Monday, 25 January 2016
Culture of Death: Can Evolution Explain Suicide?
"Is suicide a tragic variant of an evolutionarily adaptive set of behaviors?"
This is the title of a recent article posted on Science Daily. It seems that articles dealing with some aspects of the culture of death make headlines more often than other stories.
It summarises a paper published in Psychological Review by Thomas E. Joiner and colleagues, and at first it gives some background information:
“What do snapping shrimp, naked mole rats, ants, honeybees, and humans all have in common? They all share a similar colony-like organizational system that biologists have termed eusociality. Eusocial species have been remarkably successful in both surviving and thriving through the use of colony-level cooperation. One cooperative behavior used by all eusocial species is the self-sacrifice of individuals to defend the colony.”
They see humans as just another species among many others, prompting them to conclude: “Joiner et al. propose a framework in which suicide is viewed as a tragic variant of what typically serves as an adaptive tendency towards self-sacrifice among humans.”
“An adaptive tendency” suggests it has something to do with natural selection that is often invoked to explain all kinds of behaviour.
However, we should not forget that we have free will (although some evolutionists would see it as an illusion).
The tendency of seeing parallels between animal behaviour and that of humans is based on Darwinian evolution that basically denies the high status the Bible confers on man:
“You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:5, NIV).
According to the biblical worldview, all people have intrinsic value. We are made in the image of God, and Jesus Christ came to die for all human beings, regardless of their background.
That was the ultimate price God was willing to pay for you and me.
While we still see the consequences of Adam’s sin in our world, God has already solved the sin question.
His empty tomb testifies of the greatest miracle of all times: He has conquered death.
American Psychological Association. 2016. Is suicide a tragic variant of an evolutionarily adaptive set of behaviors? Science Daily (14 January).