We all know at least something about the physical theory of evolution. According to the theory we all evolved from one celled organisms getting gradually more and more complex, creating new species, until eventually humans were created. This theory has a twin that is less well known. Some believe that
Darwinian Evolution applies to morality as well. According to them our behavior is in our genes. This would mean that people get evil for much of the same reasons some folks have cystic fibrosis. We don’t blame people with cystic fibrosis, so according to this theory we shouldn’t blame evil people.
I say what is justice? Why do our very souls cry out for it when we hear about awful crimes? The need for justice is universal. In all countries we send people who do evil things to prisons, not hospitals like we would if the person had a genetic disease.
Yes, we do have inborn instincts that pull us in certain ways, they can side track us when we see our favorite food, they tempt us to have sex, make us want to smack someone. However, often obeying these instincts are the opposite of moral behavior. Eating whenever we want makes us guilty of gluttony, having sex with someone who is not our spouse breaks up families and for most of the history of man has been considered immoral. Smacking the boss when he or she is being a jerk is immoral. Yet all those immoral acts are instinctual.
When our kids are little, they don’t naturally say please and thank you. They grab without thought. It isn’t until we have trained them how to behave that they say please, and thank you. If morality were in our DNA, training would not be necessary.
In order for human morality to be genetic, it would have to be able to break down morality into motives, and be able to tell the difference between an accidental behavior and one that was done on purpose. Circumstances often dictate the morality of an action. Is it wrong to cut someone? That depends. Are you a doctor trying to help? Are you trying to steal someone’s stuff? Is the person that you are cutting trying to hurt an innocent person? Did you fall with a knife in your hand? In each of the four scenarios, the behavior is the same, but motives dictate the morality of the behavior. Our instincts do not seem to interpret behavior, even in our court trials we have something called temporary insanity. The definition of temporary insanity is: An unsoundness of the mind which the law recognizes as freeing one from responsibility for committing a crime. This happens when something is terrible enough to cut off our mind, and let our genetic instincts take over. So allowing our DNA to make our moral decisions is considered insanity. Thus our DNA can’t be responsible for moral behavior.
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If you want to know more about how modern day morality works, and how you can combat those bad ideas with grace and wisdom, you can purchase
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air
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