Alternative Title

Evolutionary Biology + Evolutionary Ethics = Evolutionary Bioethics

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2020


Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941) is an acknowledged “pioneer” in biology, being honored with a Black Heritage postage stamp in 1996. Here we discover that Just also made pioneering contributions to general evolutionary bioethics (distinct from special medical bioethics) by advancing a cell-biology-rooted theory of the origin and continuing evolution of ethical behavior influenced by the “law of environmental dependence.”

See especially “The Origin of Man’s Ethical Behavior (1941, unpublished book manuscript) by Ernest Everett Just and Hedwig Schnetzler Just, discovered in 2018 among the collected papers of E.E. Just at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.

Accordingly, evolution is essential to both biology and ethics/moral theory, to natural scientific theory of life (Darwin) coupled with and mutually dependent upon natural scientific theory of ethical behavior (E.E. Just). Such evolutionary bioethics is consistent with “scientific theology” (Adolf von Harnack), and with liberating theological ethics (John Wesley, Martin Luther King Jr.)

Document Type



evolutionary bioethics, evolutionary biology, evolutionary ethics, ethical behavior


Biological and Physical Anthropology | Cell and Developmental Biology | Development Studies | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Studies | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Intellectual History | Microbiology