Evolutionists Justify Infanticide
When your starting assumption is, “Whatever exists evolved,”
you can rationalize any atrocity as normal.
The deadly fruit of natural selection was on full display in a piece by two evolutionists in The Conversation, which is not a conversation site at all, but an evolutionary worldview propaganda site led by leftists. In a piece about the condundrum of celibacy, two evolutionists say, “This model could potentially also clarify the evolution of other kinds of parental favouritism in other cultural contexts – even infanticide.”
Celibacy: its surprising evolutionary advantages – new research (Ruth Mace and Alberto Micheletti, The Conversation, June 22, 2022).
Mace and Micheletti are doctrinaire evolutionists at University College London. Through their Darwin-tinted glasses, everything evolves: bodies, brains and behaviors. But they have a problem: celibacy should not have evolved, because reproduction is the key to Darwinland.
Why would someone join an institution that removed the option of family life and required them to be celibate? Reproduction, after all, is at the very heart of the evolution that shaped us. Yet many religious institutions around the world require exactly this. The practice has led anthropologists to wonder how celibacy could have evolved in the first place.
That last sentence should have included the adjective “evolutionary anthropologists,” because there are theological anthropologists who study the origins, nature and responsibilities of man. They get PhDs in seminaries for their knowledge of philosophy, history and theology, but they typically get no respect in secular academia.
While marriage and childbearing is the norm, celibacy has existed throughout history. Some choose it, or fail in the quest for a marriage partner. Some have medical or mental conditions that lead to it. Some have celibacy forced on them by their parents, and some governments coerce it on servants such as eunuchs in the royal harem. Some religions convince singles that they can serve God better by becoming monks or nuns. All those historical observations are uncontroversial, but did celibacy evolve by natural selection? The situations listed above, except in a few cases, involve choice by someone with a mind, motive and thoughts. Sweep minds, motives and thoughts off the table, though, if you are an evolutionist. They don’t enter the picture. In Darwinland, the blind, mindless process of selection determines all outcomes. What a priest, parent or individual thinks has no bearing. Stuff happens.
Mace and Micheletti have convinced themselves that “celibacy can evolve by natural selection.” The only problem now is to come up with a just-so story to explain how. A mathematical model might help, they think, in this evolutionary game. Notice the word “happens” as they begin.
To find out more about the details of how this happens, we built a mathematical model of the evolution of celibacy, where we studied the consequences of becoming a monk on a man’s evolutionary fitness, that of his brothers and of other members of the village. We modelled both the case where the decision to send a boy to a monastery is made by parents, as seems to be the case in our field study, and where a boy makes his own decision.
Again, the “decision” of parents or children in this model do not involve rational thought at all. The life of the celibate son or daughter is merely an evolutionary outcome of an amoral, uncaring model. Mace and Micheletti are consumed with the need to find an “evolutionary advantage” to a child having no offspring. But celibacy intuitively violates an organism’s reason for being. In their model it doesn’t matter if the creature is a man or a worker bee in a hive caring for the eggs of a queen or working itself to death looking for pollen. “Evolutionary fitness” is all that matters. What is fitness? Survival. What is survival? Fitness.
O, the fit will be survivors and survivors will be fit,
And survivors will survive to prove the fitness of the fit;
O, this natural selection, it’s so simple isn’t it?
‘Tis ruthless marching on.
In the case where the celibate individual dies without offspring, an evolutionary conundrum arises: “the monk’s decision does not further his own genetic fitness,” they realize. “Therefore, celibacy shouldn’t evolve.” Any genetic benefit of celibacy perishes with the individual. To solve the conundrum, Mace and Micheletti transfer the fitness to the parents or siblings of the son or daughter. Problem solved?
That situation changes, however, if having a brother who is a monk makes men wealthier and therefore more competitive on the marriage market. Religious celibacy can now evolve by natural selection because, while the monk is not having any children, he is helping his brothers to have more. But importantly, if the choice to become a monk is down to the boy himself, it is likely to remain rare – from an individual’s perspective, it isn’t very advantageous.
In the model, we show that celibacy becomes much more common only if it is the parents who decide it should happen. Parents gain fitness from all their children, so they will send one to the monastery as long as there is a benefit for the others.
Once again, to understand the model, one must eliminate mind, motive or thought from the equation. The parents and individuals are not using natural selection by design. They are not exercising foresight to consider how the celibate option will increase their fitness. No, no, no! Natural selection is driving them to behave in this way.
Mace and Micheletti use the word “choice” but they are genetic determinists. The outcome of celibacy spreads more of the parents’ fit genes through their other sons and daughters, and thereby gain “surprising evolutionary advantages” in the game of competition for offspring. That’s the theory. It’s all about competition in a mindless game of chance. The one with the most fitness marbles at the end of the competition wins, no matter how they got them.
And it is that mindset that allows Mace and Micheletti to justify other “behaviors” that might “emerge” from their model, like infanticide.
This model could potentially also clarify the evolution of other kinds of parental favouritism in other cultural contexts – even infanticide….
It is often suggested that the spread of new ideas – even irrational ones – can result in the creation of new institutions as people conform to a new standard. But it may be that institutions can also be shaped by people’s reproductive and economic decisions.
Be careful; they don’t mean “decisions” involving mind, motive or thought. They mean the outcomes of the Stuff Happens Law. Sometimes chance gives more offspring to parents of celibates. Sometimes chance gives more offspring to those who have abortions or kill a baby after it is born. The parents don’t even know or care about natural selection, because the mythical mindless “selector” is silently, ineluctably forcing its ruthless march on every organism in the biosphere.
‘Tis ruthless marching on.
The fatal flaw in their model, as faithful readers of CEH can anticipate, is that Mace and Micheletti exempted themselves from it. They are possessed with the Yoda Complex. To be consistent, they need to climb down from their higher plane and join the human race. Then, perceptive non-Darwinists can accuse them of designing their model to increase their own reproductive fitness, because natural selection drove them to behave that way; whether or not the model is true has nothing to do with it. Cue sound of implosion.
Yes, wouldn’t it be nice to have a real Conversation about this? Evolutionists get away with these tales because they are never challenged at the DODO websites. Read Jason Lisle’s book The Ultimate Proof of Creation for a detailed look at the self-refuting fallacy in evolutionary theory. Ironically, Mace and Micheletti are writing as if Biblical anthropology is true—a world where truth and morality do not evolve. If that were not the case—if the image of God within their consciences were not at work—they and their readers could not trust anything in the paper. Their model would reduce to a temporary eddy in a fluid world, no more significant than the raucous caws of a raven.
Darwin’s concept of “fitness” coupled to Malthus’ theory of competition for resources has led to the worst atrocities in human history, because Darwinism poisoned traditional ethics. Genocides in Germany, Cambodia, China and Africa that killed tens of millions were justified on that basis. There have been religious genocides, for sure, but nothing so brutal as those justified by Darwinians. The perpetrators lost all twinges of conscience, murdering their victims as if for sport, laughing over how many they eliminated, and how much pain they inflicted in the process. It was all scientific, you see; Darwin eliminated the need for God. Natural selection favors the fit. ‘We’re actually helping the laws of nature,’ they told themselves.
Darwinist genocide seems out of fashion today, but these thoughts still percolate throughout academia. Today’s Darwinists support abortion on demand and infanticide, as shown here, and have no qualms about tinkering with human embryos. Don’t think for a minute that the 20th century exhausted the evils that can emerge from Darwin’s fountainhead of death.
Let’s finish by looking at the phenomenon of celibacy from a design viewpoint. God endowed human beings with reason. While corrupted because of the Fall into sin, people can still think about and rationalize decisions to marry or not. Parents might decide that, given the current economic conditions in their country, or the traits of one of their sons, that he would be better off in a monastery. But those are decisions based on the reality of mind, motive and thought. That is totally opposite the evolutionary model.
Marriage is the norm and preferable and honorable for most. Family is the foundation for a healthy society. Yet there have been numerous celibate individuals who had no children yet who contributed greatly to their society and culture, demonstrating that an individual’s character is more important than their marital status or “reproductive fitness”—
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Clara Barton
- Susan B Anthony
- Robert Boyle
- Isaac Newton
- Queen Elizabeth I
- Louisa May Alcott
- Nikola Tesla
- Florence Nightingale
- The Wright Brothers
- President James Buchanan, Jr.
These people were not monks or nuns. Their lives cannot be reduced to some model of Darwinian fitness. For whatever reason, these and many others of equal stature chose not to marry.
Human behavior, furthermore, is far more intricate and nuanced than any “mathematical model” trying to encapsulate the “emergence” of counter-intuitive situations. There are bad parents who raise a crop of ne’er-do-wells, even cases where a parent, supposedly the fittest, kills all their offspring in a fit of anger. There are singles who contributed greatly to the health of a society by enhancing opportunities for freedom, leading to healthy families. Each case involves thought and choice for which the individuals will be held accountable. You, reader, cannot blame natural selection for your woes, or praise natural selection for your successes. We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Justice is real—not an evolutionary artifact. Genocidal maniacs will not get away with their crimes against humanity, and anyone striking the image of God violates the laws of our Creator. Without repentance from sin and trust in Christ, there will be no escape.