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Monday, March 14, 2005

Darwinian Paradox

What would Darwinism predict about the acceptance of Darwinism, given the fact that the vast majority of people on earth are religious and believe in a creation myth based on a deity? First, the definition of Darwinism, for the purposes of this post are taken from Wikipedia, and is limited to the description of a process which "requires the following schema:
  1. Self-replication/Inheritance: Some number of entities must be capable of producing copies of themselves, and those copies must also be capable of reproduction. The new copies must inherit the traits of old ones. Sometimes the different variations are recombined in sexual reproduction.
  2. Variation: There must be a range of different traits in the population of entities, and there must be a mechanism for introducing new variations into the population.
  3. Selection: Inherited traits must somehow affect the ability of the entities to reproduce themselves, either by survival, or natural selection, or by ability to produce offspring by finding partners, or sexual selection."
In particular, this definition of Darwinism does not include any philosophical, sociological, or theological extensions that are sometimes (in my opinion wrongly) attributed to Darwinism.

Assuming Darwinism is an accurate description of biological evolution, then a reasonable hypothesis is that a trait that is very common in a population is evidence that the trait confers fitness on members of that population relative to natural selection. Since belief in a deity based creation myth is a very common trait in humans, it follows that such belief is likely to be advantageous in a Darwinian sense. In addition, in order to maintain belief in deity based creation myths, it may be necessary to have a natural resistance to ideas or theories that conflict with creation myths or offer alternate, natural explanations for parts of the creation process. Darwinism is possibly one such theory to which people might therefore have a natural resistance.

Thus, it is plausible that Darwinism predicts resistance to the acceptance of Darwinism.

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