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Baiting evolutionary psychologists and others who damn religion

Posted on December 12, 2011 by James Kohl.

In his book, “The Language of God,” Francis Collins does not appear to be trying to persuade anyone to adopt his scientifically informed perspective. However, an antagonist singles him out as one of the host of scientists whose beliefs about evolution and belief in the Christian God are being paraded in front of evolutionary psychologists. The purpose of the parade, and who may have organized it, goes without mention as a collection of unnamed scientists is damned along with their beliefs.
What I see in this damning is a preemptive, albeit simple-minded, attack leveled against incorporating any biological science or common sense into the evolution of human behavior. I think the attack is made to avoid any realistic consideration of what can only be viewed as missing details of counter-intuitive unknown natural mechanisms.  These unknown natural mechanisms of evolution might require some connection to a Creator if God “created” them, which He appears to have done using the known natural mechanisms of evolution: genetic predisposition (i.e., nature) and epigenetic influences of the environment (i.e., nurture).

Any attempt to avoid the comparison between what is known and the hypothetical unknown natural mechanisms is more likely to be an attack on the scientific examination of the unknown. Scientists like Francis Collins, for example, attempt to make more known to others about the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization that enabled the evolution of human behavior. Attacks on scientists like him are typically leveled in groups where biologists are unlikely to be found, such as the evolutionary psychology or human ethology yahoo groups.

Antagonists of scientific inquiry know their audience, and orchestrate their own parades for these specific target audiences. Obviously, they will find other supporters of the self-proclaimed and incredibly vocal atheists like Richard Dawkins among those with little knowledge of biology. But their ignorance causes me to wonder if these atheists on parade have ever completed any military service, or any other comparable service to others. Can their opinions be trusted; can they?

What must atheists who have not served their country be thinking when they see a parade of veterans who have risked their life to protect others from slaughter? What must they think about those who have died taking that risk? If those who fight and risk death believe in God, are they being damned by the atheists along with religion?

That’s the basis for one of my opinions about atheists; they seem to be damning everyone else, including those who are responsible for their freedom to damn them. To me, that attitude is selfish and ignorant, and it should be taken as a serious threat to the evolution of human behavior, and to the understanding of evolutionary psychology. Clearly, many of us are selfish and many are ignorant of science, but the combination of these two genetically predisposed behavioral phenotypes limits our species survival.

Every species that sexually reproduces is a social species because individual organisms must socially interact before they can sexually reproduce. It may be obvious that “selfish genes” are as much a part of our human genome as they are a part of atheistic diatribes, but it should be equally obvious that our species could not have evolved if not for genes that contribute to self-sacrifice, which involves evolved biologically-based behavior.

My antagonists are not attempting to explain self-sacrifice via unknown natural mechanisms. Yet they condemn the known natural mechanisms of evolution and self-sacrificial behavior by focusing on unknown natural mechanisms. That behavior in any discussion group is probably the most foolish of all evolved behaviors to be paraded in front of its members, unless all group members agree that they are not interested in scientific inquiry.

The parade of ignorance with regard to unknown natural mechanisms makes me wonder if there is any scientific support for opinions about religion to be found in the evolutionary psychology group. The parade of ignorance about non-existent domain-specific mental modules makes me wonder if there is any support for anything said by most members of either the evolutionary psychology group or the human ethology group. If there is no scientific support for member’s opinions, shouldn’t group members simply admit that they are not interested in the science of biology, and advise biologists against participation? And if there is scientific support for their opinions and condemnation of other’s beliefs, when will that scientific support be discussed?



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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