Tag Archives: evolution

How do you spell God-fearing? B-O-O-B-S!

Don’t believe me?  Check out this ad taken from a Christian blog for a Christian dating service.  Yeah, I’m guessing “chaste” is not one of the hopes held for this girl by Christian guys wanting to date her…Christian dating ad

Cheap point aside, there’s actually a more fundamental point I’d like to make here.  After all, dear visitor, you don’t come here merely to be entertained, but to be informed, right?

It’s well-known that for many Christians, evolution is a dirty word, with around half rejecting the theory in favor of creationism.  Ever notice, however, that they in fact act in accordance with its principals, as our ad explicitly suggests?  Traits like good looks, wealth, youth, or an ideal body are absent from lists of what makes a Godly mate, yet what do we see?  Christians desiring and selecting mates with precisely those traits, for reasons explained only by evolution.  But, Christians retort, the Bible doesn’t rule those qualities out either.  True, yet according to the theology, they should play no role; it’s the inner qualities that matter – God-fearing, virtuous, trustworthy and trusting, faithful, humble, etc. – not the outwardly or “worldly” ones.  Thus, we should see the attractive paired with the ugly, rich with poor, fit with fat, young with old, able with infirm – all in combinations wholly at odds with evolutionary psychology – because external appearances do not necessarily reflect the most esteemed personality traits.  If creationism, not evolution, is true, such qualities should hardly be a factor in choosing a mate.  Yet, they are.  Christian creationists are virtually indistinguishable from outsiders in the qualities they actually choose in a spouse.Sarah and Todd Palin

As far as I’m aware, no Christian creationist website has an explanation for why this is.  Perhaps they’d say it’s all covered under “the Fall,” which has made everyone, including themselves, incline to behave according to evolutionary instincts—which instincts of course originated with Satan, along with the rest of evilu…er, evolution. My guess is that creationists don’t want to tangle with the conundrum of why God would make certain people more desirably endowed physically when he says all the important traits are the invisible ones.  The cognitive dissonance for Muslim creationists must be especially acute.  Here Allah creates the female physical form and then orders his followers to cover it all up.Olsteens

Christian creationists, as in so much else, let’s see you practice what you preach!

In what image?

Yesterday was the bicentennial anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.  Darwin, as you know, was the author of a satanic religion intended to lead people astray from God.  Or at least that’s what many believers claim.  *snicker*

Though I think they’re bat-shit crazy, I actually sympathize with these folks.  Darwin’s theory of evolution completely upends (fatally, in my opinion) many of their core beliefs.  Easier, by far, to simply deny evolution than to go through the mental gymnastics necessary to reconcile the theory and their theology.

Fortunately for the human race, there are a number of believers who have made the leap.  It’s fascinating to me to read how they do it.  A recent article which explores just that was published by The New Republic titled, Seeing and Believing: The Never-Ending Attempt to Reconcile Science and Religion, and Why It Is Doomed to Fail.  It examines a couple books by theistic evolutionists that seek to bridge the divide between evolution and traditional religious doctrines.  The author of the article is a scientist who happens to be an atheist too, Jeffrey Coyne.

Dr. Coyne does a great job of undercutting the arguments of the theistic evolutionists (at least one of whom has responded).  But one thing I’ve never seen a theistic evolutionist address is an observation I read some time ago by conservative writer and columnist John Derbyshire.  He wondered, if evolution is true and we’re made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), then what image would that be?  Humans have not always looked like we do today.  At one point, we had a lot more hair, among other things.  Nor is our present image likely to be the same one thousands or even millions of years hence.

I suppose for the theistic evolutionists who’ve allegorized pretty much all of Genesis, allegorizing “image” too shouldn’t be a problem.  “Image” could be beauty, truth, knowledge, love, etc. Though why “image” couldn’t just as well mean hatred, ignorance, prejudice, jealously, etc., too should probably be explained.  I’d imagine, however, for the lay believer that an amorphous, formless God is not the kind of god they’d worship, much less accept.  We prefer our deities like we prefer our neighbors – pretty much like us.

The natural basis of religion

Those of us who reject the claim that supernatural deities are behind the establishment of any religion must necessarily believe in a natural basis for religious belief.  Fortunately, fueled by a cross-disciplinary approach, scientific inquiry into this question has significantly advanced over the last decade, and is now producing some very plausible hypotheses.  A recent article in the journal Nature, Religion: Bound to believe, explores the latest understanding into the cognitive-evolutionary basis of religion.  Its author, Pascal Boyer, concludes
Continue reading The natural basis of religion

Why you can’t get enough scandal

Nothing titillates and arouses like a good scandal, particularly if it involves sex, betrayal, or avarice.  The question is why.  Among the array of the things that do or could impact us, why are we more interested in a scandal which touches us only in the remotest sense?

One evolutionary psychologist believes he has an answer.  In a recent Washington Post article, Why Fluff-Over-Substance Makes Perfect Evolutionary Sense, Hank Davis from the University of Guelph in Ontario explains that the primal parts of our brains evolved long ago when knowing information about “who needs a favor, who is in a position to offer one, who is trustworthy, who is a liar, who is available sexually, who is under the protection of a jealous partner, who is likely to abandon a family, who poses a threat to us” conferred survival advantages.  Yes, our brains have become more complex since then, but these primal parts still remain as instinctual guides.

Sounds very plausible, so far.  But the article goes on to suggest,

[I]f the evolutionary psychologists are correct, people will tend to choose leaders they can relate to personally — and reject the leaders with whom they cannot see having a personal relationship.

This is true, but I don’t think it’s necessarily for the reasons the evolutionary psychologists propose.  Earlier in the article, it was mentioned that questions over the military service of John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush dogged these two politicians for years, yet that didn’t prevent them from being politically successful, as the model might have predicted.  And consider Bill Clinton, who long battled accusations, some of which turned out to be true, over sexual infidelity.  He also lied about his dalliances.  This cost him dearly among some, but for the most part, voters looked the other way–again, contrary to the model. (I could go on…*cough*DC’s Marion Barry*cough*).

Instead, I think perhaps our values wield a stronger influence over our perceptions of others, and our receptivity to them.  If I, for example, value economic equality, I’ll be more receptive to thinking I could have a personal relationship with politicians who share it, and overlook whatever “character flaws” they may have.  These values don’t necessarily have to be public policy-oriented, but policy proposals should be framed in general value terms, e.g., “the minimum wage is a question of fairness” or “the war on terror is about protecting our families”.

As much as I like their theory, I don’t think the evolutionary psychologists have got it quite right.