Suppose you were on a prime-time quiz show and were asked: "What did Charles Darwin see as the prime motivating force in human evolution? (1) survival of the fittest, (2) natural selection, (3) the 'selfish gene,' (4) the moral sense."
Most likely you wouldn't make it to No. 4 before pushing the button. But alas, your run would end there, because the answer is "the moral sense," according to a rather astonishing and provocative new book by psychologist, system scientist, and evolution theorist David Loye.
In "Darwin's Lost Theory of Love," written after a decade of research into evolutionary theory and scientific foundations for morality, Dr. Loye presents the dramatic story of the pioneer scientist seeking to pull together near the end of his life his ideas on the "second half" or "completion" of his theory of evolution.
Here the concern is human evolution, which Darwin explored in "The Descent of Man," a dense book Loye says has been largely ignored over the past 100 years. His monumental "The Origin of Darwin speaks of 'an ennobling belief in God' as important for human evolution.
Species" focuses on pre-human evolution, and undergirds all subsequent evolutionary theory.
Delving deeply into "Descent," Loye finds Darwin not only exploring the origins of morality and conscience but reaching the conclusion that in human evolution, they are "by far the most important." Darwin says he "perhaps attributed too much to the action of natural selection or survival of the fittest."
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