Evolution and Ethics: A Critique of Sociobiology by Franklin Roy Bennett

By Franklin Roy Bennett

Does evolution tell the traditional debate concerning the roles that cause and intuition play in how we elect what to do? Evolution and Ethics bargains an insightful research of 4 epistemological kinds of sociobiology which look within the extant literature, and contains a initial research of Darwinism itself.

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If “purposiveness” turns out to be mathematically predictable (Newtonian), then Darwinism will prevail no matter how complex the equations turn out to be, whereas if “purposiveness” turns out to be mathematically unpredictable, even if somehow physical (quantal, or (currently) dark), then Lamarckism will prevail. At this point evolution theory becomes an argument about the future of biophysics and physics in general— whether we will discover that nature is lawful, or that it is not lawful, which is sheer speculation.

Accidental traits and accidental ecosystems yield accidental changes over time—that is the Darwinian point of view. In a fixed, closed experimental or observational setup one might be able to usefully ascribe nonrandomness to the differential success of various trait combinations. Of course, real ecosystems are not closed or fixed, and meaningful evolution generalizations must involve large time scales, so successful matching of accidentally generated traits to habitats must involve blind luck, which on Darwinism ultimately rests on the basis of come-by-chance lawful physical forces.

P. 310) Novelty happens of course, necessarily by way of mutation, but according to Darwinism the ultimate source of the novelty that appears in populations is not mutation itself but natural selection. Ayala (2005) writes, “Natural selection has been compared to a sieve which retains the rarely arising useful genes and lets go the more frequently arising harmful mutants” (p. 27). That is, novel variations spontaneously arise 44 ● Evolution and Ethics but only persist if they happen to by chance match external conditions and confer reproductive advantage.

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