All: I know Robert’s competencies and biases, and they’re both manifest in this episode. Testosterone and Dopamine do a great deal of their work during in utero and early development by functioning as bait for the economic organization of our lowest level neural networks, just as later in life they function as behavioral bait for expression of those networks as behavioral biases. So on the one hand Robert is trying to disabuse the populist conception that testosterone is equivalent to taking some sort of stimulant, where it’s more a case of increasing existing sensitivities however they are expressed – especially in relation to baiting and reinforcing our status however it is that we express or reinforce our status. But in doing so he overemphasizes the point, to the point where it’s a bit misleading. Testosterone appears to be substantive in the formation of our bias, and substantive in amplifying the expression of that bias. But that doesn’t mean that adding more of it will create an aggressive bias. It will merely increase the sensitivity of our expression of whatever method of status assertion we evolved early and subsequently adapted to.
Then he makes a personal (and subcultural) claim (that’s false) that pervasive adversarialism in male culture is a negative because of its status-seeking potential. Yet, not only will males not care about the commons without adversarial competition to obtain status by contribution to it, but one of the primary reasons for the rapid innovation and evolution of western civilization compared to all of the rest, in the three ages of bronze, iron, and steel, is the direction of dominance expression and status-seeking to produce commons – not personal, private, family at cost to the commons – which is the world normal. This is why the rest of the world (as Robert does here) denigrates our heroism and competition and near-universal adversarialism, without realizing that the cost of that behavior results in us dragging mankind kicking and screaming out of primitivism in the three ages of history. Including the one that Robert is subtly complaining about, and including the criticism he is subtly injecting against that civilization and its traditions.
My point here isn’t necessarily to criticize Dr. Sapolsky, but to point out that all scientists are subject to race, sex, class, and cultural biases and that specialists tend to bias interpretations of every subject. The reason is that we no longer have a theory of everything, and haven’t yet created a new theory of everything to serve as a system of measurement within and across the sciences. So we are stuck with the post-Darwin and especially postwar aggression against our institutions of cultural production, including our sciences, and including logic and reason, because the theory of everything we all avoid, is one that conflicts with equality, democracy, and globalism – which itself is an outlier, race, sexual, class and cultural bias