Some Serious Thinking On Evolved Morality


We’ve been discussing the moral argument for God here lately in a two-part short series, where I introduced this version of the argument:

AB1. We cannot know whether any action really is right or wrong unless right and wrong are real.
AB2. We know that some actions really are right and others are wrong.
AB3. Therefore (AB1 and AB2) right and wrong are real.
AB4. If there is no God, then right and wrong cannot be real.
AB5. Therefore (AB3 and AB4) there is a God.

(In this context “action” includes thoughts, intentions, and so on, and “real” and “really” are intended to be synonymous with “objective” and “objectively:” that rightness and wrongness have objective reality that transcends human opinion and does not depend on human judgment.”

That’s the summary form of a much longer argument.

This week I came across one of the more challenging rebuttals to this argument, in a paper by Oliver Curry in Evolutionary Psychology:Who’s Afraid of the Naturalistic Fallacy.” Curry wasn’t addressing theism or the moral argument in this paper, but his conclusions, if accurate, would seriously undermine the moral argument.

I’m just beginning to study his paper. I have an extended response to evolutionary morality that I’ve been holding back on for a few years, trying to decide whether to work it up for a journal article or just publish it here. I’m still trying to decide. In the meantime I’ll leave this here for you to work through as you wish, and I’ll plan on posting a specific response of my own before too long.

Also in view: Sharon Street, “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.”