31 August 2012

Moral Malthusianism

Not sure I agree with the framing or the assumptions of this, which is from the preface to Religion in Human Evolution by Robert Bellah, but it is worth considering:
We have proven to be enormously successful at adapting. We are now adapting so fast that we can hardly adapt to our own adaptations. Our technological progress is geometric. It would be hard to argue that our moral progress is even arithmetic. As one who has lived through one horrifying decade after another for eighty years, I confess that I cannot see much in the way of moral advance. There is an irony here, as moral sensitivity has grown steadily in the last hundred years. We are far more sensitive to the needs of whole categories of people that were previously despised or repressed. Yet our growing moral sensitivity seems to have occurred in a world of widespread and undiminished moral horror.

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