Janice Boekhoff
 

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Have you ever thought about what would be the natural end game of the theory of evolution?

It isn’t a cooperative society, as some would have you think. Of course, there are a few selective advantages to cooperation, such as the group benefitting from different people’s gifts and talents, but in terms of natural selection, these are outweighed by the disadvantages of having to provide for every member of the society.

Natural selection alone actually encourages us to become sociopaths—people who use and exploit others to get what they need.

If evolution is correct and we’re all just animals trying to survive (and evolution would say that’s all we’ve ever been), why care about other people who are not as fit as you are? Why build nursing homes for the elderly? Why fund shelters for the homeless? Why develop special needs programs in our schools?

Evolution would say all of that is a waste of time and money, at best. At worst, it’s impeding the progress of the human race as a whole.

Based on the theory of evolution, Hitler teased out his idea for the Aryan master race. After all, if we’re evolving, then we must be evolving toward something. Hitler decided it was tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Germans. In his mind, he helped evolution along by trying to exterminate the Jews—an inferior race (according to him).

Few people who believe in evolution would take it this far. But in the same vein, not many people who believe in evolution have actually thought about what this theory supports.

All the things we think of as distinctly human: the capacity for compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love. Those things would be selected out in the name of survival. If I’m on a survival mission, I don’t survive best if I use up my resources trying to take care of you. No, I survive best when I worry only about myself.

If we’re merely smarter than average apes, where did all these beautiful qualities come from? There’s no evolutionary advantage to them, and yet they are what makes humans different, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

What do you think? Why are most people compassionate and loving? Would evolution have encouraged us to be that way? What would be the evolutionary pathway/selective pressure that would bring about kindness?

(And just for the record, I think apes are pretty awesome and I wouldn’t mind being related to them, if I actually were)

 

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/kzhkkt/6225887680/”>kzhk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a

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