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Evolutionary “scientists,” of all stripes, believe that everything, in all of reality, can be accounted for by naturalistic evolution. Evolutionary biologists, for instance, believe the variety of life forms on earth can be accounted for by natural evolutionary change over time. But it is not just those who work in the natural sciences. Evolutionary anthropologists and sociologists, indeed all social scientists who believe in naturalistic philosophy, also believe that every aspect of human life and society can be accounted for by evolutionary change over time. In fact, the very concept of social science itself, as it is taught in most schools, is an attempt to use and the scientific method, guided by naturalistic philosophy, to analyze things that cannot be proven using the scientific method.
Agustín Fuentes is an American primatologist and biological anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame. The focus of his work lies in research regarding human and non-human primate interaction, pathogen transfer, communication, cooperation, and human social evolution. In one of his recent articles, he tried to demonstrate, using naturalistic evolutionary philosophy, how the human animal evolved the capacity for “belief,” then used that ability to advance his position in the world. (You can read the article for yourself at: https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/how-did-belief-evolve).
Fuentes begins with the naturalistic premise that human beings are nothing more than natural animals that, over time, developed a more complex brain than any other natural animal (a belief he shares with every other evolutionary scientist). Contemplating man’s use of this more highly evolved brain, Fuentes begins making assumptions about how the human species began to use this greater brain capacity to acquire more complex knowledge and skills. He contends that as the human brain gradually evolved over time, homo sapiens eventually became capable of thinking abstractly. They then began using this abstract thinking ability to ultimately get to the place where they could believe things that could not be accounted for using empirical means. The result was the use of the imagination to invent better tools and technologies, develop more complex social behaviors, and even invent religions. In his mind, all of these things were the result of a natural evolutionary process.
Regarding religious beliefs, Fuentes considers that none of them are real. He believes that they are just mental constructs that developed to help individuals and societies function better.
To explain his ideas, he built an elaborate story about how it “must have” happened. According to his chronology:
- 2 million years ago homo sapiens evolved in a way that allowed for increased reliance on others – which allowed them to build more complex societies.
- 500,000 years ago their brains grew even larger, making them able to generate more complex emotional responses and social behaviors.
- 200,000 years ago their brains developed further in a way that allowed them to become more artistic, and to recognize “meanings” in experiences they had in the world.
- 40,000 ~ 50,000 years ago they developed the cognitive capacity to domesticate plants and animals, and they developed technologies that allowed them to establish towns and cities. This era also saw the emergence of the ability to understand economic concepts.
- 4,000 ~ 8,000 years ago, formal religions began to emerge.
Well, I hate to be the spoilsport here, but the entirety of Fuentes’ evolutionary construct is pure speculation based on his philosophical biases. In spite of the fact that he is called an evolutionary scientist, nothing of his speculation is actually based on science. He begins with the naturalistic philosophical presupposition that the natural universe is all that exists, then uses that to create his story.
And that’s what all evolutionary “scientists” do. Their starting point is not science, but is naturalistic philosophy. Beginning with that as a foundational dogma, they try to come up with ways to explain how the world as we now know it must have come into existence based on that belief. In the process, they never even question whether or not the naturalistic beliefs are, themselves, true.
Naturalism is not based on science, it is a belief system – one that cannot, at any level, be demonstrated by science to be true. Sadly, it can now claim the distinction of being the philosophical underpinning of virtually every major institution in modern American society. That said, Naturalism simply is not true. The implication of that fact is that the majority of people in the country live their lives “as if” it is true, even while it fails the Truth test at every turn.
Christians live in this fantasy environment and are increasingly put down if they don’t buy into it – or at least keep their mouths shut. But if we are serious about living out our faith in Jesus Christ, we have to come to understand the fantasy of Naturalism and learn to counter it with a Christian witness.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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