This question contained in this post will get many people fired up. It is a topic that people have very strong opinions about, and there are definitely many people who are both numerous and very vocal with their views on either side of the argument. What I am trying to have happening is a good dialogue between Christians and atheists, not a flame war. Please, if you comment on this post, be civil and respectful to everyone else, whichever side you’re on. If you aren’t civil in your posting and are just tolling, don’t expect me or anyone else to consider responding.
I will state from the top that I am not a biologist. Nor am I trying to undermine the work of biologists, since as I’m not a biologist my comments wouldn’t be taken seriously at all if I were trying to do so. I am just trying to reason, based on the arguments that have been thrown at me, why the alternative I will propose afterwards isn’t just as plausible as the argument.
The argument that I have heard a few times goes like this:
Evolution is able to explain ethics, especially when it comes to murdering people. If we went around murdering each other, then there would be no humans left and we would go extinct.
Looks good upfront, doesn’t it? Well, maybe. The gripe I have with the theory of evolution is that it is so losely designed that it can be molded in any way, shape or form to fit what is observed. Rather than the observed conforming to a theory (such as Einsteins Theory of Relativity) in order to validate the theory, the theory is molded to the observed no matter what happens. The Theory of Evolution generally isn’t too good at predicting what is likely to happen… well, isn’t as good as, say, relativity.
What I want to do is propose an alternative to the argument above. Now, I want someone to demonstrate to me why this is any less pluasible than what is written above, and the only source they are allowed to use is explain the differences with the Theory of Evolution, and not about what is observed. For a theory to be a good model, it should be able to explain why one thing happens and another thing doesn’t, and also predict what is going to happen: this is why you can’t refer to what the world is like now (the fact that there appears to be universal morals) to validate your point, as the way the world is now can be explained using other theories and hypothesis (such as the Hypothesis of God, which Edgar Andrews does a good job at examining in “Who Made God?“)
From the Theory of Evolution, and survival of the fittest, it seems as though humans shouldn’t have any issue with murdering one another. The fittest and strongest human’s overall will win, especially when it comes to fighting over resources such as food. Why should a fit and strong human have to work together with other humans if they are going to make resources such as food potentially scarce? A fit and strong human can do this by him/herself.
To me, that seems like just as valid according to what the theory of evolution states that this could have happened. So, why is the first one used to explain morals, when there is a perfectly good alternative explanation?
As a side note, so people know where I’m coming from. I’m from the standpoint that evolution has happened, to an extent. More or less, micro-evolution, or the evolution within a species. For example, I have no problem presuming that dogs, foxes, wolfs, dingos all came from one biblical canine species, there is evidence to support this kind of evolution. From what I have found in my research, there is in fact a lack of evidence to support cross-species evolution (for example, if species crossed over, then we should find fossil evidence of hybrid species.)