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The DNA of Relgious Faith

By David P. Barash
The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated April 20, 2007

In his 2004 book, The End of Faith, Sam Harris pointed out that alone of all human assertions, those qualifying as "religious," almost by definition, automatically demand and typically receive immense respect, even veneration. Claim that the earth is flat, or that the tooth fairy exists, and you will be deservedly laughed at. But maintain that according to your religion, a seventh-century desert tribal leader ascended to heaven on a winged horse, or that a predecessor had done so, without such a conveyance, roughly 600 years earlier, and you are immediately entitled to deference. It has long been, let us say, an article of faith that at least in polite company, religious faith — belief without evidence — should go unchallenged.

No longer. If recent books — many of them by prominent biologists — are any indication, the era of deference to religious belief is ending as faith is subjected to gimlet-eyed scrutiny. Like Mark Twain’s celebrated comment about stopping smoking, scholars have found it easy to explain religion: They’ve done it hundreds of times, in psychological, psychoanalytic, sociological, historical, anthropological, and economic terms. Biologists, by contrast, have been Johnnies-come-lately. But growing numbers of them are exploring the evolutionary factors — the likely "adaptive significance" — of religion. Indeed, given that it is a cross-cultural universal and has had such powerful effects on human beings (for good and ill), religion is an especially ripe topic for biologists’ attention.

It is both a fertile field and a frustrating one. On the one hand, religious belief of one sort or another seems ubiquitous, suggesting that it might well have emerged, somehow, from universal human nature, the common evolutionary background shared by all humans. On the other hand, it often appears that religious practice is fitness-reducing rather than enhancing — and, if so, that genetically mediated tendencies toward religion should have been selected against. Think of the frequent advocacy of sexual restraint, of tithing, of self-abnegating moral duty and other seeming diminutions of personal fitness, along with the characteristic denial of the "evidence of our senses" in favor of faith in things asserted but not clearly demonstrated. What fitness-enhancing benefits of religion might compensate for those costs?

The question itself is novel. Social scientists, for example, have long considered religion as sui generis, not as a behavioral predisposition that arose because in some way it contributed to the survival and reproduction of its participants. For Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) as well as Daniel C. Dennett (Breaking the Spell), religion is primarily the misbegotten offspring of memes that promote themselves in human minds: essentially, religion as mental virus, thus something adaptive for "itself" and not for its "victims." Or it could be a nonadaptive byproduct of something adaptive in its own right. For example, children seem hard-wired to accept parental teaching, since such advice is likely to be fitness-enhancing ("This is good to eat," "Don’t pet the saber-tooth"). In turn, this makes children vulnerable to whatever else they are taught ("Respect the Sabbath," "Cover your hair") as well as downright needy when it comes to parentlike beings, leading especially to the patriarchal sky god of the Abrahamic faiths.

For Dawkins in particular, not only is religious belief maladaptive — and unjustified — but, given the susceptibility of young children to adult indoctrination, the very teaching of religion to defenseless children is a form of child abuse. Other, related hypotheses of religion include the anthropologist Pascal Boyer’s grandly titled Religion Explained, which argues that natural selection would have favored a mechanism for detecting "agency" in nature, enabling its possessor to predict who is about to do what (and, often, to whom). Since false positives would be much less fitness-reducing than false negatives (i.e., better to attribute malign intent to a tornado and take cover than to assume it is benign and suffer as a result), selection would promote hypersensitivity, or "overdetection," essentially a hair-trigger system whereby motive is attributed not only to other people and mastodons, but also to trees, hurricanes, or the sun. Add, next, the benefit of "decoupling" such predictions from the actual presence of the being in question ("What might my rival be planning right now?"), and the stage is set for attributing causation to "agents" whose agency might well be entirely imagined.

Boyer's work, in turn, converges on that of Stewart Guthrie, whose 1993 book, Faces in the Clouds, made a powerful case for the potency of anthropomorphism, the human tendency to see human (or humanlike) images in natural phenomena. This inclination has morphed into a more specific, named phenomenon: pareidolia, the perception of patterns where none exist (some recent, "real" examples: Jesus' face in a tortilla, the Virgin Mary’s outline in a semimelted hunk of chocolate, Mother Teresa’s profile in a cinnamon bun).

Not all biologically based hypotheses for the evolution of religion are negative, however. In Darwin's Cathedral, David Sloan Wilson explored the possibility that religious belief is advantageous for its practitioners because it contributes to solidarity — including but not limited to moral codes — that benefits the group and wouldn’t otherwise be within reach. That notion, appealing as it might be, is actually a logical and mathematical stretch for most biologists, relying as it does upon group selection. The problem is that even if groups displaying a particular trait do better than groups lacking it, selection acting within such groups should favor individuals who "cheat." Mathematical models have shown that group selection can work in theory, but only if the differential survival of religious groups more than compensates for any disadvantage suffered by individuals within each group. It is at least possible that human beings meet this requirement, especially when it comes to religion, since within-group self-policing could maintain religiosity; it certainly did during the Inquisition.

The biologist Lewis Wolpert seeks to examine the penchant for faith in a book whose title derives from an exchange between Alice and the Red Queen, in which the latter points out that "sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Wolpert describes and interprets various widespread logical fallacies, examining their diverse origins in brain pathology, neurochemical impacts, and other cognitive limitations, in seeking to understand why so many people, in the words of H.L. Mencken, "believe passionately in the palpably not true." His book is a useful compendium of hallucinations, confabulations, and other self-delusions, with the intriguing added thesis that much science is itself counterintuitive (the earth’s going around the sun, the mutability of species, quantum "weirdness," and so on).

Wolpert maintains that "true causal reasoning" is unknown among other animals and often highly flawed in our own species. Yet, as the anthropologist Clifford Geertz has pointed out, people simply cannot look at the world "in dumb astonishment or blind apathy," and so they struggle for explanation, valid or not, a process that results inevitably in beliefs. Wolpert then suggests that "those with such beliefs most likely did better." But the bulk of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast details inaccurate beliefs: How might the holders of false beliefs "do better"? In short, what is the adaptive significance?

One possibility is that faith in an afterlife, in buried golden plates inscribed by divine guidance, or in bright-blue elephant-headed gods is not false after all. Another is that such beliefs have beneficial byproducts, like a placebo. For now, however, it isn't clear how attachment to one or many gods actually pays off, since, although a deity may have turned water into wine and helped bring down the walls of Jericho in the distant past, such beneficence hasn’t been reliably documented in recent millennia.

The primatologist and anthropologist Barbara J. King enters the fray with Evolving God, a knowledgeable excursion into the prehistory of religion, enlivened by a refreshing orientation toward nonhuman primates as well as early hominids. Evolving God has the added merit of pushing beyond the Abrahamic "big three," including a handy account of religious archaeology. King’s touchstone is "belongingness," the idea that "hominids turned to the sacred realm because they evolved to relate in deeply emotional ways with their social partners, ... and because the human brain evolved to allow an extension of this belongingness beyond the here and now."

King is convincing about the merits and allure of belongingness, but less so — indeed, she is distressingly silent — when it comes to the adaptive significance of cozying up to the ineffable. If, as she suggests, "at bedrock is the belief that one may be seen, heard, protected, harmed, loved, frightened, or soothed by interaction with God, gods, or spirits," then what in the real world of biology and reproductive fitness has anchored human biology to that bedrock? A feeling of belongingness sounds nice, as does one of cheerfulness, or the contentment that comes from having a full belly — but to be adaptive, one ought to get a genuinely full belly.

King is quick to dismiss a "genetic approach" to understanding the evolution of religiosity, heaping what may be appropriate scorn on Dean Hamer’s simplistic, overhyped claim for a "God gene." But she doesn't seem to realize that any evolutionary approach is necessarily, at its heart, a genetic one. We must conclude, sadly, that a convincing evolutionary explanation for the origin of religion has yet to be formulated. In any event, such an account, were it to arise, would doubtless be unconvincing to believers because, whatever it postulated, it would not conclude that religious belief arose because (1) it simply represents an accurate perception of God, comparable to identifying food, a predator, or a prospective mate; or (2) it was installed in the human mind and/or genome by God, presumably for his glory and our counterevidentiary enlightenment.

David Hume began his essay The Natural History of Religion (1757) as follows: "As every enquiry which regards religion is of the utmost importance, there are two questions in particular which challenge our attention, to wit, that concerning its foundation in reason, and that concerning its origin in human nature." So far we’ve been concerned with religion’s “origin in human nature." Next, its "foundation in reason."

The four horsemen of the current antireligious apocalypse are Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, and Carl Sagan. All are (or, in the case of Sagan, who died in 1996, were) passionate advocates of reason, committed to the proposition that religion is essentially unreasonable.

Sagan delivered the Gifford Lectures, at the University of Glasgow, in 1985, and we can all be grateful that they are finally available in print, only slightly updated by his widow, Ann Druyan. Sagan's wisdom is fresh and relevant today, offering the humane, courageous, and rational vision that became the astronomer's trademark. We owe much to Carl Sagan, not least for his Sisyphean efforts at banishing scientific illiteracy and his tireless exhortations in favor of basic planetary hygiene, all abundantly on display in The Varieties of Scientific Experience.

William James delivered an earlier set of Gifford Lectures, turning them into his renowned The Varieties of Religious Experience, in which he defined religion as a "feeling of being at home in the Universe." Sagan certainly had that sense and labored, with great success, to share it. His Varieties leave no doubt that for Sagan, the feeling leaves little or no room for religion, a point he makes with extraordinary grace and often laugh-out-loud humor.

Sagan is associated with the dictum that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," applicable not only to various assertions of the paranormal, but to religion as well, given the chutzpah to subject such claims to critical scrutiny. Bertrand Russell, for example, once asked how we might respond to someone's heartfelt assertion that a perfect china teapot, too small to be detected, was in elliptical orbit between Earth and Mars. Whose responsibility, for example, would it be to "prove" that? And if the teapot’s nonexistence could not be verifiably ruled out, does that mean that claims in its favor must be granted equal plausibility with the alternative, null hypothesis?

Those and other issues are also confronted by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, whose overt dismissal of religion, combined with the brashness and brilliance of his writing, has evoked fury among the faithful and consternation among the decorous. Dawkins has the effrontery to dispatch various "proofs" of God’s existence: those of Aquinas, Anselm, and what he calls the arguments from beauty, from personal experience, from Scripture, and from admired religious scientists. He also tackles the evolution of religion and what's bad about the "good book," while disputing the claim that religion is necessary for morality, all the while pulling no punches about why he is so unabashedly antagonistic to religion. (Honestly, is there anything hostile about suggesting, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”?)

Most effective is Dawkins's chapter "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God," which not only sheds logical light on the so-called anthropic principle and the "worship of gaps," but also demolishes yet again the hoary "argument from design." This chestnut has had numerous stakes driven through its heart, but like a cinematic version of the undead, it keeps resurrecting itself, staggering, zombielike and covered with flies, back into public view. Dawkins confronts the version concocted by the astronomer Fred Hoyle, who evidently knew more about stars than about evolution. According to Hoyle, the probability of living things’ having been created completely by chance is about that of a windstorm’s blowing through a junkyard and spontaneously creating a Boeing 747.

Dawkins agrees that chance alone would not be up to the task but then shows, painstakingly, that natural selection is precisely the opposite of chance: It is an extraordinarily efficient way of generating extreme nonrandomness. Moreover, God as ultimate explanatory device for complexity is especially depauperate, since we cannot credibly maintain that God is less complex than a Boeing 747. In short, God, for Dawkins, is "the ultimate 747": Insofar as the problem is explaining complexity, it hardly suffices to posit the spontaneous and uncaused existence of something that is infinite orders of magnitude more complex.

Dawkins grants that God cannot be conclusively disproved, but he also urges that religion not be granted any special benefit of doubt. "If by 'God,'" wrote Carl Sagan, "one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying. ... It does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity." Dawkins adds, "The metaphysical or pantheistic God of the physicists is light years away from the interventionist, miracle-wreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer-answering God of the Bible, of priests, mullahs, and rabbis, and of ordinary language. Deliberately to confuse the two is, in my opinion, an act of intellectual high treason."

The boilerplate, and politically safe if intellectually craven, stance has long been that science and religion are independent domains, the former telling what is and the latter why (this was the gravamen of Stephen Jay Gould’s Rocks of Ages, which argued for "nonoverlapping magisteria"). Part of the attention-grabbing novelty of the Four Horsemen has been their refusal to abide by that dichotomy, insisting that when religion makes egregiously false "truth claims" against science, it must be confronted, and that, moreover, religion itself can and should be "naturalized" — that is, subjected to the same scrutiny that science brings to other phenomena.

That project is especially intense for America's most biologically engaged philosopher, Daniel Dennett, whose Breaking the Spell involves breaking the taboo against looking skeptically and scientifically at religion. He doesn't like what he sees. And for Sam Harris (a graduate student in neurobiology when not endeavoring to épater les religieux) there is a felt need to take the United States in particular by the scruff of its neck and rub its nose in the dangers and absurdities of religious belief. His Letter to a Christian Nation was written in response to criticisms leveled by believers following his earlier antireligious pronouncement, The End of Faith. Harris’s latest work is aptly named: more a missive — or verbal missile — than a book.

He is especially provocative in condemning religious excess and even religious tolerance as, essentially, a "gateway drug" that opens the door not only to faith (irrationality, as Harris sees it) but also to faith’s more extreme and violent manifestations. It would be interesting to see if, as the result of the recent drumbeat of antireligious books, the number of out-of-the-closet atheists increases, as others feel more validated in publicly affirming a stance that has long been vilified. (It is said that James Mill once confided to young, precocious John Stuart: "There is no God. But it’s a family secret.")

In any event, Harris is particularly incensed at the consequences of what he views as religious extremism, and whereas The End of Faith was notably critical of Islam — although not sparing of Christianity or Judaism — his Letter is explicitly concerned with fundamentalist Christianity and is unyielding in its alarm and disdain:

"If the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see ... the return of Christ. ... The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.”

Reacting to what he saw as the excesses of the Enlightenment, William Blake wrote his great poem, "Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau," which continues: "Mock on, mock on: ‘tis all in vain!/You throw the sand against the wind,/And the wind blows it back again," and ends: "The Atoms of Democritus/And Newton’s Particles of Light/Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,/Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright."

It has been said that the 20th century was dominated by physics, and the 19th by chemistry and geology. The 21st, at least so far? Biology, with genomics, cloning, stem-cell research, neurobiology, and evolutionary biology having replaced "rocket science" as emblematic of the difficult and important. It is therefore notable that biologists have been so much in the vanguard of science looking at religion, and that, moreover, other biologists have also been prominent in responding to the current, biology-inspired Enlightenment redux. Instead of those Atoms of Democritus and Newton's Particles of Light, we have Darwin’s evolution by natural selection and Dawkins’s selfish genes. Francis S. Collins and Joan Roughgarden, on the other hand, have picked up Blake's mantle, pitching their bright, shining tents against the vain sands of such disbelief.

While the Four Horsemen resort to a modern version of Kant's sapere aude ("dare to know"), Collins and Roughgarden dare to believe, and to speak their faith. At the same time, neither one is a stranger to scientific knowing: Collins is a renowned medical geneticist, head of the Human Genome Project, and Roughgarden, a mathematical ecologist and evolutionary theorist. In The Language of God, Collins shares his personal journey from atheist to evangelical Christian. Collins is no fundamentalist, however; he acknowledges the consilience of modern evolutionary science, arguing passionately and effectively that “new earth creationists" do a disservice not only to science but also to their own faith by denying reason and evidence. He approvingly quotes Galileo: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” But then, in a stunning volte-face, Collins announces, "The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation." (And here I thought it cried out for physics.)

Collins argues that his faith comes primarily from two sources: the existence of what he calls "the Moral Law," and the "universal human longing for God." As to the former, is there really one moral law? Some feel it is lawful to suppress and kill those who disagree with them, or to worship idols, or mutilate their own genitals (typically with religious sanction), or proclaim their unique capacity to be "saved." Collins is greatly impressed, nonetheless, that people have a single, deep, shared knowledge of right and wrong, which he might find less impressive if he were more familiar with basic sociobiology. He seems not to understand that infanticidal male behavior in langur monkeys does not preclude the use of “altruism” at other times, and by other species, as a means of mate attraction, or that the evolutionary biology of kin selection is based on identity of genes via common descent, not just in ants but in any sexually reproducing organism. Taken together or in various combinations, kin selection, reciprocal altruism, group selection, third-party effects, and courtship possibilities, as well as simple susceptibility to social and cultural indoctrination, provide biologists with more than enough for the conclusion: God is no longer needed to explain "Moral Law."

As to that longing for God, Collins asks, "Why would such a universal and uniquely human hunger exist, if it were not connected to some opportunity for fulfillment? ... Why do we have a 'God-shaped vacuum' in our hearts and minds unless it is meant to be filled?" As his spiritual mentor, C.S. Lewis, pointed out: "A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water." Many people would love to live forever. Does that mean that there is immortality? (I guess so, if they believe in the right religion.) Indeed, why would Janis Joplin have sung, “Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?” unless there is such a thing as a Mercedes-Benz? Evidently the existence of a Mercedes-shaped hole in Joplin’s heart indicated that it was meant to be filled.

Collins is more persuasive, although certainly not original, when trotting out the anthropic principle, the argument that the universe is tuned to bring about life in general and human life in particular. There are a number of physical constants and laws such that if any had been even slightly different, life might well have been impossible. For example, for roughly every billion quarks and antiquarks, there is an excess of one quark — otherwise, no matter. If the rate of expansion immediately after the Big Bang had been a tiny fraction less than it was, the universe would have recollapsed long ago. If the strong nuclear forces holding atomic nuclei together had been a smidgen weaker, then only hydrogen would exist; if a hair stronger, all hydrogen would promptly have become helium, and the solar furnaces inside stars, which we can thank for the heavier elements, would never have existed.

Both Dawkins and Sagan examine this argument, which Dawkins caricatures as "god-as-dial-twiddler." Such twiddler-twaddle is oddly tautological, in that if the universe were not as it is, we indeed would not be here to wonder about it. In Fred Hoyle’s science-fiction novel The Black Cloud, we are reminded that the probability of a golf ball’s landing on any particular spot is exceedingly low — and yet, it has to land somewhere! The anthropic principle can also be “solved” by multiple universes, of which ours could simply be the one in which we exist. This might apply not only to horizontally existing multiverses, but also to the same one occurring differently in time, if there have been (and will be) unending expansions and contractions. Moreover, it isn’t at all clear that the various physical dials are independent, or that the physical constants in the universe could be any different, given the nature of matter and energy.

Language of God reveals its author's the writings of the Four Horsemen do theirs to be decent, generous, and humane. Unlike the latter, however, Collins desperately hopes for a reconciliation, or, at least, a lessening of animosity, between believers and non-, and one hopes that he might serve as an ambassador from science to evangelical Christianity, immunizing the latter against fear of the former. He would also like to missionize in the other direction. Recall the rabbi, visited by two members of his congregation who hold mutually contradictory positions, who reassures each that he is correct. The rabbi’s wife reproves him, noting, "They can’t both be right," and the rabbi agrees, "You’re right, too!" Collins fervently maintains that both religion and science can be right.

Thus he explicitly denies a strict interpretation of Scripture — e.g., Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, Jonah inside the whale — eschewing literality when biblical accounts run obviously contrary to current science. At the same time, he believes fervently in Jesus’ resurrection and the reality of a personal god who answers prayer.

What, then, is his basis for accepting some Bible stories and not others? If Collins is simply clinging to those tenets that cannot be disproved, while disavowing those that can, then isn’t he indulging in another incarnation of the "god of the gaps" that he very reasonably claims to oppose? What about, say, those loaves and fishes, or the Book of Revelation? And does the director of the Human Genome Project maintain that Jesus of Nazareth was literally born of a virgin and inseminated by the Holy Ghost? If so, then was he haploid or diploid? Is it necessarily churlish to ask what it is, precisely, that a believer (layperson or scientist) believes? In the devil, angels, eternal hellfire, damnation, archangels, incubi and succubi, walking on water, raising Lazarus?

Joan Roughgarden is more limited in her purview, aiming specifically at a reconciliation between evolution and Christian faith, as contrasted with Collins’s concern with Christianity and science generally. Advocates of "theistic evolution" (the claim that God chose to work via evolution) will doubtless applaud, while the fundamentalist faithful and materialist-minded unbelievers will not, although both will agree that Roughgarden is well meaning and adroit at summoning up New Testament parables in support of her nonconfrontationalist position.

Her bottom-line claim is that "the Bible is perfectly consistent with the two main facts of evolution — that all of life belongs to a common family tree and that species change over generations.” But as to that "common family tree," what are we to make of the soul, which Roughgarden clearly believes is real, and uniquely possessed by human beings? How could "ensoulment" not bespeak a radical discontinuity, unless chimps, gorillas, orangs are granted souls as well? What about dogs? Crickets? Cantaloupes? Regarding "species change over generations," the Book of Genesis clearly asserts God’s command that each living thing is to bring forth offspring "after his kind," which, if language means anything, would certainly preclude changing into another kind.

Roughgarden ostensibly speaks from her scientific roots when she avers that "Jesus’ teachings about generosity, kindness, love, and inclusion of all don’t depend one whit on miracles." But on the next page, she announces that "even after his death, Jesus continued to downplay miracles. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to a group of his disciples. ..." Wait a minute! If the resurrection of Jesus is not a miracle, what then is it? A scientific fact?

Roughgarden’s Evolution and Christian Faith is a "plague on both your houses" chastisement of "selfish genery" as well as of intolerant fundamentalism, and thus likely (along with Collins’s book) to appeal to the "can't we all get along?" moderates among us: "We simply don't have to let ourselves get caught up in these polarizing positions," according to Roughgarden. "We can insist on a better tenor of discourse."

That, too, is the goal of Edward O. Wilson, reigning dean of American organismal biologists, although he seeks reconciliation between science and religion for the sake of policy, not polity. The Creation, written as an epistolary reaching out to an unnamed Southern Baptist preacher, is subtitled An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Wilson's journey was the inverse of Collins’s: Reared a pious Baptist in rural Alabama, he became a famous atheist scientist. Wilson's anguish, however, is not so much over the reduction in civility across the science-theology divide as about the reduction in planetary biodiversity and the imminence of large-scale, anthropogenic, species extinctions. Wilson’s hope, powerfully expressed, is that doctrinal differences between religion and science could be put aside in favor of jointly defending the organic world, however it arose.

Although Judeo-Christian theologians have not generally distinguished themselves in support of nature (St. Francis of Assisi and a few others excepted), there is reason to hope that Wilson's quest for common cause on behalf of "the creation" may not be altogether forlorn. Thus the National Association of Evangelicals, for example, has of late been receptive to environmental concerns, including global warming, a welcome development based on precisely the switch from "dominion" to "stewardship" that Wilson advocates. Nor is the association likely to be unique. I would bet that somewhere — even in that Heart of Darkness that constitutes the Bush administration — there beats at least some sensitivity to preserving the earth’s natural treasures.

It seems inevitable that both science and religion will persist, often struggling, rarely cooperating, warily cohabiting within our minds no less than our works, testimony to what underlies the current efflorescence of science/religion books. Some mutual accommodation, however, may be envisioned. At the end of The Creation, E.O. Wilson observes to the Baptist pastor: "However the tensions eventually play out between our opposing worldviews, however science and religion wax and wane in the minds of men, there remains the earthborn, yet transcendental, obligation we are both morally bound to share."


David P. Barash is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. A collection of his essays appearing in The Chronicle will be published shortly by Bellevue Literary Press.
Section: The Chronicle Review
Volume 53, Issue 33, Page B6
Copyright © 2007 by The Chronicle of Higher Education