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Evolution Worship

First thing first – I hold to a naturalistic worldview. I believe strongly that we came about via a process of evolution. It is a scientific fact. It matters not to me if you are a naturalist, spiritualist, theist, or atheist. If you do not believe in evolution, you go against one of the strongest scientific theories in existence. One with mounds and mounds of evidence (The genetic ERV evidence alone is undeniable proof  of common ancestery).

Evolution explains how we came about from the simpilist of lifeforms, and knowledge of evolution is an important key to most if not all biological and medical sciences. For this reason we should learn as much as we can about the process. It is also an important fact about our history.

But that is where my appreciation for evolutionary processes ends. History is riddled with horrors, and evolution is one of them. And unfortunately for animals in the wild it is a process that continues.

The fact of the matter is that evolution is a terrible process. Survival of the fittest is sloppy, unintelligent, and harmful. It does not care about pain and suffering. It does not care that it is a process of elimination in the worst possible ways.

That is why it bothers me when fellow thinkers and scientists who hold a naturalistic worldview do what I call “evolution worship”.

They might, for example, say that moral intuitions have come about through the process of evolution – as if that is a worthy process for morality that we should continue to adhere to. As if such a process is where we as intelligent humans should continue to derive our moral understandings. I have seen this type of attitude first hand, and it is used to trump logical conclusions of ethical systems.

I don’t deny that our ability to be social animals who worked together and helped others within our community was a trait that was an evolutionary advantage. But what of the actual process. Well, those that were less social were killed off before they can procreate. And they were usually killed off in the worst possible ways. Eaten alive, injury, and starvation are just a few of the many ways to go.  We as survivors tend to ignore the actual process for the benefit of the survivors.

Another way they might grandize evolution is to point to the beauty that they subjectively feel within nature – as if such “beauty” trumps any of the problems that an unintelligent process of evolution causes. Seeing only the beauty allows them to close their eyes to the horrors or minimize the concern for such horrors. And it propagates that sort of meme on to others, making it easier for them to close their eyes on the problems as well.

The worst part about survival of the fittest is that it is still happening in the animal kingdom. Sure, we humans are the top of the food chain and do not have to worry much about survival in the wild any longer. Instead we have replaced that with war, destroying the environment, putting chemicals in our bodies, factory farming, and a slew of other harmful activities. Another time, another blog entry.

But as you read this a baby elephant is being ripped to shreds by lions. An elephant that is still alive. As you read this there are masses of animals in pain, suffering long dying processes, sometimes days, sometimes weeks. As you read this there are animals feeding off of other animals. Large birds swooping down grabbing cute little defenseless herbivores. If those little herbivores can bear enough babies before they are snagged by carnivores, that is their survival mechanism. Sheer numbers so that some of those numbers can produce more before they have teeth or claws stuck in them.

Some scientists suggest that we should launch organisms into outerspace, so that, if they can get on to a planet where they can thrive – the process of evolution can start all over again on that planet. We can increase the number of planets that have to endure such a nasty process. If that is not evolution worship then I do not know what is.

No, evolution is not a process that we should bow to the alter of. It is a constant stream of blood, pain, and suffering. It should disgust us. It is something that we should be very concerned about fixing, for all life that has to endure it.

What types of “evolution worship” have you experienced?

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  1. June 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Hi Trick,

    Have you read David Stove’s book Darwinian Fairytales? Stove was an expert on Hume and a non-theist but he draws similar conclusions. It’s a good read.

    Cheers,

    BBG

    • June 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      No, I have not. I will take a look. Thanks for the suggestion.

  1. July 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM

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