Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Evolution Destroys Morality and the Quality of Life and Makes us Hypocrites

Since Hitler and his attempt to create the master-race, evolutionists have desperately distanced themselves from any idea of eugenics and the social application of Darwinism. Understandably, they claim the evolution says nothing about morality – it’s strictly about the physical world and not the moral world.

Although it is true that evolutionists no longer try to derive morality from evolution, this certainly wasn’t the case prior to Hitler. But rather than reciting the many evolution-driven eugenics programs, I’d rather concentrate on the philosophical/moral implications of this naturalistic/atheistic theory. Although evolution might not directly dictate a certain set of ghoulish morals, it does a lot to undermine Judeo-Christian values. These uphold the qualitative distinction between humanity and the rest of the animal world.

According to the Bible, human life is sacred because we are created specially in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and have His attributes (Ephesians 4:23-24). Western civilization has therefore criminalized anything that threatens the sanctity of human life. Meanwhile, animals can be captured, eaten and even stuffed without threat of indictment for murder or kidnapping.

All of this is threatened by evolution, which has a very different understanding of humanity. In place of the absolute distinction between humanity and the animal world, evolution posits a continuum of common descent. We therefore might be an advanced and intelligent animal, but we are still no more than an animal. However, even the idea of humanity as “advanced” is challenged by evolutionary ethicists. For them, value is not a matter of belonging to the Homo Sapien club, but in our intelligence and functionality. Consequently, those who have less intelligence should not be valued as others. Also, those humans who are dysfunctional might not have the value of a horse or a pig.

David P. Barash, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington goes even further. He demands that reproductive facilities should work towards creating a race of human/chimpanzee hybrids, but, he admits, only because it would offend Christians:

• Should geneticists and developmental biologists succeed once again in joining human and nonhuman animals in a viable organism, it would be difficult and perhaps impossible for the special pleaders [Christians] to maintain the fallacy that Homo Sapiens are uniquely disconnected from the rest of life.

Barash is correct that the creation of half-humans would undermine the last vestiges of our sanctity-of-human-life ethics. We would be confronted with many insolvable questions: “Could we marry half-humans? Could we put them into a zoo or create an army of them to work our fields and factories? Could we make them into sex-objects? What rights might they have?”

Unhinged from our Judeo-Christian foundation, these questions could only be answered arbitrarily by society. Society would then determine who had value, who should live and who should die, who could be enslaved and who should rule, who should enjoy civil rights and who shouldn’t.

Even without Barash’s half-humans, naturalistic evolution has begun to erode our moral foundations. If values are no longer transcendent – if they aren’t derived from God but from pragmatic and materialistic considerations – the essential equality of humanity can no longer be supported. We believe that humanity possesses inestimable value because of the Transcendent – our relationship to our Creator. However if our value and rights are no longer based upon the Transcendent, but upon material considerations, then there is no basis for a humane quality of life and even for the Bill of Rights.

If all we have is the material world, as the naturalist maintains, then humans must be seen and evaluated through this grid. From the perspective of this lens, people are very different. Some will be deemed a positive influence on society, others an absolute drain. From the strictly materialistic perspective, there is no basis from which those who “drain” have any right to our respect or protections or even life. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche noted that “equality” is a Biblical idea:

• Another Christian concept, no less crazy: the concept of equality of souls before God. This concept furnishes the prototype of all theories of equal rights.” (Will to Power)

Nietzsche was correct. However, our culture has been so extensively influenced by Christian ideals that the evolutionist fails to see that these values are insupportable apart from the Bible. Despite all their assertions otherwise, the communist/atheist nations all stripped their citizens of their basic human rights.

The inevitable consequences of socially-based morally-relative value systems are deeply troubling. Historian Rodney Stark offers a telling portrait of human rights from a non-sanctity-of-life orientation:

• Classical philosophy regarded mercy and pity as pathological emotions—defects of character to be avoided by all rational men. Since mercy involves providing unearned help or relief, it was contrary to justice.

Consequently, in Rome, the gladiator was regarded as less than human. Historian Anthony Kamm writes:

• Each gladiator was seen as ‘crude, loathsome, doomed, lost…a man utterly debased by fortune, a slave, a man altogether without worth or dignity, almost without humanity. (The Romans)

No wonder the spectator would customarily require that the victor slay the vanquished, having proven himself utterly valueless and undeserving of life. These games were eventually abolished by the Christian emperors Theodosius 1 [378-395 AD] and his son Honorius [404] in the East.

In India, the widower had no value apart from her husband. She was therefore expected to throw herself on his funeral pyre. This practice however was abolished with the advent of Christianity.

Materialistic, naturalistic evolution makes us into hypocrites. Take for example the psychotherapist who knows that he must treat his clients with respect (unconditional positive regard) if he is going to have any “success” with them. If he disrespects them as the “dysfunctional” and needy people he sees before him, as his materialistic philosophy requires, he will loose them. He therefore must treat them with respect, although he doesn’t think respect.

However, the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. Evolution in its denial or disregard of God is morally relativistic. According to evolutionary naturalism, every thing just happens. Morality also just happens as a result of our genes, socialization and pragmatic choices. The renowned atheistic ethicist Peter Singer wrote:

• When we reject belief in a god we must give up the idea that life on this planet has some preordained meaning. Life as a whole has no meaning. Life began, as the best available theories tell us, in a chance combination of gases; it then evolved through random mutations and natural selection. (Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, Christina and Fred Sommers, 500)

According to Singer, life not only has no meaning, it consequently has no absolute moral truths. Such a conclusion is inevitable. In order for a moral to be absolute, it has to be unchanging, universal and authoritative. Clearly, if it changes from one day to the next, it can’t be absolute. If it changes from England to Angola, it also can’t be universal and consequently absolute.

At this point, a small minority of evolutionists will claim that absolute morality can be based upon our unchanging and universal DNA. However, this formulation has many problems – “Why human DNA and not swine DNA?...Why today’s DNA and not the DNA that we might have in a million years (Let’s be progressive!)?...And what if we chemically alter our DNA?...And why should our DNA be authoritative?”

Absolute morality must also be authoritative. Some will plead an impersonal godless karma as a law that must be obeyed, like the law of gravity. However, the laws of physics aren’t authoritative. They don’t require us to obey them. We are therefore able to manipulate gravity in a way to bypass its “judgment.” We can build airplanes or go to places where gravity doesn’t exert any force. However, moral laws are different. If we take a drug to numb our conscience when we kill someone, we do not evade the authority of the moral law. Murder is still absolutely wrong whether we take the drug or not, and whether we feel guilty or not.

As Singer understands, all of these necessary qualities of moral absolutes require God. Otherwise, we are simply left to ourselves to choose our own values.

Here is the hypocrisy – Without God, we think moral relativism but judge others as if our judgments are absolute, as if the other party has actually broken a sacred law. This makes us culpable before God. While ignorance is a good excuse, we will not be able to plead ignorance:

• You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things…when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? (Romans 2:1-3)

While we might claim that there are no moral absolutes to break, we judge others as if they have broken moral absolutes. We’ll say things like, “You have no right talking to me this way,” or “You shouldn’t have taken my seat.” When we make such judgments, and we all do, we are acknowledging that there is a higher absolute standard to which we are all accountable.

The naturalistic/atheistic evolutionist often denounces the God of the Bible as a “genocidal tyrant.” Atheist Robert Ingersoll (1833-99) wrote:

• Eternal punishment must be eternal cruelty…and I do not see how any man, unless he has the brain of an idiot, or the heart of a wild beast, can believe in eternal punishment.

However, as a moral relativist who denies moral absolutes, Ingersoll played the hypocrite when he denounced “eternal punishment” as “eternal cruelty,” as if something is wrong with eternal cruelty. But as a moral relativist, he could only say that he personally and subjectively didn’t like the idea of “eternal cruelty.” From his philosophical position, “eternal cruelty” cannot violate any standard or law other than his own feelings. However, by making this indictment against God, he charged that God had violated a moral absolute.

Such an indictment is unfortunate for Ingersoll, who thereby acknowledged that there are absolute standards by which he too could be judged.

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