Friday, October 13, 2006
Morality and Selection
I wrote this in an exchange in Amazon on Sam Harris.
For a discussion of why there is no "god", read Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion". Letter to a Christian Nation is not really a book providing evidence that there is no God, it was a book challenging those who believe they know what God is, or that they kow what God wants or has written etcetera. As Michael Shermer has said, it's fine if people believe in god, as long as your god doesn't *do* anything. As soon as a person claims that their god does something in the world, it enters the realm of testable observation, and that almost invariably bodes poorly for the belief in question.There really are two entirely seperate arguments, and Christians try to conflate the two. The one is whether there is some sort of creative force that began everything, the other is, if there is a creative force what do we know about it? Christians often forget that a mysterious universe doesn't provide any evidence for the existence of *their* favorite genocidal Middle Eastern deity.Some people can talk about the origins of the universe, but the other more pertinent question is the origin of our earth and species, which to any intelligent non-brain-washed observer certainly evolved through an amoral process of natural selection. The evidence for this is almost as strong as the evidence that the earth is round. The great religious concepts of morality and altruism have clearly been demonstrated to be present for survival purposes in many animal species, and it is not the remotest leap of faith to deduce that morality was invented by natural selection in humans as well for the same survival purposes, by the same process of selection, thus rendering even the concept of a "moral" God absurd to those who understand natural selection. Morality was designed by nature via a violent selection process for the express purpose of increasing survivability on earth, not for an immortal soul. The problem is that most Christians don't understand natural selection enough to even make their ears available for the non-theist's most powerful arguments.