Moral Passion by Evolutionists Makes No Sense
One needs a timeless, universal standard to declare what people should do. Evolution has no such thing.
The classic picture of the Scientist is a dispassionate person in a white lab coat looking at a test tube, then recording the data on a clipboard, which journals report in boring text. Real scientists are ordinary people with biases, passions and worldviews that color how they look at things. Quite often, they have strong feelings about what their fellow human beings should do. The word “should” implies moral standards.
Philosophers try to see if ideas comport with each other. Incongruent ideas are illogical by nature. Consider the conundrum of the evolutionary biologist (or any secular scientist, for that matter). Are their propositions consistent?
1. All things came into being without purpose or goal.
2. People should change their behavior.
There is no “should” word in the Stuff Happens Law of Darwinism. If the human race goes extinct, so be it. If the world heats up and we all die, tough luck. Stuff happens. Without a universal, timeless canon of right and wrong—a moral guide star—scientists’ opinions about what people should do have no force. They are just empty opinions that will evolve over time like everything else. Yet in spite of that foundational belief, scientists and journals frequently engage in “should-ing” everyone else. That makes no sense.
Greta’s Hellfire Sermon
A case in point is the widely-publicized outburst by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student partaker of the Students’ Climate Strike on September 20th. She spoke in urgent, tearful tones before the United Nations, demanding that the world fix climate change before we all die in 12 years, blaming adults for ruining the Earth and the future for her generation. Assuming she is an evolutionist, that makes no sense. Stuff happens. We all die. So what? Some conservative commentators judged her outburst a pathetic example of the results of indoctrination. Not so the left. Here we watch the major secular scientific establishments rush to follow her crusade, agreeing that human beings “should” fix the climate. Not to do so is a “moral failure,” they say.
An ethicist weighs in on our moral failure to act on climate change (The Conversation). In this piece, Monique Deveaux, ethicist at the University of Guelph, jumps to Greta’s defense, speaking about “moral responsibility.” No foundation for morals is provided.
Climate change: The girl inspired by Greta to help the planet (BBC News). Entranced by Greta’s outburst, the BBC featured another young girl doing her moral duty to “help the planet” in tangible, if not small, ways. It doesn’t matter if her efforts would not amount to a drop in the ocean; she means well. That’s a good moral thing, even if illogical.
Hundreds of thousands join children’s climate strikes in Europe (Phys.org). A headline like this could, scientifically, lead to an unbiased recounting of statistics. There is a distinct flavor, however, of moral euphoria in the article. Everybody is happy about the strike. The reporter speaks to no one who represents a contrary opinion, or thinks the strike is misguided. It harks back to the Children’s Crusade of 1212 that ended in dismal failure, with children starving along the way or getting sold into slavery by Muslim pirates, despite the well-wishers who had cheered them on at the start. Note the similarities:
It was easy for an hysterical boy to be infected with the idea that he too could be a preacher and could emulate Peter the Hermit, whose prowess had during the past century reached a legendary grandeur. Undismayed by the King’s indifference, he began to preach at the very entrance to the abbey of Saint-Denis and to announce that he would lead a band of children to the rescue of Christendom. The seas would dry up before them, and they would pass, like Moses through the Red Sea, safe to the Holy Land. He was gifted with an extraordinary eloquence. Older folk were impressed, and children came flocking to his call. After his first success he set out to journey round France summoning the children; and many of his converts went further afield to work on his behalf. They were all to meet together at Vendôme in about a month’s time and start out from there to the East….
Neurologist explains why Greta Thunberg is so powerful (Phys.org). A dispassionate scientist could evaluate the Greta phenomenon in unbiased terms, explaining why her words were influential in the same way a crow’s caw might cause a reaction in the flock. But the piece is filled with morality words: moral intuitions, moral framing, moral conflict, moral sensitivities, moral narratives, and moral systems. But if such morals are only “moral systems humans have developed,” they are merely cultural conventions for the present time. As such, they could evolve into other moral systems, like bright shiny things that catch the attention of packrats. There’s no beef in such moral systems, no force that should cause people to change their ways.
Are We Really Running Out of Time to Stop Climate Change? (Live Science). Rafi Letzter agrees that climate science is too complex to boil down to a 12-year deadline, but reasons that using the 12-year number is justifiable if it promotes action. Do those ideas comport with each other? Should governments and scientists use immorality (lying) to promote morality (saving the earth)? On what basis?
Other Moral Murmurings in Science
Wealthy Couple Gives UCLA $20 Million to Find the ‘Antidote’ to an Unkind World (Live Science). How did kindness evolve? Is it a timeless, universal principle in Darwinism? Certainly not. Evolution just as strongly promotes survival of the fittest, selfishness, and nature red in tooth and claw (listen to a reading from Matti Leisola’s book Heretic on ID the Future about how Darwinism, like phlogiston theory, explains opposite things). Oblivious to this incongruence, reporter Nicoletta Lanese embraces the touchy-feely view, rejoicing that the UCLA evolutionists are only so happy to take the money and spend it to support inconsistent ideas.
The scholars have settled on a definition of kindness, according to the Los Angeles Times: Kindness is “an act that enhances the welfare of others as an end in itself.” Though performing acts of kindness reportedly benefits the do-gooder by reducing their stress levels and risk of succumbing to infection or serious illness, good deeds should be intended to benefit the recipient alone. Kindness requires selflessness, and humans require kindness to succeed as a species, said Daniel Fessler, UCLA anthropology professor and the institute’s inaugural director.
Where does altruism come from? Discovery of ‘greenbeard’ genes could hold the answer (The Conversation). Here comes another attempt to explain away true selfless behavior using Darwinian storytelling. In this instance of that broken record, Laurence Belcher (U of Bath) belches out an old story plot by Richard Dawkins: the “greenbeard gene” theory. An individual that has a prominent or unusual trait like a green beard, the story goes, gives a signal that directs altruistic behavior to others in the population with the trait, and is therefore more likely to pass on its weird beard gene. (This plot works for algae as well as humans.) But as Belcher burps out at the end of his article, such a gene could just as easily have a dark side and promote selfish behavior. So what is the answer to “Where does altruism come from?” Belcher surely doesn’t know, nor do other Darwin storytellers.
The study of greenbeard genes is still very much in its infancy, and we don’t truly know how widespread and important they are in nature. In general, kinship has a special place at the heart of the evolution of altruism, because it is through helping relatives that a gene can ensure it is helping copies of itself. Perhaps our focus on the enigmatic social lives of birds and mammals has driven this view, as the social lives of these groups tend to revolve around families. But the story could be very different for microbes and marine invertebrates.
It all depends on the species, in other words. There is certainly no moral ‘content’ to whatever happens in algae, microbes, birds, mammals, or humans. Along that line, evolutionary altruism is a contradiction in terms: at its core, altruistic actions are mere manifestations of Darwinian selfishness.
Ideological differences in the expanse of the moral circle (Nature Communications). Jonathan Haidt and three friends are still at it, trying to explain human morality in evolutionary terms. He’s been trying for a long time (2007, 2012). Here, he and his buddies decide that “liberals, relative to conservatives, express greater moral concern toward friends relative to family, and the world relative to the nation.” But of course he’s going to support that idea; he’s a liberal. He wants to look good. Nothing more needs to be considered in his empty claims, despite 103 instances of the word “moral” in the paper, because his ideas are incongruent from the get-go. If morality evolves, it is not moral. It’s cultural convention. What’s moral today could be immoral tomorrow, or in another culture. Nobody could judge either as better.
Don’t waste time on elitist gobbledegook. The Bible provides a timeless, universal moral compass. Some Bible followers will make moral mistakes, but it’s not the compass’s fault. But if someone talking morality has no timeless, universal, certain moral compass, nothing but nonsense will come of it.
When a secularist does act consistent with Bible morality, it’s only due to the conscience that was put into all human hearts by the Creator, who implanted His image in all humans. That conscience is defiled and corrupted, and sometimes can be seared beyond repair. Its presence, however, is the only thing that explains the universal recognition that some things are inherently right, and other things are inherently wrong. In evolution, morality makes no sense at all.