Animal Morality?

An Essay By Hannah D. // 5/29/2013

It has often been observed that animals care for each other. Members of dolphin pods have been known to care for their sick, even pushing them to the surface to breathe periodically when a wound prevents them from doing it on their own. Elephants mourn their dead, murmuring softly amongst themselves when they encounter elephant bones or a place where a friend was once killed. A recent experiment was done on mice showing that they will learn to unlock a cage that has trapped a fellow mouse. All throughout the animal kingdom, there is a caring, loving side that has become a source of confidence for evolutionists. They see it and refer to the evolution of compatibility.

One of the problems with evolution is its lack of foundation for things like morals. If we are all products of millions of years of survival of the fittest and animals killing other animals, why are humans moral and judicious beings (or at least, why do we have a sense of what is good and just?) This is explained away, however, by the evolution of compatibility.

Here's the thing. Nature has a dark side. True, animals portray a sense of compassion for each other, but there is also death, disease, carnivorous behavior, and just a lot of struggle for survival. Nature is both "red in tooth and claw" and "a world of ready wealth…[with] truth breathed by cheerfulness." How do we explain such a paradox?

Evolution is based on survival of the fittest. Who are the fittest? Those who merely survive, of course (there is some obvious circular reasoning here). What types of characteristics help animals to survive, and thus, be among the best? Animals have succeeded by being cooperative and competitive. Both are employed to further a species' growth.

In this sense, both compatibility and competition are "good." According to evolution, they should be one and the same morality - not two polar opposites. When an evolutionist declares just one aspect of nature - the compatible part - as the foundation for human morality, he is betraying his worldview. He knows that one side of nature is good and another bad because he is made in the image of a Most High God and knows, in his heart of hearts, what morality is. He could just as easily justify his sinful nature by appealing to animal "morality" as he could his sense of justice. In fact, some scientists have done this, and have used evolution to explain things like gossip, jealousy and even murder. You just can't look at the animals to see how morality evolved. It didn't. True, they can be sweet and cuddly; they can also be mean with a vengeance.

But the Bible explains morality among people and the split side of nature. We follow morals because of God's law, and the animals, while once all compatible, cooperative and harmless, are now suffering under the affects of sin and show it with all their dangerous ways. Being Christians, we don't need to look to the animals - or anything else - to explain morality. We are accountable to God's decrees in the Bible. And that is the reason people would rather believe in evolutionary ethics than in Christianity.

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