Category Archives: evolution

‘Even those who purposely reject religion intuitively see design in nature’


I’m still busy with grading and family life, but I took a look at my Twitter feed, and I saw this, FWIW:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

My question to myself: Is my tendency toward belief like a cognitive bias? I’m not sure what evolutionary purpose would be served by a belief in an unseen being. I wonder, for example, do chimps and gorillas have some kind of assumption about an unseen Creator? And either way, what would the answer really mean?

Incidentally, I find this part of the study’s abstract easy to believe: “These results suggest that the tendency to view nature as designed is rooted in evolved cognitive biases as well as cultural socialization.” Especially the “cultural socialization” aspect. I’m still wondering if belief could be strictly and only a cognitive bias.

[Edited Nov. 15, 2017, 9:12 a.m.]

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‘The Evangelical Rejection of Reason’


In case you missed it, read Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens’s New York Times op/ed piece, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason.”

Why do so many Americans reject expert arguments about evolution and climate change?


Watch a video discussion between John McWhorter of The New Republic and Glenn Loury of Brown University here.

Christian universities say, ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts’


Read, “Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve” from NPR.

Also read, “No One Reads the Bible Literally,” by Books & Culture editor John Wilson, in the Wall Street Journal.

(Books & Culture is a publication of Christianity Today.)

The Smart Set: Liberal, atheistic dudes who stick with one female (go figure)


From this article at CNN.com:

(CNN) — Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.

The reasoning is that sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans’ evolutionary past. In other words, none of these traits would have benefited our early human ancestors, but higher intelligence may be associated with them.

“The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward,” said George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. “It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people — people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower — are likely to be the ones to do that.”

Bailey also said that these preferences may stem from a desire to show superiority or elitism, which also has to do with IQ. In fact, aligning oneself with “unconventional” philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be “ways to communicate to everyone that you’re pretty smart,” he said.

Read the rest here.

Faith and science, married


Check out this page on The BioLogos Foundation’s Web site.

Listed are 13 world-class scientists with faith commitments (plus Tim Keller). This bunch does not see a conflict between Christianity and evolutionary science.

The problem of truth within natural selection; plus, the non-naturalistic atheist


Alvin Plantinga, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, made an interesting comment in the July/August edition of Books & Culture:

“[N]atural selection doesn’t care about the truth or falsehood of your beliefs; it cares only about adaptive behavior. Your beliefs may all be false, ridiculously false; if your behavior is adaptive, you will survive and reproduce.”

Plantinga does not rule out evolution in his article.

In fact, the name of the article is “Evolution vs. Naturalism.”

How’s that?

Here’s a hint:

“Naturalism is the idea that there is no such person as God or anything like God; we might think of it as high-octane atheism or perhaps atheism-plus. It is possible to be an atheist without rising to the lofty heights (or descending to the murky depths) of naturalism. Aristotle, the ancient Stoics, and Hegel (in at least certain stages) could properly claim to be atheists, but they couldn’t properly claim to be naturalists: each endorses something (Aristotle’s Prime Mover, the Stoics’ Nous, Hegel’s Absolute) no self-respecting naturalist could tolerate.” [emphasis added]

Check out:
Knowledge of God (Great Debates in Philosophy)
Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism

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