August 21, 2016 | David F. Coppedge

Scientific Materialists Crave Morality But Can't Evolve It

If Darwin’s theory of origins is true, evil doesn’t exist, and notions of morality are up for grabs. That would be a reality too horrible to endure.

Except for some psychopaths (and who knows about them), every human being has a moral sense. If you think not, try cutting a guy off on the freeway, and all kinds of colorful “should” concepts will fly. The moral sense may be twisted, but it’s there. Theists use the near-universal moral sense as evidence that we were created in the image of God. Scientific materialists look for ways to explain how morality evolved for some survival benefit, whether for the individual or for the group, by mutation and selection. They think they can partially explain the emergence of cooperation, but they struggle when they see humans acting utterly selflessly (altruistic).

Some try to evolve altruism with theoretical models, using game theory to show cooperation emerging in a population of selfish individuals (whether bacteria or humans) without planning (example on Live Science). These fail to explain why an individual would send money to help unrelated individuals on the other side of the world. Some materialists try to evolve it by comparing populations of human hunter-gatherers with populations of animals, looking for possible commonalities. Others just observe human nature at various life stages with or without imaging systems, thinking that describing altruism might be a stepping stone to explaining it (examples in Current Biology and Science Daily).

In New Scientist, Bob Holmes uses all three approaches: game theory, comparison, and observation. But his headline hits the nail on the head: in a Darwinian world, “Why be generous?” This is “the kindness paradox,” because Darwinism is about self: selfish genes, self-interest, self-propagation. It may account for reciprocity (you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours) or group selection (musk oxen circling the young with horns out toward predators), but not human altruism. A paper in PNAS shows hedonism to be the basis for some everyday activities. Mercy, kindness, and generosity should be unknown in a Darwinian world, as Holmes knows:

In biological and evolutionary terms, it makes no sense to give and get nothing in return. Altruism is rare in other animals, yet humans can be inexplicably kind. Are we generous by nature? How did we get to be this way? What role does culture play in kindness?

If Darwinians had an answer after 157 years since the Origin, they wouldn’t be embarking on a campaign just now.

These are the big questions now being addressed by researchers in the Human Generosity Project, who are using fieldwork, experiments and modelling to explore osotua [an African custom among the Maasai] and other examples of human cooperation. Their aim: to find how best to make the milk of human kindness flow.

Holmes just hit on another Darwinian conundrum. Why would members of the Human Generosity Project want human kindness to flow? The project assumes that kindness is a good thing—a moral thing. It should be promoted. It should be facilitated. Whenever you see “should”, there’s a moral subtext driving it. The milk of human kindness seems innate; how did that evolve? “Random acts of kindness” are too many to count, in almost all cultures, under all kinds of conditions. People will devote their lives to helping others they don’t even know.

The Existence of Evil

In a Darwinian world, populations do whatever it takes to survive. And yet in human culture, we see people doing senseless, evil things. Sometimes actions are self-destructive. Often they are directed at others for no good reason. They can be so painful to contemplate, it’s hard not to call some of these actions pure evil, but evolutionists can’t use that word. Examples abound:

  • Despite decades of evidence for HIV caused by homosexual activity, gay men still engage in it. New Scientist says that researchers are throwing up their hands, in effect, focusing on “remission, not cures.”
  • Some African cultures undermine the fight against AIDS because “blessers” and “sugar daddies” (HIV-infected men wanting sex in return for favors) spread the disease to adolescent girls, Medical Xpress laments.
  • Giraffes are being killed for their tails, National Geographic reports. Illegal poaching has already wiped out the rhinos and severely decimated the elephants; now, giraffes are being slaughtered because some cultures consider giraffe tails a “status symbol.”
  • PhysOrg reports that prostitution has gone online, and pimps are thriving.
  • The UN reports that 49,000 children in Africa are dying from malnutrition, due to the actions of the terror group Boko Haram (also known for selling little girls as sex slaves). Source: Medical Xpress.
  • The crimes against humanity being committed by ISIS are well known: beheadings, crucifixions, enslavement, terror attacks and more. Latest atrocity: dipping enemies alive into vats of boiling tar (Breitbart News).

Something appears truly wrong with humanity. We see vast capacity for good set against unspeakable evil. But evolutionists cannot consider the source to be ideas. They cannot bring themselves to compare a religion that produces terror to be worse than one that produces hospitals. When Darwin accounted for all life by a mindless, purposeless, amoral natural law called “natural selection,” standards for morality went out the window.

Holmes appears conflicted by the generosity he observes. “Why do people continue to be generous, against their apparent best interests?” It makes no sense in a Darwinian world. He tries to explain how unguided forces might produce cooperation and punish freeloaders. He shows some behavioral  differences between cultures. But his innate morality surfaces at the end, when he offers three suggestions for encouraging generosity. That shouldn’t be necessary in a material world. Whatever is, is right. Whatever happens, happens. Somebody should ask him, “Why should I?”

You know the Christian answer. It’s the only answer that explains good and evil, right and wrong, the is and the ought. God created the first human pair in His image, but they rebelled. They turned their allegiance to Satan, and with it, the human race. The Bible is God’s story of not giving up on his creatures, but carrying out His plan to redeem them (buy them back). The imago Dei in man is still there, but tarnished. The conscience is there, but insufficient to purge the evil within. No acts of charity can make up for the blackness of sin in every human heart; we all fall short of the glory of God. Though people are powerless to pay the debt of sin, it had to be paid, because the wages of sin is death. Christ paid that debt in his own blood. Because He is the son of God, He purchased redemption sufficient for every person who ever lived. In a real event in space and time, He died for you. In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes the ultimate act of altruism and generosity.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The gift of eternal life was purchased for you, but you need to accept it. You need to acknowledge your sin, confess you are a sinner, and turn (repent) from it, extending empty hands to receive what Christ did for you. John the apostle wrote,

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Have you received him? What are you waiting for? This is not only the greatest news in the world (the gospel), but your duty. You were made for your Creator, not for yourself. Anything else is living a lie. Darwin had it absolutely backwards! Don’t fall for that collapsing man-made system.

With the gift of eternal life, Christ Jesus the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to lead, teach, and motivate you to love and good works. In Christ, good and evil make sense, and we have a purpose in life: to spread the good news to others. Evolution cannot spread generosity. It can’t even explain where generosity came from, or why people should exercise it. Biblical Christianity explains human nature, the creation, and the reason for being. We are here that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!

If you make this decision today, please write us in the Feedback form and let us know so we can rejoice with you and pray for you. Then find a solid church that teaches the Bible faithfully, so that you can grow in your understanding of God’s will (see Colossians 1). Talk to your heavenly Father in prayer often, and make study of His word a key part of your day. We want to help if you have questions.


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  • tjguy says:

    Very clear post. Evolution favors/leads to/promotes selfishness, random propagation, death of the weak, purposeless, meaninglessness, amorality, etc.

    Christianity favors love, generosity, life, altrusim, purpose and meaning in life, clear standards of morality, etc.

    The differences are clear – like night and day!

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