Back to the AiG frontpage
Evolution and moral
How do you explain morality
from an evolutionary point of view?
Think of two groups of animals
of the same species.
In one group, the members, as part of their instincts, help each other looking
out for enemies, taking care of the young and so on.
In the other group, the members, as part of their instincts, never help each
other in any such way.
Which group would flourish and which would most likely go extinct? The answer
is obviously that, all other things being equal, the helpers would thrive
better than the non-helpers would.
Then what about cheaters?
This have been a great problem in evolutionary theory. A cheater among helpers
thrive even better than the helpers. If you do not risk your life looking out
for enemies, and if you do not waste your time helping others raise their young,
you would be even better off than the helpers, provided you live among helpers.
The answer seems to be recognition. If the members of a group know each other, a
cheater will be recognized as such and shut out from the community, he will then
be worse off than the helpers will.
Now if the species is
Humans, you have an explanation to why humans help each other and generally
live in peace with each other.
The sense of morality is
nothing but the urge to follow such instincts.But there is a backside of this.
By the above argument, when your instincts tell you to help others, this is
mainly those of your own group. Others could be a threat to your group and you
should be suspicious towards strangers. Hence, the xenophobia that sometimes go
to the extreme and result in Homophobia or persecution of Jews.
Only when you use your intellect and realize that working together with those
that you have an urge to be suspicious towards, you have true morality.