Category: Culture & Ethics
Darwinian Morality: How the Truth Refreshes
Assurances that we have nothing to fear from Darwinism are a familiar species of evolutionary apologetics. We’re told that Darwinian thinking doesn’t threaten morality, religion, or belief in life’s having an ultimate meaning. On the contrary, it enhances all things good and fair. Karl Giberson’s recent column in the Huffington Post, “How Darwin Sustains My Baptist Search for Truth,” deserves to be pinned under glass and put up on a wall as a near-perfect specimen of the genre. Anyone who’s honest with himself knows this is all propaganda and wishful thinking, but it refreshes us nevertheless to hear Darwinists themselves confess — even trumpet — the truth. Darwinian scholars and journalists have been writing with what must seem, to their Read More ›
James Lee Was Disturbed, but What Happens When an Entire Culture Embraces Social Darwinism?
There is little doubt that hostage-taker James Lee’s virulent Social Darwinism was the product of a tragically disturbed man. But can an entire culture fall for the pernicious ideology of Social Darwinism, especially its scientific and political elites? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes, as I have documented in my book Darwin Day in America, and as the new documentary “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” persuasively shows. Perhaps the most jarring fact about the troubling views of James Lee is that similar views have been espoused over the past century by leading scientists, politicians, and thinkers. Ideas do have consequences, and not just for seriously disturbed individuals like James Lee.
Major Media Spike Discovery Channel Gunman’s Darwinian Motivations
If someone opposed to abortion were to take hostages at an abortion clinic, you can be sure the newsmedia would tenaciously track down and publicize every anti-abortion association and comment of the criminal in question. But when a gunman inspired by Darwinism takes hostages at the offices of the Discovery Channel, reporters seem curiously uninterested in fully disclosing the criminal’s own self-described motivations. Most of yesterday’s media reports about hostage-taker James Lee dutifully reported Lee’s eco-extremism and his pathological hatred for humanity. But they also suppressed any mention of Lee’s explicit appeals to Darwin and Malthus as the intellectual foundations for his views. At least, I could find no references to Lee’s Darwinian motivations in the accounts I read by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Read More ›
How Not to Defend Darwin on “Survival of the Fittest”
Evolutionary biologists make poor historians, especially when it comes to Charles Darwin. So intent on preserving the reputation of St. Charles, evolutionists typically do their best to paper-over Darwin’s less-than-savory views on issues like race or the application of natural selection to society. British biochemist and theistic evolutionist Denis Alexander runs true to form in a newly posted interview at BioLogos. In the interview, Alexander does his best to disassociate Darwin from the idea of “survival of the fittest,” noting that the phrase was coined by Herbert Spencer rather than Charles Darwin, and that it was then picked up by nasty politicians like Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler, who used it to promote their noxious views. Alexander is correct that Read More ›
When Evolutionary Psychology Collides With Morality
In 2006, the New York Times published an exceedingly long book review titled “An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong,” covering Harvard evolutionary psychologist Marc D. Hauser’s theories of the evolution of human morality. “Religions are not the source of moral codes,” stated the review when describing Hauser’s ideas, further noting that this claim, “if true, would have far-reaching consequences.” The review observed that “[m]atters of right and wrong have long been the province of moral philosophers and ethicists,” but after Hauser’s work, “[m]oral philosophers may not welcome a biologist’s bid to annex their turf.” So who has authority over morality: evolutionary psychologists, or theologians? In his book, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, Read More ›