Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Arguments XVIII - Morality by Evolution?

One of the arguments frequently bantered around is that our sense of morality, that is human beings sense of morality, justice, fair play is undeniable proof that God must exist.

I am not making an argument for the non-existence of God, but I am making an argument for using this specious little exercise as proof. Aside from the whole question of why does faith need proof, where did our sense of morality stem from, where does the moral outrage we feel when we see people violating what we see are the norms of our society come from?

Well apparently it comes from our evolution! "Monkeys have a sense of morality, say scientists" Take a look, it's a fun read! Certain groups of monkeys have pro-social behavior patterns that show parallels to human morality.

I do have a question, is this another form of anthropomorphizing animals, I mean we are placing human judgments on animal behavior. It doesn't look that way, at least not from the write-up. But it certainly is an area to research further. The striking point for me is the cooperation that seems to have no basis in an expectation of return. It seems natural selection is at work by providing an increased survival in the form of cooperation, which forms a sort-of moral code. Very interesting piece.

The proof that the separation point between man and the earlier ape-like ancestors may have been weather and geological related is well established. I've blogged about it before in "Climate caused Evolution" and discussed how such an event may have caused natural selection toward bipedalism, larger brains, and other changes that would have aided survival and reproductive opportunity. Well how about cooperation? Imagine the survival and food gathering changes by enhanced cooperation? The whole idea of forming groups, pooling resources, and moral behavior may well have formed through evolutionary means.

Let me take this a touch further, if I haven't irritated evolution opponents enough. If we form groups based on our evolution, then we find reasons to form groups, to gather like-minded people is also based on our evolution. So is it possible the reason we developed religion is based on our evolution? Wow, talk about an interesting argument! This one is going to be fun!

Now please remember, before you get too irritated, I do not equate 'religion' with 'God', never have, never will. Religions, and the organizational bureaucracy that seems to always accompany them, is a purely man-made invention. But not that an evangelical Christian will allow me the freedom to have that as opinion . . . on which I rest my case! Think about it!

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