Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why conservatives are wrong to fear Darwinian biology

In his book, Arnhart sketches twenty natural desires that are innate in human beings as shaped by Darwinian evolution. And he shows how the conservative commitments to traditional morality, family values, private property, and limited government satisfy the evolved natural desires of human beings.

He indicates how the social binds of marriage and family life defended by conservatives satisfy the natural human desires for sexual mating, sexual identity, and parental care. By contrast, those on the left tend to see marriage and family life as artificial cultural constructions that can be changed, or even abolished by social engineering directed to absolute sexual equality.

Arnhart presents his arguments for why conservatives are wrong to fear Darwinian biology and why conservatives should see Darwinian science as supporting their values. Darwinian evolution is open to a religious belief in God as the First Cause of the evolutionary laws of nature.


Larry Arnhart said...


I'd say it's both. Many conservatives are fearful of what they regard as the morally degrading effects of the scientific materialism promoted by Darwinism. That's the theme of the Discovery Institute's "wedge strategy."

At the same time, as you say, many conservatives are irritated with what they perceive as the arrogance of Darwinians who want to indoctrinate their children.

My response to the fear is to argue that Darwinian science supports traditional morality by defending the idea of a natural moral sense.

My response to the irritation is to suggest that we "teach the controversy by teaching Darwin." High school biology classes could be much more instructive (and interesting) for the students if they could study the debate over evolution for themselves by seeing how Darwin himself handled the "difficulties" with his theory.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me,but I seem to remember from High school biology,that Darwin promoted not morality,but the concept of 'survival of the fittest'.Darwin beleived that life forms observed today exsited simply because of certain genetic traits,which gave particular creatures an advantage over others who did not share these traits.
To accept Darwin's ideas one also has to accept the concept of might makes right.Just replace fit or fittest with might or the mightiest.If any morality is to be derived from Darwins theory ,it could only be the same morality of racial bigots,supporters of imperialisam,and other barbarians.
Beyond high school,I also remember learning that the brain destroying,disease of syphillis was what became the demise of Darwin,and that it is highly likely,his work and veiw of the world were influenced by the tiny organisams feasting on his gray matter.