I took my kids to an event tonight with Eric Wielenberg, and my 11-year-old daughter found herself puzzling about how our emotions could evolve. I tried to convince her that some aspects of our emotional lives that have plausible evolutionary explanations. But she came up with a number of challenges for evolutionary explanations that withstood my critical scrutiny. They are an interesting bunch:
- The desire to do what is wrong
- Happiness, in the sense of contentment—think of a cat lying down while being stroked (my example)
- The drive to achieve things the hard way even when one can get them without effort—wanting the achievement of getting a meal by hunting even if one can get an equally delicious meal without much effort (her example)
- Mercy towards weaker animals, even ones that we could eat or that could eventually harm us.
Of course (1) is puzzling on a theistic view (whether evolutionary or not), though perhaps the theist can give a view on which it's a distortion of a desire to imitate God, by desiring to be ultimately in charge. On the other hand, (2) and (4) have very nice theistic explanations.