The natural world is full of grisly cases of predation, parasitism, a universe of ghastly horrors all generated by natural selection and untouched by the slightest ethical qualms on the part of perpetrators. It is full of animal rape, deception, nepotism, siblicide, matricide and cannibalism, and it should be clear that natural selection has blindly yet effectively favored self-betterment and self-promotion, unmitigated by any ethical considerations.
Therefore evolution by natural selection is a wonderful thing to learn about … but a terrible thing to learn from. And for those clinging to a belief in God as Creator and/or driving force behind evolution, it poses a deep dilemma: Either God is completely a-moral (or, worse yet, downright nasty - both in stark contrast to the picture of God in the Judeo-Christian bible) or simply incompetent.
The universe is chaotic.
What a ghoulish, negative world view!
As a born optimist, hiking is a transcendent, uplifting experience for me. Mountains are my sanctuary.
If a bear gets ahold of you you’ll learn about the law of the jungle PDQ.
Actually I greatly admire your optimism and your active lifestyle. Keep it up!
Born prematurely, 3 lbs. with a collapsed lung, I feel lucky to be alive.
I feel lucky to have eyes that see, a strong body that can hike steep trails (weightlifting and running help), and a heart that soars from the exquisite beauty of the great outdoors.
The answer to the dilemma is in the opening chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. The only dilemma is in our mistaken thinking and ignorance regarding who we are.
There is a huge and complex jungle of organisms extending through time and space. If you are identified with one of those organisms the world will appear to be cruel and unjust. But those organisms have no real existence—they are nothing but temporary arrangements of energy patterns, like waves on the ocean. IMO it is impossible for an arrangement of molecules to have conscious awareness—from the perspective of ultimate reality they are robotic, neither good nor bad but behaving perfectly as they were designed to behave.
Our true Self (singular) is Consciousness itself.
Sir Arthur Eddington:
“The universe is of the nature of a thought or sensation in a universal Mind... To put the conclusion crudely — the stuff of the world is mind-stuff.”
Your quotation looks only at the dark side of natural selection.
Those genes have also been favored which tend to predispose species to rear their offspring in a caring, nurturing, and cooperative manner, and for those offspring in turn to cooperate in adolescence and adulthood for their common self-interest and to raise the next generation. After all, we're here, are we not?
And to forgo the obvious example of humans having evolved as we are, observe the wolf, ape, deer, horse, buffalo, any number of bird species, kangaroo, mouse, rat, marmoset, chimp, monkey, cheetah, jaguar, sea lion, dolphin, gazelle... incredible numbers of species that have evolved with a social life and exhibit altruism among one another. Granted, such behavior may ultimately benefit the survival of the individual, calculated on an unconscious level, but that cannot negate the fact of the behavior itself.
The gene may be selfish, but it also cares for the survival of its kin. Natural selection is not "nature red in tooth and claw". Within a species, animals cooperate as much as they compete. It's the crime of Social Darwinists to misapply a theory they did not understand in the first place and conclude that all humans should be competing with one another to see how "fit" they are to survive.
"We have long known that the natural world is replete with grisly cases of predation, parasitism, a universe of ghastly horrors all generated by natural selection and unleavened by the slightest ethical qualms on the part of perpetrators." -George C. Williams
"Add cases of animal rape, deception, nepotism, siblicide, matricide, and cannibalism, and it should be clear that natural selection has blindly, mechanically, yet effectively favored self-betterment and self-promotion, unmitigated by any ethical considerations.
Therefore evolution by natural selection is a wonderful thing to learn about … but a terrible thing to learn from. And for those clinging to a belief in God as Creator and/or driving force behind evolution, it poses a deep dilemma: Either God is completely a-moral (or, worse yet, downright nasty - both in stark contrast to the picture of God in the Judeo-Christian bible) or simply incompetent." - David P. Barash, Atheism and Darwinism, The Oxford Handbook of Atheism
With all that, ethologist and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, provides hope in the following quote:
"We have the power to defy the selfish genes of our birth and, if necessary, the selfish memes of our indoctrination.". -Richard Dawkins
There is no more natural selection when it comes to humans. There hasn't been, at least in this country, for quite a while.
What about someone born with a crippling genetic disease that causes them to die without reproducing. Isn’t that natural selection?
@WilliamFleming True enough... I see your point. So by your yardstick (reproduction) does that mean that being gay is also a form of natural selection since two people of the same sex cannot reproduce?
@RiverRick Yes, I’d think that would have an effect. Even if some of them have children, in general they have fewer children.
Natural selection continues regardless. It's only measure is reproductive success and the continuance of the gene in the species. We're largely unconscious of the effect of selection pressure on our reproduction, but it's there.
Culture itself is an element in natural selection. It must be, since human culture is a product of our evolution. When our culture values certain standards of attractiveness in a mate, that tends to result in those traits being passed on to future generations. If intelligence is a valued trait, it will tend to be selected by those who value it (even though intelligence is not genetic).
Judging by reality TV, though, the trend is in the other direction.
Some people still believe that morality is absolute, but if that is true then the morality of the universe is very different from the standards humans have set for ourselves.
God can be kind of a dick, actually, when you cross him....
One only has to think of tree-mycorrhizal relationships or lichen, or coral reefs...