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Originally posted by Lucius Driftwood
A friend of mine is an atheist evolutionist.
And yet, he sometimes says things that I find difficult to reconcile.
For example, he is adamant that a child 'Inherrently knows right from wrong', r, 'what is right and what is wrong'.
I cannot fathom how he can believe that and hold to the idea that we have evolved as a species over billions of years from primordial soup to complex thinking machines/animals.
How does right and wrong fit into the mindset of an evolutionist? Just curious that's all, and I would love to know.
I guess my problwm with it (or his personal interpretation of it) is:
1:He is appealing to some kind of common truth notion we all know and share. If there is a right and wrong as he seems to believe and suggest, it is shared by all humankind instinctively. Just a quick look around the variety of social, anthropological, cultural existences and we see that doesn't seem true! People DON'T agree on what is right and what is wrong.
2: If this sense of right and wrong is inherrrant within us, then surely it is just a facet of the evolutionary experience we go through. If so, 'Right and wrong' or 'morality', are relative to our evolutionary growth, and not a constant. It evolves as we do. If so, right and wrong cannot exist, because it becomes subject to the same evolutionary principles of 'hey, don't need a tail anymore/scales anymore, body hair, etc.
He wants a 'constant' of right and wrong, but evolution by nature is a process of continued change and adaptation! He won't accept that saudi arabians beheading someone for shoplifting is an evolutionary process for a sub section of a particular species on this planet.
Can anyone see what I'm getting at here? I don't understand his evolutionary atheism.
reply to post by Barcs
Knowing right from wrong has nothing to do with evolution. It has to do with empathy. People don't need religion to have empathy. It's a very simple philosophy known as the golden rule. Do unto others and you would have them do unto you. You don't need a religion to teach you that. When you see an innocent person suffering, you will either put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they feel and why its wrong, OR you ignore them and don't care at all because it's not you. That's the type of mentality that started slavery and torture for not believing in the same god as another. That mentality isn't exclusive to atheists, a large portion of religious folk are pro war, regardless of the suffering it causes. Right and wrong can be subjective, but the general rule of thumb is this: Ask yourself, "Is this action going to cause any harm or suffering to others?" If it does, then it is wrong. If not, then who really cares? Some believe smoking weed is wrong, gay marriage, premarital sex, masturbation, etc etc.. But do those action harm anybody other than potentially yourself? I don't understand the concept that religious folks can tell right from wrong, while non religious cannot. That's simply false and right and wrong is mostly about empathy, just as jesus taught and most other religions teach as well. It really has nothing at all to do with evolution.