Bottom-up morality

livelysceptic

Many christians still argue that we can’t be good without god, even though there is a variety of secular moral frameworks. Primatologist De Waal turns this debate on its head by saying we invented god to help us live the way we already felt we had to.

When humans developed greater powers of abstraction they felt a need for systems of justification, monitoring and punishment. De Waal argues that a need for religion only came in at this very late stage. Our morality is inbuilt by evolution.

morality and evolution

Has our morality developed during evolution? Darwin thought any animal would eventually acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become well developed. However, according to Darwin the animal would have become human at that stage.

After 30 years of studying non-human primates, Frans de Waal says:

“I have argued that many of what…

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