Nathan Lents, a professor of molecular biology, was recently featured in a press release about his book Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals. Reportedly, his book “posits that human behavior and animal behavior are not as different as once believed” and “pushes back against” creation and intelligent design. I found some of the things he said in the press release interesting, and thought they were worth commenting on.
Biologist or Evolutionist at Heart?
Lents states, “I’m a biologist at heart, so I look at every single thing as a product of evolution. . . . I’m always thinking of evolution. . . . [The book’s] never stated but always present thesis . . . [is that evolution] has shaped our behavior as much as it has our anatomy.”
Actually, biology argues against evolutionary ideas.
Now, his statement really shouldn’t start with an explanation that he’s “a biologist at heart.” Really, he’s more of an evolutionist at heart. Nothing about biology demonstrates that everything—including our behavior and anatomy—is a product of evolution. Actually, biology argues against evolutionary ideas. The law of biogenesis states that life only comes from other life. Natural selection and mutations—the supposed driving forces of evolution—actually cause changes that lead in the opposite direction of pond-scum-to-people evolution by deleting or rearranging information rather than adding brand-new genetic information for new traits. The more biologists study creation, the more they realize that life, even in its simplest form, is highly complex.
Now, this evolutionist has exposed his underlying presupposition that evolution has happened, and this presupposition colors what he thinks and writes about. What if we changed the presupposition? Any one of our qualified research scientists could say the same thing as Lents, but start with a different presupposition: “I’m a biologist [or geneticist or medical doctor and so on] at heart, so I look at every single thing as a product of God’s handiwork. . . . I’m always thinking of His Word and His creation.” Creation and evolution scientists can both be highly qualified scientists, but they look at nature in two completely different ways because they have completely different starting points.
Are We Really “Not So Different”?
Now the premise of Lents’ book is that humans and animals aren’t that different. But are humans and animals really that similar? Well, first we should remember that humans always have a tendency to anthropomorphize (attribute human qualities to nonhumans) animals. Actually, we anthropomorphize more than just animals! We often see human-like qualities or human figures in rocks, nature, and even on other planets. We attribute ourselves into animals and nature all the time.
A great example of this is the “guilty” look dogs are said to give their owners when they’ve done something wrong. Well, researchers have shown that the dogs aren’t actually showing signs of guilt—they are merely trying to avoid your displeasure. And yet we often believe our dogs really do feel guilty for what they’ve done. Other examples would be the quizzical look from birds or how cats appear to be embarrassed when they are clumsy.
We also need to remember that we have a common Designer. Just as we have some similarities in anatomy, we should expect some similarities in behavior. Our Creator has made life extremely complex; the more we learn, the more we are surprised by what we find. But this shouldn’t direct us to worship the creation as evolutionists are virtually prone to do. It should direct us to praise and glorify our Creator who takes great delight in what He has made.
Unlike the animals, we are made in God’s image and are therefore completely and utterly distinct from the animals.
Nothing about animal intelligence or behaviors threatens biblical creation. It is obvious even to a young child that humans are very different from any animal. But what is the real difference? Is it our ability to think rationally? Appreciate beauty? Think about eternity or the meaning of life? No! It’s the fact that we alone are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Unlike the animals, we are made in God’s image and are therefore completely and utterly distinct from the animals.
No, we are not animals or the product of millions of years of evolutionary change. We are uniquely designed by the Creator God of the universe, in His very own image.
By the way, I often tell people who visit the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, “If you want to illustrate how different humans, made in the image of God, are from animals, go to our petting zoos and just try to have a conversation with one of the animals!”
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.