If I may amplify my previous post on evolutionary psychology, we’re supposed to be believe that DNA, while directing only the production of proteins and other cell components, is ultimately in charge of everything else about us too — as David Berlinski puts it, “altruism, date rape, aggression, eating disorders, and a taste for Mansfield Park,” and much else. An infinity of “much else.”
I was adopted and did not meet my birth mother until I was in my mid 20s. She and my adoptive parents have very little in common — not religion, not background, not country of origin, not tastes. Almost nothing. (You can read more about the story in my first book, The Lord Will Gather Me In
.) I inherited from my adoptive parents many culturally rooted preferences. Of course I did. But I inherited from my birth mother other things, as I’ve come to realize over the years since we developed a relationship. Hair color and complexion. Yeah sure, big deal. But also attitudes, habits, tastes — not for Mansfield Park
but Graham Greene, whom she was reading when pregnant with me, for one example. Just a lot of things that if you’re Robert Wright, you’d have to assume were granted through the coded language of DNA, a language that codes for cell components and nothing else
This is what I mean by magical thinking.