Sunday, June 06, 2010
Evolution, theory, and infidelity
The table shows that General Social Survey respondents who accept evolution are less likely to think cheating on your spouse is always wrong, and are more likely to have strayed.
We know that correlation does not prove causation, but it doesn't seem unlikely to me that acceptance of evolution might lead some to justify infidelity. Arguments like the following are easily concocted: "If bonobos are close cousins, can I really expect myself and others to remain monogamous?"
This is a potential problem for any theory of humans, even if it is true. A theory doesn't just simply stand outside human society, explaining how things work. Theories are brought into a person's worldview and can affect his behavior. So theories don't merely explain; they influence.