Through Eyes of Faith – 6

The next chapter in Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith is titled “Evolutionary Psychology and Human Uniqueness” (Chapter 6). Myers and Jeeves are mindful that evolutionary psychology seems to genuinely “challenge our self-understandings – our view of human nature and our place in nature” [p. 34]. What does it mean to tie research on human beings to research on animals and to discuss human beings with reference to “animal ancestors” [p. 35]? They discuss two examples – mind reading and self-giving behavior (altruism) – and briefly review some of the findings here but also some exaggerated claims by some evolutionary psychologists, recognizing differences at least in degree (but also in kind?) between human behavior and animal behavior in some of these areas.

Their final word? Here it is:

…the study of animal behavior and cognition has a long history in psychology and poses no troubling issues for Christians. … scholars remind us that surface behavior similarities between humans and other animals need not signify identical underlying processes. Moreover, animal cognition and helping is only a budding form of human thinking and altruism, and but a pale reminder of the infinite intelligence and love of God. Finally, acknowledging the long emergence of life on earth need not diminish by one iota our sense of awe at our own mysterious workings and spiritual significance. [p. 38]

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