Evil – Dependent on Dualism
Many atheists use the existence of evil as a method to prove God does not exist. However, since the knowledge of good and evil is self-evident, the atheist then must try to prove morality is a product of evolution. It is very clear that morality, in many cases, directly conflicts with survival of the fittest (SoF), a tenet of evolution. Survival of the fittest is the primary means of evolution and is the way supporters of evolution try to explain its process. The idea is that multiple sets of traits can evolve simultaneously and the ones contributing to survival remain. This revolves around another unseen quality of life – the desire to survive, which drives everything with life. This is the primary source of the most rudimentary of survival instincts, fight or flight. Living things are amazingly aware of their mortality, which also drives the need and desire for procreation.
Enter morality, which at times directly conflicts with SoF. How so, you ask? When faced with a fight in which a person’s life is threatened it is morally okay for the victim to take the life of the perpetrator. No one seems to question this need to preserve one’s own life. In a court of law it is called self-defense – the moral right to defend one’s own life by the taking of another when given no other choice but to kill or be killed. Yet, in almost any other situation, murder is morally wrong. The taking of a human life is considered to be one of the worst atrocities a person can commit, yet we are absolved in court in this one circumstance. It is morally right to act out of self-preservation.
However, why do we consider someone who sacrifices him/herself to protect others to be morally superior? Because of selflessness. So how do we come to the decision that selflessness is more important than the natural inclination of self-preservation? This is in direct conflict with SoF. A soldier dives on a grenade and sacrifices himself in order to save a helpless civilian or civilians. He goes against his natural instinct of self-preservation and survival, but what is his possible motive? He’s dead when the grenade explodes, and he benefits in no way from this act. It goes against nature, the very system through which we are made. This is contradictory to evolution! Self-preservation and survival are thrown out the window for the sake of moral superiority.
Enter the law of non-contradiction, which states that two things cannot be simultaneously true about the same circumstances. The circumstance here is about the nature of life and evolution. If self-preservation and SoF are true, then it cannot be morally superior to sacrifice one’s self for another unless something else is in play. Enter dualism – dualism is the idea that the mind and the body are not identical, that though they are part of the same entity, they are two different parts that make up the whole. Plato and Aristotle were two of the largest contributors to this philosophy. In the previous example, we see an obvious conflict between morality and survival in the same person. There is nature, which says that survival is our primary goal, and then there is a morality, which says that there is a greater good to be served. They both cannot be simultaneously true since this would violate the law of non-contradiction. They also cannot both be simultaneously true about morality for the same reason. Hence, nature cannot be responsible for producing morality or it would be self-contradictory. This does not defeat evolution (nor is it intended to) but it does prove that evolution and nature cannot give rise to morality. However, if we are products of material and immaterial alike (i.e. soul and flesh are separate pieces making up the person and they are two different natures) then our dilemma is satisfactorily explained. Dualism does the best job of explaining why we have morals and why we often times act against them. Dualism explains our simultaneous greed and admiration of altruism. It explains why we can be cold and recalcitrant and also be moved to tears by the plight of a homeless person. Simply put – man is simultaneously material (flesh) and immaterial (soul/mind).
So dualism makes morality a possibility and gives us the ability to know what evil is. If it were not for the immaterial mind that gives us the ability to know good and evil, there would be no morality – good, bad, or indifferent. Without morality, we have no method by which to judge something good or evil, and we have no foundation for law. Without law, there is no order, and without order, barbarism rules. Mankind would be like other members of the animal kingdom wherein each animal lives or dies by its own will and the will of others. This is the true definition of survival of the fittest – a world where survival is the only goal and morality does not exist.
Therefore, man has a soul and mind that is not a product of the natural world, so what is our responsibility now that we have that knowledge?