Is the moral sense determined by biological evolution? I guess it depends on how dear you hold your morals to you. As Steven Pinker has written, “Morality is not just any old topic in psychology but close to our conception of the meaning of life. It increases creativity by creating different points of view. For well over two millennia, philosophers and theologians assumed that morality presupposed compliance to a set of ideals used for the regulation of human conduct, in consideration for other individuals with whom a moral agent shared his or her social space. In virtue of being human you must make choices about how to live, how to relate to others, and to relate to the greater social and political character of living in a … A necessary action beyond conscious control is not a moral action: the circulation of the blood and the process of food digestion are not moral actions. Ethics is produced by evolution but is not justified by it.”. A hodgepodge of rules catering to different intuitions, people and times, for even without metaphysical morality, moral intuitions persist. Our high intelligence allows us to anticipate the consequences of our actions with respect to other people and, thus, to judge them as good or evil in terms of their consequences for others. But moral codes, I argue, are not products of biological evolution but rather of cultural evolution. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Gene-culture coevolution in the age of genomics, Adaptive specializations, social exchange, and the evolution of human intelligence, Language and complexity: Evolution inside out, The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence (sociality and language), Explaining human uniqueness: Genome interactions with environment, behaviour and culture, The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Conformity to cultural norms of tool use in chimpanzees, Not by Genes Alone. Morality or ethics is an essential, necessary, and inescapable part of being human. Our laws refer to universal moral rights and wrongs. On what basis, even, can such a person condemn murder, rape or child abuse? Do People Who Do Evil Things In The World (And Get Away With It) Face Any Kind Of Karma Or Judgment After They Die? 14 in first College Football Playoff rankings of 2020. I have asserted that patterns of actions beneficial to the tribe or social group might, in humans, be favored by natural selection. Surely, human intellectual capacities came about by gradual evolution. For Darwin, the ethnographic diversity of moral customs and rules came about as an adaptive response to the environmental and historical conditions, unique in every different place, without necessarily implying that morality was an acquired, rather than natural, human trait. The answer lies in our mental design. Evolutionary biologists define exaptations as features of organisms that evolved because they served some function but are later co-opted to serve an additional or different function, which was not originally the target of natural selection. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law … which shew the work of the law written in their hearts” (Romans 2:14-15). Hopefully we can get that done," Kalani Sitake said. Our intuitions, which have survived millennia of natural selection, can. When creative language may have come about in human evolution is discussed in ref. The theory of sociobiology advances a ready answer to the second question raised above, whether morality occurs in other animals, even if only as a rudiment. If we don’t clarify terms, we risk hampering the field, confusing the public, and possibly losing a technology that may help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will — or in the metaphysical roots of evolution or any other part of the framework of the Universe. An even closer analogy is the human urge to adopt a child.”.
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