E-psycho battles

July 21, 2000

There is a generation of leftist intellectuals who think their mission in life is to defend the poor, stupid public against the fiendish enemies of the people.

Instead of furthering our understanding of human behaviour, Hilary Rose, Steven Rose and their postmodern friends (Soapbox, THES, July 14) just tear down the work of others and implicitly hope that people will keep on believing that human beings are a blank slate on which society can write whatever protocols it pleases.

Stephen Pinker, David Buss, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Martin Daly, Margo Wilson and others have written major scientific works discrediting the standard social sciences model, but they are treated like hacks by this group of self-appointed, unproductive censors.

Are there excesses in evolutionary psychology? You bet there are.

Every burgeoning science has its hangers-on who do lousy work but justify it in the name of the general scientific movement of which they are a part. But this does not sully the great work being done by the many.

Pernicious? I believe an educated public in a democratic society is capable of deciding for itself. We do not need a bunch of parasitic drones censoring our science for us.

Herbert Gintis

Department of economics University of Massachusetts, US

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