Based on the recommendation of a friend, I have been listening to some of the lectures at the conservative organization the Philadelphia Society. I found the lecture by Dr. John West particularly interesting on the topic of ‘Science and the Future of Conservatism.”

Crucial to his argument is that mainstream Darwinism is unguided, and that this kind of Darwinism is contrary to conservatism, even warranting conservatism’s involvement in the larger Darwinism/ID/Creationism debate within American society. True Darwinism, he argues, cannot provide any moral compass–no moral absolutes. True Darwinism must result in relativism. He says,

Darwinism explicitly denies that natural desires are either the result of intelligent design or unchanging human nature. According to the Darwinian view, nature may on occasion sanction certain traditional virtues because at the moment they may happen to promote biological survival. But even Darwin would acknowledge if pressed that given a different set of circumstances, a radically different conception of morality would be required.

West quotes Darwin’s Descent of Man to demonstrate this as Darwin’s own view:

If, for instance, to take an extreme case, men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.

In other words, polygamy, rape, incest, murder, infanticide, eugenics, and all other moral deviancies have no mechanism for condemnation in a Darwinian system.

In fact, I have had this very conversation with unregenerate at my place of employment. If evolution is true, I inquired, how can you say that anything is immoral. They, of course, have no way of answering this outside of a wavering utilitarianism, which itself can be turned on its head quite easily.

Also condemnatory for Darwinism is that it excludes any talk of human nature. There is no ideal for mankind, no fixed guideline for the species in a random universe. We have, do not be mistaken, plenty of eschatological hope in the virtue of progress under a Darwinian understanding of anthropology, but what that progress points to no one can say. West says rightly, “Darwinism fundamentally challenges the Western understanding of human nature and the universe.” West also makes a glancing reference to the problem of free will in a Darwinian system. I commend the lecture to you.

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