Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Double-Standard Raised In Arguing That Morals Are A Product Of Evolution

"In a promotional piece for his book, Wright says, "My hope is that people will use the knowledge [in this book] not only to improve their lives-as a source of 'self-help'-but as cause to treat other people more decently" (emphasis ours).

This statement captures a major flaw in Wright's analysis. His entire thesis is that chance evolution explains morality, that the environment selects those whose morals are beneficial or survival. Morality is a product of nature.

Yet Wright frequently lapses, unconsciously making reference to a morality that seems to transcend nature. Take this comment: "Human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse" (emphasis ours).6 Write reflects on the moral equipment randomly given to us by nature and then bemoans our immoral use of it with such words as tragic, pathetic, and misuse.

He writes, "Go above and beyond the call of a smoothly functioning conscience; help those who aren't likely to help you in return, and do so when nobody's watching. This is one way to be a truly moral animal."7

It's almost as if he has two categories of morality-nature's morality and a transcendent standard used to judge nature's morality. But where did this transcendent standard come from? If transcendent morality judges the "morality" that evolution is responsible for, the it can't itself be accounted for by evolution."


Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, p. 159

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