Bio-Darwinist Beats Up On Psycho-Darwinists
Evolution of rape? No way. Sharon Begley won’t let the evolutionary psychologists get away with their tales about how rapists, molesters, and cheaters can’t help themselves because evolution made them that way. The Science Magazine blog Origins seems to be cheering her on.
Science writer Sharon Begley, who in 2007 returned to her old job at Newsweek after 5 years of writing the “Science Journal” column for The Wall Street Journal, has long reported skeptically about anything smacking of biological determinism. In the 29 June issue of Newsweek, she pens a 4300-word critique of evolutionary psychology, the theory that modern human behavior—including everything from mate choice to child abuse to warfare—is the result of evolutionary adaptations that took place 100,000 or more years ago. Her piece, titled “Why Do We Rape, Kill and Sleep Around?” concludes, as the subtitle puts it, “The fault, dear Darwin, lies not in our ancestors, but in ourselves.”
Origins says that Begley gave the evo-psych people “lumps” and “digs” and “mocking characterizations” in her lengthy response. Her scientific critique depends, though, on another Darwinian mechanism: “calculations suggest that hunter-gatherers who rape will see their evolutionary fitness go down rather than up because offspring of such violent encounters have a lower chance of surviving or even being born.” Is that not a determinism of its own? It seems to be saying gentlemen are favored because of what psychological tendencies were favored by natural selection in their evolutionary past, not because of what lies in themselves.
Overlooking that contradiction, the Science blog said, “Begley combines detailed scientific argumentation with rapier-sharp digs at evolutionary psychologists.” She’s relieved that evolutionary psychology has been losing ground among scientists in recent years, but laments the fact that “it remains very popular with the mass media.” It “represents a very simplistic view of human nature,” she feels.
For Thornhill and Palmer’s theory on the evolution of rape, see the 07/18/2003 entry.
You can’t fight Darwin with Darwin. It’s Darwin all the way, dregs and all. If you believe bio-Darwin made us, you’re stuck with psycho-Darwin as part of the package.
If Ms. Begley wants to teach men to behave themselves, it won’t work to tell them that their ape-man past favored gentlemen. Tell that to the jerks in prison. Will that make them repent? Teach that to young boys in biology class and see if it motivates them to be nice to girls. The idea is laughable. Evolutionists publishing in Science and Nature routinely use game theory to teach that populations tolerate cooperators and cheaters. Begley’s sermon will have no force against the boy who chooses to go the cheating route, because it’s an evolutionarily stable equilibrium with no moral consequences. In fact, we could cast Ms Begley as the cooperator and the evolutionary psychologists as the cheaters in an explanatory game devoid of epistemological anchors. That means her story just refuted itself.
Selfish, immoral behavior is not a bottom-up problem of evolution, but a top-down problem of rebellion against our Maker. Men need the fear of God. They need salvation. People know what is right. It’s not Darwin in their genes, but true moral evil in their souls that causes them to violate their consciences. Done often enough, it turns men into beasts. “The fault, dear Darwin, lies not in our ancestors, but in ourselves.” A Bible preacher could say that, but on what basis will Begley justify her anchorless moral platitude?
Dear Darwin. Sounds like what the poor, starving, duped North Koreans call their selfish, cheating, molesting, raping, torturing, murdering, world-threatening dictator as they treat him like a god.