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“The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15 (NASB))
ABC News, with the help of secular scientists, has resurrected and repeated an infamous experiment in which average people demonstrated a common tendency to blindly follow “authorities.” The ABC report and video clip are available online, entitled: “The Science of Evil: ‘Primetime’ Re-Creates a Famous Experiment to Understand How Ordinary People Can Perform Unthinkable Acts,” by Caroline Borge.1 The original experiment was conducted at Yale back in 1961 by social psychologist, Stanley Milgram: 1
In the experiment, conducted at Yale University over a period of months in 1961, an authority figure—“the experimenter”—dressed in a white lab coat instructed participants to administer what they believed were increasingly painful electric shocks to another person. Although no one was actually receiving shocks, the participants heard a man screaming in pain and protest, eventually pleading to be released from the experiment. When the subjects questioned the experimenter about what was happening, they were told they must continue. And continue they did: Two-thirds of Milgram’s participants delivered shocks as they heard cries of pain, signs of heart trouble, and then finally—and most frightening—nothing at all.2
The old 1961 study was an effort by the secular world to understand why intelligent, educated people such as those in Nazi Germany were willing to do evil things to other humans simply because authorities said it was right. The idea for this new ABC re-experiment was apparently stimulated by the recent war on terrorism. ABC’s effort to illustrate evil acts mentioned the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib by American soldiers. ABC described the Abu Ghraib abuse as having “horrified the world and raised the question of who was to blame.”3 Certainly, genuine abuse of anyone is wrong, but strangely, the ABC story does not say anything about Islamist extremists (homicide/suicide bombings, beheadings, and mutilations) upon peaceful Muslims and non-Muslims.
ABC’s choice of Abu Ghraib as an example illustrates the common danger of bias in media and the tendency of all people to uncritically accept and follow whatever it says like sheep or “sheeple.” According to the MacMillan English Dictionary, “Sheeple is used to refer to people who basically follow the crowd or believe what the media tells them.”4 Back when I worked as a zookeeper of big cats and elephants, the zoo had a few sheep near my area. Consequently, I learned firsthand that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was not building our self-esteem when He referred to us as “sheep.” He was communicating His love for us, in spite of our stubbornness.
Even more dangerous than trusting media bias is our greater tendency to believe what “science” authorities tell us. As a warning, I always tell my biology students at home and audiences when I travel and speak, “Don’t believe anything I say, unless you can find sufficient evidence to make it worthy of your trust.”5
As biblical creationists, we must exercise humble, logikos6 thinking, especially if it involves the “science” of psychology (psyche = soul). Most psychologists are also evolutionists, therefore many foundational assumptions regarding the “why” of man’s behavior are rooted in evolutionary philosophy, which then produces “therapeutic” fruit leading to confusion and destruction.7 In trying to discover natural causes for mankind’s behavior, there is a basic rejection of the biblical doctrine of sin and its consequences.
For example, the WWII holocaust led by Nazi scientists inspired Milgram’s experiment and his book, Obedience to Authority, yet he not only failed to recognize the role that evolutionary philosophy played in Hitler’s historic horror [see, for some examples, Get Answers: Morality and Ethics], but Milgram even tried to use evolutionary hypotheses to explain such evil and rejected the Bible outright:
A potential for obedience is the prerequisite of such social organization such a capacity was bred into the organism through the extended operation of evolutionary processes.
... While technology has augmented man’s will by allowing him the means for the remote destruction of others, evolution has not had a chance to build inhibitors against these remote forms of aggression to parallel those powerful inhibitors that are so plentiful and abundant in face-to-face confrontations [emphasis added].2
This issue has concerned me for some time, especially in light of the constant efforts of secular scientific and philosophical sources to explain “evil” using evolution. For example, Publisher’s Weekly describes the popular theory of Howard Bloom as a “theory that evil—which manifests in violence, destructiveness and war—is woven into our biological fabric.”8
While evolutionary theory does not cause evil attitudes or actions, it has fed them and led them, which is proven by history and the writings of Hitler, Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood, etc.9 Jesus said: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”10 and “out of the heart come evil thoughts.”11 Only God is inherently good, thus without His Spirit ruling over our hearts and lives, evil will inevitably arise, not from some evolutionary ancestor, but from our own sin.
So in essence, the evolutionary model is often used in attempts to explain the evil we see, rather than facing up to it as the consequence of sin. This attack is merely another front to get people to question biblical authority in the book of Genesis, particularly in Genesis 3.
From the violent competition in the “wild” kingdom of fallen creation to the horrors manifested by rebellious humans, atheistic evolutionary rationalizations avoid man’s responsibility and moral accountability before a personal Creator. Even worse are theistic evolutionary views that unwittingly portray God as a monster who desired and designed the violent process of “survival of the fittest.” In the end, man, apart from God’s answers in Genesis, cannot come up with a logikos reason for moral values and rules—yet “sheeple” continue to trust worldly authorities with blind, irrational faith.
Sid Galloway is a zookeeper, family counselor, and high school biology teacher, living in south Louisiana with his wife, Linda, six children, and over 40 exotic animals. He earned a B.S. from LSU and a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Sid and his wife head the ministry Genesis Family Education, formerly know as Soulcare Family Ministries. Return.
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.