2/11/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsHello Everybody, this is my first post am I'm very excited to do so. I cut and pasted it from my research, so I hope it transfers well. The story behind this; I am a freshman at a university in Arkansas. My chemistry teacher mentioned something about Darwin's theory that got my mind working, so I wrote a hypothesis to see where I could go with it. It was a pleasure to write and I hope you all enjoy it.
I'm considering more research on this matter, which will be enormous fun, especially with so many like minded people on this site to bounce ideas off of. Please bear in mind this is very rough and needs exorbitant amounts of research.
Have a good day, guys :)
The Morality of Evolution
A Hypothesis by
I was recently enlightened to the fact that Darwin’s theory of evolution is in fact a theory; something that has been proven numerous times. This being said, it is still a theory, and lacks the grounding to make it into Scientific Law. I am very intrigued by this point, and wish to construct a hypothesis regarding evolution and one of the determining factors, the morality of man.
I’ve often been told that evolutionary theory does nothing to explain man’s nature and goodwill, or lack thereof. I believe that Darwin’s theory can in fact explain man’s nature, his general sense of right and wrong, and his morality in general.
Hypothesis: The morality of man is a product of evolution. I.E; Man has developed a desire to perpetuate his own survivability based on millions of years of trial, error, lack of law, and implementation of unorthodox practices that did not enhance the survivability of man.
The immorality of man can be explained by the introduction of unrealistic and unscientific ideology into the minds of the masses.
(Please bear in mind that I am not attempting to defend of denounce anybody’s ideology, I only seek to explore the unanswered questions, and seek answers to those questions.)
Part I: the morality of man as it relates to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
How can Darwin’s theory explain man’s sense of right and wrong? I think this is a very simple question to answer, that answer being survivability. In order for man to continue his evolution beyond sticks and stones, he not only needed to develop tools and methods of construction and ease of living; he also needed to develop law and order. This law and order, something that could almost be considered scientific evolution in itself, is something that has taken thousands of years to perfect and hone. Just as the grizzly bear naturally knows to eat berries during times of food scarcity because of thousands of years of this practice, I believe man automatically knows that the murder, maiming, or harming of another human being is something that is threatening to the survival of his race. This evolutionary code has been ingrained so deeply within us, that we never feel the desire to harm another, just as the Grizzly never feels the desire to commit fratricide. Simply put, we wouldn’t have made it this far if we were still beating each other over the heads with rocks.
I stated earlier that our system of laws is something that could be considered an evolutionary practice, and I would like to elaborate that point. A good example of this would be Hammurabi’s Code, probably the historical basis for our own laws that are in effect today. But the emergence of Hammurabi’s code was not a perfect system of laws; it was in fact very flawed. But it did serve to perpetuate the survivability and comfort of men during those times. If you didn’t want your hand cut off, you didn’t steal anything. As time passed, and as our morality evolved, we gained a sense of balance concerning the laws and punishments coinciding with those laws. This balance could simply be explained by the inevitability of our own intelligence increasing.
These simple examples do not explain the anomalies within our society, for instance; individuals that revel in the harm, torture, rape, murder, and maiming of other human beings. Some of these things could be explain by biological inconsistencies in the development of human beings. Examples would be mental diseases and retardation. Just as somebody with Cystic Fibrosis is a victim of some bad chromosomes, so is a serial killer. (Please note that I do not consider Serial Killer’s victims of any moral sort, only biological anomalies.)
Part II: The immorality of man as it relates to the introduction of unorthodox ideologies.
Admittedly, for me to consider that creationism is not the answer to our morality, but it is in the fact the answer to our immorality is bold, but the explanations come all too easily. First, I think that one needs to explore the idea that creationism and the acceptance of a creator and an afterlife is directly prohibitive to the biological evolution that we are all, (in theory), a product of. Firstly, let’s look at life and death.
It is common knowledge amongst all men that we are going to die. I know I’m going to die, you know you’re going to die, simply put; our time here within our perception is limited. What does this realization cause though? If looked at biologically, I believe it should create a desire to succeed, remain healthy, and accomplish as much as we possibly can within the realm of our limited exposure to this planet. Now let us introduce an unorthodox ideology that completely negates biological evolution; we are not truly going to die, we are only going to go to sleep, and wake up somewhere else. What does this cause? Biological Chaos, I believe. Not only are we no longer motivated to seek the best possible existence we can, the immorality of ending somebody else’s existence seems only minimal if that individual does not truly die, only passes on to something greater. To you and I, individuals who are healthy in mind and body, it is hard to grasp this concept, that murder is not truly immoral, only partially wrong. But to one who does not fully grasp the reality of their existence, I think that the idea of fratricide could possibly be perpetuated by the belief in an afterlife.
War. This is a major and quite possibly the most important part of the immorality clause of this hypothesis. What is war a product of? Quite often war is a product of religious affiliation. The killing of another human for reasons that span beyond our own existence. Now please keep in mind that war can often be a product of territorial issues, but this is biological in nature. One must protect their own territory, and does not seek the death and murder of the intruding party, only their exit. When two grizzlies fight over territory, they don’t seek to murder; only force the exit of the other party. This same idea can be applied to man in their plight to defend or seek new territory.
But war on religious terms? This act is completely absent of all biological evolutionary theory. Men seeking to murder other men because their beliefs do not align with each other is something that is completely absent in nature and completely absent of all other biological entities on our planet. Examples of religious conflict are rampant within the history books, and none can deny the true cause of these conflicts, a belief that one man’s god is better than the others. The easiest example to bring to light is the Crusades, all eight of them. For hundreds of years, men fought to the bitter end to prove ultimately…nothing. Biological evolution does not explain the motivation of these wars, but the implementation of unorthodox ideologies does. Whether the war is religious on the surface, such as the crusades, or only subtly, I believe that most every human conflict to date can in some way be described as the desire the kill another group of human beings because their beliefs do not align.
Finally, let’s look at murder in general. According to Christianity, the first murder was committed by Cain, the murder of his brother Abel. But why did Cain murder Abel? Because God didn’t dig his sacrifice. From a young age, I always questioned why God would allow this to happen, why God would knowingly disapprove of Cain’s gift and allow the murder of Abel. As I grew, I begin to just believe that this murder was God’s fault, until I ultimately shed the ideology completely. But one could look at this biblical example of the first murder for religious reasons as an allegory of the tendency of men to commit fratricide. Cain murdered Abel because God didn’t approve.
Aside from obvious religious motivations to the murder of another human being, I.E: The Manson Family, 9/11, Timothy McVeigh, etc., murders committed as crimes of passion could genuinely be explained as a desire to punish another human being because they have strayed from God’s Law. A good example would be the Matthew Shephard murder in Laramie, Wyoming. Biological Law does not condone the killing of another human being, only God’s Law does.
I’d like to close this rough hypothesis by stating some obvious holes in my idea. The first and foremost being:
If Morality is a product of evolution and immorality is a product of creationism, then who is the biological anomaly that came up with creationism? This is something that I believe would send even the most adept Philosophers into fits, and will require much historical and theological study.
How could you explain the death of men as they relate to territorial disputes and other biological means of dispute? Simply put, I’m not bringing a knife to a gunfight.
What about the death penalty, and the destruction of human beings for their obvious transgressions against men. Why waste time baby-sitting a biological anomaly?
What about the biblical works being used as a basis for creating laws within a society, such as Muslim Shariah Law. I feel it’s very obvious that these systems are inherently flawed, and often cause more harm than good.
It is obvious that this idea is vast and to some, very illogical. But that’s what scientific testing is for. Thank you for your time in reading this.