Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Morality & Evolution

From the naturalistic perspective, there might be instinctive 'morality', based on survival of the herd. That might be the source of altruistic behavior, or at least that is a plausible explanation. And of course, the basic rights to life & property can be seen as social expediency. Anti social behavior, such as killing others, or stealing their stuff, is not a positive for a healthy herd, so the 'instinct' to protect the individual's basic rights *can* be explained as a learned instinct.. something that evolved to improve the survival of the herd.

But i see a problem with that. If 'survival' is the only engine for morality, even from the herd's perspective, how did the larger social morality evolve? The stronger should be the survivors, not the weak & powerless. Why would any altruistic behavior from the strong toward the weak evolve, if it based purely on survival? Humans were not in such large 'herds' in past times. We were smaller tribal/family units, that constantly warred with other tribes & families. Civilization brought the larger sense of morality, that extended beyond the tribal power. Og of the river tribe might take his cousin Thag's goat, & if he is bigger & stronger, who can say he can't do that? If the patriarch Ung intervenes, & makes Og give the goat back, & threatens the collective strength of HIS power, Og must comply, or take off & build his own tribe, with his own power as the core of the new unit. So why would Ung intervene in such a dispute? He needs the power of Og to keep his tribe strong, not weaken it with altruistic delusions. I don't see any way morality could 'evolve' in basic human tribal units. I see it as much deeper than that. There IS an instinctive sense of morality, but i cannot see how it came about from naturalist processes. That is the conundrum of naturalism. How do you explain morality?

Religion brought the concept of a Higher Power, with the added baggage of morality, not instincts. IOW, religion came first, as the driver of morality. Without the appeal to a higher power, & using the collective strength to force compliance with the strong, STRENGTH is the only virtue. Perhaps religion could have been just a scam by the weak, to con the strong, & it furthered scheming and intelligence as a method of survival. Physically weak people could manipulate the strong by deception, & so 'morality' was born. Atouk could threaten Og with eternal torment, if he took his stuff, & that was the deterrent. If it worked, does Atouk's craftiness gain him supremacy? That is a plausible explanation of religion, but it does not explain the universal tendency in ALL humans for this. Some would have evolved with strength as the highest virtue, & collective strength would be a formidable force. Plus, as intelligence 'evolved' as the naturalists tell us, why would not the naturalistic view gain supremacy, & return back to strength as the central virtue over altruism?

The origin of morality is almost like, 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' Did religion & the concept of a higher power give birth to morality, or did instinctive morality give birth to religion? I can see it either way, from a purely logical standpoint. So it comes back full circle to a belief. Naturalism or Higher Power?

But i will submit that the 'higher power' view has been the major driver of human morality. You might be able to explain morality by instinctive processes, but that does not ensure its survival. As amoral views run amok in a culture, & any sense of a higher power & accountability go out the window, strength returns to its rightful place as the ultimate virtue. The breakdown of western culture is easily seen as driven by moral relativism, & the rejection of moral absolutes. Instead of the instincts remaining intact, they are tossed aside for convenience & the more base drives in humanity. The drive for food, stuff, sex.. these are no longer tempered by a sense of morality, but are given free reign in animalistic expression. So it seems, by observation, that morality must be taught.. instilled in the people as the most basic driver of the culture, or man easily slips back to purely animal instincts. One need look no further than urban ghettos to see this phenomenon in action.

Religious institutions are common in urban areas. But they are no match for the daily indoctrination from the education system, pounding their amoral drum of naturalism & moral relativism. So morality is lost, ignored, rejected, or viewed as something for the weak & stupid.

I am trying to follow the CONSEQUENCES of ideology in this article. There are evidences, both anthropological, & currently observed that seem to indicate a correlation between a healthy, thriving civilization & morality. When morality breaks down, so does the culture. Where morality is revered, those cultures thrive. And the naturalistic view does not esteem moral absolutes. They cannot explain them, or promote them with any credibility. They will try to say, 'why can't we all just get along?' or make other baseless appeals to 'be good', but with no foundation, they are hollow calls for civility. And even when a culture has a foundation of morality, constant undermining of it with naturalistic ideology eventually kills the morality, which is what we are seeing in western culture.

Why is that? There are no rules. Morality & law are inventions of our own minds.

This is the root message of naturalism, even if they SAY, 'be good'. They have no basis to call for such behavior, & everybody knows it.

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