evolution is immoral

A point made by many proponents of the Biblical creation story over modern scientific explanations for the diversity of life will use the argument that evolution lays the basis for an “immoral” view of the world.

Supporters of the accepted scientific model will hit back that the above argument is simply a logical fallacy. That is true. There is nothing in an argument saying “evolution is immoral” that would show evolution to have not created us, any more than there is scientific merit in saying we think lava is too harmful and violent to be the source of rocks. Lots of things are immoral, unconscionable. It doesn’t mean those things don’t exist and should be denied.

Morality is not tied to nature, and simply stems from human feelings and philosophy. Those latter things are good, and they actively battle against nature, quite literally. Morality doesn’t govern the animal kingdom and is not observed throughout the universe. It certainly doesn’t exist outside of areas governed by humans, it absolutely doesn’t exist on Mars. It certainly had no part in the origin of life, when it first arose on a barren planet.

However, despite it being a fallacy, and a rather ridiculous one as I have demonstrated, the assertion that knowing about evolution could be the basis of an immoral worldview does have at least some merit. Discoveries about the origin of the species did lead to the wantonly unethical practice of eugenics, although that practice is in no way firmly advocated in the writings of Charles Darwin.

Eugenics is about trying to create a so-called superior human, usually a superior race, through selective breeding. Darwin actually lamented that selective breeding in animals had been absolutely useless in creating any kind of superior animal because the process of artificial selection (as opposed to natural selection) can only ever be governed by superficiality and human affections. Breeders lack the kind of omniscience that nature itself has when it comes to selecting against a creature’s weaknesses and selecting for its strengths. It’s only when the force of nature is the executioner, Darwin would argue, that animals truly adapt and become better survivors.

Evolution is perceived wrongly by almost everyone, whether they are fans or haters of Darwin. Much of what Darwin wrote was indeed incorrect, by the way, and modern biologists are in no way “Darwinist”. Their understanding of evolution is much greater, and is largely based on genetics instead of the crude sorts of theory used in Darwin’s very old book.

Evolution is the result of an incomprehensible number of deaths and births by innumerable creatures, suffering multiplied trillions of times. It was those deaths of weaker creatures that pressured organisms, including humans, to take their form with a sufficient number of generations. It is indeed immoral and it is discomforting to think about. To think we creatures only live because we made something else die. But I also wouldn’t say being bolted together and brought to life like Pinnochio is any more comforting or more moral. Almost any creation story or fact about humans will seem perverse to humans, but that is irrelevant to whether or not such things are accurate.

No aspect of any religion is threatened by, or in turn threatens, existing biological theories. As already mentioned, all the political and religious fascinations about evolution or “Darwinism”, whether for or against, are simply based on not even knowing what these things mean in the first place, or exaggerating them.

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