Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Evolution of Morality

Can morality be justified apart from God? Some would say morality can be produced by evolution. That there are evolutionary advantages to cooperation as well as competition, and therefore evolution would have produced in us behaviors that would fit those demanded by morality. Now I have serious reservations about the whole idea of evolution. But the question is, will it, even if true, solve this problem? The answer is, no, because this evinces a total misunderstanding of what morality is. The whole point of morality is that it requires a person to behave a particular way even if they do not happen to feel like it. If someone cuts me off when I am driving and I have no desire to honk the horn and yell at them, fine and well. But what I need is something that will tell me not to honk the horn and yell at them even if I want to. People just acting naturally will not be as bad as they possibly could be. But this is not morality. If anyone honestly examines their heart, they will find a multitude of cases where they would behave much worse then they do if they did not have the clear conviction they should behave in a certain way, even if they do not want to.

But there another problem here. Evolution is put forth as a scientific theory, and a scientific theory can only say what will happen, not what ought to happen. Gravity says that objects will be attracted to the center of the earth. Does that mean it is wrong to jump or produce airplanes? Even if evolution, as a theory, suggests that animals (including humans) tend to behave in a certain way, it cannot require me to behave in that way if I do not happen to want to. You can say evolution is about passing on your genes to the next generation, and therefore, you should have as many children as possible, and homosexuality and celibacy are both sins against the evolutionary principle. But I doubt you will convince many people on that basis.

Now you can just throw out the whole idea of morality. But I have found this is a very hard thing for a human being to do. They may throw out the ideas of sexual restraint and respect for unborn children. But they will come back with an obligation to protect the environment and help the poor. And I have to ask, if morality is just an illusion accidentally conjured up by some past error of the past, why we cannot reject it. And if it is real, how we can justify it without a Lawgiver? But evolution can only give us an (in I my opinion inadequate) explanation of the error. It cannot by any means justify morality as a correct principle.       

No comments:

Post a Comment