Discourse on Desire & Darwinism: an Apologetic


I was at home typing all this out about two months ago. As I was nearing the end, my foot hit the power strip the computer was connected to and I lost it all. It was structured so much better than this and explained everything so much clearer. So after a couple months of being bummed out over it, I am now re-typing this out. Or rather, attempting to.

Proposition 1: All humans seek happiness.
Regardless of culture, gender, time in history, or even religion, this desire is universal. Even the Buddhist who spends his life trying to remove the desire for happiness can never remove the desire to have no desire, thus showing the cyclical nature of that philosophy. Even the Ascetic receives happiness for his casting off of earthly things, no matter the biblical warrant, or lack thereof.

Proposition 2: Every action of every human being is to this end.
The motive behind every action of every human is to this end, even those who kill themselves. I would argue that the drive to reduce misery (even through suicide) is very akin to that drive for happiness.

Proposition 3: This drive is unique to humans.
No animal acts in a natural environment for the pure sake of the pursuit of happiness. Every action of every animal is for a definite cause of some biological interest. Every animal action has a real purpose with tangible results beyond some emotional response.

Proposition 4: This desire is never really fulfilled.
As has been duly noted by men greater than me, Thomas Jefferson noted that we can attain many things, but “happiness” we can only “pursue.” He never says we can actually attain it. No one in history (except Jesus) could have said honestly they had actually fully satisfied one’s inner desire for happiness. Sure, we experience it in great measures, but a desire such as hunger can be fully satisfied; the desire for happiness cannot.

Proposition 5: Darwinism has no answer to this.
Here’s the meat of the discourse. Long story short: Darwinism implies no previous purposeful design within human beings apart from what has been gained generationally by the experiences of our ancestors. Their experiences have learned what enables us to survive, and thus adaptations to this end or passed down and show themselves in our present physical, cultural, and psychological features. If this is true, then no desire humans have could have ever developed prior to the ability to fulfill it. To use the example above: Humans didn’t acquire this universal desire for food known as hunger, until (a) a lack or deficit was noticed, and (b) a way to fully satisfy it was found. I’m arguing that every desire or drive in humans testifies to the existence of a full satisfaction thereof somewhere in the world. If Proposition 4 is true, then, that means Darwinism’s only answer to the desire for happiness is that the desire itself preceded the object of that desire, because a full satisfaction of it cannot be found on earth, so how were our ancestors to know they were without it? The idea that the existence of a desire precedes it’s object is very intellectually dishonest, and thus Darwinism is inadequate in accounting for this universal human drive.

Conclusion: Only Christianity has the adequate, satisfactory answer to it.
Christianity teaches that we have been created with a desire for happiness that testifies to the existence of that happiness, namely God Himself. He is what our hearts were made for and thus our hearts are never fully satisfied until they rest in Him. Christianity also teaches that this world has fallen from its original glory and is in a process of redemption wherein one can experience a certain measure of that happiness in the here and now that is merely a shadow of the full satisfaction to come. This is the idea popularly known as “the Already but Not Yet.” Christ’s Kingdom has already been established in the world, but it’s full consummation has not yet happened, thus certain degrees of eternal realities we can experience now in the form of spiritual gifts, worship, a change in nature and will, and an ever decreasing dominion of the power of sin in one’s life. These are all things that our being was created to find its utmost delight in and thus when our soul does that, it is more itself than it ever could be.

After coming up with this a while ago, I was surprised, impressed with myself, and humbled all at once when I found out that C.S. Lewis had these exact thoughts over sixty years ago. I stumbled upon this quote I’d like to finish with to sum up my entire point in this here treatise. He said:

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this earth can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world”

Amen, brother.

Please, send rebuttals, criticisms, or arguments over any of the above propositions my way. I feel like there are some things I haven’t adequately addressed, but I can’t seem to find the holes in the arguments. Please find them and tell me, as I eager to develop this properly.

–paul

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