Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Morals without God? The ethical behavior of animals

Thanks to DAM at  Kids Without Religion for putting me onto this video on Ted Talks. My ethics class has been talking about whether or not moral behavior derives from moral codes, such as those religions provide. If moral behavior is grounded in moral codes, then it is necessarily limited to humans. But Dutch primatologist and ethologist, Frans de Waal, has done extensive research on the ethical behavior of mammals and concludes that these animals exhibit behaviors consistent with the foundations of human moral and ethical behavior, namely reciprocity and empathy.

Here is a piece de Waal wrote in the New York Times about whether nor not humans can be moral without God, or in other words, whether or not humans need divine moral codes to practice moral behavior: Morals Without God?

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