One aspect of the article on married men and adultery that depressed me- possibly because I saw some truth to it- was the emphasis on evolutionary biology to explain the problems of marriage: men want to reproduce with a great number of mates, by nature, and women want to find a mate to provide and protect them as they raise children, also by nature. In some sense, this is an old argument: ever since Rousseau, people who are discontented with civilization have idealized a natural state away from civilized life where they can run free and the sperm flows like wine. Evolutionary biology is merely an extension of that.
There are two problems I have with evolutionary biological arguments. The first is that they're circular. Q: Why do I like Pepsi so much? A: It must be an evolutionary drive; perhaps the need for sugar. Q: What is the evidence to support this thesis? A: The fact that I like Pepsi. Most evolutionary biological arguments work this way, and frankly, I tend to see them as a bit of a parlor game.
The other problem is that of free will: I like to believe it exists. My college roommate and friend Aaron Henry once had a month-long argument about free will. His point was that there is no free will without the soul and I didn't agree. Eventually though I saw his point: if you reduce the mind to a switchboard, at some point you either see something as throwing the switches or not. Either everything we do is beyond our control, a confluence of forces, randomness; or there's something to "me" that is unquantifiable. Ultimately, there's something missing to the self however deep we quantify, some sort of ghost in the machine- provided that we still believe that we control our actions. If not, we have to right to hold others accountable for their actions, not even murder.
Okay, some people say that we can still jail murderers who lack free will, although I think this would be superstitious and odd. The free will debate is long and unending. What unnerves me about the rush to reduce ourselves to a chemistry set: if unhappy, add Prozac; if distracted, add Ritalin: is the sense I have that we don't really want selfhood, which really is a hell of a burden in the first place, and that we'd rather turn our souls over to the technicians.
And yet, I take Prozac. I don't like to, but when I stop taking it, I suffer panic attacks, inexplicable terror, and bizarre earaches. I like to see it as akin to my glasses- I need them to fix a slight flaw in my physical condition, but they don't alter the core of who I am. I would like to believe that I have a soul. But I have no concrete proof that I do.