human nature, sociobiology,

nemonemini at nemonemini at
Fri Dec 21 10:38:10 MST 2001

Part of the problem for the left has been the legacy of the valiant
critique of leftists biologists such as Gould, Lewontin, Rose during
the rise of sociobiology with its obvious ideological fixations. The
problem is that they got stuck inside the Darwin paradigm in the
debate over nature and nurture, as gloating sociobiologists made
short work of their position (at least in their own minds). Steve
Rose has nicely restated this veiwpoint in his Lifelines. But once
you accept Darwinian fundamentals, you are hamstrung against
the 'mean gene' folks ganging up on the left. It's not necessary for
that to happen that way.
The extreme anti-genetic argument seems hard to defend anymore. Does
it matter? There is no way simplistic genetics is going to triumph
over philosophic discussions of human nature, anymore than hardware
talk can resolve software talk.
 In fact, the pendulum is swinging back as the sheer complexity of
the genome has made naive sociobiology as problematical as the rest.
There is nothing in either position that is solid enough to start
mapping out the boundaries of 'human nature'. It is all a lust to
dominate the defintion of man. And you can always do an endrun around
Here, the various discussions, deservedly critical no doubt, of the
various Indian views here, stripped of New Age nonsense, can be
useful. The 'self' of man is so deep you can't even give it a name.
There is no philosophy, ideology, or religion that can lay claim to
this depth of man. To even speak of 'atman' as do the Hindu
degenerations of the original idea is the road to confusion.
It is a real pity Schopenhauer was such a conservative. He stated the
point in the context of German philosophy. This however gets shunted
aside as the Hegelian presumption here which filters into Marxism
starts haranguing the 'noumenal', which misses the point. Marx via
Feuerbach also had a very significant insight into the consideration
of 'species being' which could be a great avenue for Marxist enquiry
here. Schopenhauer grafted onto the species being perspective (if it
were instant nonsense) could help to reestablish a real leftist view
of man. But doing that would be hard. At least be confident it is
also to hard for these Darwinists. A bunch of pikers, really.

In any case, Why not just profit from the interest of the new genetic
revolution? There are probably multiple avenues toward a genetic
perspective on human nature, so-called, and an exteme rejection of
this view won't work. Pure genetic determinism will fail. so what's
the problem?   In the final analysis the hardware must reflect what
we know about the software, and human nature must in the end be
informed by but independent of the genetic substrate.
In any case, this more shadow boxing approach might help in not
getting set up to fail by this 'nature-nurture' debate-fossil so the
left can just laugh in the face at people like E.O. Wilson trying to
rig a genetic conservative man for a conservative blah blah.... How
anyone could lose an argument to an idiot like Wilson is beyond me....

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