Defusing Ideological Defenses in Biology

BioScience 63 (2):118-123 (2013)
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Ideological language is widespread in theoretical biology. Evolutionary game theory has been defended as a worldview and a leap of faith, and sexual selection theory has been criticized for what it posits as basic to biological nature. Views such as these encourage the impression of ideological rifts in the field. I advocate an alternative interpretation, whereby many disagreements between different camps of biologists merely reflect methodological differences. This interpretation provides a more accurate and more optimistic account of the state of play in the field of biology. It also helps account for biologists' tendency to embrace ideological positions.

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Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati


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