E.O. Wilson: Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence

I’ve been a fan of E.O. Wilson for decades. This evening I was culling through some of his videos to share with my twin sister since I discovered during a visit with her (ironically she lives about an hour’s drive from where I’m staying) that she wasn’t familiar with him.

It’s been many years since I’ve read anything by him and today’s review has been most satisfactory since it turns out he does a good job of making some of the same points, I’m trying to get across in my own words, but from a far more educated knowledgeable perspective than I’ll ever attain. I dare say that’s not totally coincidental, we never know what seeds we gather and how they will sprout


Nov 4, 2014
E.O. Wilson: Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence

Biologist E.O. Wilson, a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, discusses his most recent book on the meaning of existence. “Philosophy,” says Wilson, is “a highly endangered academic species.” He argues that explaining the meaning of human existence falls instead to science, which is making significant progress.

EDWARD OSBORN WILSON is an American biologist (Myrmecology, a branch of entomology), researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), and naturalist (conservationism).

Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular humanist ideas concerned with religious and ethical matters. A Harvard professor for four decades, he has written twenty books, won two Pulitzer prizes, and discovered hundreds of new species.

Considered to be one of the world’s greatest living scientists, Dr. Wilson is often called “the father of biodiversity,” (a word that he coined). He is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

TRANSCRIPT: E.O. Wilson: In my book I deal right away with the meaning of meaning because I knew I would be attacked like a disturbed nest of hornets by philosophers if I did not. And of course meaning has a number of meanings, but generally speaking after you’ve gone past the basic religious definition of meaning, which is of course: “The divine creator is responsible for the design and nature of humanity and what else do you want to know?”

After you get past that particular response then the subject moves to meaning as history, that is essentially: What are we and why? Where do we come from?" This is part of meaning too: “Where are we most likely to be headed?”

I like to suggest that in order to answer those questions we cannot do it with religion because every religion has, or every religious faith, rather, has a different creation story, a story of how the universe and the Earth and people came into being. Every faith has its own special accounts of supernatural events, and they differ one from the other. And they are in competition.

In any case they cannot be boiled down to any kind of a coherent explanation because religious faith is very much a product of human culture. We can’t really figure out just what we are or what our meaning is by introspection. I’m reminded of the statement that Darwin made in one of his notebooks, which was that the mind, consciousness, cannot be taken by direct assault.

We cannot imagine what we are inside by thinking about it alone. And it hadn’t been really dented very well by philosophy. I like to say that most of philosophy, which is a declining and highly endangered academic species, incidentally, consists of failed models of how the brain works.

So students going into philosophy have to learn what Descartes thought and then after a long while why that’s wrong and what Schopenhauer might have thought and what Kant might of thought or did think. But they cannot go on from that position and historical examination of the nature of humanity to what it really is and how we might define it.

So by default the explanation of meaning, of humanity, falls to science and we are making progress, if I might speak for science. It’s from five disciplines, and I’ll take just a moment to tell you what they are and it will make sense as to why, not all of science is whole by any means, which is developing exponentially in the creation of knowledge faster and faster…

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/eo-wilson…

Oh no, another scientist declaring the bankruptcy of philosophy! After we had Lawrence Krauss, now we have E.O. Wilson.
First off, Wilson seems never to have heard about the gap between ‘is’ and ‘ought’. In this case the ‘is’ is the factual evolutionary history of humankind, the ‘ought’ is ‘the meaning of life’. But where theologians might be inclined to give answers in the direction Wilson suggests, (most) philosophers do take very well notice about the progress of science. From the other side, Wilson obviously does not take notice what modern systematic philosophers are doing (same blind spot as Krauss).

What Wilson is doing is called by philosophers the naturalistic fallacy. As an extreme example: all species will become extinct. Conclusion: humans should try to get extinct asap. Or should we say: every organism tries to replicate to assure the further existence of their species. So humans should replicate as much as possible. What can evolutionary biology, archaeology and paleontology, brain science, artificial intelligence and robotics, the five most important disciplines concerning the meaning of existence (according to Wilson) do otherwise than showing how life has developed, and showing us the possibilities that open up thanks to our modern technologies? How does that determine exclusively the direction in which we should go? And this is one of the most important subquestions immediately behind the question about the meaning of life.

Wilson is obviously caught in a kind of theological thinking, called scientism. This is, amongst others, the idea that only scientific questions are relevant questions. I call it ‘theological’ because it tries to find an objective answer to the question of the meaning of life. We know where such ‘objectivity’ can lead to: suppression or even elimination of anybody who thinks differently.

Therefore the task of philosophy is not to replace the old theological ‘truth’ with another one: it is to clarify discussions about the meaning of life, e.g. notify the public when somebody uses the trap of the naturalistic fallacy, as in this case. Philosophers cannot answer the question, but can help to clear up the cultural discussion, striving for some form of consensus. But other than in science, this consensus will change, depending on facts we know, on changing cultural values, on new (technological) possibilities etc. So science definitely plays a role in this discussion, namely to get the facts straight, but that is just a part of the whole discussion. Other important parts are how we value human and non-human life, our aesthetics, what we value in our own personal lives etc.

Addition: see here for another take on this.

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My internet has been down, so just catching up quickly. I had this OnBeing downloaded, so I listened to it yesterday. Great review of Kimmerer’s work. As you know, I get annoyed with the language of “philosophy is going extinct and being replaced by science”. It’s a misunderstanding of the word. Philosophy is what you do when you don’t have the science. It’s pre-theorizing, speculation about why things are as they are. It leads to an experiment and the “doing” of science" Philosophy is the thinking about science before we have the data, and thinking about the results, which lead to the next experiment. The philosophy of science is that we are never 100% certain and answers always lead to more questions. When science proves that we are done with science, then, and only then, we will be done with philosophy.

Robin Wall Kimmerer — The Intelligence of Plants | The On Being Project

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I’m honored. It’s going to take a while to carefully read your comment and Dr Torin Alter’s article, as opposed to the skimming they’ve received so far. Thanks for the fodder.

The one thing I want to point out is that it wasn’t without irony that I posted this, since I’m certainly no scientist, if anything, I’m more of a philosopher-type who loves learning through science and experience and musing upon the wonder of it all. So right off I agree that eliminating philosophy isn’t realistic, or desired.

Though I certainly do believe “Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence.” Seems to me, only by first comprehending the science of what we are can ethics, philosophy, even religion, offer opportunities to fill in the storytelling of who we want to be.

My question: What good is philosophy if it doesn’t take into account our up-to-date scientific understanding, specifically the little matter of us being biological creatures, the result of Earth’s folds within folds of processes.

Or the fact that though we don’t have every widget and gadget defined to our satisfaction we do know enough to clearly state that: “our consciousness is the inside reflection of our biological body in action with itself and its sensory inputs.”

Which goes hand in hand with my hobby horse, coming to terms with the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide.

Can you show me any modern philosophy that explicitly incorporates, or at least wrestles with those science based concepts?

Well done Lausten, it’s like you anticipated my question before I posted it. Although she’s not a philosopher, she’s a scientist turning toward philosophy.

That was a beautiful and awesome interview. Listen to the way she phrases her thoughts, that’s what someone outside of the “Abrahamic mindset” sounds like.
Her words harmonize seamlessly with my experiences and ideas.

She closes with a spot on idea: Helping us fall in love with the Earth again."

Regarding moss, on my various river trips one of many sparkling highlights was moss colonies, actually tiny kingdoms, stashed away in little nooks and crannies like so many amazing little oasis’s of life they created. Entire lilliputian dioramas abuzz with activity, and simply beautiful on the eyes and the soul.

Dr Torin Alter, doctor of philosophy at the University of Alabama, was upset by Wilson’s book because what he read in it was that philosophy is dead and that only science is needed to move forward.

I can’t believe that was Wilson’s intended message, if it were, then I’d have to agree, tossing out the baby with the bathwater is no way to go.

I do believe philosophy is needed, besides our human minds will never stop philosophizing.

But, if the point is that philosophy is at a dead end, unless it thoroughly integrates modern scientific evolutionary and biological understanding into its deliberation. That seems self-evident to me.

CC: How much of that is trickling down beyond the university walls?

CC: They can help us learn to appreciate that we are evolved biological beings.
Help us better appreciate that our consciousness is produced from our own bodies, and certainly not from anywhere out in the cosmos.

The me in me, is the product of my body interacting with the world. When we die the only afterlife we’ll have, is the echo we leave within living people and our marks upon this planet.

Science can help us appreciate the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.

Perhaps even inspire us to realize we should be loving our life sustaining Earth

CC: Exclusively? Okay science can’t exclusively provide us with meaning, science provides the facts upon which our minds can build meaning, this is where philosophy and ethics comes in.

CC: Feels to me like you’re being unfair to E.O. Wilson and over-reaching.

CC: Not sure what to do with that, “truth” is unattainable.
Best we can do is “honesty” - such as honestly conveying scientific knowledge.

Why shouldn’t science be able to help clarify this “meaning of life”?

The “meaning of life” is that we are biological creatures that contain the most amazing refinements that Evolution has been able to produce, we have learned how to contemplate ourselves and to sense infinite worlds beyond our natural senses.

We are filaments in the flow of Earth’s Evolution.
But that meaning of life is too simple, our human mind (or is it ego) demands we jazz it up with layers upon layer of interesting and conflicting thoughts.

Sure, that’s plain enough.

But have *lofty philosophical conceits born much fruit in that regard?

How about learning to love our life enabling and sustaining Earth.

For me the problem is, I look at the shape of society and the world today, and to think, this is the best philosophy has been able to do for society? Then I think Ayn Rand, oh yea, sure her philosophy seems to have taken hold with a vengeance. And some wonder why I’m not impressed with professional philosophy.

Excuse me, didn’t mean to be snippy.


Other important parts are how we value human and non-human life, our aesthetics, what we value in our own personal lives etc.*

CC: I don’t see it as an either or question.

My aim here is not to argue for or against Wilson’s brand of empiricism, but to show that he is wrong about how the empiricism/transcendentalism issue should be addressed.
I will begin by raising a problem for his claim that science alone can resolve that issue. Then I will argue (very briefly) that his negative assessment of philosophy’s contribution to ethics is based on misconceptions about the way contemporary philosophy is actually done.”

Staying within Alter’s narrow narrative, okay he wins the argument.

I simply don’t think he fairly represents what Wilson wrote, but I don’t know enough about the book to say for sure. I do agree that philosophy can’t be written off, I also believe should start explicitly integrating evolutionary understand, way better than what I’ve heard of, on our side of the university citadels.

For me it seems that Alter’s article ignored what I believe is the important and core validity, the one philosophy sure as … should be taking on, namely Wilson’s basic argument, whether or not, he got a bit too heavy handed in attacking philosophy.

The way I look it, Philosophy is dead in the water, as a social asset, at least until it starts explicitly acknowledging and incorporating scientific, evolutionary, biological facts into its musings.

… He conjectures that the empiricist will win the day precisely by “that alone” – by establishing the “biological construction” of ethical beliefs, i.e., a gene-culture explanation of their source. Perhaps it is possible to show that there is a tight connection between the origins of ethical values and their justificatory status. But it is far from obvious how such an argument would go. Moreover, it is unclear how science alone could establish the requisite connection.

Speaking to that last sentence, here’s where an explicit recognition of the fact of us being biological creatures; the product of Earth’s processes and billions of years of experimentation, refinements and honing; drives an appreciation that our body/brain produces our mind as a result of having to interact with itself (homeostasis, etc.) and the world via it’s senses.

Make that the starting point. (I can’t believe Wilson dismisses philosophy altogether, if that’s true I also disagree with that.)

Thing is today philosophy is useless to the general public. If it’s not rebuilt upon that factual reality of who we are and where we came from, it can only become more irrelevant.
I would like to believe that’s closer to Wilson’s intent, than an outright rejection of philosophy.

Science has made clear we were not created by some magical cosmic entity. We are the stuff of matter and biological processes.

Our brain/body, which produces all the stories we tell ourselves, all the science, all the philosophy, all the religion, all the gods we people need to get through our days and indeed our sense of selves.

I think Wilson is spot-on that only science can provide the foundation for real world philosophical understanding.

In the final third of his chapter on ethics and religion, Wilson turns his attention to theistic beliefs, and he asks, Do theists believe in God because God is there to be perceived (transcendentalism)? Or, rather, will a gene-culture explanation of theistic beliefs turn out to be correct (empiricism)? He claims that the objective evidence for empiricism is weaker in the case of religion than in the case of ethics (p.258). But the evidence he actually cites is exactly similar in both cases, and so his asymmetrical stance is puzzling. In any event, in neither religion nor ethics should we confuse the origins of our intuitive beliefs with their validity, regardless of how closely the two issues may be intertwined.
The problem is that the pivotal ethical issue that interests Wilson depends upon abstract matters that philosophy is, and science is not, suited to address.


The problem can be brought out in another way. Wilson fails to acknowledge how counterintuitive the consequences of his empiricism about ethics are. As he correctly observes,
If the empiricist world view is correct, ought is just a shorthand for one kind of factual statement, a word that denotes what society first chose (or was coerced) to do, and then codified. (p.251)
Now, suppose “society first chose (or was coerced) to do” acts like torturing innocent children solely for fun. Imagine, for example, . . .

These what if rhetorical set-ups are most disturbing. I’ve no idea what he’s going on about, except that I know it has nothing to do with actual human evolution upon this real planet Earth. It’s also oblivious to the power of our interactions with that world. It’s a rhetorical head game intended to unbalance an ‘opponent’.

Establishing the “biological construction” of the origins of our ethical beliefs would fall considerably short of that (contrived!) standard.

This feel more like striving to vanquish an opponent more than taking the time to learn from one.

This effort to get philosophers to pay more attention to the science should not be reduced to the rhetorical rules of the philosophy game. It’s supposed to be about better understanding the reality of our origins and building a narrative that touches us on a personal emotional level.

It’s about learning to love Earth and getting to understand our place within Physical Reality.

How many contemporary articles on cell biology actually contain the statement, “I may be wrong”?

I don’t know about “contemporary articles on cell biology,” but I do know from talks given by biologists and other scientists, most serious scientists certainly do say they may be wrong, along with sharing competing thoughts, where appropriate.

Philosophy that doesn’t integrate science is psuedo-science. Much of ancient philosophy is psuedo-science. Still important to know it, so we understand our history.

Not really, no. I know what you mean, and in a historical context, you might have a point. In the end, everything that exists as science now, once was called philosophy.

But in a conceptual context it is not true. It depends on the object of your thinking. If you make empirical claims, you need empirical justifications. So that would be science. If you have no empirical method for justifications (or falsifications), then you are lost. You can speculate then, but that is not philosophy. It is at most ‘proto-science’.

Philosophy however, is reflecting on the ways we think. That can be about how we think in the sciences ('philosophy of physics, ‘philosophy of biology’, etc), but also thinking about morality (ethics), or even just conceptual clarification.

When philosophy touches on scientific topics, then surely it should take scientific results into account. But there are a lot of intelligibility problems that cannot be answered by any science, simply because these are not empirical problems.

That would be an example of a naturalistic fallacy. The need for something should relate to an aim, i.e. a value. E.g., because a lot of people lose themselves in aimlessly brooding about something, it doesn’t mean we need it. Even if all empirical questions would have been answered, a lot of (existential) questions would still be unanswered. There philosophy comes in. Of course it should not contradict empirically established facts, in that sense it is important that philosophical discourse should always take the sciences into account.

Torin Alter also writes about the genetic fallacy. This is the sister of the naturalistic fallacy. Just because you can scientifically explain the existence of some discipline, it cannot say anything about the validity of propositions of that discipline. This would fall back to science itself. There are lot of explanations why science came up: cultural, historical, evolutionary etc. But it doesn’t say, and cannot say, which propositions, theories etc are true. That means, any discipline must be encountered on its own pretensions.

Depends on what you mean with ‘appreciate’. For many people it is the opposite: they feel that science is killing off all existential questions, so they do not appreciate science at all. Just take the reactions on climate science… As other example, take all people that believe in a soul and in God. Where should they get their ‘objective’ values if neither exists?

I can. He is not the first one, and will not be the last one. Contrast with Dennett:

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.

Don’t. She is an ideologist, not a philosopher.

The reaction to climate science is a propaganda driven phenomena that is driven by cumulatively literally billions of dollars worth of strategic deception.

Why do thinking people want to pretend that away? I’m disappointed and disillusioned hearing you using such a foolish trope:

The LIES of oil companies about Climate Change since 1959 | Drawing Story

(Sustainability Illustrated - YouTube)

Check out this from 1958.

The Unchained Goddess 1958 - Bell Science Hour (Discusses Weather / Climate Change)


1958 Series produced by Bell Telephone that addresses weather knowledge and prediction. Human caused climate change is addressed at 50:00 for those of you looking for the footage circulating today on the internet.

There’s a lot of truth in Dennett’s sentiment, a life time of reading science books and in the YouTube era listening to plenty of scientist’s talks is what’s driven me to pounding on this “Abrahamic Mindset”, which is all about our self-absorbed philosophical undercurrent (taken on board without examination) and why I keep trying to refine my definition for that term.

Besides I hope you noticed, despite the distain I have for many philosophers, I said I don’t agree with that all or nothing conception, I do appreciate philosophy has a role in humans digesting scientific knowledge.

That’s what you say, but not how she is billed.

Alice O’Connor, better known by her pen name Ayn Rand, was a Russian-born American writer and philosopher. She is known for her fiction and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926.

She was a deeply damaged soul:

Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, to a Russian-Jewish bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg.[6] She was the eldest of three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum, a pharmacist, and Anna Borisovna (née Kaplan).[7] She was twelve when the October Revolution and the rule of the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin disrupted the life the family had enjoyed previously. Her father’s pharmacy was nationalized,[8] and the family fled to the city of Yevpatoria in Crimea, which was initially under the control of the White Army during the Russian Civil War.[9] After graduating high school there in June 1921,[10] she returned with her family to Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was then named),[d] where they faced desperate conditions, occasionally nearly starving.[12]

Thanks for taking the time. :pensive:

The one semantic problem we might have here is “speculation”, which I would be willing to drop.

I’ll list some problems of modern philosophy that I think might clear up where I’m coming from. First, science itself requires a philosophy. Consistency in nature is not a scientific fact for example.

Systems, Inquiry, and the Meanings of Falsification | Philosophy of Science | Cambridge Core

forces - Why are the laws of nature consistent? Is it possible for there to be an existence where (eg.) gravity works only some of the time? - Physics Stack Exchange

good point

CC, you get caught up in the example and miss the question. The question is, “where do people get their values”. For those who don’t spend much effort on the philosophy, it’s God, and that’s the role history has played, mixing religion and power, making it harder for people to even begin to “google” the question. And, sorry, but mind/reality divide is not enough either. It begins with something that is counter-intutitive, something science “told” us. (This is a tangent. I’m going to get back to my list, which is relevant to this)

The Problem of Consciousness - we’ve discussed this one, I know we all have opinions, but it’s far from “solved”.
Mathematical Objects - real or formal constructs? The discussion you and Write4 have.
Realism - does a world exist, independent of human beliefs, one we can get to?
Munchausen’s Trilemma - If you’re on your horse, stuck in the mud, can you pull yourself out if by pulling up on the hair on your head?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Can we be sure other minds are like our own? Philosophical Zombies is one extreme, but even just how we go about confirming this using our own common sense is an interesting study.
Qualia - What is red? Describe it without naming something that is red.

One more note, on how philosophy and science interact. When Copernicus convinced the world of heliocentrism, it must have been a shock to the average person, realizing how long so many people had been wrong about what the ground below our feet is. Taking away God from so many has had an even larger effect, and it’s taking generations to soak in. It’s an oversimplification to point to science and tell people to drop their grandparent’s wisdom and accept science. Especially when you include the very recent idea of uncertainty. How do switch a mind from belief to accepting uncertainty as a foundation for knowledge?

But modern philosophy mostly does! Of course there are a few ‘deviants’, e.g. postmodern philosophy. It often reduces science to ‘just another narrative’.

Philosophy is an ongoing discourse. It is rebuilt continuously. It changes under the influence of science, culture, history, technology, etc.

Nope. Not the foundation. But one of the necessary building blocks.

I was using it intentionally as ‘bad example’: how many people are not prepared to appreciate science. For me the science is clear.

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Yeah we’re each stuck in our own intellectual journey. We each need to do our own homework.

A few days ago I got to watch the first few minutes of some World Wrestling “Entertain” event and the stadium looked bigger than the coliseum, packed like sardines full of screaming drooling fans who were as over the top as the Bozo coming into the rink. Puffed up on ego, self-aggrandizement and the beauty of the bully (F.Y.) state if mind.

Talk about disillusioning, this is what so many want and what’s feeding today MAGA minions, so what’s the point of even trying? I certainly appreciate ain’t no words or ideas going to “switch” those self-absorbed self-certain minds, or many others. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that there are some out there on a similar journey of self discover and a deeper more sober appreciation for this planet we exist on, uncertainty notwithstanding.

Well I was pointing out that many people get their values for being feed deliberate nonsense and cynically manipulated, and too disinterested to read between the lines and do the homework a rational reassessment of what they’ve been fed requires.

But it’s a start that has a real substance to it.

Okay, fair point.

Creating a structure out of blocks built upon sand aren’t safe and will not last very long.
We need a solid foundation, or are you saying a foundation is an impossible conceit?
A foundation certainly can’t be found in our plastic minds.

Well, I think this says it all:

Rand’s relationship with contemporary philosophers was mostly antagonistic. She was not an academic and did not participate in academic discourse. She was dismissive of critics and wrote about ideas she disagreed with in a polemical manner without in-depth analysis. She was in turn viewed very negatively by many academic philosophers, who dismissed her as an unimportant figure who need not be given serious consideration.

I think that is the problem of the metaphor for a theory as a building, needing foundations. As long as a theory has enough ‘operational definitions’, i.e. where terms of the theory can be related to observations, experiments and measurements, it can be a viable scientific theory.
The only foundation I know is ‘turtles, all the way down’. :wink:

Ideally, I consider speculation as phases in science, where scientists try to think about possible explanations or theories. But then, the empirical consequences of these must be drawn, and then tested in experiment and or observation. If a theory does not predict any empirical facts, then it is not a scientific theory; if it can be tested, it is.

So for me philosophy is not science.

Heather Cox Richardson makes this point perfectly. As a senior professor in history, she had 16 hours to research a topic so she could begin to comment on it. Most people can’t do that. The evening news covers a few topics in a half hour, and it would take a few days to fact check and become conversant in all of them, and you still wouldn’t be anywhere near an expert.

I never said she wasn’t a creep. Just that an awful lot do see her as a “philosopher,” though in my eyes she was simply a provocateur and opportunist, and now that I’m thinking on it, she and trump would have probably loved each other.

Well wasn’t that a monstrously huge and fateful mistake in hindsight!
I’ll bet you, she gets googled more than any other real philosopher of her age.

Can you show me any real world philosophical examples?

Not really, it’s actually, “Human Imagining’s, all the way down” :cowboy_hat_face:

What’s important about that is that it forces us to recognize that both science and religion are products of the “realm of Our Mindscape.”

Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we should still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape and all that we’ve learned through our minds.

Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable.

What’s the point? Religions, Science, political beliefs, heaven, hell, even God they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

Confronting Science Contrarians: Considering a Fundamental Cosmic Truth

Only thing I’m an expert on is my own life and experiences. :man_student:

This is the type of statement that I find extremely frustrating. When I bring up human nature, the psychology of belief, or an understanding of why people choose authoritarianism, you respond with rhetorical questions like “what should we do, just roll over?”

But, here, you recognize that a significant minority misunderstands Ayn Rand, believes she is a philosopher and has taken her fantasy and turned it into policy. Suddenly, you understand how it is an error to dismiss the thinking process of people who are wrong. Pick one: dismiss people who don’t think straight, or try to understand human nature.

I don’t understand that, flesh it out a little more.

The history speaks for itself,

she got a free pass so to speak, that is history. She was ignored. Her out of bounds “philosophy” was made that much easier to adopt by uncritical minds, who loved her free-pass to greed and self-aggrandizement.

It’s the same upset I feel when people blame climate scientists and the science for our AGW ignorance and disregard.

Understand human nature? Oh lordie the cognitive dissonance I have to deal with while in this middle class environment I’m currently inhabiting only shows me human nature is fairly set and somewhat hopeless. I’ve come to understand no one out here could care less about any deep musing on Earth or Evolution or human mind and consciousness or where we’re going for that matter. What I’m doing is for the few freaks like me who do think about this planet and Evolution in a realistic manner, people who do do their homework. People who might be able to use something I’ve written for their own journey.

Hey but I’ve got three intelligent people I respect debating me!
Now that’s some progress.


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