The theory of the evolution of species by natural selection is one of the greatest intellectual achievements in human history. Not only does it elegantly explain an enormous amount of data about life on Earth; it is also supported by a mass of fossil, genetic, and observational evidence. For the purposes of this essay, I will assume that the theory is, at least in its broad outlines, true. Since its formulation, evolution has been surrounded by passions and controversy unlike those generated by any other scientific theory. This is because some at least of its advocates have long claimed that Darwin’s theory has ramifications far outside the realm of pure biology. It was claimed that the theory of evolution had answered philosophical and theological questions about which humanity has argued for millennia. It disproved the Bible and proved God doesn’t exist. It disproved the idea that humans are different from other animals. It proved that love and morality are really just survival and reproduction mechanisms, and their claims to objective validity are entirely without foundation. It is inferences of these types that I wish to examine.
This essay is dedicated to my wife, to whom I have entrusted my hopes of reproductive success. It was discussions with her that inspired this endeavor.
Part I: Ideals and loyalties
Part II: Human distinctiveness
Part III: Evolution and Divine causality
Part IV: Original sin