February 27, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

How to Call Your Opponent Stupid Using Evolution

It may be that Professor Kanazawa was intending to be compassionate by couching his assessment in the language of evolutionary theory, but he essentially made a categorical judgment that conservatives and Christians are stupid, and atheists and the sexually promiscuous are smart.  How could he say such a thing?  He could dodge the charge of hate speech by claiming that this is just the way evolution designed things.
    It’s hard to know which portion of a bizarre article in Science Daily to select for winner of Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week; it’s even harder to know why Science Daily titled Kanazawa’s thesis uncritically, “Liberals and Atheists Smarter?  Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History, Study Finds.”
    Here’s how Science Daily summarized the press release from the American Sociological Association: “More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history.  Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.”  (Notice that this proposition states that sexual exclusivity is not morally preferable – just novel.  Novelty is presumably the seed plot of evolutionary progress.)  It would be difficult to find a pastor or theologian willing to grant these things as scientific “findings.”
    Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, put forward his thesis this way: “General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions.  As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles.”  But how can that be?  Have conservatives and religions people never come up with novel ideas?  Have liberals and atheists never reverted to old doctrines and habits?  Could it not be considered novel to be a conservative Christian in a liberal communist dictatorship?
    These two paragraphs will probably suffice as the winning entry:

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel.  So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals….
    Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans’ tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see “the hands of God” at work behind otherwise natural phenomena.  “Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,” says Kanazawa.  This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers.  “So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists.

In this, Kanazawa has just labeled PhDs who support intelligent design as stupid and paranoid.  He also opened a door for the sexually licentious to consider themselves smarter than the average dog.  But it is not clear that using an oxymoronic phrase like “evolutionarily designed” is a mark of intelligence.  “One intriguing but theoretically predicted finding of the study is that more intelligent people are no more or no less likely to value such evolutionarily familiar entities as marriage, family, children, and friends.”  This appears to be an attempt to justify gay marriage or any other arrangement, using evolutionary theory.

There are so many fallacies in this article, it would be easier to quote the few statements that make sense than to list them all.  Surely any intelligent reader is shaking her or his head in disbelief right now.  This silliness gets printed in “Science Daily”?  People may joke about one another being “less evolved” but this guy is actually serious.  Clueless would be a charitable accusation.  He would need a whole additional wit to be a half-wit.
    Notice again how Darwin leads people to say dumb things while thinking themselves smart.  This week the Republicans met with Obama to discuss health care.  A number of Republicans who attended commented afterwards that liberals seem to fancy themselves smart, and think of their conservative opponents as stupid.  Some liberal TV commentators seemed actually surprised to watch the conservatives acting better prepared and more eloquent, while the liberal standard-bearers that they expected to be the IQ champs said some pretty dumb things.  A similar sociological dynamic hampers rational discussion about intelligent design: Darwin-lovers merely assume they are the smart ones, and look down their pointy elitist noses at scholars who are often their intellectual superiors.  There is no one more pitiful than a dunce with a mortarboard cap.
    Kanazawa really needs to get out more.  He is apparently suffering from chronic dementia, brought about by Darwine addiction and constant exposure to the toxic atmosphere of liberal academia.  For shock treatment, let’s help the professor out a little.

“Dr. Kanazawa, I assume you consider yourself intelligent.  You also believe you are a product of evolution, and evolution, like you said, endowed humans with the ability to think and reason.  So let’s think this through.  If liberals are the bearers of novelty, that means in Darwinian terms that they are mutants, right?  Are you sure you want to act as a bearer of mutations, since they are almost always deleterious?  It is much more probable that your mutation will lead to death than to any evolutionary progress.  Wouldn’t it be more to your advantage to become a conservative Christian, the way evolution designed you to be?  Think of the advantages.  It would increase your fitness.  It would help you and the other cooperators prevent the mutants (the atheists and liberals) from polluting the gene pool.
    As a conservative Christian possessing higher fitness, you would have to denounce Darwin, you realize.  But it would increase your chances of passing on your selfish genes, which are using humans to propagate themselves by making them believe things that aren’t true, like God.  Now, since the selfish genes are amoral, they are making all humans, including the liberals, believe things that aren’t true, correct?  That would include evolutionary theory.  Otherwise, on what basis would you judge something to be true or to be false?  If it is the novel idea that is to be preferred as true, then wouldn’t it be novel for conservative Christians in North Korea to stand out from the communist regime?  Since novelty can produce opposite things, truth is clearly not the issue at hand.  Selfish genes are just as capable of using humans to believe in evolution as it is to lead them to believe in God.  You said we are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and claimed that it is paranoid to believe in God, but it is equally paranoid to be an atheist.
    Your choice, therefore, is either to become a conservative Christian, which is what evolution designed you to be, or to attempt to escape the tyranny of the selfish genes, which are deceiving you into thinking evolutionary theory is true.  You can tell the selfish genes are deceiving you when they lead you to believe things that are logically inconsistent.  The escape from paranoia to sanity and higher intelligence, therefore, is for you to repent of your folly and speak in rationally-consistent terms, like intelligent design.”

This is harsh therapy, we realize, but tough love demands it.

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