Darwinians Still Justify Genetic Determinism
One of the most dangerous philosophies in the history of mankind is still embedded in modern Darwinism.
In a recent post, we laughed at two evolutionary just-so stories that extrapolated animal behavior into human behavior. Remember, though, that animal behavior is encoded by their genes, and that’s no laughing matter when genetic determinism is extrapolated to humans. It sucks all the air out of morality, making humans pawns of an amoral, aimless natural process with no accountability.
Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics (Science Daily). The authors at Penn State try to qualify their genetic determinism with the word “some” — “some personal beliefs and morals” may stem from genetics. What other source is there? To evolutionists, genetic change by mutation and selection is ultimately all there is.
“Most people assume that parenting shapes the development of virtuous character in children via entirely environmental pathways,” Neiderhiser said. “But our results suggest there are also heritable influences. This doesn’t mean that if parents are conscientious that their children also will be regardless of how the children are parented. It does mean, however, that children inherit a tendency to behave in a particular way and that this shouldn’t be ignored.”
Who decides what is virtuous in Darwinland? The only standard is survival, isn’t it? That is completely amoral. Genocide qualifies for the fittest group that survives. Later, the determinists again qualify their stance, saying,
“Your genes are not totally deterministic of who you are,” Ramos said. “Genes simply give you a potential. People still make their own choices and have agency in shaping who they become.”
But once again, Darwinists have no choice or agency in their toolkit. It’s all mutation and selection, resulting in genetic changes. To have choice, you have to have free will and a soul.
How did reading and writing evolve? Neuroscience gives a clue (The Conversation). Your clue that Derek Hodgson is a genetic determinist is in the thought that reading and writing “evolved.” No free will in that idea; you just carry out behaviors when you scratch on a stone or type at a keyboard. The self-refuting nature of this assertion is self-evident, because Hodgson’s genes made him say this. It could be argued that language and writing “evolve” by convention, which implies human minds that can freely choose how to represent their thoughts on material substances and in vocal sounds, but that is not what he is talking about.
But how was this possible? Neuroscientific research has shown that writing text involves the premotor cortex of the brain, which drives manual skills. My theory therefore suggests that reading and writing evolved when our passive perception for discerning things started to interact with manual dexterity.
In other words, you are a passive marionette governed by invisible strings reacting to natural selection. Words in a book are mere marks on a page like scratches on a stone.
That said, some researchers believe that early marks were symbolic rather than aesthetic and that writing evolved from encoding information in them. However I argue this now seems increasingly unlikely. Early marks look similar to each other over an immense period of time. If the marks were symbolic, we would expect to see far more variation across space and time, just as we do in modern writing systems. But this is not the case.
All this points to the probability that the earliest marks were aesthetic in that they derive from the early visual cortex’s preference for basic configurations. And it could have begun as early as Homo erectus, which lived from about 1.8m to 500,000 years ago.
How evolutionary theory guides policy (Nature). This is the scariest of the three articles we are taking a look at. David Sloan Wilson, the New Teacher who wants Evolution for Everyone, is back. He sees all the detailed negotiations in national governments and foreign policy as mere manifestations of Darwinism. And Nature likes his new book about it. Even the title is scary for lovers of liberty and justice for all: This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution. Head for the hills! The Brave New World is upon us.
Wilson’s passion for multilevel selectionist thinking, and his relentless optimism, give the book something of a messianic flavour: in places, I detect leaps of faith, for example in the belief that well-functioning groups can solve our problems of collective action. There is no false advertising, however. The very title (albeit cribbed from the end of Charles Darwin’s 1859 On the Origin of Species) portends a personal perspective. The result is utterly fascinating and beautifully written.
He addresses deep questions about humanity: how we can avoid physical or mental illnesses, raise children, make groups more effective, create sustainable economies and nurture better planetary stewards.
This is a recipe for global socialism, which always brings with it totalitarianism, elitism, and slavery. The elites will try to keep the peasant hens producing eggs for them.
Things get more interesting for policy when Wilson turns to what he calls the “problem of goodness”. Literature on the evolution of cooperation — such as the 2011 A Cooperative Species by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis — gives us plausible scientific reasons for goodness triumphing over evil, or selflessness over selfishness. Multilevel selection is important here. Wilson’s favourite example is an experiment showing how to increase caged hens’ egg production. You select not for the most fertile hens in each generation (co-housed, they will peck each other to death), but for the multi-hen cages with the highest productivity (where more positive social interactions predominate).
Humans don’t live in cages, but group living is a fundamental adaptation of our species. In a wink of geological time, humanity moved from small pre-Neolithic tribal groups to large nation-states, with transnational religious identities and (albeit weak) global governance institutions. All this reasonably suggests a role for multilevel selection. We know that social groups work effectively when they have clearly delineated membership, are relatively egalitarian and police themselves. Wilson recounts the huge success of a “school within a school” programme with these features for students in Binghamton, New York, who were at risk of dropping out of high school. He also discusses the effectiveness of local “block clubs” in run-down parts of Buffalo, New York, and other often well-controlled studies demonstrating the success of groups that follow these design principles in producing socially preferable outcomes.
Isn’t that nice to speak of “design principles” for multilevel selection? Beware fake words. Who defines what is “good”? Who designs “socially preferable outcomes”? The powerful elites who run everything, of course, and teach the peasants that they are products of selection. The elites, meantime, excuse themselves from the same rules of “multilevel selection” that everyone else is enslaved to. They make the selections now. They have reached godhood.
Reviewer Monique Borgerhoff Mulder welcomes this study on Darwinian solutions to social issues. She says Wilson’s book should be on everyone’s bedside table. Everyone’s cell table, that is, next to the hole in the floor.
People have no idea the horrors they are in for if this kind of thinking goes mainstream. The 20th century was a huge, awful demonstration of “selectionist” thinking imposing itself on national policy. Now that we have instant access across the globe and orbital surveillance, there will be no place to hide. We will be praying for a Rapture.