Friday, February 17, 2006

Evolution and Philosophy


That which is "natural" is not always positive or conducive to a good life. Freezing to death in winter is also natural. Arsenic is also natural. Upset bears and tigers are also natural.

We do not believe that people can be reduced to animals. The human mind does have biological components, but it is arrested, simplistic, and reductionistic to dwindle the human brain to the status of an "animal" brain. For, in common parlance, animals are creatures that respond to only hormonal and other biochemical factors, without reflection. It is philosophically dangerous to place human beings in this category "animal." For they behave without reflective thought or ruminative consideration of their actions. So do human beings, often, but we do have the abillity to consider consequences before we murder, rape, or otherwise respond to the "animal nature." It is not necessarily the "master" of every human being, in all circumstances. It is simply sophomoric to repeat like a mantra, "people are animals." It solves nothing, and only compounds the problems.

You write, "Religion has its good as well as bad. What do you think causes 99 percent of the wars in the world?" Since you ask, I will answer: War is caused by greed.

You write, "Killing and Murder Malicously is wrong, having EVOLVED, not been formed from nothingness by a master which is contradicted by fossils of dinosaurs." Your connection between God and dinosaur-fossils is obscure, to say the least. To say the most, it is confusing and obfuscating. You seem to reflect the nineteenth-century perspective that, because dinosaurs existed, that somehow "disproves" the existence of God. No modern scientist or theologian believes this any more, and if you do, you need to do some research.

You write, "Belief in a higher power is good, self evident truths are good, the ten commandments are good, the deadly sins are correct in that they are bad." You have passed some rather sweeping judgments here. Certainly, I do not disagree with these premises. But the Ten Commandments were not created for twenty-first century society. Do you, for example, carefully observe the Sabbath every week? Jesus did not, and that got him in all sorts of trouble.

You write, "A higher power there could be yes, mans interpretation of how it was done incorrect IN MY OPINION, its a self truth that everyone is allowed their OWN OPINION, and should they clash turn to the other things we have found to be 'Right'" Here, you write as if here is only one opinion about the higher Power; actually, there are hundreds! I certainly agree that each is free, and should be, to hold and express personal opinions.

You write, "Right is in the eye of the beholder." This sounds smart, at first glance. But historical and philosophic studies make it clear that this "moral relativism" is counterproductive, historically dangerous and harmful, and without deep intellectual roots. It is like a pattern of life made up by a ten-year-old. It really does not work, in real life. For it does nothing to satisfy the human need for order, beauty, or meaning. It is emotionally exhausting and morally and legally worthless.

You write, "The standard is set by society, though they may think they are RIGHT, in their ANSWERS, it doesn't mean it is CORRECT." I agree that society is usually wrong. This has been so throughout history, when great men and women have had to face the disapprobation of the current social order. But some standards are not simply "set by society." Some arise from our very biological nature. This is the positive side to our "animal-nature." Study, for example, how animal-parents care for their offspring. In many cases, you will find that animal parents care well for their offspring. If you ascribe this to species-survival, which you likely do, it is still a manifestation of caring.

You write, "The NAZI's thought their ANSWER was RIGHT, but it wasn't CORRECT." I fully and heartily agree! But they actually followed your idea that "right is in the eye of the beholder." This allowed them to engage in enormous cruelty and gigantic stupidity. They had to get rid of any idea of God, or of any moral justice, to engage in their social idiocy and depravity. I do not believe that God is some invisible critter in the sky. But I do believe that God is Love.

It is a very old and tired misunderstanding of bio-evolution to assert that, as your letter does, "It goes against a self evident truth of the evolution of mankind that murder is bad because it hinders our self rights." No, my friend, in biological terms, murder is bad because it kills off even the best, most well-adapted, of any species. Kill off enough of them, and murder becomes maladaptive in the extreme. Why are you trying to justify murder?

You write, "What is our rights, our rights are standards set by society, does it mean they are correct?" I have already answered this earlier, but our rights have some biological antecedents also. Nature gives us the right to survive, by having formed us as physical beings. If nature did not want us here, she would not have formed us as physical bodies. If nature itself wants an individual to exist, it follows that no one has an overriding "right" to murder her.

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