lucaspa Posted May 29, 2007 Share Posted May 29, 2007 First of all, when I said that we could use the available knowledge of evolutionary biology to understand our behaviour and hopefully improve it, I mean it in individual terms ( therefore not necessarily as way to formulate new social moral rules though I don’t dismiss this possibility). There's two problems here: 1. evolution works on populations, not on individuals. 2. What do you mean by "improve it [out behavior]"? Define "improve". Do you see that you are outside of science here when you start making moral judgements about which behaviors are "better" and which "worse"? Evolution provides an explanation why we choose to save one of the kids without thinking about it. Evolution does NOT say we "should" save the kid. In fact, in evolutionary terms the decision to risk your life to save ANY of the people is the wrong decision now. Since none of those people are your relatives, you are risking your alleles for no possible gain. The correct evolutionary decision now is to simply watch. Humans created moral codes based mostly on total ignorance about human nature and also on the capricious whims and assumptions of leaders who enforced them either by force or indoctrination. Not entirely true. Observation gives us a lot of information about "human nature". It may not be scientifically codified as we know it, but that does not mean people were in "total ignorance" about it. And we still enforce morals by indoctrination. We indoctrinate our children to share, play "nice", not to lie, be polite, etc. We punish them (use force, even if the force is mild such as a "time out") if they do not adhere to our moral code. I think you have made the Naturalistic Fallacy. This fallacy states that what "is" in nature is what "ought" to be in human society. That is not true. Yes, evolution explains why we try to save one of the people, but wouldn't you argue that we ought to try to save one of those? Since that no longer makes sense in evolutionary terms, you have to find another reason outside of science to justify the decision to risk your life for another's. Therefore, how can our current moral code ( already based mostly on ignorance ) become worst if some ammount of reliable scientific knowledge is added to it ? Easy. What we ought to do is not necessarily what "is" in nature. Also, anyone can distort the scientific knowledge. Remember, Spencer, Virchow and others distorted the scientific knowledge of evolution to make Social Darwinism and make a moral code that justified war! Do buses, cars, trains, airplanes, home devices, etc are based on omniscient and perfect science ? Obviously not. Not "omniscient science" in terms of the ENTIRE universe. But they are based on established theories and hypotheses in the LIMITED part of the universe that applies to them. You are confusing the entire universe and that we don't have "perfect" knowledge about ALL of it to saying we don't have knowledge about part of the universe. Ironically, that is the same argument used by creationists against science. Creationists argue that, since we don't know about ALL the universe, we don't know enough about life on earth to say that evolution happened. You consider religion a "folly". Isn't it then a folly to use one of the fallacious arguments of one sect of religion? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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