Evolution and Social Issues

@BradKramer. Frankly, I was thinking about gay marriage when I wrote that and choose to omit it as an example to avoid digressing into that maelstrom of emotion. While I’ll certainly acknowledge that someone could oppose the legalization of gay marriage while simultaneously accepting evolution as a tool of creation, I think it is safe to say that those who oppose gay marriage are MOST likely to oppose any kind of evolutionary creation. My guess is that accepting evolution challenges the notion that gay is strictly a lifestyle choice. I have also heard opposition to evolution based on opposition to abortion. Essentially that evolution devalues life.

You’re definitely right that sociologically speaking, these issues are often bundled. But it’s far from clear that it needs to be this way. If you are going to adopt an “evolutionary worldview” (whatever that is), wouldn’t you be anti-homosexuality on the grounds that it doesn’t promote the propagation of the human species? On the same grounds, why would abortion be an “evolutionary” position, if it artificially gets rid of new members of the species? And if we do accept it as a way to get rid of “unfit” members of the species, why not practice infanticide or forced sterilization?

Generally speaking, our modern ethics try to overcome our evolutionary urges, rather than granting moral status to them (which is why infanticide, eugenics, and genocide are generally considered immoral). So tying modern ethics to evolution doesn’t really work. The modern ethical worldview is much more complex, and much more individualistic than a strictly “evolutionary” morality would allow. No matter what perspective people take on abortion, homosexuality, and so on, nearly everyone agrees that human rights should not be boiled down to evolutionary advantage.

But to loop back to your original point, the current battle over evolution has more to do with established social groups, whether or not their boundaries make logical sense.

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BTW, I moved this thread to a new topic to avoid de-railing the old discussion.

Do you see a link because of the attempts to find a genetic/biological component to homosexuality? Finding a biological link to alcoholism or violent behavior (from abnormally high testosterone levels, for example) hasn’t forced society to accept addiction or rape as moral, though it has caused some people to look more compassionately at people who have a biological component to their moral struggles. I agree with Brad that most of what societies consider “ethical” or “moral” behavior force a person to subjugate “natural” biological or psychological urges for the good of a group or to uphold an ideal. Psychology says some personalities are naturally predisposed to commitment and others find it more challenging, but it’s my impression that many people in society at large find the excuse “commitment goes against my personality type” to be a pretty lame excuse for infidelity or divorce. That is why I have always thought the “it isn’t natural” argument against homosexual behavior to be a weak and ignorant argument. It isn’t natural for many people, but for some people, it obviously is. But since when has the Church ever cared what was natural when it comes to deciding moral questions? Our whole worldview depends on the idea that our nature is in need of redemption.

Something I find interesting and paradoxical is that the charge “social Darwinist” is almost always leveled at conservatives by liberals, not vice versa. It comes up quite a bit in liberal politics as something to throw in the conservatives’ faces as a kind of touche. As in, “That’s just covert social Darwinism!” (Since obviously many conservatives would be offended to be linked with Darwinism, and the liberals want their turn associating their political enemies with the Nazis, since it’s all the rage these days.) All the big government attempts to “level the playing field” --whether through grants to failing public schools, affirmative action, taxing the rich to fund programs for the poor, affordable healthcare-- it’s all done to proactively counter the “survival of the fittest” effect in society. Unfettered capitalism is a pretty Darwinistic economic system. Also ironic, the only place I have ever seen anyone advocate things that were advocated by the eugenics- loving social Darwinist true believers of yesteryear, was on the Blaze website where some people thought that women on welfare should be forcibly sterilized to keep them from reproducing.


@Christy @BradKramer Thanks guys for humoring my rabbit trail. :slight_smile: Christy, that is where I see a potential link. Don’t think I can add to what you both have already said so I’ll leave it at that!


I have finish on the blog dealing with the soul and am ready to move on to more interesting subjects. Can you recommend any?

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I love this argument - that unregulated capitalism is the true Survival of the Fittest! I have danced around this idea with my conservative friends plenty of times but this really hits the nail on the head. I have always said that I am so happy that God doesn’t treat us the way Republicans want to handle the poor or we’d never have a chance.

The main argument my friends would make is that only the church is supposed to be the “welfare” and not the government. It’s too bad they can’t see that both would actually work best!

That has been tried and things have not gone well. That’s why we have separation of church and state in the U.S.

I don’t mean the government working as the church. I just mean the government does it’s thing and the church does it’s thing. The church can’t take care of the entire poor population because of a lack of resources. If the government were handling things like healthcare and food and clothing, the church could do a lot more with the limited resources it has.

I know I’m late to this discussion, Brad, but this is such a good question that I really want to jump in here. The answer to your question is “not at all”. There are several disease models that illustrate the protective effects of deleterious genes. The best example is probably the protection against malaria conferred on carriers of the sickle-cell hemoglobin trait. In effect, the sickle-cell trait is maintained in the population because of its protective effect against malaria.

Now, this is complete conjecture on my part, but the retention of homosexual behavior could be the result of the selective adavantage(s) conferred by these genes in other contexts.

Here’s a pretty good summary of the genetics of sickle-cell disease should you want to pursue this further.



We know all about the heterozygous advantage conferred by the sickle cell gene. We have identified this gene, and there are plausible hypotheses about how this gene might protect people from malaria. You need to find a homosexual gene and then explain how being heterozygous would confer a survival advantage.

It was probably a mistake to bring up homosexuality on this thread (violating my own rules). Let’s end the conversation on that topic. The chances of the conversation going in contentious directions are just too high.

I said nothing for nor against homosexuality.

Read what I actually wrote, @beaglelady. I’m worried about the potential future direction of the conversation.

Hello Christy,

I don’t see any paradox or association with Nazis, given that Darwin explicitly did not advocate “social Darwinism” and Hitler was a creationist, as he clearly stated in Mein Kampf. Labels aren’t always accurate.

I realize that.

You’re missing my point completely. Nazis advocated eugenics, which was grounded in social Darwinism. What I find paradoxical is a conservative making some connection between teaching evolution in school and the acceptance of social Darwinism as a society. They are not related. Social Darwinism is more closely related to unbridled laissez-faire captialism, which most conservatives advocate being taught as a beautiful system. That is the irony.

Some Christians jumped on the eugenics bandwagon also.

Maybe I am missing your point, but the part of your post to which I responded was only about what liberals call conservatives. I didn’t see anything in it about connections conservatives make.

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