Evolution provides us no basis for morals

I hear much of the “ethics of evolution.” I apprehend that, in the broadest sense of the term “evolution,” there neither is, nor can be, any such thing. The notion that the doctrine of evolution can furnish a foundation for morals seems to me to be an illusion, which has arisen from the unfortunate ambiguity of the term “fittest” in the formula, “survival of the fittest.” We commonly use “fittest” in a good sense, with an understood connotation of “best; ” and “best” we are apt to take in its ethical sense. But the “fittest” which survives in the struggle for existence may be, and often is, the ethically worst.

Thomas Huxley, An Apologetic Irenicon, The Fortnightly Review (November 1892)



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