Week 2: Darwinism & What does it Matter to Me?

Applied Darwinism:  What does Darwinism matter to me?


Using applied Darwinism, as a basis for understanding behavior is socially problematic and irresponsible.


 “Evolutionary psychology” is the theory that if natural selection produced the human body, then it must also have produced human behavior. Any behavior that survives today must have an evolutionary advantage and help the animal to adapt and survive; otherwise it would not have been preserved by natural selection.  Evolutionary psychologists are articulating logical consequences of the Darwinian viewpoint and are viewing rape as “a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage,” just like “the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck.”  A science that supports these kinds of conclusions is socially problematic.  It can be used to take away social responsibility.  It seems like Darwinism can definitely be used to justify existence of any behavior:  rape, child abuse, murder, violent crimes.  Should Darwinism be de-coupled from ethical considerations?  Is this really realistic?    I don’t think so.


I was also very interested in the postmodern skepticism about Truth as a direct consequence of Darwinism.


Is “Morality an illusion produced by natural selection?”  I would answer this a bit differently – that “Morality produced by natural selection is an illusion.”   Morality does not come from natural selection.  The quote, “What is in our genes’ best interest is what seems ‘right’–morally right, objectively right” is completely socially irresponsible.  The idea the all behavior must have come from an evolutionary advantage or it would have been naturally “weeded out” is the foundation of justification for not behaving in an ethical and socially responsible way.

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