D’Souza on “The Grounding Problem”

Recent the blog over of Stand to Reason posted this:

Dinesh D’Souza does a good job critiquing attempts to explain morality in Darwinist terms.  Morality, along with consciousness, remains one of the stubborn features of reality that we all know intuitively, which cannot be explained in purely naturalistic terms.  The lack of explanatory power in Darwinism is called “the grounding problem.”

One key point about the catalog of evolutionary arguments D’Souza cites is that evolutionary explanations always change the definition of what we’re talking about in morality.  D’Souza notes one way this is done by pointing out that the morality we want explained is prescription; but any scientific explanation, by the very nature of science, will be descriptive.  Science can only observe and explain what occurs in nature.  It doesn’t have the capacity to explain why morality has a prescriptive incumbency on us that the laws of nature don’t have.  We have moral duties that are quite different in nature than the law of gravity, for example.  We follow the law of gravity, but we don’t have a prescriptive moral duty with the subsequent moral guilt if we don’t obey it.

Here’s another way the terms are changed in evolutionary explanations.  Note in the article that each and every attempt to give an evolutionary account for morality has to change any self-sacrificial and altruistic act a selfish explanation because that’s the only way evolution works.  Survival of the fittest produces “selfish genes,” as Richard Dawkins coined it.  But if so-called self-sacrificial and altruistic acts actually have a selfish explanation for how they evolved, then they really aren’t sacrificial or altruistic, are they?  The definition has been changed because evolution can’t explain morality.

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Posted on November 6, 2009, in Atheism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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