Originally Posted by doggin94it
BTW, Finlee - this points to the problem of taking evolutionary theory and applying it to morality. Evolution is a process that works on societal levels through mechanisms that impact individuals (i.e. mutation hits, passes on a genetic advantage, the individuals who possess that trait survive at higher rates, species eventually incorporates that trait). But though evolution happens at a species level, that occurs because in the run-up to species level evolution the new trait provides an advantage to individuals.
Morality simply doesn't work like that. If the benefits of morality are societal (such as your hypothesis with respect to the survival benefit of charity), then individual moral outliers won't receive any advantage and therefore there is no internal mechanism for propagating the evolving morality.
WowÖ you tossed a lot at me. To begin, evolution does not affect individuals. It operates at the population level. Individuals mutate, populations evolve. Overtime populations become reproductively isolated and diverge taxonomically creating new species. Certain mechanisms operate at different levels. Mutations creates variation at the individual level, natural selection (evolution) selects traits at the population level. There really is no species level like youíre using the term. There are species, but species represent taxonomic classification based on morphology, genetics, and phylogeny. As populations become reproductively isolated and begin to differ in measurable traits, they will diverge and we categorize them into species. Basically, Iím trying to say evolutionary theory isnít the problem, peopleís lack of understanding of evolution is. I just wanted to defend the alternative explanation of morality that is independent of the supernatural.
So, the crux of our conversation is objective morality and Godís relation to it. I stated that moral value is independent of God and youíre stance is that without God as an objective source of morality and moral authority, there would be no consistency of moral values because of cultural differences. First, Iím still confused as to why you apply ďobjectivityĒ to the supernatural. Second, child rape, crazy Islamists fighting crazy Christians, and Nazis is too much for me to get into about objective and subjective morality. I think reducing all these hypothetical questions to two competing hypotheses would be more constructive.
Hypothesis A: God is the objective source of morality and moral authority.
Hypothesis B: God doesnít exist and cannot be the source of morality and moral authority.
If A is correct, then Iíll go with what God has to say.
If B is correct, then we really are alone on this rock. The reality is, any sensible and rational person would tell you that child rape, violent fundamentalists, and fascists are immoral and represent sociopaths who exploit the weak. Additionally, power does not equal morality. So in this situation, I would say that our moral value arises from risks and vulnerabilities from the collision of contradictory ideas and values, from conflict, from people trying to live better than their forefathers and how we respond to those vulnerabilities and capacities in others. In this case, evolutionary theory does provide an alternative hypothesis to God.
And that brings us back to your hypothetical questions. I donít believe in God and find B to be complex, sensible, and generally right. So, without God as my moral compass, I donít condone child rape, religious fundamentalism, or genocide. However, since you argue for A. What are you going to do when youíre walking down the sidewalk and you lose faith and you no longer believe in God? Do you push the old lady into on-coming traffic or do you walk around her?