Friday, April 04, 2008

My daughter is the Queen of Libraries

She rehearsed her NYPL presentation with me last night and I learned so much and got a treasure-trove of researchy goodness on Marvin Harris

I have most of his books and quite a few magazine articles, but I want to have a complete collection, so I was thrilled to get the full text of an article Harris wrote on a critic of Margaret Mead called "Margaret and the Giant Killer."

The article starts out with a demonstration that very little has changed in the past 20 years in the relationship between the media and sociobiology - now generally called evolutionary psychology.
Edward O. Wilson's best-selling sociobiological thrillers have shown that there is no limit to the spasms scholarly books can stimulate in the press if they advance two propositions: one, social scientists are incompetent bleeding hearts who deny the existence of human nature; and two, hard-nosed, real scientists must assume control over the social sciences and reassert the importance of biological factors in human life. Harvard University Press, Wilson's publisher, has found that, by twitching certain nerves, nearly any book advocating neo-Darwinian forms of biological determinism can soar to bestsellerdom.