Friday, December 23, 2011

A British creationist asked;

A creationist recently posed to me the notion that "evolution" could not "explain" the following features of humans, while the Bible made it all so clear.

The union of one man and one woman

Biblical polygamy was common. Only in the writing of Paulists is there the (very late) late addition that Christian priests (Bishops, and Deacons) should be monogamous. (And don't forget this, 1 Corinthians 9:29. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30. and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31. and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. 32. But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33. but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34. and his interests are divided.

So, obviously you should not be married anyway.

 The creation of man and woman

Which man and which woman? Homo erectus? Australopithecus? Ardipithecus? Earlier?

Creationists famously cannot tell us which Hominid fossils are "real humans" and which are "really just apes." Since in all scientific categories, we are apes, this seems something creationists need to work on a bit more.

The 'inner' witness of the law (conscience), & Morality and justice

Biblical morality changed dramatically of over time. Maybe it evolved. It seems we share core elements of this with other apes, and even rats;

Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal, Jean Decety, Peggy Mason
"Empathy and Pro-Social Behavior in Rats" Science 9 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6061 pp. 1427-1430

T. Romero, M. A. Castellanos, F. B. de Waal
2010 "Consolation as possible expression of sympathetic concern among chimpanzees" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107, 12110.

Alan G. Sanfey
2007 "Social Decision-Making: Insights from Game Theory and Neuroscience" Science 26 October 2007: Vol. 318 no. 5850 pp. 598-602
(The above are all publicly available, and are just a tiny introduction to a large literature).

In the same issue of Science as Bartal et al, is
Jaak Panksepp "Empathy and the Laws of Affect" (pp.1358-1359),


Marcus Alexander, Fotini Christia "Context Modularity of Human Altruism" (pp. 1392-1394).

Basically, most mammals are responsive to the distress of con-specifics, with Humans arguably the both the most altruistic, and the most vicious. Human altruism is fostered across ethnic boundaries by simple propinquity, or face-to-face interactions. Strictly mathematical analysis, Game Theory, provides a likely explanation why this has evolutionary advantage.

*Just published;
Catherine Crockford, Roman M. Wittig, Roger Mundry, and Klaus Zuberb├╝hler
Wild Chimpanzees Inform Ignorant Group Members of Danger
Current Biology, December 29, 2011

Why we wear clothes

It was too hot, or too cold. In tropical climes, people wore very little. In traditional New Guinea, men wear little more than decorative items indicating social status. But they feel "naked" without them;

(A family group gathered to welcome Christian missionaries. Photo by Charmaine Tham, Feb. 14. 2007.
Used with permission).

Clothing always extends beyond health, or other utilitarian function, and instead represents social identities and status.

Why we build

Why do Beavers build, or birds build, or spiders build?

We humans do have instinctual segments that are much smaller, and being smaller are much more flexible in combination with each other.

Seven day week

The Seven-day, or planetary week is an astrological institution. Herodotus, wrote, "The Egyptians were the first to assign to each month, and each day a particular god." (The History, 5th century B.C.). The ancients recognized seven "planets" each associated with a particular god; Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupitor, Venus, and Saturn (listed in the presumed order used to name the days). We use these names even now.


Ryan C. said...

Nice blog Gary... I'll be sure to check up on it periodically between the hashes I seem to get myself into with others!



Gary S. Hurd said...

I am glad you liked it.