How Apemen Learned to Give Christmas Presents
For your Christmas amusement, some scientists think they have solved the evolution of gift giving. In an announcement on EurekAlert called “Why we give: New study finds evidence of generosity among our early human ancestors,” the introduction states, “A groundbreaking new study examines the origins of holiday giving and finds that our early human ancestors were frequently altruistic.” How could Michael Gurvin (UC Santa Barbara) figure this out, without human ancestors to observe or ask? For his paper in the upcoming Feb. 2006 edition of Current Anthropology, he studied “food exchanges in two small-scale, non-market societies – a classic context for understanding the evolution of conditional cooperation in humans.” He found that altruism is costly without some kind of payback, but he also found that close kin and neighbors unable to produce much food sometimes receive more than they give.
On the media front, the Science Channel has been airing a series called “The Rise of Man” during Christmas week. Producers seem to be getting more bold with skin. One episode showed tribes of completely nude Homo erectus humans in various stages of increasing enlightenment (these are played by actors, you know, with some creative facial makeup, but otherwise anatomically correct human bodies). Another showed a newly-evolved Homo sapiens tribe watching the effects of lightning in fear and awe. A delirious female falls to the ground in some kind of trance, jerking and babbling uncontrollably as the others look on with stupefied expressions. The narrator explains: and thus begins a new chapter in the rise of human consciousness: religion.
Cavorting in the wilderness with incomprehensible grunts – how did it come to this. (We’re not talking about the actors in The Rise of Man; we’re describing figuratively the evolutionary anthropologists.)
It’s superfluous to have to describe how dumb Gurvin’s theory is, but for those imprisoned in the mental concentration camps known as public schools, here are some suggested cerebral exercises to awaken one’s atrophied sensibilities. What are the empirical observations? Gurvin observed modern humans acting like human beings: understanding trade, and knowing how to give and care for the helpless. Do the observations connect at all with a story of the evolution of generosity? No. (Chimpanzees don’t act this way; see 10/28/2005 story). Did he establish any transitions from primate precursors to modern man? No. Did he explain the origin of true, unselfish giving? No. Did he tie altruism to a lucky random mutation? No. Does he have any way of proving that these non-market societies did not degenerate from advanced associations of highly-capable, intelligent human beings who were created with all their moral attributes? No. Does his theory destroy Christmas? Yes.
Gurvin approaches science like all Darwinists do: since evolution is already a fact in their own imaginations, research is just a metaphysical program for stuffing all data into their predetermined belief system. If he had to prove his speculation against criticism, like a true scientist, he would come up as naked as the actors in The Rise of Man. The Science Channel doesn’t debate the origin of humans; it just states as a matter of fact that this is the way it happened. Any disagreement is only between Darwinists about the details. That’s why we need to get the Darwin Party out of its cushy comfort zone of presumed authority and demand accountability. (By the way, did you notice how the title The Rise of Man assumes the myth of progress? Michael Ruse and Stephen Jay Gould would be appalled.)
Darwinians have had free reign for too long, and this is the result: naked grunting actors, and scientists grunting with intellectually naked theories. They need to be confronted with alternative scientific theories not woven out of materialistic cloth (the kind found in The Emperor’s New Clothes). They need to be confronted with the soundest criticisms of philosophers and theologians who have not been contaminated with Darwinian LSD, that universal acid that dissolves sound reasoning into hallucinations. Evolutionary storytelling in the journals and on TV only survives by being insulated from debate. The Darwin Party faithful cannot tolerate confrontation, because they fear the survival of the fittest ideas. The Science Channel doesn’t want confrontation, because it might jeopardize their agenda of pushing the envelope of prime-time prurience. The actors don’t want confrontation or they might have to put their clothes back on and get a real job. Isn’t it fun to slap on mud, make funny faces and grunt? Only on The Science Channel.
Tip: watch Survivorman instead; at least you’ll learn something that might come in handy on the next camping trip. Here’s a suggestion for an episode that might prove too much even for tough guy Les Stroud – surviving as a creationist at the university.