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Thornton Hall

The Revolution Will Be Kuhnian.

Big Idea: Darwinian Empathy

Thinking out loud...

Working on an idea about how if we take Darwin as the paradigmatic science and then turn our attention to the actions of people we disagree with, we are forced to be more kind in our assessment. Every common behavior must, by necessity, fall into one of two categories:

1. It is an adaptive behavior in the circumstances, or

2. It used to be an adaptive behavior in the circumstances.

More than that: the forces that shaped the other mind are the exact same forces that shaped ours. “We are all created in God’s image” is empirically true to the extent that we are all created in the exact same image.

More than that, Darwinian Empathy requires us to reason about others’ minds starting from the axiom that there is nothing going on in their mind that we wouldn’t recognize in our own.  

All of this is driving at the notion that a belief in “evil people” is as anti-science as climate change.  “Evil” is a word we use for a process beyond our comprehension, but the truth of Darwin forces us to admit that that can’t possibly be the case as long as we have access to the workings of our own mind. 

That might be the rub: I have been told that I am uniquely conscious of the workings of my own mind.  

The term “Darwin’s compassionate view of human nature” comes up on Google.   But I think “Darwinian Empathy” may be all mine. 

“Paleo River”: Super cool example of a Darwinian metaphor

That’s What I’m Talking About