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Evolution and Worldview

A recent article at Psychology Today is getting a lot of attention. I noticed it at a couple of blogs and then saw it come across the wire at Digg, so it is being widely read. The article offers “Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature.” In the preamble the authors, Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, say:

Human behavior is a product both of our innate human nature and of our individual experience and environment. In this article, however, we emphasize biological influences on human behavior, because most social scientists explain human behavior as if evolution stops at the neck and as if our behavior is a product almost entirely of environment and socialization. In contrast, evolutionary psychologists see human nature as a collection of psychological adaptations that often operate beneath conscious thinking to solve problems of survival and reproduction by predisposing us to think or feel in certain ways. Our preference for sweets and fats is an evolved psychological mechanism. We do not consciously choose to like sweets and fats; they just taste good to us.

The implications of some of the ideas in this article may seem immoral, contrary to our ideals, or offensive. We state them because they are true, supported by documented scientific evidence. Like it or not, human nature is simply not politically correct.

The authors are quite right when they say that most people extend evolution to the body but not to the mind—evolution is given as an explanation for who and what we are, but not what we do, what we think and why we choose some things over others. But we’ve seen that as evolution evolves so too do the extents of its claims.

The ten politically incorrect truths in this article are not only far too safe to be considered truly politically incorrect, but they are also dressed up in a guise of Darwinism that makes them absurd. The claims range from why most suicide bombers are Muslim, why beautiful people have more daughters, why humans are naturally polygamous, why sexual harassment isn’t sexist, and why blonds are more attractive.

Here is what they say about the fact that “humans are naturally polygamous.” The authors say “Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage” but claim that humans are actually naturally polygamous. Now I suppose it depends on what one means by natural. If we mean natural in a pre-Fall state, I would disagree with the authors and would look to the Bible to see that humans were innately monogamous. But certainly since the Fall humans are terribly depraved and tend towards all sorts of ungodly and newly-natural sins such as polygamy. As a Christian I would tend to agree that humans, in their current state, are naturally polygamous. But listen to how evolution explains this. “We know that humans have been polygynous throughout most of history because men are taller than women. Among primate and nonprimate species, the degree of polygyny highly correlates with the degree to which males of a species are larger than females. The more polygynous the species, the greater the size disparity between the sexes. Typically, human males are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than females. This suggests that, throughout history, humans have been mildly polygynous.” Apparently this strange phenomenon works itself out in this way: “The greater fitness variance among males creates greater pressure for men to compete with each other for mates. Only big and tall males can win mating opportunities. Among pair-bonding species like humans, in which males and females stay together to raise their children, females also prefer to mate with big and tall males because they can provide better physical protection against predators and other males.”

The authors also say that beautiful people have more daughters. Listen to this convoluted explanation:

One of the most celebrated principles in evolutionary biology, the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, states that wealthy parents of high status have more sons, while poor parents of low status have more daughters. This is because children generally inherit the wealth and social status of their parents. Throughout history, sons from wealthy families who would themselves become wealthy could expect to have a large number of wives, mistresses and concubines, and produce dozens or hundreds of children, whereas their equally wealthy sisters can have only so many children. So natural selection designs parents to have biased sex ratio at birth depending upon their economic circumstances—more boys if they are wealthy, more girls if they are poor. (The biological mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood.)

I have to admit, I was struck by the words “natural selection designs…” Does this make any sense? Can natural selection design anything? Doesn’t design presuppose designer? And isn’t this a lot of explaining on the basis of a mere hypothesis?

The article provides ten of these claims, even suggesting “From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man’s midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife’s imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women.” And so on. The authors constantly attempt to prove things on the basis of evolution, but constantly offer ridiculous explanations that really make no sense whatsoever.

You know, it seems to me that as time goes on the claims of evolutionists extend further and further. Far from simply providing an alternative and unbiblical explanation for the existence and diversity of life, evolution has become a complete worldview. And as a worldview evolution is forced to explain, well, just about everything. Evolution has long been attempting to explain how we got here, why one form of life bears such a resemblance to other forms of life, and why differences remain. But today it is offered as an explanation to far more. And as evolution is stretched to its limits, the claims become more and more preposterous, more and more unbelievable. Evolution is losing credibility by trying to be a complete worldview, something it simply cannot do.

Truthfully, I hope evolutionists continue to push the extreme boundaries of what evolution can explain. Every time they push those limits, they draw further attention to the limits of evolution—to the fact that it simply cannot explain so much about us. As these people grasp at straws, they show just how absurd a worldview Darwinism truly is.