Thursday, December 02, 2010

Chimpanzees are Authors of Morality, says Scientist

Eminent biologist [and] pioneer in the topic of animal empathy, [Frans De Waal who] has spent over 30 years studying primates . . . argues that the building blocks of morality come from our animal ancestors, not religion [or a god].

-- From "Morality: Created By Evolution or Religion?" by Dan Harris, ABC News 12/2/10

De Waal, a pioneer in the topic of animal empathy . . . said that mammals frequently display empathy and reciprocity, crucial components of morality.

"I do think that human morality didn't start from scratch -- human morality started with the primate psychology which has all these tendencies of reciprocity and empathy and following social rules and so we took that psychology and we turned it into a moral system," he said.

It's not just primates who show a moral sense. Dogs console their owners. If a mouse sees another mouse it knows is in pain, it will become more sensitive to pain. Dolphins and beluga whales have been known to help humans in distress.

All of these examples make De Waal pose a provocative question. Is morality inherited from our primate ancestors or did belief systems and religions create a moral code?

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

To read the Frans De Waal essay on this topic, CLICK HERE.

Also read, Scientist: Universe Created Itself, Not God