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moments to share, moments to care

a brief history. pt. 3.

i hope this will be the last entry of that mind blowing book. i'm not even half way there, but it keeps blowing my mind.

"Let us try to translate the most famous line of American Declaration of Independence into biological terms:

We hold there truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

According to the science of biology, people were not "created". They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be "equal". The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creating and souls, what does it mean that all people are "equal"? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. "Created equal" should therefore be translated into "evolved differently".

Just as people were never created, neither, according to biology, is there a "Creator" who "endows" them with anything. There is only a blind evolutionary process, devoid of any purpose, leading to the birth of individuals. "Endowed by their Creator" should be translated simply into "born".
Equally there are no such things as rights in biology. There are only organs, abilities and characteristics. Birds fly not because they have a right to fly but because they have wings. And it's not true that these organs, abilities and characteristics are "unalienable". Many of them undergo constant mutations, and may well be completely lost over time. The ostrich is a bit that has lost its ability to fly. So "unalienable rights" should be translated into "mutable characteristics".
What are the characteristics that evolved in humans? "Life", certainly. But "liberty"? There is no such thing in biology. Just like equality, rights and limited liability companies, liberty is something that people invented and that exists only in their imagination. (again necessary for the society to stick together). From a biological viewpoint, it is meaningless to say that humans in democratic societies are free, whereas humans in dictatorships are unfree. And what about happiness? So far biological research has failed to come up with a clear definition of happiness or a way to measure it objectively. Most biological studies acknowledge only the existence of pleasure, which is more easily defined and measured. So "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" should be translated into "life and the pursuit of pleasure".
So here is that line from the American Declaration of Independence translated into biological terms:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics and that among these are life and the pursuit of pleasure.

Advocates of equality and human rights may be outraged by this line of reasoning. Their response is likely to be "we know all people are not equal biologically!"

@"Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari.

Bottom line - for the society to function and for so many people to collaborate, we must follow this "naive" idea of equal rights. The leaders, politicians, popes must themself believe in the idea of democracy, Christ, or it won't survive. Our society lives on as long as we believe in society.

That is it, I must stop.

Skrivet av arlona, 2018-10-31 09:25

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