Don’t Let Darwin Day Eat Your Valentine’s Day

By Jonathan Witt Published on February 13, 2017

Yep, Darwin Day, Feb. 12, doesn’t just crowd Valentine’s Day on the calendar. It’s trying to eat Valentine’s Day.

And we can’t say the Darwinists didn’t warn us.

Evolutionist Daniel Dennett called Darwinism a “universal acid” that “eats through just about every traditional concept … dissolving the illusion of our own authorship, our own divine spark of creativity and understanding.”

Dissolve those things and there’s no room for romantic love to be anything very exalted.

Biologist E.O. Wilson is just as blunt. When Darwinian science conquers all, we will view the human brain as just the “product of genetic evolution by natural selection.” And the mind “will be more precisely explained as an epiphenomenon of the neuronal machinery of the brain.”

But surely we can rescue things like art, religion and poetry, right? No, Wilson insists. Evolution teaches us that all of it was “produced by the genetic evolution of our nervous and sensory tissues.”

Evolving Away Love

So what becomes of Valentine’s Day, of all of those romantic longings and pledges to love, honor and protect, maybe even till death do us part? Yes, glands and instincts are involved. Only a gnostic would deny that, and Christianity threw Gnosticism out on its ear at the Incarnation and the Resurrection.

But Darwinian science goes further. It insists the stuff of Valentine’s Day is all glands and instincts, and beneath those, all brain chemistry — a soulless concoction of matter and energy stirred up in the alchemist’s lab we call evolution.

So, why will a brave man take a bullet for his beloved? Darwin Day says it’s because natural selection prefers the male who protects his mate. A dead mate, after all, can’t pass the man’s genetic material on by bearing his children.

OK, but what about the man who takes a bullet to save the wife long past childbearing years? Or what about the third-century saint said to have given his life for Christ and Christian couples with no genetic relationship to himself? Cue the strained and dreary Darwinian just-so story to explain away the plain reality that we are more than instinct, more than meat, more than matter swirling in a meaningless void.

Solving the Case of the Cosmos

Fortunately the universal acid isn’t quite universal. It only works if you swallow the claim that the evidence for modern evolutionary theory is irresistible. It isn’t. Take a look at Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution. When scientists are championing a theory truly supported by irresistible evidence, they don’t press their case the way Darwinists do, by endlessly recycling evidence long discredited even by scientists in their own ranks (the icons of the book’s title).

The acid also fails if you reject a pair of dubious claims that work hand in glove. One is the claim that science must only offer theories that fit atheism. (This bit of irrationality goes by the high-sounding name methodological materialism.) The second is the idea that science so defined can and should cover all of human experience.

But that’s crazy. Imagine if a cat burglar stole the crown jewels of England, and Parliament approached Sherlock for help. Holmes agrees to take on the case, but with two provisos: (1) Nobody from the upper class can be a suspect. Won’t go there, he says. Simply isn’t done. And (2) Parliament should also hire him to investigate and answer every question the people of England face.

As bright as Sherlock is, Parliament would want to find another detective.

We should react the same way to evolutionists who first refuse to consider explanations from the “upper class” of possible causes — intelligent designers — and then insist on applying their truncated idea of reason to all of human experience.

They say they want to track down for you the causes of everything from the origin of the cosmos to the origin of life, sex, religion and love; but they refuse to leave the neighborhood of materialism in order to consider other “culprits.” Fine, then don’t give them the job.

Or rather, don’t let them keep the job, because they already have the job. They are busily discharging it in countless taxpayer-funded classrooms, nature documentaries and museum exhibits all around the globe.

As for Valentine’s Day, this year there will be the usual fluff, some of it wholesome, some of it crassly commercial, some of it crudely sensual. But there will also be honest songs and stories championing things mystical and eternal, and even a few sincere pledges of eternal love. My advice: Don’t let Darwin Day have all that. Leave it in the capable hands of the old poets, and St. Valentine, and the one he adored.

 

Jonathan Witt, Ph.D. is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and co-author of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (IVP).

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