Sunday, 28 January 2007

Desmond Morris on Evolution

I watched a program on the human sexes with Desmond Morris. In it he made a most extraordinary claim.

Talking about “prehistoric” man and woman and their respective roles, he made the following statement, or something similar: “Gradually men evolved specialized skills needed for tracking and hunting prey, whereas women developed a wider variety of skills relating to their wider range of duties.”

Excuse me, but I have to call balderdash on this one. How many blind assumptions and leaps of logic do we see here? First of all we are talking prehistoric. That means before recorded history, or at least, outside of recorded history. It may even have been parallel to some of the history we do know, but it was undocumented. We have no record of it. No one at that time or in those places wrote it down. How does he know what happened before history? How does he know that men and women did not always have different skills that resulted in their different roles? Or in fact, that they were not given specific roles and commensurate skills in the beginning by their Creator? Why did these skills have to evolve from some kind of homogeneous uniformity, as he seems so confidently to assume?

Next he assumes that somehow these skills evolved in the first place. In other words, by implication, that men and women were somehow less skilled or even less intelligent then than we are now. Again, he has no basis to do so. Modern society may be more technologically advanced, but just because these people were prehistoric does not necessarily mean that they were lacking in skills or intelligence compared to modern man. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that humans who lived in times and places of which we have no record were in fact very much more similar to ourselves than we might imagine. If I were one of his “prehistoric” people I think I would be quite insulted by his insinuation.

Then he assigns to the process of evolution the abilities of a creative force. Evolution, he seems to be saying, saw that men and women were developing different roles and therefore needed to have different skills and so saw to it that they received the abilities they needed. Others have thought this way as well. One will catch them saying that evolution did this, or evolution accomplished that, as if evolution is an intelligent entity with a mind of its own, able to plan for the future. Allow me to coin a phrase to describe this: “Evolutionary Theism”. Basically it means that Evolution has become their god, a personal creator/designer with intelligence, knowledge and foresight.

People who believe in it (and there are many) have just replaced one kind of faith with another.

Take Care

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