GRE Reading Comprehension

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Sociobiologists, the most well known of whom is Edward O. Wilson, contend that there is a biological basis for the social behavior of animals, and they test their hypotheses through observation of animals in situations. Species studied have varied as widely as to encompass both termites and rhesus macaques. Sociobiologists further argue that students of human behavior cannot adequately account for the panoply of human nature through only such traditional variables as culture, ethnicity, and environment but must also include evolutionary processes. However, many scientists, notably Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, have criticized this approach to the study of humans on a number of grounds: for example, that it is based on Eurocentric notions and that it is plagued by methodological problems. These detractors label it a pseudo-science because sociobiological theories are not falsifiable and thus, in this respect, are similar to alchemy or astrology.

Question List: 1 2 3

Consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply.

It can be inferred that Gould and Lewontin might agree with which of the following statements about a sociobiological approach to the study of humans?

  • A Sociobiological theories cannot be proven false, and consequently they cannot be conclusively verified; thus, sociobiology is not a real science.
  • B When applied to the study of humans, sociobiology is problematic because it is rooted in a Western worldview and it does not comport with proper scientific methodology.
  • C Scientists cannot adequately explain human behavior through the consideration of cultural, ethnic, and environmental factors alone; therefore, they must resort to sociobiological explanations.

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