Facing up to Darwin

American Spectator - February 2012

It is fair to say that "Darwin's dangerous idea," as Daniel Dennett has described it, has caused more trouble to the ordinary conscience than just about any other scientific hypothesis. We cannot easily reject the theory of evolution, which explains so much that we observe in the lives of plants and animals; and we cannot easily accept it either, when it comes to understanding human beings.

It is not only the religious world-view that seems so precarious in the light of it. All kinds of moral aspirations, set against what we can know or surmise about our hunter-gatherer ancestors, seem to be so much wishful thinking. How can we entertain the liberal hope for equality between the sexes, for universal human rights, for a global community without wars, when we reflect on the harsh conditions in which our species is said to have evolved, and for the need, in those conditions, for belligerence, relations of domination, and an innate division of labor between woman and man?

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