Darwinian Atmospheres

In this post, I’m going to combine my reading of Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True with some discussion of Adam McHugh’s Introverts in the Church

In my reading today of Why Evolution Is True, Coyne discusses sexual selection.  Coyne states the following on page 157:

For males, mating is cheap; for females it’s expensive.  For males, a mating costs only a small dose of sperm; for females it costs much more: the production of large, nutrient-rich eggs and often a huge expenditure of energy and time.  In more than 90 percent of mammal species, a male’s only investment in offspring is his sperm, for females provide all the parental care.

According to Coyne, this is why men are promiscuous, whereas women are choosy when it comes to mating.  As Coynes says, “Females must make each opportunity count by choosing the best possible father to fertilize their limited number of eggs.”  Coyne notes exceptions to this rule—animals that are monogamous because the males and the females look similar, or because both the mother and the father participate in raising the children.  But, for Coyne, the rule still exists.

In my reading today of Adam McHugh’s Introverts in the Church, I felt rather insecure when I read the following passage on page 189:

My most disappointing worship experience took place at a large church that has quadrupled in six years, their numbers swelled by college students and twentysomethings…After getting cleared to enter, I sat down on my folding chair, where I was inundated with blaring music, flashing colored lights, floating images and rolling PowerPoint announcements on numerous screens around the room, and the loud chatter of young adults laughing and flirting.

I felt insecure while reading this because, quite frankly, I don’t know how to flirt.  And I’d hate to be in a church or social setting in which I’m reminded that (or looked upon as if) I’m a freakish loser because I don’t know how to flirt.  That, among other reasons, is why I shy away from social situations, and feel more comfortable in churches that are quieter, in which people are older, or married, or don’t impose on me a great deal of social interaction.  In these sorts of churches, I don’t have to observe Darwinism in action—as males on the make successfully flirt with selective females, whereas I am an outsider to all of this. 

I wish there were a way for me to cope with real life rather than avoiding it, though, at the same time, who’s to say that an intense Darwinian atmosphere is the only sample in the world of “real life”?  Quiet places are part of “real life” too!

People have told me that I can’t grow unless I throw myself into these Darwinian atmospheres (they don’t call them that, but that’s what I now dub them).  But I find that I can’t cope with them however many times I throw myself into them.  It would be nice if people offered me coping strategies, rather than assuming that I’d develop into a social butterfly by going to a bunch of parties, or party-like churches.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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