The Moral Necessity: the Evolutionary ‘Impersonal’ Answer

Dear hijas,

Dr. Steve Kumar in his book with Dr. Jonathan Sarfati Christianity for Skeptics asks these pertinent questions concerning the dilemma or problem of man and our discussion of the moral necessity:

Are our moral values merely sociological conventions similar to driving on the left rather than the right side of the road, or like the subjective utterances that we produce when we order our meals in a restaurant? If morality is merely social convention then it is neither objective or absolute. In this case the logical question would be, why follow the subjective opinions of society? Why should anyone sacrifice for another’s well-being? What if society approves cannibalism, ritual human sacrifice, or racism? After all, German ‘society’ in the 1930’s and 40’s gave rise to the Holocaust.

Turning to the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre again, we find he had this to say:

If God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct. So, in the bright realm of values, we have no excuse behind us, nor justification before us. We are alone, with no excuses. (Quoted in Dr. Steve Kumar and Dr. Jonathan Sarfati ‘Christianity for Skeptics’, Creation Ministries International, Powder Springs, GA, 2012 from Sartre, J-P ‘Existentialism’, translated by Frechtman, B, in ‘Existentialism and Human Emotions’, Philosophical Library, New York, 1957).

So how does all this relate to our last post and man’s dual problem in the area of morals? We are discussing one answer: the ‘impersonal’ answer. And specifically, the evolutionary ‘impersonal’ answer. Since so many of us have been brought up being taught that we are the blind results of an evolutionary process by which time plus chance plus the impersonal produced everything there is, we must analyze from this worldview whether morals could have arisen, how they might have arisen, whether they are justified within the evolutionary system, and whether they answer the dual nature of man’s problem: 1) finite, yet personal, and 2) noble, yet cruel.

Well, when we take a look at evolution, we find that it is not only impersonal, it is amoral as well. In other words, there is no right and wrong with evolution, it’s only what “is”. Evolution postulates no morality, for how could it? Non-life to life, single-cell to multiple-cell, simple organisms to complex organisms, here now finally at man, all plodding along by chance, blindly, with no purpose, only happenstance natural selection acting on mutations and weeding out the unfit through death and disease, the survivors as ones who pass on their genes to the next generation, ad infinitum. It starts with impersonality, so how can you get right and wrong from that? Evolution conveys no meaning to the words “noble” or “cruel”, “right” or “wrong”, everything is finally just one melded “what is”. It’s just finally, and only, ‘what happens to be’.

What you end up with then, is man, with his sense of ‘ought’ and ‘ought not’, this sense of moral motions that he has, completely out of line with what evolution as a belief system has produced. In other words, man is completely out of line with what the universe has always been: impersonal. In Evolution, and anything that starts with the impersonal, morals do not really exist as morals. You can say that they are a societal construct, manufactured by man so that he can live with his brother man in some sort of harmony here on earth, you can talk about what is antisocial or not antisocial, but you cannot say that they are in any way objective, or absolute for every time and place, and you have no standard in the universe which gives final meaning to such words as right and wrong, noble and cruel. Morals become situational, and with situational ethics whatever the situation demands or society demands become the norm. In situational ethics, we have clear examples of what they can produce; the Holocaust is one of many examples.

As Schaeffer says: ‘Finally, with an impersonal beginning, we must understand that to be right is just as meaningless as to be wrong. Morals as morals disappear…’

In our next post we’ll take a look at the opposite answer–the personal answer to the moral necessity.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad


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