On Human Nature According to Darwin

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If you were a alien who came down to Earth, you’d be surprised.

It would only take a moment for you to see the number of ridiculous activities. On one hand, there would be a number of people committing crimes and hurting others. However, for some odd reason, there would also be a number of people actively engaging in acts of virtue and kindness.

The alien would probably ask, “why do humans act like this?”

Darwin had a answer.

Our descent, then, is in the origin of our evil passions! The devil under form of baboon is our grandfather! – Charles Darwin, Notebook M (1838)

I am impressed with Darwin’s answer. He hit the nail on the head.

Of course, humans should be crazy. We are literally talking apes. If we have virtue, it is through our valiant efforts over the course of many generations.

Additionally, something must be said about virtue. No action is free. If someone is virtuous, they are literally exerting more energy. However, virtue is not in vain. It is a useful evolutionary adaption that benefits the individual and the greater good!

[Recommended reading: Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth]

[Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay]

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