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Can Darwinism Provide a Positive Moral Framework?2 min read

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Previously, I discussed Why Most Evangelicals Don’t Like Evolution.  One important point was that the philosophic and religious ideas that flow from or are easily integrated with evolutionary thought (social Darwinism and atheism) are objectionable, if not untrue.

However, author Carson Holloway is trying to remedy that with The Right Darwin: Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy.

The Washington Times published a nice interview with the author in Survival of the Moralist, in which Holloway argues for a positive ethic which stems from Darwinism that may be a “better basis for human rights than the Bible.”

Q: Your book details a shift in thinking regarding the relationship of Darwinism and conservatism. What is it?

A: Over the last 20 years or so, there’s been a movement in political science, among political theorists, to advance the argument that Darwinian evolution, properly understood, can support the morality that is needed for a decent and free society. Now that argument, I think, has been picked up by some conservative thinkers and you’ve seen some articles over the last few years in National Review, for example, that say what we learn in Darwinian evolution tends to confirm conservative and moral prescriptions. And, to the extent that they advance that argument, there is at least an implication that, if that’s true, science can explain moral principals.

Q: Is religion necessary to make democracy work?

A: In the book, I try to explain [Alexis de] Tocqueville’s view of this, which is that, yes, religion is necessary. There’s a couple of key things to Tocqueville. He thinks that democracy is the wave of the future for the whole world. He says that Americans derive a great benefit from religion … because it teaches that every human being has certain moral obligations to every human being, and no matter how much your interests may conflict with someone else’s, you still have to respect their basic rights. I would add on that score, I think he’s just further developing an understanding that we present among many of America’s Founding Fathers.

So the author doesn’t seem to be an anti-religionist, but trying to determine the relationship between Darwinism and the development of morality.  Eeenteresting.