Nowadays, the hottest dieting trend is something known as the “paleo diet.” People on the diet eliminate things like grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol and, instead, go heavy on lean protein, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
What sets the diet apart isn’t so much its specifics as its name. “Paleo” comes from Paleolithic, as in our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The appeal is that by bringing our eating habits into greater conformity with our evolution, we will be healthier as well as thinner.
I don’t know if it works, but what I do know is that its appeal to evolution as an authority is far from unique.
For instance, in 2010, the book “Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality,” argued that those Paleolithic ancestors of ours not only ate differently from us, they also had different attitudes towards sex.
As author Christopher Ryan put it, our ancestors were “promiscuous.” He insists that “our ancestors probably had several different sexual relationships going on at any given moment.”
According to Ryan and his co-author, the idea of monogamous pair-bonding didn’t arise until the widespread adoption of agriculture, that same agriculture that the promoters of the “paleo diet” blame for our “unnatural” eating habits.
That prompts the question: is monogamy “unnatural?” While the authors don’t exactly advocate polyamory, they do give the would-be promiscuous an evolutionary pass. As Ryan told the TED Radio Hour, lust shouldn’t be regarded as one of the Seven Deadly Sins, or even as a sin at all.
What these two very different uses of evolution have in common is their appeal to evolution and science as the ultimate arbiters of how we should live, whether at the table or in the bedroom.
What’s more, they are two examples among many of how evolution is shaping our thinking about what it means to be human. In his outstanding book, “Darwin Day in America,” which has recently been updated and re-released, John West of the Discovery Institute chronicles “how our politics and culture have been dehumanized in the name of science.”
West writes that our understanding of science is “so totalistic in its outlook that its defenders claim the right to remake every sphere of human life from public policy and education to ethics and religion.”
Of course, this isn’t new. In the decades following the publication of “On the Origin of Species,” people like William Graham Sumner and Ernst Haeckel took that logic and applied it to economics through the so-called “struggle between the races.”
And of course eugenics, the horrible brainchild of Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, would have been literally unimaginable without Darwinism.
Today, scarcely a month goes by without some aspect of human life being explained in Darwinian terms. One book, entitled “The Murderer Next Door,” explains—you guessed it—the human, especially male, propensity to commit murder as Richards Dawkins’ “selfish gene” at work.
On a much more whimsical note, men’s domination in Scrabble championships has also been explained in Darwinian terms.
At best, the dominance of Darwinism and scientism does an injustice to what it means to be human. At worst, as in the case of eugenics, it causes suffering on a massive scale.
Chuck Colson always said that to truly understand a particular worldview, you have to follow it to its logical conclusion. In “Darwin Day in America,” John West shows us exactly where Darwinism and totalitarian science are leading us—from human experimentation to population control and even to restriction of religion and free speech.
And, as always, our dignity as free moral agents made in God’s image to live lives worthy of our Creator is being sacrificed on this altar of a historically dehumanizing ideology.
Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to West’s very important book.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: February 24, 2015