Evolutionary scientists have a difficult time explaining how morality, especially altruistic behavior, developed by means of mutation and natural selection. The “holiest” doctrine of evolution–survival of the fittest–is the very antithesis of altruism. “You would expect those who are best at cheating, and taking but not giving, to be coming out ahead. Their genes should be on the rise while altruistic genes would be going away.”1 But though this is what evolutionary scientists would expect, this is not what has happened or is happening.
In an attempted explanation of this problem, Richard Dawkins stated in his 2006 documentary The Root Of All Evil “Our true sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with religion. I believe there is kindness, charity and generosity in human nature. And I think there is a Darwinian explanation for this. Through much of our prehistory, humans lived under conditions that favored altruistic genes. Gene survival depended on nurturing our family and on doing deals with our peers.”2
Notice, first of all, that Dawkins stated he “believes” morals have nothing to do with religion. This use of “believe” is an odd way for someone who condemns faith to speak. But he must speak this way because there is no science for his position. Further notice that he says he believes “there is kindness, charity and generosity in human nature.” We all know this is true. What we want to hear is an explanation of how morality began without God. Furthermore, it is odd to hear the author of the Selfish Gene to speak of kindness, charity and generosity.
Finally, his attempted answer to the problem is not only based on many assumptions but it is counter-intuitive to the theory he espouses. If I sacrifice my life for you, is it not more likely that your genes will be passed on rather than mine? Why don’t we only help those who can confer some tangible benefit to our genetic pool? Why do we help the helpless and weak? What advantage can their genes confer to us? Furthermore, evolution is purposeless and not guided toward some end or goal. A group cannot know if an act will confer some benefit down the road or not. It would be a waste of energy and time to help the helpless if evolution was true. If nature selects for the kind and the good, then why is there so much evil in the world today?
Two final points on this. First, morality is real. The very fact that evolutionists have problems explaining morality via mutation and natural selection demonstrates the reality of morality and the problems it poses for materialists. If it was not real and experienced and understood by the evolutionists themselves, they would not go to so much trouble trying to explain it away. For example, “Charles Darwin was profoundly perplexed by the fact that young men voluntarily go off to war and die for their groups. This obviously didn’t fit with his general idea of natural selection as being individuals pursuing their self-interests.”1
Second, in order for morality to be real, there must be some objective standard by which to judge what is right and wrong. It will not do to say that morality is a cultural construct. If something is moral for you now but not moral for you tomorrow, or, in other words, the standard of right and wrong changes according to circumstances, then there is no real, objective morality, which we have already seen is not true. Murder is objectively wrong. Lying is objectively wrong. Stealing is objectively wrong. These practices must violate some real, objective law, not merely cultural agreements.
Evolution has to fall back on relative cultural agreements to explain morality but the Bible gives us a different answer and it begins and ends with God. God’s nature is to be holy. He is the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity and Whose name is holy and dwells in a holy place (Is. 57:15). All the holy angels proclaim the inherent holiness of God. “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts” proclaimed the seraphim (Is. 63:3; Rev. 4:8). God is of purer eyes than to behold evil (Hab. 1:13). He is glorious in holiness (Ex. 15:11). He is simply holy (Ps. 99:5).
The Bible also says that we are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-28). Therefore, because God is inherently holy and we are created in His image, then we, too, must be holy. God’s nature and the revelation of that nature and His divine will are the standard by which we determine right from wrong, good and evil. Morality is not something which evolved; it is inherent in creation. In fact, God demands that we be holy as He is holy (Lev. 20:6-8; I Pet. 1:15,16).
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 14:1-3).
Eric L. Padgett
- Gambino, Megan, Smithonian.com, May 3, 2012, How Humans became Moral Beings https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-humans-became-moral-beings-80976434/#TjTbTc1GSZAudiHj.99
- Richard Dawkins, The Root Of All Evil (aka The God Delusion), Jan. 9, 2006 tv documentary