Baby Morality Defies Evolution | The Institute for Creation Research
Baby Morality Defies Evolution

It is fascinating how quickly human babies learn about the world around them. But how soon can they distinguish "good" from "bad"? Some Yale psychologists wanted to find out, and their research results fly in the face of Freud and other evolutionary humanists.

Yale professor Paul Bloom and his team tested infants and toddlers by using puppets to portray "naughty" and "nice" actions. They found that from the age of six months, babies differentiated good from bad by overwhelmingly choosing to hold the nice puppet over the mean one.1 Where did this sensibility come from, and why is it so evident at such a young age?

Bloom summarized his research for The New York Times, saying it was clear that what is now known of baby morality is exactly the opposite of what was taught by the great 20th-century psychologists Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Lawrence Kohlberg.2 These evolutionary humanists asserted that babies are "amoral animals" upon which society stamps its own particular moral guidelines. But this came from their belief that humans are merely "naked apes" obsessed with God, or that in early life humans reflect their primate origins, not from observations or careful study.

Instead, humans are evidently born with an innate moral sense that is not dependent on external affirmation. For example, "even a 4-year-old knows not only that unprovoked hitting is wrong but also that it would continue to be wrong even if a teacher said that it was O.K."2

Given secular psychology's overall premise that "biological evolution and cultural experience conspire to shape human nature," how does Bloom accommodate the odd fact that babies possess a "prewired understanding" of a cross-culturally consistent list of universal wrongs? He wrote, "These universals make evolutionary sense," because it is supposedly beneficial to be "kind to our kin, whose survival and well-being promote the spread of our genes."2 Of course, for the rest of the animal kingdom, which has no sense of morality, it is presumably most beneficial for them to be unkind, with the occasional altruistic situation among plants as an added conundrum.3

Universal morals actually make no evolutionary sense. For one thing, morals are not physical. They are not composed of DNA, nor are they body parts or features of body parts. They are therefore not selectable by nature. However, this research adds to prior data showing unequivocally that humans are wired for morality, a fact that evolution cannot explain.4

Also, people possess not only the knowledge of right and wrong, but also the ability to choose right or wrong. Bloom admitted that volition seems to be tied to morality, but he stopped short of drawing a fuller implication. Without both a moral code and an ability to adhere to it--along with other capacities like logic--there would be no such thing as a recognized moral behavior.

Moreover, these immaterial aspects work in concert with each other, along with specialized capacities to learn. How much more do humans fit the image of a powerful (volitional), good (moral), and wise (cognitive) God,5 rather than representing the product of some imaginary selective environments?

All of these immaterial aspects must be in place at once. And it is now clear that they do not arrive later in life through some kind of external training or influence, but are wired in from the beginning. Infant morality was even referenced in the book of beginnings, in which the Lord told Noah's family after the Ark landed: "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."6

When it comes to a comprehensive explanation for the origins of unique human behavior and ability, the best source is the Word of the One who created that humanity.

References

  1. Frank, D. Can Babies Tell Right From Wrong? The New York Times online video. Posted on nytimes.com, accessed May 24, 2010.
  2. Bloom, P. The Moral Life of Babies. The New York Times. Posted on nytimes.com May 3, 2010, accessed May 21, 2010.
  3. Demick, D. 2000. The Unselfish Green Gene. Acts & Facts. 29 (7).
  4. Thomas, B. Did Religion 'Emerge' Through Evolution? ICR News. Posted on icr.org March 5, 2010, accessed May 21, 2010.
  5. Romans 2:14-15.
  6. Genesis 8:21.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on May 26, 2010.

The Latest
NEWS
From Suffering to Glory: Romans 8:18-30
Why is there travail, sorrow, and ultimately death in this life? Why does God allow this to happen to His children? Per Romans 8:20, “for the creation...

CREATION PODCAST
These Animals Are Masters of Disguise | The Creation Podcast:...
From the leopard's spots to the butterfly's wings, many of our planet's creatures possess the ability to hide in plain sight. Where did...

NEWS
Do Fish Skulls Show Evolution?
Fish never learned to walk. Regardless, an evolutionary paleontologist suggested an undocumented scenario of how fish gradually evolved into four-legged...

ACTS & FACTS
Honoring Pioneers of Creation
It’s always fun to catch up with old friends. We recently asked some pioneers of the creation movement to share with us where they are in their...

ACTS & FACTS
Henry M. Morris and Duane T. Gish: Advancing the Cause of Christ
    The following excerpts by Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish were taken from the first issue of the Creation-Science...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Don DeYoung
I first met Dr. Henry Morris in 1973 when he spoke in chapel at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. With a growing interest in creation studies,...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Larry Vardiman
Larry and Jeannette Vardiman   During my second year in graduate school at Colorado State University, I received a phone call...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer David Coppedge
David Coppedge   I’ve lived in Santa Clarita, California, since 1992, but I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. My parents...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Russell Humphreys
Russell Humphreys   After I retired in 2008 from being an associate professor for the Institute for Creation Research, I moved...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Gary Parker
Gary Parker   In rural south Florida where I grew up (Arcadia, DeSoto County), where my wife, Mary, and I had the first of our...