Is Evolution Moral?
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07-08-2017, 11:53 PM (This post was last modified: 08-08-2017 12:29 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 12:30 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 12:02 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  It is only a moral consideration if the species doing the displacing has the ability to critically evaluate what it is doing, and the effects it is having. Even then, the species may simply not care at all about the other species, making the "decision" to displace it amoral.

So morals would be at the whim of the beholder, and in no way absolute??

Morality is subjective, yes. There's nothing absolute about it, it's a human construct. I'm going to make a thread about this actually, challenging anyone who thinks otherwise.

If it doesn't even occur to a particular species that the other species matters at all, that they're not capable of caring, then I think it's pointless to try and "hold them to account". That doesn't necessarily mean that we, as humans, shouldn't get involved if this is happening. But calling them immoral in this situation would be like calling someone devoid of empathy immoral. It's a category error, in my opinion. Amoral fits it better, in that they are outside the scope of morality.

The process of evolution itself is simply a model for what happens. A process, or a model, is also amoral (in my estimation).

(Of course, morality is such a vague concept that you can define it however you want. If you want to define evolution as being immoral for whatever reason, then it is. But that's of no practical value to anyone who doesn't make use of your definition.)

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08-08-2017, 05:30 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 11:53 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 12:30 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  So morals would be at the whim of the beholder, and in no way absolute??

Morality is subjective, yes. There's nothing absolute about it, it's a human construct. I'm going to make a thread about this actually, challenging anyone who thinks otherwise.

If it doesn't even occur to a particular species that the other species matters at all, that they're not capable of caring, then I think it's pointless to try and "hold them to account". That doesn't necessarily mean that we, as humans, shouldn't get involved if this is happening. But calling them immoral in this situation would be like calling someone devoid of empathy immoral. It's a category error, in my opinion. Amoral fits it better, in that they are outside the scope of morality.

The process of evolution itself is simply a model for what happens. A process, or a model, is also amoral (in my estimation).

(Of course, morality is such a vague concept that you can define it however you want. If you want to define evolution as being immoral for whatever reason, then it is. But that's of no practical value to anyone who doesn't make use of your definition.)

That's pretty much where I was going with the this... I overheard a conversation of one environmentalist type berating a third person as being immoral for not caring about the extinction of some species....

It got me to thinking - and what I arrived at is this person was at root, expressing " my morals are more moral than his morals".


And really - EVERYONE would like to see the eradication of some lifeform or another....


Think you're exempt??? How about syphillis? Or smallpox?? They're caused by life forms. It's all just a matter of how carried away you want to get about inclusiveness.....

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08-08-2017, 07:07 AM (This post was last modified: 08-08-2017 07:21 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(08-08-2017 05:30 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  And really - EVERYONE would like to see the eradication of some lifeform or another....

Think you're exempt??? How about syphillis? Or smallpox?? They're caused by life forms. It's all just a matter of how carried away you want to get about inclusiveness.....

If you define morality as trying to increase pleasure and contentment and to decrease pain and suffering, you are defining it in terms of conscious beings. There is nothing immoral about breaking a rock in two because the rock feels nothing and has no interests. But killing a dog for no reason is considered immoral for good reasons.

Given such considerations, it is moral to try to eradicate diseases that cause pain and suffering. So objecting to killing off species on moral grounds has to be qualified, just as you said. Morality in the real world is much more complicated.
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08-08-2017, 07:36 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
In the particular example you gave, of one species (presumably rapidly and significantly) displacing another, it's very likely that it's because humans screwed with things. In a balanced ecosystem, I don't imagine you're suddenly going to have a huge gang of species X and species Y competing directly on top of each other where a minute ago they were both slowly evolving in their own environments, or managing to coexist.

The way I look at it, other life forms are part of the "environment" which natural selection has to work with. So if another species is there, that's a factor. But things will tend to happen slowly and naturally (I expect). I'm not saying it's impossible for some sort of "gang warfare" to erupt but... I do know that humans have been responsible for it on multiple occasions.

Consider that a human pillock decides it's a good idea to bring a species of squirrel from one country all the way across the world to another. Maybe he has it as a pet and it escapes, or maybe he just releases it. Either way, the new squirrel happens to be able to out-perform the resident ones in many unforeseen ways. The residents were doing just fine before, and suddenly they're going almost extinct. Are the squirrels doing the displacing immoral? I'd say of course not. They're doing what they need to survive, like all animals. They don't even have any malicious intent, and certainly don't understand the implications of being there.

Was the pillock immoral? I'd say yes. And since humans caused the problem, you could argue it's up to us to fix it and protect the resident squirrel somehow (hopefully not by directly hurting the new squirrel). Something similar to this has happened, among many other examples.

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08-08-2017, 07:41 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(08-08-2017 05:30 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 11:53 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Morality is subjective, yes. There's nothing absolute about it, it's a human construct. I'm going to make a thread about this actually, challenging anyone who thinks otherwise.

If it doesn't even occur to a particular species that the other species matters at all, that they're not capable of caring, then I think it's pointless to try and "hold them to account". That doesn't necessarily mean that we, as humans, shouldn't get involved if this is happening. But calling them immoral in this situation would be like calling someone devoid of empathy immoral. It's a category error, in my opinion. Amoral fits it better, in that they are outside the scope of morality.

The process of evolution itself is simply a model for what happens. A process, or a model, is also amoral (in my estimation).

(Of course, morality is such a vague concept that you can define it however you want. If you want to define evolution as being immoral for whatever reason, then it is. But that's of no practical value to anyone who doesn't make use of your definition.)

That's pretty much where I was going with the this... I overheard a conversation of one environmentalist type berating a third person as being immoral for not caring about the extinction of some species....

It got me to thinking - and what I arrived at is this person was at root, expressing " my morals are more moral than his morals".


And really - EVERYONE would like to see the eradication of some lifeform or another....


Think you're exempt??? How about syphillis? Or smallpox?? They're caused by life forms. It's all just a matter of how carried away you want to get about inclusiveness.....

Well, if a species is going extinct and there's nothing that can be done about it, then how anyone feels about it is kind of irrelevant. If humans are causing it in the first place, then (as above) it could be argued that they should protect them. But it's not any individuals fault what some other person has done, so it doesn't make them immoral for not fixing it, especially as they may well have little or no power to do so.

How much any species, or even any human matters is subjective. Species just tend to care about their own far more, that's how it is.

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08-08-2017, 08:00 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(07-08-2017 09:06 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 08:00 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  "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.

Intrinsic worth, sure, but doges have more capacity for suffering than flatworms, and causing dogs needless suffering would be immoral (it seems to me...I'm just thinking out loud this is not my comfort zone!). Not that evolution or displacement of species is immoral, any more than it is "blue" or "patriotic" or anything else, it's just something that happens.
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08-08-2017, 08:05 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(08-08-2017 05:30 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  That's pretty much where I was going with the this... I overheard a conversation of one environmentalist type berating a third person as being immoral for not caring about the extinction of some species....

It got me to thinking - and what I arrived at is this person was at root, expressing " my morals are more moral than his morals".

What if advanced aliens arrived and told us they needed human skin to make some luxury product on their planet, and then proceeded to wipe us all out. Surely that would fit the definition of immoral behavior on their part...or maybe not, if they see us as ants, but if they saw us as sentient creatures with the capacity to suffer.
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08-08-2017, 10:58 AM (This post was last modified: 08-08-2017 11:07 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(08-08-2017 08:05 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  What if advanced aliens arrived and told us they needed human skin to make some luxury product on their planet, and then proceeded to wipe us all out. Surely that would fit the definition of immoral behavior on their part...or maybe not, if they see us as ants, but if they saw us as sentient creatures with the capacity to suffer.

That reminds me of the problem of evil (or suffering) for theistic religions. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good, then theists have to explain natural evils and suffering. On the other hand, if there is no God, there is no moral problem involved. It's just the way things are. We simply live in an indifferent material world.

Similarly, without knowledge and power there is no moral culpability. Evolution is not a moral consideration for this reason, but humanity's extermination of other species is, if we are aware of it and could change it.
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08-08-2017, 11:03 AM
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 is just how evolution works. Evolution is no more moral than the weather.

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Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”

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08-08-2017, 11:28 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
I don't get the meaning of that usage of moral to be able to say. Just equally reads as a nonsensical sentence like, is it blue for a duck to quack?

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