Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Social Darwinism Alert!

BBC Radio 4 last night aired a programme in which the issue of 'evolutionary psychology' was discussed, with, along others, Steve Jones, the famous geneticist (I have a friend who knows him, indeed who was taught genetics by him and he absolutely hates the Catholic Church) and David Willets MP (Con). The programme, 'Aping Evolution' was really quite offensive. I was not listening to it intently while making some pasta and tomato splodge with sliced olives and mushrooms in a haphazard attempt to find a mate, sitting on my tod in my eco-flat (honestly, I didn't wash, so my pheromone levels were high, but heck, still nothing happened!), until I heard the words 'evolutionary psychology'.

A few of the parishioners went to a recent British Humanist Society debate on Darwin at a Brighton pub and warned them of the dangers of Social Darwinism, that Darwinism as a theory is fine but that it was influential in Hitler's ideology, so I thought it worth a listen and turned it up.

The programme, marking the 150 years since the publication of Darwin's 'The Origin of Species' grabbed me by the scruff of the neck when Steve Jones and then David Willets MP began discussing evolutionary principles in relationship to human behaviour. Now, before you all start shouting, “Creationist!” at me, hear me out. As mentioned in the programme, there are distinct trends in human behaviour which can be explained in terms of evolutionary theory, even psychology. You can say, as was said, for example, that the type of partner you go for can be for genetic or defined very loosely, 'evolutionary' purposes. Say, a lady might go for a wealthy, powerful man who appears virile for genetic purposes, because she believes she'll get a strong gene pool for her babies. A man might go for a lady because of her sexy, childbearing hips. Admittedly, this is not what the programme presenters said, prefering to cite that the lady would choose this type because she'll get a better orgasm out of him, ignoring the whole question of children altogether conveniently for later!

The programme then focussed on the procreative habits of the wealthy and successful and compared them to the poor and less financially well off and addressed this in terms of 'evolutionary psychology', because, the programme asserted, the poor have children younger because it has been shown that poorer people live less long. 'Okay, let's just allow the scientists that one even though it must be a little bit more complicated than that', I thought, but then a female interviewee, the name of whom I didn't catch was trying to explain her confusion regarding why more poorer, younger women don't take the option of, and I quote, “perfectly safe and free abortion”. Well, what can we say? I suppose that you should look again at the theory of 'evolutionary psychology' and ask the question, 'What could be more unnatural as a process and more self-destructive to young mothers and their offspring than abortion?' The lady didn't even say contraception. She said, “free and safe abortion”. The next question you have to ask is, 'What is the psychological, evolutionary or possible good outcome that could come from procuring an abortion?' The next questions you have to ask is, 'Why should poor mothers want to kill their children? Why do you 'evolutionary psychologists' want them to?'

The 'great leap forward' on the evolutionary scale, as it appeared from the presenters, was not one of procreative and fertile mothers, rich or poor, but the female denial of womanhood and motherhood by means of sacrificing children for, you guessed it, careers. These poor mothers, Willets asserted, should be using 'self-control' and that is something obtained by having in mind a purposeful future such as a career. This was asserted despite the fact that another female presenter mused upon the fact that career women were leaving children too long and risked infertility. Well, self-control is all very well and noble but when 'self-control' turns into an abortive culture at the high altar of a career and money you have to ask whether the presenters were, in a round about way, saying, 'Poor women should abort because it just breeds more poor women and men, because, if they just knuckled down and got a career there'd be less poor people and more wealthier people'. Nice, eh? The social Darwinist's dream of turning human beings into capitalist cogs in the money machine begins to reveal itself.

The perplexity of human sexuality was then explained in terms of 'evolutionary psychology' and the reason it was so eerie was that it, like so much social Darwinism, it did not allow for Free Will. How does this theory of human psychology, for example, explain the fact that many women contracept for years? Is this at all beneficial to breeding, fertility and producing children in general, even if you have found a virile man? Homosexuality was not mentioned, which, whatever you believe in terms of morality is tantamount to reproductive suicide in men, nor was masturbation which is about as much evolutionary use, as my friend always says, 'as a spare cock at an orgy'. And this is, of course, the great danger with social Darwinism, that is, Darwinism as applied to human beings. It denies Free Will and Conscience and morality begins to be lost in the genetic soup of human decisions. There is no morality for the atheist geneticist because we're programmed to do whatever we do and nothing is attributable to us as individuals in terms of human responsibility. It is fundamentally amoral and when people show themselves to take morality seriously and, say, don't abort their children even though they are poor, the atheist geneticist cannot understand it.

Then, to cap it all off, the presenters examined among other 'teams', such as football teams, groups of school children and the number of 'close friends' people claim to have and decided that the 'evolutionary psychologist's' research had led them to believe that the in-built genetic number with whom human beings desire to form close friendships is between 12 and 15. So, it was asserted, this is why Our Blessed Lord took Twelve Disciples, not because He was the Son of God and He was building the Church upon the Rock of St Peter and the Apostles, but because Our Lord was programmed to do so because of His 'genetic make-up'. You can just imagine St Peter after having declared infallibly Our Lord to be, 'the Messiah, the Son of the Living God' only to be told by Christ, "Blessed art thou Simon Peter, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Heavenly Father. Thou art Peter, the Rock and upon this Rock I will build My Church and the gates of the Underworld will not prevail against it," only for Our Lord to continue, "Oh and by the way, I just thought I'd mention that I chose you guys in particular because I needed around twelve Disciples because that's the amount of people it feels good for human beings to form close relationships with due to our genetic, 'evolutionary psychology', because, if there is one thing that's going to mark our time together it is going to be feeling good!"

In fact, good point! How do 'evolutionary psychologists' view vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life? Again, sadly, the atheist geneticists worldview does not allow for a little bit of Mystery and prefer social darwinism, which is a little bit of history repeating itself.

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