How to deal with theories

As this is my first text in this blogg, I should perhaps present myself in short: I am a biologist by training, have spent most of my professional life as a laborant (working very mostly with rats, and gladly so), am now retired and spend my time by cultivating (in turns) my German roots (by visiting my friends and relatives there) and my interest in psychology (especially political psychology), politics, some technology, some philosophy.

The following text is in some way related to the recent text by Vivi Bolin which was titled ”Länge leve socialismen och bilogin!” Because also I have a bone to pick with those who are criticizing biology while not knowing very much about it …

Short before leaving for my most recent travel to Germany I found in Ny Tid a longish article by Bernt Österman in which he presented a recent book by Thomas Nagel (titled ”Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Concept of Nature is Almost Certainly False”); he obviously liked the book very much, and presented it accordingly.

As a biologist, and having myself years ago written, among others, a paper about ”Conscious Machines” (available on request), I disagreed with Thomas Nagel and wrote an according, long comment to Bernt Österman’s article in the web edition of Ny Tid. There were no further comments on either his article or my comment – from where the impression that his article was, seemingly, uncritically accepted by most readers. Which I do not like and which also brings to my memory an occasion from the ”good old times” of Ny Tid: There was, once upon a time, a printed supplement to Ny Tid (produced in Åbo, I forgot the title) in one issue of which they took up the, then, very lively debate about Creationism. They did it so that they gave 2 pages to the champion of Creationism and, in the same issue, 2 pages to Tom Reuter, professor of zoology. In his part, Tom Reuter was already answering to the claims of Creationism quite sufficiently, but I thought it then a pity how many good things which one could have said still had been left unsaid. And I wrote an additional answer to Creationism and sent it to Åbo, where they took the trouble of translating it to Swedish and putting it into their next issue. After which there did not come much any more from the champion of Creationism …

This is how one also can deal with an idea which tries to shake the ”Materialist Neo-Darwinian Concept of Nature”. But the trouble was not taken about Thomas Nagel’s ideas. Instead, his ideas were simply presented, even in a very appreciating way, and as they are certainly flattering (who would not like to see him/herself as a representative of ”ett universum som vaknar upp”) there is some probability that they got/will get a foothold in a number of readers’ minds – and never mind that the whole idea is based on the error that materia och medvetande had no discernable connection …

And why do I think it now so important to defend the Materialist Neo-Darwinian view of, among others, the human mind? Because Ny Tid calls itself still somewhere a ”vänstertidning” while I consider myself to be politically on the Left. And because I think that without Neo-Darwinism it is impossible to understand human behaviour and the mechanisms which are at work in society (cf. Vivi Bolin’s piece and my comment on it). Which will leave one without very necessary orientation when trying to improve the state of society – which  is just what the Left is trying to do, isn’t it …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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