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Bonhoeffer on Darwinism

Posted by Chris on April 18, 2010

As I just finished writing two posts that are somewhat critical of Darwin, I thought it would be appropriate to get all my “picking on him” out of the way at once.  This is from a book by Bonhoeffer that I am reading (other quotes and details on it here.)  And of course, feel free to check out the rest of this blog series and the introduction of reading Darwin’s Origin of Species.

——–

Man shall proceed from God as his ultimate, his new work, and as the image of God in his creation… This has nothing to do with Darwinism: quite independently of this man remains the new, free, undetermined work of God… In our concern with the origin and nature of man, it is hopeless to attempt to make a gigantic leap back into the world of the lost beginning.  It is hopeless to want to know for ourselves what man was originally…

This chapter is Bonhoeffer’s mediation on Genesis 1:26, about God making man in his image.

I believe that Creation Theology comprises much more than the argument of Six-Day-Creation v. Darwinian Evolution.  How God created, how long it took– this is just a small part of something much bigger.  Creation Theology is bigger than that discussion just as the world we live in, and our current concerns, don’t revolve around this debate.  Creation Theology should set the table for a discussion about all facets of the world and God and life and history.  Evolution is like the butter tray.  Sure, it’s important and I wouldn’t deny its presence– but it ain’t the bread, and if the bread is good I could just eat my roll plain.

I don’t need to have a strong opinion on evolution or Creationism in order to make sense of the world.  Creation Theology tells me that just as God created light in Genesis 1, he shines the light of the gospel in our hearts.  I am much more concerned with that light!  That’s what it’s about!  That’s the entree!

And I think Bonhoeffer agrees.  He’s not rejecting Darwinism– he says that the theological significance of God creating man has nothing to do with it.  He’s not interested in relatively trivial historical facts.  That God created man in his image has huge implications on the rest of life.

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Bonhoeffer on Creation Theology

Posted by Chris on April 1, 2010

I just began reading a book title Creation and Fall–Temptation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The material was adapted from a series of lectures he gave in 1933-1934 and the two topics are separate studies.  Bonhoeffer is known for his role during WWII of helping Jews, for which he was killed.  He did not leave the country, like many others, but actually left American and traveled to Germany in order to denounce the Nazis.  His most famous work is The Cost of Discipleship (sitting on my shelf but I haven’t read it).

In the Creation and Fall study, DB begins by meditation on the beginning of Genesis 1:1: In the Beginning, God created… He writes that there is frustration in humans because we live in the middle (meaning we cannot extend to the true beginning of time)– this section somewhat confused me.  However, it started making more sense when he discusses the vanity of trying to ask and answer questions about what happened before and during Genesis 1.  I will post a large section of it here because a)it’s eloquent and interesting to me, and b)it relates to what I wrote about what I believe in this post which introduces a blog series on reading through Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Briefly, I recognized the debates between evolutionists and creationists but stated that I don’t have a strong opinion about who is right because I think that Genesis 1 is about a lot more than the scientific facts of creation; and that a true Creation Theology of Genesis 1 and 2 comprises much more than simply evolution v. creation.  The “other stuff” is much more interesting and significant.  This is how Bonhoeffer explains it (all bold emphasis added is mine):

The twofold question arises: Is this beginning God’s beginning or is it God’s beginning with the world?  But the fact that this question is asked is proof that we no longer know what “beginning means. The beginning can only be spoken of by those who are in the middle and are anxious about the beginning and the end, by those tearing at their chains… If this is so, we can no longer ask whether this is God’s beginning or God’s beginning with the world.  Luther was once asked what Gopd was doing before the creation of the world.  His answer was that he was cutting canes for people who ask such useless questions.  This not only stopped the questioner short but also implied that where God is not recognized as the merciful Creator he must needs be known only as the wrathful judge, i.e. always in relation to the situation of the middle, between beginning and end.  There is no possible question which could go back beyond this “middle” to the beginning, to God as creator.  Thus it is impossible to ask why the world was created, about God’s plan or about the necessity of creation. These questions are finally answered and disposed of as godless questions by the sentence, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Not “in the beginning God had this or that idea about the purpose of the world which we now only have to explore further,” but “In the beginning God created.”  No question can penetrate behind God creating, because it is impossible to go behind the beginning…

This quite unrepeatable, unique, free event in the beginning, which must not be confused in any way with the year 4004 or any similar particular date, is the creation.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. That means that the Creator, in freedom, creates the creature… Creator and creature cannot be said to have a relation of cause and effect, for between Creator and creature there is neither a law of motive nor a law of effect nor anything else.  Between Creator and creature there is simply nothing: the void. For freedom happens in and through the void.  There is no necessity that can be shown in God which can or must ensue in creation.  There is nothing that causes him to create.  Creation comes out of this void.

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Series: Devotions from Darwin

Posted by Chris on March 7, 2010

I’m going to start another series of posts (perhaps I’ll even finish it?) inspired by reading The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s famous work that at least popularly is considered the introduction of the theory of evolution.  First, I want to explain a) my beliefs about evolution, that is, my biases and preconceived ideas apart from reading the book, because I know that people expect one to approach a book like his either as a huge fan or critic, and b) to explain why I decided to read this book in the first place.  I would assume that very few people read it these days, in fact, that many proponents of evolution have never read it.  And I think that’s okay.

My beliefs about Evolution

  1. Micro-evolution: I believe in.  I’m not aware of anyone who does not.  As far as I understand it, micro-evolution is the idea that species evolve and adapt over time while remaining one species.
  2. Intermediate evolution (a term I’m making up) I believe.  I would not have thought of this without reading the first part of the book.  Darwin spends a lot of ink talking about the debates that naturalists had about defining variations v. different species.  Take a breeder of pigeons.  He is likely to provide a list with many species of pigeons, because small differences are very acute to his perception, whereas a general naturalist might only define a few species of pigeons but with each having sub-variations.  Ultimately, Darwin says, whether something is called a species or variation is immaterial to his greater argument about the origin of species, because he is after what causes these variations. I don’t think anyone should argue with this idea either, because Darwin writes extensively about domesticated animals, and we have seen all around us that man can do much to determine the characteristics of animals just by selective breeding.  (incidentally, this is how Darwin came up with the term “Natural” selection for the process behind evolution).  Thus, intermediate evolution results in the development of new species but within the same genus (category).
  3. Macro-evolution, generally (not of people).  I am unsure.  My answer is that it depends on some historical and theological answers that I also don’t have (see below).  If I was putting money on it, here’s what I’d say.  I would say yes, that animals have evolved beyond small variations, but on this taxonomic chart,
    Biological classification chart

    Thanks to whoever stole this from a textbook.

    it would not be at the not-life to life or kingdom levels, but perhaps somewhere in the class to family levels.  In other words, the pigeon and condor may share a common ancestor, but not the jellyfish and the robin.  Maybe that’s really stupid intellectually and faithless theologically, but I’m just being honest.  And as I said, I’m unsure– this is a guess, placing odds in the middle.   It’s not something I’m very interested in.

  4. Macro-evolution (as the source of human life & the greater universe).  On one hand I’m unsure, but I also feel stronger about it.  Furthermore, there’s a large dose of agnosticism in my view on human evolution.  I’m going to break my answer down into two parts: one scientific/practical (what I think actually happened), one theological (what it means).  You may not care that much about my long-winded answers.  Feel free to scroll to the next bold heading to see why I decided to read the book.  I do give a summary of each view in italics at the end of each section.

a) SCIENTIFIC ANSWER . For starters, I know relatively little about evolution– I’ll know more after I finish this book.  Nothing is off the table to me.  I will entertain anything from “young-earthers” (the idea that God created the earth in a literal 6-day period ~6000 years ago) to more moderate Creationists, to backers of Intelligent Design, to evolutionary biologists that say we came from monkeys.  My theological view could fit with all of them.  Well, except that I don’t know the differences between ID and Evolution all that well– if the only difference for some is whether or not God is guiding it, then I’d stop at ID.  Neither my scientific nor theological view would consider a scenario that leaves God out.  Because of my theological view, I am agnostic as the scientific answer wouldn’t affect me that much.  My agnosticism is not naivety or snobbery or fear.   Again, I’ll give what I find most likely– once again, the middle ground.  I’ll take an earth older than 6,000 years, more like millions or billions or however old the universe is.  I’ll take the Big Bang because of the ever-expanding universe.  And if I was being really crazy, I suppose that there were two kinds of human beings: There were some that were chosen/created directly by God as the ancestors of his covenant people (Adam), and others that were created either simultaneously or pre-existed Adam.  Adam did not evolve from monkeys.  Concerning other potential people, I cannot and will not hazard a guess as to whether they evolved from other primates.  So to summarize: The universe has a finite life; the earth was created as part of the creation/expansion of the universe; people were not necessarily created physically through one man, Adam, from dust (though I don’t rule it out).

b) THEOLOGICAL ANSWER. I know and care a lot more about creation theology than evolutionary biology.  I’ll admit to some snobbery here: I think it’s more important and more interesting.  I think that Creation Theology is a really big circle, of which evolutionary biology is a small part.  Creation theology comprises much more about human life, existence, and the future than just “how we got here.”  And no, I’m not talking about the Bible v. Evolution.  I’m talking only about what Genesis 1-2 teach vs. the theory of evolution.  Simply, Genesis 1-2 would be like a book, and the theory of evolution would be a section in a short chapter in that book.  Maybe it would get a bold heading.  What do I do with the Creation story (the six days)?  I don’t read it literally or allegorically.  I think the way that would best describe how I read it would be as a cross between a parable and a myth– each of those terms properly understood.  We think of parables as illustrations that teach a lesson, but the Greek word means comparison.  Thus, if Jesus tells a parable about types of soil, the point of the story is that Jesus is comparing soil to something (people) and the way seed grows in the soil to the way the Gospel grows in different types of people.  One would miss much of what is being taught if the lesson was thought to be simply: “Be good soil.”  Myths are not just made up stories about Greek gods.  Merriam Webster defines a myth as: “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”  Therefore, the word myth could just as rightly applied to a story of historical events that serves to explain a natural phenomenon, as a story about made up gods and how they judge people.  Before you send your hate mail, please re-read that definition.  Thus, myths are common in many traditional cultures and there are many similar myths because everyone has asked the same questions about life: Where do we come from?  Is there a God? etc…

So I believe that Genesis 1-2 is a myth in that it tells us what God wants us to know about creation.  A literal explanation alone would lack the richness of what we have.  Perhaps we do have a literal story, but that’s a BONUS, not the heart of the matter.  As a myth, it should be the source of our worldview about creation, mine which I will explain shortly.  I also call it a parable, because it is a passage of the Bible that comes alive along with other scripture through an amazing synergistic process.  I will give some examples of this as well.

So I don’t ask how the earth was created.  I find theological truths.  The origin of earth? Gen 1:1- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  That fits with the Big Bang.  It fits with young-earthers.  It fits with the macro-evolution of species.  I won’t restate these points, but it’s the same for all the theology I’ll include below.  In verse 3, we get more specificity that leads people to speculate “how” or “how fast” God does creation: ” ‘And God said, Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  This is my best and favorite example of parable, and why Creation Theology is bigger than evolution.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6, we are reminded of the mythological explanation, and given the comparison: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  What’s the better miracle: Jesus healing a blind man and giving him sight, or the salvation of John Newton, a former trouble-maker and captain of a slave ship who never lacked physical vision but wrote “I once was blind, but now I SEE”??  The light of the gospel is like the ceiling light of your bedroom, which gives you the ability to make sense of your surroundings, compared to our solar star which is like a book light that illuminates a paragraph or two in front of your face.  I better appreciate and understand the process by which God plants the gospel in my heart through this parabolic connection of Gen 1 and 2 Cor 4.  I worry less about whether God literally spoke english words, or caused a big bang, or whatever to make the sun, and how long it took, because when I’m reading Gen 1:3 I’m re-checking all the references to scripture that have nothing to do with the practical act.  Spend some time in the six days of creation, Genesis chapter 1.  Follow it all over your Bible.

Rather than give other examples, I’ll trust that the above is the best I can do to explain why I read Gen 1 as myth and parable.  Having that view enables me to worry less about the scientific and makes the scientific facts, whatever they may be, jive with my theological beliefs about creation.  However, I want to come back to the original topic, which is Evolution.  It cannot be addressed without addressing creation, because the two are inseparable in traditional Christian belief.  There are two versions of the creation of humans in Genesis 1-2.  The first, in Genesis 1, is very similar to the picture I drew about creation of light.  We learn that God creates man “in his own image”, commands him to be fruitful, etc… Genesis 2 gives the account about God creating man from the dust of the ground, and woman from his rib.

This second story is less like the first, than the first is a reflection of the other days of creation in Genesis 1.  However, I read it similarly.  The description of how God created man and woman is contained in 3 verses: 8, 21, 22.  But we get a lot of other good stuff: Mandates to care for creation; A tree that serves as a parable of our struggle between good and evil, sin and righteousness; the goodness of God to provide woman for man; and a theology of marriage.  My take away from the two creation events is that not only did God create man (or serve as the cause of the creation of man), but that it is a personal event.  Adam was personally known and cared for by God.  Thus, if people evolved from monkeys, there was at least a person chosen by God to be in communion with him, and God had to supernaturally act in this man’s life in some way to do it.  (I don’t consider this set of circumstances likely, remember).  In my practical belief, I explained that I thought there may have been other peoples on the earth that did not descend from Adam.  This is a scientific belief that I draw from the historicity of scripture– simply that Cain left the area where his parents lived, and feared that he might be treated with hostility elsewhere by other people.  To my knowledge, the Bible never says that all men literally descended from Adam.  However, the line of descent of God’s people in the Old Testament, and more generally, the point at which we begin tracing a spiritual heart of man is with Adam.  Thus, Adam introduces sin in the world, and condemnation (Romans 5:12).

So to summarize, I think that the Creation account of Gen 1-2 shouldn’t be limited to an alternate or complementary narrative to the theory of evolution.  It explains much more about us, the Bible, and God.  Therefore, theology matters to me a lot more than evolutionary biology.  But, in order to make an attempt to explain my beliefs, I asserted the view of scripture that God created the universe and the heavens, and everything else.  This is stated as fact.  Furthermore, other parts of creation, such as light, can be viewed as a myth that explains the source while acting as a parable to give us a greater significance.  The greatest light God speaks into being appears in the darkness of our hearts, rather than over the darkness of the earth.  Finally, I view the 2 accounts of the creation of man with some uncertainty as to how God acted, but with certainty that God was responsible and again, that we learn many other things far superior to the methodology of creating man.

Why I decided to read the book

  1. Intellectual Curiosity.  I like to read some of these famous, influential books for myself.  Recently, I read The Prince by Machiavelli for similar reasons.  Not because I care that much about political or war strategies in Italy hundreds of years ago.
  2. To learn more about Evolution, but more specifically to learn more about the attitude of those who feel strongly about evolution.
  3. To have more credibility when talking to people who believe in Evolution.  And to be honest and self-centered, so that I could say to someone who is trying to cram it down my throat as a reason God doesn’t exist, “I’ve read The Origin of Species, have you?”  Not that it makes me smarter, or more interested in it, but to show that I’m not afraid of it and to give reason for the other person to stop and be as considerate and open-minded as I try to be.
  4. I got it for really cheap on the Amazon Kindle.  I would’ve never paid retail.  It’s important to note that I pay retail for very few books- most books I purchase come used from thrift stores or amazon.com.

All that being said, I had no intentions to blog about the book or all of this, until I read a passage in it tonight.  So now I’ll blog about that passage in the next post.  Click on the Devotions from Darwin category link for all posts under this topic.

Posted in christianity, Culture, Devotions from Darwin, literature | 5 Comments »

I often feel this way…

Posted by Chris on March 10, 2008

The noise of children at play annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel… that he was different from others. He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how: but a premonition which led him on told him that his image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly… They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment, he would be transfigured.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Tourists; that’s what we are becoming

Posted by Chris on October 18, 2007

I am reading a book the postmodernity and the Church called Above all Earthly Pow’rs by David Wells. Since taking anthropology courses at UNC I’ve always enjoyed reading perspectives on culture and that’s essentially what the book is. I’ve thought about excerpting it on the blog several times and finally am compelled to do so. He’s talking about the new movement of spirituality and one author’s comparison that it is a journey and organized religion a dwelling. Wells says that a more apt comparison is that the new spiritualities are more like a tourists—they are passing through, unrelated to their fellow travelers, there for pleasure and entertainment.

Speaking of tourists, I don’t like being one. I try not to act like one and I don’t really enjoy it. I insist to people here that I am not a tourist, like it makes any difference. Anyway, Wells inserts the following poem by Mark Greene and I like it.

Tourists; that’s what we are becoming…
Tourists, we move through life, flitting from idea to idea, from
novelty to novelty, from new person to new person,
Never settling, always moving…
Selecting the best sights, the highlights, the choice cuts, avoiding the mess on the edge of town, the slums, all the
uncomfortable things, the struggle of really knowing people,
Never settling, always moving lest we hear the hollow clang of our own emptiness…
Tourists; that’s what we are becoming…
Inquisitive, curious, picking up the tidbits of other people’s depth…
Tourists, flicking through our snapshots, the paper thin
trophies of our click and run existence, filing them away, loading the next roll of film,
Never settling, always moving,
Tourists; that’s what we are becoming,
Tourists; that’s what we are becoming…

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2 Interesting articles in the Times of India

Posted by Chris on October 3, 2007

This is a pretty good paper. The Kolkata version has a good share of articles on this city, and there’s a good international section as well. Not surprisingly, the articles put in the international section are chosen a bit differently from those you’d see in the US. There are many more articles on Muslims/the Middle East that are not about war and terrorism, I assume because of the substantial Muslim population in India.

The first article addresses Iran President Ahmedinejad’s comments at Columbia University that there are “no homosexuals” in his country. Of course this is not true. I read an article a while back in fact about (gay) male sex workers. This article interviews a gay Iranian living in Europe, who affirms the presence of others in his home country. The article also says that if it is proved that one has had homosexual relations, the punishment is death; two teenagers were executed in 2005.

The second article has the title “Gulf Muslims gain weight during Ramzan” (Ramadan). Apparently hotels have huge buffets to break the fast and many are accustomed to gaining weight during the holiday. Mohammed, on the other hand, broke the fast gradually. In addition to the spiritual focus, an Islamic scholar said that there is also a health angle to Ramzan, ridding the body of toxens. I knew this was a focus of fasting for some, had not heard it applied to Ramadan fasting.

Posted in literature | 1 Comment »

Spurgeon devotional on Gal 2:10

Posted by Chris on March 17, 2007

The following is from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional, March 17. It can be found online at http://www.studylight.org or in book form. Charles Spurgeon was a famous pastor and preacher and his set of morning and evening devotionals are excellent. This entry deals with the theme of social justice in the Bible. It is written about Galations 2:10, which Spurgeon shortens to “Remember the poor.”

Any bold is emphasis added by me. Italics are the words of Spurgeon, plain text are my comments.

Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor?

He could make them all rich if he pleased; he could lay bags of gold at their doors; he could send them a large annual income; or he could scatter round their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps round the camp of Israel, and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that he sees it to be best. “The cattle upon a thousand hills are his”-he could supply them; he could make the richest, the greatest, and the mightiest bring all their power and riches to the feet of his children, for the hearts of all men are in his control. But he does not choose to do so; he allows them to suffer want, he allows them to pine in penury and obscurity. Why is this? There are many reasons: one is, to give us, who are favoured with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us.

Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord’s flock-remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart-recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself.

Great stuff. I believe in a Sovereign Lord who not only is allowing poverty, but has purposed it. Spurgeon did not live during the information age and the globalized world. His lack of knowledge about the widespread poverty of the third-world should not be held against him, therefore, I have no problem with him saying that one reason for the poor is to give us an opportunity for showing love. The existence of the poor I take to mean that concept, that reality, but not the singular existence of any poor person. One could not point to a little boy in a picture from Africa and say “he is poor because we need someone to love.” There is a BIG difference between causes and purposes. God’s purpose for allowing poverty in his Big Plan does not mean that the heart of God is not mourning for any specific person. I leave the poverty of a certain child in Africa to some explanations that are context-specific, along with responsibility we all bear for our sins and the inevitable results of a fallen world. God’s purposes do not justify the means by which they might be carried out if the means are people sinning against others, if that makes sense.

Let us not try to set up a God of prosperity, or a God that frowns upon wealth and romanticizes the poor, overlooking their sins and exalting them above their worldly condition. Rather, as Spurgeon writes, let us see the path God has laid before us as a privilege to relieve the poor and by doing so, clothe, feed, and serve our Savior.

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“Proud blooms above the weeds of death”

Posted by Chris on February 9, 2007

The phrase comes from a Maya Angelou poem entitled Elegy. I am not a literature snob nor very poetic; I have one book of poetry, a large anthology of Maya Angelou. I enjoy the poems, that is, the ones I’m able to understand, which is probably only half. I don’t think it’s a very famous poem which makes me feel kind of smart (I had to type it up, couldn’t find it on Google!) Here is the text of the poem:

Elegy
(For Harriet Tubman & Frederick Douglass)
I lie down in my grave
and watch my children
grow
Proud blooms
above the weeds of death.

Their petals wave
and still nobody
knows the soft black
dirt that is my winding
sheet. The worms, my friends,
yet tunnel holes in
bones and through those
apertures I see the rain.
The sunfelt warmth
now jabs
within my space and
brings me roots of my
children born.

Their seeds must fall
and press beneath
this earth,
and find me where I
wait. My only need to
fertilize their birth.

I lie down in my grave
and watch my children
grow.

In this poem, the subjects are proud blooms specifically in that they are african-americans living out the dream of ex-slaves, fighting for equality in the footsteps of Tubman and Douglass. I think the blooms symbology can also refer to any people, their attitudes, and/or thoughts. We are all rooted in the past; we make decisions based on worldviews, spirituality, experience- our “blooms” stretch forth above those “weeds.” Do I make the most of the past?

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In chimp world, males find older females sexier…?

Posted by Chris on November 22, 2006

http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/5500

Chimpanzee males prefer to have sex with older females, U.S. researchers found in a study published on Monday that shows one of the biggest behavioral differences between humans and our closest biological relatives.

Male chimps will chase down and fight over the oldest females, while the youngest female chimps are forced to beg for masculine attention, anthropologist Martin Muller and colleagues at Boston University discovered…

They were checking to see if chimpanzees behave like humans, their closest living relatives, who form long-term mating bonds and who value younger females.

One of the biggest behavioral differences? What’s more different- males that prefer younger females and males that prefer older females, but all of whom want sex as much as possible, or chimpanzees that throw their poop and humans who find that to be pretty sick? I can think of some pretty big behavioral differences… I like to play guitar, chimps like to swing from trees…

“Normally, I think peoples’ default assumption is, ‘Well other animals, they must also find young females attractive,”‘ Muller said. “And people assume that young females are more fertile than older females.”

Who in the sam-hell thinks that? Who has a default assumption about what animals find attractive in other animals, besides primatologists with too much time on their hands? Have you ever been in public with your buddies and seen a couple pigeons and said, “Gee. I wonder what he sees in her, instead of the bird over there. Maybe it’s her plumage. Maybe she emits some stronger pheromones. Maybe she is more virile.” No! While we do like to personify our animal friends, I don’t think people do it quite to that degree- and most people i think are only kidding when they personify animals.

Humans may prefer younger females because of marriage and other “long-term pair-bonds,” something that is nonexistent in the promiscuous world of chimps. Human men seeking progeny may need to start with younger prospective mothers, Muller said.

I’m not saying this is wrong. It’s not the average response you would get from a room full of 25 year old guys, but i’m not saying they’re wrong. But i will say that it exposes two incorrect view of humanity. One, that we don’t live in a ‘promiscuous world.’ I see that as a similarity with chimps. I don’t mean that to be insulting, but aren’t we along with chimps two of the only, if not the only, animals in the entire animal kingdom who participate in sex for reasons besides procreation? I am pretty sure I read or saw that at some point in time. Two, that we are to be studied like chimps. These scientists are trying to reduce humanity to just another genus of animals that should be stripped down to its most basic elements and learned from. It ignores our uniqueness in the world. I think common sense speaks of that. It is self-evident to most people that we have something “they” don’t- ‘they’ being other animals. In addition, theologically I believe it is inconsistent with the thought that we are created “in our image”, the image of The Triune God; beings with a certain “it” factor, a “je ne sais quoi” that separates us from all the other animals. A moral blueprint; a united body, soul, spirit.

Before you think i’m totally out of my league here, I did study anthropology. As a discipline, it is WAY different than studying animal behavior. Maybe a colony of prairie dogs meets a basic definition of culture, but, there is a discernable and clear difference between animal culture and human culture. perhaps not in biological complexity, but in other ways.

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Fortune & Hope: The Twin Deceivers

Posted by Chris on October 10, 2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a journal entry in February 1855:

Fortune & Hope! I’ve made my port,
Farewell ye twin deceivers;
Ah! many a time I’ve been your sport;
Go, cozen new believers.

…here’s to no longer being deceived!

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