Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Impossibility for breakfast

An Italian court has been in the news because a judge there reduced a
murderers sentence (originally nine years) after presented with
evidence the guy had a gene for aggression.

Quoting New Scientist:
"Last week, Nature reported that Pier Valerio Reinotti, an appeal
court judge in Trieste, Italy, cut Bayout's sentence by a year after
finding out he has gene variants linked to aggression."

The science community sputtered about how individual responsibility
was not different for someone with such a gene, and other stuff. The
facts pointed out by Jan Cox, the 20th century empiricist of
mysticism, is that genetics determines everything. Everything, those
nice ladies who would die rather than spill tea while filling
someone's cup, are just as helpless as some bonking conker.

The mechanical mind cannot remember the above and also keep in mind
that man cannot, should not, relinquish a hold on his belief that
individual responsibility is possible. The entire progress of human
history depends partly on persons maintaining such a conviction. So
scientists and more often, commentators will talk on about
environmental versus genetic influences and free will, without ever
noticing such discussions shred comprehensibilty, and this is not
noticed because people HAVE to believe in individual responsibility.
They cannot notice that to talk of genetic influences makes no sense
unless you can draw a line between what is genetically determined and
what is not.

To try though and grasp these contradictory things can be a start
toward appreciating the nature of the human intellect, an organ with a
function different from that imagined by public intellectuals. To
appreciate the impossibility of a task, like personal change in a
universe completely determined, is a necessary step for persons with
a certain aim.


Brian said...

What if the judge has a "merciless sentencing" gene?

Brian said...

What if the judge has a "merciless sentencing" gene?

Margaret said...

What do you mean "if"...?
To build a seaworthy boat you need to know about water, is why I brought up the lack of free will on the planet. (And he also said if what you see does not make you smile, then you didn't "get" it.)
You and I both knew Jan so, this incredible luck in our lives, is this disadvantage, -- we overestimate the odds of anyone's encountering a figure who knows, and who is willing to take on students. I am pleased you posted a comment...Marsha