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Evolution is the foundation of an immoral worldview (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Evolution is the foundation of an immoral worldview (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CA001:

Evolution is the foundation of an immoral worldview.

Source: Moon, Rev. Sun Myung. 1990 (27 Mar.). Parents day and I.

CreationWiki response:

On the subject of morality, it is important to remember that there are two types of evolutionists:

  1. Those who believe in morals - some atheists and all theists
  2. Those who believe there is no such thing as morality (right and wrong) - some atheists

In establishing that "evolution is the foundation of an immoral worldview", there needs to be such a thing as immorality. It is uncommon for an atheist to admit that there is no such thing as morality. Therefore, this response will deal with those who acknowledge morality, and leave discussion of a worldview void of morality for a different page.

(Talk Origins quotes in blue)

1. Evolution is descriptive. It can be immoral only if attempting to accurately describe nature is immoral.

Evolution in and of itself is not immoral but it tends to remove the foundation for morality, thereby leading to immorality.

If evolution were true, then describing it would not be immoral. However, just as we have seen in the real world, this "description" has provided a convincing justification, if not a motivation, for the grossest immorality you can imagine in human history, including eugenics, genocides, and social Darwinism.

The act of describing, and any conclusions from that description, can be described as morally neutral only if the description is accurate.

2. Any morals derived from evolution would have to recognize the fact that humans have evolved to be social animals. In a social setting, cooperation and even altruism lead to better fitness (Wedekind and Milinski 2000). The process of evolution leads naturally to social animals such as humans developing ethical principles such as the Golden Rule.

There are some cases in which natural selection would favor cooperation and perhaps altruism. It is equally true, though, that natural selection has mostly favored the greedy, selfish, and sexually violent. In other words, any morals derived from evolution would have to recognise the fact that no behaviour can be considered right or wrong. Cooperation and altruism are no more or less virtuous than greed or selfishness in the grand scheme of history.

Even as an abstract argument, evolution reduces morality to just another biological attribute, a simple matter of predicating it on the condition that it "helps us survive". Any "moral code" then must get its basis in terms of "better fitness". And what is this basis in natural selection but survival and reproduction?

What argument can you use against the guy who wants to steal your car? "Don't do that, it's not in your genes"? "This is counter-productive to the survival of our gene pool?"

3. Some bad morals, such as eugenics and social Darwinism, are based on misunderstandings of evolution. Therefore, it is important that evolution be taught well to negate such misunderstandings.

The key to this argument is the word "some". It is irrelevant whether some immoral behaviour is based on a misunderstanding of evolution. The important thing is that some immorality does come logically from a correct understanding of evolution.

According to the theory of evolution itself, assuming its chief mate, natural selection, the rule is whatever aids survival and reproduction of the genes. As to the specific examples of eugenics, and its sibling racism and racial genocide, and social Darwinism, one only needs to use the subtitle of Darwin's "Origins.. And the Preservation of the Favored Races".

4. Despite claims otherwise, creationism has its own problems. For one thing, it is founded on religious bigotry, so the foundation of creationism, by most standards, is immoral.

This statement is blatantly false. See the response to It is bigotry to claim that the Bible/creation is right.

One does not have to be a Christian to accept the Biblical creation account. For example, a Jew or a Muslim should not have any problems with it.

Regardless, it is irrelevant whether Christianity promotes religious bigotry or not. Claiming this does absolutely nothing to refute the claim that evolution leads to an immoral worldview. The logical conclusions of Christianity are an independent topic to the logical conclusions of evolution.

5. Probably the most effective weapon against bad morals is exposure and publicity. Evolution (and science in general) is based on a culture of making information public.

Actually, the most effective weapon against bad morals is a firm foundation for good morals. Evolution removes the foundation for good morals, allowing those who do not want morals to exploit others.

6. Scientists are their own harshest critics. They have developed codes of ethical behavior for several circumstances, and they have begun to talk about a general ethics (Rotblat 1999). Creationists have nothing similar.

Many creationists are scientists, so a separate professional code of ethics is not needed. Furthermore, creationists have the Bible as a foundation of ethics, which is firmer than any discussion based on subjective (human) or faulty (evolutionary) foundations. Any claim about the nature of scientists applies to both creationists and evolutionists, unless it is first established that there are no creationist scientists.

7. Some people feel better about themselves by demonizing others. Those people who are truly interested in morals begin by looking for immorality within themselves, not others.

No disagreement here, but it also irrelevant as to the question of a relationship between Evolution and immorality.

Related References

See Also