Evolution in the Bible
43 "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,
44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles.
Get out the popcorn. I'm fey and full of coffee, ready to destroy my political career for good. I’ve been dealing lately with science-geek socialists plotting to merge the DMV and my doctor’s office while tittering about ignorant mega-church trailer-trash Republicans. This disturbs my inner tranquility greatly. I’m taking off my tie-dye and putting on my Anne Coulter wig. Anyone who believes in Keynesian economics, public education or windmills to stop global warming has no right to neener-dance at unscientific Christians and Republicans. But not to worry, this is Holistic Politics, not Red State. When I’m in the mood to offend, I offend everybody. It’s time to talk polygamy, eugenics, and breeding nerdy geniuses with sex slaves.
I have a sincere question for the liberals in the audience: do you actually want to increase social mobility, reduce racial disparities and end suburban sprawl? If so, why aren’t you supporting school vouchers? Public education is a throwback to the “good ole days” when communities were sorted by religion, the kids lived on farms, and schools were a natural monopoly since it was hard to fill even a single classroom with the kids from within walking distance. Under those Palinesque conditions, a community-owned cooperative made sense. Competition was impossible and direct-democracy works when the number of voters is small enough. These conditions do not apply in today’s inner cities! We thus pollute our inner cities with prison preparatory centers, whose primary productive function is to provide jobs for useless bureaucrats and bad textbook publishers. It’s Jim Crow for the modern age.
School competition would work better in the big cities than in the suburbs and countryside. Cities mean high population density, more kids within walking distance. With school vouchers the best schools would be in the inner cities: specialized schools catering to every talent and temperament. The ghetto kids could catch up while the whites waft their way back from the suburbs and into the cities. Hour-long commutes to live in a good school district would become a thing of the past, which would do a lot more good for the environment than a bunch of ugly windmills.
School vouchers are progressive in both senses of the word: forward-looking and egalitarian. So why can’t I get any traction with the Left on this? I let my hair grow long, wear tie-dye, and eat organic food and still can’t seem to connect, even when I’m caffeine free and on my best behavior. Sometimes I detect a spark of enlightenment, but then I hear the lamest of possible excuses for continuing our inner-city prison prep program: “If we have vouchers, some fundamentalist Christian schools will teach Creationism! Those poor kids will never learn about Evolution.”
Let me get this straight. The public schools can for several decades forget how to teach the phonetic alphabet, and it’s: “All OK, we have it fixed now.” The public schools can neglect to teach basic arithmetic and hand elementary school kids calculators and it’s no biggie. Public schools can fail our neediest children, subjecting them to years of abuse, and it’s: “Well, the school in my [high income suburban] neighborhood is good.” But if a Christian school should do an excellent job of teaching reading, math and morality but neglect to teach Evolution, it’s: “Those poor ignorant children!! They won’t be prepared for the 21st century!”
Evolution? Who needs it? Seriously.
Even if Darwin was absolutely correct, what is the operational significance of his theory? How can Evolution compare in importance with phonics, arithmetic, and staying out of jail? So we’re in an age of genetic engineering. Big deal! Most people still won’t be genetic engineers, but they will still need to read and understand numbers. And do even genetic engineers need to learn Evolution? Modern genetics was discovered by a Christian monk. People understood some basic concepts of genetic selection for thousands of years before Darwin; that’s why we have so many breeds of dogs. Come to think of it, Europe was governed on a theory of natural selection for centuries. Look up feudalism. And they did it when the Church controlled all the schools, and taught Creationism in every one of them.
Another question for ye liberals: Do you really want conservatives in the red states to study Evolution? Remember what happened last time the political Right took Darwin seriously? Look up “eugenics,” “social Darwinism,” and “forced sterilization.” Even today’s kinder, gentler conservatives might start getting ideas such as: No Food Stamps Until You Get a Vasectomy, or We’ll Take Care of Your Bastard Children if You Get a Norplant. You might want to let those backwoods Red Staters send their kids to Bible class. The Bible is a lot more liberal than Darwin.
Then again, the Old Testament welfare system was more compatible with Darwin’s ideas on natural selection than what we have today.
Welfare vs. Natural Selection
Sex is rather pleasant. The blind, the cripple and the stupid enjoy it too. And so defective genes do propagate to the next generation unless we allow nature to weed them out. Welfare prevents the unpleasant culling, and I salute the process even as I admit the price. Besides, as long as welfare recipients breed at the same rate as taxpayers, we break even. The human race is good enough, no need for nasty eugenics programs.
But are we breaking even?
Hear the tale of two teenage girls, Sally and Ellie. Sally is diligent, studies hard, goes to college, practices safe sex or even abstinence (we need not investigate here). After several years building a career like a modern woman should, she meets Mr. Right. They buy a home in the suburbs, and when their finances are finally in order, she manages with difficulty to bear a child before she gets too old.
Ellie, on the other hand, lives for the day. The teenage years are time to party hardy! And check out Joe Studly, with his snazzy clothes, James Dean stares and that sleek sportscar! Time to get busy while the hormones are hot, and those rubber thingies really kill the romance. Ellie gets big, Joe moves on looking for tight new hotties, and Uncle Sam has a new ward. Ellie’s value on the marriage market goes down considerably, but no problem. Uncle Sam pays the bills, and plenty of handsome hunks with steamy stares are ready to provide sperm donation services in between pregnancies. By the time Sally and Mr. Right have their child, Ellie is on bastard number 4 with a grandchild on the way.
Old Dr. Darwin says over time we will have more free-spirited Ellies living for the day and more Joe Studlys with great fashion sense and no conscience. After several generations we might run low on taxpayers to fund all those food stamps and housing projects. Then what?
Maybe we shouldn’t worry about it. What constitutes “fit” today may be unfit tomorrow. Maybe we will be hit with a massive plague, so a propensity for rapid breeding will be critical for human survival. Maybe civilization will collapse, making today’s gang members more fit than today’s doctors, lawyers and dot-com millionaires. Maybe we’ll have GMO humans and designer babies to offset natural selection before too long. Maybe our robot overlords will take over all responsibilities: ambition and intellect will become liabilities; today’s welfare recipients are the prototypes for a brave new tomorrow. Maybe the Second Coming will happen before too many generations, so Christians should focus on charity and ignore genetics.
Or maybe societies with stricter breeding codes will conquer the decadent West, and we’ll all live under Sharia law, bringing us full circle. Don’t laugh; it’s already beginning in France. [Then again, inbreeding may make Moslem breeding codes even worse.]
The ancient Hebrews had an even bigger Arab problem. And the Law of Moses was given thousands of years before genetic engineering or benevolent robot overlords were viable options. The Biblical welfare system thus included eugenic offsets to counterbalance the breeding down effects of benevolence. The Old Testament Law is more Darwinian than most modern pushers of Darwin, but compared to societies of the time, it was a kinder, gentler, eugenics.
Breeding Nerds with Sex Slaves, Polygamy, and Modern Feminists
7 "If a man sells his daughter as a female servant, she will not go out as the male servants do.
8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to a foreign nation, because he has dealt deceitfully with her.
9 If he designated her for his son, then he will deal with her according to the customary rights of daughters.
10 If he takes another wife, he must not diminish the first one's food, her clothing, or her marital rights.
11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money.
Hollywood informs us repeatedly that technical geniuses lack charm with the ladies. Being more Bond villain than Bond myself, my not-so-Christian college days bore this out. So how does a nation stay competitive when charming “losers” get the ladies and productive geniuses can’t get a date?
Once answer: sex slaves.
Hear the story of Peleg the Pudgy. Peleg was none too stylish. His charm circuits were squished by the extra math coprocessor in his brain. Though he amassed great quantities of gold and camels as he cornered the frankincense market, he couldn’t get a date. So how did his genes to make it to future generations, to produce future doctors, lawyers, and Nobel laureates? Answer: he could buy a future for his genes. All he had to do is bemoan his sad love life to his customers and business associates and eventually a solution would present itself. “Peleg, you think you have problems. I struggle every day to provide for my three beautiful daughters. Every day I work hard but my purse stays empty and my tools are wearing out...” Pretty soon, Peleg has a new wife, and a struggling tradesman has money to support the rest of his family in greater comfort. Valuable genes are preserved and nobody has to be “naturally selected.”
29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.
(King James Version)
But still, sex slaves! The horror! Indeed. And I am not suggesting we revive the practice. I do suggest we judge it in context. These “slaves” were basically wives. The ancient Hebrew sex trade had little resemblance to the sex trade for brothels that still goes on to this day. That, dear readers, is truly horrific. And consider the children abandoned in countries like Brazil. Which is worse for a girl: being abandoned on the mean streets or becoming a wife of some charm-challenged merchant?
Now let us consider men who have charm and talent: say, Tiger Woods or Bill Clinton. Surely these genes are worth propagating. And we have ample scientific data that many women would freely volunteer for this important duty. The principle of revealed preference indicates that more women prefer a partial share of a Tiger Woods or Bill Clinton than a 100% share of your humble holistic politician. Why not legalize the arrangement instead of all this skulking around? It’s a win-win situation! Right?
Except for wife number 1. In Hillary Clinton’s case, I don’t care. She tried to turn the U.S. into France; let her live with the French tradition of powerful men having mistresses. For Mrs. Woods and others, there could be injustice. And there are other, quite dire, problems as well, as I might cover in a later chapter. I’m just having fun pointing out that polygamy is theoretically compatible with feminism. Indeed, at least one of Bill Clinton’s concubines was a feminist.
Of course, real feminists have problems with the whole marriage thing entirely. Why should a woman have to be bound up in a contractual relationship in order to “know” a man? Why can’t they be free agents and have children? The feminists portrayed this ideal in the sitcom Murphy Brown some years back much to the chagrin of Dan Quayle.
Mr. Quayle needed to do some deep Bible study to do along with his spelling lessons. Ancient Israel had plenty of such feminists. The Bible refers to them as harlots [zanah, which is translated both as harlot and as whore in the King James Version]. And yes, being a harlot was legal under the right conditions. Solomon’s first recorded act upon receiving the gift of wisdom was to adjudicate a dispute between two harlots. That said, the harlot lifestyle was frowned upon, and it is a definite no-no for Christians.
Because it is a no-no for Christians, the word harlot is a loaded term, and hardly used in regular conversation, which is ironic because being a harlot for a time is becoming the norm for young women in Western societies. Many people mistakenly assume that the word translated as “harlot” meant prostitute. This is incorrect. While a prostitute is a harlot, a harlot is not necessarily a prostitute. A harlot is any unmarried sexually active woman. The Bible makes little distinction over whether money changes hands for such sexual favors. The sin is in the outside-of-contract sex, not the monetary transaction. Come to think of it, marriage involves some serious monetary transfers, as my bank account will attest.
I have heard it said that prostitution was allowed in ancient Israel because that was the only way a single woman could make a living. I believe this incorrect. Proverbs 31 describes women operating businesses, just like in modern times. Those businesses need not be sex related, but harlots could sell sex, and that had significant genetic implications.
Let us go back to the story of Wayward Ellie. After several years of living the wild life, her bad-boy’s boys are getting expensive to support. The ho-hum married life is looking better every day, but Mr. Not-Wrong is hard to find; the bastards are a liability on the marriage market. Meanwhile, her high school classmate Dexter the Dork has become a dot-com millionaire. He is still a dork, but his bank account is very sexy...
Under ancient Biblical Law, the dorky Dexters would have equal opportunity to father bastards as the Joe Studlies. Under today’s law, the Dexters get to pay for the bastards though the tax system while less responsible men have the fun, and the genetic future.
Breeding Brave Warriors
10 When you go out to do battle with your enemies and the LORD your God allows you to prevail and you take prisoners,
11 if you should see among them an attractive woman whom you wish to take as a wife,
12 you may bring her back to your house. She must shave her head, trim her nails,
13 discard the clothing she was wearing when captured, and stay in your house, lamenting for her father and mother for a full month. After that you may have sexual relations with her and become her husband and she your wife.
14 If you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell her; you must not take advantage of her, since you have already humiliated her.
Breeding mighty warriors is easier than breeding nerdy geniuses. Women naturally fall for muscular men in uniform. Thousands of horny high school males thus sign up for the football squad, putting up with sweat, discipline and broken bones in order to cash in on this phenomenon.
This problem is: brave warriors are often the ones who get killed. High casualties cull the genes for bravery even if all the brave survivors marry -- unless you allow the brave survivors to marry more than one woman to make up for those killed in battle. Legal voluntary polygamy should do the job -- no need for sex slaves since many women volunteer for the onerous duty of breeding the next generation of warriors.
But the Bible did allow for some sex slaves for warriors, anyway, slaves from among the people conquered and devastated. It was a brutal practice by first world standards, but an order of magnitude kinder than the common alternative of rape right after battle, a military tradition still in vogue in parts of the world. At least the poor girl captured by ancient Israelites had a month to mourn before bedding her conqueror. Stockholm syndrome being what it is these relationships may have worked out better than one might expect. The Bible reports that often such women successfully convinced their Hebrew husbands to adopt foreign gods, so the captured ladies did have influence. Because of this influence, the practice was often forbidden or regretted afterwards.
Nonetheless, the military commands in the Old Testament were often brutal, so brutal that it’s hard to reconcile portions of the Old Testament with Jesus’ message of mercy and forgiveness. Many moderns reject the Bible altogether on these grounds, and I cannot blame them. I struggle with many passages myself. But I am not a warrior, and I have lost no known relatives to war. Many in my generation and younger are in a similar situation. We in the U.S. live in a golden age of prosperity and peace, and so only a minority experiences the rage that comes from loss at the hands of an enemy.
The brutality of the past was more than just rage; however, it had a practical component. Before high tech weaponry, an arms race included human arms. The only way to disarm an enemy was to kill, maim or enslave its mighty men. We can afford to be kinder and gentler because we have nukes and other high tech weapons. Get rid of enemy military infrastructure and your enemies can do little beyond desperate terrorist actions.
So keep this reality in mind when judging the ancients, or warrior cultures in general. Also keep in mind that the Israelites were not given a blank check for military adventures. They were given a license to kill off certain Canaanite tribes because they had committed certain iniquities. And the Israelites had to suffer centuries of bondage in Egypt before they got the go-ahead [Genesis 15:16].
Eugenics in Other Cultures
The Old Testament was “Darwin compatible.” But lest I leave you with the impression that the Law of Moses was unique in its eugenics, let’s take a look at some other cultures’ genetic practices.
Consider a true warrior culture, where all males need to prove themselves by undergoing some brutal torture when coming of age. Hang by eagle’s claws or be a woman for the rest of your life! If you were a sensitive baby-faced intellectual, the type that becomes a dot-com millionaire nowadays, you were not supposed to breed. Girlie men are girls, was the rule. This might explain why we have more Jews than Native Americans working in Silicon Valley. Or maybe not; maybe being “one of the girls” was a good way play the field on the sly. Or maybe I am over generalizing, lumping together the wide variety of cultures which once dominated this continent. Maybe I could use a refresher course in politically correct attitudes.
It wouldn’t be my first course. That was back in elementary school. We all assembled in the auditorium to hear a real Indian -- a Lakota Sioux -- straighten us out as to what Indians were really like, vs. the stereotypes we saw on the cowboy shows (which were still big in those days). I don’t remember his entire talk, but one part really made an impression: babies were not allowed to cry. A crying baby could be heard from miles away, so to protect the tribe, they applied the “finger on throat technique.” Most got the idea within a week. Those that didn’t were abandoned!
Such practices were not confined to Native Americans by any means. See the Wikipedia article on infanticide if you have a strong stomach.
And then appreciate how the Old Testament provided for a much kinder, gentler eugenics.
This chapter is for informational purposes only! I could tell you some possible modern applications, but I’m in enough trouble already. And this Ann Coulter wig is starting to itch. Besides, do we really need to worry about eugenics in this comfy age? Those robot overlords or designer babies are just a couple of generations away. And given events in the Middle East these days, the Second Coming before long is not out of the question either. Finally, in the near term we can do a far more to reduce defects and improve collective intelligence with better diet and school choice than with any kind of breeding program. So I’m game to dump the Darwin and do the right thing for those who have been born.