Why are we destroying the planet? The dangers of pseudoscientific explanations

Why are we destroying the planet?  The dangers of pseudoscientific explanations

SAccording to Thierry Ripoll and Sébastien Boller, the environmental catastrophe associated with overconsumption of planetary resources is due to individual behavior determined by our brains. They pointed out in a recent interview that one system, the striatum, controls a neurochemical molecule, dopamine, that always wants more, without self-limitation. the world.

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This thesis has political implications: our biological programming can sustain viable socio-economic systems. Only the economic growth model is compatible with the functioning of the human brain. This disqualifies political programs of development or stability based on democratic debate. Possible consequences: changing our nature to be protected by inhumans or forcing people to consume less in an authoritarian way.

This thesis, not subject to conflicting expert report, is scientifically unfounded. It is based on a misapplication of neuroscience, a misreading of psycho-evolution, and a misunderstanding of the human and social sciences. Here we point out the idiocy in neuroscience (other scientific weaknesses have been described). In a longer version of this op-ed)

First, the striatum does not produce dopamine (it receives it), and is not dopamine“Happiness Hormone”It was recognized in 1997 by Roy Wise, the author of this hypothesis in the 1970s. “stop operation” of the striatum, which is always necessary “increase”, contrary to scientific studies, the discovery of Sebastien Pöhler (taken unfollowed by Ripoll). More broadly, the locationist view of 19e The century of linking psychological function (pleasure, desire, intelligence) to the structure of the brain is completely obsolete. So the function of a cerebral region is rarely transferable psychologically, a fortiori sociologically.

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Nothing justifies the opposition between one part of the brain “recent” (and rational) and another “archaic” (and emotional, and therefore responsible for our desires). The striatum, the dopaminergic system, and the frontal cortex, brain regions present in all mammals, have evolved together. In animals, including humans, the prefrontal cortex has experienced unparalleled development and complexity. But this development corresponds to an increase in connections with other parts of the brain, including the dopaminergic system and the striatum, which have become more complex. Thus the primitive striatum is a neuron.

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