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Originally published in Creation 15(1):30-31, December 1992
If you ask an evolutionist what the future holds for mankind, you will get a variety of answers.
Larger brains? Smaller limbs as technology takes over more of our activities and jobs?
… The answer given by many anthropologists, those who study all aspects of mankind, may come as a surprise. Although most believe we will no longer be evolving physically in the future, don’t think this means they are ready to abandon the idea of future human evolution altogether. The new force to be reckoned with is cultural evolution.
Culture is defined by anthropologists and historians as the sum of the material belongings, institutions, and ideas of a group of people.1 This information and outlook on life is what makes one group of people distinct from another. Anthropologists recognize that human beings are distinguished from the animal world by this ability to choose between different forms of behaviour.2
Many evolutionists trace the origin of human culture to the time when our hypothetical pre-man ancestors were becoming bipedal. This new form of locomotion supposedly led to a narrowing pelvis, while at the same time brain size was increasing. These two changes made the process of birth more difficult and dangerous, with selection favouring those whose young were born earlier and smaller. Smaller infants needed more intensive care, tying up the females and providing the need for male care and protection. Thus the family, the foundation of human culture and the means of passing it on to the following generation, evolved and took root.3
Evolutionists assume that as man became more highly evolved and ‘modern’, his cultural adaptations became more advanced as well. Finally, according to one textbook, ‘by about 25,000 BC the physical and organic evolution of Homo sapiens is considered to have come to an end and the modern processes of cultural evolution start’.4 In other words, man stopped evolving biologically and started evolving culturally! This philosophy easily accounts for the fact that evolutionists cannot provide proof of biological evolution occurring today in man.
This line of reasoning uses cultural evolution to account for the rise of many societal institutions, including those established by God at creation. For example, marriage and the division of sex roles are viewed simply as adaptations by early hunter–gatherers in order to band together and survive.5 The development of complex grammatical language, which according to the Bible was given to the first man, has become only an adaptation of culture.6 Later developments, such as art and even religion, are described as ‘largely a matter of cultural evolution’.7
Not only are many institutions described as simply cultural adaptations, but also our very consciences are reduced to evolutionary developments. Anthropologists discovered Neanderthal (a supposed early man) burials at Shanidar (in Iraq) that contain aged individuals, including one 40-year-old man with a deformed shoulder and arm, possibly indicating a birth defect. The fact that he was cared for to what evolutionists believe would have been an advanced age at that time provides an example to them of a growing sense of caring for others.
However, this should not be confused with ‘the awakening conscience of humanity or the evolution of the human soul’. He was only cared for, it is said, because of the intellectual contribution he could make to society.8 In other words, he had no intrinsic value as a human life. It was simply advantageous to keep him alive! In fact, conscience itself is viewed only as an offshoot of food-sharing. The early hunter–gatherers began to consider how their own food supply affected the group: ‘to feel duty to the others and guilt over failing the others’.9
Anthropologists still disagree about many steps in this supposed cultural evolution process. In fact, the same problems arise as those which exist for biological evolution. Such elements as food-sharing, the sexual division of labour, and the use of tools ‘seem so inextricably related that they all must have appeared within a short space of time’.10 Many biological developments must arise together for a sea creature to live on land: the ability just to walk and to breathe air requires great physical changes that could not have arisen simultaneously by evolution. Similarly, the complex ways that men think and react to each other are closely related and cannot be the result of chance.
Cultural evolution has become the backbone of anthropology, the purpose of which is ‘to describe and explain the human species’.11 Everything related to mankind—even his spiritual nature—is explained away by evolutionary ideas. Evolutionary anthropology has permeated the social sciences: sociology, psychology, economics, criminology, and many others which form the foundations of modern society.12 Our modern educational system, founded by American educationist John Dewey, is steeped in these concepts. Dewey himself believed that evolution had reached its height in man, who was now the prime mover in its further development.13 Presumably this conscious striving towards higher evolutionary goals must be in the form of cultural evolution.
The philosophy of cultural evolution teaches that man, through his own will, can reach greater heights of glory. It replaces moral absolutes, as presented in the Bible, with a steady progression of cultural norms that must eventually change to further man’s progress. The danger in this is clear.
It also illustrates the flexibility of the theory of evolution. Evolutionists are so certain of its occurrence that they are willing to find it in nearly every situation. If evidence for man’s biological evolution is lacking, they replace it with cultural evolution as a new form. Instead of defining and making predictions about a concrete subject, like any other solid, scientific hypothesis, evolution once again shows itself to be adaptable to any situation or discovery, making it impossible to prove or disprove. The idea of cultural evolution, therefore, helps to show the entire theory of evolution for what it is—a belief system, not the proven fact which it is so often presented to be by scientists to the public.
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.