The ethical consequences of the Theory of Evolution

In my previous post I mentioned the statements made by Brian Rohrbough, and the subsequent outbursts against him for daring to infer that the acts of the Columbine shooters were influenced by the theory of evolution.

Firstly, those who attacked him responded with ad-hominem attacks against him, but did notr really address the facts. The Columbine shooters writings on natural selection are available fo everyone to see, and shows that it did play a role in their decision to kill. The denials of the evolutionary camp took on a similar tone, that the theory does not state that the weaker should be killed, but that nature takes care of it through selection and breeding.

Before getting into the meat of the message, I want to make clear that those types of acts, in the name of something else, like suicide bombers in the name of Islam, or funeral demonstrations in the name of Christianity, does not necessarily invalidate them. What we have to investigate are the statements or actions and whether they are logical consequences of the original motivator.

Those noble defenders of the theory of evolution have several problems, apart from the direct fact that Brian Rohrbough was right about the Columbine shooters.

Ideas have consequences, and in the case of humans, moral and ethical consequences. Christians have long been engaging critics on that front. Evolutionists seem to want to hide behind the “scientificness” of the ToE, because evey time there is a moral consequence, they deny that it has any bearing on the theory. This is simply dishonest, and I fail to see why they need to take such a position. It is possible to agree with the theory, and disagree with its moral consequences. It would lead to an interesting dilemma for those who believe such, resulting in having to justify a standard of morality other than can be derived from the ToE.

Many claim that the ToE is purely a biological theory, with no relevance to other areas of life. Of course, those are welcome to their belief, and I can appreciate such a position. However, it is a bit fanciful to think that a theory can come into existence, and be propogated, in isolation. Scientists are human, they bring their pre-existing conceptions into their work too.

The early proponents of the ToE had no such qualms, they saw the theory not just as a biological theory, but as a “universal and all-pervading process”. (Julian Huxley)

In fact, Huxley was very clear about this:
Furthermore, with the adoption of the evolutionary approach in non-biological fields, from cosmology to human affairs, we are beginning to realize that biological evolution is only one aspect of evolution in general. Evolution in the extended sense can be defined as a directional and essentially irreversible process occurring in time, which in its course gives rise to an increase of variety and an increasingly high level of organization, in its products. Our present knowledge indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is evolution—a single process of self-transformation. ‘What is Science’ (1955) p.278″

However, this insertion of evolution into almost every sphere of life did not start with Huxley. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), the original coiner of the phrase “survival of the fittest”, was the first to extend evolutionary theory into ethics. He said:
“The poverty of the incapable…starvation of the idle and those shoulderings aside of the weak by the strong…are the decrees of a large far-seeing benevolence.” Along with Thomas Huxley and Walter Bagehot, they promoted evolutionary theory in all aspects of life.

That insertion of evolutionary theory into most aspects of life continues today. Modern proponents, such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, as well as numerous college professors across the world, make similar statements as seen above on a regular basis. Does anyone recall the fairly recent furore about the statements from UT professor Dr Eric Pianka?

So what is the problem? The ToE as a biological theory will stand or fall by the evidence and subsequent investigation. But there is no necessity for that theory to extend into other areas of life, or is there? Can one escape the inherent naturalism of evolution, and the subsequent ethical consequences?

If the theory is held consistently, then man and all his faculties are merely part of a closed cause and effect system. Man has no free will, nor love, all is the result of chemical reactions within a closed system. The theory of evolution has become a unifying principle that enables an explanation for all observations through naturalistic science, the uniformity of causes in a closed system. That approach necessarily leads to the extension of the theory into all aspects of life.

The ethical consequencs are inescapable. Man is just a collection of molecules who acts as a result of internal and external chemical reactions. Life, therefore, has no deeper meaning, no purpose and nothing but the physical.

Aldon Huxley summed it up, also, in his motiviation:
I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves…For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.”

Clearly this is an approach which does not agree with Christianity, and many of the proponents of evolution are very clear about their animosity towards religion, particularly Christianity.

I will post more on the topic in future, but for now, I will let one of my favorite Bible passages answer:
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.

God bless.

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2 responses to “The ethical consequences of the Theory of Evolution

  1. Amen. Good Article.

    How about Richard Dawkins discribing God as “a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”. (THE GOD DELUSION.) He also says that Natural selection, the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process that Darwin discovered, has no purpose in mind. He even fights against any sort of moral truth, yet somehow descrines religion as the untimate evil.

    Whatever one thinks of Dawkin’s position, at least he is consistent, with the exception of the last statement. More on this on the months to come.

    God Bless,

    PL

  2. Excellent point… And since ToE reduces humans to simple mechanisms without God therefore we can assume that there are more evolved people (genetically superior) than other people. In fact, Darwinian evolution is predicting that the higher races will somehow overtake the lower or less developed races.

    Quote: “Also evolution provides no moral basis for treating women well — since it provides no basis for morality at all! In fact, it seems to be a well-kept secret that Darwin and the founders of modern evolutionism consistently taught that the alleged physical and mental inferiority of women was strong proof of evolution by natural and sexual selection. This can’t simply be dismissed as just a product of their cultural prejudices — they went out of their way to try to prove female inferiority to bolster evolution.”

    Here are some statements Darwin said about women (I won’t even get into what he said about blacks):

    “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than woman can attain – whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses”

    Here is another one about comparing women and men:

    “If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison”

    or

    “Man is more courageous, pugnacious, and energetic than woman and has more inventive genius”.

    or

    “Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman.”

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