Religions and to attacks on evolutionary theories
- The first and probably the most frequent reason for attack on the theory of evolution is its actual or apparent inconsistency of its conclusions with the ideological model of the world that is held by a certain person or, more frequently, group of persons. This model most frequently has the form of a religious or ideological system. The objective cause of the existence of attacks of this kind is quite apparent from the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist. As pointed out in the chapter concerned with cultural evolution (XVII.4), long-term existence of ideological systems in society is possible only for those that have created internal or external mechanisms that ensure them this long survival and potential spreading at the expense of other ideological systems. Just such a very effective mechanism consists in intolerance of other ideological systems, organized or unorganized attempts of proponents of the particular system to eliminate, in the better case ideologically, in the worst case physically, the proponents of other systems or, even better, convert them to one’s own faith. If two religious systems exist next to one another, differing only in that one of them will require that its proponents acquire new members, it is quite obvious that it will predominate after a certain period of time. Understandably, some mechanisms permitting long-term survival or successful spreading of a certain ideological system can also be based on preferential biological survival and multiplication of the proponents of the particular system. From the point of view of the success of this ideological system, it makes no difference whether the greater fitness its proponents will be ensured by promotion of behavior amongst its bearers that increases the probability that they will survive to reproductive age in good health and economic condition, or simply by the fact that they will be prohibited to perform abortions and use contraception. I am not attempting to prove whether the theory of evolution is or is not compatible with a particular religious or ideological system. I am simply pointing out that, in my opinion, the theory of evolution is quite compatible, for example, with a Christian view of the word, in spite of the fact that the theory of evolution is very frequently attacked from this point of view at the present time.