At first, it is almost humorous. Then it’s not funny at all considering the impetus behind some of it is the loudly spoken goal to deny God in a materialistic culture by promoting a false idea that science can explain everything without God. I have a deep respect for science, and a deep respect for our God-given human intellect, and it is disturbing to see how so many people with non-scientific agendas have distorted what science really is and what it is not.
A very well-known example of this is idea of the “Selfish Gene
” in the same named book by Richard Dawkins. He is an evolutionary biologist and describes himself as an atheist and a humanist who thinks “a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate
.” He’s right that biological evolution is a theory supported by mountains of circumstantial evidence and that as a theory based on two observable and quantifiable concepts, natural selection and genetic mutation, evolution is a sound scientific theory.
But science cannot address all truth, only the physical part of it.
He and other evolutionary biologists, however, depart the realm of science when they try to explain human behavior in purely physical terms (not that all do). Human behavior presents evolutionary biologists who, in their efforts to reject God must also reject metaphysical concepts, argue that our mental process are functions of only the physical realm with quite a dilemma. If they themselves are only a function of matter acting according to the physical laws of nature, then how do their arguments have any more credence than, well, that smallpox virus that is easier than religion to eradicate? There is no sense in that, no free will, no mind, no soul, all sacrificed to rid the word God.
The idea of the “selfish gene” came about to explain, in part, altruistic behavior in humans. Altruistic behavior doesn’t fit with natural selection; giving to others, caring for the dying, even a willingness to die for someone you love. All of that flies in the face of purely materialistic evolution. Selfless love gets dangerously close to Christian love, and so to avoid using those words they use physical genetic terms to explain our human behavior as animal instinct for survival.
This brings me to another reason-defying leap from an evolutionary biologist, back in 2007 but the ideas are still pervasive today and becoming ever more so. Consider this article by a successful and prominent mathematician who expressed the evolutionary biology idea of “upstream reciprocity” in probability theory.
Or as the Telegraph called it in 2006:
“Science explains Christmas goodwill“
It goes something like this: We do something nice for another human because we hope to get something in return later, and our genetics make us do it for our closest of kin because our genes selfishly want to live on even after our bodies die…and this effect can build up in families.
He uses game theory
, which is something you can grasp if you’ve ever played checkers and thought about how one discrete move affects all the possible moves that might come after it, to show that Christmas goodwill is the result of many upstream hopes that our genes will someday benefit from this outpouring of generosity during the holiday season over time. Game theory has its limitations, and can’t apply to socially interactive decision-making.
This is strangely like being compared to schools of salmon that swim upstream madly every year to find a breeding place and die over millions of eggs that we deposit for the instinctual purpose of propagating our species.
If man were merely an animal with no mind, and only natural instincts we’d just do this and never give a single thought to any other aspect of survival or human suffering. Giving would only be a survival tactic done of no free will. That humanists focus so intently on survival and suffering is evidence that they know we are human, and we do not just lie down and die without ever giving a thought to the human condition and our world. They don’t realize it or admit it, but they argue Christian love.
We are consciously aware of our suffering and of our inevitable death. We are consciously aware of a fact no human can deny…the desire to love and to be loved. Evolutionary science cannot address this, ever!, because it is not science. It is beyond science.
The believer who draws from faith in Christian love as shown us by Christ, in the assurance that God the Creator made our world in a sensible order that we can learn and study, and that the Holy Spirit guides us in how to unify our knowledge from both physical and metaphysical concepts has no problem understanding why salmon don’t celebrate Christmas.
Christmas isn’t altruism.
It isn’t a selfish act to propagate our genes.
It isn’t done to get anything in return.
It is simply Christian love, born of sacrifice and faith in something greater than ourselves. There will be plenty of time to suffer, and we know it. But at Christmas we put that aside and celebrate life…and appreciate it with our God-given human intellect using an emotion called gratitude.
Seriously…is that so hard to understand without numbers?