Friday, November 30, 2007

Biology: The Cause-All

By Joseph Kellard

The Dec. 3 issue of Time Magazine has a cover story on what supposedly makes man good/evil. I've not read it yet, but the subheads surrounding the print edition clearly state Time's view: man's morality is writ deep in his DNA. With the cover featuring photos of Ghandi (the good) and Hitler (the evil), with dotted lines leading each photo to a different section (left and right) of an oversized human brain, you can bet Time's take on good and evil is that it's all about biology. Ideas, fundamental premises, philosophy-what's that have to do with anything?,16641,1101071203,00.html

There's also a moral quiz you can take, which includes the typical "life boat" scenario.

In my regular reading of newspapers and magazines, I come across articles like this all the time, each explaining all types of behaviors mainly or exclusively on biology grounds, with never a mention that man has not just a brain, but a mind with ideas and free will. It's gotten to the point now that a biological explanation is attributed to almost every human action or emotion. (I recall an article in USA Today, right around when we turned our clocks back for daylight savings, about how people get more "depressed" when it gets darker earlier each day, and some biological chemical explains it all.)

This Time article provides a good opportunity for my readers to write letters to the editor. Let's start injecting an Objectivist view into this issue. At least let's try to get a debate going on an issue where it's noticeably absent.

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