Is Evolution Moral?
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07-08-2017, 02:26 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 02:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 12:41 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  If evolution dictates that better evolved species become the dominant kind in a given environment, why then would humans try to " help" other species that are less well adapted then themselves?

Diversity, in general, benefits all species. Being dominant doesn't mean other species get wiped out. In many ways, we don't even know the long-term effects of species going extinct.
It benefits the dominant specie to keep the environment that allowed for their dominance the same.

An old joke says that as all species die eventually, that death must have some evolutionary advantage...

But then consider - very few species last for very long. Species extinction is more the norm than the exception......

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07-08-2017, 02:51 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 02:26 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 02:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Diversity, in general, benefits all species. Being dominant doesn't mean other species get wiped out. In many ways, we don't even know the long-term effects of species going extinct.
It benefits the dominant specie to keep the environment that allowed for their dominance the same.

An old joke says that as all species die eventually, that death must have some evolutionary advantage...

But then consider - very few species last for very long. Species extinction is more the norm than the exception......

This is an interesting thing to ponder. At first I wanted to say, "Well it's impossible for there to be morality built into evolution because nature doesn't deal with that when things die off."

But I pondered on it a little bit. With change over time, and as a specific species becomes better adapted for an environment, let's say... a beetle ends up having a mutation and it causes that particular gene set to make them all blend into their environment better....

There's no morality in that specific bit of it.

But if we throw humans into the mix and we say "oh well, beetle A is becoming extinct! we MUST help them!", but biologically aside from this mutation both are exactly the same, we are making a moral choice to intervene with nature and save something that otherwise would be extinct.

We're not really doing much aside from saving a beetle some some specific color, while it's counterpart is flourishing in its environment over the mutation, and eventually the beetle can't mate with the other version and it becomes a "species" of beetle. So we reach out and try to save the endangered species.

If we weren't here to intervene, it'd die off with time. That's a moral decision to intervene.

As well if we were to intervene to try and help the other flourish and kill the other off we'd be making a decision to morally say, "Species x is more important than species y." which would be subjective morality anyway.

Since humans themselves are our own species, since we make interesting morally subjective choices, and since we tend to intervene with nature, one could technically say there is moral decisions made in forms of evolution, though I would propose it's our intervention. I don't think there's any subjective morality in generic nature though. Creatures have survival mechanisms, survival interaction, and are a product of their genetic composure and environment.

But once we get involved and we affect that.... then I suppose.... yes.

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07-08-2017, 02:56 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 02:26 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 02:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Diversity, in general, benefits all species. Being dominant doesn't mean other species get wiped out. In many ways, we don't even know the long-term effects of species going extinct.
It benefits the dominant specie to keep the environment that allowed for their dominance the same.

An old joke says that as all species die eventually, that death must have some evolutionary advantage...

But then consider - very few species last for very long. Species extinction is more the norm than the exception......

Death very definitely is advantageous to the species. Would having millions/billions of 250 year olds around be a good thing ? Tongue
The birth, reproduction, and death of individuals has an advantage to the species. Evolution is not about individuals. We have become acculturated to think in individual terms ... and only rather recently. Not that long ago, humans thought of themselves (only) as members of tribes and family groups, and the survival of the group was of prime importance.

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07-08-2017, 06:06 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 12:41 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  ...
why then would humans try to " help" other species that are less well adapted then themselves?
...

... because morality evolved. It's a curse.

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Note that not everyone has the same moral code (set of ethics). You have a predominantly "Autonomy" ethic. Others differ.

Here's a diagram wot I done earlier (the last one). If I was pressed to put an 'onlinebiker-pin' on the diagram, based on your expressed views, I'd put it just below the 'n' of Pioneer.

And here's a thought... what makes you think that those other species have not adapted perfectly to take advantage of this human trait?

Consider

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07-08-2017, 06:23 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 02:26 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  But then consider - very few species last for very long. Species extinction is more the norm than the exception......
Depends on how you define species.

Us humans have an unbroken ancestral line going back almost 5 billion years.
So do our cousins, the worms, and mushrooms, dogs and rats, etc, etc
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07-08-2017, 07:46 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
Morality should not enter into the equation either way.

Evolution is a natural process that wouldn't know morality if it tripped over it. It makes as much sense to ask if the evaporation of a mud puddle is honourable.

The extinction of one species by another has just as little to do with morality. Morality is a set of rules, customs and traditions that optimizes interactions within the societies of sentient social organisms. Only in the exceptionally rare instance where one sentient species threatens the existence of another sentient species would morality be meaningful.

A more useful question would be to ask if the rate of extinction currently being caused by humans is responsible, wise, sustainable, or in any way in our long-term interests. The loss of any single species is relatively unimportant. If the Piping Plover vanishes from the Earth the ecological impact will be negligible. It is when we repeat this again and again, elevating the extinction rate orders of magnitude above the background rate, that we endanger the ecosystem and our own existence.

Put more simply, does the following graphic depict a stable, sustainable situation? Or is there something in it that makes you question the wisdom of producing that state of affairs?

[Image: land_mammals.png]

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07-08-2017, 07:57 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 11:50 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  When one species evolves and finds itself better adapted than other species, is it immoral for the better evolved species to displace the less suited??

Or is that simply how evolution works?

It's not immoral until, as some have mentioned, humans get into the picture. Any critter that has, or eventually evolves, self-awareness and consciousness similar to what we have can comprehend suffering and imagine the suffering of other critters. We can imagine a hierarchy of suffering, we understand that a chimp suffers more than a wasp. So it depends on the circumstance of the displacing. If it's a to the death for survival of species battle between apes and humans (now there's a good idea for a movie!!!) I'm taking the humans. But if the humans can survive without eliminating the chimps and choose to do it anyway, that seems immoral. Still evolution, but immoral.
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07-08-2017, 08:00 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 07:46 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  The extinction of one species by another has just as little to do with morality. Morality is a set of rules, customs and traditions that optimizes interactions within the societies of sentient social organisms. Only in the exceptionally rare instance where one sentient species threatens the existence of another sentient species would morality be meaningful.

"Sentient" seems a high bar...and a difficult one to define. Dogs, for example...if we wiped them all out, would that not be immoral?
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07-08-2017, 09:06 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 08:00 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 07:46 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  The extinction of one species by another has just as little to do with morality. Morality is a set of rules, customs and traditions that optimizes interactions within the societies of sentient social organisms. Only in the exceptionally rare instance where one sentient species threatens the existence of another sentient species would morality be meaningful.

"Sentient" seems a high bar...and a difficult one to define. Dogs, for example...if we wiped them all out, would that not be immoral?

Only by virtue of the fact that we would be causing a lot of humans suffering by way of the fact that we're much better at anthropomorphising puppies and kittens than slugs and flatworms. Our canine pals have no more intrinsic worth as a species than any of the nastier parasitic nematodes.

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07-08-2017, 11:05 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 11:50 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  When one species evolves and finds itself better adapted than other species, is it immoral for the better evolved species to displace the less suited??

Or is that simply how evolution works?

That's a fallacy called anthropomorphism when you assign uniquely human qualities to something that is not human.

The enemy numbered six hundred - including women and children - and we abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother. This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States. -- Mark Twain
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