Monday, January 28, 2019

The Curse of Work and Human Evolutionary Development

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat from it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Genesis 3:17-19

I always find the intersection of faith and science to be fascinating.  And I may be stretching to reach a conclusion here, but I was at least struck by the possibility of the thoughts below.

On Friday night, driving home from an excellent date night dinner, I caught a bit of Think with Krys Boyd on KERA.  Always an excellent program, with very thought provoking guests and interviews.  The topic that night was "Why Chimps Can Be Lazy, But We Can't," a discussion with Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Herman Pontzer on his research into the human evolutionary need for exercise.  In his article, "Humans Evolved to Exercise," in Scientific American, Pontzer addressed how gorillas and chimpanzees could sleep for 10 hours, be otherwise lazy for the next 10 hours, and still have a low body fat composition, maintain muscle composition, and be considered "healthy," even in captivity.  He then contrasted this fact regarding our nearest evolutionary counterparts with the human need for movement and activity to maintain body composition and overall health.

In the portion I was able to catch, Pontzer connected the human ability to hunt and gather, and in particular, our movement away from a solely plant based diet, as a key reason for this evolutionary shift.  Our need to catch and gather better food sources developed into a metabolism that continually needed movement, exercise, strain, etc. to keep its status.

My brain, though, connected to another difference between humans and apes.  One from the spiritual realm.  To the curse of work.  As part of the curse placed upon Adam for his sin in the garden, man essentially punished with hard labor.  No longer would mankind enjoy the rest they had in the garden; now, we have to work for our provision.

That would seem to provide a reason for an evolutionary change like this as well.  A physical change in creation that would require hard work of the human body.  A physical manifestation of the curse.

And it's this intersection, that pushes my curiosity into both areas.  To learn more about the scientific explanation of the evolutionary development, to see if it has further support or divergence in the religious.

This is also why I will never understand a faith that requires an aversion to science nor one that eschews it curiosity of exploration and discovery.  Science and faith answer two distinctly different questions.  Science answers how; faith answers why.  And the overlap between the two is endlessly fascinating.

 Again, I may be reaching for a conclusion here, but it provides a little insight into the wandering thoughts from a late night drive listening to public radio.  It reveals my internal curiosity. 

After all, when you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.

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