Friday, 21 December 2012

Humans vs Darwinism

One argument against memetics is that evolutionary theorists should not go in for controversy - and should instead close ranks to concentrate on their real foe: theism. I don't really approve of this argument - on the grounds that theism is has been scientifically dead for over a century, and there's no point is kicking a dead horse.

However, it is certainly true that some are still struggling with the first wave of the Darwinian revolution, let alone stages 2 and 3. A case in point is the recent works by philosophers:

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel and What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini.

I'm inclined to blame such material on Sturgeon's Law. It is an illustration of human irrational resistance to Darwinism, though. Memetics brings Darwinism into human culture. The evolving brain puts Darwinism into the human mind. Some humans can't stomach this.

1 comment:

  1. “One argument against memetics is that evolutionary theorists should ... close ranks to concentrate on ... theism.”

    This strikes me as an argument based on fear and misconception. I don't know if you've ever seen my blog, Tim, but it takes the position that conventional religion is now unnecessary and will soon vanish. Modern understanding can now fill in almost all of the blanks that Bronze Age thought-systems filled with gods.

    In my opinion, some of those ancient philosophers did an astonishingly good job, considering how little they knew. As smart as they may have been, though, they were missing key parts of the puzzle. Without knowledge of physics and evolution (including memetics), neither the physical nor the mental world could have been modeled rationally.

    Indeed, some people (including me) argue that Abrahamic notions such as “The Devil” are explainable purely in terms of memetics. It is also my view that the underpinnings of Buddhism become more clear in the light of memetics and neurology.

    Religion is currently thrashing around violently and politicizing itself, and we can't simply ignore that. But if we can offer a replacment, there doesn't have to be a fight.

    I find it unfortunate that many of my fellow non-believers portray theism as evil. Yes, it can lead to horrid acts, but I expect that in a generation or two most people will see religion as a transitional fossil. We wouldn't want a dinosaur in our living rooms, and as atheism evolves into post-atheism we can discover that we no longer need theism in our lives — or our minds.