[Marxism] The transition to capitalism: is it in our genes?

Auguste Blanqui blanquist at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 03:46:46 MDT 2007

On 8/8/07, Sayan Bhattacharyya <ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/8/07, Auguste Blanqui <blanquist at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Almost everything?  I've asked you for one example of where a
> > behavioral trait like those described in the piece (diligence et. al)
> > can be genetically based, and you haven't provided. anything.
> I had said: "But almost *everything* is due to genetic AND
> environmental reasons."
> Why would you ask me to give you an example of something that is only
> "genetically based", since almost nothing is?

I asked you for an example of a behavior (name it) that can be
attributed (partly or wholly, to use your frame) to a gene.  You
haven't given one because I don't think you know what you're talking
about.  There's literature that (in a very flimsy way) makes such
claims, but you don't seem familiar with it

> > And what biology are you reading?  Go read "Not in Our Genes" before
> > saying this fin-de-siecle crap is "widely accepted."
> By "fin-de-siecle" I assume that you  mean the end of the 20th
> century. But "Not in Our Genes" was written in 1985.

No, I actually meant the late 19th, early 20th-century, and debate
between the Social Darwinists and the Lamarckians.

> I'm not sure which part of what I wrote you're disputing. I wrote:
> "Almost *everything* is due to genetic AND environmental reasons.
> Very few things are caused by purely one or the other. The environment
> (and other genes) profoundly influence how a gene gets "expressed" as
> a phenotypic effect. This is now widely  accepted in biology."
> What is your counter-claim? That everything is caused by *only* the environment?

Genes can explain some things, like cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell or
Tay-Sachs, but we don't actually know how a lot of them work, and
dramatic initial claims are often overstated or outright wrong.  And
because of how diverse humans are, a gene may work one way for one,
but not for another, which calls into serious question the new premium
placed on analysis at the molecular level alone.  Wade-Clark don't
even offer a shred of evidence to suggest that genes might influence
the behaviors they describe (in rather vague terms, I might add).

If you believe in evolutionary psychology/behavioral genetics -- the
new dressed-up version of sociobiology -- then just say so, because it
sure sounds like it.
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