Okay, so cosmic Darwinism’s Lee Smolin doesn’t think there is a scientific method, and now it turns out the founder of sociobiology (father of evolutionary psychology), E.O. Wilson, doesn’t think that math matters much to science:
During my decades of teaching biology at Harvard, I watched sadly as bright undergraduates turned away from the possibility of a scientific career, fearing that, without strong math skills, they would fail.
Yes but—and this is said in charity—maybe those students would fail. The way a surgeon with poor hand co-ordination or a medications nurse who is no good with decimal fractions might just plain fail. We can blame anyone we want, but how seriously we take it maybe depends on how much we think is at stake. A bacterial culture or your best friend?
This mistaken assumption has deprived science of an immeasurable amount of sorely needed talent. It has created a hemorrhage of brain power we need to stanch.
Hmmm. It’s not clear if his career is any indicator.
His sociobiology (accused of racism—in all fairness, maybe quite wrongly) gave way to evolutionary psychology, as in the Bedrock school of human psychology. All any math-challenged psych major had to do was come up with an apparently plausible thesis about how paleo man supposedly behaved in order to explain the world around us today —like shopping, voting, or tipping at restaurants.Gosh, if math had done nothing at all except chase all these people off the scene, it would definitely be worth its chalk.
Wilson goes on:
Fortunately, exceptional mathematical fluency is required in only a few disciplines, such as particle physics, astrophysics and information theory. Far more important throughout the rest of science is the ability to form concepts, during which the researcher conjures images and processes by intuition.
So, evolutionary psychologists, come right on in!
There are rules, of course. You can say that “People who consider themselves liberals or atheists tend to have higher IQs than those who are more religious or conservative,” but you must not say that women of one ethnic group are perceived as more attractive than others.
If Wilson is right, current evolution theory has nothing to do with basic concepts like math. The popular TV talk shows will give you a much better idea of what you need to know.