Biological determinism

We humans don’t like to look “under the hood” at our own physical infrastructure, including our minds as biological computers.

But we must, because that’s how nature passes traits between generations. You can learn a behavior, but until it’s hard-wired, it must be re-learned. These traits define us and our individual tendencies.

You cannot learn an ability. For example, you cannot learn to be smarter. You can memorize analytical roadmaps and become more effective, but only an increase in wiring can make you smarter.

These are truths the equality people really don’t want to think about. Yet they are hard science, and again, liberalism is in denial of hard science:

In the last 50 years or so, economists have started taking an interest in the value of human capital. That means all of the qualities of the people who make up the workforce. Heiner Rindermann, of the Chemnitz University of Technology, wanted to look more closely at human capital, and particularly the factor that psychologists call cognitive ability. “In other words, it’s the ability of a person to solve a problem in the most efficient way—not with violence, but by thinking,” Rindermann says. He wrote the new study with James Thompson of University College London.

The researchers collected information on 90 countries, including far-off lands from the U.S. to New Zealand and Colombia to Kazakhstan. They also collected data on the country’s excellence in science and technology—the number of patents granted per person and how many Nobel Prizes the country’s people had won in science, for example.

They found that intelligence made a difference in gross domestic product. For each one-point increase in a country’s average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country’s per capita GDP was $468 higher.

“Within a society, the level of the most intelligent people is important for economic productivity,” Rindermann says. He thinks that’s because “they are relevant for technological progress, for innovation, for leading a nation, for leading organizations, as entrepreneurs, and so on.” Since Adam Smith, many economists have assumed that the main thing you need for a strong economy is a government that stays out of the way. “I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom,” Rindermann says. – Psychological Science

Socially speaking, we’re all equal.

Biologically speaking, we are not.

Mahajan and her team also devised a method for figuring out whether the monkeys harbor negative feelings towards outsiders. They created a monkey-friendly version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT).

For humans, the IAT is a computer-based task that measures unconscious biases by determining how quickly we associate different words (e.g. “good” and “bad”) with specific groups (e.g. faces of either African-Americans or European-Americans). If a person is quicker to associate “bad” with African-American faces compared to European-American faces, this suggests that he or she harbors an implicit bias against African-Americans.

For the rhesus monkeys, the researchers paired the photos of insider andoutsider monkeys with either good things, such as fruits, or bad things, such as spiders. When an insider face was paired with fruit, or an outsider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys quickly lost interest. But when an insider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys looked longer at the photographs. Presumably, the monkeys found it confusing when something good was paired with something bad. This suggests that monkeys not only distinguish between insiders and outsiders, they associate insiders with good things and outsiders with bad things.

Overall, the results support an evolutionary basis for prejudice. Some researchers believe prejudice is unique to humans, since it seems to depend on complex thought processes. For example, past studies have found that people are likely to display prejudice after being reminded of their mortality, or after receiving a blow to their self-esteem. Since only humans are capable of contemplating their deaths or their self-image, these studies reinforce the view that only humans are capable of prejudice.

But the behavior of the rhesus monkeys implies that our basic tendency to see the world in terms of “us” and “them” has ancient origins. – Scientific American

Evolution works by a number of ways, one of which is differentiation. If you want to fix any traits in a population, you need to isolate it and (to a biologically safe level) inbreed it. Our media uses the term “inbreed” in a negative sense, but if you’re human, you are inbred; otherwise, you would have ended up being a less distinct population closer to our simian relations.

For any population to achieve unique traits, it needs to be “racist” in the same way these monkeys are: it needs to pull away. Even within races, for any population to fix those higher IQs within its members, it needs to classify others as outsiders and break away, focusing on itself.

This is Darwinism. This is natural selection. Those who don’t see this, or oppose it, are ignorant of science and are using social reasons to create a political rejection of scientific findings.

The average salary of graduates in my field is 12 (!) times what it is in Israel, the professional challenge is much greater, and my circle of friends will continue to expend.

So why will I be returning to Israel? It’s precisely the stay here that made me realize that we have no other place except our country. I now understand that Israel is the only place in the world where I’ll truly feel at home. I understand that despite my reserve service and all the wars, I nonetheless feel the safest in Israel. I realize that Israel is the only place where my identity as a Jew won’t stop me from at least dreaming to reach as far as possible.

I also understand that it’s important for me to take part in these historical moments where the Jewish people returned to its homeland after 2,000 years of exile. Mostly, my stay here made me realize that in the era of human rights the Jewish people has no future without tiny Israel. And this future is dear to me.

People who moved overseas tend to say that they did it because of the quality of life. However, quality of life is not only measured by the size of your house or the view from the window; it is also not measured by the amount of money you make or its color.

Hopeful about Israel’s future

Quality of life is measured first and foremost by the meaning of the life you live and is derived from the sense of belonging to the people around you, the wholeness of your identity, and the knowledge that by living in our state you are part of something bigger; bigger than you, and sometimes bigger than logic. – Ynetnews

Maslow’s hierarchy may need some adjustment: humans need meaning and a sense of purpose above all else. That sense of purpose lets them endure mortality, struggle against adversity, and push themselves to achieve more than they would in any other case.

This is the positive side of self-identification; it gives the individual a place and a context, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of a path in life. There’s a right way and a wrong way. Life is no longer arbitrary, or based on arbitrary social currents (who’s hip in music). Life has meaning and society, instead of being a drain, is a collaborative, cooperative effort toward that end.

That vision sounds a lot healthier than living in a giant shopping mall, buying stuff and pleasing oneself, hoping that somehow “meaning” emerges from one of the last 2,000 exotic religions or food groups you tried. Maybe the underwater group sex Yoga class will help, or the latest book from Oprah, as the years pass and life echoes as hollow as a high school detention.

Here’s another positive side:

Since then, she’s concluded that people’s values are what motivate them. If the values are good ones, good actions will follow. Hence it’s importance for people to tap their spiritual traditions for guidance in caring for the environment, she says.

“I saw that if people have [good] values, they can sustain what they are doing,” says Maathai in a recent interview at a New York City hotel not far from the United Nations, where she’s addressed the General Assembly in the past.

“If you don’t have good values, you’ll embrace vices,” she says. And if we give in to the vices, “We destroy ourselves. We destroy the environment. If we can embrace [good] values, we also heal ourselves. And in the process we heal the environment.” – CSM

If you value something larger than the individual, such as a collective/collaborative/cooperative effort to nourish a civilization, you also can care about the land. Your life is no longer self-focused, but values-focused.

It’s the same way people become successful parents. Instead of seeing their children as possessions who serve a role in the parent’s life, the parent sees the children as members of a small community called a family. Each person has a role, and each role sustains the whole.

Modern society has taken us from this kind of clarity into a vision of the self as all: personal pleasures and pursuits, and personal wealth, are more important than any outside obligation. As a result, we have sacrificed meaning and become alienated from our own hopes.

Although it sounded good at first, individualism leaves us alone and in the dark, even as we pound impotently on the walls and scream toward the sky that we are empowered; the truth is that we are isolated, and our lives are more like jail sentences in a shopping mall than some directed fulfillment of values.

7 Comments

  1. The Crow says:

    From a forum I recently frequented:
    There is a demonstrable lack of original thinking, in modern times.
    Life has become a vortex of memes, going round and round.
    People claim things that make no sense at all, for example: “we are all equal”.
    You had better agree with them, or you are promptly labeled a Nazi!
    But so what?
    Anyone who believes such a thing, clearly has no valid opinion, anyway. Why?
    Because it is not their opinion, at all. It is a meme.

    Respond to ridiculous statements with: “Why do you hold such an opinion?”
    You will then observe that many people have nothing at all with which to support their statements. They will become angry and abusive, while accusing you of being angry and abusive. Which you are not being, at all.

    So what is “original thought”?
    It is a thought that you came to, by yourself, as a result of pondering whatever subject your thoughts refer to. Nobody else invented it. It is not some quote, that you now quote back, like a parrot. It is yours. You own it. You can back it up, with the reasoning that allowed you to come to it.

    Political Correctness is the technique of replacing one’s own thought, with the thought of someone else, and enforcing compliance with that thought. You see signs of this everywhere, once you start looking.

    So: do you have the ability to think originally? Are your thoughts your own?
    Are you sure they are your own?

  2. The Crow says:

    Whoa…
    This must be Anti Feminism Week.
    Sign me up. Let’s do this more often.

    I am all for encouraging Feminists to become Women.
    (And for Male Feminists to become Men.)

    1. CherrysThorne says:

      hee hee

  3. The Crow says:

    Oops: sorry.
    I posted the last comment on the wrong article.
    Silly, silly me :(

  4. [...] has been pointed out by Mr. Stevens in his article on biological determinism, intelligence in any form, while slightly malleable, is ultimately an innate characteristic of an [...]

  5. [...] one of the more interesting is their exploration of evolution using foxes, performed despite the ideological opposition to evolutionary theory. Led by a biologist named Dmitry Belyaev, researchers at the nearby [...]

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