Leavitt, Gregory C. Books

Dr. Gregory C. Leavitt is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Criminal Justice at Idaho State University. He attended Central Washington University where he earned a B.A. in sociology. Moving to Connecticut, he received his M.A. in sociology at the University of Bridgeport before attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln earning a Ph.D. and specializing in Comparative Sociology and Criminology. Professor Leavitt's published works includes articles in Social Forces, the American Anthropologist, and The Sociological Quarterly.

Incest and Inbreeding Avoidance: A Critique of Darwinian Social Science
2005 0-7734-6171-X
* Nominated for the prestigious Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship

This study is a sociological critic of Darwinian social science (human sociobiology), i.e., the application of Darwinian natural selection theory to complex human social behavior. More specifically, the manuscript examines Darwinian social science through the substantive topic of incest and inbreeding avoidance, a behavior forwarded by human sociobiology as the best example of sociocultural behavior naturally selected in humans.

While there have been articles and book published that have examined certain aspects of this issue (incest/inbreeding avoidance, incest taboo, the nature of inbreeding, etc.), this work brings all of these discussions together for a comprehensive examination and critique. The proposed manuscript does not simply critique sociobiological notions of incest/inbreeding avoidance but uses this topic to demonstrate the general failings of the Darwinian social science approach. Perhaps more basically, the book is designed to give sociologists and other social scientists an in-depth look at sociobiology (especially as applied to human behavior) including a critical look at human sociobiology's natural selection foundation. Most social scientists have only a perfunctory notion of what selection theory entails and are largely uninformed of its weaknesses and the repercussions of these faults on sociobiology. Sociologists after a few years of examining sociobiology, following Edward O. Wilson publication, Sociobiology, (published in 1975), have dismissed the subject. With this early dismissal sociologists have largely missed the encroaching hegemony of sociobiology in explaining human social behavior. Natural selection explanations of complex social behavior now dominate in many fields of biology, especially animal biology including ethology, and in psychology. The sociobiology approach is now commonly presented in public forums and media leaving the impression on the general public that sociobiology and its many claims are scientific fact.