Debate on Niche Construction

I recently discovered an older (2014) article in Nature debating the value of the concept ‘niche construction’. The article nicely offers room for advocates and opponents of this concept. Niche construction is, briefly said, the notion that the relation between organisms and their environment is a feedback relation: organisms alter their environment through their actions, with […]

Cultural Niche and Education

One of the things that interested me in the study of culture by use of evolutionary models, was the concept of “niche construction”. I still think this concept offers possibilities to imagine how education should be done. After having read both Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett on meme theory, I wasn’t convinced that memes could fully explain […]

Our Kinship With Nature

There are, I think, two possible interpretations of evolutionary history. The first, which I call the small one, sees evolutionary history as a gradual process of progress. Life started out very simple, but slowly gained in complexity. At one point in time, the human species emerged, with the ability to create culture. This implied, a small interpretation […]

Why Science Does Not Break the Spell of Religion

This morning I made a note on a quote by Philip Hefner, from his “The Human Factor” (p. 86): “Jesus caressed and pressed things until they began to resist, and at that point, his experience moved him to utter “Abba, Father” — the significance being not that “Father” is masculine, but that “Father” is personal. […]

Group Selection and Religion: Some Theological Remarks

One of the key lectures today, on the Schillebeeckx Centenary Conference, was delivered by Siobhán Garrigan. Her hermeneutics of the notion ‘home’ struck me as relevant for a theological reflection on evolutionary studies of religion that assume group selection to be an important factor. In short, group selection theories argue that religion supports social cohesion […]