"At a conference on genes and society in Cambridge last year, a speaker worried that we are succumbing to genetic determinism, the idea that DNA shapes nearly everything about a person. But such determinism is false, he argued, since the environment too contributes heavily to behavior and personality. The soothing implication was that environmental influences are somehow less constraining than genetics.*
*(Ask yourself does the idea that 'environmental influences are somehow less constraining than genetics' make sense?)
...its been clear for some time that environmental influences are no less determining than genetics, and that character is set by circumstances as much as biology. As B. F. Skinners work in behaviorism showed, the molding effect of the environment is powerful and often predictable, and recent research on the neural "reward pathway" in the brain has laid the groundwork for understanding precisely how the self is shaped by experience.
...Well see, following Wilson and Wright, that we are still gripped by morality and that the law doesnt lose its teeth. Nor, just because we admit that we havent built our motives and character from the ground up, will we become any less unique, or creative, or committed in what we do. Cravings, ambitions, and altruistic concerns will still have their way with us.
However, we might become a little less egocentric in taking credit for our accomplishments, and a little more wary of piling on blame for "failures of will."
...By dropping the idea that people essentially create themselves, well likely pay more attention to fostering the social and economic conditions which bring out the best in us.
And to the extent that the notion of uncaused free will fuels the desire for retribution, support for the death penalty and other needlessly harsh punishments should diminish.
Questioner: Last night you said God is guiding us. Then why should we make an effort to do anything?
Ramana: Who asks you to do so?"
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Determinism - "Who asks you to do so?"
Thornton's Guerilla_Blog: Superstition, sustention, & sanity. . .:
Posted by Rob Pugh at Wednesday, February 01, 2006