Saturday, December 17, 2016

If Morality Is Driven By Evolution, Why Not Government Or Economics

The Darwinian approach to morality is to claim that human notions of good and evil evolve over time using the same mechanisms as any standard physical attribute or mutation. In a previous post, I said this seemed like rubbish to me, but let's extend it a bit.

Short summary of previous post: The data doesn't look like the product of evolution. It oscillates all over the place. Further, the mechanisms don't make sense. If I get a willing coed back to my dorm room and I'm 19, I'm not thinking about making choices that are best for society, I'm thinking about making choices that are best for me right now.

Morality is loads of fun because it leads to discussions of sex and sex is what we really want to talk about*. However, if we're going to take evolution out into regions where it doesn't belong - culture and society - why not take it to politics and economics? If it's in society's best interests that you get married before having children and stay married after, isn't it also in society's best interests if you pursue policies that lead to wealth and freedom?

Isn't Venezuela a worse place to propagate the next generation of gene-carriers than Canada?

If evolution governed broader aspects of the species like these, wouldn't the data look, well, evolutionish? How do we keep getting socialist basket cases, oligarchic kleptocracies and theocratic loony bins?

It seems to me like the same rules that apply to Darwinian selection in the wild are at work both here and in the case of morality. People are doing what's right for them right now. Whether that's college kids hooking up or the Democratic National Committee engineering the candidacy of a hopelessly corrupt statist, bad decisions in a societal sense are good decisions for each person.

Evolution works when a preponderance of individual mutations go in a certain direction because they pay off. In these cases, the individual mutations pay off for the individuals, but not for society.

Finally, my understanding of science is that you start with the data and make hypotheses about it. You don't start with the hypotheses and mold the data to fit it. I can't imagine that anyone looking at human morality, government or economics data over, say, 1,000 years, would come to a conclusion that there was some kind of evolutionary activity taking place.

Sorry, Francis. This didn't work out so well. It would have, had evolution governed human behavior, but it doesn't.
* - This is why we focus on mentally ill men who think they're women instead of mentally ill men who think they're Napoleon.

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