[Marxism] Genes, behaviour and dialectics (was The transition to capitalism...)
Jscotlive at aol.com
Jscotlive at aol.com
Thu Aug 9 00:27:26 MDT 2007
First of all, without wanting to make too much of this, I take exception to
your addage that people with disabilities are "special case" humans for whom
a different rule about the influence of genetics on behaviour applies, and
that people with disabilities are best not be included in this discussion.
Your boundary between ability and disability is a wall - it is completely
reductionist and undialectical. The truth is we ALL have different skill levels
and abilities and "disability" is SOCIALLY defined.
Your "exception" argument is invalid because it assumes that those who are
socially defined as abled [disability is a social category not a scientific
one] don't carry any of the same behaviour influencing genes that the people
with behaviour-traits carry. Of course the behaviour of people with various
"behaviour-trait" disabilities is more influenced by their genes than is the
case for the rest of us. But to assume that the rest of us are completely
uninfluenced by those same genes when we carry them (or some of them) is to
misunderstand dialectics, genetics and neuropsychology.
Many "normal" people actually have what is sometimes called a
"shadow-syndrome autism spectrum disorder" whereby they exhibit some isolated autistic
traits while simulataneously being "otherwise healthy human beings".
The children of engineers have autism spectrum disorders at a higher rate
Some people have profound obsessive compulsive disorder that dramatically
affects their life everyday. Others lead "normal" lives but more often than
not triple check that the gas is off when they go out and hang their washing
according to an elaborate routine that has no real basis in practicality. Are
you saying that genes only play a role in the former behaviour and not the
This is ridiculous. Autism is a disability - fact. Obsessive compulsion is
an illness - fact. Most people in society have neither, are healthy, therefore
that is the 'norm'. Now this IS dialectical. Attempting to insinuate that I
am being offensive to such people by creating a straw man is offensive to me.
Every person with either a disability or an illness, congenital or otherwise,
will be affected in ways unconnected and also connected to their
environment. I know this, having spent considerable time in hospital with a severe
spinal injury in the past myself.
Disability may indeed be a social category in terms of how people with
special needs are judged, treated and prejudiced against in society. However, the
fact they have a disability which requires special needs is an objective and
That people with special needs and/or disabilities should be accorded equal
rights with those who do not and have not is not up for debate. However, the
thrust of this discussion was the role that genes play in human behaviour, in
support of the suggestion that the economic development of a given society -
in this case England (which by the way should have been Britain) - as
opposed to others, could be attributable to some innate characteristics bestowed on
the English middle class by Mother Nature. A suggestion of which Adolf
Hitler would have very much approved.
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