We’re seeing the fading of Social Darwinism and Sociobiology as the belief that might makes right disappears.  What society suggests is acceptable behavior and the origin myths of scientific theory are inextricably entwined.  As one goes, so does the other.  Peace is not supportive of Neo-Darwinist perspectives.  A sociobiologist is a blood brother to a war-enthralled neo-conservative.  We are watching both retire.

The Nature vs. Nurture battle looks like it’s also coming to an end, though it’s a little slow to manifest in culture.  This arbitrary dichotomy has made its contribution to our Reagan/9/11 return to Victorian times by suggesting that genetics and the environment don’t traffic with one another.  This is sociobiological dogma.  As “red in tooth and claw” withdraws and integrated insights into our origins emerge, specific changes in our society are inevitable.

Proponents of Nature say genetics are the primary determinant of behavior.  Supporters of Nurture emphasize the influence of the environment on how we unfold.  We associate the former with a politics of protecting those with something to protect.  The owners in an ownership society will always be in combat with the dark forces of those forced to behave the way their genetics tell them to.

Focusing on how a modified environment can result in profound change in behavior, Nurture enthusiasts are our political liberals.  Bend the budget in the direction of providing a better world for those without the resources to change it themselves, and a better world we’ll have.

Annoyingly, the division itself is a Sociobiological/Nature proponent point of view.

We now understand that the environment influences genetics, that genetics can be changed by the environment (implications that even a preMendel Darwin wrote about at length in his The Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication).  The whole argument that there is an argument is moot.  The disagreement disappearing has its societal implications.  If the right-wingers are wrong about it being OK to take resources from different colored people both near and far away, then lefties are incorrect that there are not deep differences between men and women, blacks and whites, indigenous peoples and moderns, between the autistic and nonautistic child.  Still, the differences are of a wholly different order than the differences we’ve been told to pay attention to, to date.

Environment is not more important than genetics.  Genetics are not more relevant than the environment.  Both conjectures are absurd.  Connections between Nature and Nurture are only beginning to be understood.  The inquiry may end with an understanding that there is no difference, literally, at all.  Hard to imagine.  But consider that before conception all the way past death, we are all interconnected, with environmental influences informing genetic triggers.  Consider that we are genetically predisposed to consider the environment when every single ontogenetic decision is made.  The concept of individuality would have to be re-interpreted.

Throw out individuality and you re-examine liberty and freedom.  Soon you have the philosophical foundation for noting how we’re all connected, not apart.


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