Epigenetics and the ‘Blind Book-peddler’ (aka Blind Watchmaker’)

Good to hear Jordan Peterson talk of Piaget and Jung and bring them back to public attention. Great minds, all three! I believe that Epigenetics was first properly scientifically discussed by Piaget in his book Biology and Knowledge in 1967 and the experimental work underpinning it was released by him in his later work ‘Adaptation and Intelligence’ in 1974. A copy of the first 1980 English translation of Adaptation and Intelligence still sits on my bookshelf, almost 40 years later. The phenomenological ‘WOW’ that Peterson talks about is that acquired characteristics in an individual (lets say ‘particular re-combinations of gene expression’) can be inherited or genetically fixed for the next generation. There’s nothing random and it’s not mutation, but instead an ‘accommodation’ to, and ‘assimilation’ of the organism’s environment that is actually ‘directed behaviour’, more subtle and far more powerful than the ‘random mutations’ that the neo-Darwinists propagandised.

What this says firstly is that the neo-Darwinists were wrong. Richard Dawkins for example, who published the Blind Watchmaker in 1986 (the year I graduated in NeuroScience and Experimental Psychology) was fundamentally wrong, yet he continued to push his naive ideas for decades after and people still believe in his ideas today. Piaget’s work was already conclusively proven in 1974, so I guess Dawkins was too busy talking, selling his book and earning on the speaking circuit to actually do the research and uncover the truth. I couldn’t believe anyone was taking this man seriously. You can’t make a fine watch with a hammer and a blindfold. The tools need to be finer than the the components being made. What kind of fuzzy logic tries to prove the non-existence of God through the belief that the watch makes itself entirely by fortuitous random error. The actual process of construction, ie ‘intelligent’ life itself is the ‘phenomena’ that indicates the essence from which the phenomena are derived… Life is ‘inherently’ intelligent even at sub microscopic levels. The intelligence is in the ‘electric nature’ of the molecules that comprise the fundamental building blocks and perhaps in the fundamental particles themselves. In many words, this is something that is impossible to define within the limits of human consciousness and understanding. In a word, it is defined as ‘God’.

Secondly and more importantly and urgently we have to now SERIOUSLY consider the role of the environment in the evolution of human intelligence and knowledge in the same manner as of the evolution and survival of biological forms. This fundamentally changes how we should look at society and the World and define exactly what constitutes the EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY that Dr Peterson often refers to. The problem is also that this redefinition of our worlview flies in the face of the rapacious environmental insanity that is a hallmark of modern short-sighted corporations and governments, as well as the poor working and living ‘conditions’ that are forced on people in this age of profiteering.

In 1986 I could see that there was something quite close-minded and rather insidious in the way science was being ‘lectured’ and ‘regulated’ according to dogmatic but erroneous thinking. University lecturers, administrators and researchers all need remunerating and funding and so they are somewhat beholden to their masters and pressured by their peers. This is none other than Darwinian ‘selective pressure’ in the cognitive sense ( see Piagets book for more info) and produces the ‘dogmatic scientific error’ which Piaget might claim ( but I insist on) is an environmentally triggered ‘phenotype’. Scientific truths cannot be found in a ‘biased’ system set up by an established society to justify and propagandise its current world-view or paradigm.