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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Did God Make These Babies Moral?

By Paul Bloom
New Republic
Originally posted January 13, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

As someone who studies morality, I hear this argument a lot. People can be selfish and amoral and appallingly cruel, but we are also capable of transcendent kindness, of great sacrifice and deep moral insight. Isn’t this evidence for God? This version of “intelligent design” is convincing to many people—including scientists who are otherwise unsympathetic to creationism—and it’s worth taking seriously. Like other intelligent design arguments, it doesn’t work, but its failure is an interesting one, touching on findings about evolution, moral psychology, and the minds of babies and young children.

For most of human history, it was easy enough to believe in a loving and all-powerful God. The natural world appears to teem with careful and complex design, and, as scholars from Cicero to Paley have argued, design implies a designer. This is a powerful argument: The evolutionary theorist and well-known atheist Richard Dawkins notes at the start of The Blind Watchmaker that he would certainly have been a believer before 1859—any observant and intellectual person would have to be. But Darwin changed everything, as he proposed a mechanistic account of where this complexity could come from. The theory of natural selection has been supported by abundant evidence from paleontology, genetics, physiology, and other fields of science, and denying it now is as intellectually disgraceful as denying that the Earth orbits the Sun.

The entire article is here.

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