Forwarded from Anthony (nemonemini)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 5 09:00:44 MST 2001


A note about 'nemonemini at cosmiverse.com'

In an earlier post I asked the very reasonable question 'why is
nemonemini at cosmiverse.com posting to this list?' since his ideas about
'Darwinism' bear no resemblence to Marxism.

I did not propose to Lou, or anyone else that he be 'unsubbed' from this
list, nor do I think now that he should be. I want this to be clear to
nemonemini at cosmiverse.com because he clearly thinks he is about to be
dumped from the list. He wrote,

"I can see that that is the end of it, and I am sorry. But before getting
unsubbed, I'd say, count your friends, and remember, you don't represent
the left for me. I post to this list because I think there is a class
struggle, a society of exploitation, and the insight of Marx into that
process. That's all. To get shafted for that by leftists over Darwin is
grounds either for bitterness, or contempt, so watch what you say. "

My view is that his statement,

"I post to this list because I think there is a class struggle, a society
of exploitation, and the insight of Marx into that process. "

is sufficient reason for everyone on this list to want him to continue.
However, I think his polemic against what he calls 'Darwinism' is
unsubtantiated, and long winded, nonsense. Maybe he just needs to learn to
express his thoughts more clearly.

Two more brief points.

N's 'hurricane argument' boils down to saying that we do not have complete
knowledge of the details of evolution. So what? We don't have complete
knowledge of anything - human knowledge is a series of aproximations - it
can never be complete. However, evolutionary science has mountains of
evidence to support it - and nothing in this person's posts so far has
raised any doubts about any of that evidence.

I think that the real rightward social movement of academia - including
scientists - is evident in much of the theorizing found in recent
biological theory, especially sociobiology.

Probably n is reacting against that movement.

However, 'sociobiology' as an abastract concept is not reactionary. Animal
evolution, including everything from ants to people, is the evolution of
social groups, not isolated individuals. The concept that the evolution of
social structures and behaviours is based upon and interacts with physical
evolution is inherent in any concept of evolution (Darwinian or otherwise)
that recognizes the existence of continuing social structures among
animals- ant or human.

N's moralistic dismisal of game theory, "The theory (sociobiology), based
on the theory of games, is that selfishness can really derive altruism."
also misses the point. Game theory is an attempt to create an abstract
model of behaviour that includes competition/conflict and cooperation
without any resort to moral judgements. The idea that morality is a product
of social development, not a preexisting substance, is consistent both with
the basic ideas of 'classical Marxism', and the game theorists efforts at
mathematical modeling. (Irrespective of the reactionary uses game theory is
put to, or the reactionary opinions of most game theorists.)

What I think the implications of all N's poor arguments boil down to, is
the notion that morality is something that exists outside of, and prior to,
the material universe and its evolution. Or in other words, N's is looking
for god.

Religous people who fight on the side of the revolution should be welcome
in our movement and on this list. But that doesn't mean their gods should be.

All the best, Anthony


Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org


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