fishing for answers
Wow! Thursday was so busy with real life that I didn't have time to celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday, or Abraham Lincoln's for that matter. However, driving on the freeway Thursday night, and listening to NPR offered the perfect convergence of what I perceive to be Darwin's ongoing dilemma.
As I'm listening to the story of Darwin's amazing discoveries and his posited theory of natural selection (it is still a theory, right?), he came to the conclusion that we climb higher on the ladder, attaining ever more evolved states, only through struggle and suffering, so that the weak are eliminated, leaving the strong to survive, out of which arises a more evolved, more adapted species.
So I'm at the red light as I'm listening to this, and I pull up behind this lady who has the classic Darwin fish sticker (meant, I believe, to trump the earlier version of the fish that Christians used back in the 70's. Of course, there's a third generation of fish stickers, that of the Jesus fish eating the Darwin fish, but I digress). Right under her classic Darwin fish is that cool "Coexist" sticker, meant to call us all to an ecumenism that pretends all our world views are fundamentally the same, so "why don't we all just love each other."
Does anyone else see the contradiction on the back of this Subaru? If Darwin was right, genocide, forced sterilization, infanticide, and so much more that we rightly find horrific are in reality only the normal and appropriate course of things. Isn't this the way it works on the upward path towards a more evolved state as a species? Shouldn't the strong prey upon the weak, like what happens in National Geographic specials when the weakest member of the caribou herd is isolated and killed?
This, it seems to me, is a conundrum that any thinking naturalist finds him/herself in: struggle and suffering are at the heart of natural selection, and this is antithetical to our deepest instincts towards love and service. What's the solution?
Perhaps, and I'm only musing here, (because that's the name of this blog), the answer comes from the unlikely source of Christianity, which sets humankind apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, calling us to a higher standard, a standard of laying down our personal rights in service to others, a call to caring for the common good, and a call to give dignity to the marginalized of the world.
I have more thoughts on this little conundrum, and in the interest of full disclosure, want you to know that when I tread near biology, I'm on thin ice, so I'm a learner here welcoming comments as much as anything. But when biology rubs against theology, philosophy, and ethics... well, then I might have something to say, or at least something to muse.
Happy belated birthday Chuck... maybe a few of you can help me hash this out as a little present to the old dead guy.