Evolution is an account, but not a reason.
It is common these days to for scientistic reductionists of various stripes to make claims of the type, “X came about because of evolution. It is intersubjective in the sense that it arises from a transpersonal procedure, that has affected the whole species; but it is nevertheless basically adventitious – i.e., false – and therefore open to my preferred ad hoc revisions without fault or blame.” For X, substitute human morality, sex roles, social organizations, religious experience, what have you. The assertion is tendentious, because it is made in the interest of knocking down the counterargument that there are such things as objective morality, sex roles, and so forth, that, precisely by virtue of their objectivity, impose limitations on what we may properly do, which it is evil to transgress. Those who make such arguments want to rationalize their immoral project of putting the whole human order up for wholesale revision on account of the supposition that that “order” (sic) is nothing more than the meaningless product of a continuous process of essentially random, amoral wholesale revision.
They won’t want you to take their arguments as a justification for making off with their televisions or their wives. But they do want you to take them as sufficient justification for their sexual proclivities.
But note that to say “X came about because of evolution” is only to say, “X came about because X came about.” “Evolution” in that sentence is not an explanation of what came about: it just is what came about, period full stop. Nor is the process of evolution capable of explaining anything; for “the process of evolution” is just another way of saying, “the way things happen.” It tells us nothing about why things happen, or happened. I.e., it doesn’t tell us the reasons that things happen, or happened; doesn’t tell us the logic that informs what happens. To say that X happened because of evolution is just to say that X happened because X happened. It’s obtuse.
This does not at all mean that the research programs of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology are bootless. On the contrary: if there are certain things that seem to go along with the practice of being human, or of being human in society, that should indicate to us not that such practices are meaningless and unfounded, but precisely the contrary. If iterated natural selection is anything other than chaotic noise, it is a way of fitting humanity to the world by a procedure of trial and error. It is a method of learning; and learning is always about something, so that if natural selection is producing an actual order in humanity, that order addresses and responds appropriately to – i.e., is proper to – the nature of reality. When, e.g., evolutionary psychology tells us that women generally prefer to mate with men who show a good likelihood of being able to provide for them and defend them, we may infer that it is objectively better for men to support and protect their wives, than not; i.e., that the preference that men should be providers and defenders is built into the world.
Ditto for the research program of comparative religion. That many cultures worship a god who rises again from the holocaust of his sacrifice should tell us, not that Christianity is nonsense like all the other Corn King religions, but that there is something about the notion of sacrificial death and resurrection that is profoundly true. It should prompt us, not to dismiss the Resurrection, but to take it with much greater seriousness. The same may be said for the universal belief in angels, gods, demons, demi-gods, humans who become gods, shades of ancestors who must be honored and may help us, and so forth; and for the universal belief in prayer.
That almost all human cultures have traditionally believed in angels, or objective morality, or a Most High God, should not persuade us to jettison such notions, any more than the fact that all human cultures have traditionally credited the color blue, the pull of gravity, and the taste of sweetness should persuade us that there is nothing in reality to which they properly correspond. That men all see who are not blind does not mean that there is no such thing as light.