Greg Laden, Harvard PhD in Archaeology and Biological Anthropology, is one of my favourite Sciencebloggers, and not just because he once said "Remember Evolutionary Psychology? The theory? It's over."
(He also said: "I've carried out research in this area, and I was even present, somewhat admiringly, at the very birth of Evolutionary Psychology, in Room 14A in the Peabody Museum at Harvard, in the 1980s. So, if anyone is going to be a supporter of evolutionary psychology, it's me. But I'm not.")
Two of Greg Laden's recent posts that's of a feminist interest on sexuality, gender and genetics (and braaainz!), a discussion that's always fascinating whether you agree or not ("the demonic male" admittedly bit makes every feminist warning bell I have start to chime, even though I get it's not what he's implying) and usually continue in the comments:
How Do You Get Sexual Orientation and Gender in Humans?
The interesting thing about this is that a cursory examination of potential human gender diversity from a purely biological point of view suggests that there are at least dozens of "genders" but the vast majority of cultures define (or even allow) only a few. Perhaps culture, in this case, is more restrictive than biology. Which, to a behavioral biologist, is not much of a shock, though it might be if considered from a broader social science perspective.
Driving The Patriarchy: Demonic Males, Feminism, and Genetic Determinism
So, is it really true that behaviors are not "caused by genes" if there are these drives? Yes, and I say this because the average person who is thinking that behaviors are caused by genes is not thinking at all about intermediate mechanisms, and if they are, they are assuming that the intermediate mechanisms are little more than a transparent ether through which genes operate on the behavioral phenotypes we observe. Also, "genetic determinism" is not about whether or not one or more genes are involved in a trait, but rather (and this is very important so if you've got a yellow highlighter uncap it now) "genetic determinism" is about the close correspondence between variation across individuals in the genetic code they carry and the ensuing variation across individuals in the phenotype they express. Moreover, "genetic determinism" as usually conceived is presumed to average out within categories such as "race" or "sex" with very little variation within, but enough variation between these categories to be measurable. Which is why the concept is almost always racist or sexist or both.
But in reality, variation in the way limbic and other brain functions as well as closely related endocrine systems are manifest in humans and probably many other mammals is only to a small extent a function of genes, and is otherwise a function of what we may loosely call development. This relationship is not a post-hoc observation, or a liberal excuse, or a politically motivated bit of rhetoric. It is, rather, the explanation for why we have large brains that mostly develop, in detail, on the basis of experience rather than genetic coding for how they are hooked up.