Science Confirms Biblical Human Nature
Science reveals that people are just like what the Bible says they are: image-bearers of their Creator, yet fallen into sin.
If evolution is true, people would be incapable of apprehending objective reality or agreeing on immutable moral standards. They would be selfish and concerned only with survival. If the Bible is true, by contrast, people would be exceptionally noble above the animals, would have an innate sense of right and wrong, and yet would have a bent toward sin that could be overcome by trust and obedience in their Maker (in this life, at least partially). Evaluate the likely correct view, considering these recent empirical observations.
Grudges come naturally to kids – gratitude must be taught (The Conversation). Parents know this all too well. Some infants are more compliant than others, but children are born selfish and spiteful by nature. Why should that be? Baby ducklings follow their mother without complaining and fighting. Three psychologists decided to test an evolutionary theory about cooperation called “direct reciprocity” (‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’).
Beyond the personal level, researchers have argued that direct reciprocity can explain both the success of communities and the evolution of cooperation more generally. We reasoned that if reciprocity is indeed something that evolved as a foundation of the way human beings interact with others, it should come naturally to young children.
They were surprised by the results. “Their behavior showed no evidence of direct reciprocity.” The way the children showed any “reciprocity” at all was by trying to punish winners of a game with harsh looks and spite. The psychologists didn’t have to teach children to hold grudges; that came naturally. They did, however, have to teach them how to be grateful.
Cheater, cheater: Human Behavior Lab studies cheating as innate trait (Texas A&M AgriLife Today). This press release begins, “Is cheating a product of the environment or a character trait?” It seems embedded in the human psyche, they found. Researchers compared the prevalence of cheating in times of abundance and in times of scarcity. “During the experiment, they found evidence that cheating is more likely caused by an individual’s propensity to cheat than external factors.” In other words, you can’t blame it on poverty. An individual’s personal wealth seemed to have nothing to do with it. Cheating appears to be “more like an inner characteristic of an individual,” the researchers concluded.
Infants expect leaders to right wrongs (Stavans and Baillargeon, PNAS). The authors of this study in evolutionary psychology set out to see what expectations of justice and fairness were present in 17-month-old infants. They found, using experiments with puppets treated unfairly, that the infants showed signs of distress if leaders did not intervene to bring justice.
When a fairness transgression occurred among a group of bear puppets, infants expected a leader to intervene and rectify this transgression, but they held no particular expectation for intervention from a nonleader. Thus, consistent with claims that abstract expectations about leaders’ responsibilities are part of the human endowment, our findings indicate that such expectations are already present by the second year of life.
The evolutionary psychologists try to stuff the results into the “evolution” of “hierarchical relations” that must have “emerged over the course of evolution as adaptations to different challenges faced by our distant ancestors.” But that doesn’t wash, because the infants possessed innate senses about justice, fairness, and responsibility. Those moral qualities go far beyond mere cooperation.
Older people who go to church have better mental health (Medical Xpress). If the Bible is the Instruction Manual from our Creator, then it makes sense that obeying it would lead to optimum well-being. Jesus told his disciples that He had come that people might have life, and have it more abundantly. He wanted the disciples’ joy (not happiness, but life satisfaction) to be full. The New Testament enjoins believers to fellowship regularly with one another. In fact, there are some 40 commands that believers are to engage in with “one another” in a local church. These “one anothers” provide frequent sermon topics for pastors. Are the benefits of these expectations confirmed by observation?
The research, involving over 6,000 adults aged 50 and over found that a majority of over 50s in Ireland attend religious services regularly, and that regular religious attendance was associated with lower depressive symptoms in this population. Observations took place for six years, from 2010 to 2016.
The relationship between being religious and mental health was found to be complex. Although those with higher religious attendance had lower depressive symptoms, those who said that religion was very important to them but who did not attend very frequently, had worse mental health. Religious attendance was also related to having a bigger social network, which in turn had a positive effect on the mental health of the population.
Ireland, like many European countries, is slipping into secularism. The findings of these psychologists from Trinity College Dublin show that the benefits of faithful attendance at church belong not only to individuals, but to society. Notice that the benefits of mental health did not come for hypocrites. One can say that religion is important but not live like it. Those who do reap the benefits.
Principal Investigator of TILDA [Trinity Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing], Professor Rose Anne Kenny, said, “The importance of continued social engagement and social participation as we age is well established and has been associated with improved health and wellbeing and lower mortality. If religious attendance facilitates older people to maintain a larger social circle with continued social engagement, alternative ways to socialize will be necessary as we develop into a more secular society.”
But will the elderly find the same benefits in bingo parlors and bars?
Children don’t like nature as much as adults—but preferences change with age (Medical Xpress). One would think that outdoor experience comes naturally to children who supposedly “evolved” in the trees and savannahs of Africa. A study from the University of Chicago shows that is not necessarily the case. Love of nature needs to be taught or caught. Once again, evolutionary psychologists were surprised by the evidence.
“We hypothesized that the kids would prefer nature because adults overwhelmingly do,” said UChicago doctoral student Kim Lewis Meidenbauer, lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. “We were incredibly surprised to find evidence to the contrary.” …
“This work also suggests that fondness for nature is not a given in childhood. Therefore, exposing children to natural experiences early in life may be critical for them to develop an appreciation for nature later in life.“
Maybe the children evolved their reluctance to go outdoors from playing too many tic-tac-toe games on the cave wall. Once they catch an appreciation for nature while young, though, children usually keep it for the rest of their adult lives.
Do you see anything in these findings that supports evolution? No; the secularists are always surprised. The innate properties of children and adults match what the Bible says about human nature. People don’t need stuff. They don’t need advice from fallible human ‘experts’ who don’t know where they came from. They need the Lord. Let’s take them to the narrow path that leads to life, and help them build on the Rock that withstands the storm.