I’d like to introduce you to a fellow I find very entertaining. His name is Pascal Boyer, a professor of Anthropology and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, who holds the prestigious title of Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective Memory.
Boyer is also a religious philosopher and the author of a book I enjoyed, titled Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Foundations of Religious Belief, published by Random House (UK) and Basic Books (USA), 2001. The main theme of this book is that we now have a better understanding of religious representations, their causes and their role in human cognition, simply because we have a better and more precise understanding of the mind-brain, its evolution, its structure and its specific dispositions.
From the book:
“…coalitional psychology is involved in the dynamics of public religious commitment. When people proclaim their adherence to a particular faith, they subscribe to claims for which there is no evidence, and that would be taken as obviously wrong or ridiculous in other religious groups. This signals a willingness to embrace the group’s particular norm for no other reason that that it is, precisely, the group’s norm.”
Professor Boyer strikes a resonate chord in this statement, and it may explain some of the irrational behavior I’ve witnessed here in Texas recently.
The October 16th Dallas Morning News reported the following:
“Social conservatives on the State Board of Education have appointed three evolution critics to a six-member committee that will review proposed curriculum standards for science courses in Texas schools. Two of the appointees are authors of a book that questions many of the tenets of Charles Darwin's theory of how humans and other life forms evolved. One of them, Stephen Meyer, is also vice president of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group that promotes an explanation of the origin of life similar to creationism.” The other author is Ralph Seelke, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Also on the panel is Baylor University chemistry professor Charles Garner, who, like the other two, signed the Discovery Institute's "Dissent from Darwinism" statement that sharply questions key aspects of the theory of evolution. "
The "Dissent from Darwinism" document states:
"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."
So, we in Texas get to look forward to anti-evolutionists (flat-earthers) developing the science curriculum that will be taught to school children in our state. Lovely.