Evolutionary psychologists are society's new prophets, says CHRISTIANITY TODAY's editor at large, Philip Yancey, in the following article condensed from BOOKS & CULTURE, a sister publication of CT. While their message would reduce us to mere survival machines, Yancey points out, their logic contains fatal flaws. Yancey's most recent books are Church: Why Bother? and What's So Amazing About Grace? (Zondervan).
The new science of evolutionary psychology attempts to explain all human thought and behavior as the unguided result of natural selection. As products of blind evolution, say these thinkers, we deceive ourselves by searching for any teleology other than that scripted in our DNA. We must look down, not up: to nature, not its Creator.
The hubris of this new science is breathtaking. Predicts Robert Trivers of Harvard, "Sooner or later, political science, law, economics, psychology, psychiatry and anthropology will all be branches of sociobiology." He might have added ethics to the list.
Writers on evolutionary psychology are talented and entertaining, and they fill their works with vivid descriptions of birds, bees, and chimpanzees. They explain courtship displays, infidelity, maternal instincts, gossip, and social organization in arresting ways. Newsmagazines like Time hire these writers to interpret gang behavior in the inner cities or sexual indiscretions in the capital city, and the results are so winsome that evolutionary psychologists have become the new cosmologists, helping us make sense of ourselves and our role in the universe.
Philosophers are just now beginning to scrutinize the assumptions of evolutionary psychology, and I suspect they will have a field day with its epistemology. I am more concerned with its ...1
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