Friday, August 28, 2009

Evolutionary Explanation for Contradictory Altruism Findings

Last year psychologists planted hundreds of wallets on the streets of Edinburgh to find out what people would do when they found them. Whether the wallet was returned strongly depended on what type of photograph was inside. For instance, almost all the wallets with a baby picture were returned whereas most wallets with no picture were not returned.

This is not exactly an earth-shattering finding. Are we shocked at such a result? Well, evolutionists should be. That is because the evolutionary explanation for altruism is that evolution has trained us favor our close relatives because they share our genes. In reality, we favor the weak, needy and helpless, but that contradicts evolution. Was Mother Theresa confusing those orphans half a world away for her own children?

Evolutionists need better stories to explain Mother Theresa and Edinburgh-ians who return wallets with baby pictures. And so they have made up a new just-so story. As one reporter explains:

According to Dr Wiseman the result reflects a compassionate instinct towards vulnerable infants that people have evolved to ensure the survival of future generations. “The baby kicked off a caring feeling in people, which is not surprising from an evolutionary perspective,” he said.

Scientists argue that it would be difficult to genetically code for feeling empathy exclusively towards your own child and much easier to code for feeling empathy towards all children. If you find a baby alone, there is a good chance it belongs to you, making it an effective evolutionary trait, said Dr Wiseman.

Evolution was supposed to make us favor our genes, but that was too difficult. It is just easier to create genes that make us favor all babies. A complete switch, but now it all makes sense.

It is remarkable that anyone takes this seriously. Perhaps for an encore the evolutionists will explain why we have compassionate towards adults to whom we are not related. By the time they're done it will be one big love fest. The theory that brought us survival-of-the-fittest will switch to the Golden Rule.

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