Morality: Created By Evolution or Religion?
By Dan Harris, Wonbo Woo, and Jessica Hopper
An excerpt: Let a bunch of chimpanzees into a yard filled with watermelons and while a few of them may horde the fruit at first, eventually they will share. If not, their whole social system will be disrupted.
"If things get totally out of whack, you keep everything and I get nothing, yes, there is going to be some protest," eminent biologist Frans De Waal said.
De Waal has spent over 30 years studying primates. He said that the primates' protest against those who don't share is the equivalent of the righteous indignation we humans sometimes display. Take Americans' frustration with Wall Street executives getting big bonuses. De Waal said that those feelings of outrage are rooted in the same feelings that a primate feels when his fellow monkey stiffs him.
De Waal, a pioneer in the topic of animal empathy, said that this is just one example of mammals displaying something approaching a moral sense. He said that mammals frequently display empathy and reciprocity, crucial components of morality.
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