Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Finding the Universal, Biological, Moral Code

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Science and Technology, biology, religion, morality, The Edge,

Religions can try to teach people the difference between right and wrong, but the ultimate source of morality may be biology. For proof, scientists asked for people’s opinions on moral dilemmas—for example, would you kill a healthy person to save 10 lives. In the answers to these dilemmas, evolutionary biologist Marc D. Hauser writes in the Edge, “we find no difference between men and women, young and old, theistic believers and non-believers, liberals and conservatives.” Instead, there is a common, unconscious code that is common throughout the entire species.

Even with this shared biological code of morals, people still commit atrocities on an almost daily basis. According to Hauser, this is because people have learned to view others as sub-human and unworthy of the shared moral protection. There is hope, however, that people can learn to view all people as having a shared humanity. Hauser writes that education and exposure to diversity can fight prejudice and tap into this shared moral code.

Source: The Edge 

san_1
12/9/2009 3:56:16 PM

My feelings about the subject can be summed up by the following quotes: "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant "Cruelty has cursed the human family for countless ages. It is almost impossible for one to be cruel to animals and kind to humans. If children are permitted to be cruel to their pets and other animals, they easily learn to get the same pleasure from the misery of fellow humans. Such tendencies can easily lead to crime." Fred A. Mc Gran, 1895 "Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human life". Albert Schweitzer