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Thread: Genetic Determinism

  1. #1 Genetic Determinism 
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    This is an appropriately selfish request since my exams are looming, but I've just been revising my Evolutionary Psychology course and I seem to keep falling into the trap of genetic determinism. I'm just reading a bit of Dawkins, although he has been accused of genetic determinism he actually goes to lengths to argue against it: 'We effortlessly (well, fairly effortlessly) defy them (genes) every time we use contraception'. (The Selfish Gene, Endnotes to chapter 2). I can't help arguing that contraception helps with reproductive success and the fitness of offspring by regulating unwanted pregnancy which leads to poor parental investment. Please argue against genetic determinism. I'm currently under the belief that the environment and non-genetic factors only serve altering genetics through natural selection which leads back to genetics being responsible to all behaviour since we are programmed to interact with the environment in a certain way.


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  3. #2  
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    Man has the ability to make choices. For instance, our genes dictate that we will be a certain height/size, but if we do not eat well, we will become malnourished, never reaching that predetermined size. Moreover, I get the sense that Dawkins believes we are subservient to genes (eg Immortal coils), but nowadays with genetic engineering, it seems like we are taking matters into our own hands.


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  4. #3  
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    One could argue that memes compete with genes for determining the course of man. Is that the sort of thing you're looking for?
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    Your discomfort may be due to thinking it's either you... or your genes. Us-or-them... me-or-it. This is a false dilemma. Your genes are you. It's all you.

    I wonder if religion is responsible for the common illusion that "you" are an entity apart from the flesh.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I wonder if religion is responsible for the common illusion that "you" are an entity apart from the flesh.
    I don't think so. It's this way get that illusion because among our many senses the strongest and perhaps strangest is we sense what our brain is doing--and hence apart somehow.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
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  7. #6  
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    The illusion of the ghost in the machine started with Descartes, and was readily supported by the religious communities. Buddhism is the exception which explicitly teaches this is an illusion.
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

    Fancy a game of chess?
    http://www.itsyourturn.com/
    Challenge me, Delphi, and join the Pythian games.
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