Re: Fall of evolved man

David Campbell (
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 21:28:02 -0400

This was posted a bit ago-I've been out to sea for the past few days,
collecting clams.

Moorad Alexanian
> The view of the "survival of
>the fittest" is promulgated in every animal show I see on television. The
>lion kills the sick or the weak and that is "good" and in accordance with
>evolutionary thoughts.

Although promulgated in most animal shows, this is an inaccurate picture of
evolution in two ways. First, the "goodness" is not moral. We can think
of benefits to the species or to the system, but assumptions outside of
science must be added to asses the morality of this.
Second, there is no benefit to the victim in this, so there is no
way for such purely altruistic "good of the species" attitudes to evolve by
natural selection. [This is a problem for people who try to claim that
everything we do is genetically motivated.] If natural selection is the
only operating factor, individuals are only interested in spreading their
own genes, even if this is detrimental to the species as a whole.
Eliminating the sick and weak can be seen as good for the system as a
whole, but I don't think that acting for the good of the system can be
explained reductionistically (except as a mistake). If there's a designer
involved in evolution, then it's not surprising that such balances are
built into it.

David Campbell