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Toward a Judeo-Marxist biology

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Maykkerz
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After initial enthusiasm, Marx was critical of Darwin’s theories of biology. Marx’s views on biology can be traced backed to Feuerbach, Hegel and Spinoza. Spinoza provides the modern formulation of the Bible’s presentation of biology wherein all living forms are endowed with soul and thus eternity. Needless to say, this view clashes with the dominant paradigm in biology today. The purpose of this thread is to explore the realm of biology from this alternative perspective. It will draw on the work of those named previously, as well as that of two more recent thinkers, Constantin Brunner and Harry Waton.
 

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Maykkerz
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Some fundamentals:
  • The fundamental building block of life is the cell.
  • All multi-cellular organisms are nothing more than communities of cells.
  • All properties of multi-cellular organisms are the result of the activities of the cells of which they are composed in interaction with the surrounding environment.
  • Cells reproduce either through division alone or through division and union with another cell of the same kind.
  • Cells have a certain capability for self-modification.
  • Cells have a certain capability for producing cells that are not identical to themselves.
 

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May I ask why you call it Judeo-Marxist? What is the signifiance of the Judeo? Wouldn't just Marxist biology be sufficient? Lysenko maybe?
 

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Maykkerz
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May I ask why you call it Judeo-Marxist? What is the signifiance of the Judeo? Wouldn't just Marxist biology be sufficient? Lysenko maybe?
I had clearly indicated a continuity in thought about biology from the Bible to Marx. It is this continuity that I seek to emphasize and upon which I am establishing my approach to biology. Any discussion about Marx and biology usually comes around to Lysenko. I do not claim to be knowledgeable about Lysenko, but the Wikipedia article about him indicates that he rejected Mendelian genetics. This is not a view to which we subscribe. I do not know if Marx was aware of Mendel's work. However, there is not doubt that Mendelian genetics supports the foundational principle of Marx's view of biology, ie. the essential stability of living forms.
 

Politesse

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Mendel's work was not well known until after Marx's death. It seems quite a stretch to me to regard Marx's thought as in coherence with Jewish philosophy, though.

Then again, Marx never met Lysenko either.

A professor friend of mine, Rich Weikart, wrote a monograph on Darwin and Marx that you might find interesting:


Rich is a German history expert, so his interest in the issue is coming from a certain critical lens, but it is a pretty good discussion of the two men's contrasting views.
 

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Maykkerz
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Mendel's work was not well known until after Marx's death. It seems quite a stretch to me to regard Marx's thought as in coherence with Jewish philosophy, though.
Marx's connection with Judaism is a subject of long standing. The aspect under consideration here is biology. As stated in the OP, Marx's views on biology drew from Feuerbach and Hegel, and standing behind Hegel is Spinoza, who's views are thoroughly in line with Judaism, however much in a radicalized form. The key concept throughout is the stability of living forms. Each form has its unique soul, conatus in Spinoza and Gattungswesen [generic essence] with the Germans, that is infinite and eternal.
 

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At this point, I must point out a serious error in Marx's presentation of biology. While he recognizes the concept of the Gattung [genus] as fundamental in biology, he maintains that only mankind is a Gattungswesen [generic essence]. Marx's reasoning is sound as far as it goes: because mankind is the only genus that understands itself and other entities as genera, mankind is therefore the sole and unique generic essence. This anthropocentrism is something Marx inherited from Feuerbach. It is not fatal to our reliance on Marx for our understanding of biology. It simply means that we must understand him as saying that, while each genus has an essence, it is only mankind whose essence it is to understand the world in terms of the genera and their essences. It is important to be clear on this point because the biology presented here is wholly based on the concept of the Gattungswesen as the fundamental principle of biology, applying to all forms of life.
 

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The position argued here is that intelligence is a property of all forms of life. The intelligence of each form is unique to itself, as unique to itself as is its bodily form. Human intelligence is just one of an infinite number of forms that intelligence takes.
 

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Maykkerz
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Marx was not concerned with the intelligence of forms of life other than humans. He was devoted to the specifically human expression of intelligence. This is in fact the proper focus of scientific inquiry. However, mankind cannot arrive at self-understanding without acknowledging that human intelligence is just one of an infinite number of forms in which intelligence is expressed.
 

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In order to understand a form of life, we must examine not just its bodily form, but also the operation of its intelligence.
 

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... This is not a view to which we subscribe. I do not know if Marx was aware of Mendel's work. However, there is not doubt that Mendelian genetics supports the foundational principle of Marx's view of biology, ie. the essential stability of living forms.

... The key concept throughout is the stability of living forms. Each form has its unique soul, conatus in Spinoza and Gattungswesen [generic essence] with the Germans, that is infinite and eternal.

... Marx's reasoning is sound as far as it goes: because mankind is the only genus that understands itself and other entities as genera, mankind is therefore the sole and unique generic essence. This anthropocentrism is something Marx inherited from Feuerbach. It is not fatal to our reliance on Marx for our understanding of biology. ...
Is there a reason this thread is in Philosophy? It plainly belongs in Pseudoscience.
 

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Maykkerz
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The atheist Right has tried to convince the world that the only scientifically valid approach to biology is the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is essentially reactionary, validating imperialism, racism, genocide, misogyny and social hierarchy. It is essential that the Christian Left and socialists work to debunk the theory of evolution and begin development of a truly scientific biology that acknowledges, in Spinoza's words, "the union of the human mind with the whole of nature."
 

bilby

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The atheist Right has tried to convince the world that the only scientifically valid approach to biology is the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is essentially reactionary, validating imperialism, racism, genocide, misogyny and social hierarchy. It is essential that the Christian Left and socialists work to debunk the theory of evolution and begin development of a truly scientific biology that acknowledges, in Spinoza's words, "the union of the human mind with the whole of nature."
Reality doesn’t give a crap about ideology or politics.

The only scientifically valid approach to anything is the scientific method, and that method presents evolutionary biology as a well tested fact about reality.

If that makes you feel sad, that’s just an unfortunate side-effect of your evolutionary history.
 
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