Humans Evolved to Love Baby Yoda.
Here’s a recent article by leading Southern Baptist, Dr Albert Mohler, where he uses poor Baby Yoda to further his creationist Gospel.
Over the last decade or so Mohler with his unique brand has shifted the Southern baptists in a more fundamentalist direction.
My comments are in quotes as italics.
Why Do Humans Love Babies? Evolutionists and Christians Answer the Question Differently
The media are, right now, looking at an array of stories, and they are of course providing no shortage of headlines, but today I want us to step back just a moment and look at some issues that have not received widespread press attention, but in worldview analysis, there is a lot for us to consider here. For example, an article that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Alison Gopnik is in the mind and matter column of that newspaper, and the headline is this: “Humans Evolved to Love Baby Yoda.”
Now, Baby Yoda is of course exactly what you expected for us to be talking about on The Briefing today, and most of you know that the character appears on the Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian. This is not Yoda as a baby, it is rather a baby of the same species that is, in popular culture now, commonly referred to as Baby Yoda. Thus the headline, “Humans Evolved to Love Baby Yoda.”
Now, there’s a serious issue behind this article, and that is asking the question, why are we so attracted to infants? Now, of course in moral terms, this is primarily about why we are so attracted to human infants, but in reality the infants and young offspring of almost every species are the cutest among them. Who doesn’t like looking at a kitty or a puppy, or for that matter, a young lion or a tiger or a giraffe? Crowds turn out in massive numbers to see a newborn baby lion, and across oceans people get excited about the good news of the birth in a zoo of a baby hippo. But when we’re talking about human beings, we are talking about the fact that human infants are not only extremely attractive and they are incredibly cute, but they also seemingly have the ability to make us interested in them and want us to take care of them.
This is universal among humans and common among higher (more highly-evolved?) animals
Now, just consider the fact that if you are operating from a completely secular, naturalistic, materialistic worldview,
Alert; strawman cometh! What Mohler is doing is to posit that the alternative to his “biblical creationism” is an extreme reductionist evolution.
if you are operating from the worldview of evolution and Darwinism,
What sleight of hand! He assumes, and assumes is the word, that evolution and Darwinism are worldviews. Read any book on evolution or so-called Darwinism or even The Origin of species. The Origin of Species does not put forward a worldview but a scientific theory. His subsequent books make that clear. It is the same if you read a historical account like Peter Bowler’s Evolution. If you want the alleged worldview you need to go to popular on non-scientific writing on evolution. I suppose Dawkins could be one !!
I would recommend he also reads his fellow Christian Asa Gray’s Darwiniana published in 1876, by a great American botanist, who accepted the theory of evolution, and was influential in persuading Americans to accept evolution.
He could also read books by the Christian Cambridge professor Simon Conway-Morris or from Brown – Ken Miller.
Or my own short piece
then you’re going to have to explain why parents in particular love babies, and why other people love babies as well and why they give attention to them and care about them
Simples. The higher animals, especially all mammals and some birds and reptiles, care for their young. Some happily care for other species and there are many examples there.
Now, the answer to that for Christians will be obvious,
Yup, we share an evolutionary heritage with those animals that nurture. All part of god’s plan!
but forget that for just a moment and imagine we’re not thinking about this as Christians, but rather trying to think about this as someone who is committed to an evolutionary worldview would have to think about it.
This is rhetoric looking to an evolutionary worldview, but Mohler neither defines it or gives examples.
WHAT IS THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW?
Thus that’s why the Alison Gopnik article is interesting, because she is honestly trying to explain why human beings have evolved to care about babies.
Now, one of the principle functions of evolution is to explain the continuation of a species. To state the matter plainly, if you are talking about human beings, you’re talking about a species that in infancy requires an amount of care and attentiveness. Alison Gopnik begins her article, “Like many people with children or grandchildren, I spent December watching the new Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian. Across America, the show led to a remarkable Christmas truce among bitterly competing factions, rural or urban, Democrat or Republican. We all love Baby Yoda.” She continues, “In case you spent the last month in a monastic retreat, Baby Yoda is the weird but irresistibly adorable creature who is the heart of the series.” He isn’t actually Yoda, but a baby of the same species, it’s explained. “The Mandalorian, a ferocious bounty hunter in a metal helmet, takes on the job of hunting down Baby Yoda, but ends up rescuing and caring for him instead. This means finding snacks and sitters and keeping the baby from playing with the knob on the star ship gearshift.”
Now at this point, however, the summary of The Mandalorian and the saga of Baby Yoda is only the way of getting to Alison Gopnik’s deeper concern. Why is it that we care about infants anyway? She asked the question, “Why did the Mandalorian and the whole internet love Baby Yoda so much? The answer,” she says, “may tell us something profound about human evolution. Humans,” she says, “have a particularly long and helpless infancy. Our babies depend upon older caregivers for twice as long as chimp babies do. As a result,” she says, “we need more varied caregiving. Chimp mothers look after their babies by themselves,” but as she continues here, “the great anthropologist, Sarah Hardy pointed out in her 2009 book, Mothers and Others, human mothers have always been assisted by fathers, grandparents, and alloparents.” If that’s a new word to you, that is A-L-L-O before parents. That means, as she explains, people who look after other folks’ children. “No human animal,” she writes,” has so many different kinds of caregivers.”
I suppose many Christians would go along with that
Now as Gopnik is operating from an exclusively evolutionary worldview,
That is an unjustified reading into what she said. Yes, she’s a scieitist who accepts evolution and sees how our evolutionary heritage has moulded our behaviour, but that is not from an exclusively evolutionary world view.
This has echoes of Ken Ham!
Try looking at her website.
The website makes no mention of an evolutionary worldview, though I doubt if Gopnik has any religious views.
she doesn’t find it so hard to explain why evolution, as she would say, has produced mothers who take care of their offspring. But the larger, more complex question is why those who aren’t mothers would take care of the offspring, those identified here by the anthropologist as alloparents.
Many dog owners see their dogs are softer towards puppies and little children and seem to instinctively care.
Now, if you are a caregiver caring for an infant, not your own offspring, then, as Gopnik explains, you are a facultative caregiver. She says, “Meaning that they only provide care in certain circumstances and not others,” but this is where the article gets even more interesting. “Once they are committed to a baby, however, they may be just as devoted and effective as biological mothers.” She continues, “The key factor seems to be the very act of caregiving itself. We don’t take care of babies because we love them. Instead, like the Mandalorian, we love babies once we start taking care of them.”
There are many examples of this from mammals, with females adopting babies of other species.
Now still operating out of this entirely evolutionary worldview, we are told the human babies are attractive in unique ways to other human beings. They have little noses and fat cheeks, and somehow the evolutionists explain, that makes them irresistibly cute such that we want to pick them up and care for them. But the anthropologists cited in this article say that it is not merely their appearance. “The way a baby acts is just as important as the way it looks. Even though babies can’t talk, they gesture and make eye contact. Studies show,” she says, “that human infants already understand and react to the emotions and desires of others. Those anthropologists “argue that these very early abilities for social cooperation and emotional intelligence evolved to help attract caregivers.”
So in other words, it just so happens that human infants have evolved to act in ways that make people want to care for them. The sneaky little creatures make us want to care for them, and once we start to care for them, according to this theory, we start to feel for them and we bond with them, and before long, we’re feeding them and investing in their college tuition plans.
Sneaky and naïve comments, written to elicit a favourable response to his creationism, rather than to inform.
Here’s the summary of her thesis and review of current research. The anthropologist “also suggests that once these abilities were in place in babies, they allowed more cooperation between adults as well. All of those mothers and fathers and alloparents parents had to coordinate their efforts to take care of the babies, so,” she says, “there was a kind of benign evolutionary circle. As babies became more socially skilled, they were better at attracting caregivers, and when they grew up they became better caregivers themselves.”
So, she says, the arc of The Mandalorian is also the story of human evolution. Now here we go. Let’s just think about this for a moment. Evolutionists have to explain everything entirely in terms of evolution, because evolution is a comprehensive theory. It claims to be able to explain virtually everything. It has to explain everything, because it denies that there is anything beyond the material world. If there’s nothing beyond the material world, then the material world has to be self-explanatory, and somehow we have to explain how in the world it is that these human infants have developed these sneaky plans that are so effective at making us love them and bond with them and consider them cute and attractive, and then interact with them in such a way that again, sneaky as they are, they make us continue to take care of them and feed them.
Evolution explains what happened, but always leaves the question WHY? For many Christians seeing god as actively involved in all of creation and in our own lives makes sense. I bet someone will jump on me for that.
Well, for one thing, if we’re thinking about this as Christians, here is further evidence of the incompatibility of the evolutionary worldview and the biblical worldview.
This is because Mohler pits them as two irreconcilable extremes
You really can’t cut the question halfway. You either believe in materialism or you believe in a theistic God-created universe.
False polarisation. Here Mohler adopts Ham’s charicature!!
There really is no middle position.
Whoops. He’s committed the fallacy of the undistributed middle, where he sees noting between his parody of evolution as a world view and his understanding of creationism.
What a choice he gives
Evolution without God and no morals
OR Creation in 6 days, some 10,000 years ago and morals.
If you do believe in a divinely designed universe created out of nothing for the glory of God according to what he has revealed in Scripture, then you have a very different understanding of why human beings care for their babies,
Yet another strawman. It does seem morals about truthfulness are sidelined.
why mothers love their offspring, why mothers and fathers care for their children and protect them and sacrifice for them. Why, indeed, to his own glory, God made human infants so needy for so long, human babies, newborn human beings, so incompetent at so many basic life functions that we have to care for them, and in the act of caring for them, we see an illustration, for example, of God’s love for us.
What about the love of mammals for their young? I’d see that as an example too. It is no accident that parents often become aware of God after the arrival of a baby.
As we shall see, this is actually revealed in the text of Scripture.
So’s lack of truthfulness……………….
So in one sense, we look at this and evidently shaking our heads and frustrated, even heartbroken over the sterility of this worldview. Not too long ago, a teenage student asked me how I would, in a debate, pose the hardest question to an evolutionist. I said, “For me, it’s simple. Ask the evolutionist, why does a mother love her child?” If you are an evolutionist, then you simply have to explain that that is a behavior pattern that evolved in both biology and in human behavior over time, so that the species would be continued. Period. There is nothing special to it. It is just an evolutionary mechanism. Any honest Darwinist, any honest evolutionist would have to admit that’s all there is, because they have to admit that’s all there could be according to their worldview.
His parody is so crude and inaccurate, but it is powerful in bludgeoning those with little science.
Mohler seems to have a very poor grasp of the science of evolution (Which I suppose to him are any the Sciences of Satanic Origin which speak of time more than a few thousand years, deep time of geology, the Big Bang (worked out by a Christian) and the dreaded biological evolution.)
He seems oblivious of the interaction of science and Christianity over the last 500 years, but if he did and knew of those like Buckland, Sedgwick, Asa Gray, Dana, Hitchcock and even the Princeton theologians, as well s recent Christians like those connected with Biologos, he would not write like this.
He would also do well to read Tom Holland’s Dominion.
But we’re not looking at this merely shaking our heads. We’re also looking at this thankful to the fact that God not only has created the universe, but that he has spoken to us and he’s given us the Scriptures to explain this. He does explain why parents love their children. It is because he first loved us, and it is because he created us in his image in such a way that we love our children as a reflection of how he as Creator loves us. He made us in his image, which means we have a consciousness and a knowledge. We have a capacity to engage with our children, even to communicate with our children and to envision a future for our children that is unique to the human being, precisely because we’re the only creature made in God’s image.
Now just suppose god created us by evolution………………….
Furthermore, we understand that love is something real. It is not just some kind of evolutionary mechanism disguised as some kind of emotion. It is a reality. Indeed, it is a reality that comes before we are ever born and continues throughout eternity, because, as the very first Bible verse I ever memorized as a child says, “God is love.”
Wouldn’t it be better to consider the love adults have for children and the nurture of babies by many animals as pointing to the love of god in Jesus Christ?
Perhaps he’s even translate John 3 16 as
Thus for so loved God the world, so that the son only begotten He gave, so that all who believe to Him should not be destroyed but should have life eternal. (The Yoda Bible)
On earth, a mother’s love for her child, or for that matter, a parent’s love for the child, both mother and father, it’s one of the pictures of the kingdom of Christ. It’s one of the pictures of the perfection of creation. It’s one of the pictures that is a reflection to us of the love of God, writ small in the miniature life of one single family, mother, father, and children. By the way, why do we care for the children of others? It is because made in the image of God, we care. Love of neighbors certainly extends and even begins with love for other children, and of course Jesus modeled this himself as he invited children to come to himself.
Mohler lost a great evangelistic chance here. He could have taken the love for a child, which can be explained in evolutionary terms, as a picture of the love of God as Father. That we find in the New Testament
What we’re looking at here is just a profound distinction between the biblical worldview and the evolutionary worldview showing up unexpectedly in an article with the headline, “Humans Evolved to Love Baby Yoda.”
He’s repeated this strawman so many times that he believes it!!
Why not? If God is the creator?
Set Baby Yoda aside for a moment. Human beings did not evolve,
The evidence for human evolution is overwhelming, right from the formation of this planet and the early life 4 billion years ago, which steadily evolved, resulting in a mammal take over after the Creataceous and finally the hominids and in the last few hundred thousand years homo sapiens.
It is no secret that Mohler believes that the earth is a few thousand years old and all that follows from that.
and we certainly did not evolve to love our babies. It is actually impossible for me to believe that in an honest way, evolutionists truly believe inside the deep recesses of their hearts that they really only love their children in order for evolution to continue the species. I don’t think they actually believe that, but somehow millions of people around us have convinced themselves, yes, that’s what they actually believe.
No, they don’t. You have set up a dishonest strawman
I will finish with a quote from the Yoda Bible
Thus for so loved God the world, so that the son only begotten He gave, so that all who believe to Him not be destroyed but should have life eternal. (The Yoda Bible; 16;3, John)