Offended Genes and Truthful Memes

August 20, 2008

Science is nothing but a neverending quest for the ultimate truth. Science’s holy grail is the theory which is universally applicable to a subject area and which persistently endures and answers even the most challenging of questions. The theory which remains after all others have been eliminated can be seen as speaking with the most truthful of voices. However, while the world awaits the emergence of such a theory, there are many which compete in the battle of the memes of which has the greatest potential to survive for a “theoretical” generation longer.

Many of these theories are obvious, as often is the case in science where the simple explains the most complex. Finding great joy in reading all kinds of theories I come across several which I do not like because they seem ignorant, and yet more which I do like because their content is obvious when spoken of. What all such theories have in common is that they offer explainations for phenomenon which otherwise would be too abstract to visualise. They are the candles of science which illuminate the darkness of the world’s countless mysteries.

I often find myself nodding in agreement to the theories I read, I consider those memes valuable and as having the potential to succeed and eventually inspire the ultimate theory. Though I also come across theories whose memes I consider near stillborn, I never react in the way I have noticed some people do. Though I disagree, I try to understand, and though they at times conflict with my own beliefs, I trust that such theories and memes will be obliterated from the intellectual stage by the natural selection of truth and potential that all successful theories have to endure.

Many a wise scientist knows that the truth at times hurts and offends. I believe this to be a sign of health, as far as theories are concerned, for it proves that they consider nothing but the science and the facts; that they are objective. Objectivity means that the theories are unclouded by belief and personal conviction, and that they thus possess the potential to be applied to any related matter (and in many cases even unrelated ones as well!).

Not everyone understands that the truth is objective, however. It is hard to remain calm when insulted, of course, but if there is truth to the critique, then I am of the belief that one should consider its contents and incorporate the valid points into one’s own person and allow oneself to grow. Although I consider this belief a healthy one, is not everyone’s and some take the truth as attacks on their own person, reacting with rage when questioned instead of relying upon their objectivity to guide them.

When nodding in agreement to one particular theory I soon came to realise that I was nea alone when browsing the comments of the relevant blog post. Instead of being encouraging, intrigued and questioning as the comments of any potentially successful theory should be, the comments were aggressive and coloured by resent. This made me wonder, what is it that makes some people so easily offended? What is it that makes them defend themselves when they clearly are not personally attacked?

I have contemplated the question for a few hours now, and I have come to the conclusion that the reacions of such people is to be attributed to their genes. Though it may be the person that considers themself insulted, it is in reality the genes that fear for their future.

Genes are most fascinating collections of molecules. They may appear insignificant, but their influence is the greatest in the biological realm as they despite their size and to-humans-abstract nature they are the puppeteers which pull the strings that animate everything from behaviours to emotions and to actions.

The genes are selfish – I see Dawkins’s theory as an excellent meme as it yet has to be disproven by the over 30 years of challenges it has endured with great strength – and their ultimate goal is the attainment of the elusive but immensely appealing concept of eternal life. This is because the promise of the prospect is the final reassurement of their potential, as the ones who have travelled the farthest upon the paths of such a quest also are those which are the most valuable and prone to succeed in the future.

As people are biological beings created by selfish genes, their evolutionary goal is reproductive success. It may seem narrow-minded, but it is indeed true. People are little more than temporary vehicles in a race for the attainment of eternal life. It is only the best genes which survive the passing of the generations and they are constantly culled as their surroundings change, rendering each evolutionary generation more fit than the last.

So, what does all this have to do with people fearing and being offended by the truth?

The answer to this is – according to my own theory – that the truth may appear uncomfortable because it questions the value of the selfish genes. As some people find themselves critiqued (though indirectly) by the words of the theories, their genes’ potential for attaining their ultimate goal is questioned in turn, and for all who have come across truly self-centered people it is easy to see why this also offends the genes.

As the genes influence the human being’s way of behaving and reasoning – as the brain is the result of the best genes having come this far in the attainment of their quest – it is this effect which I have observed. The genes do not like to described as unfit and withut potential, and spoiled as they are because of their own achievements, they do not respond well to critique, believing themselves superior.

So, when a theory, for example, advocates that beautiful people are the most attractive because beauty is the visible effect of a healthy genome, there are those who can not remain objective and nod in agreement, because they become offended and claim that the truth is distasteful at best.

Their resentful reactions are the result of their genes having been insulted, the genes have been accused of having failed to build the ultimate vehicle contructed this far, that their creation’s potential reproductive success and the genes’ prospect of ever attaining eternal life is slim. Of course the genes are proud over their achievements, and as the person is the greatest advocate for their own genes, they will not allow anyone to question them, especially not as selfishness and the denial of critique is what has taken them this far.

The theories are therefore critiqued in an attempt for the offended person to protect their genes as they will not accept that a simple meme proclaims them inferior and questions their future success; the reactions are to be seen as an attempt to reinstitute lost value, a statement claiming that the person and their genes indeed are the very best.

In conclusion it may be theorised that genes easily offended by memes are impeding the progress of the memes which hold the key to explaining the nature of the reasons which motivate the genes.


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