I’m a free-will “incompatibilist”: someone who sees the existence of physical determinism as dispelling the idea of contracausal, you-could-have-done-otherwise “free will”, which is the notion of free will most common among people. Many people find my view disturbing and fatalistic, and I’m often posed this question: “If everything is determined by the laws of physics mediated through our neurobiology, what’s the point of trying to change somebody’s mind?”Got that? You have no ability to make decisions for yourself, but leftist brainwashers can reprogram your brain to follow their agenda.
My response is that no, we can’t choose (via contracausal free will) whether we want to change someone’s mind, nor can they freely choose (in the same sense) whether to change it. But human brains are wired by both evolution and experience in a way that alters people’s behaviors when (in general) they would benefit from those changes.
Coyne then endorses a fellow leftist-atheist-evolutionist:
A couple of weeks ago, at a speech before a friendly audience, President Donald Trump likened immigrants to poisonous snakes. To biologist and behavioral scientist Robert Sapolsky, it was a revolting but revealing remark.So his political view boils down to saying it is okay to compare people to Kenyan baboons, but not to snakes.
"That's a textbook dehumanization of 'them,' he said. "If you get to the point where citing 'thems' causes your followers to activate neurons in the insular cortex—the part of the brain that responds to viscerally disgusting things — you've finished most of your to-do list for your genocide."
That sort of sharply stated, science-based analysis has made Sapolsky a popular and influential writer and thinker. A MacArthur fellow, he is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and the author of several books, including the 2017 best-seller Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.
Sapolsky has spent much of his career in Kenya, studying baboons (among other primates), and he uses that knowledge to put human behavior into a broader perspective. In a recent telephone interview, he discussed the biological basis of our current political fault lines.
Sapolsky's big treatise is a massive tirade against free will.
Let's talk about tribalism. First of all, is that an accurate term for the sorting into opposing camps that's going on today?For him, he identifies with an "us" consisting of fellow leftist academics and primates, with "them" being religious folks.
Absolutely, in a very primate kind of way. The easiest symbols that we grab onto in deciding if someone is an "us" or a "them" are visceral ones. Being disgusted by someone's personal behavior — the way 'they' do stuff — is a much easier entree to hating them than disagreeing with their views on the trade deficit.
Primates are hard-wired for us/them dichotomies.
But devout religious observance in a group setting is. Studies show that support for terrorism in majority Muslim countries is unrelated to how often you pray, or how devout you are about food prohibitions. But it is related to how often you pray in a mosque. The same is also true of right-wing Jewish extremists in Israel. When sacred values are re-affirmed in groups — that's when things get scary. ...So he scapegoats Trump supporters, Muslims, and Israeli Jews. That is his to-do list for genocide.
Scapegoating is an incredibly mammalian thing to do.
If he is right, then the only sensible thing to do is to destroy all the mosques. Mosques are just training grounds for future terrorists. Moslems do not believe in free will either. The Western world has the power to bomb and destroy all the world's mosques. With advance warning, it could be done with minimal loss of life. Mecca could be destroyed when hardly anyone is there. China already has experience in re-programming Moslems, so maybe they could lead the plan.
Speaking of primates, here is anthropologist John Hawks insisting that humans must be groups with both monkeys and apes:
Humans are not phylogenetically separate from living great apes; the same common ancestors that connect those apes also are our ancestors. In other words, “apes” in English are not a proper monophyletic group, unless humans are also included. The same is true of “monkeys” – no way of grouping the ceboid [New World] and cercopithecoid [Old World] monkeys is monophyletic unless the apes and humans are also included. (The branch that includes all of these primates is known as the Anthropoidea).It is funny how these learned academics refuse to admit differences between humans and monkeys.