Evolution question

Email:

Hello, I am from Dallas and I go to a southern baptist school. Recently I had a project in my Logic and World Views class were I had to debate with another classmate on a controversial topic in today’s society, I choose the existence of god because I am an atheist and I wanted to try to convince my classmates that there is not supernatural being. After my debate my schools head master asked me “since evolution proposes that the fittest will survive and the week will die off, is it a good thing if a bigger boy was beating up a small boy?” I responded with no and said that his question was not relevant. But what is the right answer to this question or is there one?  Thought you could help,  Thanks!

Reply below.

Evolution is about observed facts, not about moral judgments. Asking if it’s “a good thing” when something happens is like saying “Since gravity proposes that things fall towards the earth, isn’t it a good thing that some guy fell off a cliff and died?” It’s not a good thing. It just happens. Denying that it’s true doesn’t stop it from happening.
Having said that… part of the experience of being human is that we aren’t necessarily content to leave things the way they are in nature. Evolution does not care about human suffering; people do. (Evolution cannot care about anything, just like gravity cannot care about anything. It is simply a description of a trend that we’ve noticed in the natural world.) In nature, animals generally can’t lift very far off the ground without wings because of gravity. We made hang gliders, elevators and airplanes. In nature, suffering and death are alarmingly common. We made farms and shelters and medicine.
So you see, we’re not bound by what happens naturally as the source of our value judgments. We think human suffering is a bad thing. We also think bullying and murder are a bad thing, which is why we make societies and laws to keep that in check too.
Also, your opponent headmaster doesn’t really understand what “fitness” means in evolutionary terms. Something that is bigger and tougher isn’t necessarily “more fit” if it’s also slower, dumber, requires so much energy consumption that it has a hard time eating enough to live, or is somehow unable to reproduce. There’s a lot more to fitness than just “beating things up.”
Finally, if your opponent headmaster thinks we get all our morality from the Bible, you might ask if it’s “a good thing” for the parents of a disobedient child to stone their child to death.