Barash, David P. 1946–

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Barash, David P. 1946–

(David Philip Barash)

PERSONAL:

Born January 9, 1946, in New York, NY; son of Nathan and Anne Barash; married Beverly Ann Osband, January 20, 1967 (divorced, 1975); married Judith Eve Lipton (a medical doctor), March 10, 1977; children: (first marriage) Eva, (second marriage) Ilona, Nanelle. Education: Harpur College, State University of the City of New York, B.A., 1966; University of Wisconsin, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1970.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Redmond, WA. Office—Box 351525, Psychology Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

State University of New York, Oneonta, assistant professor of biology, 1970-73; University of Washington, Seattle, associate professor, 1973-80, professor of psychology and zoology, 1980—.

MEMBER:

American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Ecological Society of America, Federation of American Scientists, Animal Behavior Society, Union of Concerned Scientists.

AWARDS, HONORS:

American Book Award nomination, 1982, for Stop Nuclear War! A Handbook.

WRITINGS:

Sociobiology and Behavior, Elsevier Science (New York, NY), 1977, revised edition, 1982.

The Whisperings Within, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1979.

Stop Nuclear War! A Handbook, Grove (New York, NY), 1982.

Aging: An Exploration, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 1983.

The Caveman and the Bomb, McGraw (New York, NY), 1985.

The Hare and the Tortoise: Culture, Biology, and Human Nature, Viking (New York, NY), 1986.

The Arms Race and Nuclear War, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 1987.

Marmots: Social Behavior and Ecology, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1989.

The Great Outdoors, Lyle Stuart/Carol Communications (New York, NY), 1989.

Introduction to Peace Studies, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 1991.

The L Word: An Unapologetic, Thoroughly Biased, Long-overdue Explication and Celebration of Liberalism, Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.

Beloved Enemies: Our Need for Opponents, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 1994.

(With wife, Judith Eve Lipton) Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 1997, revised edition published as Gender Gap: The Biology of Male-Female Differences, Transaction (New Brunswick, NJ), 2002.

Ideas of Human Nature: From the Bhagavad Gita to Sociobiology, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1998.

(Editor) Approaches to Peace: A Reader in Peace Studies, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(With daughter, Ilona A. Barash) The Mammal in the Mirror: Understanding Our Place in the Natural World, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Judith Eve Lipton) The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 2001.

Revolutionary Biology: The New, Gene-centered View of Life, Transaction (New Brunswick, NJ), 2001.

Understanding Violence, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 2001.

(With Charles P. Webel) Peace and Conflict Studies, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2002, 2nd edition, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2008.

The Survival Game: How Game Theory Explains the Biology of Human Cooperation and Competition, Times Books (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Nanelle R. Barash) Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Natural Selections: Selfish Altruists, Honest Liars, and Other Realities of Evolution, Bellevue Literary Press (New York, NY), 2008.

Peace and Conflict Studies, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

David P. Barash, a sociobiologist, is a professor of psychology and zoology at the University of Washington. He is also the author of a number of books that have attracted considerable media attention, including The Whisperings Within, an explanation of sociobiology, and The L Word: An Unapologetic, Thoroughly Biased, Long-overdue Explication and Celebration of Liberalism, a tribute to the achievements of liberal ethics and politics beginning with U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt and following through subsequent leaders and institutions. In addition to these issues, Barash's writings use his academic background as a foundation for examining such topics as nuclear war, aging, and nature.

Barash's field of expertise, sociobiology, asserts a biological, genetic component to all social behavior. The discipline has been praised by some as a scientific breakthrough and condemned by others as a deterministic assault on human dignity, one with racist and sexist overtones. Barash's The Whisperings Within, an anecdotal explanation and defense of sociobiology, attempts to convince readers of the value of sociobiology, not so much through reasoned argument as through a series of illustrative anecdotes. His method, wrote Joseph Kastner in the New York Times Book Review, is "to cozen us by ingenious and fascinating bits of evidence." Although Barash disclaims a desire to be a "racy Aesop," his tales of animal sexuality have been noted as bearing a ribald resemblance to that author's fables. When Barash presents his thesis in academic tones, he argues that (in his words) human beings are "survival machines." Love, altruism, aggression, ethics—all are the results of the genes at work, trying to survive and reproduce themselves.

In this vein, Barash produced two studies, both cowritten with family members. In 2000's The Mammal in the Mirror: Understanding Our Place in the Natural World, the author and his daughter, M.D./Ph.D. student Ilona A. Barash, offer "a superb primer on human biology that provides accessible descriptions of basic science alongside thoughtful discussions of the ethical dilemmas posed by recent advances in technology," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. The father-daughter duo, commented Margaret Henderson of Library Journal, "do a fine job unifying their subject matter in this highly readable book."

Barash teamed up with his wife, Judith Eve Lipton, M.D., for The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People. This book takes a controversial stand: that monogamy—fidelity to a single social mate—is not only rare in the animal world, but also unnatural among humans. The book discusses "the evolutionary significance of mating with multiple partners, from male and female perspectives," noted Raoul Mulder for Quarterly Review of Biology. The authors' study of "extra-pair copulations," or EPCs, shows that among the birds and invertebrates studied by the authors, male polygamy is common as the males of the species seek out the maximum number of females by which to continue their lineage. What is less known, according to Gerald McKay, is the phenomenon of female polygamy. "Lipton and Barash note that females may also enhance their reproductive success through EPCs," wrote McKay in a review for Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. "Females are, according to the ‘sexy son hypothesis,’ inclined to mixing their genes, when they can, with those attractive, vigorous neighbours to ensure that the male offspring in the next generation, the ‘sexy sons,’ who also carry the [female's] own genes, will have a high rate of reproductive success."

Does this EPC behavior extend to humans, who presumably make their sexual decisions under a different set of emotional, moral, and intellectual standards? Barash and Lipton present "compelling evidence," noted Psychology Today reviewer Paul Chance, that men and women alike "find monogamy monotonous." More to the point, the authors told People interviewer Mary Boone, men who are unfaithful are likely following biology's imperative to distribute their sperm as widely as possible, while women tend to seek men considered "better" than their current mate, often seen in terms of financial means that imply security for them and their offspring. Still, the authors contend that, as Barash put it, "humans have the unique ability to know that with monogamy comes trust and love. Think of it as a mutual disarmament pact: I won't sleep around and make you crazy if you don't either. Both partners agree to forego what may be biologically desired in the interest of the relationship."

Barash extends the themes of sociobiology into fiction and poetry with Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature, written with his daughter, Nanelle R. Barash. On his faculty profile on the University of Washington Web site, Barash describes the book as a "good-natured, accessible, but nonetheless serious effort to promote the field of ‘Darwinian literary criticism,’ which seeks to apply evolutionary science to literature, specifically by showing how our new understanding of human nature can result in a more satisfying understanding of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves." The book includes discussions of classics such as The Aenead, Othello, Pride and Prejudice, Madame Bovary, and Lady Chatterley's Lover, as well as works by more contemporary writers including Philip Roth, J.D. Salinger, Amy Tan, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to illuminate Barash's thesis: that evolutionary science can provide a context for these works, allowing readers a deeper understanding of characters' motives and behavior. The biological impulse against monogamy, for example, can help to explain Emma Bovary's intense boredom with her marriage, while evolutionary components of friendship and reciprocity can enhance a reading of "buddy" stories such as The Three Musketeers.

Many critics admired Madame Bovary's Ovaries as a perceptive and informative work. A writer for Publishers Weekly described it as a "surprisingly lighthearted romp through both literature and the animal kingdom," while a reviewer for Science News hailed it as a "whimsical and unique analysis of the forces motivating literary characters." Seattle Times contributor Bill Dietrich considered Madame Bovary's Ovaries a "delightful, deliberately provocative, and quick-footed" book, though the critic noted that "like all one-stop solutions, the book seems to explain some lives better than others." National Review critic John Derbyshire, however, judged the book less favorably, observing that its analysis of friendship and altruism are particularly weak and that the book's "breezy, jokey manner … doesn't really come off." But a writer for Kirkus Reviews expressed praise similar to that offered in many assessments of the book, calling Madame Bovary's Ovaries an "amusing, learned and literate look at the naked apes who populate the page of our most celebrated fiction."

In Natural Selections: Selfish Altruists, Honest Liars, and Other Realities of Evolution Barash again brings together sociobiology and fiction, using canonical texts and pop culture to explain behaviors such as gang rape, toilet training, and the fact that, in all species, males are far more likely than females to commit murder. As a Kirkus Reviews contributor observed, the book is darker in outlook than much of Barash's previous work. It raises provocative ideas, such as advocating the creation of mixed-species clones, which, Barash told LA Weekly Web site writer Nathan Ihara, "should provide a nail in the coffin of the most pernicious myth of all time: that human beings are somehow discontinuous from the rest of the natural world." It can be "disheartening," he went on to say, "once you begin to explore the true motives behind human behavior…. It certainly doesn't sit easily with many of the beliefs we like to hold about ourselves. But as you venture further, you begin to see the wonderful complexities and conundrums of our evolutionary selves, and can appreciate the grandeur of it all."

Barash is also the author of a number of books examining the behavioral reasons for the construction of weapons of mass destruction and methods that can prevent the implementation of these nuclear weapons. Included among these books is the American Book Award nominee Stop Nuclear War! A Handbook, The Arms Race and Nuclear War, and The Hare and the Tortoise: Culture, Biology, and Human Nature, a book described by Washington Post Book World contributor David Quammen as an examination of the nuclear arms race "concerning the strained relationship between biological evolution and cultural evolution." Quammen went on to state that the ideas put forth in the book "make good sense."

In 1992's The L Word, Barash ventures beyond the embattled frontiers of sociobiology and into the domestic thicket of American politics. He believes that American liberalism was unfairly vilified by Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who forged the new conservative movement of the 1980s, and that the social reforms of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which contributed to the revitalization of the American economy during the depression of the 1930s, were largely forgotten in the 1980s. Conservatives succeeded in equating the "dreaded L word"—as Ronald Reagan labeled liberalism—with such negatively connotated movements as communism, radicalism, and the failed U.S. policy in Vietnam (a point that many analysts have identified as curious considering that Republican president Richard Nixon, a conservative, oversaw the Vietnam War's later years, arguably the conflict's most controversial and futile period). Edward C. Banfield, reviewing the book for National Review, characterized Barash as "the complete liberal: a true believer in the goodness and reasonableness of men." Banfield, however, saw this as a detriment and termed the author a former "campus radical" who has not advanced "very far toward maturity." Herbert Mitgang, writing in the New York Times, offered a more sympathetic perspective, stating that the author's "anecdotal style … must go over well in the classroom" but noting that Barash's exploration of the complex history of liberalism in the United States "is not always compelling on paper." Despite this reservation, Mitgang found the volume useful overall and concluded that the book's strength lay in its assessment of Cold War liberalism.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Barash, David P., The Whisperings Within, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1979.

PERIODICALS

America, January 15, 1983, William H. Millerd, review of Stop Nuclear War! A Handbook, p. 38.

American Anthropologist, March, 1979, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 129.

American Journal of Sociology, July, 1979, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 263.

American Scientist, January, 2000, review of The Mammal in the Mirror: Understanding Our Place in the Natural World, p. 80.

American Zoologist, April, 1992, Jerry F. Downhower, review of Marmots: Social Behavior and Ecology, p. 355.

Antioch Review, summer, 1984, review of Aging: An Exploration, p. 380.

Best Sellers, October, 1986, review of The Hare and the Tortoise: Culture, Biology, and Human Nature, p. 268.

BioScience, April, 1980, Garrett Hardin, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 265.

Bloomsbury Review, September, 1995, review of Beloved Enemies: Our Need for Opponents, p. 20.

Booklist, December 1, 1979, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 526; September 1, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 8; June 15, 1985, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 1478; May 1, 1989, review of The Great Outdoors, p. 1504; February 1, 1992, Mary Carroll, review of The L Word: An Unapologetic, Thoroughly Biased, Long-overdue Explication and Celebration of Liberalism, p. 992; April 15, 2001, Nancy Bent, review of The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, p. 1518; December 1, 2001, Donna Seaman, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 618.

Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, winter, 2000, Gerald McKay, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 275.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 1979, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 490; June, 1980, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 570; November, 1983, review of Aging, p. 468; December, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 633; November, 1986, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 500; April, 1990, review of Marmots, p. 1345; May, 1995, C.R. Harper, review of Beloved Enemies, p. 1526; April, 2000, K. Crawford, review of The Mammal in the Mirror, p. 1494; September, 2001, P.R. Douville, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 143; November, 2001, L. Swedell, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 534; March, 2008, J.E. Platz, review of Natural Selections: Selfish Altruists, Honest Liars, and Other Realities of Evolution, p. 1182.

Contemporary Sociology, November, 1977, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 731; May, 1981, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 479.

Discover, May 1, 2001, Tim Stoddard, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 82.

Ecology, April, 1991, Andrew T. Smith, review of Marmots, p. 764.

Journal of Socio-Economics, April-May, 2004, Calvin Blackwell, "Economics as an Evolutionary Science."

Journal of Wildlife Management, October, 1989, David E. Davis, review of Marmots, p. 685.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1979, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 900; July 15, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 684; June 15, 1986, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 901; March 1, 1989, review of The Great Outdoors, p. 345; November 15, 1991, review of The L Word, p. 1443; October 15, 1997, review of Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships, p. 1563; October 1, 1999, review of The Mammal in the Mirror, p. 1537; April 1, 2005, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature, p. 394; August 1, 2007, review of Natural Selections.

Library Journal, March 1, 1978, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 508; October 1, 1979, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 2108; March 1, 1980, Edith S. Crockett, Ellis Mount, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 569; November 1, 1982, review of Stop Nuclear War!, p. 2083; October 15, 1985, Dennis Felbel, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 91; July 16, 1986, Walter P. Coombs, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 95; January, 1992, Stephen K. Shaw, review of The L Word, p. 155; December, 1999, Margaret Henderson, review of The Mammal in the Mirror, p. 178; May 15, 2005, Rebecca Bollen Manalac, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 117.

Los Angeles Times, July 20, 1986, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 9.

National Catholic Reporter, November 7, 1986, Michael Deidler, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 19.

National Review, March 2, 1992, Edward C. Banfield, review of The L Word, pp. 48-50; John Derbyshire, review Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 52.

Nature, January 5, 1984, review of Aging, p. 88; September 6, 2001, T.R. Birkhead, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 19; May 5, 2005, Michel Raymond, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 28.

New Age Journal, October, 1982, review of Stop Nuclear War!, p. 68.

New Scientist, May 2, 1998, review of Making Sense of Sex, p. 43.

New York Times, March 17, 1992, Herbert Mitgang, review of The L Word.

New York Times Book Review, September 9, 1979, Joseph Kastner, review of The Whisperings Within, pp. 9, 30.

People, December 3, 2001, Mary Boone, "Born to Be Wild," author interview, p. 73.

Psychology Today, July, 1979, Peter Gardner, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 109; April, 1986, Scott Haas, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 72; September-October, 2001, Paul Chance, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 74.

Publishers Weekly, July 19, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 42; May 16, 1986, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 60; March 3, 1989, review of The Great Outdoors, p. 93; November 29, 1991, review of The L Word, p. 34; November 1, 1999, review of The Mammal in the Mirror, p. 68; September 22, 2003, review of The Survival Game: How Game Theory Explains the Biology of Human Cooperation and Competition, p. 91; March 28, 2005, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 67.

Quarterly Review of Biology, September, 1990, Paul W. Sherman, review of Marmots, p. 384; September, 1996, Roger Masters, review of Beloved Enemies, p. 399; December, 1998, John Anderies, review of Making Sense of Sex, p. 486; June, 2000, Glenn Walsberg, review of The Mammal in the Mirror, p. 171; March, 2002, Raoul Mulder, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 100; September, 2002, Neil F. Sharpe, review of Revolutionary Biology: The New, Gene-centered View of Life, p. 320.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 1988, review of The Arms Race and Nuclear War, p. 22; August, 2002, review of Peace and Conflict Studies, p. 141.

Science, May 25, 1990, Gail R. Michener, review of Marmots, p. 1025.

Science Books & Films, September, 1980, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 2; January, 1984, review of Aging, p. 129; March, 1987, review of The Hare and the Tortoise, p. 214; September, 2001, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 210.

Science Digest, August, 1983, Christopher Hallowell, review of Aging, p. 93; November, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 88.

Science News, February 7, 2004, review of The Survival Game, p. 95; July 16, 2005, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 47; November 10, 2007, review of Natural Selections, p. 303.

SciTech Book News, December, 1985, review of The Caveman and the Bomb, p. 34; December, 1987, review of The Arms Race and Nuclear War, p. 39; December, 1989, review of Marmots, p. 16; June, 2001, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 69.

Seattle Times, May 2, 2005, Bill Dietrich, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries.

Small Press Bookwatch, February, 2008, review of Natural Selections.

Social Science Quarterly, December, 1978, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 524.

Sociology, March, 1980, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 64.

Theology Today, July, 1979, review of Sociobiology and Behavior, p. 229.

Washington Post, June 3, 2001, Courtney Weaver, "Changing Partners," p. T3.

Washington Post Book World, July 4, 1986, David Quammen, review of The Hare and the Tortoise; June 3, 2001, review of The Myth of Monogamy, p. 3; August 7, 2005, Dennis Dutton, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries, p. 15.

West Coast Review of Books, November, 1982, review of Stop Nuclear War!, p. 65.

Wilson Quarterly, winter, 1981, review of The Whisperings Within, p. 94.

ONLINE

Blog Critics,http://blogcritics.org/ (June 24, 2008), Gordon Hauptfleisch, review of Madame Bovary's Ovaries.

LA Weekly,http://laweekly.com/ (July 16, 2008), Nathan Ihara, review of Natural Selections.

University of Washington Web site,http://faculty.washington.edu/ (June 24, 2008), Barash faculty profile.