#DarwinDay is a good day to ask, does #evolution explain you?

February 10, 2016

#DarwinDay is a good day to ask, does #evolution explain you?

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

February 12th is the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has been called the biggest idea ever. I agree — it is the biggest idea ever. But the biggest part of Darwin’s big idea is often over-looked. It is the part about evolutionary psychology.

On this anniversary, it is a good day to ask, Do you believe that evolution is true about human psychology – about your mind? Can evolution explain you?

Darwin’s theory of evolution is a big idea and it hinges ultimately, not on fossils or geology or on genes and sub cellular complexity, but on its ability to explain the wonders of your mind.

You see, Darwinian evolution requires a psychological continuity — an unbroken line of mental powers and capacities that extend backwards to ancient ancestors in the Pleistocene Epoch (about 200,000 years ago). Evolution, as an explanation for human origins, describes every mental power and capacity — consciousness, morality, our capacity to make decisions and complex plans, language, music, art, religious experience, love, empathy, altruism, hate, greed, dreams, and everything else that makes us human as "packs of neurons" that evolved to solve the problems of living faced by our ancestors way back when.

It is a big idea, but I think most people who believe evolution — in change over time – stop short of believing that it applies to them. I don’t think many people believe evolution alone is sufficient to explain their own mind. They don’t really REALLY believe. How about you?

Categories: Psychology