Re: Capuchin's show sense of justice/fair play

Date: Mon Sep 22 2003 - 12:24:26 EDT

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    Bob Schneider wrote:

    > The arguments used by German generals in WWI that evolution shows the
    > superiority of the white (i.e., Germanic) race and justifies declaring war
    > on inferior races is a perversion of a perservion. It had nothing to do
    > with Darwin's theory and was a taking of Social Darwinism, for which Darwin
    > was not responsible, far beyond what I believe Herbert Spencer would have
    > countenanced. Whatever arguments the Nazis might have used based on this
    > false concept, they did not base it on the science of evolution. Let us be
    > clear that the Nazi hatred of the Jews was based on 2000 years of
    > anti-Semitism, to which, sadly, Christianity contributed a great deal. To
    > lay the blame on belief in evolution is to greatly distort the situation. A
    > scientific theory is not responsible for the misunderstandings and
    > perversions that people subject it to.

    If I am not misunderstanding G.E. Moore point, it would also be committing
    a naturalistic fallacy. The arguments are lengthy and difficult to quote
    but Moore does write:

             But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named
             those other properties they were actually defining good; that these
             properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and
             the same with goodness. This view I propose to call the
    "naturalistic fallacy"
             and of it I shall now endeavour to dispose."


             And the second reason why we should settle first of all this
             question "What good means?" is a reason of method. It is this,
             that we can never know on what evidence an ethical proposition
             until we know the nature of the notion which makes the proposition
             ethical. We cannot tell what is possible, by way of proof, in
    favour of
             one judgment that "This or that is good," or against another
             "That this or that is bad," until we have recognised what the nature
    of such
             propositions must always be. In fact, it follows from the meaning
    of good
             and bad, that such propositions are all of them, in Kant's phrase,
             they all must rest in the end upon some proposition which must be
             accepted or rejected, which cannot be logically deduced from any
             (Taken from G.E. Moore, Principia Ethica, London,
             Cambridge University Press, 1903)

    So the claim that our laws are merely manifestations of survivalist nature
    of our genes is committing a naturalistic fallacy. By the way, to his
    in his "Selfish Gene", Dawkins does astutely observe that nature is not
    to produce any excess of altruism and if we want to see good qualities, we
    to make efforts to teach them.

    In my experience, when I look beyond the fair weather atheist, the ones who
    have really made a personal choice are typically quite consciously moral, but
    from a personal choice to follow some set of ethics, I still wonder how
    can be called "good" or why we should care or want to do this so-called
    if we are not accountable to something or someone to be that so-called
    In some places 2+2 == 5 is "good", and if we want to get ahead there, we must

    believe it. For what reason should we oppose this kind of so-called "good"
    unless there is a truth that really does matter? And if all that is now will
    dissolve into a vast oblivion of nothingness, why _should_ we actually care
    the truth?

    Actually, to justify committing atrocities on the grounds of evolution
    strikes me
    as more than a mere fallacy. It's more like a "crooked excuse" where any
    bent and twisted notion would suffice.

    By Grace alone we proceed,

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