If morality originates from evolution, is flying immoral?

After all, we didn’t evolve to fly.

I’m trying to understand, if morality originates from evolution, why we should be punished for any transgression of that morality.

Morality does not arise from evolution. It comes from our intellectual understanding of our relation to God and the universe, as well as revelation.

The human mind is not a product of evolution. The intellect and will are in the soul.

The human mind can understand any concept explained to it in a clear manner. This is obviously not the product of evolution which only needs a few simple skills for survival.

As it happens, I completely agree with you. But many claim that morality is just an evolutionary outcome. Yet we punish those who violate this morality. Why would we do this, and not also punish those who violate our other evolutionary programming, such as people who fly or scuba-dive? For that matter, why shouldn’t we punish vegetarians?

**If morality originates from evolution, is flying immoral?


Except it didn’t, so, that would be a “no.” **

We are not allowed to discuss evolution.

If someone doesn’t accept that morality is more than “just an evolutionary trait”, there’s no point arguing with them on that matter… :shrug:


We evolved intelligence, and it is through intelligence that we build houses, make tools and other technology, create art – and fly.

No, but you could make an excellent case that it is against natural law.

Here is one article on the subject from wikipedia and another from the Sanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

No, because it gives us an evolutionary advantage to build machines that let us fly.

So if we use our intelligence to conceive of a way to steal from our neighbor without being caught, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Please go on.

If we are falsely assuming that all morals come from evolution, then it’s a good thing. Taking stuff from someone else without getting caught provides an evolutionary advantage because it gives us resources without having to waste time working for them.

Seems that way to me too. It also reduces the resources of a rival, so it’s a win-win.

Despite trying I have never quite ‘got’ natural law. It seems to me to be a circular construct which says that because something is, it therefore should be, and therefore it should not be changed or put to a different use. I raised this a little while ago in thread in which I applied Catholic thinking about contraception and natural law to sugar-free gum. People tried hard to educate me, but I failed to be educated. So when you suggested that something may be ‘wrong’ because it evolved for a different purpose, or in a different way, I immediately thought that natural lw would provide a better base than evolution. Evolution, of course, is a fact, and states merely that all living things are related by descent. The theory(ies) of evolution attempt to explain how that came to be. Some evolutionists who think of later beings as ‘higher’ or ‘more complex’ may see a moral force involved, but I do not. Things evolve because they can do no other. It is what living things do.

A basic principle of morality that we have “evolved” is the principle of non-exploitation of others. Flying passes that test with…well, flying colors. It is a neutral application of our intelligence, as it is not directly victimizing another human being. In and of itself, it is not tantamount to intending harm to one’s neighbor.

Stealing is directly victimizing another human being (as, in most but not all cases, lying).

“Don’t kill; don’t steal; don’t rape; don’t torture or abuse” – those are the basics, which have evolved in a social context. They are the ground-rules for living in a community. Those who commit these acts are “anathema” in a community; they are imprisoned (and, in the past, were often hung or otherwise executed). No society has ever tolerated thieves.

So part of living in a society is that the “selfish” interest of the individual is compromised for the sake of the interest of the greater good, and we are socialized to feel “guilt” (not mere fear of punishment) at stealing (which is not to say that there many who feel no guilt at all, only the fear of punishment). But there is a trade-off to giving up one’s “selfish” interest in stealing – if I am expected not to steal someone’s stuff, they are expected not to steal mine.

That’s not to say that other forms of stealing are not more subtle – white collar crime, for example. A lot of white collar criminals have played that game of being ahead of the law, and have lost. Not quite in their self-interest, I would say. Others have stayed ahead of the law, but have sacrificed peace of mind (always fearing discovery). On the other hand, others have made it a rule of stealing and manipulating, and otherwise exploiting, in their interpersonal relationships (using people, treating them badly). I’ve observed that these people either end up lonely and without friends–sooner or later–or perpetually required to watch their backs, because they can’t trust anyone at all, as they tend to assume that the rest of the world is as predatory as they themselves are.

There is a reason the philosophes used the expression “enlightened self-interest.”

So if we can make flying machines even though we didn’t evolve to fly, why can’t we also break moral laws even though (for the sake of this thread) they are part of our evolutionary equipment.

And where is the evidence that we evolved a morality that causes us to avoid harming not just those in our immediate family or clan, but even those half way around the world? How did evolution “know” about people on other continents, and program us to treat them exactly the same as “locals”?

Seems like in most mammal behavior, clans (extended families) strongly compete and even fight with each other, and most certainly do not treat members of other clans the same as members of one’s own clan.

In that case then driving cars and riding in boats or even riding on horseback would be immoral.
So then would scuba diving be immoral, or even snorkeling for that matter.
And skateboarding… and surfing.
Etc… etc…

I’m not sure I understand, what you’re trying to get at … I’m a little lost on the part, " why we should be punished for any transgression of that morality.". But I suppose, the word “evolution” has to be defined a little more clearly, not that it is terribly unclear. It would be interesting to say, morality is a consequent of evolution. … finding any evidence of morality in the story of creation, seems a bit absurd. Man is created. God walks with man. Man becomes lonely. God takes a back seat to a rib, that becomes a woman. God tells man what to do. Serpent enters the picture. Humanity is indefinitely condemned. The condemnation is alleviated by a promise, after one brother murders another. Yet, God walks with man, throughout The Old Testament. A murderer is exiled. How does morality develop throughout the bible without evolution, when learning is an integral part of evolution? There is God. There is evolution. The two are not mutually exclusive, but maybe trying to get to the heart of morality, through evolution, is somewhat backwards: when we have God in our lives. …

What is a more pertinent question in this regard is why is artificial contraception, for example, denounced on the basis of violating natural law when so many other human activities violate natural law at least as much, if not more, and are not roundly condemned by the Church?

Again, a very sensible post.

Humans evolved the abilities to adapt and to create - therefore nothing that we invent, which we do by harnessing the power of natural materials, is actually ‘unnatural’…

…unless we are not products of nature, which many supernaturalists claim is the case.

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