March 19, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Darwinism Rationalizes Bad Habits

You can’t help yourself.
You’re a victim of selection.

 

Are you selfish? Obese? Addicted? Lazy? Impetuous? Scatterbrained? Lustful? Never fear; a Darwinist will grant you absolution. Natural selection or sexual selection, or a combination of the two, made you this way. There’s no need to repent, make new year’s resolutions, or seek counseling. Just read the Darwinist science media, and you will find relief from guilt feelings. Your local Darwin Party propagandist will make up a story about how your vice evolved; they might even allege that the bad habit increases your fitness! It must have been selected in some ape ancestor to help you in the struggle for existence.

A few years ago, we reported instances where Darwinians rationalized the Seven Deadly Sins (12 Feb 2017). Let’s continue the thread with more examples of Darwinian doctrine excusing bad habits.

Explaining the evolution of gossip (PNAS, 2o Feb 2024). The four scientists who wrote this paper hail from the University of Maryland, Stanford and Hong Kong, so they must be experts. Let them summarize their admittedly speculative just-so story about how gossip evolved:

Gossip, the exchange of personal information about absent third parties, is ubiquitous in human societies. However, the evolution of gossip remains a puzzle. The current article proposes an evolutionary cycle of gossip and uses an agent-based evolutionary game-theoretic model to assess it. We argue that the evolution of gossip is the joint consequence of its reputation dissemination and selfishness deterrence functions. Specifically, the dissemination of information about individuals’ reputations leads more individuals to condition their behavior on others’ reputations. This induces individuals to behave more cooperatively toward gossipers in order to improve their reputations. As a result, gossiping has an evolutionary advantage that leads to its proliferation.

Gossip is a good thing! It gives you an evolutionary advantage! It increases your fitness! Mom and Dad were wrong, as were your teachers, counselors and pastors. They were dumb. They didn’t have the wisdom to design evolutionary models about evolutionary cycles that produce evolutionary advantages. They should have praised your gossiping fitness, not made you feel guilty about it. So go forth and gossip, and may the farce bewitch you!

ADHD may have evolved to help foragers know when to cut their losses (New Scientist, 21 Feb 2024). Parents, stop telling junior to slow down and concentrate on his homework. And you teachers, stop assigning so much homework. Junior can’t help himself. Evolution made him that way. Darwinist reporter Chen Ly speculates, “Early hunter-gatherers who faced food scarcity may have benefitted from the impulsivity that can come with ADHD.” What was good for our ancestors must be good for us, so be authentic: be the impulsive person you evolved to be. It’s good for us. You’ll gather more berries on the hunt. Darwinians from two sides of the globe proved it by experiment:

To explore this, [Arjun] Ramakrishnan, David Barack at the University of Pennsylvania and their colleagues recruited 506 people in the US to play an online foraging game. The players were instructed to collect as many berries as they could in 8 minutes by hovering their cursor over bushes.

They were given the choice to either stay at a bush or to try their luck by leaving for another, which may have more or fewer berries. Moving to a new bush also incurred a brief time out, so the players had to balance the benefits of potentially getting more berries with the time lost due to moving on.

Before playing the game, the participants completed a survey that assessed whether they had ADHD symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and restlessness.

Those with ADHD symptoms spent about 4 seconds less hovering over any given bush compared with those without signs of the condition, which resulted in the former group collecting an average of 602 berries compared with 521.

The findings suggest that the selective pressures facing early hunter-gatherer communities, including a scarcity of food and other resources, may have driven ADHD’s evolution. There will have been foraging situations where it was better to stay than to move on, but in some scenarios this tendency to leave may have been an advantage, says Barack.

If you are snickering or laughing out loud about this tale, that’s OK. Your behavior evolved, too. It must have had a selective advantage in some hairy brute’s past, so identify with him and LOL as we all sing, “The Darwin in the tale / The Darwin in the tale / Hi-ho scenario, the Darwin in the tale.”

Combatting deepfakes is an evolutionary arms race (New Scientist, 13 March 2024). Why are people so worried about the threat of fake news? “Disinformation is far older than humans,” Jonathan Goodman says. “Lessons from evolutionary biology can help defend against it today.”

Evolutionary biology in part describes ancient games of dishonesty and betrayal. We need to use our understanding of arms races to make traps of our own – disinformation traps. Armed with knowledge, we can go to war.

Evolutionary biology provides knowledge, he assures us. Evolutionary biology provides understanding. It’s not very good at logic, though; Goodman doesn’t explain why one side of the farce is better than the other side. In Darwin’s amoral materialistic world, one side’s truth is the other side’s lie, and vice versa. Winners will switch sides from time to time, and the aimless, purposeless struggle will continue. The only ultimate winner will be the Bearded Buddha, who gave to humans the fire of understanding to know how nonsense makes “evolutionary sense.”

New study on mating behaviors offers clues into the evolution of attraction (Rockefeller University, 13 March 2024). Want pleasure? Make like a roundworm. Yes, opposite sexes attract, which is great for the perpetuation of each species. But since we’re all animals anyway, anything satisfying the attraction you feel is justifiable in Darwinian terms. Isn’t that the implication in this press release? Roundworms give evolutionary biologists “insights” into “reproductive strategies.” Some roundworms have gone hermaphroditic, dispensing with males.

But as they age, hermaphrodites continue producing eggs and cease producing sperm, leaving them with gametes they cannot self-fertilize. Suddenly, male nematodes become appealing. “Once they run out of sperm they switch over,” Bargmann says. “It’s not that hermaphrodites have forgotten what males are for. It just masks those behaviors for part of its life and then unleashes them later in life, revealing an astonishing level of behavioral flexibility.”

This mating flexibility makes evolutionary sense. From a biological fitness perspective, any animal should want to maximize its own input into the gene pool. As long as hermaphrodites can produce offspring all their own, they have no incentive to mix with males. But once they are incapable of doing so, it becomes evolutionarily strategic to mate and produce offspring with at least half of their genetic material….

The findings constitute a fundamental step toward answering the most basic questions about how animals evolve to optimize passage of their DNA. “Our findings add another piece to this puzzle,” Bargmann says. “These species change their approach to maximize the total number of genes they can pass to the next generation. It’s almost like the hermaphrodites read a genetics textbook and asked: ‘how can I maximize my fitness’.”

If a testosterone-pumped young man at the university is listening to this, and asks the question, “How can I maximize my fitness,” what will these professors say if he announces he wants to go rape every woman he can find? Will they gasp and exclaim, “You can’t do that!” If he asks, “Why not?” a standoff ensues: “Because it’s wrong!” “Why?” “Because it’s not right!” “Why?” “Because it’s wrong!”

If the young man quotes the professors’ own words back to them and reminds them that they said every animal has an “evolutionary strategy” to “maximize the total number of genes” it can pass to the next generation, then he can justify his plan as “making evolutionary sense.” On his way out the door to work on his science project, he can boast, “From a biological fitness perspective, I’m fitter than you are!”

In evolutionary biology, there is no virtue that cannot be disparaged, and no vice that cannot be justified. The Bearded Buddha, with its stoic visage, is the evil idol of our age.

We have a design strategy. Take a Darwinist to church. Let him hear the story of Creation, the Fall, and the coming Judgment. Let him learn about truth and lies, and the punishment due to liars and worshipers of false gods. Let him hear the Ten Commandments until the fear of God grips his conscience. Then, let him hear about the love of God who provided mercy to those who will repent, how the Father sent his son to be the satisfaction for his justice, and how by faith we can receive complete forgiveness if we humble ourselves and accept the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf (Romans 1-5). Let him learn about the suffering Christ endured on the cross, as we remember that turning point in history on Good Friday (March 29 this year, next week). Take him to celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday (March 31), to feel the joy of a risen and living Savior. Let him learn that Christ followers receive the indwelling Holy Spirit to grow in sanctification with joy.

In short, overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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