Benjamin Wiker on Moral Darwinism

Interview of Benjamin Wiker by Dick Staub

Well, good afternoon everybody. This is your friendly guide, Dick Staub, thanking you for joining me this afternoon. You know, in Acts chapter 17, Paul debated Epicureans and Stoics at Mars Hill. This week, 2,000 years later, Jimmy Paige, recalling his fast-living days in Led Zeppelin, told the New York Daily News, “I was carrying the flag of hedonism and I marched forth.” Well today, Gallup released a poll finding that divorce and gambling are now widely accepted as morally acceptable in any circumstances in America today.
Q. Well, what these three stories have in common is a Greek philosopher born
340 years before Christ. His name was Epicurus. And our next guest says his ideological torchbearer is none other than Charles Darwin. I want to introduce you to Dr. Benjamin Wiker, Fellow at Seattle’s Discovery Institute and lecturer in theology and science at the Franciscan University. His book is Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists, published by InterVarsity. Dr. Wiker, great to have you with us today.
A. I’m very happy to be here.
Q. So the confluence of issues that made you write this book are very interesting.
And there are a variety of tributaries that come together in one stream. I mean, why-how would you answer the question why you decided to write this book?
A. Well, it’s really that I would say the result of-of… I like the image of streams
coming together because it’s the result of several streams of inquiry that I’ve been following over, I don’t know, the last 15 to 20 years since my graduate school days, all of them connecting somebody’s view of the universe and of nature to the kind of morality that they subscribe to.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. And you know, I’ve seen this is a variety of figures and hadn’t really
approached it in Darwin yet, but had done a lot of work prior to that in many figures reaching all the way back to ancient Greece. Well, I just happened to have been working both on Epicurus, the man you mentioned, an ancient Greek philosopher, and also Charles Darwin. And I suddenly recognized that they looked surprisingly similar in their views. And then traced it more carefully and found out that, indeed, if you can speak about it this way, that Epicurus is the great, great, great grandfather of Darwin’s account of-of human nature and his cosmology. So that’s what I trace in the book. All the way from Epicurus up until Darwin and down to the present day with what I call moral Darwinism.
Q. So some of the-some of the themes would be Epicurus was a materialist, that
in fact was the framework in which the modern scientific approach and that, as practiced by Darwin, was-was structured. Darwin is kind of a modern application and-and the word hasn’t come up yet, but the idea of intelligent design, your relationship with the Discovery Institute means that you’re working in the area of intelligent design.
A. So true.
Q. And-and what happens when you look at Epicurus and Darwin and you see
their materialistic approach is you begin to see that presuppositionally they are enemies of the notion of intelligent design.
A. Absolutely. Absolutely. And in fact, what’s very surprising for people – and
this is why I quote it at length in the book – is that the first account of evolution didn’t come in the middle of the 1800’s with Darwin, it’s actually Epicurus is probably its most famous disciple. A man named Lucretius, a Roman who wrote about 50 years before the birth of Christ, a book called De Rerum Natura, on the nature of things. And in it you find this really long evolutionary passage. And-and you say, well gosh. How could this get here? I thought Darwin invented this or discovered this.
Q. Yeah.
A. And he really didn’t. It’s simply a deduction as you are recalling from the-
from the materialism itself. You know, if you don’t have a god and you think that matter just bangs around forever and eventually creates things, that view doesn’t-isn’t at all modern, it’s very ancient.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. And Darwin picked back up on it.
Q. Now, the other piece to this – and folks, I’m trying to kind of lay a general
groundwork here because then you’re going to-we’re going to get into a little more detail in each of these points – but I want you to understand the significance of how they all relate to each other. You’re also arguing that in addition to Darwin offering a scientific theory that, in fact, there is a linkage to moral behavior and the decline of behavior in western civilization. And you actually quote Darwin at point of saying, “Every distinct view of the universe, every theory about nature necessarily entails a view of morality.” In other words, the-the-the position you take on-on-on-on scientific theory and the way God does or doesn’t fit that theory, the degree to which your thorough-going materialist is the degree to which your moral behavior will-will see a decline.
A. Exactly. It’s-it’s… And in a way, if you’re a materialist, it’s not a decline.
It’s actually what materialism demands. I mean, if your materialism, as a cosmology, as an account of nature, human nature –
Q. Yeah.
A. – demands that you don’t have a soul, well then you’re going to act like that.
Q. Now a lot of…
A. You’re going to act like that.
Q. A lot of scientists who-who would consider themselves materialists, really
they-they bridle at the notion that you are suggesting that there is an immoral aspect to being a materialist, that-that it would inevitably lead to a deficient morality.
A. Yes. And I-and I guess I could say I wrote the book to make sure they
understood that I wasn’t hemming and hawing, but actually making that charge, that claim, that even if that individual scientist holds to some sort of quasi-Christian account of morality, his view of the universe is the materialist view which has informed the west, and particularly defined its moral decline during the last two centuries. So if you just historically look back over the last century or century and a half, you can see the Christian moral principles just being shed one after another. And that coincides with the embrace of the materialist view of the world. And that’s not an accident.
Q. Now, we’re going to, as I said, we’re going to explain each of these a little bit
more in more detail, I just kind of wanted to lay the groundwork here. There’s one more piece, and that is that you – and it seems to be a theme that you want to be very clear on as well – having spoken of the materialists now you turn to the Christian and you say, “Those of you that think that Darwinism and your Christian faith are harmonizable, that you can find a way for them to co-exist, they are mutually exclusive. They are incompatible.” That’s-that’s the position that you take.
A. Yes, it is. It’s a-a no-compromise position. And in order to make sure that that’s very clear, I go to none other than Mr. Charles Darwin himself, to the work – which people don’t read and they should read – and that’s his Descent of Man, where he himself drawls out all the implications of his view of nature. And no Christian can accept those. They just can’t.
Q. Well, among them would be what?
A. Well, he’s-he’s-he’s a very outspoken advocate of eugenics. And why-why would he be? Wouldn’t it make sense if you believe that human nature is a kind of accidental result of evolution you would say to yourself, well, wait a second, as Darwin does. Farmers improve their livestock by better breeding.
Q. Yeah.
A. They-they get rid of those who are deformed or have got problems and they breed from the very best.
Q. Yeah.
A. Darwin said, well, why do we take care of our livestock so well –
Q. Yeah.
A. – but don’t take care of our own breeding so well?
Q. Well, it’s interesting because you see-you see eugenics practiced by Hitler and everybody is horrified by it –
A. Yeah.
Q. – but nobody wants to accept the-the kind of presuppositional thought that could lead one to such horrific behavior.
We’re going to be back with more of our guest, Dr. Benjamin Wiker. He is a Fellow at Seattle Discovery Institute, lecturer in theology and science at the Franciscan University. He’s got a book out, Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. Very interesting. Epicurus himself was not the kind of hedonist that Jimmy Paige of Led Zeppelin talked about. We’ll find out more about that coming up right after this. Don’t go away.
Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Dr. Benjamin Wiker. His book is Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists.
Q. We’re talking about an ancient philosopher, Epicurus, and how he has, in fact,
influenced Darwin and the 21st century, and in our morality and behavior, not just our science. It’s a very fascinating theory and idea and argued very forcefully, I think, in the book, Moral Darwinism. Let’s-let’s look at Epicurus himself. Now, you point out that a dictionary definition of an Epicurean is, “a person fond of luxury and sensuous pleasure.” We think of the Epicureans as-as people that were very hedonistic, totally into living the life of pleasure and so forth. Hugh Hefner would have been a good Epicurean in one-in one sense. And yet, Epicurus himself, the founder of the school of thought, did not live himself that way-himself live that way. Talk about who he was, the time in which he lived, and what his philosophical approach was, and the conclusion that he reached.
A. Okay. Epicurus surprisingly, there is that surface contradiction between what
we think an Epicurean is and what Epicurus himself subscribed to, but if you get past that surface contradiction there-there is a uniformity. The best place to begin with Epicurus is here, that he wasn’t a scientist, he was trying, as it were, to found a new way of life.
Q. Uh-huh.
A. A new philosophy. And he did it in light of what he thought was the worst and
most bothersome thing causing human beings, and that was religion.
Q. Yeah.
A. So he thought, if we could get rid of religion, if we could get rid of these silly
ancient, you know – well for him it wouldn’t have been ancient – these silly Greek gods and Roman gods, we wouldn’t be worrying all the time about whether we’re going to heaven or hell, we wouldn’t be running around making sacrifices, we wouldn’t be jumping at every thunderbolt thinking we’re being chased by the gods. We’d be much more tranquil. And so what he did was he then, as it were, went shopping for a-a-a cosmology of human nature which would support that. And that view was the materialism specifically Democrity and atomism; that is, the-the materialist atomism put forth by a Greek philosopher, Democritus. And the whole point of using it was to define everything materially so that human beings had no soul. That is, they had no immaterial mortal soul. And that meant, of course, that you don’t have to worry about heaven and hell since, when you’re dying or when you’re dead, there’s nothing left of you.
Q. Yeah.
A. You just dissipate. So that’s gone. And further, that the gods, even though
they exist, are actually of nature, too. They’re not above nature, they’re just part of nature and they don’t care about us at all. So they have nothing to do with us. They can’t control nature at all, nature itself cannot be acted upon by the gods. Nature is self-subsistent. And with this he was able to eliminate the gods interfering at any time in this life as well. That is, thunderbolts aren’t a sign from Zeus, they’re just thunderbolts. And you, yourself, having nothing to fear, or-or even find use for in the gods because they don’t care for you. And when you die you don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen to you then so…
Q. Well, interestingly enough, if you-if you study Roman mythology and Greek
mythology, I mean, you would find a lot that was anthropomorphic. I mean, assigning a god to the thunderbolt, assigning a god to the sun, assigning a god to the… So in that sense he was-he was reacting to something that, in fact, was not an accurate way of viewing who God was.
A. Yeah.
Q. It was a pantheistic kind of notion of-of God, God in that natural phenomena.
But-but in kind of throwing out the bath water we throw out the baby, is what you’re-what we would conclude. Is that accurate?
A. Well, he-he’s completely disallowing any activity of… It’s like, in other
words, there’s no creator god in his account either.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. Nature exists eternally. And the atoms exist eternally, but we pass away.
Q. Now, one of the points that you make is that-is that Epicurus was essentially
reaching these conclusions with no evidence. In other words, he wasn’t really doing science, he was doing… A philosopher in those days was the scientist of the day. But he was postulating a theory that he didn’t really have any scientific evidence for.
A. Uh-huh. Yes. This is one point which we overlook, but once you see it, it’s
quite obvious. They couldn’t possibly have known about something called the eternal, unbreakable atom because there weren’t such things as microscopes then.
Q. Yeah. Okay. So now-now he-he himself was-was-was somewhat known, but
he became popularized by Lucretius, who you describe as the first Darwinian.
A. Yeah.
Q. And he did write this piece on the nature of things. Now, what did Lucretius
do to popularize Epicurus’s ideas?
A. Well, he-he gave us this very long, very beautiful poem – in Latin it’s very
beautiful – but it’s a poem. And-and so instead of a dry, philosophical treatise, you’ve got a very rich, philosophical poem. And this-this was especially influential when it was rediscovered in the 1400’s during the Renaissance when everyone was just so excited to recover ancient text and embrace this ancient-the ancient high points of poetic Latin. And Epicurus’s account came in through Lucretius’s beautiful poem that way and was published all over Europe. So there you have the-this-this materialist account of creation entering by virtue of beautiful poetry.
Q. And what was his basic view of creation?
A. It’s-it comes… It’s so familiar you almost think that it was written by
somebody in the 20th or 21st century. He-he begins by asserting there is no purpose to anything in nature, it comes about by the random of bangings and jostlings of these tiniest things, atoms, over infinite time. Over infinite time then the planets are created, the various heavenly bodies are created, the earth is created. Trees, flowers, human beings and so on, he gives a complete cosmological evolutionary account all the way down to human nature.
Q. Wow. Now, he also… And-and he was-he was a contemporary. I mean, he
came after Epicurus but he was in the 300’s as well, wasn’t he?
A. He actually published… He-he… We think, as close scholars can tell, that-
that On the Nature of Things was published around 50 BC.
Q. Okay, okay. I’m sorry. So… But he again is establishing chance, he also is-
is-is down on religion. And he develops the idea that we’re omniscient.
A. Yes. And a view which comes back, interestingly enough, when the
materialist atomism that he espoused is revived in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment,. And it’s very interesting how he does it. If you know that everything in the universe is made up of these unbreakable atoms, these points of matter, and you know that they jostle around, and you know that there’s nothing else in the universe which isn’t made of them, well that’s reality no matter what corner of the universe you’re in.
Q. Yeah.
A. And so all of a sudden you have a claim to saying, I know what anything in
the universe can be. Nothing exceeds my sight –
Q. Yeah.
A. – now that I know that.
Q. Yeah. It’s-it’s fascinating. It’s-it’s… Well, it’s the-it’s an ancient notion that
we could come up with a theory of everything –
A. Yes.
Q. – and understand it and comprehend everything. It’s-it’s fascinating which,
by the way the Matrix movie trilogy, as many people argue, has that same kind of gnosis, kind of out of Christian gnosicism. But our problem is ignorance. If we knew we would be released and save. Fascinating to see how the ancient ideas are revisiting us.
We’ll be back with more of our guest, Dr. Benjamin Wiker. His book is
Moral Darwinism, published by InterVarsity. We’ll be right back.
Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Benjamin Wiker. He is the author of Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. It’s a very fascinating study. And of course if you’ve studied any philosophy, which I did, you find it fascinating to revisit the ancient Greeks and see, in fact, how their ideas, their poetry, their writings in fact are now reflected as very sophisticated modern contemporary, scientifically valid ideas. And-and when we do that comparison in just a few minutes you’re going to see where the fallacy is in that.
Q. Help us view, as you do in your book, the ways in which Christianity was at
odds with Epicureanism. I mean, that we already mentioned the apostle Paul debated the Epicureans and Stoics at-at-at Mars Hill. We see Christian thought moving in a very different way in terms of understandings of creation, in terms of-of purposefulness, intentionality, and so forth. What are some of the primary differences between the Epicurean worldview and the Christian worldview?
A. Well, you find them just completely… It’s-it’s almost impossible not to find
the difference because they are… It’s as if they were created as opposites all the way down the line, both in regard to their cosmology, that is, the view of nature, and in regard to human nature and human morality. And in the book I-I’ve lined those up one after another. But let’s take some really obvious ones. Epicurus, trying to get rid of the gods, argues that nature is eternal.
Q. Yeah.
A. Christianity, right off the bat, nature is not eternal.
Q. Yeah.
A. It came into being from nothing. It is contingent.
Q. Yeah.
A. It doesn’t co-exist with God.
Q. Yeah.
A. And those two views, by the way, are still, as I try to argue in the book, are
still at heads with each other.
Q. Yeah.
A. In contemporary physics people are trying to get around the contingency of
the universe and declare it in some way eternal.
Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. You’ve also got the notion that in Epicurus and Lucretius that things may look
intelligently designed, but they are really caused by sort of the connection between variations of one kind, material variations, and-and some aspect of chance.
Q. Yeah.
A. And so there really isn’t any intelligence behind it. And of course, why does
Epicurus want that? Because he doesn’t want a god to be behind creation.
Q. Yeah. Which is… So again, on the modern front, Richard Dawkins, you
point out says, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” I mean…
A. Exactly.
Q. Epicurus/Lucretius could have written that.
A. He is… I don’t know whether he knows it or not… I sent him a copy of my
book. I don’t think he read it, but he is the-the most eloquent Epicurean out there at this point. And that is actually why I have so much respect for him. He is consistent. He is consistent. That is, he knows that-that you can’t mix and match Christianity with this materialist account that you can find in Darwinism.
Q. Yeah.
A. And he doesn’t hem and haw about that the way that others do.
Q. Yeah. How-how did Christians and-and Epicureans view humans differently?
A. Well, if you view human beings as you would any other animal, that is…
And as having come about by chance, and as being mere bodily creatures – that is, not having an immaterial, a rational soul – well then your morality has got to follow suit.
Q. Yeah.
A. You’re not-you’re not going to be any kind of a special creature, you’re not…
Your morality can’t be as it were written into your nature, given to you by the gods. Even your nature itself is subject to change.
Q. Yes, yes.
A. That isn’t permanent either.
Q. You know, the Epicureans made a big deal about imperfections in the
A. Uh-huh.
Q. And they use them to argue against the idea of an omnipotent god.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. What-what would the Christian response have been to an Epicurean? What
might the apostle Paul have said?
A. I wish I knew actually what he would have said, that little speech as you said
on Mars Hill, I wish we had that speech.
Q. Yeah.
A. But the Christians always approach nature, I guess you could say in two
aspects. First of all, any imperfections are-are both we could say recognizable in-in light of the perfections that you see. That is, there are always certain kinds of defects, but they’re defects of something.
Q. Yes.
A. And also… You know, that-that explains somewhat. Also there is the
fundamentally theological doctrine that nature is in some respects fallen.
Q. Yes.
A. And-and it’s understandable that someone outside Christianity would not
accept that revealed doctrine. But it is essential to Christianity.
Q. Yeah.
A. You can’t get around it.
Q. Now, we saw the fall of Epicureanism within Caeser’s time because they
chose Stoicism over Epicurean thought.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. In part because of the reputation, you say. But by this point Epicureanism had
kind of gone from a philosophical position to a popularized position that was about hedonism –
A. Yes.
Q. –and atheism.
A. Yes.
Q. And to the Caesars, Stoicism seemed to fit their needs a lot better.
A. Yes.
Q. When did it begin to make a comeback?
A. Well it was, as you say, it was-it was actually pounded. And you find all
kinds of Christian acidic remarks and diatribes against Epicureanism for the first four centuries of Christianity.
Q. Yeah.
A. It’s buried under that criticism as Christianity rises. And at the high Middle
Ages, or a little past that, sort of a dawn of the Renaissance, interestingly enough, the texts of Epicurus and Lucretius, which had literally been buried in monasteries –
Q. Yeah.
A. – no one had paid attention to them for a long period of time – were
rediscovered and published all over Europe. And you can follow the thread of their influence from the 1400’s to the 1500’s to the 1600’s, as thinker after thinker tried to somehow get the-the-the view of nature of Epicurus and reinstate it, and often tried to Christianize it, oddly enough.
Q. Now, why would they do that? What-what was the appeal of Epicureanism?
A. Well, in one way people sort of get tired of what’s been around –
Q. Yeah.
A. – and they want to try something new. And it was new. And there was a
great esteem for things ancient during the Renaissance. They, though, as is evident in many writings, you know, that Christianity had been a kind of Dark Ages.
Q. Yeah.
A. And the real light was-was shining in ancient Greece and Rome. And so they
had kind of a general reverence for that.
Q. Yeah.
A. On top of that there was a kind of what we can call a staleness to the reigning
scholasticism indebted to Aristotle.
Q. Yeah. But now, why wouldn’t Isaac Newton have adopted some Epicurean
thought, given the fact that he clearly believed in a designer god, in a…
A. Yeah. He did.
Q. Yeah.
A. And he’d say, If I can with utmost respect, he’s a real strange duck. He’s
one of the most brilliant human beings that ever existed, but he had some very strange theological beliefs. He wasn’t a Christian, he was an Aryan.
Q. Yeah.
A. And even then he wasn’t an orthodox Aryan. But-but what attracted him, I
am sure, is-is this. And you just have to follow here the line of reasoning. He was a mathematician.
Q. Yeah.
A. And what he realized following Galileo was, that you could treat nature as a
system of little dots, as a geometer. That is, think of geometry actually being real. How? Well, the atoms are dots. How do they move? They move in lines. They make figures.
Q. Yeah, interesting.
A. And he saw that.
Q. I’ll tell you what. We’ll pick up there when we come back with some
concluding comments from our guest, Benjamin Wiker. You can spend more time with him by picking up your own copy of Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. Interesting, interesting way of tracking philosophical thought from 350 or 340 BC right through to contemporary thought, through Epicurus. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go away.
Well, this is Dick Staub. And we have really been doing a whirlwind tour here with Benjamin Wiker, trying to connect some dots from 341 BC through the birth of Epicurus, through to Charles Darwin and even through to Richard Dawkins, and-and a lot of contemporary thinkers who are, in fact, Epicurean in many ways. And that-that’s the point that Benjamin is making. And also of course, he ties it not only to the scientific theory, but to the moral relativism that comes out of a belief in-in materialism that is chance. And there is no moral law, there is no moral judgment, there is just matter. And it is, it’s a logical argument and a clear argument. And I think it’s made forcefully, and it’s full of very interesting application.
Q. We were just talking about Isaac Newton. Moral revolution began to-to
happen through the view of materialism. Christianity began to be tamed – and I’m kind of summarizing here. You talk about the declawing of scripture, taking the miracles out from Hobbes to Spinoza. You get through to Thomas Jefferson, and-and people see that suddenly Epicurean thought is-is reaching its claws into-into the founding of America. There is this kind of-kind of-of-of rapid embracing of ancient ideas with some modern twists. I wanted to kind of skim through those – although feel free to make any comments on them – and get to “Epicureanism becomes Darwinism,” because this is where people are going to really start seeing how it has actually effected us in the 20th century. Pick up there, although feel free to make any comments you’d like on the things I kind of skimmed over.
A. Sure. Well, I-I think we should go right to-to Darwin on this. Darwin, as you
were saying before, inherits the modern re-embrace of atomistic materialism. That is, it’s just… Epicureanism is revived in modernity. And by the time you get to the 1800’s, it’s really set in stone as-as the view of science. So he is already just sitting there happily waiting for all the materialist dominoes, as it were, to fall in place.
Q. Uh-huh.
A. And he simply revives the account, the evolutionary account, which was part
of the original Epicurean framework, you know, over 2,000 years ago. So it makes sense that evolution would be put forth as the doctrine where human beings came from, because it was part of the materialist system for-from the very beginning.
Q. Now, how would-how did Darwin bring nuance to Epicureanism?
A. Well, he – and in some ways there aren’t really nuances at all – except that he
more carefully laid out the case for how evolution occurred.
Q. Yeah. Well, he-he began bringing some evidence to the table that he thought
could be drawn together to prove the materialistic position.
A. Yes, as it’s applied to biology. So prior to that it had been applied, you
know, to astronomy and to geology –
Q. Yeah.
A. – and to all these other sciences. Now he was really taking it straight to biology to make the system complete. And he was able to bring forth very interesting, compelling arguments about we do see-about how we do see species change in regard to domestic breeding.
Q. Yes.
A. And those are… You know, those are serious. They’ve got to be taken seriously. However, to infer that that kind of change can-can just be extrapolated indefinitely was an enormous leap, and he knew it.
Q. Yeah. Now, when-when we look at-at… I want to come to the point of morality. But just briefly, when we look at what’s happened within Darwinism itself and trying to apply scientific theory consistently within a materialistic view, this is where the intelligent design approach has begun to create some-some awareness of a basic flaw in the Darwin-Darwinist/Epicurean approach.
A. Yeah. And-and you know, the interesting thing is, the place to begin is to-is-is reading Darwin’s Origin of Species. Because one thing you can say about him, he’s very honest about where the problems are. He points them out. He points out, you know, right here, this would be a problem for my theory, right here. This would be a problem for my theory. Right here, this would be a problem. And the intelligent design people said, Well gosh, they really-they really are problems.
Q. Yeah.
A. And we haven’t seen these overcome. In fact, scientific evidence is going the opposite direction showing that-that Darwin recognized the problems from the beginning and they’re even more acute now.
Q. For example, what would be an example?
A. Well, people may or may not be aware of the difficulties of the Cambrian explosion which occurred about, say, 550 to 570 million years ago. According to Darwinism you’ve got to have very gradual evolution.
Q. Yeah.
A. Imperceptibly slow evolution, which would be like a fluid spectrum.
Q. Yeah.
A. And what you actually find in the fossil evidence is all of a sudden you get these major animal groups popping out of nowhere. Now, he knew of those. They knew enough about the Cambrian explosion to-to realize this was a problem. They didn’t call it that. And he said, this is-this can be urged against my theory. This is a problem. Well since then, we found out it’s not just a little problem, it’s a horrible problem. And Darwin’s solution that we just didn’t know enough by archaeology and geology yet, has is-is-is not a solution.
Q. Yeah.
A. We know enough to say this is a serious problem.
Q. Now, tell us, explain to us how Epicureanism through Darwin has become the basis for moral decline in the west and in the world.
A. We can use some really very obvious examples. I like to go to euthanasia. If you’re going to treat human beings as another animal, that is, human beings not having an immortal, immaterial soul, not designed by God, but having nothing to look forward than the pleasure they can get from this life or the pain they need to avoid, that’s Darwin – what are you going to do for human beings when they’re in pain, have some kind of a disease, you’re going to treat them the same way that you would – very humanely – you’re going to treat them the same way you would your dog or your cat.
Q. Yeah.
A. That’s why you take them to the vet, right?
Q. Yeah.
A. You don’t think they have an immortal soul.
Q. Right.
A. So we don’t get into euthanasia debates about cats and dogs. And people who are following Darwin are saying, look, you’re just another animal.
Q. Yeah.
A. Why don’t you treat yourself as humanely? Well, Christianity says, wait a second, we’re not just another animal.
Q. Yeah.
A. And we do have an immortal soul.
Q. Yeah.
A. And that’s what makes the moral difference.
Q. Yeah.
A. So you can see it very clearly in that.
Q. Yeah. And you use many other examples in the book. Somebody is saying, okay, so now we have demonstrated that Darwinism, and what we’ve heard as contemporary materialism is, in fact, simply kind of an update of an ancient idea. Somebody says, so what?
A. Well, that’s… They can. But my response is… Well first of all, note that Darwinism is not something that was discovered. It’s not a scientific discovery. And the sign of this is that it was 2,000 years old before it could have ever had any scientific vindication of it.
Q. Yeah. It was a philosophical account.
A. It’s a philosophical account. And that means it’s an account of nature that filters out evidence that would contradict it. It doesn’t take it into account. It avoids it. It doesn’t even see it. And what the intelligent design movement is saying is, yes, that’s what we’ve been pointing out. This is not a science, it is a kind of metaphysics, it’s a philosophical view which defines science in such a way that it only, it will only allow more evidence that supports it –
Q. Yeah.
A. – and will not allow evidence for intelligent design.
Well folks, you can spend more time with Dr. Benjamin Wiker by picking up a copy of his book, Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. It’s published by InterVarsity Press. It’s available at your local bookstores. We’ll be back with more right after this. Don’t go away.

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