I had an online discussion with a fellow today about the war in Iraq. In fact, we have been having this friendly tit-for-tat over the past week. He is a rather tough minded conservative who justifies this war and even sees the need for it to progress into Syria and Iran. I, on the other hand, abhor the ‘pre-emptive’ strike ordered by the administration. We are civil to one another, sometimes a bit to light hearted on such a grave topic. Today he wrote: “Speaking of the "End of the Beginning", here's a good read on the Darwin Wars and why folks may be as they are... maybe it even explains a predestination and predisposition for one's philosophical point of view with respect to liberal or conservative preference.
I responded with:
Wow, what a ride I had through that article. Never had an idea I would be sent on my way with the Churchill quote at the end. It was interesting, this whole sociobiology discussion. It is my first exposure to such a way of looking at the world. So, maybe the battle is just two genes fighting for domination (one liberal one conservative) of humans. Well that certainly brings the big picture discussion down a few notches. I am not sure how much you agree with the article, but personally, I see it too deterministic for my worldview and understanding of my existence. I can live with people who differ with me, in fact I strive to do just that, but maybe my genes will have their way, despite what I strive for. I could possibly be battling against my own genes not just yours.
As the article stated, “At stake in this intellectual battle is the mind of man: are we creatures whose mental life and manifest behaviour are largely influenced by the legacy bequeathed to us by evolution though natural selection, as other animals are, or are we somehow free of these Darwinian influences, possibly as the result of a general-purpose big brain that allows us to act as we choose within the confines of a given cultural context?” I have staked my life on the premise (I’m tempted to write ‘fact’) that we can expose ourselves to a multiplicity of cultural contexts, and are responsible for the choices we make as we interact with the people who come from a multiplicity of viewpoints (read ‘cultures’).
It is not impossible to understand another’s point of view, but it is difficult. Understanding does not bring agreement, nor even acceptance, but it may, and therefore worth the effort.
When one gene rivals another, in the point of view of some scientists quoted in the article, only one wins (the longer one?) and moves on. I would go as far as saying that when one point of view (embodied in a human) tries to destroy another, there will be a survival reaction from the second point of view.
However, the suicide bomber’s lifestyle may be easier to understand point of view of some the scientists, “Death ceases to baffle, as it becomes clear that it is unnecessary for an individual to persist indefinitely in order for its genes to flourish.”
Such a view of life and social interaction would even make genocide understandable, since according to some of the scientists, “Parents have an interest in their offspring’s welfare because they carry 50% of the genes of each parent, so it is in the interests of the genes of the parent to guide parents to care for their children: if the child does not survive to reproduce, its own, and the parents, genes will not be passed on.” It would seem that also would mean that parents would seek to eliminate other races (genes) in order to give their children a better chance of surviving.
But, as I said, I do not put much stock in these scientists’ points of view. Though I do see us sliding down a double helix ramp to more violence in the world.
AND NOW, setting back looking at how I responded to the fellow, I am disappointed in myself. I argued from my head and my heart (maybe even from my genes) but never mentioned that the Lord has a say in my point of view. It is not merely biological. Nor has my mindset been formed by the human cultures to which I have been exposed. The Lord has revealed Himself to me for the express purpose of changing me, forever. May I never forget, or be ashamed to give Him the credit He is due.