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What’s Morality? Don’t Ask This Darwinian Philosopher

In the Chronicle of Higher Education today, philosopher Michael Ruse concludes:

The scientific claim is that morality is natural. It is an adaptation produced by natural selection to make us good cooperators.

Yet the “morality” that Ruse describes, and thinks he explains, has little to do with what just about every person actually thinks morality is. According to Ruse, moral beliefs are emotional sentiments that get us to cooperate in kin-survival-enhancing ways. Practically no one who has ever lived means anything like that when they say that, for example, (1) it’s wrong to torture children for the fun of it. That claim has exactly nothing to do with the kin-selection claptrap that Ruse and many other evolutionists find so persuasive. And whether it was advantageous or disadvantageous for our kin-survival for us to believe (1), it would still be wrong to torture children for the fun of it. It may not quite be a psychological disorder not to be able to get this point, but it is surely the philosophical equivalent of a psychological disorder.

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