vulgar anti-darwinism

If one function of theological opinion is to generate heresy, as I believe it is, so that our team is distinct from their team and any fight over resources more likely to have a decisive outcome, then this would tend to explain one puzzling feture of American creationism — the belief that Darwinism, or evolution undercuts morality.

As a matter of empirical truth, it’s obvious that people who believe in evolution are not notably less moral than those who don’t. It’s also a matter of historical record that evolutionary rhetoric has been used to justify things that were as nasty as crusades.

So the people who claim that Darwinism undercuts morality are not trying to say something factual about the real world. What they’re really claiming is that evolutionists are outside the moral community. They’re not properly human.

This makes perfect sense if moral sentiment arises from networks of reciprocal obligation within small groups. It’s just not very cheering sense. We all know, if we read the Bible, what God wants done to outsiders. The enormous creative accomolishment of Christianity was to redefine the boundaries between inside and outside, and to allow for the possibility of conversion. bu the boundary was not abolished, and conversion can go in both directions. You can be changed into an outsider.

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3 Responses to vulgar anti-darwinism

  1. Rupert says:

    Which is also why the creationists are very uncomfortable discussing Christians who are also evolutionists, whereas Christians who are evolutionists don’t see that distinction and are relatively relaxed about the creationists.

    I’m one of those wretched moral relativists, but on one point I do think there’s an absolute moral imperative: do not dehumanise groups. Isn’t this all tied up with that existential idea of the Other? I’m not up on my Satre…


  2. Christian Lott says:

    “do not dehumanise groups”

    Does this include the preborn, or will you also conveniently classify them as ‘inhuman’?

    One who murders innocent people makes themselves an outcast.

  3. Rupert says:

    Crikey, where did that come from?

    I will only be in favour of abortion (up to and including the hundredth trimester) when a reliable amniotic test is invented for detecting Daily Mail readers.

    You know how fickle us moral relativists are.


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