Evolutionary Contradiction


Can anyone find the contradiction in this picture?

Humans being a product of natural processes are being held responsible for their natural actions which pollute the world. Humans which were created by cause and effect brought about through natural mechanisms, cannot be held responsible for actions they have no control over. On the atheistic view, this is a natural product of the universe which seems to want to destroy itself through the actions of humans. There is no morality here, no obligation, just an observation of the natural outcome of the natural processes.

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15 thoughts on “Evolutionary Contradiction

  1. The only morality here are the concepts of responsibility and beneficial vs non-beneficial behavior. But, in a sense, our lack of interest in these things would have to be a result of ancient pressures on our shared ancestry and therefore outside of our control.

    1. Where do you assign the responsibility though? Why not blame the fish for getting out of the water and polluting the world though evolutionary change? If the blame can be assigned anywhere, which I don’t really think it can be on the atheistic view, it can be assigned to the universe itself for containing self-polluting evolutionary mechanisms.

  2. Why do you link particular human choices in action to be assigned to being made (determined) by evolution? It’s not. Choice in action itself is one of many results from mindless evolution.

    1. On atheism, our existence is determined by mindless processes, cause and effect, and natural mechanisms. There is nothing about us that is immaterial. Therefore, our actions are products of chemical mechanisms in the brain affected by natural stimulus or “causes” brought about through mindless evolutionary mechanisms. Our actions are determined through processes out of our control, and therefore, there is no choice and no moral obligation that can be attributed to us.

      1. We are all material processes and organs. Materials do not choose or have moral obligations. You have no basis for free will, choice is an illusion and “self” is an illusion. You fall victim to the random evolutionary variations on behavior from mindless random processes. There is no personality you that you are responsible for, just random predetermined variations in behavior that you think is your own “self”. Why are there variations in what seems to be people’s choices? Because of random biological and chemical differences, and variations in the environment. We’re just reacting… behaving… causing… affecting… we are part of the mechanism of the universe.

      2. We are all material processes and organs. Materials do not choose or have moral obligations.

        Do you see your mistake here? You have arbitrarily assumed that all material processes do not choose. This may be true from inanimate materials like rocks but patently untrue for animate material like brains.

        You then write You have no basis for free will, choice is an illusion and “self” is an illusion.

        Do you see your mistake here?

        You equate ‘choice’ with ‘free will’. If this notion we call ‘free will’ is not based on choice, then it makes no sense as a meme. But that is not say they are equivalent or synonymous.

        All you are really doing here is setting up a daisy chain of word substitutions to get to the place you’ve already decided you must get to. You fail to realize the choices you make everyday and the bahaviours you undertake are very much informed by our shared evolutionary history. We wear clothes, for example, for a variety of reasons including a strong evolutionary benefit that allows us to dress appropriately to survive and reproduce in climates hostile and even fatal to our unclothed bodies. The choice in fashion we make is in no arguable way determined by evolution nor by supernatural agency magically installing it into us somewhere in deep time. Nor do you see me arguing that your fashion sense is determined by random biological and chemical differences. I strongly suspect, however, that can alter your fashion sense by causing you damage to areas of your brain and can bring this sense to a standstill by anesthesia, meaning that the sense we call ‘fashion’ is directly dependent on the biological and chemical condition of your brain. But you consider this not at all in your understanding of what evolution is and how it works because it doesn’t fit into your daisy chain of substituted words.

        It’s not me falling victim to very poor thinking here.

    2. Well, if evolution is our origin, then all our functions and processes as evolved beings would be a result of our having evolved. Therefore, everything you are now doing and thinking has been predicated by the accidental hand of natural selection. This is the premises behind evolutionary psychology.

  3. This is pure bullshit. The natural world doesn’t “want” to destroy itself. It has no desires, period. It doesn’t have a brain. We are the one that should care. Because environmental destruction will harm us. We are not good at viewing long term consequences of our actions. We are not equipped for that because that ability wouldn’t necessarily be a survival advantage to our ancestors. Your lack of understanding of both neuroscience and evolution does not negate the concept of responsiblity. Human behavior is complex, but one factor that has a pround impact on it is a system of rewards and punishments. Once we understand the consequences of our actions having such a system in place is beneficial to us as members of society. Responsibility is an abstract concept that makes sense within this context. To say that responsibility cannot exist because of neurochemistry of the brain is to miss the forest because of the trees.
    Like always, in this post you are mixing up multiple subjects (evolution, neuroscience, psychology, ethics, environmental science) and you don’t have a clue about any of them.

    1. “We are the one that should care. Because environmental destruction will harm us.”

      To avoid harm is beneficial, but does not create a moral imperative. The flourishing of conscious creatures is neither morally good or bad, just beneficial.

      “Rewards and punishments…responsibility is an abstract concept that makes sense within this context”

      It does not follow that we have a moral responsibility to be rewarded. “Ought” we to seek a reward? It is not morally right that we choose to be rewarded, just self-serving.

      1. That’s rather cheeky, coming from the follower of a religion with threats of hellfire and promise of eternal life.
        I don’t care about your “moral v beneficial” game of words. I have shown that your claim, that responsibility can exist only in the context of a supranatural entity, is bunk.

  4. Let me give you an example to make it clearer why you are wrong.
    Within human body some cells constantly divide. Mutations always happen in the process. But some mutations enable cells to escape the control mechanisms that keep cell proliferation in check. The result? These cell gain a numercial advantage over other cells. To the point that these cells start destroying normal cells.
    Ultimately the organism dies. When this happens the cancer cells die too.
    The cancer cells are not trying to commit suicide. They are small chemical factories without brains. They cannot see the future, unlike purely physical objects such as the human brain, or Deep Blue which beat Kasparov to chess. The concept of responsibility does not apply to cancer cells, or to the natural world, since the hehavior of neither can be influenced by a system of rewards and punishments.
    (Not that I suspect you would understand oncology any better than evolutionary biology which it is based on. But it might benefit anyone else confused by your flawed logic.)

    1. This is a flawed analogy. You correctly deny any responsibility for the cancer cell, but incorrectly assign responsibility to humans. The analogy would be correct if you likened the humans behaving in a harmful way to the cancer cells. Humans behaving in a beneficial manner will try to control the harmful ones. It’s just another natural process. Behavior is programmed into us through evolutionary development. The true originator of the behavior is the evolutionary process.

      The ability to imagine a future is just another predetermined chemical reactionary factor.

      1. The analogy holds that cancer is no more ‘directed’ by evolution than human behaviour is; both are a result shaped by evolutionary factors and forces.

        This why I asked you up-thread to show how you can link particular human choices in action to be assigned to being made (determined) by evolution. You simply repeated your assertion that atheists think evolution determines action, which is at the very best only partly true in that evolution is an important factor is the shaping of behaviours. My criticism of your assertion remains unanswered by you, Daniel: you continue to fail to explain why you think evolution causes this particular choice but not that one, and moreover, that evolution itself is a determinant.

        Consider clothing. Consider the absurdity of claiming that what you have on right now is determined by evolution. But equally absurd are the notions the the only other choice to explain your clothing choice today is god and that evolution has played no part in human behaviour to dress.

      2. The kind of self-centeredness that sees nothing immoral with human beings getting harmed as long as there is no camera in the sky can only come from religion.
        Cancer cell don’t have a brain. Human beings do. THAT is the source of responsibility. Your being uncomfortable with this reality won’t change it.

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