Loading...
 
Print

ChanceAndNihilism

Lately religious leaders ranging from the Pope to the Dahlai Lama to Rick Santorum have be expressing concern that if we are the result of chance working through evolution we will have no moral standards. On August 4th, 2005, Senator Rick Santorum spoke on NPR:
"If we are a product of what is our moral responsibility? If we are the result of chance, if we are simply a mistake of nature then that puts a different moral demand on us; in fact, it doesn't put a moral demand on us, than if we are the creation of a being that has moral demands."
In "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality," the Dalai Lama says that seeing people as "the products of pure chance in the random combination of genes" is an invitation to nihilism and spiritual poverty (as cited in the New York Times of October 2nd, 2005. On July 9th, 2005, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn published an editorial in the New York Times clarifying the Vatican's position on evolution. In this article, he wrote: "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science."

All of these leaders seem to believe that not only is it necessary that we be created to possess a moral compass but that we must believe that we are created by a moral being to have a moral compass. There seems to be a general concern that a materialism will lead to nihilism and a decline in moral values. There is no reason, however, that a inclination to morality could not have evolved. Even more so, you could argue that a sense of balance is a necessary precursor to two or four footed locomotion; and, perhaps similarly a sense of morality is required for social deveopment and intelligence. On the other hand the fear of nihilism seems over done. The reason evil exists in the world doesn't seem to be due to nihilism so much as alienation and denial of the value of other people and beings. And, I would argue nothing leads to denial and alienation so much as needing to cling to a belief that is insupportable by the evidence of the world.

Created by steve. Last Modification: Sunday 02 of October, 2005 19:48:01 EDT by steve.