Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Charles Rykken

    June 4, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you for your comments. Since 1966 as a high school senior, I was convinced by Goethe(his writings) that reductionistic mechanistic materialism was not only wrong, it was evil. Science should instead be based on a study of relationships from a holistic viewpoint. I have been trying to convince people of that wisdom all my life(I am now 74). In 2015 someone loaned me his copy of the master and his emissary for a couple of weeks. I soon ordered my own copy and read it voraciously. I was ecstatic. Here was someone who agreed with Goethe but had a mountain of evidence that that pov was deeply grounded in reality. I was surprised by his adulation of the Catholic Church and his bad mouthing the protestants but I let it slide because I believed the message about Goethe’s vision of science was much more important. Very recently, however, I have realized that Dr. McGilchrist has such a poor grasp of science and mathematics that his message is not getting through as well as it might were his understanding of science a bit deeper. I decided to distance myself from him and will not renew my membership in Channel McGilchrist this fall when I am due to renew. But before leaving I decided to go back to my misgivings about his attitude about catholics and protestants. For the last year or two I have been trying to understand why so many authoritarian characters are comfortable in a holistic and ineffable philosophy. I have settled in on the issue of monism. I definitely believe that heritable traits are very real. One of the major issues in philosophy is the nature/nurture or trait/situation debate. Up until recently the only real evidence was from separated monozygotic twins. The numbers in the studies are ridiculously small and have no real statistical power. Now, the cost of sequencing an entire genome has dropped to about $100 to $300. This has made it likely that the problem of heritable traits will be fairly well fleshed out in less than ten years. There are already signs that my belief is correct. What this means philosophically speaking is that it makes no sense at all to speak of humanity or “being human” as a monolithic situation. Above all, it totally destroys existentialism which makes the pure bullshit claim the existence precedes essence. That makes the scientific basis of Heidegger’s philosophy to be pure baloney. This is where the view of William James and Friedrich Nietzsche that a person’s character influences their choice of philosophy. I firmly believe that. So, just like Nagel wondered what it is like to be a bat we humans must also wonder what it is like to be people who are very different from us and how their personality influences their choice of belief.