Darwinian Materialism Is Destroying Science
The rejection of Biblical morality
has consequences in due time
Quick! Help Darwin evolve authoritative moral commandments,
like “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
Big Science long ago rejected the Bible. Even before Darwin, the humanistic trend in science was strong. The “Enlightenment” disdained Biblical authority. By the late 18th century, philosophers and naturalists like Comte du Buffon were portraying an eternal, evolving universe, where life emerged on a vastly old Earth by the Stuff Happens Law, with no providence or divine supervision. ‘Who needs a divine father figure to tell us what to do?’, the materialists mocked. ‘And which god do you propose we listen to—Zeus, or Mithra, or Marduk? Ha! Away with such myths. We’ll figure out how the world works ourselves. And we’ll do it better, without divine commandments.’
This line of thinking sped past the God-fearing natural philosophers without remorse. The materialist view led directly to Darwin. And once the materialists had garnered all power over science, illustrated by the outcome of the Scopes Trial, they long forgot the scriptures. They wrote their own guides, explaining everything material and mental by emergent natural processes.
Today’s atheists can explain cooperation, ethical behaviors and even altruism by natural selection. The good, the true, and the beautiful are now seen as mere emergent behaviors within populations that tend to favor survival. Many of the materialists say mind is just what the brain does (e.g., paper in iScience, and this article at The Conversation): our “self” and choices are illusions conjured up by neurons. Our behaviors are genetically determined. There’s no free will. Stuff happens. We came from an accident and are going nowhere. Death is the end.
Ideas have consequences
These days, the powers in Big Science are worried. Fraud and misinformation are on the rise. Academic leaders need some Ten Commandments, but deny a Creator God who can write them on tablets of stone. There have always been evildoers, even in Christian Europe of Galileo’s day, but who can punish purveyors of fraud who are just acting out the evolutionary history of their selfish genes? What if fraudsters take over the lab? Who can stop them and shout, “Thou shalt not!”? By whose authority?
Recent articles from Big Science Media indicate that the consciences of the materialists are not seared beyond recovery. They want honesty and integrity preserved in science. They want consequences for fraud and misconduct. Will they ever succeed while denying a transcendent Creator to whom we must all give account?
Science’s fake-paper problem: high-profile effort will tackle paper mills (Nature, 19 Jan 2024). Typical of many articles in this genre, Nature‘s editors believe that an academic confab will solve a rising problem: bogus science published by predatory journals and “paper mills.” These undesirable operations mimic “real” science as published by “legitimate” journals (like Nature).
Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of paper-mill publications are polluting the scientific literature. Paper mills often sell authorships on bogus papers to researchers trying to pad their CVs. One analysis indicates that some 2% of all scientific papers published in 2022 resembled paper-mill productions. Detecting these articles is difficult — although there are growing technological efforts to spot them — and shutting down the operations that produce them is even harder. Researchers are also concerned that the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools will exacerbate the problem by providing more ways to quickly generate fake papers that can dodge current detection methods.
And so they gather their friends to write ethical principles and calls for action. But on what authority can they act, other than on raw power? Nature‘s editors and the paper mill publishers are just following the behaviors that natural selection produced, according to their own worldview. If the operators of predatory journals gain power and put the “legitimate” journals out of business, how could they complain? Evolution is what evolution does. Maybe they will get a taste of their own medicine, having censored all Darwin skeptics from their publications.
Rooting out scientific misconduct (Science Magazine, 11 Jan 2024). Like Nature, the AAAS journal Science wants to solve a growing ethical crisis: scientific misconduct. They propose regulations and persuasion. Once again, though, their success (if any) will only come through the exercise of power. Without a transcendent Authority who created the world and humans, another human authority coming to power could undo their good intentions, and they would have no grounds to complain.
Surge in number of ‘extremely productive’ authors concerns scientists (Nature News, 11 Dec 2023). How could any scientist publish a paper every five days? Something untoward is happening worldwide. “Up to four times more researchers pump out more than 60 papers a year than less than a decade ago,” statistics show. The prestige of science can create perverse incentives to increase a nation’s scientific prowess. Saudi Arabia and Thailand are not the only nations involved in this scam. But why fight it, evolutionists? These “scientists” are increasing their fitness. It’s all evolutionary games, in your worldview. You should celebrate their creativity as an evolutionary ‘novelty’ or ‘innovation.’
What counts as plagiarism? Harvard president’s resignation sparks debate (Nature News, 11 Jan 2024). Is plagiarism wrong? Is it really wrong, or just customarily wrong in our culture? The editors of Nature were upset that one of the liberal heroines, Claudine Gay, was fired as president of Harvard over charges of plagiarism. Jeff Tollefson writes, “Allegations against Claudine Gay have left researchers arguing over academic standards and practices.” Maybe plagiarism just depends on context, they speculate. Maybe they could call it something else, like “modular writing” or “duplicative language.” Perhaps old ideas about plagiarism are outdated. Maybe plagiarism needs to evolve to encompass artificial intelligence (AI). But it can’t be wrong—really wrong. That would be outdated, a throwback to pre-Enlightenment ethics.
Federal agency’s plan to disclose university misconduct findings splits academics (Science, 8 Dec 2023). “Institution leaders fear breach of privacy whereas transparency advocates call it an important step,” writes Jeff Mervis. But without any appeal to a final authority that all humans acknowledge, this dispute will work itself out one way or another. Authority in evolution meanders like particles undergoing Brownian motion. Stuff happens. One side gains power, and then the other. Neither is right or wrong.
Leading scholarly database listed hundreds of papers from ‘hijacked’ journals (Science, 5 Dec 2023). Concerns about “non-peer-reviewed” papers granting “unwarranted legitimacy” to some scientists should be treated by Darwinians as a mere fitness contest. Thinking consistently with evolutionary theory, what is “legitimacy” if not a cultural adaptation to the struggle for existence?
Research prizes are opaque and rife with bias — it’s time to shake them up (Nature, 19 Dec 2023). What are you thinking, Malgorzata Lagisz? In evolution, everything is about reward and punishment. Why are you assuming that bias is wrong, and that science prizes “should” be curtailed?
Awards should be standard-bearers for transparent, robust research that is inclusive, equitable and trustworthy. But that is not what they are right now.
What are you, a bigot from the Bible belt who believes in old-fashioned values of trustworthiness, transparency and accountability? Get with the times.
AI consciousness: scientists say we urgently need answers (Nature News, 21 Dec 2023). Without a Biblical worldview that sees consciousness as a created aspect of our humanity, Nature‘s editors “urgently need answers” but will find none. To them, AI is not just a tool of human intelligent designers; it is another form of consciousness. So when our own creations take over and rule us, what will Big Science do? They know exactly what to do: ask for more money! “Researchers call for more funding to study the boundary between conscious and unconscious systems.”
‘Legal animism’: when a river or even nature itself goes to court (The Conversation, 10 Jan 2024). Diego Landivar is sympathetic to radical conservationists who want to give legal standing to trees, animals and rivers, but he sees a problem. Giving Mother Earth legal standing can backfire:
What can we learn? Such legal innovations may well have sparked a number of legal and political actions, but the law cannot do everything. It remains, above all, subject to the whims of political situations, as malleable for environmental struggles as it is for the demands of extractivism.
So what if a radical judge somewhere rules that humans have no right to exist on the ground? Landivar enjoys concepts that “redefine our relationship with ecosystems and the modern world,” but what if those in power rule against his right to have a job, an office, and clothes? What if they tell him to go back to the trees from which he evolved? What then?
Is it not ironic that materialism is reverting to animism?
Why some people don’t trust science – and how to change their minds (The Conversation, 29 Dec 2023). It is said that scientists are often wrong, but rarely in doubt. Take a look at this question-begging authoritarian. Lawrence Hurst is an “evolutionary geneticist” at a “center for evolution” in England, telling his readers that the leaders of Big Science need to persuade people to trust “science” (whatever that is, if “knowledge” has any meaning under materialism). If people believed like him, they would see him as an evolved ape trying to outcompete rivals, and nothing more.
Update 1/29/23: Whistleblowers flagged 300 scientific papers for retraction. Many journals ghosted them (Nature, 23 Jan 2023). This article bemoans the difficulty of getting some journals to retract fraudulent papers. When whistleblowers notify these journals about questionable research, only a fraction are investigated and retracted. Springer-Nature itself (publisher of Nature) was asleep at the wheel in some cases. So when writer Jeffrey Brainard discusses what Big Science “should” do about this problem, is he appealing to a real conscience informed by the imago dei in man, or acting on his own private truth about what he thinks evolutionary fitness requires?
Big Science, adrift from its moorings in Judeo-Christian ethics, is like a hot air balloon drifting without power. Sooner or later it will crash, and its passengers will have nobody to blame but themselves.
A Judeo-Christian worldview is not without challenges, but offers solutions. The Bible describes all people as sinners. We should not be surprised that sinners seek to game the system and corrupt whatever institutions rule over them for selfish purposes. But righteous government, instituted by God to restrain sin (Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:1-7), can only operate with authority under a pole star of eternal, unchanging standards.
Biblical standards recognize man as exceptional from other creatures, being created in the image of God. There will be incidents needing correction, but leaders can point to the pole star of Biblical truth, communicated to man by the transcendent Word, the instruction manual for human life. Within its pages, breathed out by the Holy Spirit of the Lord, are the principles we need to understand problems and solve them with wisdom aligned with the truth.
The evolutionary worldview, however, has no pole star. Humans are like air hockey pucks on a frictionless surface with no gridlines or goals. Everything reduces to power. Whichever hockey pucks have the most momentum to deflect your progress will rule. There is no reason, no accountability, and no recourse. Good luck, and may the farce be with you.
For hope, read this.