"The main point of my article, 'Justice without Foundations,' was to argue on philosophical grounds that post-modern relativists like Rorty and Darwinians like Dennett and Pinker have commitments to social justice, understood as democracy, human rights, and respect for human dignity that are completely inconsistent with their philosophical and scientific views. Darwinian evolution does not support democracy and human rights or the inherent dignity of the individual. If it supports any kind of moral code, it would be a code of the strong dominating the weak or one 'tribal' gene pool dominating or exterminating another tribal gene pool. Strict Darwinians should look upon, for example, the victims of the Haitian earthquake in cold rational fashion as losers in the struggle for survival, not as objects of compassion or as eliciting aid for the suffering stranger. The attachment of Darwinians to democratic values or to Christian values of universal charity is completely contradictory and irrational. Their claims to the contrary seem to reflect the secularized values of the surrounding Christian culture and a kind of Lamarckian belief that we can inherit culturally acquired values from the non-Darwinian cultures that developed through religion, philosophy, and high culture. None of the above comments [the comments on the post] are really addressing the main point--that Darwinian evolution as a 'metaphysical doctrine' does not support democracy, human rights, and universal human dignity. When Darwinians refer to 'evolved human nature' that includes democracy and human rights, they are sneaking in cultural values not inherited traits--'memes' rather than 'genes' as Dawkins likes to say, also quite inconsistently.My response to this comment should be clear to anyone who has read the posts to which I linked in my post on Kraynak's article.
Contrary to what Kraynak says here, there is no evidence in Darwin's writing or in the writing on the evolutionary psychology of morality that Darwinism requires that we reject any appeal to compassion or sympathy for suffering human beings. In fact, Darwin is very clear in affirming sympathy as an expression of our evolved social instincts, and recent research on the evolution of morality is very clear about the importance of social emotions in moral experience. I have written many posts about this.
Moreover, when Kraynak refers to "a kind of Lamarckian belief that we can inherit culturally acquired values," he doesn't realize that Darwin embraced Lamarckian cultural evolution, and he doesn't realize that I have argued in many posts and in my books that to explain social order, we need three levels of order: genetic evolution, cultural evolution, and deliberate judgment.
Darwin elaborates on this throughout the The Descent of Man. He summarizes this point near the end of the book: "Important as the struggle for existence has been and even still is, yet as far as the highest part of man's nature is concerned there are other agencies more important. For the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, instruction, religion, etc., than through natural selection; though to this latter agency may be safely attributed the social instincts, which afforded the basis for the development of the moral sense."
We have genetically evolved instincts for social learning and deliberate judgment, so that any Darwinian explanation of moral or political order requires moving through three levels of explanation: nature, custom (or habit), and reason. I have illustrated this throughout my writing. So, for example, in Darwinian Conservatism, I have explained the evolution of the moral sense as moving through three levels: moral sentiments, moral traditions, and moral judgments. Similarly, I have explained the evolution of property as moving from natural property to customary property to formal property. Kraynak needs to explain why this is wrong.
A sample of the many posts on these points can be found here, here, here, and here.