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Newly on line: Darwinism as a root of make-it-up-as-you-go ethics


Richard Weikart of the University of California, Stanislaus, author of (most recently) Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), writes to say that he has just posted to his Web site an essay, “A History of the Impact of Darwinism on Bioethics,” originally published in 2011 in the anthology, 150 Years of Evolution: Darwin’s Impact on the Humanities and Social Sciences (ed. Mark Wheeler, San Diego State University Press).
Read it here:

Seeing morality as the product of contingent evolutionary processes was in line with the dominant trend toward historicism that permeated nineteenth-century Western thought. However it was a radical departure from pre-nineteenth century views about ethics as timeless and universal. Darwin clearly contributed to the historicization of ethics in the nineteenth century by portraying morality as changing and by denying its universality. (p. 93) More.

The intriguing part is that so many people who think this an entirely laudable trend in ethics are nonetheless angry and disbelieving when a scholar like Weikart explains the role Darwin played in it. Apparently, it is bad form to embarrass Christian Darwinists by spelling it out?

Weikart explains how he first became interested in Darwin’s role here:

Weikart is sometimes attacked in print for having had a sordid motive for even raising the issue. So why did he do it? And how did he get interested in the first place?

Actually, at first, he wasn’t interested. While living in Germany some years ago to improve his German, he was mainly interested in the nineteenth century. He doubted that he would uncover anything new about the Third Reich. For one thing, in his view, it was an overworked field. But then he discovered one neglected point … More.

Neglected? Shucks.

Sadly, the trend of science as practiced by some today seems to undermine morality, values, and standards. Biologist Richard Dawkins, who rejects the idea of God, stated: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.” That's a rather grim view of the world? Doesn't human society needs a moral code that rewards good behavior and punishes wrongdoing? Here we find a critical difference between the Bible’s view of humanity and atheistic evolution’s view. God’s Word stresses that humans hold a special place in creation; evolution suggests that humans are the accidental product of blind natural processes. The Bible explains that humans are made in the image of a just and loving God and are able to live moral and good lives; evolution, with its emphasis on the struggle to survive, is at a loss to explain the human qualities of love and altruism. Evolution cannot offer any real hope or purpose. The Bible offers the Creator’s grand purpose for our future. He has clearly declared his intent: “I will bless you with a future filled with hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11, Contemporary English Version.Barb
May 20, 2013
11:24 AM

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