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Sociobiology and Reductionism???

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Christine Long 09/12/03 IB Theory of Knowledge Nicely Sociobiology and Reductionism??? It has been taught for centuries that man was the center of the universe. That humans rule the world. And that the thing that sets people apart from the rest is their extraordinary ability to reason and make their own decisions: their freewill. So what would it mean if man's freewill was taken away? Where would that leave us? Would it make us less human? Reductionism is defined as "the attempt to explain all biological processes by the same explanations (as by physical laws) that chemists and physicists use to interpret inanimate matter." There is also a Reductionist theory that suggests that complete reductionism is possible. Reductionists have studied human behavior and suggest that human behavior is based on what our body's molecules do. What if one day they do exceed in explaining human behavior in this way? What would that mean? Would it mean that our whole concept of human existence and human behavior is false? Would it remove the whole idea that the human race's distinction comes from our freewill? ...read more.


This idea would completely remove one's purpose in life. The reductionist explanation on human behavior also removes morals and religion from the picture. Most religions teach that human beings have a purpose on Earth. They teach the existence of freewill in man's mind and heart. They teach morals and encourage people to do well and try their best. If free will does not exist, what role does religion have? What role do morals have? What would this world be like without the existence of morality and religious beliefs? This idea would leave human beings and their role in life as a mechanical process. It would leave human beings not as our idea of being human, but rather robotic. It is like the image of the toy robot in which your wind up the key on his back and set him down and let him go. Is that really a possibility? How could reductionists succeed in explaining human behavior on the molecular level? Human beings are so different; it would be like comparing all the sets of fingerprints on everyone's hands. There are many problems with comparing human beings and conducting researches on human behavior. ...read more.


If these people start believing that their entire existence is predetermined, it could cause them to seek no purpose in life, it could cause them to put forth no effort in life. Also, it might remove the moral values that they may have once believed in. Without morals would people still do good things in the world? Or would they only seek to please themselves and there whimsical desires? Morality is like glue that holds this world together. The difference between what is right and wrong and also the pursuit of what is true and good is what gives people a purpose in life. Human beings need a purpose in the world in order to function as we know it. People need the feeling of success and achievement. They need something to strive for. We need moral values and religion. Religious beliefs are based on having a purpose in the world and attaining to do what is good. Without a purpose in the world, what would life be like? It would be a mechanical process in which humans behaved like robots. And without freewill, what would be the purpose in the world? What would it mean to be human? Word count: 1202 ...read more.

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