Why would I call this blog entry “The Selfish Gene”? Do I agree with Richard Dawkins’s views on evolution? Absolutely not! However, there is such a thing as the selfish gene so Dawkins got that much right, at least. If you agree with Dawkins’s views you’re in the wrong place. If you stay and read this, you may get a little upset because I have a completely different spin on this theme.
Humanistic thinkers generally hold to the idea that humans are basically good. They will tell you that we are innately moral beings; that is, that evolution has endowed us with the ability to be good to each other. We are intrinsically altruistic by nature. We seek to do well to others not because there is a god but simply because…”we” are good! I don’t know why that is, and I wonder why they bother.
Their argument against us who believe in Christ is they think we do good out of fear of punishment or that we believe in God out of fear of going to hell. They also think that the idea of us being everlasting beings is absurd. The idea that we have a soul that lives beyond this vessel is some kind of sick fantasy or fairy tale. In their minds we are born, we live, we do good, then we die and that’s it. Then we basically compost. This oversimplifies some very complex philosophical, metaphysical arguments and require extensive examination. Which I have neither space nor time to elaborate on here. Even so, I think my statements are an accurate synopsis of their point of view. Please keep my introduction in mind as you read on.
Imagine you have two small infants who love the same toy playing together. According to the humanist perspective, or theory, we should expect the two infants to play selflessly with each other and share the toy. Even sacrificing their own pleasure so that their young companion might enjoy the toy more than themselves. Now imagine a group of young school children playing together and there is one child standing alone outside the group. This child looks a little dishevelled, unwashed and only had one small jam sandwich for lunch. According to our humanist’s counterparts these children will at some point invite the poor little malnourished, smelly kid to join them. The better off children may even offer this poor child their lunch in exchange out of love and sympathy because it’s the right thing to do. Right?
According to some humanists, especially the type that produces films in Hollywood, even animals are benevolent. If you are old enough you may recall the Lassie series. Lassie often wandered around the woods dropping bags of food for the little critters and then watched them eat. Or Lassie was worried about someone and would disobey her master and run off to help some person in need.
One last thought. Have you ever met one of those people who brought home all the stray animals in the neighbourhood or stray people? Yeah, I was one of those. We often view these collectors of strays as kind-hearted. Francis of Assisi seemed to have a great love of nature he spent a lot of time preaching to animals…think about that for a moment.
We imagine Adam in the Garden of Eden frolicking about tending plants and caring for animals without a worry in the world….until that darned woman eats the fruit and he disobeys God and eats it as well. This is where Dawkins and I part ways as to what the meaning of the selfish gene is. In fact, our very foundations are diametrically opposed. Where Darwinism sees evolution as an upward process I see Darwinism as seriously flawed. However, evolution isn’t what I am arguing against here.
My argument is against humanistic positivism that paints this picture of humanity and even nature as benevolent. Don’t get me wrong I am not a fatalist on this issue I am a realist and here’s why.
If you have ever watched the history or science channel you would know who David Attenborough is. I may disagree with Attenborough’s evolutionist presuppositions, but he doesn’t give animals human attributes as Hollywood does. When is the last time you saw your dog or cat give another animal food that wasn’t its own offspring? When was the last time you saw two infants give up their favourite toy to another child, willingly? When was the last time you saw a group of children altruistically invite some grubby little imp who smells and looks bad to play with them let alone swap their lunch with them? Those types of things are as rare as fresh dinosaur eggs!
So why do I relate this to Adam and the fall? What was going through Adam’s head when he took the fruit and ate it? Generally, we think it’s’ because he didn’t want to be alone without his wife. We think in terms of what Adam had to lose and therefore we sympathise with Adam. Don’t! That is not the reason why Adam ate the fruit. When Adam disobeyed God’s command he wasn’t off somewhere else pruning bushes when Eve called him over. Adam was right there with her “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” Genesis 3:6. He fell for the same scam Eve believing that he would gain something not lose something…wisdom and to be like God.
Attenborough’s conclusion regarding nature so far as I can see is that it is often in-comprehensively cruel. Lassie, in reality, would have chewed those little critters to pieces! My own true motives for bringing home strays had nothing to do with their welfare. It had everything to do with me and my need for companionship or some imaginary magical relationship. The selfish gene is very real and Dawkins gets it partially right although the category he uses it within is wrong… totally wrong.
The only truly benevolent altruistic sacrificial act that ever took place was Christ dying on the cross for a fallen, selfish race. A race that couldn’t appreciate what their creator gave them unless He did something Himself to save them from what they really deserved. The humanist doesn’t get that. They think God is a selfish, egocentric murderer who threatens us with hell if we don’t worship Him. Even though we are the ones that turned our backs on the perfect world that he gave us in the Garden of Eden.
Unless God revealed Himself to us we wouldn’t even be aware of our sinful, fallen nature. We would remain so deluded and self-deceived continuing to think we are pretty good. That we are moral and benevolent. That we are advancing towards some kind of earthly utopia where science and philosophy will eventually solve all our problems. And that religion will be completely abandoned. I too hope religion will be abandoned so that people can see that is also self-serving. Even so, humanism tries to replace God in the very same way religion does. It makes us feel good and we feel that we are gaining something by being “good”. More than anything it appeals to our sense of pride or our sense of autonomy. We want the credit and we don’t want to share our glory with anyone else. Especially someone who is infinitely superior to us in EVERY way. We still want to gain that wisdom and be God.
Just a little thank you to my editor it was fun working with you on this project