There have been some, including one of my favorite writers, who perhaps have resigned themselves to the strong possibility that
"...we are a transitional species, nature's first brief local experiment with self-awareness, a head above the ancestral ape and a head below whatever must come next; we are evolutionary failures, trapped between earth and a glimpse of heaven, prevented by our sure capacity for self-delusion from achieving any triumph more noteworthy than our own sure self-destruction." Robert Ardrey, 'African Genesis' pp.155-56
I suspect they may ultimately be correct-- and I am constantly accused by friends and family of being a pessimist. An old college buddy calls me "Doomsday". But I tell them they've got me completely backwards-- that if I wasn't an incurable optimist I would have given up on all this long ago. I am a father, and actually a philanthrope, and so I cannot accept such dire prophecies unless and until they have actually come to pass. So I continue to struggle to find answers to our "hard-wiring dilemma", cutting across academic disciplines in order to do so, and will seek out like-minded individuals with whom I can discuss these complicated issues until "doomsday" comes if I have to, and this is why I frequent on-line discussion forums like this one, searching out blind men like myself who have stumbled upon multiple appendages of the elephant.
I've been reading cognitive neuroscience/evolutionary psychology for over 23 years on top of political economy, history, anthropology, and paleontology. I have been heavily influenced by Michael Gazzaniga, Robert Ornstein, Michael Corballis, Steven Pinker, V. S. Ramachandran, S. E. Taylor, and most recently intrigued by Jonathan Haidt's ideas-- especially his five foundations of human morality. I have a fair number of other angles besides analogies to machinery and hardware (which are admittedly weak but accessible "lower rungs" on the ladder) from which I come at this problem, but wouldn't feel right posting large portions of anything here until I know more about your background-- if in fact you are interested in such a discussion at all. Perhaps if you could let me know by which researchers or authors in these fields you have been most influenced, I could better tailor my response?
Your reference to your sociology prof was somewhat surprising, because I have never known any sociologists (nor any social scientists at all for that matter, including most psychologists who remain to this day behaviorists) to give much credence to these subjects in the first place. I've found most to be more firmly adherent to the standard social science model. In fact, after reading my first Gazzaniga book and attempting to discuss the mind-blowing ramifications I found in it with a sociology doctoral student friend of mine who is now a professor (albeit a Maoist), I was told in no uncertain terms that perhaps I should go join the neo-Nazis. Again, it has been quite some time since then, and I know these ideas have been slowly trickling down into the realm of "common knowledge", but I am still in fairly regular communication with several old professors of mine, as well as many friends on "the left", and any suggestion of "human hard-wiring" is generally met with exactly the kinds of accusations of "social Darwinism" which Pinker affirmed in 'The Blank Slate'. Even physical anthropology has yet to incorporate or even grasp the ramifications of the Cognitive Revolution.
I would be very happy to hear such things are finally beginning to change, though I have no personal experience that they are.