Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Serial Killer: “Evolution Kills”

After I posted this video about how serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, blamed evolution for his conduct, a Facebooker took issue. I responded:

You wrongly claim that evolution provides us with an adequate reason to act morally:

·       “I would argue that understanding evolution has the opposite effect, let me explain:

·       As far as we know, we only have one life and we share this planet with billions of other life-forms that have the exact same purpose as we do. We're no better or no worse than any other individual, ESPECIALLY not other human individuals.”

“Better” is a value judgment. Since evolution denies that life has a purpose, claiming that everything just happened without design or purpose, you have no basis to talk about “better.” Better for what?

You are claiming that humans are essentially equal. However, you have no basis for this claim either. When we look at humans through evolutionary eyes, we see commonalities but also differences – sexual, racial, physical, mental…  Evolution has no basis to say that some are not more evolved than others.

You also claimed that because humans are social, evolution has provided morality through this:

·       “We're a social species and couldn't have evolved as a species without a sense of morality. It is plain and obvious when you ACTUALLY study evolution. There's no way around this.”

However, the fact that we have certain inclinations or moral feelings does not mean that we should follow them. Morality requires some concept of “ought” or moral obligation. An evolutionary understanding cannot provide this. There can be no basis for an “ought” in a meaningless world, apart from an “ought” that we arbitrarily and meaninglessly create for ourselves to fill the void. In fact, we have many dangerous feelings – murder, hatred, jealousy, lust…  Why not follow these? What can evolution possibly have against these instincts?

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