Richard Dawkins gave a lecture at Michigan State University in early March, 2009, and Wesley Elsberry took notes and posted them on the Internet.
Here’s a part of his notes that I thought was interesting (in which Dawkins addressed the issue of how one evolutionary purpose that evolved in one context can be hijacked, in a different context, to serve a different purpose):
Dawkins named a number of archi-purposes that provided “subversion fodder”: hunger, sex, parental care, kinship, filial obedience, and others. We evolved under conditions where sugar and fat marked high-quality food sources, and poor food availability meant we tended to eat obsessively when food sources were available. But today for western culture, food is always available, and we do damage to our teeth and our health via over-indulgence. For the subversion of sex, Dawkins showed a photograph of a moose mounting a statue of a bison. Once the audience had gotten a laugh out of that, the next slide showed a scantily clad human female model, and Dawkins said, “At least the bison statue was in 3D.” Contraception forms a subversion of the archi-purpose of sex. Notes Steven Pinker’s quote, “My genes can go jump in the lake.” We adopt kittens and puppies.
Filial obedience is subverted as in “God the father”, and the elevation of other father-figures.