What is ‘man’?

Hacking Darwin

The reign of scientism over the definition of man in the age of Crispr could be disastrous: scientists have no real grasp of the nature of man, and worse no willingness to give up their reductionist view of man to learn. Does man have a soul, a will, a consciousness (self-consciousness)? Can man act freely in ethical action or is that, pace science, an illusion? Is enlightenment real, is rebirth a reality and if so how does this alter our view of man? Does man have an aesthetic sense or is that Kantian superstition? If free will is real how does this impinge on genetics.
All of these questions will be deleted as a cadre of behaviorist ‘scientists’ seize control of the definition of man as a genetic construct, a behaviorist robot. And they will become indirectly violent to enforce this: capitalism requires belief in social darwinism, competition and elimination. Will scientists be able to critique capitalist ideology?

We must suspect that man is not purely a genetic construct and that evolution is not purely genetic. The lesson of caution is to be wary of meddling in complex systems you don’t understand. Let us hope at least that the wrong views will prove self-limiting and force an extended understanding of man.
We must wary of the way capitalism will try to take control here.

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