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