Is it possible that only smart people can understand evolution? Is the problem simply that Evolution Science is too complex, too intricate, for a person with an average education to understand? (This is one of those unpleasant questions that you may secretly wonder about, but not want say out loud, for fear of being labeled an elitist.)
Happily, the answer is "No!" And the insight that shows why, ironically, comes from evolution itself: Memetic evolution.
Religion is a highly-evolved memeplex, one that is perfectly tuned to the human psyche. Religion memes appeal to our deepest emotions: fear (hell), hope (heaven and the afterlife), egotism and xenophobia (we're special in God's eyes), and our desire for love (God/Jesus the father). The religion memeplex has been evolving for many thousands of years; at any particular point in history, dozens and hundreds of religions, each with uncountable minor "mutations" (different opinions, interpretations, and misunderstandings) have been competing for survival. The ones that survived are the best of the best.
By contrast, we evolutionists are just children, babes in the woods, compared to our Creationist counterparts. Darwin's ideas, and the memeplex we call the "Theory of Evolution," have only been around for 150 years, a mere eyeblink compared to religion.
And worse, the Evolution Science memeplex evolved in a scientific ecosphere. The memeplex that we call the "Theory of Evolution" spread because it appealed to scientists, who are trained in logical, deductive thinking. Scientists are trained to ignore their emotions, and only accept theories that are based on observable facts and logical deductions from those facts.
Unfortunately, human emotions are far more powerful and persuasive than human logic.
A polar bear is well suited to the Arctic, and a camel to the desert; neither can travel to the other's part of the world and live for long. Each is adapted to the ecology in which its species evolved. If the Evolution Science memeplex is going to spread outside of its evolutionary niche, it too will have to evolve, to be better suited to the needs of non scientists. It will have to develop memes that appeal to human emotions and desires, rather than merely to logic.
To those of us who study culture and history from a Darwinistic perspective, that is, using memes, there is no mystery at all. The answer to our question – Is evolution only for smart people? – is in the memes. It's not evolution itself that is only for smart people, it's just the current memeplex, the one that evolved in an "ecosphere of smart people."
If the Evolution Memeplex is ever going to truly competative with Creationism, it has to evolve.
Tags: evolution memes memeplex darwin science intelligence religion ecosphere ideosphere science scientists