Evolution Has No Morality

This is an argument we always see from creationists. It’s in the Murray Ledger & Times of Murray, Kentucky. Their headline asks a question: Why is wrong, wrong?, and they have a comments section. It was written by Jonnie Hutchison, one of their columnists. He’s also a preacher at the Green Plain church of Christ. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Is it wrong to commit murder? Is it wrong to “cheat” on one’s spouse? Is it wrong to lie, steal or to commit rape? Most of our readers would probably answer that all these things are wrong, but what makes them wrong? Are they wrong simply because society says they are wrong? Are they wrong because the law of our land identifies them as crimes? What if a society arose that approved of murder and made it legal, would murder no longer be morally wrong?

That’s a very old question, one which we’ve discussed it before. But where’s the creationist entertainment? Ah, here it comes:

If mankind is the product of organic evolution, why would it be wrong to commit murder? If we are simply a more evolved form of animal life, what would be the difference in killing a human being and killing a deer? Who could say that one is wrong while the other is right?

Evolution provides no guidance at all. But where does morality come from? The rev tells us:

When God created man, He instilled in man a sense of morality. This comes from the fact that God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). God is a moral being, and thus, man, made in God’s image, is a moral being.

Aha — that’s the answer! He continues:

Animals were not created in God’s image, thus have no sense of right and wrong. Animals may be trained to respond in certain ways, but they have no means of making moral decisions for they are not moral beings. Organic evolution has no legitimate explanation as to why man is a moral being and animals are not, but God gives us that answer.

Isn’t that wonderful? But wait a minute. In Creationism and Morality we mentioned Socrates’ Euthyphro dilemma — “Is what is moral commanded by the gods because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by the gods?”

How would the rev explain Abraham’s behavior when God announced His intention to exterminate the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham objected and told God that it would be unjust to kill the good along with the rest. And what of Moses’ reaction when God announced His intention to exterminate the Hebrews because of the golden calf incident? Moses argued God out of doing it. And of course there’s the matter of the Flood. Was drowning almost the entire population of the world — including babies — the moral thing to do?

We’ve never seen a creationist answer Socrates’ question, and the rev doesn’t even consider it. Skipping a paragraph of bible quotes, we arrive at the end of his column. He says:

Because you are a moral being made in God’s image you are accountable to your Creator (2 Cor. 5:10). Choosing sin will result in eternal separation from God in hell while choosing to receive God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus will result in eternal life in heaven (Matthew 25:46). Wrong is wrong because God says it’s wrong Choose the right and live!

So there you are, dear reader. The rev says you should forget all about evolution if you want to lead a moral life. Otherwise … the Lake of Fire awaits.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “Evolution Has No Morality

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    “Wrong is wrong because God says it’s wrong Choose the right and live!
    Glad to have that happy news item from Murray, KY. I wonder if all the 16,000 children who will die from malnutrition each day forgot to pack a lunch for the journey?

  2. Has this idiot ever heard of the Golden Rule – it predates christianity! We have that rule because long experience has shown that it is necessary for society to function. I’m quite sure that the authors of the bible included such rules because of that necessity; not because of the supposed rules of a ‘god’!

  3. The King James Version tells us that thou shall not kill. Hebrew scholars tell us that the text is better translated as “thou shall not murder.”
    The Pythagorean Theorem, the Periodic Table, and the Infield Fly Rule (in American baseball) do not tell us anything is wrong about killing or murder.

  4. Michael Fugate

    So anything humans create has a sense of morality – is that what he is trying to say?

  5. The human ideas of right and wrong can be explained in evolutionary terms. We evolved to be a social species. In a social species, members depend on one another, so there is a general selection pressure against killing or injuring others, with some exceptions. Same for humans, although lying to them is a special case of the same. A lie is a misrepresentation of reality. Therefore lying is selected against, because in a social species all members rely on the realistic perceptions of others. No divine command is necessary to explain this.

    Humans evolved bipedalism and a large brain, which has a downside – our infants are born undeveloped, completely helpless and dependent on care beyond what one parent can provide for a far longer time than that required for any other species on the planet.

    Until two generations ago – a blink of an eye – there was a necessary cause-and-effect link between sexual intercourse and childbirth. But human infants do not survive without full-time care from one or both parents, plus provision of resources by one or both, and probably by other adults, such as grandparents, as well. So there is general selection pressure – provide the care and resources for one’s own offspring, in partnership with its other parent, or be selected out because your offspring don’t survive.

    But an alternative strategy can also work – the cuckoo gambit, within the species. That is, foist the care and provision for one’s own offspring on to another, genetically unrelated, person or persons. But there is selection pressure against the foistee – it doesn’t favour his or her genes. Since it is in the species’ interest to favour those members who do provide the necessary care and resources, it is in the species’ interest to deprecate this strategy. (But, nb, these strategies are not necessarily mutually exclusive.) Hence the characteristic tension in humans between fidelity and promiscuity. Much of our narrative culture is concerned with that tension. Again, no divine command is needed to explain it.

    Prohibitions on rape and theft are developments along the same line. In the case of theft, species survival is favoured by selecting behaviours that gain resources from outside the species, rather than merely redistributing them within it. In that of rape, two of the selection factors prevail – the pressure in a social species against injuring its members, and the pressure against the cuckoo strategy.

    Of course, this is dry and didactic. But that’s why “wrong” is “wrong” on the heads the pastor mentioned. But for all cases, there is no need to invoke a deity and its arbitrary commands, and the explanations flow from comprehensible causes explained by the theory of evolution.

  6. “simply a more evolved form”
    “Animals ….. have no sense of right and wrong.”
    This is all we need from Jonnieboy. The conclusion “stupid and ignorant” already is justified. So let me focus on our dear SC’s profound questions instead.

    “Is what is moral commanded by the gods because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by the gods?”
    Both. YHWH is omnipotent, so any contradiction perceived by man only confirms man’s imperfection.

    “How would the rev explain Abraham’s behavior when God announced His intention to exterminate the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah?”
    Abraham’s faith was imperfect, because Abraham was human and hence imperfect.

    “Moses argued God out of doing it. And of course there’s the matter of the Flood.”
    That’s a sign of YHWH’s omnivolence. Also YHWH is omniscient, so he knew at beforehand that he would get talked out of doing it. YHWH just wanted to communicate the message what a swell guy Moses was. Of course you (and I) being an athiest communist nazist materialist evilutionist unbeliever are not smart enough to get that message.

    “Was drowning almost the entire population of the world — including babies — the moral thing to do?”
    Yes, ‘cuz YHWH. Everything he does by definition is moral and everything moral by definition comes from YHWH, unless you like me are stupid enough to try to think for yourself.

    “We’ve never seen a creationist answer Socrates’ question.”
    What more answer do you need after

    “Because you are a moral being made in God’s image.”
    But OK, you being a stubborn sinner and YHWH being all loving etc. he has commanded me to try to help you out. Not that you want to be helped, but that’s your problem – at least now you are robbed the excuse “Ich habe es nicht gewusst”. (Godwin reference fully intended).

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/interviews-panels/what-is-the-euthyphro-dilemma-bobby-conway/

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/the-euthyphro-dilemma-once-again

    WLC is a Deep Christian Thnker and hence an IDiot fellow

    http://www.discovery.org/about/fellows/

    so who are you (and I) to contradict him? Or this guy, for that matter.

    http://www.atheismandthecity.com/2012/03/refuting-william-lane-craig-moral.html

    No doubt another athiest communist nazist materialist evilutionist unbeliever are not smart enough. But hey, YHWH is omnivolent, so he gives you a choice. Make sure you make the right one or YHWH’s wrath will come down upon you (it already has upon me and I still feel pretty well and that only means I’m hopelessly lost of course). If you think that’s a contradiction just remember: you (like me) are imperfect hence stupid and YHWH isn’t.

  7. TomS and MichaelF don’t get it either:

    “The Pythagorean Theorem, the Periodic Table, and the Infield Fly Rule (in American baseball) do not tell us anything is wrong about killing or murder.”
    No and they all are flawed. I mean, Pythagoras’ Theorem only applies in Euclidean spaces, the Periodic Table looks ugly (the Lanthanides and the Actinides don’t fit well) and the IFR doesn’t apply to icehockey, so you better trust YHWH’s Holy Word as Laid Down by smart guys 2600 years ago whose brains weren’t ruined yet by silly things like internet.

    “So anything humans create has a sense of morality – is that what he is trying to say?”
    No. Only anything YHWH’s in his Infite Wisdome decides to equip with morality has.

    DaveL suffers from vanity:

    “Of course, this is dry and didactic.”
    No. It’s dry and undidactic. Only YHWH’s word is didactic, as I just demonstrated.

  8. This all sounds like an ancient Vaudeville joke, viz.:

    “Evolution has no morality!”

    “Really? How does it behave?”

    “Terrible!”

  9. “…Are they wrong simply because society says they are wrong? …”
    YES!!!! If you think it is moral to kill people then it is moral…TO YOU! And since you ahole gawd is the biggest mass murderer of all time, don’t get too holier than thou on us! Why is it wrong to shoot people and not a deer?? Because I shoot back and am an expert shot!!! Deer have yet to learn to do so. Also is it wrong to shoot mice that carry the plague that will kill most people you know? Well deer carry a terrible disease too so I don’t like them too close either. And I don’t kill people because they taste bad and besides they carry too many diseases to be savely eaten, so don’t kill people! Well unless you are a moral gawd, than you can kill almost all of them!!

  10. L.Long reports

    I don’t kill people because they taste bad

    Please don’t tell us how you know that…

  11. Mega hears something: “This all sounds like …”
    That’s not a joke, that’s an accurate summary of creationist thinking.

  12. “Who was that scientist you were with last night?”
    “That was no scientist, that was a Discovery Institute Fellow!”

  13. I hate to report, Megalonyx, that my knowledge of the taste of people is from 2nd hand reports. I did not do any direct experiments to scientifically verify the truth of the taste, so I may be mistaken, although I can state that direct experiments have shown that alien/human hybrid fresh tastes like stale bread!

  14. Re “When God created man, He instilled in man a sense of morality. This comes from the fact that God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). God is a moral being, and thus, man, made in God’s image, is a moral being.”
    Uh, so the first thing Adam and Eve do is defy the direct order of their god? This is a sense of morality? This is how well they were taught? This is how much influence Yahweh had?

    The Argument From Moral Autonomy
    (This is from James Rachel’s “God and Moral Autonomy:”)
    1. We are moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it
    2. Abandoning one’s moral autonomy is immoral
    3. God is a perfectly good being worthy of worship
    4. Worship is the recognition of one as inferior and subordinate to a greater being
    5. Worship of God includes the total abandonment of one’s moral autonomy in favor of blind, non-questioning obedience of God
    6. This is immoral, unless we can continuously be sure the being we are worshipping is (perfectly) good, and that the being we are worshipping is indeed a (or the) “God”
    7. To continuously evaluate whether a being is good requires moral judgment, which requires moral autonomy
    8. Therefore it is not possible to continuously evaluate if a being is good while also worshipping it
    9. Therefore, worshipping necessarily requires abandoning one’s moral responsibility, which is immoral
    10. Therefore, no being is worthy of worship
    11. Therefore, God does not exist

  15. Michael Fugate

    Doesn’t this verify evolution is science and not religion?

  16. It does verify the hypothesis that there is nothing to anti-evolution.

    They have nothing to say beyond “I ain’t no monkey.”

    There is no rhethoric which will not be accepted if it is presented as against evolution. Even if it is robative for the status of evolutionary biology.

  17. “Is it wrong to lie” I always have a problem with this, we all know how dishonest creationists are, but these are the people that would be handing you over during WW2.

  18. That may be a bit more complicated, Karl. This woman

    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_Kuipers-Rietberg

    was orthodox protestant and was active in Dutch resistance long before the war went sour for the Wehermacht. And orthodox protestant means quite likely creationist, even more so 75 years ago.
    The remarkable thing is that even in our days the Discotute Fellow WL Craig is largely ignored by orthodox protestants in The Netherlands. I suspect his Divine Command Theory has something to do with it – it looks too much like Befehl ist Befehl.
    Here is another example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrie_ten_Boom

    “She, along with her family, was a strict Calvinist in the Dutch Reformed Church. Faith inspired the family to serve society, offering shelter, food and money to those in need.”
    However others (young men) joined the SS and some acted like fools after being heroes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaas_Schilder

    “On 3 August 1944, Schilder was suspended for being schismatic”
    to which I add: while hiding for the nazis.

  19. Yep, because we never saw any evil or immorality when that old time religion was in its hey day.

    As to evolution has no morality isn’t that kind of the point to science, you know being objective. But then again most people have no clue to as to what science is other than some topics they dreaded in high school.And if you leave decision making to scientists you are right back where you were with your blind obedience to god, puppets on a string.

    No way out of it but you have to think and question everything otherwise you get what you deserve: black holes of ignorance like our present President.

  20. I’ll play his game. Let’s stipulate there’s no morality without god. How does he explain the fact that not all atheists are murderers?

  21. Because you are a moral being made in God’s image you are accountable to your Creator (2 Cor. 5:10). Choosing sin will result in eternal separation from God in hell while choosing to receive God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus will result in eternal life in heaven (Matthew 25:46). Wrong is wrong because God says it’s wrong Choose the right and live!

    Q: But how do we know it’s what God said?
    A. Because it’s in the Bible, and the Bible is God’s Word.
    Q. But how do we know the Bible is God’s Word?
    A. Right here is where creationists come up with all sorts of silly arguments, including the supposedly miraculous Bible Code, none of which actually answer the question.