Re: Glenn's departure.

john zimmer (
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 07:07:19 -0600

These issues are one of the reasons that I have taken an artistic
approach to comparing Genesis 1 to the evolutionary sciences. In
a PSCF article that came out in Sept of this year, I formulate what
may be the way to transcend Wilson's prison. I propose the following
hypothesis in evolutionary psychology.

open-ended abductive emotive-cognitive psychological modules
1. that anticipate the practice of a religious tradition
(one that exhibits awareness of something beyond nature) in
the social environment and
2. play an important role in our capacity to handle human

In brief, religion may be the way that humans "train" each other
to overcome immediate gratification (aka behaviors motivated by
an ancient mammalian psychological architecture) with the biologically
teleological purpose of maintaining pair-bonding and group cohesion
(which once translated into reproductive success).

If this is so, then Wilson's prison (which is basically the Modernist
programme) should have the social consequence loss of pair-bonding
and group cohesion (aka social decay, despite technological advance).
This is what we see. Consequently, Wilson's research programme
actually seeps out of its own prison by generating a hypothesis that
"awareness of something beyond nature" is part of human nature.

The picture that emerges for today is not rosy. Technological advances
alone have improved reproductive success, despite slowly failing
religious traditions. Eric Voeglin noted this paradox in In Search
of Order. Can technical advance sustain society in the face of
loss of permanent pair-bonding and group identity and cohesion?
Wilson, I imagine, has taken the leap of faith that it can. What
he doesn't know is that his own paradigm will predict that it cannot.
So Adam, the problem with the evolutionary sciences is that we (as
yet) don't know enough. We humans probably need God to survive.


At 04:00 AM 11/27/98 PST, you wrote:

I am an evolutionist, even a Darwinist, and I don't see
>any reason to doubt that research programme's validity - but I am
>becoming increasingly aware of its incompleteness. And the willingness
>of Darwinism's Apostles to cast an ever wider net of explanation over
>phenomena. Take Edward Wilson's book "Consilience" which is an attempt
>at, and apologetic for, a universal system of knowledge based on
>Darwinism and physicalism. What's missing is any sense of encounter with
>something truly Other. Something unexpected and alien.
>The Other challenges any sense of completeness that I might feel about a
>theory or theoretical system, and it's barely addressed. Any thoughts?
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