Here’s my review of Anthony Walsh’s Biosociology. It’s part of my effort to erode confidence in survey research by promoting non-asking procedures for investigating social science topics. I’ve also posted this review on Amazon.
Scientific Foundations of All Things Human
In Biosociology, Anthony Walsh shows how the social sciences—and, in particular, sociology—can be made more scientific by applying a “Darwinian view” and by using scientific methods and scientific tools (e.g., fMRI). In this manner, Walsh presents the biological —that is, the environmental and genetic—foundations of “all things human”: culture, hierarchy in social groups, poverty, the family, socioeconomic status, gender, intelligence, crime, criminals, and so on. Walsh’s scientific and materialistic social science is a welcome antidote to the speculative scholasticism of survey research now dominate.
This extensively researched and well-written effort to move “the whole enterprise of behavioral science forward” via a “biologically-informed environmental approach” is in company with Rein Taagepera’s equally beneficial work to obtain the same objective via predictive models (Making Social Sciences More Scientific: The Need for Predictive Models). Both books are part of a relatively small but increasing number of methodology monographs and research studies eschewing survey research in favor of what I call in The Problem with Survey Research, “proper” methods of data collection (e.g., observation) and proper research designs (e.g., experimentation). Only as the social sciences use proper procedures and, thereby, produce reliable and relevant results, will sociology, political science, et al. optimize their contributions to solving the problems facing citizens and policy makers.