Professors Say 'Sociobiology' Defends Status Quo

Two Harvard Medical School professors and an anthropology professor from Boston University last night debated whether or not "Sociobiology" is a justification of the status quo.

Jonathan Beckwith, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the Medical School, said at a forum in the First Unitarian Church that despite the disclaimers of Edward O. Wilson, professor of Zoology, his book "Sociobiology" uses genetics to defend sexism and other discriminating behavior in modern society.

Beckwith said Wilson's attempts to disclaim his book's support of the status quo are "like making a hydrogen bomb, then saying you don't want it to be used."

Bernard Davis, professor of Bacterial Physiology at the Medical School, said "Sociobiology" simply tries to explain the origin of social roles and makes no objection to removing those roles.

Genes limit the range of human behavior and thus the kinds of utopia possible for man, but that fact is hard to reconcile with a utopian political ideal, Davis said.


Anthony Leeds, professor of Social Anthropology at Boston University said the difference in sex roles has an ecological basis and he sees no evidence for genetic determination of those roles.