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

I agree, but suffering and extinction are two separate issues.

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09-08-2017, 01:15 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?


Nature is amoral. It is not an entity that has consciousness, or a sense of right and wrong. Nature has predation, parasites, diseases, viruses etc. And evolution. Evolution is amoral in intent. It is part of nature.

Morality is an intelligent evaluation of actions of sentient beings able to reason in an abstract manner. Nature does not fit that criteria.

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09-08-2017, 10:34 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(08-08-2017 09:07 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  
(08-08-2017 08:00 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  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.

I agree, but suffering and extinction are two separate issues.

Evolution is not just an outcome, it's a process. That process inevitably involves suffering (to the extent a critter senses suffering, a cat or dog). If the process involves needless avoidable suffering ("squirrel skin socks are great, let's wipe out every squirrel!"), it seems to me it could be described as immoral.

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10-08-2017, 01:06 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?

I mean this question only makes sense in light of a worldview that can ground a sufficient concept of morality. What worldview are you espousing?

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14-08-2017, 07:54 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
This is a strange question. Evolution itself is amoral. It's a process in which brings about diversity and removes parts that don't work/survive.(Very generally speaking)

You ask if it is wrong for a better evolved species to displace a less suited population. It depends on the traits of the organisms. Wolves displacing say a similar but not quite as tough,smart,fast, etc species is not immoral because wolves are not capable of moral reasoning. They might have some form of instinct that allows for a concept of a good or bad action but it's not quite advanced as humans.

With humans we are capable of moral reasoning, at least to more a degree than wolves. We are capable of reflecting on these actions. Now it also depends on how strict you're using immoral here. Is it immoral in the sense of it's universal law that something is objectively immoral like it's objective that 2+2=4? Well no, but in any genuinely meaningful formulation of morality, we can draw moral conclusions from facts of a situation. We can reason a mass murderer should at least be locked up. etc. Is it immoral to displace a species? Maybe. It totally depends on context of a situation.
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14-08-2017, 10:00 PM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
Hey Sauron, welcome to the forum. Yes, what you describe is about where I was with it. I think it can be immoral based on the perspective of the morally aware sentient beings involved, but I think most people chose to look at it more literally, i.e. "Evolution is not moral or immoral." I don't see how you can divorce the process from the beings doing the processing.

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15-08-2017, 06:55 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(09-08-2017 10:34 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  
(08-08-2017 09:07 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  I agree, but suffering and extinction are two separate issues.

Evolution is not just an outcome, it's a process. That process inevitably involves suffering (to the extent a critter senses suffering, a cat or dog). If the process involves needless avoidable suffering ("squirrel skin socks are great, let's wipe out every squirrel!"), it seems to me it could be described as immoral.

Evolution doesn't require suffering.
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15-08-2017, 07:09 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(15-08-2017 06:55 AM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  
(09-08-2017 10:34 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  Evolution is not just an outcome, it's a process. That process inevitably involves suffering (to the extent a critter senses suffering, a cat or dog). If the process involves needless avoidable suffering ("squirrel skin socks are great, let's wipe out every squirrel!"), it seems to me it could be described as immoral.

Evolution doesn't require suffering.

I shouldn't have used the word "inevitably" but if any five minutes of The Nature Channel is to believed, there's quite a bit of suffering going on out there as species rise and fall, even as we speak. And to be fair my next sentence said:

jerry mcmasters Wrote:If the process involves needless avoidable suffering

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15-08-2017, 07:28 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(15-08-2017 07:09 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  
(15-08-2017 06:55 AM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  Evolution doesn't require suffering.

I shouldn't have used the word "inevitably" but if any five minutes of The Nature Channel is to believed, there's quite a bit of suffering going on out there as species rise and fall, even as we speak. And to be fair my next sentence said:

jerry mcmasters Wrote:If the process involves needless avoidable suffering
The suffering is not caused by evolution.
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15-08-2017, 07:35 AM
RE: Is Evolution Moral?
(15-08-2017 07:28 AM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  The suffering is not caused by evolution.

Why not?

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