Have you ever heard about the “Evolutionary Theory on Compassion”? Compassion has evolved as a distinct affective experience whose primary function is to facilitate cooperation and protection of the weak and those who suffer. Compassion falls under the purview of three evolutionary arguments: that compassion evolved as part of a caregiving response to vulnerable offspring, that compassionate individuals were preferred in mate selection processes, and that compassion emerged as a desirable trait in cooperative relations between non-kin. This theory postulates that people with compassion, love and sympathy earned their way into the gene pool. Compassion is the genes way of helping itself; to help make the organism a prime candidate for natural selection. Are emotions expressed on genes? It’s likely that the chromosomal content contains genes that code for proteins that turn on particular neurotransmitters of which signal for certain desirable emotions. In short- it’s likely that genes, and most certainly epigenetic effects can express certain emotions, such as compassion. It is the feeling that arises in witnessing another’s suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help. Maybe without compassion mankind would have never evolved to the point at which it’s arrived today. I’d say that our accomplishments are quite stunning.
Richard Dawkins is an influential man who looks through the lens with an obediently rational and logical point of view. After all, he is an evolutionary biologist- There are no argumentative matters to present along the lines of his clear and linear considerations. This is why I hate arguing with really smart people; oral dominators manufactured for litigation. Their deductions through rationale and linear sequencing, served on top of a platter of wordsmithing, provide them with ceaseless and indisputable assertions, no matter how much you morally or logically disagree. These are the kind of people that can shift the blame to someone else when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I’m getting annoyed just thinking about it!
Dawkins’ maintains a fervently hostile position on tradition, revelation, and authority. He states that these are the kind of minds that religions exploit, and that these hard wired minds are incapable of the logical and rational process. (Anyone who believes in God, Buddha, The Farmers Almanac, or Santa Clause- he is speaking of you.) Not to be confused with Stephan Hawking, of whom shares strikingly similar accomplishments and perspectives of the world, Dawkins began his career in the 1960s as a research student with Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nico Tinbergen, and ever since then, his work has largely been concerned with the evolution of behavior, and in voicing his disdain of traditional convictions such as religion. Dawkins is a proud atheist. He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. He has written many books supporting his “faith” on the topic.
Richard Dawkins says, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Sounds smart, clever and rational, but can I get a thumbs down?
Here’s my rebuttal:
Let people believe. Let people have faith so they can yearn for discovery and imagine the impossible. Because that is what dreams are made of. And dreams, they are what light up the night, the flame that guides us through darkness, that gives us hope. And it is also that same flame that guides us home when we are lost and worn and hungry. This flame is the spirit of life.
As evolution picks up exponential speed in this modern technologic and self-actualizing era, certain intellectual questions keep etching themselves in the mirror. The conclusion that my analytical thought processes have prevailed with is that there are a lot of things in this world of which we do not know, and perhaps never will. Sure, science can calculate the speed of light and prove that molecular oxygen is found on the surface of a Jupiter moon. 200 years ago it would have been absurd to think of these notions as “proven fact”. God would have made much more sense.
Science only has methods for measuring things that can be measured, and science is ideal for this objective and tangible criteria. Our knowledge is ever evolving and I believe that in another hundred years we will have made currently inconceivable discoveries. This is something that Richard Dawkins would probably agree with. What he won’t agree with is the dreams that are necessary get there and the ambitions we summon from tradition, revelation, belief and hope. We are quite arrogant of our current scientific testing methods, just as Dawkins is quite arrogant in his intellectual over-rationalizations. There are plenty of scientists out there that are trying to explain the answers to seemingly ethereal questions concerning the potential of the universe, but I think modern science is still a big hop, skip and a jump away from arriving at exclusive conclusions containing the depth of that potential. We are affected by a myriad of stimuli that never meet our level of consciousness.
Just because you can’t prove something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. If there were never hope, faith, and passion in intellectual evolution then mankind would have never arrived to accomplish the impressive feats of which it has. If intellectuals such as Dawkins find it their duty to repress the grit and determination contained within far-fetched dreams then perhaps our current accomplishments will be forever placed beyond arm’s reach, on a short pedestal that would become the top of the staircase rather than a step to a higher point.
But we are just beginning. I believe we have within ourselves, the capacity to accomplish daily miracles.
Through faith and compassion we have built things like tradition, revelation and belief. It is the capacity to love another that keeps the fire burning inside. So I’ll praise a damn rock if thats what helps me seek my guidance.
And to all of you: Soak it all up, because you are only here once, and you create your own reality.
Let that reality be beautiful.