Morality Didn’t Evolve

by Ken Ham on December 16, 2012

According to a prominent secularist, “We only live once. … So why not try to be nice to each other?” Michael De Dora is the director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy. This organization is “dedicated to fostering secular society,” and De Dora is, not surprisingly, an atheist.

Now, in a very brief interview—only three questions—De Dora tries to explain where people should turn for a moral framework outside of the Bible. He fails to do so adequately. But De Dora’s responses are perfect examples of how the culture just doesn’t understand the role God’s Word plays in things like morality.

According to the interviewer, the Center for Inquiry “aims to put an end to religion’s influence on public policy.” So how does De Dora defend his statement that we should be “nice” to each other? Well, he gives all the credit for morality to … evolution! He says, “There’s plenty of evidence, once you accept the theory of evolution, that morality is developed over a long period of time so we can live together without wanting to kill each other all the time.”

You know, this may seem like an obvious question, but if morals evolved slowly over time through chance processes, how do we know they evolved the right way?  Why should we trust “morals” that evolved by chance?  And how did the animal world make it past the first kinds? Shouldn’t they have been so devoid of morals that they killed each other off completely? The foundation of evolutionary ideas is death. There’s no way to reasonably expect morals to simply emerge among organisms by chance.

De Dora goes on:

We’re all born with a basic moral sense, and it’s our duty to refine that. … You have to look at thousands of years of writing to try to reason through and use our consciences and decide what’s right and wrong to find out how we should treat other people and animals.
Actually, we are all born with a basic moral sense:
for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them). (Romans 2:14–15)
Those writings that De Dora recommends looking to for morality include Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates—all fallible, fallen men. So instead of allowing God’s Word, where our moral framework comes from, to influence public policy, De Dora would rather rely on philosophical writings to influence public policy.

Now, earlier in the interview De Dora said it is “necessary” to show hostility toward those who try to make him live according to their “religious dogmas.” But he ends the interview by saying, “Each human being has the duty and the obligation to treat their fellow creatures as best and as nicely as possible.” Over the years, I’ve pointed out the inconsistency of the atheistic worldview—and this is another example! By saying that I have a “duty” to treat people and animals well, De Dora is pushing his own religious dogma on me. In the atheistic worldview, who has the authority to give such an “obligation” to humanity? No one! Without the Bible, everything comes down to man’s changing opinions.

The inconsistency doesn’t end there, however. De Dora says, “I think that everyone has to find their own meaning in life.” But, I assume, a meaning within the parameters of this “duty” to be nice to people. But what if I find that my meaning is totally opposite of being nice to people? Within the atheistic framework, what stops me from doing whatever I want, regardless of how it may affect others?

Really, what De Dora has done is defined his own moral framework, imposed it on everyone who reads this interview, and then said, “But don’t try to push your views on me!” But he wants to push his ideas on everyone else! You see, it’s not possible to have a consistent worldview without the absolute authority and truth of God’s Word as a foundation. Instead of being like De Dora and others who are trying to learn about morals from long dead philosophers, we need to go to the only absolute authority—the Word of God. Morality didn’t evolve—God gave it to us.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,


Note: I thank Steve Golden for his assistance in composing this blog item.


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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.