Sunday, July 09, 2017

Eroding Humanism

Harari thinks science has begun eroding some of the foundations of liberal humanism:

Over the last century, as scientists opened up the Sapiens black box, they discovered there neither soul, nor free will, nor ‘self’ – but only genes, hormones and neurons that obey the same physical and chemical laws governing the rest of reality. Today when scholars ask why a man drew a knife and stabbed someone to death, answering ‘Because he chose to’ doesn’t cut the mustard. Instead, geneticists and brain scientists provide a much more detailed answer: ‘He did it due to such-and-such electrochemical processes in the brain that were shaped by a particular genetic make-up, which in turn reflect ancient evolutionary pressures coupled with chance mutations.’

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 282). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Deliberately provocative? Well duh.