Mike McLellan’s tongue-in-cheek piece (“Mankind does the evolution — or not” Nov. 12 Tracy Press) was both amusing in its species-deprecating humor about humanity’s collective foibles and in its dangerous misrepresentation of the theory of evolution.
Evolution does not imply a march toward perfection. Evolution is just genetic change over time. More humorous than Rev. McLellan’s caricatures is the remnant of our evolutionary history on any given Sunday, as brutes battle for supremacy in ritualistic combat no different than that of the hill people of Papua New Guinea.
My father, an evolutionary biologist, once noted that any group of young men (or primates) that discovered wheelbarrows would either hit one another over the head with them or race them around in circles. And with that, I give you NASCAR and the NFL.
Equally amusing is the evolutionary predisposition toward religion. Governing groups larger than about 100 souls is aided by a belief in a supreme daddy figure watching and judging you, either in this life or the next — at least until we invented government. The most amusing aspect of this predisposition is that we have overcome this tendency through analysis and rationality in modern nation states. Out with theocracy, racism, sexism and slavery — all standard religious virtues — and in with secular democracy, liberalism, fairness and science.
It just goes to show that there are unexpected side-effects of genetic change over time, including brilliant conceptual advances that are not easily rendered down to caricatures.