What Is Human & Social Biology?
7 AUG 2017
Human and social biology is a scientific subject that deals with dual concepts--human biology and society--which are inextricably connected. Human biology emphasizes the study of anatomy, including its organs, and systems, and the body’s role in ensuring survival and preservation of the human species. At the same time, humans (classified by scientists as belonging to the animal kingdom) are social beings who relate with one another and live in communities, and whose biology is so linked with social functions, behaviors, and dispositions that it is impossible to ignore. Hence, the compounded subject, human and social biology, is studied.
1 Union of Biology and Society
Man’s health (human biology) affects and effects change on society (social biology). Human and social biology scrutinizes the human body, disease, health, nature and the environment’s influence on biology. For example, looking at the pulmonary system is intertwined with studying lung cancer, which is tied with the effect of smoking on the respiratory system.
2 Roots of Human and Social Biology
The pioneer of human and social biology (HSB) is Edward Osbourne Wilson who initiated its study through his book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975). Based on the evolution theory, sociobiologists observe that man’s natural tendencies are often hinged on his anatomical fixtures, which have evolved over the course of millions of years. Based on these observations, sociobiologists have compared animal’s biology and society with man’s. They have seen glaring associations that prove the universality of sociobiology.
3 Evolution's Role in Human and Social Biology
Darwinian theories such as the continuation of the species, survival of the fittest, natural selection, and adaptation all harmonize with sociobiologists’ conclusions. Physical growth and social development go in tandem with one another. As the body develops, social attitudes grow and mature for the purpose of sexual maturity, and ultimately reproduction, of the species. Sociobiologists rely heavily on genetic determinism, which states that man’s body controls his social behaviors and decisions without consideration of the impact of mind and culture. Human and social biology also pays much attention to the development and transference of social characteristics via genetics.
4 Human and Social Biology Education
Human and social biology has a curriculum promoted mainly by the British educational system where high school and college students can study the topic as an elective for CXC Exams or A-Level Exams. Human and social biology is incorporated into high school and college curriculum.
5 Practical Application of Science
Human and social biology is useful for better understanding of science. Often science presents itself as an abstract field with no practical applications. Here, through the study of human and social biology, science enters the realm of social life and educates scientists, students, and casual observers alike.