Talk:Biological determinism

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Why are we critiquing John Locke as if he were a proto-biological determinist?[edit]

He was one of the major proponents of Tabula Rasa and viewed humans as infinitely mutable by education and experience. His "state of nature" arguments weren't about human nature per se, but simply the theoretical idea of how people might need to act to survive sans social structures. Thomas Hobbes fills the roll of a enlightenment era philosopher of who thought humans behaved a certain way by their nature much better. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:13, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

+1. FuzzyCatPotato of the Crepuscular Pens (talk/stalk) 16:16, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Biological determinism vs naturalistic fallacy[edit]

The page seems to imply that they are either the same, or that the former necessarily implies the latter, but neither is true. Biological determinism isn't a fallacy, it's a positive statement that can, and often is, falsified; and while it can be used in a naturalistic fallacy, it doesn't have to: one can believe war is natural for men and will always exist, and at the same time that it's wrong. The examples are particulary bad, they should be something like this:

  1. ) it's natural for women to take care of the children, that's why the do, always did, and likely will do in the future;
  2. ) humans aren't naturally monogamous, that's why we have relatively large penises, and why we cheat and will keep doing it;
  3. ) [no idea, it doesn't really make sense]

Notice how 1 an 2 are about what is/will be, and not what ought to be. And also how they're wrong, since not all women do child-rearing and not all men cheat. -- (talk) 00:10, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Attempted to address this concern via an edit Johnny Fiveapples (talk) 10:52, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Should we add a "see Statistical fallacies section bellow for more detail" to your edit? I believe it is the kind of mistake people often makes with these examples.--Verossimio Espagnado (talk) 01:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I feel that the reader will likely encounter that section at a reasonable time in the normal course of reading the page, but you may do whatever you see fit. Johnny Fiveapples (talk) 12:03, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Absolute vs Weak Biological Determinism[edit]

Reverend Black Percy raised the concern that biological determinism implies no effect on human behavior by culture, which would of course be trivially false. While I have seen bio-determinism used by some to mean this, I don't think that's a very useful way of thinking about the topic. I have added a section in the lead in an attempt to address this, but I welcome other contributions and input. Johnny Fiveapples (talk) 00:06, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

This is the top definition Google gave:

Biological determinism refers to the idea that all human behavior is innate, determined by genes, brain size, or other biological attributes. This theory stands in contrast to the notion that human behavior is determined by culture or other social forces.

I appreciate your efforts, but based on this definition, it would still appear that the earlier "harsher" summary fit the topic better.
Indeed, the definition continues:

Inherent to biological determinism is the denial of free will: individuals have no internal control over their behavior and dispositions, and thus are devoid of responsibility for their actions. Often implicit in this line of reasoning is the idea that because humans lack responsibility for determining their own lives, they are rightfully subject to the control of persons biologically determined in more socially acceptable ways. While few biologists fully believe in the idea of biological determinism, the theory has had cultural and political currency both in the shaping of human racial history and in current debates over the relative importance of our genetic qualities (i.e., nature) versus our socialization process (i.e., nurture) in determining our individual physical and behavioral characteristics.

The source also goes on to discuss the exact type of racialized social science the lead quote from our former article version opens with.
I'm sure more could be done to find compromise? Because if I had to chose just one revision, based on this definition, the former would seem more apt. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 09:51, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Human behavior is determined by both culture and biology. I tend to think that biology sets limits to what's possible, and makes some possibilities more likely and others more costly. (And fortunately, we don't have free will either. Free will is the mantra of the punishment cult. We imagine we want it because it flatters our vanity.) - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:14, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Good post! That being said, biological determinism seems to denote a dusty, old woo concept. We should likely rollback. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 16:22, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
From what I can understand, biological determinism also lends itself to biological essentialism, and I'm pretty sure that's been thoroughly rejected by the scientific community (unless you're an extreme nativist, I guess). That and I'd push back against the idea that calling it pseudoscience hurts the discussion--it seems to me that failing to distinguish between the far end of the (obsolete) nature-nurture spectrum, which is what biological determinism is, and legitimate insights into how genes influence behavior does more harm than anything else. So I'd agree with Reverend Black Percy that a roll-back would be a good thing. But that's just me. (talk) 23:58, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Naturalistic fallacy and determinism, etc.[edit]

First, this definition is a non-typical conflation of determinism and the naturalistic fallacy, "a common fallacy that implies that biology does and should completely dictate human behavior or the behavior of a certain subset of humans, such as black people or males." The "and should" part is ostensibly an ideological innovation, not justified by tradition. Secondly, the declaration that some text is pseudo-scientific does not obviate the need for critical exposition. BD is not commonly defined as a pseudoscience, e.g., Wikipedia. Science applied incorrectly is not pseudoscience, but bad science. In addition, it seems there is no reference to Stephen Jay Gould, Franz Boas and Margaret Mead, leading scientists who were critics of Biological Determinism. Ariel31459 (talk) 22:12, 20 May 2019 (UTC)


I don't like this article very much because if biological determinism is false than so is any other form of scientific determinism and thus science is objective. I can defend creationism by saying "radiocarbon dating determinism is false so thus god created the universe in 6 days" under your logic. I am a science worshiper and materialist pantheist enlightenment worshipper who used to love this site until you started criticizing people like JK Rowling who i agree with almost everything on. this does not mean I hate trans people and personally i hate Ron DeSantis and the republican assholes who are trying to snuff trans people completely out of existence. but i also do not think what they are doing is genocide. because genocide is extermination of an ethnic group and trans people are not an ethnic group. i see trans people almost like a religion and thus deserving of protection under the first amendment. but this does not mean I believe every aspect of there philosophy — Unsigned, by: 2601:152:A80:4D30:69E5:23F0:49DF:D7FD / talk / contribs

Rowling has gotten more extreme since her 2020 essay, which was more of a collection of half-baked opinions. More recently she supported Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull and in a 2022 Sunday Times piece she argued against the legal concept of presumption of innocence. I don't really agree with the term "trans genocide" either but have to say the line on defining it is pretty thin when being trans is quite heritable. The anti-trans movements in the UK and in Florida are not so disconnected: just earlier this year, DeSantis himself met with the UK's minister of equalities and they complimented each other's "war on woke". Chillpilled (talk) 13:48, 3 December 2023 (UTC)
WHY PUT YOUR TITLE IN ALL-CAPS? U MAD BRO? Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 22:50, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
Imagine constructing an ungrammatical “criticism” of an article without having the capacities to understand the topic in question. “Scientific Determinism” isn’t a thing btw. Science doesn’t even purport causal determinism as a universal because it is incompatible with the inherent indeterminism of quantum mechanics. Biological determinism is specifically denoting genetic determinism, which is incompatible with how mechanistic models in biology are genuinely understood. DNA doesn’t mystically will cellular machinery into existence, let alone provide a total programable code that dictates everything about an entire organism. Genes just provide an encoded sequence order for amino acids to get slapped together to form proteins. That’s it. Still pretty profound to warrant analogies to blueprints, but blueprints don’t build anything without an interpreter with appropriate tools. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 23:03, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
This person is probably a troll. He claimed "i am not a TERF (i am male)" as if it's impossible to be both Ioe bidome (talk) 23:13, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
Also, "science worshiper and materialist pantheist enlightenment worshipper" (Above) lol Ioe bidome (talk) 23:17, 13 February 2024 (UTC)