Evolutionary Ethics

PZ Myers has a confused Christ complex, apparently. He keeps rattling on about the question of whether Cho was motivated to kill because he believed he was god or because he was insufficiently atheist. Which could it be?

However, in this quote, Cho sounds a whole lot like Myers, Dawkins, or Darwinator:

“You pick out the Weak and the Defenseless and turbo-(expletive deleted) us for your own pleasure and put on faces of devout Christians in front of your parents and strangers,” it read. “You drink your vodka, share needles and go on your escapades on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday morning.”

He added: “You have to search high and low for the Weak and the Defenseless to taunt and terrorize on Monday.”

[Questions Linger, Associated Press, 4/21/07]

Can Cho really be condemned from the perspective of natural selection? I mean, he killed people who were incapable of defending themselves. He survived, they didn’t; what does that matter to evolutionary ethics? Then he killed himself, so evolution goes on.

Evolution is not actually presented as an ethical rationale for anything, or for that matter, against anything; it is presented merely as a process that is supposed to have occurred in the past. The modern liberal believers in the mythical evolution of the past, however, explicitly disavow its significance in the present, supposing that the magical appearance of humanlike thought led to a new paradigm. In the new paradigm, humans create their own reality, including the new biological reality in which natural selection plays no part.

At the moment when humans realized that they were evolved from animals, so we are told, they created a purely god-free, rational, egalitarian, gender-neutral, anti-imperialistic, racially diverse ethic valuing above all the ideal universal human, governed perfectly by the ideal universal state.

In this blissful condition of universal harmony, where perfect humanity is the measure of all things, the State shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


8 thoughts on “Evolutionary Ethics

  1. Psuedo-moral outrage by atheists is boring. Double boring is when they try and turn the moral tables when a Christian attacks them morally. Is Nietze the only honest atheist?

    If you’re inclined, and because you’re the human devourer of mass amounts of information, it would be nice to have a post from you that lists all the links to articles about Cho you’ve seen. You could keep adding to it and change the post date so it comes back to the top. And any links to related articles about mass killings would be fine too.

  2. Hi Dave,

    I noticed the incoming link and followed it back here. You write well.

    I’m not sure I really follow what you’re saying.

    “Can Cho really be condemned from the perspective of natural selection?”

    I don’t know what kind of answer you’re looking for here. I would assume you’re implying that given our evolutionary history we don’t have a basis for morality?

    Check out Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” or “How the mind works” for some interesting insight on the impact of evolution on the human psyche.

    “The modern liberal believers in the mythical evolution of the past, however, explicitly disavow its significance in the present”

    Couple of interesting points here:
    1) Evolution is mythical
    2) Modern liberals disavow that evolution has any significance in the present.

    Regarding (1), how much investigation of evolution have you actually done? I can certainly understand that a religious person wouldn’t *want* to believe the bible is fallacious. If you have actual proof that evolution is flawed you will become one of the most famous people in the history of science.

    2) Again, I’m not sure what you mean here. Evolution is significant in the present. It completely shaped everything about the physiology of homo sapiens, including the brain. I find it hard to believe anyone would deny that, liberal or otherwise.

    Your blog is interesting and well written.


  3. Other people have recommended Pinker to me, so I keep thinking I should read him, but then some other book comes up. I’ll make sure he’s on the list to read eventually.

    I think there is certainly an evolutionary basis for morality, as Nietzsche clearly shows. I just don’t think it is a reason for condemning Cho.

    Really, though, my topic here is ethics as distinct from morality, because a naturalistic concept of evolution has nothing to say about individual moral agents.

    In this post I presuppose a narrative for human evolution lacking an empirical basis. It doesn’t have to be flawed at all; it simply cannot be demonstrated.

    A hundred years ago, one of the greatest liberal humanitarian causes was the effort to eliminate crime, mental illness, disease, and congenital disability using evolutionary principles. Many important activists gave impassioned pleas about the moral imperative to eliminate suffering forever.

    The modern liberal, however, explicitly denies the ethical value of biological natural selection for humans, and even claims that eugenics is somehow “immoral.”

    Among modern evolutionists, only the transhumanists and the objectivists have integrity in their beliefs on this point.

  4. it would be nice to have a post from you that lists all the links to articles about Cho you’ve seen

    I’ve created a category for it, but I’m not really interested in featuring it.

  5. Based on your follow up comment, I think I agree with you almost entirely.

    Agreement aside, I think I understand your position a lot better.

    Thanks for the clarification.

Instigate some pointless rambling

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