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Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation
April 2004 - 3[4]:16-R

In the News: The Golden Rule—A Golden Thorn in the Sides of Evolutionists
by Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus admonished: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). Today, this verse is commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule,” and can be summed up as: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For many years, this golden rule has been a golden thorn in the sides of evolutionists. After all, how can natural selection explain humans cooperating with one another. As Gretchen Vogel observed: “At first glance, cooperation seems to be an evolutionary anomaly” (2004, 303:1128). Anomaly indeed! Humans routinely go out of their way to help or provide assistance for total strangers. But in keeping with their motto of “not allowing a Divine foot in the door,” evolutionists finally have conjured up an explanation for the origin of The Golden Rule.

For example, an article titled “The Evolution of the Golden Rule” appeared in the February 20, 2004 issue of Science. The article began by noting: “Human and other primates have a keen sense of fairness and a tendency to cooperate even when it does them no discernable good” (303:1128). Vogel continued by noting: “In the 1960s the late evolutionary biologist William Hamilton developed a theory of kin selection that showed how helping relatives can increase the chances that one’s own genes will be passed on through them” (p. 1128). Later, Ms.Vogel speculated: “A sensitivity to ‘fairness’ may have emerged early in the primate linage” (p. 1131).

Thus, with one broad stroke, evolutionists have painted The Golden Rule neatly into their evolutionary tree of life. Their idea is that the only reason people perform acts of kindness is because they feel that such acts will help them in some way in the future. Mathematicians Martin Nowak and Karl Sigmund developed a theory called indirect reciprocity. It suggests that people are willing to help someone who won’t pay them back—as long as other people witness the charitable act.

So now we find ourselves analyzing theories about why humans act nice. Obviously, these individuals did not read the entire text of Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount. Chapter six begins with Jesus warning: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men”—a concept that hardly fits well with the evolutionists’ latest theory.


Vogel, Gretchen (2004), “The Evolution of the Golden Rule,” Science, 303:1128-1131, February 20.

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