Debunker's Argumentative Analysis

Improved Essays
The evolutionary story suggests that our moral beliefs evolved organically to select for what would keep a community alive. That our morals do not approach an objective truth, but are merely adaptively fit. This lends to an argument that since we are not evolved to know the truth, our morals may be totally invalid, and so we cannot rationally believe them.
This argument that we cannot trust our morals is flawed. The debunker claims that since evolution selects for fitness rather than moral truth, we cannot trust our moral beliefs to be objective, and that we must require a Good Reason to back up all our moral beliefs. This not only knocks out moral realism, or at least leaves it crippled and ineffective, but also leads down the road to pure
…show more content…
As much as debunkers claim that evolution is not a Good Reason to believe in moral positions, it is also not a Good Reason to disbelieve them either. Who is to say that true moral beliefs are not what is most fit? Would it not make sense for objective morality to have characteristics that would aid in the survival of a community? Sure, evolution is bound to get off track a little bit, but here we must focus on degrees of reason. We must assume our beliefs are innocent until proven guilty by Good Reason, and that most of our beliefs are probably close enough to the truth, otherwise they would not have aided in the survival and been selected for by evolution. The best argument against moral realism does not even need evolution to make us rightfully worry, but the inclusion of evolution weakens the argument, leading to skepticism again. Our disposition to make a distinction without a difference is a serious moral dilemma, but has no bearing on the current discussion since we are addressing the problem of evolution in relation to realism. The problem here is not in the content of the argument itself, but in the very …show more content…
She states that if one is to properly persuade anyone, they must do so from a close proximity to their opposition’s beliefs. A small correction to one belief set is still supported by accepting truth, whereas a major paradigm shift is less likely to hold up in from the opposition’s standpoint. This seems to be a pretty basic debate strategy, but suggests a fundamental flaw in the current argumentative tactics. It seems easy to pick a topic wildly different from your own, and shoot holes in it from your perspective, but those on the other side may not accept the arguments that do so, and may fire back in kind, leaving both parties going nowhere, but when one approaches from the same viewpoint, and carefully audits a path, suggesting small adjustments, it is a lot easier to come to a consensus. Here is the major problem with the evolutionary debunkers. They come to realism from an antagonistic perspective, not accepting any functional objective system, and trying to shoot down the framework they are working within rather than trying to improve upon it. An evolutionary theorist needs to be building up a theory that fits well within the evolutionary story rather than trying to break down a foundation by applying their new

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Moral status has always been assumed to apply to all human beings, referring to homo-sapiens specifically. However, why nearly all homo-sapiens are considered to have moral status has not been completely agreed upon yet. For the purposes of this paper, the word ‘person’ will be used to define someone or something who has moral status. The question being asked is whether animals have moral status or not. To determine whether animals have moral status, one must define what characteristics are necessary to be considered a person. One could make the argument that only homo-sapiens are considered persons, therefore no animals have moral status. The idea that a certain species should have its considerations considered for over those of another species is speciesism, which follows the same arbitrary thinking that racism and sexism undergo. The basic principle of equality is to…

    • 1287 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The factors that influence our moral growth are essentially our external influences. External influences determine what situations we are put in, and the decisions we have to make, which results in growing morally. Our aspects of morals are determined by what we value, but different people with different external influences value different things. Our morals get expanded by experience. If we cause something, and experience a bad effect, chances are, our morals won’t let us do that again. However, people don’t experience the same things, which is the cause of different personalities and different outlooks on the right or wrong decisions. Like I stated before, our morals get expanded by experience. An example could be one child experiences not…

    • 502 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Are humans innately moral? Dr. Paul Zak believes he has identified the chemical responsible for moral behavior. With the aid of psychological and biological experiments, Zak believes the oxytocin, a neurotransmitter, allows us to exhibit moral behaviors such as empathy and trustworthiness.…

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    J.D. Stroube wrote in Caged by Damnation that, “Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.” One of the unanswered questions I have had to contemplate these past nine weeks is, “Are humans inherently good or bad?” To answer this question many others come about like, “Is morality due to the influence of society or was society only created as a guideline to our morality.”…

    • 494 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Nancy Wood’s published her book, Perspective on Argument, in 1995. Throughout the text, Wood refers to a variety of books that help further the reader’s understanding. She cites these sources with footnotes, as they are located at the bottom of each page. She uses small sections of a variety of sources. Also, Wood uses sources published in the 1990’s. This shows that Wood uses sources as recent and accurate as possible to enhance her writing.…

    • 1020 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    One of those arguments could be how do we determine the morally praiseworthy traits of human nature such as the ones picked out such as, "goods pertaining to love, knowledge, and to develop as healthy mature human beings”. These first goods themselves are good and they promote togetherness, and flourishing. So in response to such an argument of why to choose those traits, I believe that each of those traits present great values in a person. I would ask the person presenting this argument, why wouldn’t you choose such traits as these? To me it seems logical to want to promote beauty, to strive to protect life, and to desire to be knowledgeable. Another argument against natural law theory could be that people have interpreted nature differently, so is there any consistency of what is right and wrong? Since natural law is part of the nature of things, the knowledge of it is accessible to all men through reason. God may be the source of natural law, but like Aquinas states, God has inscribed his moral law in nature and in man. Meaning, there is no need for any further clarification outside of nature itself for the knowledge of what is morally right or…

    • 1471 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    Gospel Essentials Paper

    • 1407 Words
    • 6 Pages

    I have need more than the Bible and what others tell me to believe. Faith in a God I cannot see, hear, or touch is the primary difference between my beliefs and Christianity. I have a lot of religious influence from my childhood that helped mold my idea of right and wrong. I believe in kindness, love and forgiveness. While I know the majority of my views are based on my upbringing and my culture, I do believe some of human behavior is instinctual. America is primarily a Christian based society and I think that even though we have many people who do not follow religion their behavior was influenced by Christianly. However, there are other countries and tribes that have never had the influence of a Christian culture and still manage to have good morals. We must know what to do from a deeper place. If that place is survival instincts or part of Gods plan, I cannot…

    • 1407 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Scopes Trial

    • 586 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Evolution is a polarizing subject that some people may choose to regard it as fact while others may choose to regard it as a mere theory. Most people, including scientists believe that evolution is a fact because the evidence supporting it is very strong. However, others are reluctant to believe that evolution has happened because it may contradicts their holy beliefs and because no one has seen it happen. Evolution is a theory or a fact only to the extent that people are willing to accept it a theory or a fact. The Scopes Trial in 1925 sheds some light on the attitudes that people once had towards evolution. Many decades ago, evolution was a very sensitive subject that was not allowed in the classrooms. The high school biology teacher John Scopes was “charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution” (The monkey trial 1) and Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 , but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. The bizarre trial drew a lot of attention on the subject of evolution and it represented a “significant setback for the anti-evolution forces” (6). In fact, “Of the fifteen states with anti-…

    • 586 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    - If we give moral responsibility to ideas we then have to accept that although the past/genetics has caused us to do what we do, as an individual we decided between option A and option B.…

    • 585 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Great Essays

    Morals are not as instinctive as heartbeats. A sense of right or wrong is teachable, but not as permanent as bones and blood. People are not born with morals instilled in them. In fact, the opposite is true: Humans are born with no sense of right and wrong. Rather, they are taught how to act throughout childhood by parents, teachers, and other means of authority and experience. Morals are adopted, adapted, and even discarded throughout life, which can be see every day in people across the world as they grow to make their own decisions.…

    • 1195 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Haidt identifies as an atheist, but does not force his view upon the reader. However, I strongly disagreed with this portion of the book. Haidt links all aspects of morality to evolution. Personally, I strongly disagree that humans evolved from cells, to organisms, to chimps. Haidt states humans broke the barrier when the genus homo emerged (208). Life continued to advance until it finally arrived at what we now know as “homo sapiens”. Science seems to take the humanity out of the human. Respect for human life at all stages is lessened. I feel that Haidt contributes to this as well. Humans are merely another species in existence, and he refers to humans as “selfish primates” (220). Which leads me to critique another one of his ideas: that humans are overall selfish, and rarely transcend this. I believe humans are very compassionate. There is great evidence to support this all around us. I will agree, we do have selfish tendencies, but we are more that those tendencies. I believe we were created by God to love, and countless people do just…

    • 1183 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Who is making these arguments? Guy Debord is the author of this piece of writing. He is the one who is making the arguments in this essay. He does a good job writing this essay. An argument for the readers may be that he should make it easier to understand and read, which I agree with that arguement. I had to read it several times and still…

    • 471 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Great Essays

    The argument about whether humans are born morally bad, morally neutral, or morally good has been controversial for many years, with different philosophers proposing dissimilar perspectives. Plato believes that humans are born morally good. Aristotle claims that humans are born amoral. Hobbes alleges that humans are born morally bad. John Locke contends that humans are born amoral. I believe all human beings are born amoral without the familiarity of good and bad deeds. However, as they mature, different cultures impart them with diverse experiences that either make them immoral or moral.…

    • 1533 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    My thoughts on human nature can best be summed up by the character Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on, that’s who we really are.” Our ability to critically think about our behavior and make choices is what makes us human and sets us apart from our hominid ancestors. In fact, as far as other species are concerned, there is no concept of “good” and “evil”; there is predator and prey, threatening and safe, dominant and submissive. Morality is not a factor at play in the animal kingdom. All that matters is having access to the resources that make survival possible. But humans have the intellectual capacity to construct a vastly more complex society; while…

    • 956 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In his 2005 paper “Ethics and Intuitions,” Peter Singer seeks to find a new role for intuitions in moral theorizing in light of studies by Jonathan Haidt and Joshua Greene, which seem to cast doubt on the reliability of moral intuitions. These studies suggest that much of our moral reasoning is less based in rationalizing and more based in instinctual “gut” reactions, and that these instincts can be explained in terms of their evolutionary history. Further, Greene in particular demonstrates that these moral instincts can be manipulated in order to give contradicting reports, suggesting that moral intuitions are unreliable. Singer, noting how moral theorists have thus far been unable to give an account of morality without relying on moral intuitions,…

    • 1173 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays