Evolution is not relegated to the realm of science. Our public schools have force-fed hundreds of millions of students the idea since the mid-1900s. Since it attempts to explain more than just the change from one species to another, and ventures into the realm of origins, it is more than just a scientific theory. It has become an ideology, a way of living life. As an idea, it has an influence on the way people think and act. This being the case, it is well to examine the effects that evolution has on ethics.
Before going any further, it would be wise to understand ethics a bit further. Dictionary.com defines ethics as “a system of moral principles”. A moral principle is a guiding point for an individual. It is part of what makes them who they are. This is completely apart from any law compelling them to do so, or any societal norm telling them it is ok. There are various systems of ethics, most of which follow the ideas of various philosophers over the centuries. This article will focus rather on how evolution influences a person’s ethics.
Ethics for an individual are frequently fluid. As a person’s core beliefs change, his ethics will change with them. For example, a student might regard cheating on an exam as perfectly alright if it will raise their grade. However, that same student may, later in life as a teacher, fail any student they catch cheating on an exam. What changed? The student grew and his core beliefs changed. Instead of doing whatever they could get away with, they now have a certain amount of belief in the personal responsibility of the student. This change in core belief changed the action of the former student.
Evolution can be considered a core belief. Belief in evolution causes people to reject ideas they may have been raised with, such as a belief in God. As it can supplant a previously held belief, it must be a belief system of its own. Viewed as such, it is important to understand how evolution views moral issues. It is a very fair question to ask any set of beliefs “How does one tell the difference between right and wrong?” Evolution has to answer this question as well. A true right and a true wrong require concrete precepts. For example, devout Hindus refuse to eat cows because they believe their ancestors have been reincarnated as cows and eating them would be an offense to the gods. That is a concrete precept in Hindu tradition. It would, therefore, be wrong for a devout Hindu to eat beef. Evolution has no such set precepts. This is because set in stone precepts always come from someone or something greater than man, which evolution denies exists.
Throughout history, every society until recent memory has based itself on religion in some form or other. This is because religion begets order. A religion generally admits the existence of some higher power or another person which sets the rules. No matter how whimsical some religions rules are, or how absurd they may seem, people take them seriously because they believe that doing so will appease their deity. Many religions have similar rules. Christianity and Judaism for example, share very similar ideas about morality. Even Islam borrows from Judaism, though the rules are different for male Muslims than they are for women. However, by establishing norms, most religions bring order to society. Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism all condemn theft for a moral reason. As such, followers of those religions in general avoid stealing. This is part of their ethical code. Evolution, by denying a higher power, effectively devolves the authority associated with that higher power, onto man. This can have some catastrophic consequences.
The world as we know it was largely built or heavily influenced by what we refer to as “western civilization”. One of the biggest parts of this western civilization was the Judeo-Christian ethical code. Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Baptists share a very similar view of ethics, whatever their doctrinal differences. This influence can be seen in the laws of western nations. Murder is a capital offense in places and used to be in far more. This is drawn straight from Judaism. Theft, rape, child molestation, fraud, larceny, burglary, and many other crimes are codified as such due to Biblical commands against them. These commands came straight from the very mouth of God Himself and thus are to be obeyed without question.
Suppose then that these commands did not come from a higher power and were merely written down by man? Then there would be no incentive to obey them because they would merely be the opinion of a man. Removing God from His commands completely undermines their authority, yet this is exactly what evolution has attempted to do. By denying that there is any higher authority than man, evolution effectively states that laws, which were codified based on what was found in the Bible, are invalid. This gives free rein to man to do as he pleases, regardless of the rights and protections of those around him. Evolutionists will counter that laws can be upheld by majority rule. It would be well for them to remember that nearly ninety percent of German citizens supported this man for Fuhrer.
The majority can be wrong. Then perhaps politicians should decide laws for us? If this is the argument, I will argue Hitler was perhaps one of the best politicians ever to live, certainly one of the best demagogues. Perhaps a king or one like him should decide laws? It is this thinking that gave Germany Hitler and sparked the 2nd World War.
The ethics of evolution are obvious in society today. General respect for life has gone down exponentially since the mid-1900s when evolution began to be taught extensively in public schools. At the same time, premarital sex has skyrocketed, as has drug use. Evolution comes packaged with the “if it feels good, do it” lie. Because man is the ultimate authority, then all that matters is that he follows his own desires. That is evolution ethics. Whatever makes a man happy here and now he should do, without thought for anyone else, for he is naught but an animal and can behave as such.