Charles Darwin should be spinning in his grave: More than 40 percent of American adults still don’t believe in evolution. Though Darwin’s theory has been uncontroversially accepted among scientists, public resistance remains remarkably forceful. Meanwhile, creationism and intelligent design enjoy widespread public support. (1)
Clichés aside, I don’t think Darwin or any other naturalist should make reference to the continued existence of anyone post-death. I don’t think most people, other than Darwin worshipers, should be too worried about the post-death radial velocity of Darwin’s remains. This is just another way of saying, “There are a lot of stupid people out there, and IDists and Creationists are among them.”
An academic psychologist, Tania Lombrozo, from a venerable Ivory Tower (2), UC Berkely, has tried to explain teleology from an evolutionary perspective.
Why might humans have evolved this kind of a reasoning strategy? Lombrozo has several ideas. “One possibility is that if you look at our evolutionary past or at our experiences growing up, one of the things we did most often was explaining human behavior. And human behavior is generally goal-directed — it does involve intentions and functions. We may be taking the mode of explanation that we’re best at and then applying it to other domains,” she says. “Another possibility is that it’s more effective. We’re going to learn more about the world if we go around assuming that things have functions and then sometimes discovering we were wrong, rather than the reverse.”
Lombrozo points out that, most of the time, functional explanations don’t do a lot of harm. In fact, they can sometimes help people understand concepts that might otherwise be too difficult. In chemistry, for example, it can be helpful to think about the electron wanting to go to where it’s positive, or, when learning about evolution, that the moth doesn’t want to be visible to its predator. On the other hand, says Lombrozo, systematically catering to what people find satisfying can be bad for their appreciation of science.
“Education is most successful when it gets people to undergo something like a theoretical change,” she says. Recognizing what kinds of assumptions people come into the classroom with will help in figuring out how to best accomplish this.”
For the Creationist, this can be taken as a compliment, although it is not meant that way:
3. “Let the children come to me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God is people like this. I say to you clearly. Unless you are people who accept the kingdom of God as a child, you will never be able to enter in it,” (verses sixteen and seventeen).
4. The words “to enter the kingdom of God,” it goes without saying, means our salvation. So, the Lord says, “the kingdom of God is people like this,” that is, “it is people like children.” Therefore, we understand that what we ought to learn through children are not things which only enrich our life, but what concerns our eternal salvation, which is something very much more important. So, what in the world did the words the Lord gave mean? (3)
IDists will often find these remarks more offensive. I find the remarks to be irrelevant. There are many other factors that speak to the maturity of an individual, and apparently, spiritual aspects of maturity are not given high regard by Jesus. Paul gives the other aspects of maturity a different treatment:
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. (4)
So, the reasoning, thoughts, and speech of children, may be done away with, but the spiritual aspects seem to be important. In this sense, being more “childlike” is better.
As mynym has pointed out, the “urge to merge,” is a psychological aspect of childhood, which seems to apply to many Darwinists. This does fall into a non-spiritual category of “immaturity,” that relates to thoughts, speech, and reasoning.
Filed under: Creationism, education, evolution, Intelligent Design, psychology, theology | Tagged: Creationism, evolution, evolutionary psychology, immaturity, Intelligent Design, maturity, naturalism, spirituality, teleology |