Have Humans ‘Won’ Evolution?

In the comments of my last post on evolution and the source of moral law, I had a bit of a back and forth with Matt about whether evolution favors altruism.  I want to single out his comments for two reasons.  First, I thought he displayed admirable humility in admitting he didn't have the evidence to back up his intuition.  A lack of data didn't mean he had to give up his opinion (after all, scientists usually aren't agnostic about what experimental results they expect) and he did a nice job ex … [Read more...]

Evolution Isn’t On Our Side

Remember you can vote once per day for the About.com Atheism Awards.  I’m one of five nominees for Best Atheist Blog.  More details here.Looks like there are still some questions about why I'm drawing a distinction between selecting for and selecting against in my post on how evolution doesn't optimize for ethics.  One commenter wrote: I see what you are saying, but isn’t it easier to think in terms of “selecting for” when considering how sexual selection gives rise to traits like large antl … [Read more...]

Natural vs Normative

I appreciate the Christians weighing in on why they oppose gay marriage and trying to explain how they think people are harmed. One genre of response has turned up in thread and is fairly widespread, so I’ll try to address it. Anonymous wrote: Many people are wondering why infertile heterosexual marriages are considered moral and praise worthy while homosexual "marriages" are not. The reason is that in an infertile heterosexual marriage the sexual organs are, at least, being used for the p … [Read more...]

Optimized and Arbitrary

This is one of a series of posts about math and morality.  I'll be getting back to the series soon, but I'm currently pausing to answer some of the questions that have been accumulating.In comments on "On What Evidence?" Crowhill and Charles got into a disagreement about human morality and evolution that I exerpt below.Crowhill: Does there have to be some sort of "objective morality" for a dog to know how he's supposed to behave towards other dogs? Isn't it entirely possible that dogs … [Read more...]

“Only animals can’t help what they are”

For an explanation of what Weatherwax Wednesdays are all about, read the introduction post.This week's Weatherwax quote is also from Carpe Jugulum. This exchange occurs between during the denoument as Granny Weatherwax confronts the leader of the vampire family that has invaded the kingdom of Lancre. “We are vampires. We cannot help what we are.”“Only animals can’t help what they are,” said Granny. The rallying cry of the transhumanist movement is "To be human is to be more than human. … [Read more...]