Chapter FiveRight in Place

Doing Right by the Planet

Doing What Mother Nature Says

In every introductory ethics class, there are always a few students who want to argue that morality is nothing more than a way to ensure the survival of the human species. Our conceptions of right and wrong, they say, are entirely a by-product of evolution; the real reason we think something is good is because it contributes to the passing down of our genetic material to future generations; the real reason we say it’s bad is because it reduces the likelihood of having descendants.147

There’s certainly something to be said for this view. If the right thing to do consistently resulted in our inability to procreate, we probably wouldn’t keep thinking it was the right ...

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