Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Shocking Conversation

So there I was tonight at a Japanese-style pub talking to a couple of Europeans, a Southeast Asian, and a Canuck. We were having a (very clean, mind you) discussion of human mating habits, sparked by opposing comments by the Canuck and a Euro on the value of marriage in the modern world.

I, the only American in the place, the only Bush supporter at the table, with a fundamentalist Christian background that I rather like, made the (or so I thought) rather conservative claim that surely a million years of human evolution must have exerted some influence on human social patterns. Shockingly, one of the European gents down the table, a Bush hater and general all-around liberal sort, in all seriousness says: "Evolution, that's just a theory, isn't it? Is there any evidence that we came from monkeys or apes or whatever? I mean, have they found any kind of link or anything?"

He wasn't joking. I checked.

I had no clue how to respond. Really. After about two full, long seconds I started out with the fact that Darwin never claimed humans evolved from monkeys or apes but rather that at some point in the distant past we must have had a common ancestor, but got nowhere, as you would expect with such a lame statement. I was in fact ridiculed by the Euro, as you wouldn't expect. No one else was willing to defend the theory either, probably because they just didn't want to get into it at that point. Too nice an evening and whatnot.

The Canuck gave no surprises; he pooh-poohed the idea that evolution had anything to do with it and claimed marriage was entirely a cultural construct determined by human tradition. Tradition - bah!

The other European was too engrossed in his girlfriend (providing an experimental sample, if you will), and the Southeast Asian was having none of the conversation at all for reasons I was never able to determine. (As you would expect. Very typical inscrutible Asian.)

But really, if you believe in evolution, can you honestly suggest that it has played NO role whatsoever in determining human social behavior? Haven't you ever watched National Geographic or anything?

Hmph! What a bizarre world.

You know, I love being in Japan. What a great bunch of guys I work with!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One point that people seem to forget is that, in science, there is nothing but theories. That is the highest that science has to offer...a theory. There is nothing beyond that. Everything in science is a theory. You use it because it explains the data that you have gathered and you continue using it until someone comes up with something better or new data shows that it is wrong. The popular definition that people have of the word is something along the lines of "a thoughtful guess" or "educated opinion." This is closer to the scientific definition of the word hypothesis which is defined as an educated guess.