Saturday, May 11, 2013

Darwin And Morality

I just finished listening to the excellent book, The Darwin Myth. It's an unvarnished biography of the man which revealed some interesting bits.

Darwin was a devout atheist and a committed abolitionist. Darwin was also a kind and loving family man - the sort of fellow you'd be happy to invite over for dinner. In his personal life, he was an all-around good guy.

One of his biggest struggles was to reconcile godless evolution with a moral code consistent with the way he lived his life. He attempted to show that evolution leads to sympathy because sympathy is a competitively superior trait. As sympathy was prevalent around him and his (English) society was the top of the heap at the moment, sympathy must have been a contributing factor. Unfortunately for Darwin, his theory fights his own analysis.

Under godless Darwinism, if morality is part of evolution and evolutionary outcomes are the proof of the superior trait, then whatever the top society is doing right now must be considered to be superior to other alternatives. Looking back at history, there's no indication that evolution leads to sympathy or any other desirable moral quality.

The Roman Empire wasn't particularly sympathetic and they were top dogs for quite some time.


tim eisele said...

I don't know, KT. You seem to be taking up a position in this post that is at odds with things you've said before. You've said in the past that people who marry and follow moral lives are financially better off, and more likely to raise well-adjusted children who stay out of trouble, than people who lead immoral lives. And their children are in turn more likely to do the same.

The way I read it, this is nearly indistinguishable from what Darwin was saying. He's not saying that moral behavior guarantees success (and neither are you), but evolution is based on probabilities, not certainties.

So what exactly is your gripe with Darwin? It almost sounds to me as if you are down on him because somebody you respect told you that you should be, and not because you really have much of a fundamental disagreement with him.

K T Cat said...

Good question. We'll go into that later, but remember - Darwinism deals with species and races and the mechanisms are birth and death. Master those two and you win.