According to Dawkins’ view, ‘genetic ethics based on evolution theory’, there is a ‘moral Zeitgeist’ or ‘moral spirit of the age’ that evolves in communities. Rejecting religion-based morality and moral absolutism, he believes that the nature of morality is changing rapidly based on the zeitgeist, and each period requires its own code of ethics. Religion and ethics, he claims, are the results of biological process of evolution and natural selection. Morality is not rooted in religion, but has a Darwinian origin. Altruistic genes have been selected during the process of evolution and we are naturally qualified with altruism, and sympathy, compassion and other moralities can be explained by evolution. Not only whole life but also morality is the result of genes activity. Forcing organisms to do moral behavior, Genes ensure their survival.
This article is intended to expose the difficulties with Dawkins’ claims. As we will see his views are afflicted with several significant problems, including unwarranted presupposition of naturalism, high reductionism, disastrous moral relativism, the inadequacy of evolutionary analysis of ethical Zeitgeist development, the conflict between Dawkins’ analysis and human moral intuition, the implausibility of reward and punishment and also training, inappropriate interpretation of absolutism, methodic mistakes- the fallacy of origin, his mistaken notion of religion-based morality and scientific ideologism.