RE: Rumsfeld Says He May Drop New Office of Influence

From: Ned Wolpert (
Date: Sun Mar 10 2002 - 15:21:47 GMT

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    From: Ned Wolpert <>
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    On Sat, 2002-03-09 at 16:46, Scott Chase wrote:
    > I don't think Lerner was equating sociobiologists and Nazis but was offering
    > some biologically deterministic parallelism nonetheless. He really lays into
    > the topic of Nobel prize winning ethologist Konrad Lorenz's checkered Nazi
    > past and his analogy comparing certain humans to a cancerous growth.
    > I'm probably a tad more sympathetic to sociobiology/ep than those on the
    > intellectual Left and may come down a *little* less critically than Gould
    > and his buddies, but I still look at sociobiological (and memetic) notions
    > quite cautiously.

    I too have the same problem. On one hand, I accept that evolution
    exists, and accept the base principles of genetics. I can also agree
    that the 'meme' does exist and that thoughts/ideas are viral and merely
    desire replication. I have a problem when us humans (the vehicle of
    both genes and memes) decide we can manipulate either. As we look at
    eugenics (active or passive) the ease for a 'culture' to develop
    destructive traits, like the Nazis, seems too easy. And what about
    eugenics of the mind? (meugenics?) Does one try to kill religious
    thought like the Marxists of USSR?

    I think the problem is that people believe that evolution is geared to
    go toward a 'perfection', or if it doesn't then they try to push it
    toward a 'perfection'. This seems to be the core problem whenever the
    study of genetics and culture are mixed. (Without trying to rile people
    up via flame-bait, a comment made to me from someone was basically
    "social darwinism is reductionist and/or tautological at its best,
    racist at its worst." Where does sociobiology fit in that?.)

    The only thing I end up with is that educating people on the concept of
    these two replicators is very important. That way we can avoid the
    pitfalls of having two replicators driving our actions though 'instinct'
    and our concept of 'intelligence'. Course, then I'm back to square one;
    what education is this? I don't think it currently exists in any form.


    Virtually, Ned Wolpert <> 4e75

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