Firstly, there is basis for morality in evolution.Please provide an example. And then explain how there is morality in Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest in which killing for food, shelter or mates to ensure species survival is critical.
Secondly, we fight Darwinian impulses all the time… Contraception is an example of us resisting a Darwinian impulse. And there are many other examples.You mean like propagating the weak (see Darwin’s Descent of Man); or saving species that are destined for extinction (e.g., pandas)? Why on earth would we wish for the weakest members of any species to propagate their kind?
Secondly, even if there was no basis for good and evil, moral or immoral in the natural world, why on earth does that matter?. You’re kidding, right?
This reminds me of a quick side question: What are your thoughts about the man in Washington State that just killed his two small boys and himself by first slashing them with a hatched and then blowing up his house? According to Professor Provine (and atheists), no big deal since all three just ceased to exist, right? So please explain why we consider this man’s actions to be so horrendous.
There still CAN be a basis for morality in human society. We can create a right or wrong.Whose standards shall we use, yours or mine?
Even if there are no "purposes", it does not mean that there isn't earthly purpose in our daily lives.I believe you are contradicting yourself. If there are no purposes, how can there possibly be any purpose in our lives? That would constitute purpose, right?
Because luckily, we have two innate agents of morality, namely empathy and understanding.Can you empirically prove empathy, understanding or love? Again, these elements are not physically found anywhere in nature, so how can science prove their existence?
Disappointingly, there was not a single satisfactory rhetorical question or point made in that entire post. Let me start from the beginning.
1. The theory of evolution posits that much of our inborn morality has group and individual survival value. This is supported by the behaviour of many other species. In other words, because our imperative is to survive and propogate our genes, and certain moral behaviours assist us in doing so, we intuitively perform them. I pre-empt your outrage already. What a horrific subversion of morality! How dare someone tell me that I'm only performing good deeds because they have survival value! Well to answer that I will repeat: we can override Darwinian instincts. Other reasons for moral behaviours may arise and predominate... for example, they could be part of a value system generated from one's conceptions of the world.
Your question about Darwin's survival of the fittest is a false one that demonstrates a dismal misunderstanding of the Survival of the Fittest. It is simply not MEANT to offer any morality. It's that simple. It just... simply documents what happens in nature. If you want to refute the survival of the fittest, go gather your evidence that it does NOT occur in the animal kingdom and then present it to me, or rather the scientific community, who are always open to debate evidence.
So let's once and for all dispell the ridiculous misconception that somehow Darwinists get their morality from the concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest. If Darwin indeed proposed the natural order as the basis for our morality, that is completely irrelevant. To remind you, what we're actually concerned about is the supremely and unequivocally evidenced theory of evolution, the explanation about what happens in the animal kingdom and the journey of life on our planet. To say "survival of the fittest occurs in nature" and then ask "where's the morality in it?" is a profound non sequitor. Evolutionists have actually explicitly stated that running society on the principles of survival of the fittest would be disastrous for human well being (the general secular basis of morality).
2. We wish to propogate the weakest and save endagered species from extinction because the goal of a secular morality is to promote and maintain the well being of all life. Once again, your effort to tack on Darwin's views to Darwin's scientific theory (which renowned scientists say has as much evidence as the theory that the planets orbit the sun...) has, contrary to demonstrating the supposed weak morals of evolutionists, in fact illustrated a rather odd inability to discriminate between concepts.
3. This is the worst one. Did you notice that I specifically said natural? When a star dies, or when a galaxy explodes, could you honestly call that "evil"? When a rock is blown over a cliff, and cracks, is that evil? When a Shark devours its prey, is that "evil", exactly? We ascribe the labels of good and evil to actions and concepts that we as human beings indentify as bad. We can NOT assume that good and evil are determined by some divine force, that good and evil exists in the natural world and, worst of all, that a book established as highly flawed and man made is a document containing all of these indelible, unappealable absolute morals.
Your question to me is plainly both ignorant and insulting, but I'll provide a serious answer. " According to Professor Provine (and atheists), no big deal since all three just ceased to exist, right? ".
Wrong. Their lives were taken from them, pain was inflicted on them, and selfishness and sadism were involved among other things. As a secularist myself, I believe in an inherent (but not divinely implanted) human dignity. This might not compute as possible, but I assure you it is, and it is shared by all of my friends, regardless of their religious beliefs. It comes from the value for life, a value that shouldn't be undermined when it doesn't come from a book. I must emphasis this: you do not need to believe in transcendent power or objective good or evil to identify good and evil using empathy and understanding, which all of us are born with. And this point will address your 4th question about whose standards we shall use. We don't use either of our standards. We take a moral measure which we can all agree on, this being the necessarily extraordinarily broad "well being of sentient life" (which covers things like equality, the pursuit of happiness, the important/relevant commandments and really anything you throw at it), and we rationally argue the case of all acts and behaviours within this frame of reference. (For further information, see the legal system
). The law, I will mention once again, is a great example of how we come up with rules and notions of justice without a divine mandate. It comes from concensus and throuroughly reasoned and rigorously tested values such as equality. You can go on and on about how this method is too mutable, too facile, or too fickle, but its the source of such things as equal rights for women and the abolition of slavery. You can disagree with the yardstick being "the well being of sentient creatures" or something related to the miminization of suffering, but give me a revolutionary moral-based movement (such as the one's mentioned above) that can't be traced back to such an imperative.
This is how we treat right and wrong now. And this is how it must be treated. The presence of other religions in the absence of evidence favouring any of them (to a non-negligable degree) makes it (thankfully) unacceptable to simply impose the moral commands of a single religion onto society. Funnily enough, actually, attempts to impose religious moral absolutes have, for decades now, been screened through society's moral criteria, the secular mechanism I have been arguing for. We won't stone people for working on Sundays anymore because it did not meet society's moral criteria. So you simply cannot refute the existence and dominance of such a criteria. You may try and push anti homosexual "morality" through the filter, but thankfully it is clear that our moral criteria as a society has evolved far enough to be out of reach for this particular attempt.
On your fifth point about purposes, I suspect you knew what I meant, but I concede that perhaps that's a dangerous overestimation. I will rephrase. There may be no transcendent, predetermined or extrinsically determined "purpose" for each one of us. But there is much in the physical world to generate "earthly" purposes that are determined by oneself or that are implications of certain roles one occupies. For example, I feel like a purpose of my own is to be as fair as I can to those I meet. We all have such purposes, whether we make the assumption that we have designated purposes or not. And to suggest that none of these purposes are meaningful just because there's no punishment and reward system is somewhat childish. There is such a thing as revelling in the physical realm of earthly life.
And as for your last question, my current understanding of it is neither flattering nor likely correct. So I'd appreciate a rephrasing of the question.