Sunday, September 26, 2010


Currently, slowly, working my way through a Darwin biography.... I couldn't help drawing a comparison between a repeated comment (by the biographers) about why an Owen or a Lyell hesitated to make the jump to "transmutation"... i.e. "evolution" while a handful of others, like Darwin, did, and similar comments by people discussing free will versus determinism. Always, those reluctant naturalists stated "fears" that it degraded mankind to put him in the biological line of monkeys.

In almost every situation when we're discussing free will, those opposed to determinism fear that we will lose "moral accountability" if we agree that human behavior is determined by electro/chemical factors beyond our control. Darwin's reply in his journals was that he opposed the arrogance of that idea which put humankind on a pedestal in the discussion of biology. He got this from his Fueguian [sp] experiences.

There is nothing scientific about a moral or fearful objection to the facts of natural selection or determinism. Of course, I know there's nothing scientific about my conclusion that we can measure the accuracy of the facts by the depth of the fear that they arouse in the human subconscious, but it's interesting to contemplate: the deeper the fear the nearer the truth. But who or what is fearing the concept of powerlessness? And why? Would accepting our powerlessness be harmful to our survival or would it create an entirely new world consciousness?

Imagine how fearful we would be if we had to suspend our judgment about all human behavior since those judgments are vital to our survival....... but........ only in a hunter/gatherer society?

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