As Mortimer J. Adler points out in his book The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes, there is such a vast chasm between animal instinct and uniquely human characteristics (for instance, recognition of good and evil and appreciation of beauty) that there is no way to bridge it by a gradual evolutionary transformation. The human soul stands squarely in the way of evolution. To refute special creation, one would have to show that human personality is simply a quality of organic matter acquired through the evolution of the physical brain and nervous system. Behavioristic and humanistic psychologies provide the rationale for the general acceptance of evolution and materialism. Charles Tart, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis, points out some of the consequences:
“Behaviorism and psychoanalysis make it very clear that the mind is the brain. This means, of course, that when you die you’re dead. There is no survival. There’s no real spiritual life…. Humanistic Psychology…didn’t teach us to question the mechanistic assumptions of the Western world view [it supported them].”
Materialistic understanding of man persisted as the predominant view in academia well past the middle of this century. Psychology (which we will deal with in more depth in a later chapter) was determined to establish itself as a science on a par not only with medicine but with physics and chemistry. This author well remembers the prevailing view when he attended university 50 years ago: Humans were simply complex lumps of protein molecules wired with nerves who made conditioned responses to stimuli bombarding them from the physical world. Human behavior could therefore be reprogrammed through the “scientific” methods of “behavior modification.” One day it would be possible, with drugs and therapy, to reprogram the brains of criminals and overly aggressive political leaders and thus turn this world once again into paradise.