I wonder when those fish-with-legs bumper stickers are going to evolve into something else. Anyway, time to put on the thinking caps, my friends.
Previously, I established that evolution, just like Christianity or any other belief system, is a faith-based religion. Evolution is an atheistic and naturalistic religion, meaning that matter and nature have always existed and are therefore equal to “God.”
Evolution places its faith not in God but in matter, time, chance and survival of the fittest.
What are the consequences of this belief in naturalism? What are the moral, ethical and practical consequences that come from faith in evolution?
To answer these questions, we must start at the beginning according to evolution. In the beginning, there was nothing, and that nothing erupted into something: Matter. In the beginning was matter, and the evolutionary process, popularized by Darwin, is the constant change and advancement and survival of matter/stuff.
If matter is all that has ever existed, then the mind is matter as well. Evolution asserts that the mind isn’t transcendent to matter but is a production of matter, and this is radically different from a basic Christian worldview and even a Platonic worldview.
So what happens to truth, justice, right and wrong in this evolutionary model? Truth becomes a means for survival; truth becomes a chance mutation in the brain. Ideas, thoughts, religions or anything else that helps us to adapt are simply tools for survival.
Pragmatists and evolutionists like James Dewey and William James were all about this concept of truth. If truths are survival tools, they said, then by definition we don’t measure the validity of that tool against a transcendent ideal but by how well it accomplishes the goals we want achieved. James clarifies this philosophy by saying that truth is the “cash value” of an idea.
Paul Kurtz, author of “Humanist Manifesto II,” writes that if man is a product of evolution and living in a “universe without purpose, then man’s option is to live for himself and to discover new areas of significance and achievement.”
Humanist Max Hocutt maintains that humans “may, and do, make up their own rules. . . Morality is not discovered; it is made.”
Cornell University biology professor William Provine spells out the moral and religious implications of evolution, namely that “there is no ultimate foundation for ethics…”
The implications of this worldview are scary. Think about it: We’re animals, but instead of surviving by strength, size, teeth, claws, etc., we are now equipped with “ideas” and personal “truths” to ensure our happiness and survival. Our personal truth claims can go unquestioned because there’s no one to judge our decisions.
Evolutionarily speaking, “evils” like rape are simply another means of survival and longevity. A few years ago, a book entitled “The Natural History of Rape: Biological Cases of Sexual Coercion” defined rape as a “natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage” similar to “the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck.”
And if all human behavior is a product of evolution, and if this behavior has survived up to today, then it has to have some kind of evolutionary advantage. Randy Thornhill, one of the authors, said that if evolution is true, then “every feature of every living thing, including human beings, has an underlying evolutionary background. That’s not a debatable matter.”
Even infanticide gets a thumbs-up from natural selection. Steven Pinker, writing in the New York Times, wants us to “understand” teenagers who kill their newborns because infanticide “has been practiced and accepted in most cultures throughout history.”
Somewhere along the line, muses Pinker, “a capacity for neonaticide is built into the biological design of our parental emotions.” An article in Newsweek back in 1985 claimed that infanticide is just as “normal” as “parenting instincts, sex drives and self-defense.”
Last week was Holocaust Awareness Week, and it should be noted that Hitler was a devout evolutionist. Hitler “made up” his own morality and slaughtered nearly 6 million Jews and many other “unwanteds” because he wanted his race to survive. According to evolution’s worldview, how can we judge him?
But the kicker is that evolution’s morality model undercuts itself. If, as stated above, all our ideas, truths and religions are products of evolution, then the idea of evolution itself is, too. If religions, like Christianity, are evolved tools to create meaning in someone’s world – a relative, personal truth – then so, too, is evolution.
We can debate the scientific claims of evolution and creationism until either Jesus comes again or we evolve into something new, but there’s no such thing as just evolutionary “science”; the science is only part of evolution’s worldview package.
The moral dilemma created by the evolutionary worldview cannot be ignored. If you don’t believe that rape, infanticide and genocide are appropriate means of natural selection, then how can you agree with the “science” of evolution? You can’t have one without the other, and you are living beyond the borders of evolution’s worldview.
Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.