I’m sorry, but to hell with Kansas!
The fight is over, ladies and gentlemen of your repressed district school boards. Darwin’s theory is no longer simply a theory. Evolution has proved it’s one of history’s most important scientific discoveries. So please stop sucking up to your parents’ most repressed fears about monkeys, flying or otherwise.
However, not content with their well earned victory, some evolutionary biologists are now holding Darwin for ransom. They want their victory to be much larger than simply explaining how species like ours progress. Mark Pagel wants evolution to largely define who we are. Not the way the ancients did with their Olympian gods & goddesses. Nor the way modern psychiatry does with their Ids & Libidos. Pagel proposes it’s pretty much all about our genes.
Pagel, himself an accomplished biologist, is no Glenn Beck parading silliness for science. In his new book, “Wired For Culture,” he makes a strong case for you and me as Salmon struggling upstream. Fighting against the odds of life so our genes will somehow be spawned and thus survive.
So forget the moneys, Board & PTA presidents. It’s the genes you have to protect your kids from! If, that is, you wish to design their education into your own generation’s image & likeness. A tradition especially strong in America where locally boards decide the curricula, the books, and the teachers.
Professor Pagel — who has no children attending Kansas schools, because he lives in England — tells us “our bodies are just genes’ ways of making more genes. In effect, our bodies are survival machines that carry genes from us to the next generation. In turn, the culture of the next generation is just another way of making more genes.”
Checking my grand-childrens’ eyes, ears, hair and world-views, the professor may be right. But only as far as he goes. Where he stops is at that fundamental who/how/why question about the genes themselves. Seems to me as long as biology refuses to meet those questions, schools boards in Kansas will continue to hold Darwin for ransom. Preferring to have their children think of their genes less like Salmon and more like gifts.
Say, maybe Kansas could start a third party for this year’s culture wars…….
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