Hard to Believe?

Who Succumbs to Addiction, and Who Is Left Unscathed? – NYTimes.com

A stressful environment in which there is ready access to drugs can trump a low genetic risk of addiction in these animals. The same may be true for humans, too. And that’s a notion many find hard to believe: Just about anyone, regardless of baseline genetic risk, can become an addict under the right circumstances.

Why would many find that hard to believe?

Because they are stuck in their deterministic materialist fantasies, which include superstitions about genetically determined human nature. These superstitions involve not merely intelligence and athletic ability, but also sexuality, addiction, personality traits, and criminality. They are the basis for the superstitious belief that human nature “evolved” from some prior form of animal nature, and consequently the belief that human nature can be engineered in order to “improve the race.”

The corollary to a belief in genetically determined human nature is a belief in environmentally determined human nature, which could supposedly be modified through psychological or social engineering. “Nature” and “nurture” are considered to be opposing views, but they share presuppositions. The error in common is the superstition that individual humans or groups of humans can be deterministically modified by controlling causal factors that are discovered by scientific experiment.

One of the attractions of scientific materialism (as a philosophy) for the non-scientist is the promise of altering human nature. For those who despise humanity, the options are to be indifferent to it (pantheism) or to change it (transhumanism). The motivation for acting on such beliefs is the desire to avoid personal responsibility in the existential sense.

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