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Thought for the Day: The Tragedy of Thinking We Evolved

I saw the most unbelievable nonsensical report last night.  That's going some, given the nonsense that gets reported.  It was an article in New Scientist, which I only mention because that is known in the world as a reasonably reliable and sensible source science current events and how they relate our daily life.  Here's the article (link included so you don't think I am making this up adn... with a couple of juicy outtakes.
The Tragedy of Common-Sense Morality
  1. Morality is essentially a suite of psychological mechanisms that enable us to cooperate. But, biologically at least, we only evolved to cooperate in a tribal way.
  2. Going through that reasoning process [taking a more global view] can allow our moral thinking to do something it never evolved to.
Can you spot the obvious problems here?  I'll elaborate just because it's so fun.  First, he declares that there really is no morality; it's just an evolutionary trick that engenders cooperation.  Since cooperation obviously (yes; dripping with sarcasm) makes a species more fit, that explains morality.  This sort of statement is what we used to call, "Proof by blatant assertion."  Questioning it is met with blank stares and/or looks of derision.  Add some facts... for example that cockroaches and mice seem to have done quite well without much cooperation, thank you; and they get belligerent.  Part of the proof by blatant assertion, of course, is to explain it louder and with more disdain each time a contradictory real fact is presented.  (As an aside: My Florida progeny have just gone through rousting a group of recalcitrant cockroaches from their van.  So far so good, but even with lots of cooperation and superior intellect, the jury is still out on who won.)

But let's suppose we accept his premise and say that morality is just a happy accident that these smart monkeys we call human happened to hit upon.  So... his #2 point... uhh... why in the world would he want to re-purpose this evolutionary gem to do something else?  Wouldn't that be, by the very nature of the game, less survivable?  Moreover, even if he is willing to take that hit to be more moral... umm... didn't he just say there is no higher morality?  At this point, of course, they are about bust a vein; the loud belligerence has turned into shouting red face.

That's why I became an Orthodox Jew.  Everything else has way too much screaming and blind faith for my taste.


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