Why do we find some people beautiful and others, well, plain? One psychologist says we’re responding to ‘evolutionary pressures’. To encourage the survival of the species, this psychologist says, evolution programs males to be attracted to females who look young and healthy, at the peak of their reproductive potential. Females, on the other hand, are programmed to be attracted to males who look powerful—able to protect and provide for offspring.
Well, I doubt that many young couples in love think much about the survival of the species. But such is the nature of evolution that it has become an explanation for everything.
We’re often told that evolution is just a scientific theory, but it has become much more than that. It’s become an entire philosophy of life, shaping every subject area.
Take, for example, sociology. The founder of sociology was French philosopher Auguste Comte, who proposed three stages of social evolution. All societies, Comte said, move upward until they reach a stage of scientific enlightenment.
Since Comte, most sociologists have accepted the assumption of evolution. We can only understand Karl Marx, for example, if we realize he taught a form of social evolution through a series of economic stages.
In the field of law, most students today are trained in what is sometimes called ‘sociological law’. It rejects any transcendent standard of justice and bases law on the judge’s perception of changing social norms. This is explicitly labelled an evolutionary approach to law.
In psychology virtually all the leaders in the field have been committed Darwinists, from Freud to Pavlov to B. F. Skinner. They began with the assumption that human beings were merely advanced animals, and sought to reduce human nature to animal functions—instincts and reflexes.
For a vivid example, read Alfred Kinsey’s books on sexuality. The highest moral impulses of love and commitment are reduced to physiological reactions.
What about education? John Dewey, regarded as the ‘father’ of American education, was an enthusiastic evolutionist. He argued that the human mind is a tool that has evolved by adaptation to the environment, just like a fin or a claw. The test of an idea is therefore not whether it is true, Dewey said, but merely whether it works—whether it helps us adapt to our circumstances.
Dewey’s evolutionary philosophy led to a profound relativism that is evident in our schools today. Modern values teaching tells children they can choose whatever values work for them.
So you sec, evolution is not just a theory that tries to explain how fish grew legs and how birds developed feathers. It affects every subject area. It serves as scientific justification for a philosophy that treats human beings as merely evolving organ-isms.
As Christian parents and teachers, we need to start by teaching our children how to respond to evolution as a scientific theory—how to talk about genetics and fossils.
But we can’t stop there. We also need to teach our children that evolution is a total world view. We need to show them the flaws in that world view—and to develop a total Christian world view to take its place.
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