The Z Man writes
What comes next is going to be a moral philosophy rooted in biological reality.
It’s interesting to think about what that would look like, because it sounds like a contradiction in terms to me. What do y’all think?
Here’s my case: The “moral sentiments,” or whatever 19th century phrase you choose to use, have been a thorn in Darwinism’s side from the beginning. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of “sociobiology” and the like (and some Internet neckbeard will always accuse you of not understanding Teh Science(TM)), but the fact remains that if we humans are animals like any other — bound by the same evolutionary laws, subject to the same evolutionary pressure — then LOTS of human behavior doesn’t make sense.
Any educated person can easily think of a hundred characteristics, commonly occurring in our species, which are not only ‘in the least degree’ injurious to their possessors, but seriously or even extremely injurious to them, which have not been ‘rigidly destroyed’, and concerning which there is not the smallest evidence that they are in the process of being destroyed.
Here are ten such characteristics, without even going past the first letter of the alphabet. Abortion; adoption; fondness for alcohol; altruism; anal intercourse; respect for ancestors; susceptibility to aneurism; the love of animals; the importance attached to art; asceticism, whether sexual, dietary, or whatever.
Each of these characteristics tends, more or less strongly, to shorten our lives, or to lessen the number of children we have, or both. All of them are of extreme antiquity. Some of them are probably older than our species itself.
Adoption, for example is practised by some species of chimpanzees: another adult female taking over the care of a baby whose mother has died. Why has not this ancient and gross ‘biological error’ been rigidly destroyed?
Even if we grant Darwinists their convoluted explanations for this kind of thing — the “kind gay uncle” hypothesis and whatnot — it doesn’t address the central question:
Isn’t the very idea of evolutionary adaptation itself an evolutionary adaptation?
We evolve traits that help us survive. Science itself is obviously the #1 item in Humanity’s survival toolkit. Therefore, science itself is an evolutionary adaptation, and the whole thing is a question-beg. (If you’re tempted to write this off as the rambling of a lone Internet weirdo, it’s not my argument — it’s Ernst Mach’s. Maybe I don’t understand Teh Science, but Ernst Mach sure the hell did). Because if that’s true for science, then it’s most certainly true for every other field of human intellectual endeavor, including moral philosophy. (Again, not my argument; it’s Arthur Balfour’s).
So it seems were left with two options, moral philosophy-wise. One is pure, shit-flinging nihilism, Nietzsche’s Will to Power writ large: Might makes right (Balfour may have gotten this from Nietzsche, who wrote a big bombastic book about it). The other is that humans are simply different — we solve Darwinism’s many paradoxes when it comes to human behavior by simply writing humans out of the equation. Humans are an act of special creation, a union of body and soul. Our bodies are subject to the same evolutionary forces as everything else, but our souls are eternal… and eternally apart.
I hold the second view, obviously, but as I said over at Z Man’s, that’s an awful tough sell in a secular age like ours. But since we’ve brought the Manly Mustache Man into it, let’s end with him. The subtitle to Beyond Good and Evil is “Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.” Nietzsche admitted he didn’t know what comes next; that he couldn’t know, in fact, being a man of his time like everyone is. Just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m a Historian; I always look backward. Maybe the Z Man is, like the Manly Mustache Man, just a prophet.Loading Likes...