Article from Focus Press by Brad Harrub, Ph.D.
As medical dictionaries grow with newly recognized syndromes and diseases, our society routinely turns to science for an explanation. Individuals want to know what causes certain behaviors, and how we can protect ourselves from becoming the next medical statistic. Researchers have upheld their end of the bargain, and have supplied society with new theories regarding the health, personalities, learning, perception, and motivation of humans. Aside from maybe common laboratory rodents, human beings are the most studied and analyzed creature on this planet. Psychology departments all across America have experienced a surge of enrollment, as students seek to study human behavior and development. However, this sudden wave of interest in the “psychology of man” has left horrible consequences in its wake. As our desire for knowledge has increased, the words of Almighty God have, for many people, have become empty words that no longer hold any value. We have forgotten that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). Instead, freshman psychology classes are filled with young minds that learn the theories of Freud and Pavlov.
In an effort to learn the psychology of man, these young people are memorizing the pages of textbooks written by highly acclaimed scholars in the field—experts in this discipline that claims to hold the answers of why men act the way they do. I would suggest, however, that if people truly desired to learn about the thoughts and intentions of men, they should meditate and study the Bible. What better author to tell us about the mind and how it works than the One that created it in the first place. The Old Testament is replete with examples of the actions and thoughts of men. However, the Bible is now the object of ridicule and scorn, as men set new parameters for what they consider true “wisdom.”
In an effort to teach and pass along the latest knowledge about the psychology of man, a new discipline now is being taught in many universities—a discipline formed specifically to combat the notion of God. When college freshman peruse course catalogs, they now find courses such as evolutionary psychology or sociobiology. Regardless of the name used to describe the class, the goal is still the same—to explain human behavior in Darwinian/evolutionary terms and remove any biblical implications. College students now sit at the feet of professors who attempt to address—using evolutionary presuppositions—why humans rape, murder, and commit adultery.
On March 16, 2001, a biology professor of the University of New Mexico, Randy Thornhill, delivered a lecture at Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre in Vancouver. His transcript stated that “rape is evolutionary, biological, and natural.” He further argued that “rape itself is an adaptation, a product of direct selection for rape in the past. Our male ancestors became ancestors in part because they conditionally used rape” (Thornhill, 2001). In his new book, A Natural History of Rape (coauthored by Craig T. Palmer), Thornhill characterized rape as an “adaptive reproductive strategy.” The authors contend that rape is a sexual act that has its origins in what could be called the “Darwinist imperative”—i.e., the desire to reproduce and pass on one’s genes.
This newfound “wisdom” regarding man and his ancestry has also been used to explain away the hideous actions of murder. In a now-famous (or infamous) article in the New York Times Magazine, MIT professor of psychology Steven Pinker argued that society should not treat mothers who kill their newborn children the same way it treats those who kill older children and adults. That’s because, in Pinker’s estimation, women who murder their newborn babies may not be mad or evil, but unconsciously obeying primeval instincts to sacrifice their children for the good of the tribe (1997). Charles Darwin declared: “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties” (Darwin, 1898). And so now professors expound that murder, rape, and adultery are “natural responses” to our ancient evolutionary heritage.
Have we forgotten how to reason? If we allow these ludicrous seeds to be planted in the hearts of men, then responsibility for every abominable act will soon fall to our alleged animal ancestry. According to this new line of thinking, the psychology of man can only be understood by looking to the animal kingdom—–for it is there, according to evolutionists, that we have acquired all of our traits. A lion is not plagued by guilt after killing a gazelle’s infant offspring for its noon meal. A dog does not experience remorse after stealing a bone from one of its peers. Without God there is no moral right or wrong. The psalmist penned these words: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 14:1).
Should we seek wisdom? Most assuredly—but wisdom from God, not this foolish and pathetic composition of theories proposed by men. James told us: “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). “Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24). Our knowledge and understanding of the psychology of man should come from God, Who has set forth what is right and wrong. God Himself is the unchanging standard of moral law. His perfectly holy nature is the ground or basis upon which “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “evil” are determined. Neither evolution-based psychology nor humanistic based psychology can explain the true nature of man. Only God’s word can do that.
Darwin, Francis (1898), Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (London: Appleton)
Pinker, Steven (1997), “Why They Kill Their Newborns,” New York Times Magazine, November 2.
Simpson, George Gaylord (1967) The Meaning of Evolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), revised edition.
Thornhill, Randy (2001), “A Natural History of Rape,” Lecture delivered at Simon Fraser University.
[Brad Harrub is a professional apologists who works with Focus Press. http://www.focuspress.org]