Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Leap in Logic

So I just read this article in the Wall Street Journal, talking about how human beings are innately wired to react positively to the face of a baby. It is a fascinating hypothesis, though, of course, that's just what it is: a hypothesis. Judging by the fact that I am with my little niece right now, though, and I love to see her little face, I would have a hard time arguing against it.

What is more unbelievable, though, is the conclusion that researchers have drawn from this study. Oxford child psychologist Alan Stein reflects: "It suggests we are probably all hard-wired to respond and care for babies, to help us perpetuate the species." With such a conclusion, Stein goes from any scientific explanation, to pure conjecture. Nevermind that the hypothesis is debatable to begin with - the conclusion that this is some innate wiring that evolution has built into us has no basis in the evidence.

Yet if someone were to declare that this is some wiring that God has built into the human psyche, they would be laughed out of the scientific community.

While we should be intrigued by such research, making highly speculative leaps in logic is problematic.

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