Shame and pride have a typical onset that suggests a specific maturational, that is evolved, basis.  It comes around 2 – 3.


The capacity for self-recognition (seeing a spot on your nose in a mirror) does not coincide with the onset of shame / guilt.  Sociopaths have great cognition, but no shame.  Emotions at birth cannot depend upon later developed cognitive processes, such as sexual, maternal, romantic emotions. 


Happiness and sadness have been studied more than the precise emotion of pride and shame.  Joy and sadness are non-specific – they can be globbed onto many circumstances – shame and pride reflect specific evolved motives.


Posture gets erect with success and failure. 


Directing an angry or contemptuous facial expression at subjects caused a decrease in their postural erectness. These emotions are homologous in other species as well.


328 - The Punitive role of moralistic anger is in reciprocal altruism and enforces equitable exchanges. 


Trivers explained that guilt can preempt a punitive attack by appeasing the moralistic aggressor.  Buit guilt may be the same affect as shame, which probably evolved from submissive behavior.  In both guilt and shame, the subject relinquishes prerogatives in the manner of a submissive animal  Trivers also discussed the emotion of gratitude.  The human recipient of favor feels gratitude.  But perhaps this too evolved from submission.  This is the same unpleasant feeling of lowered status.  It leads to the relinquishing of resources.   


Also the emotion of pride, not discussed by Trivers, may play a role in reciprocal altruism.  Pride may provide a psychological incentive to perform altruistic deeds.   It also carries an expectation of reward, so the altruist expects compensation. 


Thus human social behavior, in relationships of reciprocal altruism and other sorts, is supported by an emotional system that probably evolved from the capacity for dominance hierarchization.  We are highly sensitive to equity because it can impact material outcomes.  When we receive something for nothing, we actually pay by suffering shame and a loss of status, which eventuates in the loss of some future prerogatives.   That is why subjects often refuse what they cannot pay back, it will be a shame.  Similarly, receiving charity is degrading.  Especially as we may not be able to pay it back someday.


329 – Pre-schoolers who broke a toy either tried to repair it, make compensation or averted their gaze guiltily.


Izard suggests that nakedness may be inherently shameful to people because it would lead to our seeking privacy for sexual relations.  Darwin thought that other people paying attention to our faces was inherently embarrassing. 


In China those with high status and good posture were good students; in America, athletes, in UK, both.  But in all the high ranking boys were physically attractive.


We react with anger when wronged and guilt when wronging.


This attention to shame, pride and emotions provides a nexus between culture and the biological influences on behavior. But, we cannot lift pride for all as a whole because some need to be below average (I say yes in the world, no in a nation – as a whole, we can feel better off than other nations.]