9. The progression of biological arguments that led to the rise of Critical Theory
At the beginning of my booklet Transform Your Life And Save The World (TYL) (which is a summary of FREEDOM), I quote Sir Bob Geldof saying to me, ‘We’re not all going to turn into people who are all hugging each other Jeremy because we’re all competitive by nature. The question is how do we relieve ourselves from these unchangeable competitive, selfish and aggressive primal instincts in us?’ As I go on to explain in TYL, Sir Bob’s assertion that we’re not going to start being cooperative and loving and ‘all hugging each other’ ‘because we’re all competitive by nature’, shows that he, like almost everyone has been doing, is using the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse to explain our divisive behaviour. And when Sir Bob added that ‘The question is how do we relieve ourselves from these unchangeable competitive, selfish and aggressive primal instincts in us?’, he was defending his well-known advocacy of the left-wing position—that is now rapidly being replaced by Marxist-based Critical Theory—which argued that along with some selfless instincts we supposedly also have savage, selfish, competitive and aggressive instincts. And since we are born with these supposed savage instincts, we can’t change them, and therefore, wherever they overly assert themselves, which the Left see as happening everywhere, the Left claim we have no choice but to dogmatically impose cooperative and loving ideal values on those supposed ‘unchangeable competitive, selfish and aggressive primal instincts’.
Certainly, if it was true that we have savage instincts then the logic of Sir Bob’s left-wing culture where cooperative and loving values have to be dogmatically imposed would be justified. BUT, as I explained in TI, we don’t have savage competitive and aggressive instincts, rather we have unconditionally selfless, cooperative and loving moral instincts, which means the fundamental premise of this left-wing philosophy is wrong.
To explain more about Sir Bob’s assertion that along with selfless instincts we also have ‘unchangeable competitive, selfish and aggressive primal instincts’: as I mentioned earlier when summarising TI’s description of our condition, to counter the selfishness-justifying, individualistic, right-wing assertions that we humans are naturally selfish because we supposedly have savage, must-reproduce-our-genes, ‘survival of the fittest’ instincts, the Left set about developing selflessness-emphasising, communalistic theories that maintain that while we do have some savage, competitive and aggressive, must-reproduce-our-genes instincts we also have some selfless instincts derived from situations where supposedly cooperation was a more successful survival strategy than competition. After presenting a history of selfishness-justifying right-wing dishonest biology in chapters 2:8 to 2:11 of FREEDOM, in I present a history of this left-wing dishonest biology which argues that a group who are selfless and cooperative will defeat a group who are selfish and competitive, and that is supposedly how we developed some selfless, cooperative instincts—which, as I have pointed out before, is actually biologically impossible because of ‘the tendency of each group to quickly lose its altruism through natural selection favoring cheaters [selfish, opportunistic individuals]’, as the biologist Jerry Coyne pointed out. In that chapter 6:9 I describe, for example, how in the 1960s the behaviourist Konrad Lorenz wrote of behaviour having ‘a species-preserving function’ (On Aggression, 1963). I then describe how when right-wing biologists pointed out the falsity of this ‘group selection’ theory—such as George Williams in his 1966 book, Adaptation and Natural Selection—the left-wing then tried to maintain that we do have unconditionally selfless moral instincts by arguing that they are derived from by-products of natural selection. An example of this ‘pluralistic’ approach was that put forward by biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin who in 1979 described it as ‘a lot of [building] cranes’ acting in conjunction with ‘natural selection’ (‘Darwin Fundamentalism’, The New York Review of Books, 12 Jun. 1997, in which Gould elaborated upon his and Lewontin’s by-products or ‘Spandrels’ theory). But unable to identify precisely what these ‘by-products’/‘spandrels’/‘cranes’ were, the Left were again forced to retreat to the now highly discredited ‘cooperation is more advantageous than competition and can therefore be selected for’, group-selection-type argument. And so, in 1994, despite the situation where ‘group selection has been regarded as an anathema by nearly all evolutionary biologists’ (Richard Lewontin, ‘Survival of the Nicest?’, The New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 1998), the biologist David Sloan (D.S.) Wilson desperately tried to ‘re-introduce group selection…as an antidote to the rampant individualism we see in the human behavioral sciences’ (David Sloan Wilson & Elliot Sober, ‘Re-Introducing Group Selection to the Human Behavioral Sciences’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1994, Vol.17, No.4).
The right-wing then countered again, with biologist E.O. Wilson appropriating D.S. Wilson’s Multilevel Selection theory that argued that natural selection operated at the group level as well as the individual level, thus accommodating an acknowledgement that we do have some selfless instincts, but still re-asserting the right-wing emphasis on selfishness. What left-wing biologists then did was try to bolster ‘group selection’ by adding the old ‘by-products/many cranes/matrix of influences’ illusion that Gould and Lewontin had first used. In effect, they threw everything into the pot: group selection and a multitude of vague ‘influences’ to emphasise that selflessness is supposedly an important part of our natural, genetic make-up! An example of this is provided in the 2011 book Origins of Altruism and Cooperation with editors Robert Sussman and Robert Cloninger writing in the Foreword that ‘Research in a great diversity of scientific disciplines is revealing that there are many biological and behavioral mechanisms that humans and nonhuman primates use to reinforce pro-social or cooperative behavior. For example, there are specific neurobiological and hormonal mechanisms that support social behavior. There are also psychological, psychiatric, and cultural mechanisms’ (p.viii of 439). Yes, it was being alleged that a matrix of ‘many biological and behavioral mechanisms’ created ‘pro-social or cooperative behavior’, but the question remains, how exactly did it do it? The illusion is that the origin of our moral instincts has been explained when it hasn’t—but, again, in the desperation to assert the left-wing’s selflessness-emphasising theory and counter the right-wing’s selfishness-emphasising doctrine such extreme illusion was deemed necessary!
Again, the reality under natural selection is, ‘By all means you can help me reproduce my genes but I’m not about to help you reproduce yours’; it was only the extended nurturing of our infants that could overcome genetic selfishness and develop unconditionally selfless behaviour (see ).
Basically, the biologically incorrect ‘group selection’ concept has been repeatedly employed by left-wing thinkers because even though they recognise it is a flawed idea, they haven’t been able to confront and acknowledge how nurturing was able to create our moral instincts, and as a result have had to keep reverting to, and attempting to bolster, the flawed concept of ‘group selection’ to assert that selflessness is a natural part of our make-up.
This stalled situation that so characterises biology now, where the Right use the false, savage, survival of the fittest instincts excuse to justify selfishness, and the Left use the false group selection plus a matrix of influences to try to say we are also naturally selfless, was perfectly captured in a 2010 documentary about these conflicting biological ideologies. Titled Secrets of the Tribe (about the Yanomamö Indians of the Amazon), the documentary ended up playing George and Ira Gershwin’s well-known song Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, which features the lyrics, ‘Things have come to a pretty pass…It looks as if we two will never be one…You like potato and I like potahto…Let’s call the whole thing off.’
I should mention that since FREEDOM was published in 2016, an elaboration on the fraudulent ‘cooperation is more advantageous than competition and can therefore be selected for’, ‘group selection’ theory has been developed. This elaboration argues that supposed selection against aggression within groups resulted in supposed increased friendliness within the group (a process that has been termed ‘Self-domestication’), and brought with it an increased hostility towards ‘outsiders’. For example, the explanation for why we hate others that was given in Steven Spielberg’s 2019 documentary Why We Hate was based on this concept, which the anthropologist Brian Hare articulated in his 2020 book Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity: ‘As humans became friendlier, we were able to make the shift from living in small bands of ten to fifteen individuals like the Neanderthals to living in larger groups of a hundred or more…But our friendliness has a dark side. When we feel that the group we love is threatened by a different social group…we are capable of…dehumaniz[ing] them…Incapable of empathizing with threatening outsiders, we can’t see them as fellow humans and become capable of the worst forms of cruelty. We are both the most tolerant and the most merciless species on the planet’ (pp.XXVI-XXVII of 304). So this is the same fraudulent group selection type argument where we have some altruistic traits where we are ‘tolerant’ and concerned for others within our group, along with darker traits where we are selfishly, even ‘merciless[ly]’, concerned for the reproduction of our own genes.
Again, as I have emphasised and explained in TI, our selfless moral instincts were acquired through nurturing, not from the biologically impossible ‘group selection’ mechanism. I also emphasised in TI (and evidenced through references to the bonobos and the fossil record) that our ape ancestors lived in a completely cooperative and loving state, so our instinctive heritage is not composed of some selfish and some selfless instincts but of entirely unconditionally selfless instincts. Further, as I explain in (which elaborates on what is explained in chapter 6:9 of FREEDOM), developing upon the thinking of the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, the Left assert that the selfless side in us was eventually overwhelmed by the supposed selfish side in us when, following the advent of agriculture, settlements developed which allowed for the accumulation of possessions; which the desire and competition for supposedly then led to greed and warfare and domination by the more powerful.
So again, what I summarised in TI about what Sir Bob Geldof said about the prevailing belief before the ascendency of Critical Theory, that savage, must-reproduce-our-genes instincts dominate our lives and so we have no choice but to dogmatically impose selfless cooperation on society, is true. The only difference is that the Right claim we have entirely savage, selfish, competitive and aggressive, ‘survival of the fittest’, individualistic instincts, while the Left claim that we do have some supposed group-selection-derived, selfless, concern-for-others, social, communal instincts influencing us along with these savage, selfish, competitive and aggressive, ‘survival of the fittest’, individualistic instincts, with the latter coming to dominate following the advent of agriculture, sedentary living and the accumulation of possessions. Again, the human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, true explanation for how our original completely cooperative and loving instinctive self or soul developed was through nurturing, and how it became corrupted was due to our conscious mind becoming competitive and aggressive when our instincts ignorantly criticised its necessary search for understanding.
I should mention that because right-wing thinkers were also unable to confront the issue of the human condition and think truthfully about it and by so doing find the true, instinct vs intellect, reconciling, redeeming and rehabilitating explanation for why we corrupted our original instinctive self, they had no choice other than to use the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse to justify their defence of individualistic freedom. The classic example of this was Social Darwinism that misrepresented Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection as being a selfish, ‘survival of the fittest’ process. Darwin originally rightfully left it undecided as to whether those individuals that selfishly made sure they reproduced more could be viewed as winners, as being ‘fitter’, it was only later that others persuaded him to substitute the term ‘natural selection’ with the term ‘survival of the fittest’. To very briefly explain why the ‘survival of the fittest’ concept is a misrepresentation of Darwin’s idea of natural selection, and why Darwin was wrong to allow himself to be persuaded to use it: in and in , I explain (as I mentioned earlier) that the meaning of existence is to develop ever larger and more stable wholes of matter, and that unconditionally selfless self-sacrifice for the good of the whole is the very theme of this Negative-Entropy-driven, integrative process because it maintains wholes. The fact that the gene-based natural selection process cannot normally develop unconditional selflessness between sexually reproducing individuals—because selfless traits don’t tend to reproduce—is simply a limitation of the gene-based learning system; it does not mean that selfishness is the characteristic of existence. Integrative selflessness is the real characteristic of existence, the theme of life, which is why Darwin was wrong to allow the use of the selfishness-emphasising term ‘survival of the fittest’. (For a more in-depth explanation of this and all the other distorted biological thinking that has been going on as a result of biologists being unable to confront the issue of the human condition, see chapters , and of FREEDOM.)
It is important to appreciate that since cooperative idealism is easy to justify as being a good and worthy attitude, the left-wing have had it easy saying that it’s morally right, ‘politically correct’, to impose cooperative and loving behaviour. The Right, on the other hand, have had a very difficult job justifying the selfish, competitive and aggressive state of the angry, egocentric and alienated human condition. Yes, while the Left have found it harder to mount a biological argument that justified selfless behaviour, they have had an easier time arguing that selfless behaviour is good. And while the Right have had an easier job contriving a biological argument that justifies selfish behaviour, they have had an infinitely harder task trying to argue that selfish behaviour is justified. Of course, the human-race-saving psychological relief that the instinct vs intellect Adam Stork analogy brings is that it finally truthfully explains the real reason for why selfish competition and aggression became an unavoidable, indeed necessary, part of human life—which does mean that we are now finally able to see that while both the Left and Right were using false biology, the ideology of the Left was wrong while the ideology of the Right was correct.
So when a journalist wrote that ‘the great twin political problems of the age are the brutality of the right, and the dishonesty of the left’ (Geoffrey Wheatcroft, ‘The year of sexual correctness and double standards’, The Australian Financial Review, 29 Jan. 1999), we can now understand that he was referring to the right-wing’s emphasis on the need to continue the upsetting, anger, egocentricity and alienation-producing, brutal search for knowledge free from the oppression of the dishonesty and delusion of the left-wing that maintained that we were being good by dogmatically imposing cooperative, selfless and loving ideal, ‘politically correct’ behaviour. Yes, we can finally clearly explain to the teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg why it is actually her famous admonition of the right-wing that was ‘all wrong’, and ‘not mature enough’, and ‘failing us’ (United Nations Climate Summit, 14 Dec. 2018).
The following quote illustrates the complete ignorance of the Left of this need for individualism that the Right has championed. On the website In Defence of Marxism, the writer Ben Curry wrote in 2021 about Richard Lewontin, the Marxist biologist whose theories are included above, that ‘In the 1970s, prominent individuals in the field of biology were once more taking up the reductionist philosophy that it’s “all in our genes”…Lewontin understood that it was no accident that time and again these reactionary ideas penetrate the sciences. These ideas rest on a certain philosophical outlook, which derives from the outlook and interests of the ruling class. As Lewontin and [Richard] Levins explained in [their 1985 book] The Dialectical Biologist, their whole life they had fought “the mechanistic, reductionist, and positivist ideology that dominated our academic education and that pervades our intellectual environment.”…The reductionist view sees the whole as nothing more than the sum of its parts. If we see war, greed and oppression in society, it is only because we are individually war-like, greedy and oppressive. In turn, we are each only an expression of our genes, which have evolved to make us this way because these traits give us a better chance of survival. These ‘theories’ suggest that our physiological, psychological and social traits are programmed into our genes, with a straight line of cause and effect between the latter and the former’ (‘Richard Lewontin: the dialectical biologist (1929-2021)’, 12 Jul. 2021).
So although the ideology of the Right was correct, unable to confront the truth of our corrupted human condition and thus find the true instinct vs intellect explanation for why we have had to be competitive, selfish and aggressive, they were left having to contrive a way to justify our seemingly ‘reactionary’, non-ideal, competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour, which they did by using the biologically dishonest Social Darwinist, ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘savage instincts’ excuse that said we humans are innately, naturally competitive, selfish and aggressive. Which meant the colossal philosophical heroes of the Right who bravely defended our competitive and aggressive state like the author Ayn Rand, and more recently the psychologist Jordan Peterson, were doomed to fail because their arguments were based on false biology. Rand argued that we have to use our mind to effectively manage a selfish nature, and Peterson argues we have a competitive, dominance-hierarchy-based instinctive heritage that we have to acknowledge and manage rather than pretend doesn’t exist, but immensely heroic as these two people have been, we can now understand that their biological thinking was fundamentally wrong. As an example of Peterson’s use of false biology, he recently said about racism that it is ‘a terribly deep human problem. In the 1970s Jane Goodall found that chimps go on raiding parties, and that was a major league discovery. It shows that the proclivity [inclination] to demonize the outgroup was at least 6 million years old. It’s deep and it’s in us, and we all have to contend with it’ (‘Are All White People Racist?’, Jordan B. Peterson YouTube channel, 6 Apr. 2022). As will be described later (see par. 124), our inclination to be intolerant of others is due to the psychological insecurity caused by our corrupted condition and has nothing to do with competing with outsiders to reproduce our genes. And it’s peaceful bonobos not chimpanzees that are the model for our ancestors.
Thank goodness we now have the true reconciling, redeeming and healing biological understanding of the human condition—which, incidentally, means the whole business of left and right wing politics is obsoleted. As summarised in paragraph 1136 of FREEDOM and mentioned in paragraph 118 of TI, the final irony of the saga of humanity’s great journey from ignorance to enlightenment is that the ideal world that the left-wing was dogmatically demanding is actually brought about by the right-wing winning its reality-defending, freedom-from-idealism, corrupting-search-for-knowledge battle against the freedom-oppressing pseudo idealistic dogma of the left-wing. Yes, with the freedom-from-dogma right-wing’s search for understanding of the human condition completed, the justification for the egocentric power-fame-fortune-and-glory-seeking way of life espoused by the right-wing ends, replaced by the ideal-behaviour-obeying attitude that the left-wing wanted. In this sense, when the right-wing wins we all become left-wing; through the success of the philosophy of the right-wing, we all take up support of the ideal values sought by the philosophy of the left-wing—but, most significantly, this time we are not abandoning an ongoing battle, we are leaving it won. (For further reading on the fabulous obsolescence of politics, see .)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Before going on to explain how the dishonest biological theories of both the Left and Right led to the rise of Critical Theory, I want to include another example of the Left’s civilisation-destroying denial of the need for individualism.
Following the federal election here in Australia in May 2022, which saw the conservative, right-wing ‘Liberal’ party thrown out of office, an absolutely appalling article by Richard Flanagan denouncing right-wing politics was published on 26 May 2022 in The Sydney Morning Herald (see ), which is one of our leading newspapers.
With the outrageously deluded title ‘Howard era ended with Morrison’s downfall on the night Australia escaped its heart of darkness’, the article shows how, when we haven’t been able to admit humans once lived in a cooperative and loving innocent state (rather than as competitive and aggressive, must-reproduce-your-genes ‘savages’ as we’ve been taught) which we then corrupted and the human journey since then has been to search for understanding of why we corrupted ourselves, and instead dishonestly maintained we have unchangeable savage instincts that we have no choice but to dogmatically impose cooperative and loving ideal/politically correct behaviour on, it can be argued there’s no justification for the right-wing—that John Howard (Australia’s legendary former right-wing Prime Minister) and company are just brutal monsters from hell!!!
What incredible delusion, dangerous madness in the extreme; again, it’s dangerous because the left-wing’s dogmatic imposition of ideal behaviour stifled the all-important corrupting search for knowledge, ultimately for self-knowledge, the rehabilitating understanding of ourselves that was needed to bring about a genuinely loving, peaceful world—which is unlike the right-wing that allowed the search for that all-important understanding to continue by tolerating a degree of competitive and selfish materialistic individualism.
Yes, now that we can at last explain that we humans have been involved in an immensely upsetting but critically important heroic project to find understanding of ourselves, we can finally explain from first principle biology what is fundamentally wrong with the culture of the Left and fundamentally correct about the culture of the Right.
Until now the only excuse the Right have had to justify their tolerance of a degree of competitive and selfish behaviour was to say, like Ayn Rand and Jordan Peterson have done, that since we supposedly have savage instincts everyone needs the motivation of winning some power, fame, fortune and glory if they are to participate in the supposed dominance hierarchy, law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest, competitive individualistic world that we supposedly live in—that socialism doesn’t work because it unrealistically kills people’s incentive to be successful in, and thus actively participate in, a supposed competitive world.
What an immense improvement it is to finally be able to explain the real reason for our competitive nature of the upsetting battle to find understanding of ourselves—which has finally been won, thus bringing about a reconciled and rehabilitated, truly peaceful world for humans. It’s the Left that has been leading us into the ‘heart of darkness’, NOT the Right!
The moral high ground, feel-good relief the article’s author is deriving from slamming the Right as evil monsters is palpable. There is no interest in the possible merits of the Right, no interest in the human condition, no interest in the fundamental question of whether the divisive behaviour of the human race might be good and not bad after all.