Monday, October 29, 2007


Another Dangerous Idea... Original Sin

University of Texas psychologist Davd Buss proposes his 'Dangerous Idea':

'the dangerous idea may not be that murder historically has been advantageous to the reproductive success of killers, nor that we all house homicidal circuits within our brains, nor even that all of us are lineal decedents of ancestors who murdered. The danger comes from people who refuse to recognize that there are dark sides of human nature that cannot be wished away by attributing them to the modern ills of culture, poverty, pathology, or exposure to media violence. The danger comes from failing to gaze into the mirror and come to grips with the capacity for evil in all of us.' (John Brockman (ed.), What Is Your Dangerous Idea?, (Pocket Books, 2007), p. 9)

In other words, the dangerous idea is that the biblical doctrine of original sin is true!

Unfortunately, Buss says that: 'At a rough approximation, we view as evil those people who inflict massive evolutionary fitness costs on us, our families, or our allies.' (p. 9)

A very 'rough' approximation indeed, for consider the case of the husband faithfully married to an infertile wife (or vise versa) - who thereby inflicts a massive evolutionary fitness cost upon their spouse! And what about those who do the reverse and confer a massive evolutionary benefit upon their family or allies, but who do this through murder (surely a scenario not beyond the wit of evolutionary psychology to imagine)? Must we thereby conclude that such an individual is 'good', at least 'for us'? Relativism beckons.

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