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Morality: Evolutionary Indecency

February 28, 2011 25 comments

I was reading this article about morality and was shocked. I’ve heard morality argued as a product of evolution, but have never read it in depth or really met someone who agreed with that argument. Somehow this thought has survived, and I’d like to address how that is a misuse of the science of evolution, and what the implications of evolved morality would be. By the end of this blagopost I’m sure all of you will find the idea of morality as a facet of evolution to be immoral.

First the science of evolution notes patterns in changes of the limited fossil record we have in our present day. Also, the theory relies on the knowledge of existing organisms as they are today and what we know of DNA mapping. Together scientists have concluded the theory of evolution. There have been many speculations on how life could have originated, but that is not a part of the theory of evolution. Evolution is a good solid conclusion- a best guess, based on the evidence presented. It should be treated like what it is not as some master truth that redefines the way the world turns.
To build another series of speculation about morality on top of the theory of evolution, and treat it as absolute truth is faulty logic. I am not familiar with how scientists feel about morality being tacked on to evolution, but I’d like to know, if you have a good source, please share. It would be my opinion that it is an abuse of the science. The fossil record, and DNA mapping, so far, have not told us why or how we define right and wrong, or any sense of morality. That is the truth of the science.

What are the implications of evolved morality? Well, morality would then be as diverse as all the organisms on earth. In such case right and wrong is hereditary. In fact everyone’s inclinations to do right or wrong is not their fault, but their DNA’s. To that extent people could have moral ethnicity. To say a right and wrong is to discriminate against certain ethnicities. Depending on the way your amino acids are grouped, we could have completely different senses of morality. What’s absolutely right for you could be absolutely wrong for me. Of course that would be an extreme case, and the actual range of fluctuation would be much smaller. But it becomes a possibility. What happens with genetic variation, or a deviation? Are there moral atavisms? Some people are born with tails, others want to eat their children, it’s all a matter of their genetics…
I disagree. This ideas rejects the idea of morality in general. Morality is about right and wrong. This makes right and wrongs subjective (not as a choice, but varying without rigid boundaries). This idea eliminates responsibility, and accountability. We no longer have to own up to our actions- they are all right depending on your genetics, right? The only way to make this idea work is to use so many qualifiers that the original thought is murdered. It would become like IRS tax codes and no one could actually figure our what’s right and wrong.

A misconception about Christian Morality is that the bible is the source. That is incorrect. The bible does shed a lot of light, and truth on many matters of right and wrong. It brings perspective. But the bible is not telling us right and wrong, it is using the morality already instilled in us, and pointing out correct thinking in a world where many thoughts and ideas are there to distract us from the truth. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” was not a message to an army, but to individuals. As an individual, don’t go around killing people. Pretty good thought. Yeah, it’s obvious, I know, but still there are murderers. Perhaps if people didn’t murder each other God wouldn’t have to tell us not to. I used to work at an after school program. During homework time we had 3 rules. Every day at the beginning of homework time I would go over the rules with my students again. After a while they started to hate it. So I told them plainly, “I’m not doing this to because you don’t know the rules, I’m doing it because you don’t follow the rules. If you follow the rules, I won’t have to tell you them.” In the same way, God didn’t define morality in the bible, he merely pointed out what we already knew so that hopefully we would actually do it. So, don’t go around killing people. But when people are disrespecting God, have been for generations, and are living immoral and empty lives, then God will stop it. In some extreme cases he will resort to genocide. Let me say to the writer of the article that it was not one priest who ever made those kind of decisions. I don’t think he understands how God commanded his people. It was not like cutting open a goat and reading it’s entrails. I repeat, not like that. Also the article writer claims that priests disagreed. Sure they did, but did they disagree on going to war? No. There is no record of that in the bible, which contains the source that the wars happened.
Also, just for fun, I’d like to add something more. If morality is indeed genetic, then the Jewish people might have had an odd little deformity that made it okay to go to war and kill a lot of people. Just saying… but I don’t believe that. And honestly the genocide and killing in the bible is at some points a stumbling block to me. Honestly if God is not real then the things described in the bible are awful. If God is real, on the other hand, they are more than acceptable, but preferred. Praise God I was not asked to kill, and never will be. It’s hard to get a cultural understanding in today’s society when war is not out of necessity for life- at least not for me.

In conclusion: Rock on.

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Defining Atheism #3

February 5, 2011 22 comments

Apparently this a hot topic. When antitheism is scrutinized it seems to ruffle some feathers. It’s getting kind of fun. I’m going to take a step back for this one and simply make a case for antitheism as a truth claim. Truth has become a volatile word loaded with assumption and accusations. Mosters of Folk have a great song “Man Named Truth” that literally says “Never listen to a man named truth”. I think that pretty accurately reflects modern treatment toward truth, and it’s a great song.
First, what does antitheism imply as a truth claim. Well first, it is a very significant part of a worldview. Antitheism says absolute reality is what is observable to the sense, and science. In short, naturalism is fundamental. That is a truth claim. I am all for nature as reality, but I reject it as absolute reality, and thus reject the truth claim of antitheism.