Apparently, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on soda is the next phase in human evolution. Or so says Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. In a recent New York Times’ article entitled Evolution’s Sweet Tooth Lieberman writes:
We humans did not evolve to eat healthily and go to the gym; until recently, we didn’t have to make such choices. But we did evolve to cooperate to help one another survive and thrive. Circumstances have changed, but we still need one another’s help as much as we ever did. For this reason, we need government on our side, not on the side of those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them. We have evolved to need coercion. (emphasis mine)
So now science is behind government regulation? Yikes. Even scarier is the inference that government is behind human evolution. Listen, these guys can’t even figure out how to balance the national budget, so how in the world can we expect them to spur our entire species toward evolutionary ascent?
Lieberman’s attempt to meld scientific theory with public policy is disturbing. Especially when that theory leads to a nanny state. Or is the nanny state part of our biological destiny? Even more noteworthy is how Lieberman’s assertion undermines the very theory it is built upon.
If we did evolve “to help one another survive and thrive,” Who or What helped us before we could help ourselves?
Most proponents of biological evolution believe the process was random and unguided. How could it not be? Unless there is a Force, a Designer, an Almighty Code written in the stars, we have gotten here strictly by chance. So why do we now need a Guide?
If we are suddenly dependent upon Big Brother to keep us from becoming obese, my question is… where was our Brother’s Dad? Doesn’t that premise suggest that we are inherently dependent on outside forces to guide us — more specifically, Intelligent, Compassionate forces? Not that the U.S. government is any of those things. And how is it that we’ve evolved to need help anyway? That’s like “graduating” from riding a ten-speed to a tricycle. Shouldn’t we evolve upwards not… outwards?
Michael Bloomberg’s ban on soda, and the science behind it, undercuts the basis of evolutionary theory… the very theory it relies upon. Listen, if we’ve “advanced” to the point that we require politicians to stave off our extinction, we’re screwed. Can we really even say we’ve “advanced”? However, if we concede that our species needs outside help, needs superior minds in order to evolve, then we contradict the heart of evolutionary theory as a random, unguided process.
Unless, of course, Bloomberg and Lieberman are the self-appointed Minds who will guide us.