…The voyage of the Beagle was, as he said himself, the formative experience of Darwin’s life. He lived hard, working in the cramped conditions of a sailing ship, rounding Cape Horn and making expeditions hundreds of miles inland through dangerous and difficult country, collecting, observing and interpreting the flora, fauna, and geological formations of South America and the islands of the Pacific and the southern Atlantic and visiting also Australia and South Africa.
The forty thousand mile voyage of the Beagle gave Darwin, at first hand, a bird’s-eye view of the natural world, from the tropical vegetation of the Brazilian jungle to the peaks of the Andes. It was an opportunity such as few scientists had had, though there were to be others later, including T.H. Huxley, who obtained a post similar to Darwin,s on H.M.S. Rattlesnake….
(see link at end)…The Nihilist may well admit that accepting categorical and hypothetical imperatives may often serve the parochial interests of oneself and others. To be an ethical nihilist commits one to nothing more than the denial of objective or intrinsic moral values and categorical imperatives. .Darwinian Nihilism explains away ethics by showing that our ethical beliefs reflect dispositions very strongly selected for over long periods, which began well before the emergence of hominids, or indeed perhaps primates (vide the vampire bat). These dispositions are so “deep” that for most people most of the time, it is impossible to override them, even when it is in our individual self-interest to do so, still less when there is no self-interested reason to do so.
Hence, the Darwinian Nihilist expects that most people are conventionally moral, and that even the widespread acceptance of the truth of Darwinian Nihilism would have little or no effect on this expectation. Most of us just couldn’t persistently be mean, even if we tried. And we have no reason to try. But Nice Nihilism is hardly “a stronger, sounder version of our most important ideas.” If it is the right conclusion then we must respond to Dennett’s final question “Does Darwin’s idea turn out to be, in the end, just what we need in our attempt to preserve…the values we cherish? ” with a simple “no.” Read More:http://people.duke.edu/~alexrose/dditamler.pdf