Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails

by Nancy Pearcey

Editor’s note: ENV is pleased to share this excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s new book, Finding Truth: Five Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. A Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, Pearcey is a professor and scholar-in-residence at Houston Baptist University and editor-at-large of The Pearcey Report. She is author of the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity and other books.

A materialist philosophy reduces humans to machines — complex robots determined by material forces. It denies the reality of free will, the power to make decisions. Yet all civilizations throughout history have recognized that humans are moral agents capable of making responsible choices. There is no society without some moral code. The testimony of universal human experience is that humans are personal beings capable of willing and choosing — which means their origin must be a personal Being, not the blind forces of nature.

Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”

An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”

But if humans “can’t really live with” the implications of a worldview, is it a reliable map to reality? Watch for phrases like this. Often they are clues that someone is trying to live out a worldview that does not fit the real world — that he or she has bumped up against one of the intractable facts that point to the biblical God…

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Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails