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For the purposes of this article, I will (wrongly or rightly) presuppose that God does not exists and therefore He is not the source of human dignity and values. If I were to assert that God is the source of human dignity I will be finishing this article just by saying: God created human beings in his own image. Given the former statement, I will attempt to give a brief and reasonable non-religious-based explanation to the origins of human dignity.
Humans are just a product of evolution, no more than other species. Human beings are, as the Darwinian theory of evolution proves, part of the animal kingdom. However, despite the fact that at a genetic and physiological level the human race does not depart from other species, the ability to reason distinguishes us from the rest of living beings. Nonetheless, the capacity for reason is a consequence of a complex process of evolution in which no divine power intervened.
Human beings are social animals and, although we can survive alone, we function better in a community. So, what differentiates human beings from other social animals? I argue that, as I previously claimed, being able to reason is the skill which distinguishes the human race from other species. However, the capacity to reason opens a wide range of possibilities of action. Without common standards of behaviour, community life is a utopia. Therefore, morality was a needed biological adaptation. In other words, given that human beings have the capacity for reason, morality was a requirement if they were to life in community.
If God does not exist, then no authority can legitimately determine which values are good and which others are not. Therefore, objective morals values do not exist. Values that we take for granted in the 21st century were not universally accepted in the past and maybe in the future values that we consider fundamental will be regarded with great scepticism. Dignity, as an inherent characteristic of all Human Beings is just a useful concept for society to work, yet it is illusory. Human dignity is, therefore, a fundamental tool to life in community. Any deeper meaning thereto is delusional.
FERNÁNDEZ BURGUEÑO, B. “The uselfulness of the legal concept of dignity in the human rights discourse: literature review”. Oxímora: revista internacional de ética y política. ISSN Electrónico: 2014-7708 Nº. 8, 2016, págs. 9-19