Tuesday, November 06, 2007

economics, sociobiology, and the brethren

Last week, in the class I'm auditing on theology & economics, discussion turned to the similarity between the economic theory of Gary Becker and the common sociobiological theory of the evolution of altruism. This occasioned a diagram, a bunch of concentric circles each representing a differing and weaker level of moral relatedness: close family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, ..."society," and so on. Until of course, there is no obligation perceived at all.

This was not a new thought for me, but what was astonishing, and made me giggle aloud as I sat there and contemplated the blackboard diagram, is that it reminded me forcibly of a particular afternoon at Harding in the Benson auditorium, where I beheld a diagram remarkably similar while listening to a lecture on fellowship from an author based on his recently-published book.

This can hardly be a coincidence.

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