Darwin’s “horrid doubt”: The mind:
But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
Most partial or whole explanations of the human mind propose one of the following models:
- The brain randomly generates illusions that self-organize as a “mind.” Behavior is thus better accounted for by the study of neurons (neuroscience) than the study of the illusory “mind.”
- Our hominoid ancestors passed on hypothetical genes via natural selection acting on random mutation. These claimed (not demonstrated) genes result in our attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavior — mistakenly seen as the outcome of thought processes (evolutionary psychology).
Ironically, while Darwin may have doubted the fully naturalized mind and felt horrid about it, most of his latter-day supporters believe and feel good. And, on its own terms, their faith cannot be disconfirmed.
It can, of course, be dissected, and sometimes just plain sent up, as here.
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