Monday, 8 June 2015

ex cathedra or east of eden

I wonder if there are different flavours within Creationist camps that are particularly bothered with one aspect of scientific theory over another. I understand that the Catholic Church—though I would not class the whole organisation with the literalists and the fundamentalists—accepts the Big Bang and Evolutionary theories nearly as incontrovertible facts and necessary for the framework of the divine’s cosmology, saying that God is not a magician with a magic wand.

One item—and a big one—however does seem to follow from this line of reasoning that does strike me at least as a bit more dreary and disheartening than the usual retreat to the argument of receding origins: ethics and altruism admit of purely evolutionary origins as well. I am no scientist but the logic of the reasoning does seem to hold its own over sentiment, and can be presented something like this: the most successful individuals of a species are wholly self-interested (the opposite of charitable or altruistic) and would beg, borrow and steal from all other members of the community for his own interests. Pretty soon, selfishness would have be tempered with the idea of reciprocity but still the individual’s sense of egoism would serve them best. Within this environment of quid-pro-quo, the strongest would be those could renege on their end of the bargain while appearing to be cooperative and dupe others. In short order, however, people would become wise to these types and be unwilling to extend their trust and it would be a huge outpouring of energy to keep up this charade which is the stuff of psychopathy and traveling hucksters—having to go forth and find new communities to take advantage of. Rather than putting up an act, a far more efficient and effective way to convince others of one’s trustworthiness and reliability is to convince one’s self and become an ethical person and develop those delusionary institutions that reinforce that self-deception. Taking this stance was a significant departure from the pope-emeritus’ view that tolerated conflated and pedantic resistance, but Pope Francis also said of his predecessor, while making this announcement, that “no one could ever say of [Pope Benedict XVI] that study and science made him and his love for God and neighbour wither.” I think this pronouncement applies to us all.