Re: Human evolution and religious beliefs.

Tom Byers (
26 Sep 1995 14:24:46 -0400

In response to:

" If evolution, and its refine-ment, sociobiology (evolutionary sociology,
call it what you like) is true, as I and most thinking people are
convinced it is/they are... so what? These theories show that life, if
lived according to truth, is meaningless and

It is entirely appropriate to discuss the implications of anthropological
knowledge on this newsgroup.

The destruction of religious theories that give meaning to people's life
is not a trivial matter. The pain felt by people who are led to question
beliefs that touch on the foundation of their existence should be taken

Just as Christians strive to hate sin but love the sinner, I suggest that
academics learn to hate intellectual drivel without feeling contempt for
those who consume it. Neither should we assume stupidity on their part.
Mental patients with elaborate systems of delusion often score
exceptionally high on IQ tests. One should expect the same from people
whose defense mechanisms operate within normal parameters.

It is the duty of informed people, such as anthropologists, to expose the
counterfeit nature of models such as "scientific" creationism despite
whatever pain it causes. Growing up is painful for individuals, nations,
and for the entire human race.

Are you certain we must choose between truth and purpose? Does the depth
of your soul or the worth of your life depend on utterly fantastic things
happening thousands of years ago?

Approaching our religious beliefs critically does not mean that we will be
cast adrift in a gray mist of meaningless existence. It does mean that we
have a better chance of getting our religious faith more in harmony with
scientific knowledge. The discrepancy between knowledge and faith causes
pain. Which is better, to ignore the discrepancy or to face it squarely?