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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Darwinism and popular culture: Darwinian conservatism means "disintegration of morality"?

That's lawyer and accountant Stephen Craig Dilley's view in a recent edition of Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (Vol XX, 2008, whose theme this year is globalization).

Dilley is responding to Larry Arnhart, who has been promoting Darwinian conservatism (= why traditional Christians and others should embrace survival of the fittest).

His book-length efforts have been contested, and have prompted a book-length rejoinder from John West.

Here's the abstract:

by Stephen Craig Dilley

An important intellectual challenge posed by globalization is how the Enlightenment interacts with traditional non-Western worldviews. This essay analyzes a key facet of this challenge: the union of Darwinism with traditional conservative values. Political scientist Larry Arnhart argues that Darwinism provides a biological foundation for conservative notions of human nature, traditional morality, family values, private property, limited government, and the like. A foundation for his view is an Enlightenment claim that the laws of nature and material causes are sufficient to produce "emergent" human minds capable of the kind of free will consistent with moral responsibility. Yet Arnhart's stance implies determinism of the mind and the disintegration of morality. As such, members of the global community who hold conservative values ought to re-examine the parameters of Enlightenment science in light of a more traditional view, which has a richer understanding of the human mind, will, and moral responsibility.
Of course, Darwinian conservatism means the disintegration of morality. The money shot is destroying the reputation of anyone who suggests that that is true before the fix is in, and then it doesn't matter any more.

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