Evolution and Morality

Jason Rosenhouse has written a review of Lee Alan Dugatkin’s new book The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness. This book considers the history of the work done by scientists in explaining the evolutionary origins of altruism. The idea that survival of the fittest could lead to behaviour that benefits others does appear strange, but scientists have made some progress in explaining how some such behaviour could evolve. The explanations that science does provide do seem to require an advantage from the altruistic behaviour, either kin altruism which involves helping family (so family and consequently shared genes gain an advantage), or its expected to leads to future reciprocal help (with net benefit).

But do those things really explain morality fully? I don’t want to turn this into a God of the Gaps argument, just because science doesn’t have answers doesn’t prove that there is no natural explanation. That said, where does morality come from? Maybe science has something to say about some of it, but I still believe that Christianity has the best answer.

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