Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Morality Precedes Our Species

That morality came before humankind is compatible with, if not central to, god-belief. For most believers in the Abrahamic tradition, god created right and wrong ex nihilo, created humans with a nature that guaranteed that large numbers of them would go wrong, prepared a hideous eternity for the inevitable violators, and then sat back to watch the proceedings in the prurient manner of a spectator observing the running of the bulls or NASCAR. Naturalistic science is beginning to fill in a different picture of morality's origin:

Scientists have that discovered monkeys and apes can make judgements about fairness, offer sympathy and help and remember obligations.

Researchers say the findings may demonstrate morality developed through evolution, a view that is likely to antagonise the devoutly religious, who see it as God-given.
There's more on the science here. The religious take on it is even easier to find -- just google "eternal damnation" or take the quiz.

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