"Step" - Vampire Weekend
(Yes, they are a little precious, but I still like them.) (Embarrassing typo corrected.)
- Erik Loomis brought to my attention a graduation speech given by Leon Wieseltier at my alma mater recently. In it, Wieseltier makes a passionate case for the humanities and decries our love affair with technology and our embrace of what he describes as "scientism," i.e. the ideological embrace of science as an explanation of all things, an attack largely directed at evolutionary biology. Wieseltier seems to me in many ways to be opposing the world view embraced by my fellow Brandeis alum Thomas Friedman and possibly his page mate David Brooks, respectively two of the great popularizers of the view that "the internet changed everything" and "evolutionary biology explains everything." Loomis believes that Wieseltier pulls punches with respect to the real culprit here, the ever-assertive forces of capital and its allies attacking the last bastion of anti-capitalist thought in America. Although I am sympathetic to much of what Loomis writes with respect to the very real attempts by right wing politicians in some state university systems to undermine the liberal arts, I think he is unfair to Wieseltier's broader point here -- the perils of technology and the reductivism associated with economics and evolutionary biology are more than just a capitalist plot -- they are a popular way of viewing the world that saps life of much of its depth, beauty, and mystery. In confronting the big questions of our lives and deaths and how to make sense of them, reducing the world to game theory and genes does more harm than enabling capitalists.
What else is going on out there?