Teleology and Sociobiology

The title of Charles Darwin's main book was "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". Many evolutionists would agree, that the subtitle could have been "Preservation of the Races better Adapted to their Environment", because the original one carries a teleology, the Nemesis of the evolutionist. In fact, Ernst Meyr states that "adaptedness... is a posteriori result rather than an a priori goal-seeking."(1) If a race can be favored, then in place of its environment, but also, if "the Struggle" stands for the attributes favoring a race and "the Life" for the principle of preservation, the "for" makes an effect the source of the law which achieves it; a circular argument in some way. Life is simply what remain, the truth of the evolutionist agrees with reality that way.

After the internecine wars of the XX centuries, and the abandonment of anthropological sociobiology by the academy, the old question of the cooperation and the social cohesion, and the adjacent issue of the nature of altruism remained. They were taken up with the help of mathematics but, if equations are not subject to the political correctness, not so with their interpretations. Three points of views and two levels of demonization have been established, the first two used to deflect from the next. The first is those of the medial Richard Dawkin, from which, by the way, Ernst Meyr said that his gen centered view is anti-darwinian. The second is those of William Hamilton, the kin selection or inclusive fitness, introduced with his famous paper in 1964(2), and the last is those of William Wilson and David Wilson, the group selection, now called multilevel selection(3). We prefer the term multilevel adaptation, and equate it with adaptation.

The Evolutionary literature is largely marked by teleologies, and also by the temptation to make altruism something that generates itself to evade the explanation given by the multilevel adaptation. For instance, if the inclusive fitness appears to be a receptacle or a carrier of altruism, it is more easy to admit it its source by forgetting to interpret more forward group synergy, the fact that an association produces more that their members working separatly would, because adaptation encloses this synergy. If the models of the game theory based on the prisoner's dilemma bring into knowledge, the motivation even unconscious of their developments is often to resolve it without the recourse of the multilevel adaptation. The irresolvability of the dilemma by the fact of this exclusion is hidden by the complexity of the models; in some respect, a perpetuum mobile of evolutionism. The supposed existence of a solution participates to the misunderstanding about the nature of altruism in that it suggests the admissibility of the questioning. But if at first distance is taken from altruism and adaptation put in its natural context, the mathematics of genealogy, and one does not begin with adaptation and its relation to altruism, usually through the prisoner's dilemma, then the teleology associated with multilevel adaptation disappears.

An explanation of altruism outside the multilevel adaptation must be found, because the teleological interpretation of adaptation leads to postulate a world which sinks ineluctably in war and genocide. This imperative can not be resolved, the future thought only through a transcended human, liberated from the law of nature, the peace existing only outside reality. In the hypothesis of human as a specie without race, a foolish assumption, the a priori of genocide become those of homicide, the humans destroying themselves, in a case as in the other. The good will in the service of a war without necessity against nature and the human, this is the result of an illusion which came from a teleological fallacy.

(1)"The idea of teleology"
Journal of the History of Ideas, (1992) 53, 117–135.
"adaptedness... is a posteriori result rather than an a priori goal-seeking."
(2)The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour. I/II William D. Hamilton, J. Theoret. Biol. (1964) 7, 1-52
(3)"for the Good of the Group"
David Sloan Wilson, Edward O. Wilson, American Scientist, Volume 96