WHAT ARE WE?: As a part of a homework assignment for my Population Genetics class I had to "summarize and comment" on this New York Times article in 200 words or less.
Dr. Small argues that sociobiology and evolutionary psychology do not accurately predict real life mating choices made by human beings. Although some predictions by these fields follow intuitive lines and can be supported by research studies, statistical analysis, and anecdotal evidence, in the end Dr. Small believes that "Our brains are not designed specifically to desire this or that, but to weigh the options, and then get down to the business of having babies."
Her point appears to be that culture and society influence mate selection among humans as much as genetics do, but I do not believe that this assertion is controversial. The real difficulty is her underlying assumption that culture is itself independent of genetics; this is much more questionable. If biology is not the basis for society, what is? If the laws of physics and chemistry do not wholly determine our existence, where does that leave us? If quantum mechanics and initial state-sensitive chaos theory do not induce our every thought, what are we? Some supra-physical embodiment of free will? God forbid.