Should We Trust an Evolved Monkey Brain?
With the death of Stephen Hawking in 2018, there were numerous articles written about his life and work. As to his life, Hawking deserves credit for not giving up in the face of nearly insurmountable odds. Living completely incapacitated for decades, not able to speak or move a voluntary muscle, would decimate and depress most of us.
There’s a lot to learn from Hawking for his determination and stamina. There are young people retreating to their “safe places” and falling apart over manufactured “micro-aggressions.” Hawking didn’t abide any of their manufactured nonsense. They should be made to spend a week in his wheelchair.
Hawking was a professed atheist. He argued that the laws of physics allow for the universe to have created itself:
- Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.
- Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.
- It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going.1
This is science? Laws don’t create anything. It’s like saying that economic laws made Warren Buffett a billionaire. If they did, then why don’t billionaires spontaneously appear? Laws didn’t create computers, software programs, jets, the shoes we wear, or the cars we drive.
Atheism is a belief system—a faith. Atheists believe the cosmos spontaneously appeared.
C. S. Lewis gets to the point when he writes that laws “produce no events…. Bookkeeping, continued to all eternity, could never produce one farthing…. Bookkeeping needs something else (namely, real money put into the account) and metre needs something else (real words, fed into it by a poet) before any income or any poem can exist. If anything is to exist at all, then the Original Thing must be, not a principle nor a generality, much less an ‘ideal or a ‘value,’ but an utterly concrete fact.”2
Consider the survival of the fittest aspect of an impersonal morally void spontaneously generated cosmos. There is no pity or remorse. No feeling or caring. What spontaneously arose can also spontaneously disappear. Such a cosmos has no regard for what it generated. The process of evolution has no regard for what spontaneously occurs and what can’t survive.
Hawking was not physically able to care for himself. The cosmos was not going to care for him. There was no thought of his existence or empathy for his condition.
In the wild, he would have been left to die as a drain on the herd, not being able to keep up, and having the misfortune to have damaged DNA that should not be passed on to future generations. It’s because his life was valued based on non-Darwinian values that he was kept alive and treated well. There’s no such ethic operating for a person who is not fit enough to survive given the operating assumptions of Darwinism. The progress of evolution is blind, according to Richard Dawkins. “It” doesn’t “care” about anything except to perpetuate the species; and “it” doesn’t care how “it” does it.3 If the weak are weeded out, there is no cosmic sigh.
The episode of The Blacklist titled “The Ethicist” had some interesting ethical considerations. While speaking to a billionaire named Digby Tamerlane who tried to coverup a hit-and-run incident that left a 12-year-old girl dead, a self-styled “ethicist” named Gerald Klepper, “a doctor who murdered 17 patients under the guise of euthanasia,”4 explains his moral worldview and how it contrasts with the “Judeo-Christian tradition of justice.” His system is “more algebraic.”
“There’s a constant and a variable,” Klepper says to Tamerlane. “The constant is the work you do. It is value and it will compromise you if you’re behind bars. The variable is what economists call the VSL—the values of a statistical life. In this case, the value of your life versus the value of the life of the witness whose testimony will put you behind bars.”
[Klepper] tells Tamerlane that there’s a witness to his crime that’s made a preliminary statement, and he’s already crunched the numbers on her. Tamerlane is a titan of industry and employs thousands of people, yes, but the witness is a bus driver and local boys club volunteer, so on the VSL scale, she comes out ahead.
“You give people paychecks [12,000 of them], she gives them hope,” he tells Tamerlane. But, of course, there’s a way to tip the scales. [Klepper] values “America first” highly in his Very Special Equations, so if Tamerlane decides to move the plant he’s about to build in Malaysia to Detroit instead, that might just increase his VSL, which might just inspire [Klepper] to murder the nice lady witness, meaning she can’t testify as the only witness to his crime
Later in the show, Klepper engages an FBI Agent and explains that statistical analysis, as he computes the values, is the determining factor on who should live and who should die:
Klepper: I like to make calculations. FBI Agent: Like deciding who should live and who should die? Klepper: That’s one calculation, yes. FBI Agent: Have you made it often? Klepper: Often enough, and it’s a surprisingly easy one…. I don’t randomly decide who will live or die. I do it based on whose life is more valuable.
What skews the algorithm is the human created-in-the-image-of-God factor. The following comments from Nancy Pearcey get to the heart of the matter:
At the birth of our nation, the American founders deemed it self-evident that human rights must be grounded in God. The Declaration of Independence leads off with those bright, blazing words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident—that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
In the summer of 2013, a beer company sparked controversy when it released an advertisement for Independence Day that deleted the crucial words “by their creator.” The ad said, “they are endowed with certain unalienable rights.” (Endowed by whom?) The advertisement is emblematic of what many secularists do; They borrow ideals like equality and rights from a biblical worldview but cut them off from their source in the Creator. They are free-loaders. Christian should reclaim those Noble ideas deals and making, the case that they are logically supported only by a biblical worldview.
Atheists often denounced Christianity as harsh and negative. But in reality it offers a much more positive view of the human person than any competing religion or worldview. It is so appealing that adherents of other worldviews keep free-loading the parts they like best.5
And I would add, they continue to free-load so they can keep their worldview from self-destructing if some of its adherents become truly consistent with the fundamental operating assumptions of Darwinism or whatever new moniker is being used today that makes God unnecessary.
The one thing I don’t understand about Hawking, and those who idolized him and his materialistic ideology, is that his scientific theories and opposition to there being a God was based on his belief that the brain evolved from some common ancestor that was akin to a monkey’s brain.
Why is anyone listening to atheists like Stephen Hawking, E.O Wilson, and Michael Ruse who wrote that “we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day”? By their own words, their brains evolved from monkeys or some common simian or simian-like ancestor. Of course, if we want to go back to our evolutionary beginning, our brains came into being by some freak accident of the cosmos never to be repeated again.
As a result, as evolutionists they understand that ethics “is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position.”6
- Quoted in Richard Allen Greene, “Stephen Hawking: God didn’t create universe,” CNN.com (September 2, 2010): https://cnn.it/2SIdgMk [↩]
- C.S. Lewis, Miracles. [↩]
- Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986). [↩]
- Jodi Walker, “The Blacklist recap: Liz finds a Blacklister of her own,” Explore Entertainment (February 10, 2019). [↩]
- Nancy Pearcey, Finding the Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 226. [↩]
- “The Evolution of Ethics,” New Scientist, (1985), 50–52. [↩]