Saturday, November 03, 2007
The evolution of love
I find the seemingly random differences in humans interesting when compared to the breeding of dogs. Using AKC standards, one can imagine the look and behavior and most details of a particular dog without ever seeing that dog, if one were told the dog is pure breed and of a sanctioned AKC breed. Not so with humans. So in a relatively short time wild dogs have gone from canines with random differences to many breeds that are near clones of one another. Which makes me wonder why do some humans feel and experience more a mystery of love while other feel more a utility of love? We see very clearly that in a relatively short time wild canines have evolved (with human direction) into tiny furry cute lapdogs (or pitbulls). So it seems it doesn't take much time to change a creature from this to that. So I ask, could a purely "utility love" of ancient humans, through tens of thousands of years, been shaped and transformed through religion, myth, superstition, to this present day "mysterious love"? And if you think that possible, then how do we now view all that "religion/myth/superstition" of the past that shaped what today most would consider good and what makes us human -- love? (I am not speaking of group or institutional changes that the religions and mythologies of peoples have created, but the individual genetic changes that transformed a pre-homo sapiens with a sort of utilitarian kind of love into a present-day musing fellow that is filled with love and compassion.) And why am I thinking this at all? I think to better think through some of the current challenges to religion by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and others. Apart from the challenges are the statistics, a recent survey of over 1,600 science faculty at elite research universities came up with 38% of those in the natural sciences did not believe in God, and 31% in the social sciences did not believe in God. I mention these numbers because some well meaning Christians attempt to construct biblical arguments to counter challenges from atheists, yet as I've said before, when someone can't get past the first sentence of the Bible, and the atheist cannot, then how do you expect a dialogue when you pepper rebuttals with scripture? Maybe the choice is to have no dialogue? I think not.