Recently Dr. Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at Oxford University's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, made some startling statements regarding children.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Dr. Barrett said, "The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children's minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose" ("Children Are Born Believers in God, Academic Claims," The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 25, 2008, emphasis added throughout).
Dr. Barrett indicated that children naturally believe in some sort of higher being. He further observed that "children's normally and naturally developing minds make them prone to believe in divine creation and intelligent design. In contrast, evolution is unnatural for human minds; relatively difficult to believe" (ibid.).
Dr. Barrett also notes that anthropologists have discovered that in some cultures in which teachings about a Creator are withheld from children, they nonetheless still believe in a divine being. He said, "If we threw a handful [of children] on an island and they raised themselves, I think they would believe in God" (ibid.).
Whatever Dr. Barrett's personal beliefs about creation and evolution may be, undoubtedly his observations will not be well-received by fellow academics and scientists steeped in the evolutionary viewpoint. After all, how could Darwinian evolution account for human beings having an inborn propensity to believe in a divine Creator?
This discussion raises the important issue of adult responsibility in teaching young people truth. The God who created human beings in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27) will hold both parents and teachers responsible for what they teach children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 22:6).
Should it be divine creation or evolution? Many do not understand that Darwinian evolution is still unproven theory—and really not established fact. For a comprehensive study of this important question, request or download our free booklet Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?
Our sister publication, Vertical Thought, regularly writes on these issues from a young person's perspective. If you have a teen or young adult, you may request a free subscription for him or her at www.verticalthought.org.