Genetic Humor?

Is evolution true? Did humor evolve?

Doesn’t the Discovery Channel have a proofreader?

I spent a few minutes reading an article there today, titled Ancient Humor: Raunch, Riddles and Religion (no longer available). I found it interesting, for the most part.

I have no problem with the idea that humanity’s sense of humor goes back tens of thousands of years, or that the appearance of humor seems to coincide with the appearance of religious artifacts. That’s all good. What bugs me are some of the stupid statements that supposedly intelligent people, writing for supposedly science-loving organizations, sometimes make.

Here’s the scenario: anthropologists love to study Australian aborigines, because they’ve apparently been culturally and genetically isolated from the rest of humanity for most of the last 35,000 years. When some anthropologists were hanging out with some aborigines during a thunderstorm, the scientists were thunderstruck that aborigines weren’t afraid of the noise. They seemed astounded that their subjects were able to laugh and make light of the storm.

Now for the stupidity:

The ability to be amused by life’s inevitable surprises goes back at least 35,000 years, Polimeni said, citing the isolated Australians’ genetic capacity for humor.

Really? Come on. Really? Their “genetic capacity for humor”? The idea is that humor is genetic, and that it developed in all humans before the aborigines became isolated. If it had developed later, they wouldn’t have a sense of humor. Since they find things funny, we can conclude that the human race developed the genes for humor prior to aboriginal isolation.

Have we become so naive that we all just read past this sort of garbage? Am the only one who gets riled up when supposedly smart people make stupid statements and expect the general public to agree? Is “it’s genetic” the only explanation that supposedly smart people can think of?

Come to think of it, maybe that is the only explanation they can come up with. Anything that falls outside a strict materialist perspective would simply be unacceptable…wouldn’t it?