Re: Buzzwords (was)Judging Beauty (was: wee-little

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 14:28:40 MDT

QueeneMUSE wrote:

> This is exactly what I mean when I say 'fashionable' trends of thought. There
> you have three of the most popular trends of blah-blah available today in one
> sentence.
> 1. The selfish gene rules your actions
> 2. The lizard brain is responsible for your bad actions
> 3. Beauty is for breeding only
> I've experienced the same arguments over and over at cocktail
> parties and conferences -- and they are all based on mildly
> theoretical best sellers containing lots of buzzwords.
> I reject all three as a justification for not taking responsibility
> for your own choices.

I highly reccomend that you read the first few chapters of Pinker's "How
the Mind Works," where he argues that we ourselves are responsible for our
moral actions, no matter what biology tells us.

This was actually the main focus of the talk he gave at Yale last year,
fleshing out the idea that "to understand is NOT to forgive", that knowing
why you committed a bad action doesn't require me in any way to say that
your action is any less wrong, or not your responsibility, or whatever.

If you agree with Pinker, and I do, by and large, you might well concede
the buzzword-biologist's point that our actions are influenced to a
non-trivial extent by our genes and by our "lizard brain," without
conceding the argument that we are somehow not responsible for our moral


      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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