Does Cheating Evolve?
What if the evolution of cheating by natural selection
backfires, and everyone becomes a cheater?
Today’s entry is not funny. It involves a very serious trend in schools. But the conundrum faced by researchers at “Charles Darwin University” (yes, there is such a place; it’s spread over several locations in Australia) is ironic to the point of provoking a snicker at least.
COVID-19 creates a new marketplace for contract cheating, new CDU study finds (Charles Darwin University). The researchers behind this study are very concerned over a meteoric rise in cheating during the pandemic. With so many students studying at home where they cannot be monitored, large numbers of internet-savvy students have looked to apps for help. And cheating app writers are pleased to oblige them for a little (rub fingers briskly) dough. Three researchers at CDU looked into how widespread this practice is.
The method allowed them to analyse some of the most popular providers and to identify the scope of contract cheating services made easily accessible to university students. For example, a Google search of the term ‘assignment help’ returns more than 300 million results in 2021.
The researchers also aimed to alert lecturers and universities to the diversification and prominence of this dangerous practice on a global scale.
Darwinians seem befuddled by this “open frontier and a new marketplace for contract cheating.” Something must be done!
Co-author and Senior Lecturer in Business Law, Dr Hill said there was no winner in contract cheating, a race to the bottom.
“Once the students get into the profession, they cannot perform tasks because they missed out on learning the knowledge and skills, so the professional community is also suffering,” Dr Hill said.
The authorities want to stop the cheating, but seem powerless to find a solution. The students often get away with it, and when they don’t, they are ashamed to reveal that they cheated. The “assignment help” can cheat both instructor and student. Can a society survive when entrepreneurs advertise their services as “professional cheater” or “rent-a-rioter” or “carjacker for hire”? A “race to the bottom” – hmm, it sounds like one of those great extinctions evolutionists talk about. When everyone cheats, there may be no fittest left to survive.
The research was published in Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning (30 July 2021 issue) by Hill, Mason and Dunn, “Contract cheating: an increasing challenge for global academic community arising from COVID-19.” The press release was published today, October 11, 2021. Neither article mentions evolution, natural selection or game theory, the very terms one would expect in material emanating from Charles Darwin University.
While the e-word evolution does not appear in the paper, neither do the words right or wrong. The word integrity appears 58 times, along with related words like fraud, misconduct and ethics. Those words are stripped of their substance, though, by the lack of a standard of absolute truth and morality. They sound like mere worries among the cooperators about how to hang onto their power.
The Darwinians and their student protégés have no one to blame but themselves. Mainstream secular professors have been analyzing human behavior in evolutionary terms for decades. They apply game theory to describe the interactions of cooperators and cheaters, showing that quasi-stable societies made up of both can coexist (20 June 2020). All their thinking is amoral. The cooperators are not “righteous” nor are the cheaters “evil.” They are mere pawns in evolutionary games; indeed, today’s cheaters might be tomorrow’s cooperators, whether they are populations of human beings or colonies of caribou or bacteria. A totalitarian dictatorship is no more evil than a democracy. It’s the Stuff Happens Law applied to human society.
The implications are not lost on students. Evolution removes any internal drive that makes them want to do right. When enough of them believe they can get away with cheating and lying about it, there is no conscience left to whisper in their ear, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Even some cooperators who study and pass the tests on their own may not be doing it because it is right, but because it can feed their selfish desires to get ahead in the game.
There have always been crooks and cheaters, but the majority of people in past eras at least believed that cheating was wrong—actually morally wrong by its intrinsic nature. Concerned by the rise in juvenile delinquency in the decade after World War II, my father, a Navy Chaplain, launched youth clubs that were designed to instill “internal controls that make youth want to behave.” The means to that end were giving them the gospel and then training them in character qualities based on the Bible. Those who rose through the ranks, both boys and girls, who had demonstrated their reputation for good moral behavior were then given opportunities to lead and instruct younger teens or children, who usually looked up to and respected them. His vision was to overcome delinquency with decency by a “chain reaction”– reaching youth through youth. Many of those who graduated through these clubs continued on with those internal controls into their mature adult years, despite having come from disadvantaged homes where a life of crime and purposelessness was often the default outcome. The Chaplain’s work was further reinforced by a society led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a devout Christian, who prayed publicly and spoke often of the need for national righteousness.
My father’s efforts worked, but were limited in scope to clubs within one community in one city in one state. A country needs thousands of such ministries to forestall the flaring up of delinquency latent in the heart of youth. Sadly, in later years, my father watched as cultural influencers using rock music, drugs, free love, relativism (“Do your own thing”) and agnosticism turned the late 1960s into a chaos of riots, radicalism and revolt. Calm returned somewhat when President Reagan came with his message of national righteousness, a “shining city on a hill” as he called it using a Biblical metaphor. Meanwhile, the Darwin Party and its co-conspirators in the secular media consolidated their power, outlawing prayer and Bible reading in the schools and demanding 100% pure Darwinism in science classes. Is it not ironic that these same evolutionists at “Charles Darwin University” are upset by the rise of contract cheating?
The solution is the gospel of Christ, which can transform an individual life. That removes the heart of sin and provides the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to give internal controls that make youth want to behave. The Spirit revives the dead conscience, setting the individual on a path of righteousness and purpose. Once saved, a young person’s growing passion for righteousness can be further fanned into flame by godly leaders like my father and hundreds of thousands of others in gospel-teaching churches. Counsel from the Word of God helps them build character and integrity from the inside out, followed by the desire and ability to train others in what they learned. When enough of these permeate a society, revival can come to a nation in free fall that is racing to the bottom like ours is today.
When Alexandr Solzhenitsyn reflected on the evils that had come upon his country, he said the root cause was that they had forgotten God. People need the Lord. Communities need the Lord. Countries need the Lord. Led it begin with us.