April 12th, 2013
12:05 PM ET

Science Seat: Where morals come from

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.

Being nice to others and cooperating with them aren't uniquely human traits. Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, studies how our close primate relatives also demonstrate behaviors suggestive of a sense of morality.

De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies. CNN's Kelly Murray recently spoke with De Waal about the book.

Read more about his research here

CNN’s Kelly Murray:  Tell us about the title of your book. 

Frans de Waal:  Well, the reason I chose that title is, when I bring up the origins of morality, it revolves around God, or comes from religion, and I want to address the issue that I think morality is actually older than religion. So I’m getting into the religion question, and how important is religion for morality. I think it plays a role, but it’s a secondary role.  Instead of being the source of morality, religion came later, maybe to fortify morality.

CNN:  How would you say that ethics or morality is separate from religion?

De Waal: Well, I think that morality is older. In the sense that I find it very hard to believe that 100,000 or 200,000 years ago, our ancestors did not believe in right and wrong, and did not punish bad behavior, did not care about fairness. Very long ago our ancestors had moral systems. Our current institutions are only a couple of thousand years old, which is really not old in the eyes of a biologist. So I think religion came after morality. Religion may have become a codification of morality, and it may fortify it, but it’s not the origin of it.

CNN: Why do people need religion?

De Waal: Well, that’s a good question. I’m struggling with that. I’m personally a nonbeliever, so I’m struggling with if we really need religion. ... I’m from the Netherlands, where 60% of the people are nonbelievers. So in northern Europe, there are actually experiments going on now with societies that are more secular, to see if we can maintain a moral society that way, and for the moment I would say that experiment is going pretty well. ... Personally I think it is possible to build a society that is moral on a nonreligious basis, but the jury is still out on that.

CNN: So do you believe that people are generally good?

De Waal: Yeah, my view is that you have two (kinds of) people in the world. You have people who think that we are inherently bad and evil and selfish, but with a lot of hard work we can be good, and you have other people like myself who believe that we are inherently good. There’s a lot of evidence on the primates that I can use to support that idea that we are inherently good, but on occasion when we get too competitive or frustrated, we turn bad.

CNN: So when the stakes are higher for survival, we’re more individualistic than group-oriented?

De Waal: Oh no, we very much survive by group life. Humans are not able to survive alone. For example, solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments we can give. We are not really made to live alone, we would not survive, and so when things get tough we would actually come together more and be more social when things get tough.

CNN: Can you talk about how being nice to another individual helps you?

De Waal: Sometimes people put that in a very narrow sense, and they say that everything that humans do or that animals do needs to have a payoff, but that’s not true. The example ... of adoption of children, I basically think it’s a costly act with no payoff, and these things happen in animals also.

Animals sometimes help each other even between species. Dolphins may help human swimmers, and I don’t think the dolphins get much out of it. So individual acts don’t necessarily need to have a payoff. So they are not selfishly motivated.

They are really altruistic, but you have the tendency to help, and to have empathy for others in general, on the average, is beneficial. Because you live in a group, you depend on these others, so you need to care about these others also because your survival depends on group life, and so there is some sort of general payoff, but people often think in terms of each individual act needs to (reap) some benefit but that’s not necessarily true.

CNN: Tell us more about the origins of empathy.

De Waal: We think that the origin of empathy, in the mammals at least, has to do with maternal care. So a female, whether you’re a mouse or an elephant, you need to pay attention to your offspring, you need to react to their emotions when they’re cold, or in danger, or hungry, and that’s where we think the sensitivity to others’ emotions come from.

That also explains why empathy is more developed in females than males, which is true in many animals, and it’s true for humans, and it explains the role of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a maternal hormone. If you spray oxytocin into the nostrils of men and women, you get more empathic (empathetic) reactions from them,  and so the general thinking about empathy is that it started in the mammals with maternal care, and then from there it spread to other relationships.  So men can definitely have empathy, but they on average have a little bit less of it than women.

CNN: By empathy, you mean that they feel each others’ pain?

De Waal: Well, feeling someone else’s joy is also empathy. Being affected by the laugh, as humans are, is a form of empathy. So empathy basically says that you’re sensitive to the emotions of others and react to the emotions of others.

Sympathy is a bit more complicated. Sympathy is that you want to take action. You want to help somebody else who’s in trouble. So sympathy is a bit more specific, it’s a bit more action-oriented. Empathy is just a sensitivity. Empathy is not necessarily positive. If someone wants to sell you a bad car for a high price, he also needs to empathize with you in order to get you to buy it. So empathy can be used for good purposes; I think most of the time it is, but it is not always used for good purposes.

CNN: In your book, you talk about a female primate who is crouching down giving birth while the rest of the group gathers around, and one of the other females is crouching and acting like the one giving birth.  Would that be an example of empathy?

De Waal: Yeah, that’s an act of mimicry and synchronization, which is the first form of empathy. If you talk with a sad person, you’re going to have a sad expression on your face. You’re going to feel sad very soon. That is the body channel of empathy. You synchronize with the other, and that female in the birthing scenario was synchronizing with the other. It’s a very early form of empathy; we call it “modes of mimicry,” when you do the same thing as somebody else. The body channel of empathy is very important to us and we rely on it every day. If you talk with people and you adopt their facial expressions, they will be laughing, you will be laughing, and so on.

CNN: Different cultures of humans have different ideas about morality. Is it the same way in primates?  Do different groups of primates have different cultures and ways of interacting with each other?

De Waal: We do think that primates have different cultures. One group behaves quite differently from another one. I’m not sure that I would say they have different moralities, but they may have different styles of interacting. But (with) the human variation in morality, one society may have different moral rules than another one.

In our current society in the U.S. we have debates about gay marriage, abortion - we have a lot of moral debates going on, and years from now we will believe different things from what we believe now, and so morality changes as a result of society, and that means you should not look for specifics of your morality in biology.

Biology provides some of the general primate psychology that we have, like pro-social tendencies, sense of fairness, following rules. Our primate background provides that kind of thing, but the specific rules that our society adopts are not contained in biology, and sometimes people confuse that when I say that morality is contained in our biology, that every rule we follow has to come out of biology. I don’t think it works that way. I think that we have general tendencies that come from our primate ancestors, and we turn that into our moral system that is suitable to our way of living.

CNN: Is there anything we can learn from animals about how to live a good life?

De Waal: I don’t think I can give you specific lessons for your life out of my animal studies, but I do think the animal studies have some sort of general message that is important.

Instead of looking at human morality as something we design in our heads — the philosophers want us to believe that by logic and reasoning we arrive at moral principles — I think it works very differently. We have a lot of feelings and tendencies that drive us to moral solutions, and yes, we often then later try to justify these solutions and come up with reasons for them, but that’s often secondarily.

In primate behavior we can see they have a sense of fairness. They have empathy: they enforce rules among themselves, they can delay gratification and they can control their impulses. So many of these tendencies that go into our moralities can be found in other animals, but instead of them coming from logic and reasoning, they actually come from our primate psychology most of the time.

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Filed under: Human ancestors • On Earth • Science Seat
soundoff (579 Responses)
  1. Jose M Pulido

    Morals originated in the state of Morelia, Mexico. That is where they come from, ha ha ha.

    April 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Thepacific

    We are animals. We are born with the instinct to survive. To survive to stay away or avoid pain (danger) inflicted upon ourselves, our family, loved ones, and of course our livelihood (which include the society, the group we live within). Before the notion of god or any of such similar delusions, we are inherently born to seek for what best to survive, as long as possible. As we evolve to live together in a more complex society (population increases), we ought to and capable to find mechanism to, again, avoid pain. How? very basic: there shall do no harm to others as we expect no harm to others. All of our moral constructs come from the common sense. Years of evolution tells us that the best way to survive, to be safe from danger is to do harm to others. We don't cheat because we don't want to be cheated upon. We don't kill because we don't want to be killed. Morality does not come from any sky daddies, it certainly comes from very basic sense of PAIN/PLEASURE. We do good because it makes us all feel good to do good. If we feel good for doing bad then our chance of survive on this earth is pretty slim. It's our call ... doing good or bad.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Thepacific

      typo : no harm to others (instead harm to others). Dogs barking loud for food. sorry heheheh

      April 19, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Poltergiest

      I don't buy it. When I've helped animals out I feel good about myself, even though they arent mine. Never had an animal randomly help me. And even non social animals experience pleasure/pain. Those just exist to motivate us.

      April 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey Poltergiest. There have been Stories of A Person would be Lying on the Floor and An Animal would go next Door and Scratch at the Door and Bark or Meow Real Loud and get A Person to Follow Them. They would go to the Person on the Floor and the Neighbor would Call An Ambulance Or for Other Things the Police. Jody

        April 22, 2013 at 3:19 am |
      • Dude

        They just exist to motivate you? Wow – that's very narcissistic.

        April 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • juvonist

      then why do people commit suicide? your comment doesnt make any sense. you counterdict yourself multiple times. e

      April 21, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Jody

      Hello ThePacific. That was A Fabulous Post and Makes Such Good Sense. I Always said that People are Afraid of what will Happen so They want Some Kind of Control over what will Happen. However, They don't want to have to be the One to Make Something Happen so They Created God so He can Take Care of Things. Then, People Feel Better and They don't have to Worry about what Will Happen. I also think that People know that the Earth has Volcanos and is Dirt so They Created Hell because Nobody wants to be around that. Also, People will Climb A Mountain at Sunset and They are Closer to the Sky and They See the Beautiful Sunset or even the Beautiful Landscape and They will say Oh how Heavenly This Is. That is how They came up with Heaven. Jody

      April 22, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • juvonist

        so you think we just made up heaven and hell? so let me ask you a question. that man who raped and then killed all those little girls . where is he? what about hitler? where is he?

        April 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello Juvonist. Hitler is Under the Ground. That Man that Raped the Girls if He is Dead is Under The Ground. I don't know whether Either One Might have Been Cremated. Hopefully, that Man that Raped the Girls Went to Prison for Many Years. Maybe, That Man Got The Death Penalty. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 1:50 am |
      • Thinker...

        Adolf Hitler is dead. He no longer exists. No lake of fire or such tortures. His brain no longer functions (is in fact destroyed iirc) and thus he is no more.

        Perhaps you wish he was being tortured for eternity by some demon. I find the concept of eternal torture more evil than anything Hitler could ever do. The entire concept disturbs me greatly and was what ultimately led me to athiesm.

        April 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello Thinker. First Of All, I Like Your Name. I Think that You are A Thinker. You are So Much Better than Juvonist or TG. I think that You are Probably Right about God being More Evil than Good. I think God could have People be Separated from him without Torturing Them. I thought about though that God has People Burning in Hell and Hitler had the Jewish People Burning in Ovens. They are Both Disturbing. I guess that Hitler didn't just want to Shoot the Jewish People because maybe They would Survive the Bullet. Maybe Hitler thought that was the Only way to make Sure that the Jewish People were Dead. I AM Not Defending Hitler. I am just Explaining why he did that. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 2:19 am |
      • TG

        You are certainly not alone in rejecting hellfire, for there are many that see this religious doctrine as taught by the churches as blasphemy. Charles Darwin, at the age of 18 (in 1827) entered Cambridge University in preparation of becoming a clergyman of the Church of England. But it was the teaching of hellfire that had an impact upon Charles Darwin giving credence to evolution, for in 1851, his 10 year old daughter, Annie (who apparently was the light of his life), died on April 23 from scarlet fever, and "all but closed the door on God."(The Darwins' marriage of science and religion", Deborah Heiligman)

        According to Alister McGrath (British Irish theologian, priest, and intellectual historian), it was Darwin's "visceral distaste" for the doctrine of hellfire – not his belief in evolution – that raised doubts in his mind about the existence of God. McGrath also notes Darwin's "deep grief over the death of his daughter".

        Yet Charles Darwin's last sentence in the 1872 edition of On the Origin of Species showed that he still had a belief in a Creator: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

        He still felt that there is a God, but the "crumbs" and lies that the churches dispensed (Luke 16:19-21), put him in a quandary. There is evidence all around that shows that the universe and all life is the handiwork of Supreme Designer. The Bible identifies him as Jehovah.(Isa 42:5)

        And the Bible does not teach that there is a hellfire, but that when a person dies, he returns to the "dust" (Gen 3:19), most being in the grave, awaiting a resurrection in the near future.(Rev 20:13)

        April 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
      • Nannalow

        Actually, no where in the bible does is say anyone is torturing the people in hell. It says they are tortured. I personally believe that hell is a place where people who go there get what they wanted all along – a place where Jesus is not. I think a world without Jesus and the life, hope and love he brings to it, is a dark, horrible place. The torture is internal – because it says that those in hell KNOW what choice they made, and they know there was a better place they could be. God does not send people there – people choose to go there. It is the internal dread that is felt when they realize that they gave up their chance for eternal life, and instead chose eternal death, it is a hell of thier own making.

        April 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • TG

        Yes, nowhere in the Bible does it say that God torments people in a "hellfire". Solomon wrote: "For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all....Also their love and their hate and their jealousy have all perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun."(Ec 9:5, 6)

        With the King James Bible rendering the Greek word hades (Hebrew sheol) as "hell" (at Matt 11:23; 16:18), the Greek word Gehenna as "hellfire" (and "hell", as at Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28), in which Jesus used fire as a symbolism of everlasting destruction, the churches have concocted the false religious teaching of "hellfire" as punishment for the "wicked".

        May 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Reality

        Morality does have a source. The source is our creator. The Bible say at Gen 1:26 that man is created in God's image. It never says that about animals. God is a spirit so we are not created to be like him in a physical sense, because we are flesh and blood so it means that we were created with qualities like his. How we choose to use those qualities is a choice God gave us, but they are part of us at birth. The need to worship is part of these qualities which animals do not have. The animals were also created by God and thus have inborn instincts that cause them to act in certain ways.

        The sad thing about the commentoer who says that those who have died are simply dead and he became an atheist that hsi thinking is more inline with what the Bible says about the condition of the dead than the other who mentions heaven or hell. Hell or Sheol in the Bible is not a place of everlasting torment, but the common grave of mankind where all those who have died are in a state of non-existence. Yes they are dead just as the friend (Lazerus) of Jesus was for 4 four days was before Jesus awoke him from the grave, hell, sheol, but Jesus clearly said he was not just merely sleeping, he was dead. He was neither in heaven or hell, he was just dead. If you want to know more about all of this and what the Bible really teaches go to http://www.jw.org

        May 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Zilth

        TG, the mention of a "creator" in that last paragraph of the Origin was added after the first edition. A closer look at Darwin's thoughts, quotations and biography shows that he had indeed a very materialistic frame of mind. The addition of the "creator" concept was aimed most likely to keep peace (1) at home, with his very pious wife and (2) within the scientific community, which was essentionally "creationist" at the time and the ideas in the Origin were even more inflammatory back then than they are now.
        As to the concept of hell, it´s true there's no mention of it in the Old Testament. That was one of Jesus' contribuitions.

        May 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • TG

        Charles Darwin (1809-1882) still recognized that there is a Creator, acknowledging this in his 1872 edition of Origin of the Species, writing that many have "the view that each species has been independently created.....To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes."

        He was not anti-religion while at the same time was not fully in favor of the Bible either. He was greatly influenced by Adam Sedgwick, a geologist and John Henslow, a naturalist. His distaste for "hellfire" is understandable, for it is a God defaming false religious teaching that the churches have espoused for centuries.

        Jesus did not use the word "hell" or "hellfire", but rather he used the Greek words hades (at times rendered "hell") and Gehenna (at times rendered "hellfire"). Hades means mankind's common grave from a person can receive a resurrection (Rev 20:13) whereas from Gehenna, meaning everlasting destruction, there is no hope of ever living again.(Rev 20:14, 15, called the "second death" as well as "the lake of fire")

        May 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Wake up

      Even the worst murderers are aware of their guilt and he that thinks he is "good" is just a selfrighteous fool.
      God is the reason that one has a consceince and no matter how much evil you do your guilt does not disappear.
      People think they are "good"because their conscience tells them they are evil.
      Your Conscience is the proof of your Guilt,Evolution is a extremly dumb religion based on the perverse opinions of Charle Darwin,a priest-school dropout and not a scientist.
      Idiots believe in Darwinismus,because their Conscience condemns them and they do not like righteousness.

      April 22, 2013 at 8:54 am |
      • Mark Glomski

        Nope. Sorry. I try but just cannot worship a God that punishes what it creates.

        April 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • TG

        If there was no punishment for wrongdoing, then apparently you are not in favor of any justice. You seemingly would allow criminals to continue unabated. No standards of morality, just everybody "do their own thing" regardless of how much damage and death occurs. Could there be any real peace ?

        Peace-loving people realize that there has to be moral boundaries for genuine peace to prevail, for anyone to dwell in security. Hence, there is a line of demarcation that cannot be crossed with impunity, for our Creator, Jehovah God has established a moral code for the everlasting benefit of those who love him.

        At Deuteronomy 30, Moses tells the nation of Israel: "I do take the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you today, that I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction; and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him."(Deut 30:19, 20)

        By right of God being our Maker, he established moral perimeters for us, and those who wish to cross them, punishment must meted out. As in the days of Noah, when the masses of mankind was ' ruining the earth ', when "the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time"(Gen 6:5), Jehovah God realized that the only way to get rid of the badness, despite Noah giving warning of an impending global flood, was to destroy them, with the exception of Noah and his family, who obeyed God to built the ark.(2 Pet 2:5)

        After the flood, there was a period of peace, until wickedness began to take root again, such as Noah's great grandson, Nimrod, proving to be in opposition to Jehovah.(Gen 10:8, 9) Soon, all wicked ones will be wiped off the face of the earth to make way for "meek" ones to live on an earthly paradise "in the abundance of peace.....forever."(Ps 37:11, 29)

        May 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey TG. I think that Poster doesn't want God to Punish People Because God Created those People. The Police or Judges or DA's Did NOT Create Those People. I think He thinks that if God Created Those People that he wouldn't Torture One Of His Creations. I think myself that God could have the People be Separate from him without Going through what They go Through in Hell. Jody

        May 2, 2013 at 1:09 am |
      • Jody

        Hey Wake Up. Evolution Is NOT A Religion. A Religion is A Person's Beliefs about God and what kind of Rules that They are Supposed to go by. Evolution is how we got here. People that think that we got here through Evolution Are NOT Idiots. This is how They Observe Things and how It seems to Them. I think People are Idiots if They Think An Invisible Super Natural Being Formed People from the Dirt and Breathed Life in to Them. What about A Man that Came Back from the Dead Three Days Later. He can't Remove that Boulder by Himself. It took Several People to put the Boulder in Front of that Cave. You're Wrong about Our Conscience in Your Last Sentence. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 1:36 am |
      • Grow up!

        I feel sorry for you, Wake up. You are able to see the world only through fairy tales.

        April 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • TG

      There is a wide gap between animals and humans, for animals run on instinct whereas humans have a conscience, that when properly trained provides moral guidance, causing us to distinguish right from wrong.

      When our conscience is properly taught, it is like a having another person beside us that taps us on the shoulder when we consider crossing a moral boundary, reminding us not to do this, or it will accuse us "after the fact", causing us mental anguish unless we repeatedly disregard it, and thus becoming like a calloused piece of skin that has no feeling, excusing us for wrong conduct. Over time, the conscience may cease to function if not kept in "working order".

      We are not a product of evolution but a creation of a Supreme Designer. He made man in his "image" (Gen 1:26), able to display love and justice like him and when the conscience is properly "calibrated", individuals have "their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong."(Heb 5:14) The Greek word for conscience, syneidesis, means "co-knowledge, knowledge with oneself." In effect, we are able to step outside of ourselves and become our own judge, accusing or excusing ourselves.

      Since we are a product of our Creator, Jehovah God, by right of he being our Maker and being the wisest in the universe, has the right to set moral standards for us and enforce a penalty when violated.(Isa 33:22) He sets the standard of what is right and wrong and not we ourselves. This was established in the Garden of Eden when God commanded Adam and Eve to not eat from the "tree of knowledge of good and bad."(Gen 2:17)

      April 26, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
      • CA Liberal

        There is not a wide gap between animals and humans. Humans are an animal. We are a type of ape. We are probably the most intelligent animal...maybe. The information is still uncertain on dolphins and whales who have larger brains than humans. The religious fantasy that we are not animals(certainly not plants) but something special(????) and godlike has caused a lot of damage to our world.

        April 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello CA Liberal. You are Right. If We were made in God's Image and We Were Perfect, then why do we Sin? Why would God's Son have to Die for Our Sins if we were Perfect? Why are we So Violent? We are Violent because We are Animals and maybe got that way from Apes. Jody

        April 29, 2013 at 12:10 am |
      • TG

        If there is no wide gap between humans and animals, can then animals conceive and construct a car, arrange a kitchen, mow the grass, become medically capable, create the Space Shuttle and fly it ?

        This shows the extensive wide gap between animals and humans, that we can recognize who we are, that we are cognizant of time and space. We have the ability to look at the past, see the present and think about and prepare for the future. Can animals do this ? Can animals conceive of living forever, of never dying ? Do animals have spirituality, having a recognition of a Supreme Designer ?

        Thus, when our Creator, Jehovah God made man in his "image", having a conscience and the capability of showing god-like love, he was then given authority over the animal creation as a caretaker, for in the Bible at Genesis 1:28, Jehovah said: "Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth."(see also Gen 2:15 and Psalms 8:6)

        May 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey TG. Dogs Feel Guilty about what They have done. Maybe They have A Conscience. The Monkeys haven't had Any Moral Training, but They know if Monkey B should not Eat Monkey A's Food. The Monkeys know Right From Wrong. Jody

        April 29, 2013 at 12:04 am |
      • Reality

        Thank you my brother. What you said is so clear and reasonable.

        May 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • TG

        You are welcome, for everyone needs to know the "truth", giving real purpose and meaning life, that we have a Creator, Jehovah God, who has shown the greatest of love for us as handiwork and given the earth as an inheritance for "meek" ones.(Matt 5:5; Gen 1:28; John 3:16)

        May 11, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  3. tensai13

    I hope to god our morals don't come from – "god". However, considering our evil and murderous ways I suspect they do.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • Jody

      Hey Tensai. Maybe we came from Satan. Satan is Magical like God is. We seem more like Satan than we do God. God said we will have Free Will so that maybe We Will Choose to Do God's Will. However, Satan has Good Reasons why He wants us to do Things. Maybe Satan came up with the Idea of Free Will. Maybe Satan said You can Choose what you want to do. That's how much I Love you is that I won't Force You to do what you don't want to do. Jody

      April 22, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • TG

      God has been blamed for many atrocities (Prov 19:3), as for example in saying that he was cruel in having the inhabitants of the land of Canaan put to death. Many do not realize that the Canaanites were guilty of child sacrifice, conceiving them "in the presence of their gods" and then burning their firstborn as a sacrifice to these same gods.

      Merril F. Unger wrote: "Excavations in Palestine have uncovered piles of ashes and remains of infant skeletons in cemeteries around heathen altars, pointing to the widespread practice of this cruel abomination."(Archaeology and the Old Testament, 1964, pg 279)

      Halley's Bible Handbook says: "Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgences, as religious rite, in the presence of their gods, and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale.....Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist....Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did."(Vol 1, pg 739)

      Hence, it is nations of both the past and the present that have disregarded or distorted the original standards of morality, of what is right and wrong, of what is based on love, love for others and not being self-centered on ourselves. Our Creator, Jehovah God, by right of his creatorship, has established what is right and wrong. This right was noted in the Garden of Eden that involved the "tree of knowledge of good and bad", whereby God established his right to set moral boundaries for us as his creation.(Gen 2:17)

      Many blame God for all the wickedness that is so pervasive today, when in fact, its the people of the world that "have acted ruinously on their part....the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted !"(Deut 32:5)

      Our Creator set about to remove all wickedness moments after the initial rebellion in the Garden of Eden, making way for a "seed" (that later came to be Jesus Christ) from "the woman" (God's heavenly organization of loyal spirit sons) to bruise "the serpent" (Satan) "in the head".(Gen 3:15) Thus, the "whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one", Satan (1 John 5:19), casting aside any moral consciousness.

      April 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • J Lyn

        God isn't real TG. Grow up.

        April 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  4. rlindsl

    Religious beliefs are "logical" conscious constructions to justify emotional states.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Jody

      I don't think It is Logical. I think it is A Type Of Reasoning that is done to Justify Emotional States. Jody

      April 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
      • Jonquil

        Jody..."logical", as in, the pattern of choice is dependent upon what preceded it. A best choice, to resolve the next stage in a pattern; i.e., "I am motivated by this, therefore, that must happen, if I am logically following my motivations."

        April 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • TG

      When a person seriously considers the harmonious ecosystems that surrounds all of us, standing in awe of their beauty and unimaginable complexity, there is a recognition that this "arrangement" could not have come about by accident. These realize that the delicate and precise ecosystems are not a product of "accidental" evolution, for anything that is well organized, such as home, factory, kitchen, never came about by accident.

      Hence, these recognize that the universe and life, is of such complexity and perfect harmony that it required a Supreme Designer, one who took great pains and love to make the earth "home" for us as mankind. In the Bible, it says that this Supreme Designer, who has the personal name of Jehovah (Ex 3:15), that he "firmly established" the earth, that he "did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited."(Isa 45:18)

      He purposed that the earth be home for "meek" or obedient ones forever (Ps 37:11, 29), with these following the moral code that he established.(Matt 4:4)

      April 26, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • Orangy

        And who made this "Supreme Creator"? If nothing complex can arise from something simple, and must have been created, as you are positing, than the being complex enough to create a multiverse must also have been made from something else. Do please explain where this deity comes from.

        April 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello TG. You think that because A Book says This Happened that It Happened. The Book was Written by A Person like you who this Seems like to Him. However, He does not know that this Happened This Way. I Still don't think Some Invisible Supernatural Being Says or Waves His Arms or whatever Let Their Be Light and Light Appeared Immediately. I think IF Their was This Being that Perhaps He Caused the Big Bang to Happen OR Evolution to Occur. That is the Only way that I Might Accept A So Called God. I think it is Science and The Animals and Later People Evolved to Their Situations. The Amphibians or Reptiles came from Fish who Evolved Legs so They could Climb on Land. People in Asia Developed Slanted Eyes because The Wind Blew Things into Their Eyes. Their Situation Caused Longer Noses in the Mid Eastern Countries or Wider Noses in the Tropical Countries such as Africa. Jody

        April 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
      • TG

        The Bible was written down by some 40 different "secretaries", but has only one author, Jehovah God.(2 Tim 3:16) That it is trustworthy can be seen from its accurate history (such as the destruction of Jericho in 1473 B.C.E [Joshua 6] that was found at Tell es-Sultan between 1929 and 1936), the people mentioned were real (such as David who is mentioned some 1,000 times in the Bible, whereby a black basalt stone was found in Tel Dan in 1993 that said "House of David', "King of Israel"), its timely wisdom (how to make and keep peace in a family [Prov 15:1, 17], showing love for one's mate [Eph 5:25-33]), its prophetic statements that have come to pass (such as ancient Babylon that fell in 539 B.C.E.[Isa 45:1, 2]).

        May 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  5. JustSayin

    Its called a conscience. Animals don't have one. It is not genetic but can be silenced. When it is silenced you can choose the wrong path.

    April 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • rlindsl

      Not all people have a conscience. There are many causes of psychopathy including organic neural anatomical abnormalities.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
      • Poltergiest

        Yup, and those people are incapable of morality. Still feel pleasure and pain, they don't care if you do. Apparently morality didn't source from that.

        April 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello Poltergiest. I don't think God can Help that Person. I don't think God made Him that way. I would think God would have Somebody be Born with No Problems and I don't think God would Make him be A Bad Person. I would think God would want to Make Somebody be A Good Person. Maybe Something went wrong with the Birth. Jody

        April 22, 2013 at 3:25 am |
      • TG

        Since the conscience at birth is like a blank sheet of paper or like a hard drive that has no operating system or like a piece of soft clay, it is necessary to form or mold our conscience in harmony with what is right and wrong. Our parents are responsible to "inculcate" moral principles based on the creator of the conscience, Jehovah God (Gen 1:26; Deut 6:7), but most do not, often leaving it to our "environment" such as school mates or those with whom we socialize with.

        Because of close association with these, these can shape the conscience of others, causing them to have a malfunctioning conscience. That is why in the Bible, it is said that "bad associations spoil useful habits."(1 Cor 15:33)

        April 26, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Jody

      Hello JustSayin. Why do Animals Feel Guilty IF They don't have A Conscience? Dogs Pull Back or Lay Down when They know that they have done Wrong. It could be that the Owner would Yell at Them, but They do this Behavior Before the Owner Yells at them. Sometimes, the Owner Yells at them and they might not know why the Owner is Yelling at them. Also, A Criminal might have Killed Somebody and Later They will Feel Badly about It. If not having A Conscience is what Makes A Person go Bad, then why do People Feel Bad after they Did Something Bad. Jody

      April 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
      • JustSayin

        I will have to refer you to books that are written from centuries of dog breeding and training knowledge to tackle the 'Does a dog have reasoning' question, however I said a conscience can be silenced. It doesn't mean you've had it removed. It can also be made tender when once it was so hardened it could not be heard. Silencing or quieting the conscience happens by making choices in the thoughts. When it comes down to it, it's s always about the thought life. In the opposite direction living in such a way as to obtain a clear conscience will make one grow in empathy toward others. The complexity of growing in moral character belongs only to the realm of mankind. I hold to the philosophical concept that morals, at least at the most simplistic level is in our trainable conscience. Trainable in the sense that you exercise it before you realize how to use it. It is so powerful you could be isolated without a religious education and still be able to make moral choices if confronted with a moral question.

        April 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello JustSaying. I haven't thought about Animals having Reasoning Before, but My Brother's Male Pit Bull Barked when the Mail Man Drove down the Street. The Dog ran over to My Brother and My Brother went out to get the Mail. I think the Dog used Reasoning because the Mail Man came with the Mail and My Brother had to go get the Mail. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 2:27 am |
  6. lionslake

    Mr. De Waal makes two key mistakes in his analysis:

    First, he's a scientist straying outside of the scientific realm. It's perfectly fine to state that morality in humans is ancient, and pre-dates known religions. There's strong evidence for that. But to explicitly say that God is not the source of morality is outside of the realm of scientific inquiry, as that is not a testable claim. Let scientists stick to science, leave the moralizing to others.

    Secondly, as a general rule of writing, you don't write what you don't know. Mr. De Waal has no religious affiliation and lives in a country where exposure to religion is quite low. So it's understandable that he thinks religion is primarily a utilitarian tool for promoting morality; while most actual adherents would tell him that religion promotes divine revelation first and foremost, with morality a secondary consequence of that revelation.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      I don't see anywhere that he explicitly says that morality doesn't come from god. He says it doesn't appear to come from religion. Just a check on your own thinking – would you have felt he stepped outside of science if he suggested that thunderstorms don't come from Aheramenmthoou? It's the same logic, and pretty solid if you ask me.

      Secondly, since when is Lawrenceville, Georgia a place where exposure to religion is low? I bet even the chimps at the research facility have been visited by local church people out "spreading the good news."

      April 18, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Jody

      Hello LionSlake. I don't think that is Correct. God did not say People need to know about My Son. God said I will get People to do what I want or think is how They should be. I will have My Son come to them and He will Die for their Sins and They will Follow Him and They can be with Me for All Eternity. God Evicted Adam and Eve from The Garden Of Eden because They Sinned. God Punished Adam and Eve with what Happened to Their First Two Children. Adam and Eve don't know Anything about A Son of God that is Divine. Jody

      April 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
      • juvonist

        once again your information is not even close. first of all in the bible, God is not like how you make him out to be. you should probably read it first before you start talking about something. you come across ignorant on the subject. God never said i will get people to do what I want or think is how they should be. what book are you reading? God gave commands to show us we are sinners because no one can live up to all the commandments. in fact eveyone breaks all the the commandments. do you want to take the test and find out how unmoral you are? 1. have you loved anything more then God? 2. have you ever used Gods name as a swear word? 3. do you take one day evey week to keep as a holy day? 4. have you ever disobeyed your parents? 5.have you ever hated soneone?6. have you ever looked at soneone with lust who is not your spouse? 7.have you ever stolen anything? 8. have you ever lied? 9. have you ever wanted something someone else owned? 10.lastly do you have another god? could be yourself? could be any one of the hundreds of other religions out there. so it shows us how far off morally we all are. that is why he had to come down himself and live a perfect life. and yes Jesus is in the book of genesis and psalms and isaiah just to name a few. Lets US make man in OUR image. both are in the plural. and before adam and eve are ever metioned.

        April 23, 2013 at 12:51 am |
      • Jody

        Hey Juvonist. That Is THE Stupidest Post I have Ever Seen and I know that the Grammar is Wrong. That's how I Feel though. You have It Backwards. God Can Not Give Commands because We didn't Follow the Commandments. God Gave Us Commandments to Follow Rules of how He thought we should be Living our Life. God gave us Free Will knowing that We are Sinners so He Decided to Send Down His Son to Die for Our Sins. Also, I think that is Stupid to make the Post about Giving A Test to See if I Follow the 10 Commandments. This isn't about whether I am Immoral. This is about whether there is A God or whether we Came From God or from Evolution. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 2:02 am |
  7. Poltergeist

    Alot of pack and heard animals display similar behaviors. Monkies are no more moral than bees are architects. There are certain traits all social animals portray because there are only so many ways to evolve cooperative behaviors.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  8. Coflyboy

    Morals certainly do not come from the right, Republicans, or religious fanatics.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Morels, on the other hand, come from damp forest floors.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Jeff

      @cowflyboy. You say morals don't come from the Right? Well they sure as heck don't come from the Left and your shining examples from Hollywood.

      April 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey Jeff. You mean like Bob Hope and Charlton Heston and maybe Sammy Davis Jr. How about Rush Limbaugh that is Against the Liberal Druggies when Rush was Addicted to Pain Pills. What about Newt Gingrinch who Tried to get Divorced from his Wife in the Hospital with Cancer? What about Bob Dole who got Divorced? Bill Clinton and Hillary are Still Married. Jody

        April 22, 2013 at 3:31 am |
    • TG

      "Morals certainly do not come from the right, Republicans, or religious fanatics", but from an elevated source. Animals run on instinct, but humans do not. Rather, they were created with a conscience, that literally means "co-knowledge", that can be likened to having a person within us, whereby our conscience either accuses us or excuses us, that has the capacity to look at oneself and render judgment about oneself, bearing witness for or against us.

      However, for the conscience to function properly, it has to be trained, like calibrating a sensitive instrument. Unfortunately, most consciences are influenced by the "world" around us, rather than allowing our Creator, Jehovah God to "calibrate" our conscience.

      In the Bible, because of disregarding a warning from God concerning his anger, Cain pushed aside any conscience he had and murdered his brother, and then feigned that he he did not know where his brother was at.(Gen 4:6, 7, 9) On the other hand, another Biblical person, David, his conscience "kept striking him" when he cut off the skirt of the sleeveless coat that belonged to king Saul.(1 Sam 24:5) David allowed himself to be trained by Jehovah God, whereas Cain did not.

      Hence, the level of morality is dependent upon whether or not a person allowed themselves to taught by our Creator, Jehovah. Those who permit it, have an elevated level of morality; those who do not will have a lower level of morality, permitting or excusing many things that is against God's law.

      April 21, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  9. doctorstrangeluv

    Stop publishing this blaspemy !!!! How could we attributes our develop of morals from monkeys as we in no way sprang from monkeys. Repent for your vile news reporting

    April 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Feli

      It's blasphemy for one, but considering you would rather depend on a fictional book than an factual accounts your error does not surprise me. Although, if it makes you feel better you are correct in the sense that we have not evolved from monkeys. Actually we have much of the same genetic make-up as a chimpanzee. We, humans, are part of the Hominidae family which also includes gorillas and orangutans. FACT. Anyhow, if you are capable of analytically reading this article you would also understand that its not saying we get morality from "monkeys" as you put it but instead empathy is biological. Which leads to a communal understanding of right and wrong, depending on societal norms. So think that over, when you read your bible, that is assuming you even read it.

      April 18, 2013 at 12:03 am |
      • TG

        Empathy is a learned response, for it comes from having a conscience, more so when it is trained to have fellow-feeling. Two sets of children can be taught different modes of conduct and each will most likely follow that direction.

        We are often a product of our environment, whereby if fellow-feeling is displayed, children will learn from that. On the other hand, if discord or hate is displayed within a family, then children will often follow this course, this becoming their disposition. That is why in the Bible, it says that "bad association spoils useful habits."(1 Cor 15:33)

        When born, we are like a blank sheet of paper that is yet to be written on, or we are like a blank hard drive of a computer that has yet to have an operating system installed. By the age of 5, a child's personality is about 90 percent developed, whereby "labeling, belittling and criticizing a child's personality.....can be a factor " later when they become a teenager, causing low self-esteem, depression and noncommunication. This can affect their ability to show empathy, for they might put a "shell" around themselves.

        Hence, morality and empathy comes from a higher source than ourselves, for there must something to gauge what is right and and wrong. We are a product of a Supreme Designer, Jehovah God, being made in his "image" (Gen 1:26) and thus have the capacity to emulate him, learning to love what he loves and hate what he hates.(Ps 97:10) Now, we can for a certainty know what is moral, what is right and wrong, by carefully considering his word the Bible.

        April 22, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jody

      Monkeys and Human Beings have many of the Same Things. Apes don't have Claws or Tails and are more Intelligent than Other Animals. Apes even seem to use things to get Food like Humans have Tools or Build Shelter. The Apes Did NOT Spring Into Man. Apes become A Type of Human Type Animal that became A Neanderthal that was Less Ape Like and More Human. Then, This was Less Humped Over and Straightened Up and Walked Upright and this is Man. Besides, I would like to See This Supernatural Being that Looks Like A Human Being. I can't see This Being. However, Fossils have shown that the Ape Brain and the Human Brain have some Similarities. Jody

      April 18, 2013 at 1:47 am |
      • juvonist

        really? there are fossils of ape brains? i never seen one. have you seen a fossil of a brain before? this is a new discovery. i know they have found skulls. but not fossills of an ape brain. where do you get your info from? you are so wrong on so many of your posts?

        April 23, 2013 at 3:00 am |
      • Jody

        Hey Juvonist. I don't know whether A Skull is A Fossil, but Scientists use Both Fossils and Skulls to find out where we came from. The Ape Skull of the Ape Brain is Similar to the Brain of A Human Being Except that the Human Being Brain is Larger. Since the Human Being Brain is Larger, then the Human Being can Reason and Developed Language. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 2:08 am |
  10. Dave

    I believe God gave ALL mankind morality and a level of understanding fairness as a genetic part of being Human. Most all of us, I believe, understand basic rights and wrongs from a very young age without being taught them. This helped guarantee the survival of our species. If this was not genetically encoded into us, we would not have survived.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • TG

      You are correct in that our Creator, Jehovah God placed within man morality. This makes us stand apart from the animal creation, which is directed by instinct. We were imbued with a conscience, for the Bible says that God, in speaking with his "master worker", who later came to be called Jesus Christ, said to him: "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness."(Gen 1:26)

      Hence, with the creation of man (with the 1st man being called Adam), there was genetically set a conscience, the capability to discern right from wrong. However, there is a "catch". We are like a blank sheet of paper or like a blank hard drive of a computer when born, so that the moral boundaries that we can sense, must be based firmly on what is right and wrong in our Creator's eyes, not ourselves. He established what is moral at the beginning of mankind's creation when he told Adam (who in turn told Eve), to not eat from (no, not even touch) the "tree of knowledge of good and bad" in the middle of the Garden of Eden.(Gen 2:17; 3:3)

      However, due to the rebellion of Adam and Eve, our conscience has been damaged, for these sought independence from Jehovah God. As a result, our conscience, unless properly trained to reflect Jehovah's "image", will misdirect us toward what is truly right and wrong, giving us an incomplete sense of morality or that which is distorted.

      April 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  11. HMMMM

    Where does love exist in this "survival of the fittest"? Can't see it or prove it so you must not believe it exists right?

    Do animals exhibit love or just morals? Perhaps people don't actually feel love...it's just a nice sounding creation of man?

    have we outgrown the need for morality? If we created it to survive we can get rid of it when it's no longer necessary for survival....perhaps that's precisely what we're doing.....

    April 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Why pretend that you are asking questions? You clearly have already decided the answers, and the way you phrase your "questions" clearly betrays your smug cert.itude.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      As a matter of fact, the way you keep throwing around cliches like "survival of the fittest" (a 19th century sociological concept) and "law of the jungle" betrays that you actually have no grasp whatsoever of the concepts being put forward in this article. I'm going to hazard a guess that the reason you don't grasp the concepts is that you long ago decided you already understood everything you need to know through "common sense" (and perhaps "faith", but mostly the faith that you already know all you need to know) and therefore have never bothered to try to learn any more. So you haven't. It's a vicious cycle....

      April 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • justathought

      Unfortunately, man is not born with good morality—it must be learned.
      Animals exhibit passion, but I doubt they know anything about morals, although that can be challenged. Good morals are when someone does the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. I have witnessed animals showing the passion of guilt—some animals seem to know when he/she has done something wrong, but I think the animal has learned it was wrong. (There is such a thing as ‘bad morals—doing something wrong and not having any guilty feelings.)
      Also, we have so screwed up the English language that the word ‘love’ is more improperly used than properly used. Love is something you do—not something you feel. Try this definition for the word ‘love’: Love is when you put the wants and needs of others before your own wants and needs.’ I grant I too use the word wrongly. When you say to someone “I love you” what you most likely mean is: “I have a passion for you.” Passion is a feeling and closely connected with love, but it also connected with hate.
      I agree, “I love you” sounds a lot better even though it may be incorrect; I use it wrong also.
      The measurement of love is: how much you are willing to sacrifice for the welfare of another person.
      The Bible commands us to “love one another.” Feelings cannot be commanded, therefore: love is not a feeling. But go ahead and say, “I love you” we will understand what is meant, I will continue also to use the word wrong.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • lilyq

        Thit is absolute truth. Amen.

        April 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • rlindsl

        My experience as a father is that children are born with very unique characters, including empathy and rule following behavior. Things like gender orientation, psychopathy, altruism, all seem to be primarily hard-wired. The studies are many in primates that show an awareness of fairness in behavior. That is a fact, not an opinion.

        April 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
      • Jody

        Even Gender Orientation Is NOT Hard Wired In because Girls might want to Play with Trucks. Some Boys might Pick Up A Doll. You wouldn't have Gay People IF The Gender Orientation was Hard Wired In. Also, If Primates show Empathy like A Child Shows Empathy, what is the Difference? If the Primates Show Empathy because The Primates have to get Along, then don't the Children Show Empathy so They can get Along? Jody

        April 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • Gelin

        Just because you say so does not mean it's the true. Quoting from the bible does not lend any more credence either.

        April 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • TG

        You are correct in that man is not "born with good morality", for when we are born we are like a blank sheet of paper or like a blank hard drive in a computer, that must "loaded" with an operating system in order to function. But just as the operating system must well designed to prevent major problems, so likewise must children be taught how to operate their lives from our Creator, Jehovah God.

        Allowing a distorted or corrupted "operating system" or set of morals established by each person or persons, will cause the child to grow up with distorted morals or what is right and wrong from the originator of morality, God. Hence, the moral standards of the nations or what is right and wrong in their eyes is learned. However, only by listening to our Creator, Jehovah, will we establish and keep the moral standards that is truly right and wrong, that will allow us to live forever on an earthly paradise.(Ps 37:11, 29)

        In the Bible, Moses told the nation of Israel just before their entrance into the land of Canaan: "And you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force. And these words that I am commanding you....you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up."(Deut 6:5-7)

        Hence, to have the proper view of right and wrong, we have to know the Maker of morality, Jehovah God, and inculcate his righteous standard of morality into ourselves and our children.

        April 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey TG. Maybe some People just don't go to Church, but Their Children Gives A Homeless Man some Food or Helps A Trapped Animal. Maybe The Child wants to Help if People were in An Earthquake that they See on TV. Jody

        April 22, 2013 at 3:38 am |
    • Jody

      I think that Animals Love Other Animals like them OR Their Owners OR Sometimes even Other Animals that are Different Types of Animals. We Still need Morality because Things are done that is Not Fair or Hurts People. Jody

      April 17, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  12. HMMMM

    Wow....you've all convinced me that survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle are all that matter.....and since I don't give a flying crap about the group and we aren't living in tribal societies anymore I'm going to rob, cheat, steal whatever I feel like to get what I want from you......thanks....it's not like there's any judgement or higher moral power to answer to....all I have to do is not get caught.....cheers

    April 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • 98.4% chimpanzee

      Morality is not about "survival of the fittest" and the "law of the jungle". It is about maintaining a cohesive and cooperative society on which we all depend for our survival.

      To put it in simple terms, all you need is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

      Or, in today's language: don't sh!t in your own bed.

      It has nothing to do with supernatural beings.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • RightOn

        Do unto others... sounds an awful lot like Jesus' teachings to me! And he was a supernatural being.

        April 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Jody

        Confucius also said that Many Years Before Jesus. Other People may have also said that. Jody

        April 18, 2013 at 1:31 am |
      • Kilgore Trout

        The "Golden Rule" actually precedes the time of Jesus in Babylon, Greece, China, and elsewhere. Were Hammurabi, Isocrates, and Confucius all supernatural also? Or perhaps the simpler explanation is morals are indeed independent from religion.

        April 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
      • 98.4% chimpanzee

        Jesus also sat on a chair. That does not mean he invented chairs.

        April 18, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Gelin

      If your morality stretch that far, no amount of religion will change your own wickedness in the first place.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  13. sarahfalin

    Xenu loves us all.

    April 16, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Gelin

      I thought Xenu is the villian in the story

      April 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  14. Ike Eslao

    Ever since man became aware of himself he knew that all of creation came about because there was a first cause way before all the apes came about- somebody who designed the DNA and all the traits that go with it, including morality, love and compassion for others. De Waal will probably do more than conduct experiments to prove that morality is a natural animal trait that was there right from the start. And it will probably just be redundant- proving something what was already obvious to believers.

    April 16, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Ever since man became aware of himself he knew that all of creation came about with him in mind – that it must be a grand scheme with his DNA, his morals, and his behavior as it's ultimate goal. (sarcasm)

      Funny how self-awareness can lead to self-absorption. I suspect the universe is much greater in scope than the lives of a few members of one species on one planet in one solar system of one galaxy at one fleeting moment in time....

      Of course to many believers that makes me sound arrogant.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • RightOn

        Not only arrogant but without founding. The universe is vast therefore it must have more life? So vastness equates to intelligent life? Same argument (without founding) that Evolutionists use. Given enough time a primordial ooze can produce multi-celled beings. Intelligence and intent give way to further intelligence. The simple cannot give way to the complex just as nothing is incapable of producing something. With all of our higher thought we need to look to lower animals for guidance as to why we do the things we do? What an insult...but you might see that as arrogant...

        April 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Kilgore Trout

        Sure do. Hard to imagine anything more arrogant than assuming that me and my kind are the crown of creation.

        April 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  15. 98.4% chimpanzee

    Another way to back up De Waal's assertion that morality comes from some place other than religion is to ask ourselves how it is that we know that killing non-believers, stoning to death, or incest, as espoused by the bible, are morally wrong. We can pick and choose what we know today to be right and wrong, using powers of rational judgement that come from some place outside of religion. We have another ability in our own minds to distinguish right or wrong that has nothing to do with religion, and this ability of ours is what De Waal is referring to. Morality does not rely on religion in the slightest manner.

    People cannot survive on their own. Cooperation with others is essential for survival. Morality is an evolved mechanism that facilitates this cooperation – i.e. if I want to live in world where I am treated fairly and people help me, then I must treat others fairly and help others. This simple fact is the basis of morality, and absolutely does not rely on any imagined, supernatural forces.

    April 16, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • Jody

      Yes, I Agree with You. What we have is that We Observe Things and There are Pictures in our Brain or what are A Way of having Thoughts that Turn Into Memories. We See Something and Somebody is Getting Hurt and We Know that that is Wrong. We See Something Happen and It is Not Fair like Taking Somebody's Food and We Know that that is Wrong. We Know what We do not Like. I don't want Anybody to be Getting Hurt or Having Their Food Taken from Them. You're Right. We don't need Anybody to Tell us These Rules. We Already Know what should be Done. Jody

      April 16, 2013 at 4:47 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Well stated, 98.4%!

      April 16, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • TG

      During all periods of time, people have ignored or trampled on elevated morals, but many have not. Why ? From what source do the moral values found in virtually all areas and periods of time come ? If there is no Source of morality, no Creator, then did right and wrong simply originate through evolution as you assert ?

      Consider: Most individuals and groups hold murder to be wrong, but wrong in comparison to what ? Obviously there is some sense of morality that underlies human society in general so that these have been incorporated into the laws of many lands. So where did our conscience come from that either accuses us or excuses us when we do wrong ?

      A computer designed by capable engineers can perform sometimes very complex functions, yet does it have a conscience so that when it makes a mistake, it "feels hurt" ? Hence, humans have something that even the most complex machines do not, morality.

      The logical answer is that we were created with a conscience, a feeling for moral bounds that far exceeds animals. For example, in the Bible, after the 1st man Adam had broken Jehovah God's law on not eating from the "tree of knowledge of good and bad" (Gen 3:6), his conscience "kicked in" and when God called out to him, he recognized that he had done wrong and hid himself.(Gen 3:8)

      His sense of morality was functioning, condemning him. However, he "excused" himself, saying that "the woman whom you gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate."(Gen 3:12) So our sense of morality comes from God, and to have a properly functioning conscience, we have to listen our Creator, Jehovah as written in the Bible.

      April 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
      • Jody

        Morality doesn't come from Evolution and Computers are Machines. Although, the Human Brain IS The Greatest Computer. People Again go by Observation and whether Something should be Done. Murder is Wrong, but if It will Save Somebody; then It is Self Defense or for the Safety of Other People. If it sounds good, then Murder is Wrong. Maybe Hitler told the German People that They could not get the Jewish People to Stop Taking Their Jobs unless They Killed Them. They can't keep them from Coming Back and They might Escape from A Locked Room. Maybe Hitler told them That The Jewish People Kept Telling the Roman Soldiers to Kill the Son of God. Shouldn't the Jewish People be Killed because They wanted the Son of God to be Killed. Maybe the German People Yelled Kill Them Kill Them and Hitler told the Nazi's to go out and Kill the Jewish People. That is Wrong and He should not Kill The Jewish People. I don't Believe Things in the Bible unless God was like A Parent and I got Grounded because He caught me with Another Boy; then I would Believe It. This is A Nice Story, but Anybody could have Written It. That didn't mean that It Happened. We weren't there. Maybe Adam didn't even Hide. Jody

        April 22, 2013 at 3:08 am |
  16. Me

    Funny how plants make oxygen for the animals and people to breathe. No faith no God!? You don't control your breathing or heartbeat!? Isn't that faith? Maybe someone should get credit for that too. No faith but most wouldn't jump off a building, trust in a theory? Most before they die ask you to pray for them, other when something happens thanks God! You all want more money, control, more things and the world can't give you these things! Hope and pray for all of the non believers because day your leave this place... Then what? It would be unfortunate to be wrong about what happens to you! You who doubt sure have the answers... Common logic or simply misguided ! Either you are loved! I do and so does he!!

    April 16, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Jody

      You do have A Point that Everybody Prays to get An A on the Test or we do say Pray for us if we are Sick. We do have A Tendency to say Thank God I got A Job or My Team Won or My Soap Opera that was Cancelled is Coming Back. However, Nothing Happens the Day You Die. Everybody is put in the Ground Regardless of Their Beliefs or whether they have any Faith OR They are Cremated. Jody

      April 16, 2013 at 4:37 am |
  17. Name*

    Did anyone notice that De Waal said "we are not really MADE to live alone" wait a second that statement counterdicts the rest of the article. The word "made" indicates that someone is the maker. what a ridiculous article. What makes a moral right or wrong or good or bad? What makes a moral society as de Waal puts it? Who is the authority? What if I think something is right and you think something is wrong and we both claim its moral. they both Cant be true if they counterdicts each other.

    April 16, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • 98.4% chimpanzee

      Because someone uses a common idiom – "we are made to" – that does not mean that we were actually "made", in the same way that people saying "we are wired to..." does not literally mean we have wires in our brain. De Waal's choice of words in no way contradicts his article.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:07 am |
      • Hasan ahmad

        exactly

        April 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Name*

        so your saying words don't have meaning. you just call it an idiom because someone called out the double talk. if you are going to use an idiom in a talk about morality dony you think you should stay away from idioms that could confuse your point.

        April 18, 2013 at 12:43 am |
      • Jody

        I think that Person was saying that somebody tries to get us to be A Certain way. That is Different than having A Being Forming Us from Dirt and Breathing Life in to Us. People use Metaphors like saying we are Wired Comparing People to Computers or maybe Machines. However, People don't have Actual Wires in our Brain. Jody

        April 18, 2013 at 2:00 am |
      • Name*

        so you are going to use a metaphor now to justify your first idiom. why would a scientist talk this way? not very scientific.

        April 20, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Jody

      I think it should be what is The Main Priority. If A Woman's Life is in Danger, then She Needs to have An Abortion. Nobody knows the Fetus or Baby whatever. However, The Woman is Somebody's Daughter or Maybe Somebody's Mother Or Maybe Somebody's Sister Or Usually is Somebody's Wife. I said Usually because Somebody could get Pregnant, but the Woman and the Man that Got her Pregnant wouldn't Necessarily be Married. Jody

      April 16, 2013 at 4:31 am |
  18. vikingwoman

    I think it's not enough to study apes & their social structure to realize that animals also have "morals" & that it's not a human/biblical invention! Study domestic animals & it's easy to see that their lives depend on getting along w/1another! Study cats & dogs & their interaction w/humans! A large dog could cause harm to his human if food isn't put forth immediately, but he doesn't, he whines, rubs up against your leg, acts cute, & eventually gets what he wants! Let's face it, a cat doesn't need to be big to cause harm, but he too, goes into the whole BFF stance! They'd rather get their point across emotionally than w/force & that means deductive reasoning, in a minimalistic way! They also seek peace when living together! All of us desire peace & tranquility, but the "morals" of 1 religion doesn't mesh w/another & war breaks out! I don't think we can tout human morality as superior, Especially when it comes to religion! If 2 competing lions on the Serengetti reseve can live in peace, why can't we!?

    April 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • N

      Why Vikingwoman you forget that Vikings had a moral system too. Religion is as old as man and his morality! Where there is a human culture you will find these two. If animals have it too so what?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:19 am |
    • N

      I think most Atheists are more Anti-christian than Atheists. It is sad to see that there are lots of primitive religions but the Atheist cannot comprehend that. If we do need sympathy more than empathy how do we get it? The answer is religion. It is not a Christian thing!

      April 16, 2013 at 3:22 am |
      • gladr

        The answer is more likely spirituality, than religion. Religion is more about the rules and rituals of that particular religion and how your god is better than anyone else's. And in the Christian religions, of course, it's all about converting the heathens to Christianity, even though those heathens have no desire to be and do anything different from what they have been doing for thousands of years.

        April 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • TG

        The need for religion, or as some say "spirituality", has been seen from the beginning of mankind, some 6,000 years ago. Many have felt an inner desire to worship a "higher power", seeing that we are not a product of ourselves. In the Bible, the Psalmist said: "Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves."(Ps 100:3)

        However, due to most disregarding our Maker, Jehovah, but seeking to establish their own religious convictions, has caused a mass of different religious thought, from Buddhist to Zoroastrianism. Among the churches of Christendom, there is a wide plethora of religions, some 41, 000 different denominations and sects each espousing to follow Jesus.
        The Bible establishes that there is only one true religion, "one faith" (Eph 4:5) that pleases God. The Bible writer James said: "Pure religion ("religion", Greek, threskeia) and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."(James 1:27)

        April 22, 2013 at 7:52 am |
      • Jody

        Hey TG. I don't think there is One Religion. People say My Religion is Baptist. My Religion is Methodist. My Religion is Presbyterian. Nobody says Their Religion is Christian. They say They are A Christian, but They don't say Their Religion is Christian. Jody

        April 24, 2013 at 1:27 am |
      • TG

        The Bible establishes that there is only one true religion, for as the apostle Paul wrote that there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism."(Eph 4:5) When our Creator, Jehovah God, took the descendants of Jacob and formed them into the nation of Israel in 1513 B.C.E., these became the one religion that he approved. By his establishing a covenant with the nation, that came to be called the Mosaic Law covenant, with its set of over 600 laws that explained the "Ten Words"(Ex 34:28), he formed the one religion that pleased him.

        Some 1500 years later, when Jesus arrived on the earth, the Mosaic Law covenant was voided (Heb 8:13), for it was a "tutor leading to Christ".(Gal 3:24) Jesus now established the one true religion that is based on his ransom sacrifice
        .
        No longer was there a need for a set of written laws with ink and pen, for Jeremiah was inspired to write that "this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days", is the utterance of Jehovah, "I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people."(Jer 31:33) One people, "one faith", one true religion, all worshiping the "only true God", Jehovah.(John 17:3)

        May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Jody

      I like what you said about the Animals Using Deductive Reasoning. Cats know that the Ball is in the Dresser, but A Little Child thinks the Ball is not There. My Brother's Male Pit Bull Dog knows when My Mother should go to Bed and She doesn't even know what Time It is. I Call Him A Watch Dog. Also, That Dog knows what People say because He Responds to what has been said. People who Speak A Different Language don't know what is Said. I think the Dog is Smarter than A Person that Speaks A Different Language. They are Not just Dumb Animals. Jody

      April 16, 2013 at 4:22 am |
  19. Name*Will

    I'm not going to comment on this stupid sh**! Do these monkeys have a sense of right and wrong today? Religion is here right now. Do you think they learned a prayer by now?

    April 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  20. GFBF

    Actually I came to CNN to read about the "Murder trial of Philly abortion doctor" who killed live babies. But once again that is against the progressive liberal's agenda so there will be not reporting. Yep journalism is about dead.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Troll.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Adam

      I am confused. If you came here for that particular piece of news, why comment here? There is, in fact, a video piece on that topic on the home page, in the "Latest" category. CNN also provides a search function (helpfully labeled "Search" in the upper right hand corner) that you can use. I typed "abortion" and it provided me with the relevant articles.

      Please use this information to help guide yourself to what you actually care about. And please refrain from content-free, off-topic commenting on news articles which you do NOT care about. Thank you.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  21. GFBF

    "but instead of them coming from logic and reasoning, they actually come from our primate psychology most of the time."
    Primate psychology? Now here is proof that this person was educated and indoctrinated by liberals. It reminds me of a wise saying," They profess to be wise thus became fools."

    April 15, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Jody

      I can say the Same Thing about Conservatives or Christians. Which is A Bigger Fool? The Person that Decides how to Live by A Monkey that Helps Another Monkey OR An Invisible Being in the Sky who is Magical and Takes Care of you like Your Father? A Jewish Cult Leader who Happens to Rise from the Dead because It says so in A Book? Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  22. GFBF

    As I read what Kelly Murray of CNN wrote, it was easy to recognize a student who was taught by progressive liberals in college. Kelly was an open mind but was filled with propaganda and indoctrinate into the liberal agenda. If you want to know the liberal agenda google it.

    April 15, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • cedar rapids

      oh grow up, seriously.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Jody

      Probably BOTH Use Propaganda, but I think it is More Propaganda to say that there is An Invisible Magical Being in the Sky who will Take Care of You or that A Jewish Cult Leader Rose from the Dead and It Happened because You can Read It in This Book. I think It is More Propaganda to say that if you don't do what This Magical Invisible Being wants, then You will be Tortured Through Out Eternity. That IS Propaganda. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  23. CosmicC

    I fail to see anything in this article that show that morals are a biological trait, as opposed to a cultural one. Apes have culture and learned behaviors. However, in the end, both biological traits and cultural traits evolve in much the same way; advantageous traits advance and disadvantageous traits die out. Moral behavior must be an advantageous trait for communal living primates and so appear in multiple species.

    April 15, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • gks72

      The reason this type of morality can be considered in some way biology is the fact that these moral behaviors, some of them at least, are innate and are seen in infants and children before they have had time to learn cultural norms. I can't name any specific studies, but I have read a bunch that demonstrate infants and children having some sense of fairness and helping people who appear to be in pain or struggling. These types of general moral attributes are "ingrained" in us and have become biological in that sense, meaning they have been integrated in our neural systems. More complex moral norms arise later once cultural assimilation and learning occurs, but we still see very basic, broad instances of innate morality.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • Jody

        I think it is what Primates, Children or Whoever Observes. If somebody is in Trouble or somebody is doing Something that They should not do like Take what is not Their's, then That Is Not Right and That is Morality. God doesn't have to Put It There. It is just what Somebody Observes and what is going on is Not Right. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 2:57 am |
  24. chuckie

    Christianity does not have as its primary goal the reduction of sin. The purpose of Christ's sacrifice was not to reduce or eliminate sin. It was to take believers out from under the law so they could be saved, regardless of their sins. One is not saved by one's behavior, but by faith that Christ atoned for one's sins and those of all of mankind that accepts this as true. The rules were set down by God, but most of makind ignored them. Christians are no more moral than pagans. The deal is that Christians that are sinners can get into heaven while righteous pagans can't. This belief system is why Rome took so long to accept Christianity; they looked on Christians as being immoral.

    April 15, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      The rules were not set down by a god.....PEOPLE wrote that book.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • GFBF

        People wrote everything you have read! Because someone wrote it down does not automatically give it false pretense. You believe everything you read?

        April 15, 2013 at 9:38 am |
      • Jody

        Hey GFBF. First of All, You said just because somebody wrote it down does not make It False. Do You Believe Everything you have Read? You meant to say just because somebody wrote it down does not make It True. Do You Believe Everything you have Read? There are 2 Things about This. One is that I have to see It to know that It is True. If I see A Rocket Ship go to the Moon, then I know They went to the Moon and Not just Filmed that in the Desert. However, I haven't seen Anything that is said in The Book that is Called The Bible so I don't know if It is True. Second, I think that People like the Sound of This so They Talk about A Super Natural Being that will Take Care of Us and He had A Son that will Die for our Sins. Then, The Son Rose from the Dead and Joined His Father in Heaven. These Things don't Happen in Life so I think that It didn't Happen and People made It Up. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 1:47 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Everyone has "religion." Either you believe in God, or you don't. If you choose to not believe in God, then you have chosen Athiesm, which is a religion, so I wouldn't call people weak-minded for believing in a religion. We all choose something.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:44 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'then you have chosen Athiesm, which is a religion,'
        sigh, no its not

        That was definitely 'simple' logic.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Athiest churches exist. How about we call it a "religion based on not calling itself a religion?" Usually churches house religious organizations. Does church mean something different for athiests?

        April 15, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Jody

        Hey SimpleLogic. The Church is the House Of God. If Atheists don't think that God Exists, then Atheists don't meet in God's House. In Fact, God doesn't need to have A House if God doesn't Exist. If Religion is the Beliefs or The Rules that God has Set, then I don't think Atheists have any Beliefs if God doesn't Exist and He didn't set Any Rules. Therefore, I don't think that Atheism is A Religion. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 2:38 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'Athiest churches exist.'

        oh please. whatever 'churches' were set up hardly represents atheism.
        There is no atheist version of the catholic church.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Simply Google it, or choose to ignore the 300 lb. gorilla in the room. Either way, it's your choice.

        April 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
      • religion; a way to control the weak minded

        LOL no i dont believe everything I read. the difference here is the people who wrote about jesus never knew him, only wrote about him 50-100 years after he died.

        and I love how the religious think everything is black and white when it clearly isn't...sigh.....

        April 15, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • TG

        The Bible was written by some 40 different men who served as "secretaries" for the one true God, Jehovah, being inspired by him.(2 Tim 3:16) This is the means by which he explains who he is (Gen 17:1), his purpose for mankind and the earth (Ps 45:18; Matt 5:5), the necessity of a "kingdom" for the completion of bringing the earth to a paradise.(Eph 1:9, 10; Rev 21:3-5)

        Without the Bible, we would have no idea as to where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. But with it, we know that God purposed from "the beginning" to make the earth into a paradise for "meek" ones to enjoy forever.(Ps 37:11, 29)

        Without the Bible, we would not be aware of why the world is so wicked, that an unseen wicked spirit (former son of God) called Satan is in control of the world, the masses of mankind alienated from God.(Rev 12:9) With the Bible, we know how to oppose him, and win.(James 4:7; John 16:31)

        April 15, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • religion; a way to control the weak minded

        "The Bible was written by some 40 different men who served as "secretaries" for the one true God, Jehovah, being inspired by him.(2 Tim 3:16)"

        LOL yeah, according to the people who wrote the book......SMH. Are people really this gullible?

        April 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • juvonist

        religion is defined as: an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. atheism is defined as a belief in no god ir gods. so yes atheism is a religion. there is no metion about rule keeping jody. once again you have to change the meaning of words to fit your world view. its the only way your logic can work.

        April 23, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • TG

      To the contrary, Jesus ransom sacrifice provides a basis for the removal of sin, which comes from the Hebrew word chattah meaning "to miss", as in shooting an arrow. As imperfect humans, we miss the mark of perfect obedience to our Creator, Jehovah God, for Romans 5:12 says that through Adam's rebellion or sin, we all have inherited sinful characteristics. It is passed on from parent to child with each succeeding generation.

      Hence, to remove the sin within our members, Jesus ransom sacrifice provided a basis for God to take away sin, and give life everlasting, either in heaven as "kings and priests" (Rev 5: 9, 10, to apply the perfect shed blood of Jesus toward "meek" ones who will live on the earth) or to live on an earthly paradise.(Ps 37:11, 29)

      At Isaiah 25, this promise is made: "And in this mountain he (Jehovah God) will certainly swallow up the face of the envelopment (sin) that is enveloping over all the peoples, and the woven work (sin) that is interwoven upon all the nations. He (Jehovah God) will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people (sin) he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it."(Isa 25:7, 8)

      Our behavior is crucial for sin to be removed by God, for only those who display "meek" qualities qualify for life. Jesus said of those who will live on the earthly paradise: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."(Matt 5:5, KJV) Only "meek" individuals or those who allow themselves to be taught by Jehovah, will qualify for life everlasting on the earth.

      April 15, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  25. benjamin hartog

    This man is an intractable Darwinist. He is also a evolutionist . He espouses "biological determinism" and seems to allude to the limbic system, (the amygdala) as the neurological basis of moral development. The ultimate moral act is altruistic suicide. I am not aware of any data that demonstrates that apes would sacrifice themselves so other apes can survive.

    April 15, 2013 at 5:38 am |
    • jungleboo

      "The ultimate moral act is altruistic suicide." Complete FAIL. Try thinking for a change. The end result of suicide is subjecting others to the ugly job of dealing with your unfinished business. ALL of it, including the disposal of your body. So, by posting as you have, you have exposed your personal lack of understanding and empathy to the rest of the world, camouflaging it in pseudo-literate terms. Satisfied?

      April 15, 2013 at 7:15 am |
      • Steve

        You're so smart.

        April 15, 2013 at 7:26 am |
      • Network

        Scientist you are not. Not only did you fail to advance a faulty methodology, you didn't advance any methodology to support your comment.
        Epic. Fail.

        April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Your argument missed the point of the first comment. You just smarted off to the first comment, when your argument goes on it's own tangent, not addressing the first comment.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      A little tip for you, Benjamin: every legitimate primatologist is a "Darwinist" (just as every physicist is a "Newtonist"). Evolution by natural selection (what ad hominem types refer to as "Darwinism") is the foundation concept in all of the life sciences. Only misinformed/uninformed members of the public find this debatable.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • TG

        Evolution has become "the norm" for modern day thinking and that anyone who disagrees with this has been labeled as "illiterate" or "uninformed". Does evolution have a "leg to stand on" ? The basis of life is the protein. What are the odds of a protein originating at random ? It has been seen (by evolutionists) as 10 followed by 113 zeroes (this number is estimated to be larger than the total number of atoms in the universe). Yet mathematicians have said that anything above 10 followed by 50 zeroes is impossible.

        With a protein having 20 different amino acids that are all "left-handed" and that require their precise location within the protein, in which if any amino acid fails to be located precisely or is short an amino acid or one fails, the protein fails. Could this precision arrangement that causes us to be alive and function just be an "accident" ?

        But what are the odds of the some 2,000 proteins used within a cell as enzymes came about at random ? It has been estimated as 10 followed by 40, 000 zeroes. And this does not account for the rest of the cell to have come into existence, as well as the DNA, nor for all the organs of the body to be precisely located and function as a single unit of one person.

        Hence, thinking persons realize that such a concept or theory of evolution is just that, a postulated theory that has no "leg to stand on". Rather, these recognize that there is a Supreme Designer who created the universe and all life and that Designer has a name, Jehovah.(Isa 42:5)

        April 18, 2013 at 9:04 am |
      • Jody

        Hey TG. I don't think that if A Scientist says that you can not have 50 Zeros that you can't go by Science. Maybe, that Scientist is Wrong OR there is Another way to get that Thing to Happen. I Do Not Think there is An Invisible Super Natural Being that Created the Universe Just because A Book said so or that The Universe is Laid out Too Well just to have Happened. Jody

        April 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
      • rlindsl

        TG- Hilarious! When I was growing up, anything other than literal 7 day creationism was heresy. ID is a very new adaptation of some fundamentalists, religion evolving if you will.

        Evolution has evidence. If you knew a little more about genetics, or dog breeding, or Charles Darwin (a christian)- you would maybe be more open minded.

        April 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  26. Joshua

    I just find it interesting that the second one Anthropologist/Biologist comes along and says "Monkeys have 'morals' therefore humans get morals from them and not religion" all atheists or agnostics are willing to claim that "Morals out-date religion". This is a theory developed by an atheist. Of course he is going to claim that religion didn't create morals. Then he would have to admit a benefit to them, something no atheist wants to do. It is an interesting study, but as soon as anything with the "Science Stamp" comes out with a gram of evidence religion could be useless and made up then everyone who hates religion claims it as Truth (with a capital T). I personally don't see the coincidence of morality (and certainly not moral objectivity, as opposed to subjectivity) without a baseline of God to provide objectivity to morality. Otherwise who are we to say the Middle-Easterners are wrong in killing people, oppressing women, etc? Because we as Americans (or whatever you are) believe it's wrong? If morality is just culturally dictated then who are we to say? Who are we to try and change them or people within our own societies? Maybe they actually got it right and we're wrong? There needs to be something above "Human Morality" in order for there to be Objectifiiable Moral Standards. If there is no God, like many on here claim, morality it just simply determined by who is in power or who has the bigger guns.

    April 15, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Gaunt

      According to the Bible, those Middle easterners slaughtering each other are the most moral of us all, as they come closest to obeying the tacit rules of the Bible.

      To all those who say morality comes from the Bible, I have two questions.

      1) Why has morality evolved ENORMOUSLY over the past 1700 years while the Bible has NOT changed substantively over the past 1700 years?

      2) Why do you believe slavery is wrong? Both old and new testament condone slavery. So If the bible is a source of morality, then HOW IS IT POSSIBLE that we as humans have decided that slavery is wrong?

      April 15, 2013 at 2:35 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Your post shows you don't even know what the Bible is or which religion follows the Bible. You need to Google "Bible" before you try to make a point.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • rlindsl

        Simpleton, I have read the Bible and it does condone slavery, polygamy, stoning for various offences, and we as a people seem to have embraced a higher path.

        The more primitive ( ... ) and widespread Golden Rule is closer to our morality of today, than the Bible. The mere existence of secular societies kind of makes this discussion moot.

        April 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Jody

      Hey Joshua. You are not Supposed to Hurt Anybody Except to Keep People Safe or Self Defense. In Other Words, The Police can Shoot Somebody if They are Shooting Other People or because They have A Bomb. A Woman can Shoot Mace in the Face of Somebody who is Raping Her and that is Self Defense. The Mace Creates A Great Deal Of Pain in the Eyes. Therefore, It is NOT Right for Anybody in the Middle East to Hurt Women Regardless Of what the Women have Done. This is Either The Golden Rule that Nobody wants Somebody to do something to them that would Hurt Them Or what is Fair. Men should not Rape Women because They don't like what the Women did. This is Also being Decent or A Decency Act of how to be. You don't Hurt People. You don't need A Bible to Tell You That. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 5:01 am |
    • Maya

      And yet I, an atheist, feel no desire to go around robbing or killing people. Furthermore, your assettion does nothing to explain the moral behavior of animals. Guess that throws your little hypothesis out the window.

      Your assertion that objective morality can't exist without God is ridiculous and has no basis in reason or logic. There are systems of objective morality which do not depend on God, such as Buddhism (a religion, but not a God-centered one) and the ethical philosophy of Aristotle.

      April 15, 2013 at 7:17 am |
      • Freedom Storm

        God's greatest gift to us is free will. You have used yours to allow yourself to be enslaved into the camp of the "genetically mutant liberal mind having thoughts". First you decided to not believe in God, and second to serve yourself by making the assumption that because you don't believe in God that He would not be with you always. Your assumption is incorrect.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • nojinx

        Odd. I am an atheist and I never once choose to not believe in gods. Not once.

        April 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey Maya. Why do you say that You are An Atheist, but you do not Choose to Not Believe in God? That is what An Atheist is A Person that does not Believe in God. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 4:04 am |
    • cedar rapids

      but as soon as anything with the "Science Stamp" comes out with a gram of evidence religion could be useless and made up then everyone who everyone who is religious claims it as Untrue, (with a capital U)

      April 15, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Who said anything about monkeys? Seeing that you clearly consider yourself enough of an expert to be qualified to dismiss generations of scientific research I would think you should understand the difference.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • nojinx

      " If there is no God, like many on here claim, morality it just simply determined by who is in power or who has the bigger guns."

      Why do you think that? Why wouldn't morality be based on the logical aspects as was discussed in the article, like social interactions and desires?

      Can you back up what you claim?

      April 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Rodin's Creation

      @Joshua – If religion is responsible for morality, then which religion specifically?

      April 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • Jody

        All Religions have Their own Kind of Morality. The Morality is the Rules that That Religion Goes By. If You are A Catholic and You got A Divorce, then You have Sinned and You are Not A Moral Person. If You are A Jewish Person and You Did Anything Except Pray on the Sabbath, then You have Sinned and You are Not A Moral Person. It is the Same Way in the Middle East or in Asia. Allah or Buddha Sets the Rules that Decide if Those People are Moral. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 4:14 am |
  27. TexInd

    Great article. You can see with some of the postings how vital it is that we stress quality education again in America. Although it is a bit refreshing to see we still have a vocal minority of religious idiots out there who make it easier for others to find jobs!

    April 15, 2013 at 1:14 am |
  28. Rob

    Morality comes from God. People often think their man made morality is best, but making yourself out to be God, when you are completely flawed is quite silly, even Obama does this, he claims Christianity and then denies it with his actions.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Jody

      Hey Rob. Republicans also Claim to be Christians and then They do Differently with Their Actions. The Republicans Think They are Better than Bill Clinton, but Newt Gingrich Asks His Wife for A Divorce while she is in the Hospital with Cancer. Bob Dole has been Divorced. Bill and Hillary ARE Still Married. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 5:19 am |
      • GFBF

        Being divorced is not a sin nor is it illegal. You have that liberal reading comprehension disorder. Maybe you should file for disability you might get some redistributed funds.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'Being divorced is not a sin'
        Ask the Catholic church whether divorce is ok or whether the bible says its a no-no

        April 15, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • sandalista

      If morality comes from a God, then babies come from a stork.

      April 15, 2013 at 8:54 am |
      • GFBF

        You are a numpty!!!!

        April 15, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • reddragon

        best post yet. I needed that!

        April 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • TG

        Does a computer know the difference between right and wrong ? It only does what it is programmed to do. With people, these have an innate conscience, that can cause a person to have a sense of moral boundaries, even those who have no belief in God, giving some form of justice. Animals do not have a sense of justice, but they do have instinct.

        Hence, why do we have the capacity to analyze, create, appreciate, and love ? Why do we have a sense of right and wrong ? Why does man have a desire for spirituality, feeling the need of someone higher than ourselves ? Why the need for religion ? That is why in almost every nation, there is religion of some sort.

        The Bible provides the answer to why we are moral creatures, for our Creator, Jehovah God, designed each of us with a conscience, that when "their perceptive powere (are) trained (can) distinguish both right and wrong."(The Bible, Heb 5:14)

        April 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • nojinx

      My morality did not come from any god. I've never even met one.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
      • TG

        When our Creator, Jehovah God, before he made man, said to his "master worker" (Jesus): "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness."(Gen 1:26) Hence, we were created with the capability to show love like God, to be able to judge matters honestly in order to establish what is "right" and what is "wrong".

        But we were also given a conscience, meaning "co-knowledge" or knowledge with oneself. For the conscience to work properly, it must though be trained in accordance with what God loves and what he hates, whereby it either accuses us or excuses us.

        However, due to the vast majority of mankind never having properly trained their conscience, it has proved to be an unreliable guide, with people committing unspeakable atrocities. Hence, their establishment of morals has been a "hit and miss" situation. That is why hate now dominates so much of society. Jesus said that "because of the increasing of lawlessness (in these "last days"), the love of the greater number will cool off."(Matt 24:12)

        April 17, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  29. Vertae

    So;
    We, the advanced species are to take our our moral cues from Bonobos? Really? Do we take our moral cues from lions whose male intercessors take over a pride and kill the young before it? Bonobos? Do we want to see our women rubbing their genitals together in public to validate a system of morality? Do the Bonobos hold each other responsible for their behavior like we do? It's a false analogy and a bad one at that. Sorry, but do not see yet how we can appeal to some other natural system in the animal kingdom to derive our standards of ethics.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • cedar rapids

      so which bit do you think says we should take our moral clues from bonobos?

      April 15, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  30. truestory

    LOL....wow de waal just has an answer for everything! Adopting children has no payoff??? Seriously? That was enough for me to quit reading the rest of this interview. It's a tough world and I think most people would do whatever necessary to provide for themselves/families if it were not for religion providing a moral code to live by. It's absurd to think that morals came before religion and that people are 'inherently good'...just look around: how about the food chain? animals kill other animals to survive, steal, sleep around, you name it. They have no moral code. Humans do...because of religion.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Jody

      You said that Animals Kill other Animals to Survive or to Steal or to Sleep around. You said Humans have A Moral Code. Humans Kill Other Humans to Steal or sometimes to Sleep Around or maybe even to Survive. Maybe Humans Don't have A Moral Code. Primates will sometimes Help Other Primates because It is the Right Thing to do. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
      • GFBF

        One thing Jody, please do not compare me to a monkey. You can compare others if you wish such as atheists. I come from intelligent design by the Creator. You can use your scientific standards and call me an alien.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Maya

      And yet I, an atheist raised without religion, do not go around robbing or killing people. Countries with a majority of non-religious people such as the one from which the interviewee comes, have no degenerated into pits of crime. So much for that.

      April 15, 2013 at 7:21 am |
      • GFBF

        The world is full of good people. I do not say that to be good you have to be an atheist but you should not say that Christians are not good because a few fell short of grace. There has been millions killed by atheists in the last 100yrs. Now explain how moral are atheists.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:09 am |
      • Ron

        because we all have the same creator.

        April 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'It's absurd to think that morals came before religion '
      huh? how it is absurd? in order for a religion to exist there has to be a society that will create it. In order for a society to exist there has to be cooperation and understanding. That cooperation and understanding comes from morality.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • SimpleLogic

        Absolutely wrong. For a religion to exist, there has to be one person and one God. You are claiming there is a certain number of people required before a religion exists. If one person wants to pray and worship a statue, they now have created their own religion. Religion came before the "village." If you are a creationist, this is a basic concept with Adam and Eve. If you are athiest, you will dodge and whine until you're red in the face claiming religion has never done anything positive, and any scientific proof supporting God is weak-minded.

        April 15, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  31. Me

    I believe in God, but not necessarily in one religion. Aside from that, I believe that moral and ethical reasoning are rooted in logic.

    April 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  32. Free Willy

    Morals in human societies came from myths and ancient tales. Today, our societies derive "morals" from movies and tv programs. God(s) help us!

    April 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  33. memestryker

    I agree that religion probably codified a natural instinct that supported survival. Religion itself probably evolved from early attempts to explain the mysterious world in which humans found ourselves. The advent of language brought the potential for language tools such as metaphor, allegory, parable, and evolving storytelling tools to strengthen our ability to communicate. There is definitely some energy, whether one refers to it as a force or deity, that results in various manifestations. And it is comforting to cling to the local cultural doctrine, because it connects us to our past and gives us a sense of our source.

    April 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Just curious, when you say there is "definitely" some force, do you mean a conscious force? One that is purpose and will? Or do you mean energy in the sense of the physics of matter and energy? It seems only that latter is "definitely" known to be true.

      April 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • Kilgore Trout

        Wow, horrible post – sorry. I meant "one that HAS purpose and will" and "it seems only THE latter..."

        April 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  34. no u

    Where does morality come from? I believe that humans and more intelligent animals alike innately perceive the presence of a higher order–call it divine, if you like–underlying the world. We use the word "conscience" to describe the sense that draws us to act in harmony with this order and feels discord, however dimly, when our actions go against it. Interpret that under whatever theology you will.

    A young humanity created myths–which really are just stories that attempt to express fundamental truths about the world–to try to articulate these revelations. Religion, it seems to me, is the ultimate attempt to codify these truths into a a formal doctrine, a comprehensive philosophy of life. Flawed men, like adolescents intoxicated with these revelations, have committed many crimes throughout history, but that doesn't diminish the nature of the underlying truth itself.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Morals come from the same source as any other attribute which defines a human being or higher animal : Eyeballs, brains, heart, lungs, blood, bones, skin, metabolism, thinking, language capability, creativity, etc, etc : These are wired-in : They are genetically coded, all in remarkably, but necessarily exquisite detail. . All that has been neglected is the Technical Manual for the Operator and Serviceperson.
      .
      Is this situation not entirely and blatantly obvious to the most casual (but honest) observer? ?
      .

      April 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • no u

        Scientific investigation has produced amazing insights into the physical workings of the universe and the human body. Is it obvious that these observations that are accessible to the scientific method represent a complete picture of reality? That there is no dimension of absolute truth or purpose that transcends what is accessible to scientific experiment?

        The materialist would say unequivocally yes, as you seem to have done, but that's really just replacing one unprovable assertion of the absolute with another.

        If that's the case–if there truly is no fixed star of truth and no immortality of the soul and the only arbiter is success or failure in this world–then why trouble with the confines of morality at all? Nietzsche saw the implications of this philosophy far more clearly over a hundred years ago that most moderns who are completely indifferent to these larger questions: "there is no truth; all is permitted."

        "If there is no immortality," said a character of Dostoyevsy, echoing this sentiment, "then all things are lawful."

        If the only law is power, and the only judge is success, then why should the strong not dominate and crush the weak? Why should we not pursue a more "perfect" humanity through eugenics and elimination of "inferior" elements who consume resources while contributing nothing of practical value? Why should we persevere at all through pain and suffering if our only goal is material comfort? Why should we not surrender our lives from birth to death to ruthlessly efficient planners in the name of progress? Why should we not turn the entire world into a giant laboratory to exploit without limits for our own technological advancement? Why should we trouble ourselves with having children who are merely an inconvenience and a distraction from pursuing our own pleasures? If life has no higher value or purpose, then why should we not be free to do with it as we please? Why should we accept any restraints at all on the exercise of the will? Are these not merely the chains that the weak and cowardly place upon the bold and decisive?

        The modern man, coasting along on the last fumes of a cultural heritage in which he no longer believes, gives little serious thought to these questions, taking for granted a moral compass that has long ago lost sight of its pole.

        April 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • allenwoll

        .
        To no u : You say,

        " The materialist would say unequivocally yes, as you seem to have done, but that's really just replacing one unprovable assertion of the absolute with another ".
        .
        Someone else has said words to the effect that amongst alternative of explanations, the simplest usually tuns out to be the correct one.
        .

        April 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Jody

        ALL Animals have these Things. It doesn't have to be A Higher Animal. I don't think of All These Things as being Wired In. The Eyes are Genetically Brown or Blue and I guess the Skin can be Black, Brown, Yellow or Red or White. However, The Heart or Lungs. I don't think of Having anything to do with the Genetics. Jody

        April 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
      • Jody

        This is to No U. Again, People are Supposed to go by The Golden Rule or what is Fair. If you don't want Somebody to Eat Your Food, then You Can't Eat Their Food. It is not Right for You to Eat Somebody Else's Food even if You are Hungry. That Food Belonged to Them and It did not Belong To You. It's not Fair for You to Eat Somebody Else's Food. Jody

        April 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • Name*

        If there is no truth then why should I believe that statement. you are claiming that is a true statement. Your killing your own statement.

        April 16, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • Jody

      It is Mainly Older Men that have Committed the Crimes because of These Revelations. Mainly, Teenagers don't Commit Crimes like This. Jody

      April 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  35. Vilas Bhurke

    The conversation is very good for understanding, but still question is why the different moralities developed within human beings and animals ?

    April 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jody

      I think some People go by Principal or the Certainly of what has Happened. In Other Words, if it is Wrong to Steal; then You should Never Steal. However, Some People go by the Situation. Sometimes, Somebody had A Bad Thing Happened and They Feel Badly for that Other Person. Not only is it that 2 People Might Disagree whether Something should have been Done, but A Religion or Culture of which may be A Different Country Might Disagree. This is where the Different Moralities Come From. I don't even know if It has to do with Reason. Even the Monkees may say OOOHHH He's Hungry. He can Take That OR They say OOOOHHHH That didn't Belong To Him. He Can't Have It. When I say OOOHHH, I was being the Monkey with the Noises That They Make. That can be like how They Talk.. Jody

      April 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • GFBF

      I do not believe animals have morals! That sounds like you are making humans animals and animals equal to humans. Animals do not have morals just instincts.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • cedar rapids

        mankind is an animal, its a primate.
        When people try to claim 'instinct' its usually because they dont want to think that animals may have some kind of intelligence.

        April 15, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • nojinx

        I am an animal and I have morals.

        April 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Professor Tor Coolguy

      Having developed languages and media from cave paintings to handwriting to printing presses to internet, etc. its easier to propagate ideas. What a baby ape doesn't already know he will learn behavior and conduct from watching his or her parents and community and that's about where it stops. We, on the other hand, are able to communicate ideas (whether on stone tablets or LCD monitors) and with them give logical (not always the case) rationalizations and explanations as to why such and such a behavior should be endorsed by a society. For example, "Do unto others ..." appeals to a rational, thinking person as "Hey, that's fair. I can live with that if everyone else follows suit." whereas an ape can only really lead by example but not spread the idea far and wide for consideration and adoption by other groups. Or something like that. Anyway, I think communication is key.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  36. Bob

    Many fun comments – in reply. We should not equate the Bible with religion. We need not believe in a God as portrayed in the bible, All logic and reasoning goes from the simple to the complex so that Chimps with morals is no threat to religious belief. Morality does not have to be either hard wired or acquired. The evidence is overwhelming it is both. The real question is how to increase moral behavior and how to define it. See the Dawkins Delusion God Vs Atheism by Slater (Amazon Kindle) Bob

    April 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Jody

      Hello Bob. People use Different Things to Determine the Set Of Rules to Go By or How They Live Their Life. There is the Bible or Koran or Torah or The Native Americans Believe that You Don't Destroy the Earth. Bob, This is why People Equate the Bible with Religion. I will say to Allenwoll. Some People think the Intelligent Creator Tells People the Rules of how to Live Their Life. The Rules of how to Live Their Life or The Beliefs is the Religion. For Example, You can't Get Divorced or have Birth Control or Commit Suicide. That is what the Catholics Believe. You can't Eat Pork or You have to Keep Your Meat and Dairy Separate or You Can't Do Anything On the Sabbath. That is what the Jewish People Believe. The Intelligent Creator Tells Them how to Live Their Lives and That is Religion. If you don't need An Intelligent Creator to Determine how You Live your Life, then These People don't think there is one. Jody

      April 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  37. more2bits

    Mankind has no instincts for morals. Instead it's self-taught by parents and most do a horrible job of it. Religions are even worse at it which they preach 'do not steal' but don't preach the fine nuisances of stealing which is cheating, dishonesty, coveting, selfishness, etc. Depending on a religious upbringing to instill morals is a complete joke.

    April 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Jody

      The thing is that maybe Nobody Told Somebody anything. That Somebody can still think Someone else should not be Stealing Something that doesn't Belong to Them. Maybe Somebody doesn't even have Parents. I think that People can Tell if Something is Right or Wrong. Now Somebody may know Right from Wrong, but do the Wrong Thing Anyway. Maybe They are Hungry or They want that Other person's Money. Maybe They need Some Money for Something, but They don't have Any Money. Then, They get Desperate and They Steal the Money. Maybe Somebody knows Right from Wrong, but Something Happened to Them and They are Angry. Then, They don't care if They do the Wrong Thing. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  38. WhenCowsAttack

    Yet non-Christian societies also ascribe to morals- go figure.

    April 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Whoops. Mis-post.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Ron

      we all have the same creator.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  39. Shark

    I guess we are de-evolving as those who get rewarded by society are those who hurt society. Bankers and businesses that hurt the common man.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • nojinx

      Don't forget the churches.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • TG

        The churches have proven to be a detriment to learning about our Creator, Jehovah God and his creating of man, implanting in him a conscience. By their actions, they have confused, made obscure, or just plain hid who our Maker is. In addition, they have set a pattern of violence and behavior that is contrary to the guidelines found in the Bible.(Matt 11:29)

        They have joined the "bandwagon" of accepting evolution as "fact", with the Catholic church under its Pontifical Academy of Sciences stating some 30 years ago that "we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and the other primates beyond serious dispute."

        April 18, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  40. Neil Armstrong

    "Where morals come from"

    Certainly not from liberals, that's for sure.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Sherri

      Sorry but I disagree. It was 'liberals' who first fought against slavery. The conservatives were for it, used the Bible as a basis to keep it. It was 'liberals' who fought FOR women's right to vote. Conservatives did not want it and would never have allowed it. Liberals fought for women's right to hold various jobs that had previously been denied. Liberals were for birth control for women, conservatives just want women to have babies all the time. Liberals have been at the forefront of most social movements, that later, everyone takes for granted. Child labor, human rights etc. It is always liberals who have spoken up for what is right. Conservatives want things to stay the same. So we would still have slavery, no women's vote, children working in factories etc.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • Frank Johnson

        Liberals are for killing unborn innocent children. That trumps the above.

        April 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • Nathan

        This is incorrect. Everyone thinks the 'liberals' (Democrats) were against slavery. Do some history research and you will find surprisingly this is not the fact at all. It was the Republicans who were originally against slavery. This is of course, to be taken with a grain of salt. Republican parties and Democratic parties would hardly be recognized by the parties of today.

        April 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Esaias

      Amen! (Certainly NOT liberals – they are the biggest hypocrites!) In fact, they are the ones that somehow believe in morals but that there is no God Who sets them.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        There isn't. Morals predate the idea of the Christian god by many thousands of years.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • JanetMermaid

      Liberals are FAR more moral than conservatives. Liberals believe in caring for the sick and poor, in helping the homeless, in ending wars, in providing equal treatment for all (gay marriage comes to mind). Conservatives on the other hand are all about "I got mine so you're on your own." Conservatives may be more religious (according to several surveys) but that ultimately has nothing to do with morals, with what is RIGHT when treating others.

      April 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Nathan

        This is just such a silly concept, to think that all liberals are one way or all conservatives are one way. Both parties are correct (or partially correct) in their own ways, in their own time. Both parties totally screwed North America at one point or another, and both have provided countless benefits to North America.

        April 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
      • Mark

        "JanetMermaid

        Liberals are FAR more moral than conservatives. Liberals believe in caring for the sick and poor, in helping the homeless, in ending wars, in providing equal treatment for all (gay marriage comes to mind). Conservatives on the other hand are all about "I got mine so you're on your own." Conservatives may be more religious (according to several surveys) but that ultimately has nothing to do with morals, with what is RIGHT when treating others."

        From your post is goes to show Liberals think on the emotional level and not logic. Me being a conservative, would never say all Conservatives are more moral than xyz, because I don't know them. One thing you said did ring true with me...I got mine so your on your own. I feel that I didn't make someone have all those kids out of wedlock, so why should I fund their welfare. Some would say if we don't take care of them they will turn to a life of crime that is okay too. if they break into my place, I would end their life without regret.

        April 15, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Jody

      Hey Neil Armstrong. Let's just say that Jesus Decides what Morals are. Jesus says Do the Golden Rule. Liberals say Do the Golden Rule. IF The Liberals know to go by the Golden Rule Anyway; then They say the Same Thing as Jesus so then Morals DO Come From Liberals. IF Liberals think that Government or Law by Man Determines how you should Live Your Life; then if God says Thou Shalt Not Steal Or Thou Shalt Not Kill and Man says You Will Not Steal or Kill; then Liberals Still Decide what Morals are. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Certainly not from liberals, that's for sure.'

      so you show us how 'moral' you are by making a silly statement.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • Jody

        Hey Cedar Rapids. Making A Silly Statement is not being Moral. Being Moral is how You Live your Life. Making A Silly Statement just shows what An Idiot he is. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 2:41 am |
  41. Choice

    Who defines "good"? US? Europe? Far East? If you ask a survey of people what good is you would get as many answers as the people you surveyed. So who is right? Your opinion of good? Mine? Gravity. Why do you believe there is gravity? Shall I say I can't see it, can't feel it, can't touch it, can't taste it, so gravity doesn't exist. But if I tested gravity and jumped from a plane would I not suffer the consequences of my choice. Man has tried to define good (morals) for how many years ? Where are the half man ,half ape individuals, creatures or what have you walk around if evolution is correct. Religion is wrong. Religion meaning I have to do this or that to have peace with God. Didn't God pour out his anger and judgment on Jesus Christ? So if that is the case then why would God be angry at anyone. Would HE not be not a just God if HE was still angry at man\woman? God is not angry because the penalty for all sin (noun- no verb) was satisfied on the cross. Will everyone enter heaven? Unfortunately not and my heart grieves. What keeps one from heaven is not their sin but their denial of needing a Savior. I can't save you, you cannot save you, no one can save you. Only relationship with Jesus Christ. What does this all have to do with morals. God is the creator and author of morals. HE defines good. Just as man makes defining good difficult so does man make religion hard but God doesn't. Ape is an ape, man is man and never evolved from ape. Similar yes but didn't God say HE would use the unwise to confound the wise. Man will fail many times over but that is why we need a Savior and HIS name is Jesus Christ

    April 14, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Darren Malin

      what utter bull poop. There is no god.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • HMMMM

        Is there love? Do you believe in this or other emotions? Can science prove the existence of love or just show evidence of it?

        We all choose to believe in something....and then we try to demean others beliefs in order to make us feel more secure in our own.

        Religion does not mean Christianity.

        Humans and other primates may have similar moral characteristics at times but, imho, there must be some divine spark or force that drives higher morality....otherwise morals are subject to interpretation. Is there no greater good? Is rape sometimes moral because some societies or groups have thought so?

        April 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Jody

        People Like Somebody. Then, They Feel A Different Way of Extremely Happy or Euphoria when They are around Somebody and that is Love. If They care more about Somebody, then They Love Them. If you don't Like Somebody and You Especially don't like what They did, then You Hate That Person. If you Feel Really Good, then You are Happy. If you are Depressed, then You are Sad. If you are Scared about Something, then that is Fear. Those are Emotions. They Exist because You Feel Certain Ways and that is These Emotions. You have to Feel Emotions OR You have to have A Force that Makes the Objects Fall to the Floor or Ground and that is Gravity. I Can't See that Being that Supposedly Created The Universe or Humans. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • Jody

        I forgot to say that Rape Is NEVER Moral. The Act is Wrong. It doesn't matter what People say about whether They think sometimes It is Okay to be Raped. It is Never Right to be Raped because Some Religion says that It is Okay. It is Not Right to Rape A Woman whether She Technically went out with Somebody or She Changed her Mind. It is Not Right whether She is Dressed A Certain way or Left the Window Open or Parked in A Far Away Place OR Especially Because Somebody is Angry and Tries to Control Her or Take His Anger out on Her. Rape IS Wrong because Rape Hurts Women. It is Never Moral to Hurt Anybody. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Boy that sure sucks for the literally billions of people on this planet who have perished (in adulthood-I clarify this so you can't pull the old "age of accountability" thing that Christians like to use when questioned about very small children who die) without ever hearing of your Christ. Apparently your God created all those people just to send them into the pit of hell for all of eternity? He knew they'd never hear about christianity, right?

      April 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Native: So, if I've been told about Jesus and do not accept him, I will suffer eternal torture?

      Missionary: That's right.

      Native: But what if no one ever told me?

      Missionary: Then it would not be your fault. You would be forgiven.

      Native: Then WHY did you tell me? Why would you do that to me?!?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Jody

        Hey Kilgore Trout. That was A Good Post. I think it is like God. God wanted to Teach Humility to the People. The Jewish People thought that The Messiah would come on A White Horse. The Messiah would not come on A Donkey. Peter thought he should Wash Jesus Feet. Jesus said that He would Wash Peter's Feet. Peter Didn't think that Jesus should do that. If God was so Powerful, then why can't he Teach the People to be Humble. Jesus Teaches to Treat the Poor. However, The Wealthy don't want to Help the Poor. Why can't the Wealthy be Humble like Jesus and Stop Trying to get Everything for Themselves? Mitt Romney Complained that The Poor and Elderly and Disabled Won't Pay Their Taxes. They don't have any Money. Mitt Romney HAS Money, but he Doesn't Want to Pay Taxes. If Satan makes Everybody not be Humble, then is Satan More Powerful than God? Satan can get People to do whatever He wants, but God Can't Get People to be Humble. What is Wrong with This Picture People? HMMM? Jody

        April 15, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Jody

      Hey Choice. I don't think I Agree with Several Things you said, but I will only Talk about One Thing. I can't see A Little Old Man Parting A Red Sea or Making A Person out of Dirt and Breathing Life Into that Person. I can't see that Anyway, because That Person that God is Forming IS The First Person there was. Anyway, I was Saying that I Can't see God so I don't know that he is Doing Anything. Now, Gravity is A Force that makes An Object fall to the Floor. However, Things Don't Fall to the Floor of the Rocket Ship because There is No Gravity in Outer Space. I can see Proof of Gravity. I can not see Proof of God. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Maya

      If God defines good, the morality is not objective. It is subjective because its only definition is what God wants it to be.

      You can rant all you like about Jesus if that makes you feel useful and morally superior, but that doesn't make any of it true.

      April 15, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • nojinx

      Actually, not one gods does any of that. All our moral imperatives come from each other. Gods don't even bother to make themselves evident.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  42. allenwoll

    .
    Morals come from the same source as eyeballs, brains, hearts, bones and muscles - and metabolism : They are wired-in, genetically.
    .
    Is this not obvious ? ?
    .

    April 14, 2013 at 5:20 am |
    • reaper19

      Morals hardwired? No it is not obvious. How you choose to interact with the world around you is based on what you were taught about yourself and others. You may choose to follow this teaching or adopt another approach, but it is very much a choice based on what philosophy you choose to guide your life.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • hardwired it is

      Reaper, I disagree. My morals are different from my brother's morals and different from each of my parents' morals. What is the same is that each of our morals don't change significantly over our lifetime, much like our reactions to physical stimuli. I think moral tendencies are largely born into people and flavored by upbringing and society.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Esaias

      If you believe morals are hard-wired then you are as dumb as an ape!

      April 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Jules

      You clearly have not spent much time in the company of toddlers if you think morals are hard wired.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  43. Kilgore Trout

    There is so much fascinating research in the world, and so much to learn and to discover. How sad that such a huge segment of the population (especially in the US) is blind to it because they insist on clinging to magic as an explanation. Magic explains nothing, and magical thinking leads to no new discoveries. Why should it? There's no rhyme or reason to the universe if everything is just the result of the whimsy of the gods.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • dzze

      Especially in the US? are you serious? Actualy, I know who you mean, but really... give the country credit. We are way ahead.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Jody

        You said Seriously just in the USA? I thought you were going to say what about the Catholics in Ireland or the Polish Catholics and Polish Jews? Jody

        April 15, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Trill

      Kilgore,
      Most of the greatest scientists throughout history were thiests. Why do you think thiests are against science? I am a Christian and am fascinated with science. I am ready to accept any truth science can bring to light.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Q

        Try that again history says otherwise

        April 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • TG

        Many of the notable scientists of the past have had belief in God. For example, Isaac Newton (1642-1727), English physicist and mathematician, had firm belief in God, as well as Robert Boyle (1627-1691), English natural philosopher and founder of chemistry and Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), a Polish astronomer, John Milton (1608-74), English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth (republic) of England under Oliver Cromwell as well as Joseph Priestley (1733-804), discoverer of oxygen.

        April 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
      • Q

        Sorry read too fast carry on

        April 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Kilgore Trout

      dzze – among our peers in the industrialized world, yes. The United States ranks abysmally low in science education, and shockingly high in belief in religiosity in general, and belief in creationism specifically.

      Trill – good for you, and I mean you no disrespect. but that's a tough argument to try to make. Scientists are overwhelmingly skeptical of religion (something like 92% of the NAS identify as atheist or agnostic), and the history of science reflects similar tendencies (keep in mind that throughout much of history, one could not openly question religion without pretty severe consequences).

      April 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  44. Thorgood Smith

    It's a tragic commentary on humanity when seeing the news media promoting the morality of apes. What commandments did they author that one would ascribe to, how much faith do you have in them to provide eternal life, and did any one of them refer to another ape as God?

    "For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow". Ecclesiastes 1:18, Author: King Solomon

    April 14, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • Goddog

      Nice... Bible quotes from unknown authors who freaked out over spilling the seed and female menstration. Maybe we should kill some animnals and burn their flesh to please your god. You first.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • Goddog

      Oh... and then we can silently communicate with your invisible god on our knees in front of some guy being murdered on a stick... Come children... let's all join hands. Ah... that's better... now we know what's right.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:46 am |
      • Q

        You do realize you proved his point . . . .

        April 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • Jody

        No, He was Not Saying That. That is what They say. He was Showing how Ridiculous It is because There is no Invisible God and You do this in Front of A Man Being Murdered On A Stick. Why would People Feel An Urge to get on Their Knees in Front of A Man being Murdered On A Stick because A Book says This Man on the Stick is the Son of the Invisible God? Why would This So Called Being want This Man to be Killed? People would not Feel the Urge to get on Their Knees in Front of A Statue or Picture of Some Man They don't even Know. Jody

        April 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • miscreantsall

      Clearly Thorgood, you did not read or understand the article.

      Tsk tsk………..

      April 14, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  45. Robin Burns

    " it is possible to build a society that is moral on a nonreligious basis" Probably so, but religion is about understanding the nature of what we are beginning to understand as quantum science, that which lies underneath all we are and into which we go after the physical body is gone. Morality is just one part of that, but the most important part in giving us a reason to hope for eternity. Religions don't all have it right, and science has a lot to learn. There is a meeting ground somewhere in the middle. I trust Jesus to have given us the best picture and path, but not as many misguided "Christian" organizations would lead one to believe – and not entirely what science currently teaches either. That takes faith!

    April 14, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • Goddog

      Hogwash... You believe what makes you feel comfortable regardless of any evidence. You choos Christainity over all other religions when there is no more compelling reason to believe it over any other. In fact, they all fail to provide any evidence. It amazes me how all of the thosands of religion's gods have the same desire to play peek-a-boo instead of making themselves readily visible... you know, like real things. Whatever helps you sleep at night... but people like you should really step back and listen to yourselves now and then. Good luck.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:38 am |
      • Forgiven

        I don't believe you have a brain because no one has ever seen it. There is no evidence that you have a brain so you must not have one. I don't say that to be insulting but to make you think about all the evidence there is for a God. No one has ever seen life come from none living matter but that is your belief. We all know that we can't have design and purpose without a designer. As for the Bible it proves itself to be true even though you you may not like it.

        April 14, 2013 at 8:25 am |
      • Joe

        Forgiven,

        Erm..... neuroimaging? Heard of it?

        April 14, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • evidence

        Forgiven clearly hasn't heard of MRI, CT scans or PET scans. Not only can we see the brain in magnificent detail in any individual but functional scans can be performed allowing us to see the part of the brain involved in any given task.

        Forgiven, we scientists have even detected evidence of the Higgs boson. We have never detected even a shred of physical evidence of a god. As a good scientist, I cannot conclusively say there is no god but I can certainly say there is a vanishingly small probability there is a being as described by your Bible. We can also say the Earth is >>>>>> 10,000 years old and evolution has been occuring every hour of every day since the dawn of life. I choose evidence, not unsupported propaganda (your Bible). I suggest you do the same.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Nope !
      .

      April 14, 2013 at 5:22 am |
  46. 21k

    we know they don't come from the gop: sandford, gingrich, limbaugh, vittner, trump, pizza man, etc. oh yeah, dems: they don't have any, so they don't act like they do.

    April 14, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  47. Gamzee Makara

    HeY HeY MoThErF***eRs lEt'S AlL JuSt cAlM ThE MoThErF*** dOwN AnD SlAm a fAyGo tOgEtHeR

    HoNk hOnK :o)

    April 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  48. tony

    What is the morality for having a collection plate and using it to give a pastor and his family comfortable living, while others suffer.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  49. 24X

    God is real & created every person, animal, planet, sun, moon & stars. Because God is the only One who has created these, God has sole authority about whatever He chooses to speak about. God has clearly spoken through His Word, the Bible. In the Bible God clearly says what is right and wrong. God's rights and wrongs never change, just like God never changes. The only way to build a moral society is for people to be in a relationship with Him and to obey what He says in the Bible. God wants all people everywhere to acknowledge that we have broken His laws (the Ten Commandments) & and that this will result in us receiving just punishment. God tells us that that punishment means that after we die, we will go to a place of torment called hell & be eternally separated from God. But we can escape this punishment if we ask God to forgive us for breaking His laws based on what Jesus did for us when He voluntarily laid down His life on a cross. Jesus, who never broke God's laws even once, is the only One qualified to pay that penalty on our behalf. "He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

    April 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Warning, kids....this is your brain on a drug called Gaawwd.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Pmdww2

      It is immoral to force our religious views onto others.

      April 13, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • tony

      What part of "right" was wiping out 250,000 innocents on the last couple of Tsunamis?

      April 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • 21k

      thanks for stopping hitler, god! oh, right.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:01 am |
      • R

        You do know that Hitler was merely exemplifying the line of reasoning brought forth in this article. If there is no higher standard by which we measure morality, then it is left to the individual to determine his/her moral standards. "Each man did what was right in his own eyes"...and so on. History shows us what a whopping success that is.

        Hitler believed that what he did was moral. And to further that, it was an accepted standard of morality in his community (as a worldview...not to say that every individual was on board with Naziism). What makes one person's standard of morality better/worse than another's? If you say that your moral code must fit within the confines of your community's majority standard, then Hitler was fine. Most of the world disagreed with him, but you cannot call him 'immoral.'

        Morality without a God-centered worldview is an ever-changing, subjective, foundation-less theory.

        Morality is only rational and definable when understood within a Christian worldview.

        You can practice morality as an atheist, muslim, hindu, etc. But it isn't rational or absolute.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:03 am |
      • kenny

        R... the true judge of a persons good is to do good with no reward. since heaven is a reward, you religious people are NO GOOD no matter what you do. the atheist that does good is much more moral than you....

        April 14, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • R

        Kenny,

        Have you personally decided that that is the standard for true morality? You've actually added force to my assertion that without a higher standard, morality is meaningless and unlivable because every individual has a different opinion.

        Do you think that atheists commit moral deeds without seeking a reward? One of biggest motivating factors in 'doing good' is the self-satisfaction that comes with it. People do what they want to do and what they think they ought to do. An atheist is moral because he/she is internally satisfied in being so. A Christian is moral because they try to live in obedience to God. The atheist receives a reward from himself. A Christian receives a reward from God. They are operating in different worldviews and so their motives and rewards for practicing morality are different.

        April 14, 2013 at 2:43 am |
  50. johnhd

    Some people find it hard to accept scientific studies that contradict religious views. I am also conflicted because I was raised with a strong religious background. However, one way I tend to look at things is that if God does exist couldn't he cause evolution to happen and thus "create" man? Couldn't God likewise cause morals to come through biology?

    April 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Arnold McMahon

      John, your dilemma is not really a dilemma. Science cannot say where morals come from, because the laws of morality are not things that you can put under a microscope. That animals and humans may have some similar feelings, e.g. of empathy, is not the same as ethics. Ethics is a thing of reason, and animals do not have the ability for abstract thought. That is why we do not put animals on trial for murder. This article by CNN does a lot of conceptual damage because the reporter does not seem to have the requisite conceptual skills to handle this subject. The author of the book may be a competent and brillian scientist, but is clearly lacking in the rigorous skills of philosophy. As a philosopher should not give scientific opinions, so a scientest should not give a philosophical opinion. I hope this helps.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • Not All Docs Play Golf

        Ah, the old science vs philosophy thingee...so why when you graduate from graduate school in biology, they give you a PhD in biology, which stands for a doctor of philosophy in biology. Chew on that.

        April 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • Arnold McMahon

        Yes, a doctorate in almost any science is a doctorate in philosophy, because philosophy is the ultimate discipline – that discipline which begins where all others leave off. However, you can get a doctorate in biology without ever taking a course in philosophy – a little bit like getting a doctorate in biology without ever taking a course in biology. The world is full of people who take philosophical positions without ever going through the rigors of a study of philosophy.

        April 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Jody

      Hello John. I used to say all the Time that Maybe God used Evolution because God works in Mysterious Ways. I Do think it is Interesting how God made All the Other Creatures and then made Man to Dominate Over the Creatures. However, Evolution is how the Various Animals Evolved from each Other and there were the Mammals and then the Primates and People Developed A Larger Brain and A Thumb that can Grasp Things and They Developed Language and Lost Their Tail. The People Still Dominate Over the Creatures. I don't like the Story of Creationism, but It Bothers me when Other People Won't even Consider Evolution. They say Evolution didn't happen if Something Didn't happen when People say it did. I say So It happened at A Different Time, but It did Happen. Jody

      April 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • kenny

      if there is a god, big if, nothing that we think he is makes sense. imagine a being that can create trillions of stars? we aren't even dust so do you care about dust... so why would it??? being moral has NOTHING to do with religion. our basic instincts are survive and breed. in order to survive we need help from others which means we need to be good to them and they will be good to us. its sooooo simple a child could understand but religious people and your average person are too stupid to understand that....

      April 14, 2013 at 1:26 am |
  51. Chris

    Morals come from your parents. Simple as that

    April 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Oh, OK, then gee wiz, if you'd only told us it was that simple sooner, you would have saved the author the trouble of his research, and saved the rest of us from grappling with what we thought was the complexity of this issue. Man, thanks, now I don't have to think. Can you likewise simplify everything else for us?

      April 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Jules

      So if your parents are immoral in any way, you don't have a chance. No point in trying. You can tell it's true by how all the children of serial killers always go on to be serial killers too. Oh, wait, no they don't.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  52. Rational63

    You do realize your bible did actually condone slavery!!!!!!

    April 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Trill

      Do you own your own time? Newsflash, modern society, governments around the world, and even you condone slavery. We are all still slaves. God endured slavery, just like he did polygamy because it was entrenched into the social system and still is. Greed almost single handedly has ruined the life experience of every human ever born.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  53. Rod C. Venger

    This is science? A "feeling" that morality predates the Bible by 200,000 years? But no actual evidence of it. What exactly is morality? I'd say that the Netherlands and those other countries fail in being a "moral society" based on what they have legalized. Legal is not the same as moral, and a moral man is as easily condemned by God as an immoral man. God's salvation is not handed out by one's moral behavior...we've seen how the definition of morality has changed in just the last 2-3 years. Think about what we're being forced to accept these days, and ask yourself if those actions, and the force, are moral behaviors.

    The man admits that he's biased and admits that he has an agenda. That's not science. He's essentially asking that people give up their birthright to Heaven and instead join this "moral society" that is devoid of God. This scientist is just another run-of-the-mill socialist selling the public a bill of goods. I challenge him, and CNN, to counter my argument.

    "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" -Matthew 16:26

    April 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Glenn

      Is that any different than asking me to give up my own freedoms in order to conform to your perceptions of morality. The word of god was written by men just as the law.
      I believe in democracy, human rights and a just society. I believe it is the best that can be achieved in this world. You will have to wait for your own heaven. Getting hundreds of millions of people to conform to your ideal will never come to pass. Be thankful I don't attend your church.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • matt

      Dear Rod,

      You are an idiot. The scientist is making a claim on observations of other primates (in which we are one btw if you didn't know already). Is it more realistic that morality has naturalistic roots than a magical sky daddy who you which to choose based on your own bloody geographical location...yes.

      By the way you wouldn't be quoting Matthew if you were born in India would you? or Iran? or Nepal? So give it up you crazy religious freak.

      Regards,

      Matt

      April 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mike

      You can use logic with a bug, you can use logic with a animal, you can use logic with a most believers, but you can't use logic with someone who has blinders on.

      April 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Jody

      Hey Rod. He didn't just have A Feeling. He Studied Monkeys and found out that They Help Other Monkeys. If the Man has an Agenda, that is Not Science. Evolution for Example is Science. Some People say that God's Laws are the Man Made Laws. You say that Legal is Not Moral. It would seem that People saying God is in Charge of Morality would Agree on Something like Moral is what the Legal System is Based on. I think it's Interesting that Jesus Quoted Bible Verses and said he was A Profit and He was the Messiah and that is The Truth. However, David Karesh Quoted Bible Verses and said he was A Profit and He was the Messiah and He is A Nut Case. How is Jesus Different than David Karesh because Some Book said he is? The Book is The Bible. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 4:49 am |
  54. Freedom Storm

    They do not come from Satan. Guess what your only other choice is.

    April 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • LiberaLIowan

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

      April 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • UtauKudasai

      Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Hermes, the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

      April 13, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
  55. Kelcy

    Don`t tell this to the church goers because then they would really have to take responsibility for their decisions, good and bad, and that would just make their heads spin. They have to have someone to blame and it cannot be themselves.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  56. mnd7398

    Morality without a Bible. Thank God! (oops!)

    April 13, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • sumday

      don't you mean lets make up our own morality as we go and call it good. Hitler thought (as well as millions of his followers) that he was a moral man trying to better mankind. Take the bible or religion out of it and you are only left with man making up his own morality with no way to judge if it is right or wrong. You will have your own sense of morality and someone else like Hilter will have their own set of morality and since it is all man made to begin with there really is no way to say your morality is any more right than Hitlers morality is. Now if we try to codify then all we have done is replaced the concept of "G-d" as being the authority of morality with man- man becomes G-d in authority in determining what is morally right and wrong.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • wonderland

        right, you can also liken hitler to the church. crusades and the like. o we are going to slaughter Muslims so we can reclaim a city that our religion is based in. theres only one moral code all should follow, the golden rule.

        April 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Jody

        Yes, I Agree. Everybody should go by The Golden Rule. It doesn't matter if Jesus said It OR Confucius said it OR if Primates do what They think is Fair. It doesn't matter if The Ten Commandments say Thou Shalt Not Kill Or Thou Shalt Not Steal OR if Somebody Stole Something OR Somebody Killed Somebody. The Person that Steals or Kills will Go to Prison. Sometimes, If They Kill Somebody, Then They will be Put to Death. God Says It is Wrong to Steal and Kill and Man Says It is Wrong to Steal and Kill. It's the Same Thing no matter who Determines what is Right or Wrong. Jody

        April 14, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
      • mykroft

        Man already determines what is moral. In the case of the religious, they take what was written down by primitive cultures by men as their standard for morality. But those strictures were written by men, not by God.

        If God is the source of morality, then which one? Man has invented many religions over the centuries, worshiping thousands of gods and goddesses. Not one religion has any proof that their particular beliefs are more true than that of others.

        By the way, you win the Godwin prize for this thread.

        April 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Arnold McMahon

        Religion can embody and relinforce morality, but whether one is religious or not, there are moral rules. For example, rape is wrong, period. What Hitler did, does not survive rational analysis, whether one is religious or not. As scientists would rightfully criticize philosophers who delve into biology etc. without having had the necessary rigorous training, so scientists should be criticized for delving into philosophy without having the necessary rigorous training. That is what this scientist is doing, and CNN should have the guts to confront it.

        April 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • ellisgodard

        Whether rape is wrong, how wrong it is, and whether it's even rape, is subject to debate and context. For example, raping a n intimate is generally and historically more tolerated than raping a stranger.

        April 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        It's pretty darned simple, actually. "Wrong" is that which harms others. Obviously rape harms others- therefore rape is wrong. Obviously theft harms others, therefore theft is wrong. Bullying, spousal abuse, cruel words towards your fellow man. Wrong. Helping others? Right.

        See, no God needed.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  57. EddO

    Why do people need religion? Simple: NEUROTHEOLOGY. It's just in our brain to believe in something.

    April 13, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Glenn

      Before the modern world, there was no scientific explanation for anything witnessed in our environment. People rarely believe they are incapable of understanding. It all comes from the imagination of individuals supported by a majority of like minded individuals with similar imaginations. We all know the greater number of votes the less likely it could be wrong. lol :)

      April 13, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • sumday

      bc without religion civilization would not have arose we would still be cavemen. We have never witnessed one single civilization that arose without the belief in some religion. As time has gone on religion is quickly being replaced with government and government is the same as religion only instead of believing in a G-d we now believe in man makeing the rules instead- man becomes G-d. Religion gave birth to government they are one in the same- it doesn't matter if you believe in G-d or man's laws so long as you do what you are told and are controlled either by belief in G-d or belief in man.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • mykroft

        Do you have a source for this assertion, or did you pull it out of your colon?

        April 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  58. steven

    morality is what is acceptable by the majority of society at large....

    April 13, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • EddO

      I think you mean "democracy".

      April 13, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  59. lteston

    To believe in the good of anything/anyone is an imaginative act. Creativity has a biologic link via new Mind/Body science. The roots of this potential for communal living and personal hope belongs in the morality debate. Imagining that we are all "good" when life and neighbor has hurt you, is beyond a biologic cause. The power of Love (sometimes called God) has prompted a morality of grace that I imagine even the animal world would recognize. I don't think it is just the Oxytocin. I also don't see it in today's church pew.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  60. Chris

    This guy is a demonstrably poor scientist. He's built his entire endeavor on blatantly false assumptions.
    The reporter is a demonstrably poor reporter.

    Way to go, CNN.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  61. Arnold McMahon

    This interview shows that scientists need a thorough grounding in philosophy if they are to venture beyond their empirical investigations. For example, is being kind to somebody because you have empathy for them necessarily being moral? No. One can act according to morality without it being a moral act. But if one is kind to somebody even though one does not have empathy for that person, but because being kind is the moral thing to do, then that is acting morally. Morality is fundamentally acting out of reason, not feeling.

    April 13, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • erin111

      Everything depends on what we understand by morality, on the definition of morality. For me empathy IS morality, so it is for De Waal. Your definition of morality is different from ours.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:25 am |
      • Arnold McMahon

        Erin, feelings are subjective. What is subjective cannot be a basis for morality. For example, what is just and unjust cannot depend on how somebody feels. Whether a judge has empathy for somebody before him/her should have nothing to do with how the judge rules. Sadly, we know that this is not always the case, but morality requires that a judge transcend his/her feelings in his/her rulings. Empathy is good and desirable, but it is not everything.

        April 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Jody

        I Also Think Empathy is Morality. If People or Primates Feel Badly for the Other Primates or People; then They Help Them even if there is No Religion. The Primates have Morality, but They don't have Religion. Jody

        April 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • gladr

      Arnold, morality is related to emotions, feelings, empathy. Morality is also related to the society you live in and what would be considered moral by your "in group". Durkheim said "What is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces a man to ...regulate his actions by something other than ...his own egoism". Ethical decisions are based on reason and rationality.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  62. petroskies

    for sure not from you home

    April 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  63. NYC Chris

    Leave it to humans to see this article as only dealing with their own well being. Why is there no discussion of why we should express enpathy and ethical treatment towards primate and other animals?

    April 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Viper

      Bingo!

      Animals are never treated as co-equal inhabitants of our planet. They have emotions and feelings, and a sense of morality just as people do. They should be treated with greater respect than what has been done in the past.

      April 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
      • Miss Demeanor

        Sure, animals deserve respect... within limits. Where would you stand on that if you saw a mountain lion stalking your neighbor? Would you say, they both have a sporting chance (as long as your neighbor is unarmed... just guessing here)? Would you say humans simply need to live where there are no dangerous animals? That rules out a lot of places. How about if your infant child was kept alive with medicines that were tested on animals? Would you insist that doctors only use medicines that were tested on humans (and possible killed or damaged a few until they found the correct dosage)?

        April 13, 2013 at 2:08 am |
  64. Fred G. Sanford

    Scientist must disprove their perceived 'theory' of God in order to make sense of the vastness, complexity and brilliance of the universe(s). Have fun!

    April 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Observer

      There are an infinite number of possible explanations for the universe. God is only one. For all we know, we may have been created by a committee of zombies or just be avatars in a giant cosmic video game.

      Have fun disproving those theories.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • glennrobert

        An interesting book "Why Does The World Exist?" By Jim Holt, asks "Why the Universe rather than nothing?". The book does not answer this question.

        April 13, 2013 at 7:42 am |
      • Glenn

        and when one asks "Why are we here?" it implies some profound meaning to our existence. Given the billions of possibilities I am more inclined to ask "Why not?"

        April 13, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • nojinx

        Interesting. Is is even possible for us to not exist exactly as we are, for what we know?

        April 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • g

      And how do you know their 'theory' of God is wrong? And if you have one, why is yours correct?

      April 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Religious Guy

        g, he is just bringing out possibilities along with possibility of God. He is not speaking against God.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Jerry

      There is no "theory" about "God", there's only "common sense" (God is hooey), or "insanity" (God is real).

      April 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • HMMMM

        Can you please show scientifically that "common sense" exists and is not a construct of your imagination.....

        April 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • Jody

        I think Common Sense is one of the Senses like Sight where You Observe Something. If you can't Observe Anything like A Being Creating Humans or A Universe, then Common Sense said that that didn't Happen. A Being did not Take Dirt and Form It in to A Man and then This Invisible Being Breathed Life In to The Man. A Good Man was Beaten and had Thorns in his Head and Nails in his Hands and Feet and Hung in the Blazing Sun for Hours and Hours and then just get up and Move An Extremely Large Boulder that Took Several Men to put the Boulder there and then Vanish in to the Sky. This is Common Sense that There is NO Way that This Happened. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:03 am |
      • Name

        so by your reasoning that a bigger brain means theu are more you evolved. whales must be the smartest animals in the world because they have the biggest brains.

        April 25, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • nojinx

      Negatives do not need to be proven, they are inherently a non-factor.

      There are an infinite number of possible paradigms and gods. None of them need to be dis proven to know something unless it is to know that particular god or gods do not exist.

      If doing science required proving all gods wrong, it would be impossible to do science.
      We are able to do science.
      Therefore, proving all gods wrong is not required for science.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  65. g

    "The love of an African missionary to serve the poor and the evil perpetrated by Ted Bundy are not biological actions but deep choices of the soul which come from extraordinary sources."

    How do you know?

    April 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  66. TC

    Great article and some responsible commets on here. I agree with much de Waal said but I see a difference in morality and good animal behavior for the group /society to get along. A sense of fairness and punishing bad is how you protect the group and species. Morality as well as ethics transends the behaviors to practice good for the common welfare of all. The morality of sacrifing yourself for the benefit of others is nothing other than love which emanates from God. Explaining human behavior through science and biology is extremely important but we must be careful to degrade our capability for love and evil to biological functions. The love of an African missionary to serve the poor and the evil perpetrated by Ted Bundy are not biological actions but deep choices of the soul which come from extraordinary sources. Man is so good and so evil because it far exceeds the biological. Even if you are an athiest – to dumb down man's response to the world as only biological is extremely dangerous.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • CarpeDiem

      Well said TC – God bless you.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Checked_Other

      Better said than I could, TC. I wish I could just simply and arbitrarily chalk things up to an invisible guy, but I can't imagine in my wildest dreams how that's possible. There's an in-between area called agnostic, meaning, one believes that no one could possibly know what, if anything/anyone, is behind it all. Or is something you or I didn't even think of? But I wish I thought like you, really.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        Checked other – you come across as an intelligent guy with questions. You might be interested to look up Jack Traynor / Gabriel Gargam / Fatima – the miracle of the sun. See what you think. Peace friend.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • g

      "to dumb down man's response to the world as only biological is extremely dangerous."

      How is it "dumbing down?"

      April 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
      • Marsh hen

        For then we are no better than any animal, and will adopt the behavior of any animal and justify it as a biological response.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • athiests are dangerous

      well said

      April 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • glennrobert

        You are aware that more humans have been killed in the name of God than any other cause except disease!

        April 13, 2013 at 7:47 am |
      • Trill

        No Glenn, They were all killed because of greed. Athiest and secular regimes have killed many orders of magnitude more than the measely 200k-2M that were killed during the 200 years of the Crusades. I know you as an athiest love to distort the genesis of the crusades but the truth is they were in response to muslim incursion and brutality over many centuries. Ask yourself a question, why did the crusaders have to "invade" the holy land to remove the muslims?

        April 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  67. Checked_Other

    Moral values, ethics, law, common sense all come from man over time. The animal senses things innately and instinctively - perhaps more altruistically, I think. The wonder of it all is impossible to know, and cannot be arbitrarily assigned to any one mystic thing. It just simply isn't known.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Glenn

      One may look at the natural world and decide having a larger brain would enable a higher level of thinking. In which case, morality could simply be the result of genetics. Only mammals exhibit limited human behavior on occasion.

      April 13, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  68. Kelley

    We don't need religion and all the crap that goes with it – all we need is the golden rule (also called the ethic of reciprocity): One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. That covers everything and is a rule or ethic present in some form or other in ancient societies and all religions.

    April 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • CarpeDiem

      You just quoted directly from Jesus. Well done!

      April 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • Checked_Other

        @CapeDiem: Well, it quoted what someone said Jesus said - then edited many times over time (hearsay) - but still the point is well made. Sorry, not meant to be argumentative.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        CheckedOther – thanks for a polite response it's much appreciated. Like you, I don't mean to be argumentative but the New Testament was written by eye witnesses [Matt. Mark, Luke, John - John being the one who stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus' Mother] Those 4 were 4 of the 12 apostles.
        The Apochryphal gospels were written hundreds of years after and were hearsay.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
      • Religious Guy

        CarpeDiem, New Testament is a translated version of some text whose proof of origins are missing. If Luke wrote a Gospel, the Hebrew version of that text is missing and all we have is the translated version.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • sqeptiq

        sorry carpe, the gospels were NOT written by apostles. Your history is far off.

        April 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Rational63

        Confucius said this long before the fictional Jesus ever did.

        April 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Arive-1

        No one would argue that Jesus' philosophy was not a great philosophy. Too bad most of his so-called followers don't practice what he preached. But I find the morals taught by Tao and Buddha are just a great. Morality can be learned, can be felt, but most of all must be consciously sought as a goal for living.

        April 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • g

      Even bees and mole rats operate by the golden rule. That you have to invent tales about some Jewish cult leader rising from the dead to force yourself to be a moral person is truly pathetic.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Observer

      The concept of the "golden rule" existed LONG before Jesus and the Bible. It is likely the most ignored passage in the Bible by the millions of hypocritical Christians who pick and choose from the Bible.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        Sources please. I'd love to read up on that.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
      • Observer

        "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you."
        - story of The Eloquent Peasant, Egypt (c. 2040–1650 BCE)
        "Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." - Pittacus, Greece (c. 640–568 BCE)
        "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." – Confucius, China (551 – 479 BC)

        April 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • TR in ATL

        @Observer – Quite remarkable that you're able to quote confidently a peasant from 4000 years ago but you're not able to believe Jesus is who he said he is, rose from the dead, was seen by thousands of people, and ascended into heaven. And that was just 2000 years ago.

        April 13, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  69. NativeBornUSA

    Morals come from not having atheist, Karl Marx loving democrat parents..........hate of course comes from exactly those. Hate and division, lies and theft come from liberal democrat parents.

    April 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • motorfirebox

      Can you name any atheist Karl Marx lovers in this country who are threatening to round up people they don't like in camps? Can you name any who kill doctors who perform procedures they don't like? Because I can name Christians who do both of those things in the name of their religion.

      I think I'll stick with the atheist Karl Marx lovers. They seem like much kinder people.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        Oh ye of little learning. Atheists have been responsible for more murders, torture and religious persecution in the last 100 years than ALL the religions in history. Look it up, then think for yourself and stop repeating parrot-fashion things that people like this "scientist " tells you! HE is just a man with opinions.
        And fyi doctors are not "performing procedures"- they are killing babies. You can't sanitize mutilation and deliberate murder.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
      • Religious Guy

        CarpeDiem, Hitler was a Christian and he had the Bible in his bunker.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Observer

      It's conservatives who don't believe in equal rights for gays and seem to want everyone to carry people-killing guns.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • Brad76

        At this point I don't find it humorous that Liberals dump all over Conservative Christian types for alleged hatred while they're killing the unborn and trying to control people in their own ways. You're planning atheist/Marxist societies in our faces which is quite rude and assuming, unfortunately you're forgetting that planning this kind of society you're going to have to get rid of us first and that is not going to happen. Sorry to rain on your parade, however Christians and Conservatives have a say whether you like it or not.

        April 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • Observer

        Brad76,

        The Bible not only never mentions abortion, it actually offers more to support pro-choice than anti-choice.

        Read it sometime.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        Brad – You just made my day. Thanks for a short but very effective comment.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • CarpeDiem

        Observer – Jesus said [ to the eye witness writers of the NT Bible ] "It is impossible but that offence will come; but woe to him, through whom they come. It would be better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he be cast into the sea, rather than he should offend one of these little ones"

        April 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Observer

        CarpeDiem,

        The Bible says that at one point, God TORTUROUSLY DROWNED every pregnant woman, child, baby, and fetus on the face of the earth.

        April 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • krhodes

      yeah...the democrat party is the largest criminal organization in the nation. I believe we can give them the largest hate group and anti freedom group as well...all the while claiming they are for an individuals rights, unless of course they happen to disagree with their ideology.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Observer

        lol. Guess which party contains possibly all KKK members? Wonder which party the white supremacists belong to?

        April 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • you're talking crazy

      somehow I think you are mistaken in your beliefs..

      April 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • tarura

      Ask not where the morals came from,
      ask where and why the're gone and how to get them back.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Religious Guy

      Ha ha ha NativeBornUSA, what you are doing is called spreading hate :)

      April 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • judeamorris

      Hatred is not a product of one's political choices. It's a product of how one REACTS to social issues brought forth by politics. I, frankly, am sick and tired of people using the word "liberal" and "conservative" to label, demean, judge, stereotype, etc. Numerous personal beliefs, opinions, worldviews are shared within the spectrum of each of those labels. In making such demeaning statements about all "liberals," you display your personal vitriol against anyone who doesn't agree with you. Therein lies our problem - people who assume and attack rather than discuss and collaborate.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • Jody

        There is A Lot of Hatred and Violence Against the Various Religions. What I mean is Methodists Hating the Baptists and Protestants Hating the Catholics. That is Ireland. Some People even think The Pope will go to Hell because The Catholics Worship Mary instead of Jesus. That is why They have Hail Mary. Therefore, It Is NOT Just the Liberals or Atheist who has Hatred. It is NOT that Morality comes from not having Liberal Parents. The Conservative Parents can just stand there and do Nothing or the Children can Accept what the Parents say or maybe not. You wouldn't have Morals. Morality Comes from A Sense of Helping Others or Maybe Religion, but there has to be A Reason to have Morality. It's not just having Conservative Parents. Jody

        April 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Arive-1

      As usual, love spewing from the mouths of so-called christians!

      April 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • nojinx

      Mental handicaps often are self-imposed by our own partisanship. It is amazing how much we can force ignorance on ourselves.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  70. Sam

    I don't know why CNN even posts these types of articles. The comments just show that the majority of people have not developed the critical thinking skills, read enough scholarly material, or thoroughly studied biology and science beyond the basic college or high school level to understand the subject matter. Perfect example of keep the masses uneducated to the point that they can barely understand a basic thesis. Sad.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Brad76

      Get off your high horse friend.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • Bob1god

        Why, I can see for miles & miles & miles & miles etc.

        April 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • csunsoc

      Sam's right. Most of the comments here are foolish. But so is much of what De Waal argues. For example, genetically founded "primate psychology" isn't the only alternative to mentally crafted rules. Both place the origin of rules within human heads, rather than among human relationships. Primate studies show that altruism occurs without religion – but morality is much broader than altruism, and even "fairness" (whatever that means; De Waal seems to treat it as an objective, observable matter rather than the situational, contestable morass that it actually is.)

      For any CNN readers (or reporters) interested in truly scientific study of the origins of morality, rather than De Waal's frustrating leaps from data to wild assertions, I strongly recommend work by Donald Black – including his article "On the Origins of Morality" and his book "Moral Time", each of which provides new, insightful (and inciteful), useful, powerful ideas about moral order and behavior. I'm not convinced that De Waal even comes close.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • nojinx

      Agreed, good post.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  71. Bookldy209

    To answer the headline on a much simpler level: Same as it always did, by observing the everyday actions of parents and significant role models (often in contrast to their words).

    April 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  72. Unbeliever

    Religion is not needed for morality.

    See Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  73. jameslabvile

    Most of the morals we have in the U.S. come from Judeo-Christian sources which are the Ten Commandments, various passages in the Bible, and common sense. However, Society picks and chooses which moral ideals they want to follow.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Ten Commandments:
      1: Have no other gods – NOT A LAW
      2: Make no graven image – NOT A LAW
      3: Don’t take the name in vain – NOT A LAW
      4: Honor the Sabbath – NOT A LAW
      5: Honor thy father and mother – NOT A LAW
      6: Thou shalt not kill – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY (long pre-dated it)
      7: Thou shalt not commit adultery – huge number of Christians commit adultery by LEGALLY remarrying
      8: Thou shalt not steal – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      9: Thou shalt not bear false witness – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      10: Thou shalt not covet – NOT A LAW

      April 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Did you even read the article? I don't think so, because you are parroting the religious line and the article clearly states that morals predate religion.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • reddragon

      commandment # 10 thou shalt not boil a kid in its mothers milk. Didn't see that one on the books in any state.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  74. hypatia

    "Morals" are codified tribal or cult practises. What is 'moral' in one culture is often considered 'immoral' in another. Giving legal approbation to one cult or tribes set of 'morals' is the politics of power and hasn't changed since before Hammurabi.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • csunsoc

      Morality does not occur at a society-wide level. Morality is defined and determined in situational contexts. For example, shooting a policeman is almost always wrong, and regarded as such; but a policeman shooting someone is hardly even (or ever) condemned. Moral patterns follow a geometric logic, which predicts the outcome of everything from homicide trials to online flame wars.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • nojinx

      Actually, what is moral in one culture is usually moral in all others, but there are exceptions.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • ellisgodard

        There are more exceptions than rules. ;)

        April 15, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  75. aallen333

    And we wonder how a Newtown or the seemingly monthly school shootings can happen – it's because of a liberal mindset that says there is no right or wrong and therefore no accountability to a higher moral authority for even the most heinous acts.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Observer

      "liberal mindset that says there is no right or wrong"

      Absolute nonsense. There is NOT ONE top liberal who says that. Get real.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • BM

      Adam Lanza was a Roman Catholic who went to St. Rose Lima Church. He was no "liberal" and his mother had a gun collection which he used to kill the children. Liberals tend not to have gun collections.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
      • Brad76

        Adam Lanza was also MENTALLY ILL.

        April 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • Sane Person

        No kidding brad. As are all mass murderers, and most religious nuts.

        April 13, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Liberal mentality does NOT say there is NO right or wrong, there certainly is. However if you NEED your "higher power" in order to know what is right and wrong, then by all means keep it.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • kenny of salt

      The idea of a moral center, and what is the source of that center, is not a "liberal-conservative" question. Minus one point. Dr. De Waal is not saying there is no moral center, but that the moral center has a biological origin, rather than devine. Minus one point. An additional point taken for irrelevant reference to Newtown. Net minus three points for this post.
      Peace
      Kenny

      April 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • James A Young

      We are the higher moral authority. Moral people answer to themselves. Our noble ideals rule our behavior. And when we fail to live up to our ideals, it hurts.
      Don't feed me this crap about needing to appease some external moral authority. Nobody cares about freedom, equality and social justice just because someone demands they do so.
      I might add... any moral person who reads the Bible with objectivity and questions the morals of its god will be appalled.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      I've been a quasi-liberal atheist since I was old enough to draw my own conclusions. You appear to sadly misinformed – political parties or affiliations with same have nothing to with what is right and what is wrong and there is no group out there making a public statement that "there is no right or wrong." Just because people don't feel the same as you do about any particular issue does not make them or you right or wrong – you just differ in opinion.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • motorfirebox

      Scott Roeder is a Christian. So forgive me if I reject Christianity as a reasonable basis for morality.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • csunsoc

      There is always right and wrong, everywhere, including this forum. But they aren't always defined or decided by a "higher authority", much less an assertion of a supernatural fairytale creature or "god".

      April 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jody

      Hey Aallen. I Am Very Liberal, but I Always say you do not Hurt People. That is Wrong. I DO Know Right from Wrong. The Thing is that I don't see God Sending Anybody to Hell. However, I see the Judge Sending Somebody to Prison. The Police do not Push Somebody in A Room and They Slide down to Hell. The Police don't say Sit Down and then A Trap Down Opens and You Fall to Hell. You don't have to have God doing Something to People who do Heinous Crimes. You have the Police and Judges to do Something to People who do Heinous Crimes. Jody

      April 15, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • nojinx

      Whoops. Reading comprehension fail.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  76. krhodes

    God.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Archeopteryx

      Dog

      April 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • krhodes

        God.

        April 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  77. aallen333

    If you have to seriously ask this question, we're in bigger trouble than I thought.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Archeopteryx

      So, what's your answer?

      April 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  78. Be Reasonable

    He's wrong about religion only being a couple thousand years old. Google Gobekli Tepe and see that religion was quite advanced by at least 10,000 BC, as evidenced by the sacrificial and priestly carvings of this vast, 25 circle religious complex. The evidence suggests religion has been present from the earliest times of humanity.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • James Foley

      Exactly. Religious psychosis is a preexisting tradition. ;)

      April 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      That the evidence "suggests" something does not prove it, and assumptions are made based on what the surveyor believes, not on what he can prove.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  79. myslant

    Morality is not about "knowing" right from wrong. It is treating others the way you think they want to be treated.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  80. dave

    Intelligent creator? Yes, I like GOD. Who has created GOD?

    April 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • examiner

      "Intelligent creator" is a secondary concept. I think the important question is "how did blind dumb nature produce intelligence and consiousness at all?" It takes intelligence to produce intelligence.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Non Believer

        The Universe does not exist for our benefit

        April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Andy

        Nature is neither blind nor dumb. Try reading "The blind watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. Intelligence develops – it doesn't need fairies.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Why?
        I don't expect you to give an answer, but just ask yourself why you believe that's true.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • James Foley

        Actually that would be, it takes intelligence to recognize intelligence, not create it. I have a few friends, family and coworkers who are living proof that just because you have intelligent parents doesn't garauntee the offspring will be so, and the vice versa is also apparent and true ;)

        That's one of my favorite creationist lies actually... you know the one I'm sure... the invention of the car is proof of the inventor. What a crock. The existence of a car only proves the car exists. It takes discovery to find hwo things came to be and work ;)

        April 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • motorfirebox

        Well, there's an unqualified assumption if I've ever seen one. What evidence do you have that the creation of intelligence requires intelligence to accomplish? Given that we've never seen an intelligence created, that seems like a pretty astonishing leap of logic.

        April 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • eliz

      well... did god create man or did man create god... just sayin'

      April 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Excellent point .. which "intelligence" created which?

        April 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • Julia Reiter

        In my opinion man created God mainly because he could never find out how it all started. Religion was invented so the leaders of people could control their society. The ten commandments were invented to establish an orderly way of life in the desert. Atheism is also created by man. We still do not know how it all started.I can live with it.

        April 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  81. MrCrank

    The Christian definition of love, while not sounding real radical, is simply "Willing the good of the other soley for the sake of the other." None of this article describes "love." So where does "love" come from? Doing good things because you will gain from them is as primative as can be and probably did originate before religion.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Very powerful observation, MrCrank. Thanks.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  82. Phazon

    I wonder if God never made primates what they would try to say we came from. Every house needs a builder.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Observer

      So who or what built God?

      April 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Andy

      Houses are not organic – they cannot breed.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      The other primates don't wonder where WE came from, and probably don't care.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
      • Doug

        Where do you think little sheds come from.

        April 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • nojinx

      Who built the gods? Every house has a builder, after all.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  83. Phazon

    It is not for man who can not even direct his very steps.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Speak for yourself. I'm perfectly capable of directing my own steps, and have no wish to do harm to others. I do not need some kind of invisible overseer to keep track of my actions.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • HMMMM

        I am glad.....and may I preface this by saying that I am not a follower of the Christian faith but.....where do you think your ideas of what is "right" and what is "wrong" came from? Or "good" and "evil"?

        I would contend that most of us are the product of Judeo Christian morality from being immersed in it since birth....someone born in a land untouched by Christianity would probably have a much different sense of these things....even if certain "truths" come through.....do those who supported human sacrifice or cannibalism fit as "moral" or "immoral" in your view?

        Just wondering....not trying to pick a fight

        April 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
      • Jody

        Again, It is what I Observe. If Somebody is being Hurt OR If Something is Happening that is not Fair, then that is Wrong. Some Things are Not Possible Like Lifting A Heavy Boulder By yourself. The Bible says that God Told Abraham to Kill his Son to Show that Abraham Loves God. That IS Wrong. Abraham Should Not have to Kill His Son. God Seems Very Insecure to Me. God Sounds like Some Jealous Woman Telling Her Man to Stop Seeing Somebody. It may be Necessary to Eat Other People if Somebody is Hungry and There is NO Food. Sometimes, Somebody is Killed and because of the Situation, then It might have been Justified like Self Defense. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:12 am |
  84. allenwoll

    .
    Fiddle-faddle : Morals are "wired-in" : Genetically founded. . Some people just get a defective copy.
    .
    It is what makes us human.
    .

    April 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Squeezebox

      If morality were "wired in" or instinctive, we wouldn't have free will now, would we? Morality is a choice, not an instinct.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  85. us_1776

    It's only when resources get into short supply, or when resources are not distributed fairly that people turn bad.

    .

    April 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  86. hingedlwnb

    Baltimore, Moraland.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • motorfirebox

      Clearly you can't tell right from wrong. If you could, you wouldn't have told that awful, awful, awful, awful joke. ;P

      April 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  87. Jay in NC

    "100,000 or 200,000 years ago, our ancestors did not believe in right and wrong," My dogs knows the difference between right and wrong. This guy does not think very much of animals does he.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • James

      "Well, I think that morality is older. In the sense that I find it very hard to believe that 100,000 or 200,000 years ago, our ancestors did not believe in right and wrong, and did not punish bad behavior, did not care about fairness."
      -Are you dim or just a troll? Either way, either learn to read or stop commenting and showcasing how dim you truly are.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  88. Karaya

    "Correct morals arise from knowing what Man is – not what do-gooders and well-meaning Aunt Nellies would want him to be."

    April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  89. Seriously

    Morality without religion is not the same type of morality- it is weaker and of lower quality. It is motivated by money or some other personal gain.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • TC

      Why would that be?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Rynomite

      You mean as opposed to fear of hell?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • James

      Let's just all say things and we can will them into being true. What are you talking about, you dolt.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • SkepticalOne

      Absolute nonsense. You have been indoctrinated to believe it but it is not true.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • sea

      Which religion, oh enlightened one?

      April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • illusion2526

      The core issue here is that one who has no religion, and/or does not believe in a living God, cannot be convinced any differently; just as one with religion cannot be convinced of any differently.

      But, to toss in my argument to the matter despite that truth...I would say that religion is capable of teaching morals in a more expedient manner and helps (not promises, helps) to grow children into adults that have a better moral base. Being on the PTO for my local public school and having an aunt who has taught at a private Catholic school for years and comparing notes on the types of and amount of bullying between the two schools shows a stark contrast. Yes, there is still bullying at the private school but not as much. One of the reasons, as I see it, is that at the private school the students are also provided with a spiritual and nuturing education that also wants to ensure that they are healthy in heart and soul and not just able to add numbers and write words on paper.

      This is not to say that the type of morality not taught by religion is weaker or of lower quality, but that typically those with a religious background are taught to also keep in mind of the importance of morality and how their actions impact those around them. I certainly do not recall that lesson in public school. Also, as a religious person, I can say that I view morals more seriously than I did when I was not practicing a faith. It has nothing to do with if I believe I am going to Hell or not but rather having a reminder when attending church services during the week that we as human beings are part of a greater community and our actions do harm not just the one that we may commit a moral offense against but many others that we do not consider.

      Of course those with religion still have morals and have a moral compass, but I question how often that moral compass is checked when not being reminded to dust it off and a take a look at from time to time.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • DarthTod

        Having been an actual student at private, christian schools, I can say that there is still plenty of bullying. And in addition to the usual bullying over one's inability to play sports, choice of literature, sense of style, social standing, etc. there was the added category of denomination. Oh yes, bullied by Christians over not going to the right church. How incredibly moral of them.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        Yet the vast majority of Christians I know lie, cheat, drink, swear, sneak around/cheat on their spouses, etc.

        I see how well that works.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • HMMMM

        "Yet the vast majority of PEOPLE I know lie, cheat, drink, swear, sneak around/cheat on their spouses, etc."

        fixed that for ya

        April 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • Jody

        Some of the Most Religious People do Immoral Things. David became Known as King David and They have The Star Of David. However, David had An Affair with Bathsheba. Also, Science can Teach People Things or maybe if People didn't know something or Changed Their minds, then An Atheist may also Teach. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Gordon

      Morality by religious people is based on fear of being tortured forever for "sinning" unless you're forgiven.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      I am motivated by my wish to treat people as I wish to be treated. That though appears in many religions, but religion isn't necessary to behave that way. Religion offers some sort of post-death reward; moral actions provide their own reward at the time the action is taken. Don't push your motivations off on others. Seriously.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • g

      Piety at its highest point in this nation existed at the same time and was concentrated in the areas where some members of society were considered to be less than human and only worth 3/5ths of others. No more talk about religion producing morality, please.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      What on earth are you suggesting? Are you trying to say that non-religious people don't love and care for their fellow humans? That's simply ludicrous. Atheists care about their fellow humans and their families (and animals too) just as much as religious people do.

      I know because I am one.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • Jody

        Yes, You are Absolutely Correct. Another thing is that Many Times People do not get Money or Anything. However, If you will Follow God's Rules, then you will go to Heaven. That IS A Reward or A Personal Gain. I think Religion is the Weaker Kind of Morality instead of Morality of Atheists. Jody

        April 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • TG

        It is religion that has been responsible for the much of the blood letting around the earth, from the Crusades of the 11th thru 13th centuries, the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions (that started an era of religious persecution that resulted in abuses, murder, robbery, and the slow death of thousands who dared believe differently than the Catholic church), down to the wars in the 20th and 21st centuries, in which over 100 million people have died in these wars and in which started in so-called "Christian" nations.

        British Brigadier General Frank P. Crozier (1879-1937) said of the churches support during World War I: "The Christian Churches are the finest blood-lust creators which we have and of them we made free use." He admitted in his memoirs, A Brass Hat in No Man's Land (published in 1930), that British soldiers (with Britain noted as a "Christian" nation, such as Anglican, Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Episcopalian and Baptist) sometimes killed German prisoners who were either Catholic or Lutheran because they "cannot be bothered to escort back to his lines."

        The Bible identifies that only one religion is not blood guilty, for at Micah 4, it says that "in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains....And many nations will certainly go and say: "Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah....and he will instruct us about his ways....And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore."(Micah 4:1-3)

        April 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • nojinx

      Actually, the difference is simple:

      People are motivated to be behave because of the affects of their behavior on other people rather than fear of an intangible threat.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  90. examiner

    Can humans be good without God? Here's a test: force religion underground. Then we'll notice that all the prisons, lethal injections, handcuffs, courts, police forces, lawyers, the entire judicial system are maintained by the secular state. Now,we have a new question: "can humans be good without THOSE things?" Now, eliminate all law and penal systems. The question is not "CAN humans be good without God or Law?" but "WILL humans be good at all?"

    April 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • sea

      How does this make any bit of sense?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      "God" and "Law" are not synonymous.

      Secular nations have laws and prisons as well.

      The vast majority of prisoners in this country identify as Christian.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • nojinx

      Sure, they will be back to where they started, but this time without the scientific ignorance that perpetuates religious dogma. Now they will be able to recreate the laws and social structures using their inherent social tools that aided them the first time around, what, 500,000 years ago or so.

      I like the way you think. Could be a wonderful world.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  91. catholic engineer

    Christianity is not about being good in the ordinary sense. Christianity is about radical love. Laying down one's life for his friends, turning the other cheek, forgiving seventy times seven, love your enemies, doing good to those who hate you. This kind of love and morality can only come from faith. The best secular society can come up with is "be a nice guy".

    April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • cindy

      Good post

      April 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • sea

      Because nothing bad ever happens in the name of faith or religion, right? Does your delusion really extend that far into your world?

      Also, wow, that Christian love of yours...so radical. So bold. So new. So original!

      April 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • JAY

        it is bold and unique...

        April 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • illusion2526

        Of course bad things have happened in the name of religion, and that is typically the only straw argument that can be brought up. On the other hand a lot of good has occurred because of religion including a foundation of laws, sciences, universities, hospitals, charitable donations, and so on and so on. So then, what about the abundance of bad things that happens from those with absolutely no religion? People are people and prone to mistakes and hurting others, doesn't matter if they have religion or not. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that in your lifetime you have made a few mistakes and managed to hurt some people, even without religion.

        April 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • sea

        What are you on about, illusion2526? That's the point I was making – that people have done good and bad regardless of religious affiliation.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Frank Johnson

      Good post

      April 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bostontola

      You are right that Christianity involves radical love. Your assertion that radical love can't come from secular man is unsubstantiated.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • James

      It can "only" come of faith? I'm a nonbeliever and would do all of those things, because in the long run, more often than not, it is beneficial. It's literally mathematics. Even if you don't directly gain, someone you care about will. By upholding a system where doing good is held up on its own merit (and not because you're scared of going to hell, don't try to weasel out of that one, you religious folk are petrified of it), you benefit your future generations. Just one more questions, as religion becomes less and less important, how does it feel to know that within the next couple hundred years, your future generations will be reading about your silly beliefs in a book and laughing at you the way we laugh at the civilizations that believed in witches and wizards?

      April 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • opwernby

        Concur!

        April 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Craig

        Ha nice. I'm hoping though that it doesn't take hundreds of years. We could eradicate ourselves due to nuclear fallout from faith-based world wars by then. I'm hoping that my future children's generation looks upon this silliness and laughs, with the majority of the civilized populace laughing along.

        April 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Hadassah

      Great post. It's about a relationship with our Lord and Saviour, not a religion. Following Jesus doesn't mean you think you are perfect. It means, you know you are NOT perfect, and need His help and guidance.
      God bless you.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • opwernby

      Really? I thought Christianity was the belief that god gave birth to himself so he could sacrifice himself to himself and then reabsorb himself into himself. Oh well. But either way, it's childish and primitive.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Too bad there are so many Xtians who don't get that, and so very, very few Christians who do.
      I have no problem with the VAST majority of Christian teaching, my issue is with the implementation thereof, and the utter disconnect from the Bible.
      There are VERY FEW Christian, Christians.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • motorfirebox

      Frankly, I'd rather stick with "be a nice guy" than to go around letting my enemies screw with me almost five thousand times.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
      • motorfirebox

        Erk, 500. God made me fail math!

        April 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • nojinx

      Why do you think that type or morality can only come from faith?

      April 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  92. Saltydog01

    Two boys were walking home from church after hearing a strong preaching on the devil.
    One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?"
    The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your dad"

    April 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  93. Contenta

    Kelly Murray: Thanks for a very interesting article. As far as religion is concerned, as a non-believer I have always been
    deeply hurt by people who think that if you don't believe in god you cannot possible be a moral person. Without having studied the matter, I guess I've always believed that we are born with a moral sense. People who consistently do not behave morally are the exceptions and a very small percentage of humanity. And it looks as if animal studies support this position.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • HMMMM

      As an Agnostic I do not hold with the belief that you must be a Christian to be moral.....but I do believe that there has to be some higher power or morality that holds us to a moral standard. Belief in nothing leads to easy rationalization of almost any behavior. I think most Aetheists still have a moral compass but I'm curious where you think it comes from?
      Instinct? Reason? and if so does that mean if I can come to a rational reasoning for brutal behavior that it then becomes moral? Who decides? Are there no truths beyond majority consensus? majority rules? what if the majority are a bunch of Natzies? While this article points to the evidence of primates showing morals it doesn't discuss the tendancies of animals to be cruel....cats play with mice and birds and often kill them for fun....many animals kill their young for seeminly no reason.....are we only moral because we reason? If there is no punishment and I think I can get away with it is it moral for me to steal from my neighbor? What if I don't feel bad about it?

      April 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • Jody

        If A Woman is Raped and Then She Stabs the Man, then that is Justified and that is Self Defense. I don't know if the Woman can go after the Man if He does not go to Prison. That is Taking the Law in Your Own Hands or Vengeance and that is Wrong. However, I often Feel Badly for the Woman and Think that It could be Justified. I think that is why A Judge Decides whether the Woman can do that or not. Either A Judge or Maybe A Jury. There are Bad People OR Primates Or Even Cats and I LOVE Cats. Maybe The Cat IS A Bully. I Am Joking around on That. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:30 am |
      • Jody

        I forgot to say that You don't need God to Punish Somebody. Your Parents can Punish You OR A Policeman OR A Judge can Punish People. It Is NOT Moral if They Stole and Nothing Happens to Them. It's Not Moral because The Person doesn't Feel Badly about It. Maybe there wasn't Enough Evidence. Maybe Somebody was Accused, but the Real Person who did It got away with It. It's Still Wrong even if the Person doesn't care what he did. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  94. Leo

    *insert random off topic religious comment for attention

    April 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Falk

      ..... From morons

      April 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Frank Johnson

        In your case it seems to have worked

        April 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  95. Robert

    To suggest that it is impossible for a person to live with a high moral standards and no religion is based on prejudice and ignorance. Just the way the religions want you to think.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • cindy

      Not true. I haveknown some very nice, moral people who are not religious.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
      • Fred Evil

        I think you misinterpreted his words. You agreed with him.

        April 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Aaron

      Frank, if there is no God, please define morality. The difference between right and wrong you say? Then define right and wrong. If I define my right as your wrong and you define my wrong as your right, then who decides which one is right? If there is no God, then the most simplest of questions break down real fast. I could go on and on, but it would just confuse all athiests reading this reply. If the law of the Darwinian preselection theory and the law of the jungle is " the strongest survive and the weakest parish, then is it wrong for a man to rape, or kill a woman? Is it wrong for a stronger human being to kill a weaker human being? It is wrong you say? Who makes that judgment? Society you say? If society passes a law that says that all blacks are property, are blacks, therefore property? I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. In full disclosure, I am a black man, and society used to define me as 3/5 of a man. Was society right? If the strongest is suppose to rule the weakest, then why is everyone complaining about Wall Street? They are only doing what nature selected them to do.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • J.R.

        Putting God into the picture does not clarify morality, or help define it any any way. Is it moral to have more than one wife? Some religions say yes and others say no. With no evidence supporting either side's definition of God, the conflict all too easily becomes irrational. Secularism certainly does not have all their answers to questions of morality, but religion does not either.

        April 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • sea

        Wow, where do people like you come up with this stuff? If one doesn't believe that morals come from a sky fairy, then you must believe that nature selected for Wall Street to do what it does? That a man should possibly be justified in raping a woman, or vice versa, for that matter, depending on who is stronger? Incredible.

        April 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • James

        Please...stop...the stupidity...it's...killing...me...

        April 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • Rynomite

        I can't even begin to follow your rambling nonsense.

        There have been thousands of god concepts, all created by man. Even if some higher power happens to exist, it has not made itself known to man in any sort of testable, verifiable way. All current concepts of god are therfore derived by men who claim to speak for god.

        Religion (admittedly) has played a large role in shaping morality. Religion is man made and morality is defined by man.

        April 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • Rynomite

        P.S. There was a time when morality (defined by men and JUSTIFIED by religion) would have found it acceptable for you to be 3/5 of a man.

        Now we atheists just think you have 3/5 of a brain.

        April 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • Jody

        There is 3 Primates. They are A who is Attacked by B and C doesn't like what B is doing. The Other Primates Either do something Else OR one of them say B is Hungry so he needs to Take A's Food. However, Another Primate will say that That is not Right even if B is Hungry. The Food Belongs to A. The Other Primates Decide whether to do Right OR Wrong. Maybe A Primate Leaves, but then Decides to go back and Help C Stop B from Attacking A. In Other Words, The Individual Decides for Himself, but can be Influenced by Other People. You don't need Religion to do Right from Wrong or have Morality. Jody

        April 13, 2013 at 2:34 am |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        That is easy, Doofus.

        Wrong is that which harms someone else. Personally I'm a fan of the Pagan credo "Do as you will, but harm no-one".

        April 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • HMMMM

        So you all did a good job of belittling him but none of you answered any of his questions.

        Rynomite says morality is defined by man......So it IS subjective then and open to interpretation? What is "moral" today may not be tomorrow......what is "moral" for one group perhaps not for another?

        Then morality is unimportant and only law matters. Man's law.....so if man decides Rynomite is 3/5 of a man then that is moral and I am fine with it.

        April 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Jody

        I think it Depends on how Morality is Defined. I think that Morality is how You Treat People. You don't Hurt People and You should do what is Fair. Morality should not be because It says so In A Book. Morality should not be what Somebody thinks Somebody else should be. In Other Words, The Man is not Always Right and Man Decides what the Woman can do. It is Wrong to Stone A Woman because She was with Another Man or She Happened to get Raped and is Pregnant. They should Stone the Man that Raped her and Got her Pregnant instead of Stoning the Woman because A Man Decided that the Woman was Bad. If A Woman is Attacked, but Happens to get Pregnant, then the Woman Did Nothing Wrong. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  96. Frank Johnson

    I agree that morality came before religion. However, that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not God exists.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • sea

      It also has no bearing on whether or not Santa Claus exists. So what?

      April 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Frank Johnson

        Shallow response indeed.

        April 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • sea

        I merely matched the level of profundity exhibited in your original comment, Frank. So I say again, in response to your original comment, so what?

        April 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • cindy

        Santa Claus exists!

        April 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • what?

        speaking of morality and religion, no matter if you are a believer or a nonbeliever, if you leave rude and condecending comments to people who simply disagree with you, then you disprove your own point.

        April 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • sea

        I see no rude or condescending comments in this wee thread. Are you projecting or something?

        April 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Maximus Lovelace

        Perhaps in our creation God instilled the concept of morality into our very being. Perhaps you're just a jerk. Who knows. But I can't stand people that think they are so superior because they don't believe in religion. Nobody has all the answers, why act as if you?

        April 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • illusion2526

        Sea – Actually, I take this as a rude and condescending comment: "Wow, where do people like you come up with this stuff? If one doesn't believe that morals come from a sky fairy..." To imply that those with religion believe in a "sky fairy" rather than a Living God is fairly condescending, wouldn't you say?

        April 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • sea

        First of all, illusion2526, I assumed "what?" referred to this "wee thread." By that I mean the one started by Frank Johnson. The sky fairy comment came later, Sherlock. Furthermore, I call 'that' God a 'sky fairy', because that is what it is to me. It isn't real. It isn't living. If this honesty is rude and condescending to you, I believe you can find a church to your agreement quite near to you.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • sea

        Hey Maximus, where in the Santa Claus comment do you find evidence to be able to conclude that I think I am superior, that I don't believe in religion, and that I act as if I have all of the answers? You must have an incredibly active storymaking machine in that head of yours to conclude all of that. Lastly, how you 'feel' about what I said, that you "can't stand people..." I ask of you the question I asked of Frank – so what?

        April 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Jody

      Hey Frank. People think that God Exists because People Believe in God and he Makes People have Morality. If Morality Existed before Religion, then People don't need God to make Them be A Moral Person. If People don't need God, then God doesn't Exist if People don't need God in Their Life. We don't know if God Exists, but It wouldn't Matter if People don't need God to Take Care of Things. That is why People Care whether God Exists or not. Jody

      April 13, 2013 at 2:44 am |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        Huh? I can't tell which side you're advocating for.

        April 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  97. Representation

    Science does not disprove the belief in God and if you realize through physics that no one has ever experienced the physical world directly you come to the conclusion that what you experience are actually effects produced in you. If what is "outside" in the "physical" world is not producing these effects then how are these effects being produced? The evidence for the existence of God is closer than you think.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Paleo Anthropologist

      Monkeys are nice. They love GOD.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • seahedricks

      Say what? Science isn't in the business of disproving someone's 'belief' in a God, or the existence of a God, which is probably what you meant to say. Then again, reading the remainder of your blather, I can't quite tell what the heck you're trying to say. I feel happy inside when I eat a piece of chocolate, therefore God?

      April 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Representation

        people often mistake things with blather because it doesn't make sense to them but that sometimes that just means further inquiry is needed. Some people think science disproves the existence of God which is not the case; As science progresses we find people in society believing that science makes the belief in God obsolete.
        If you truly wish to understand what I am saying, I cannot explain it to you adequately in a paragraph or two. Research representationalism, Eisenstein theory of relativity, Descartes (discourse on methods), and grasp a basic understanding of the nervous system and the electrochemicals in the brain.

        April 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • sea

        There you are again, writing strangely. No, things do not make up blather. Words do. Point is, writing properly assists comprehension, Representation. Though you do a slightly better job of writing this time around, you still seems incoherent. If you were just trying to say that "Some people think science disproves the existence of God," then fine. I agree. Since we're on that point, some people think science strengthens their belief in the existence of God. Great. So what? Moving along, you seem to imply that you have evidence of this God and that it is somehow close to me, or closer than I think, which is strange, since I don't think that any evidence exists at all, but anyway. What do you know? The Theory of Relativity? The Discourse on Methods? Representationalism? This is your evidence? Bravo.

        April 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
      • Representation

        You have the evidence right in front of you and I cannot just tell you where to look but I can tell you this: what you see exists but the question is where it exists. *hint* The works I mentioned can only give you clues to the true answer because they are literally only shaped and arranged ink marks on a piece of paper or electrical inputs displayed on a screen. *hint* You already have the answer.

        April 13, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
      • sea

        Sorry, Rep, I have an active imagination, but I'm not delusional.

        May 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • James

      Okay, please listen. In this world we have set up a system in which when you make a point, you must prove it. Your point cannot be proven by you saying "prove I'm wrong!". That's silly. When you make a point, you have to prove it. So when you make a point that says something exists, you have to prove that it exists. You can't sit there and be lazy and say "prove it doesn't exist". It's your job to prove that it does. Proving something doesn't exist is near impossible. I defy you to prove to me that a 9-legged-5-headed hybrid human/rhinoceros doesn't exist. It would be impossible. You would need to be present at every location on the planet at the same time and then somehow show me that they aren't there (there means everywhere here). Science is not out to disprove things. Science looks to prove things. When things don't have enough proof they are either labelled as being false or merely unable to be proven at this time. You religious zealots need to get that through your thick, ignorant skulls.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • idontknowandneitherdoyou

      "The evidence for the existence of God"

      Fun with oxymorons....

      April 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        Or maybe just "fun with morons" :-)

        April 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • nojinx

      Gods are a type of thing that is outside of science. You cannot prove or disprove gods, they are beyond logic by definition. You can only choose to accept that you will believe they exist or you won't. Then you have to decide which among the thousands you will choose to follow.

      You cannot ever know.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • TG

        There should be no difficulty in establishing that there is a Supreme Designer, for the universe in its colossal size and organization proves this to be the case. In fact, there has been seen that galaxies are arranged in clusters to what is called "super clusters" of 1000s of galaxies grouped together and these are moving away at half the speed of light, so that the universe is continuously expanding, yet precisely.

        As one ancient lawyer once wrote of God, that "his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."(Bible, Rom 1:20) Just as a series of quality homes built in a neighborhood is evidence of a designer and these homes are his "creative handiwork", so likewise of the universe that exhibits precision organization is evidence of a Supreme Designer.

        In the Bible, it says: "This is what the true God, Jehovah, has said, the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it."(Isa 42:5)

        April 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • Jody

        I need to see the Little Old Man or Being with some Blue Prints or Drawings that say I will have Big Stars and Many Little Stars. Then, I would Believe that, but I still think Science or The Big Bang Caused the Universe. Jody

        April 17, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  98. Paleo Anthropologist

    I really like monkeys. They are funny.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      And they, us.

      April 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  99. blah

    Morality for early man was developed out of a need for survival. The human population for a majority of human history was very low and broken into small hunter-gatherer societies. If one member of the clan was killed, it delt a major blow to the manpower needed to hunt, gather food, make tools etc. Morality cam from a need for group survival, not from god.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      By George, I think he's got it!

      April 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • HMMMM

      So you the have no "God given human rights" correct?...only those that man, law or governments give you?

      So if I take over the government and take away your freedom.....I am moral in so doing? Might makes right?

      No good or evil but thinking makes it so?

      April 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Thepacific

      I am with you, wholeheartedly.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  100. Bostontola

    A the rate we are acquiring scientific knowledge, there will be precious little ground left for religion in 50 years.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Tac

      I disagree. His studies show that morality is not dependent on man, but are biologically inherent in each of us. Wouldn't that support the case for an intelligent creator? Isn't that support for the arguement that the values taught by religion are deeper than the invention of man?

      April 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • Sci-Guy

        That makes no sense. The point is that the values taught by religion ARE inventions of man, based off of a general biological framework of behavior and environmental differences. The example showing differences in morality in separate cultures is the best proof of this.

        April 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Becky

        No, that supports the case that we created God. Pro-social behavior exists because it helps us to survive. We repackage it and call it morality and or religion because we have to call it something. But pro-social behavior is not a
        "value". It is not something that we work towards achieving. Our ancestors had it and it worked well for them, so that's why we're here. However, sharks do not exhibit pro-social behavior. Their ancestors were successful and they are also here. Pro-social living (what is being equated here with "moral" living) is only one way of being a successful biological being. It just happens to be the way we came out.

        April 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • shootmyownfood

        No, it would support the theory of survival of the fittest. Moral actions help a group to survive, immoral actions may threaten it. Survival of the species is the key, not what or who might have "created" them. (Although I have to ask – if you believe man was created in the image of god, and animals other than man exhibit morals, then is god multi-imaged or are there many gods?)

        April 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • Jody

        Hello Tac. If there were no Primates that Seemed to have A Sense of Right Or Wrong, then Maybe you would have A Point about if God Instilled Morality when He Created People. However, The Primates don't have Religion, but They know Right From Wrong. IF God Instilled Morality in the Primates, then People are Not Different from Animals so They have A Soul or can Reason or have Morality because of Religion. Jody

        April 13, 2013 at 2:59 am |
      • allenwoll

        .
        What has an intelligent creator to do with religion ?
        .

        April 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
      • nojinx

        Many religions – hundreds of the current ones, in fact – are based on a god or gods that are also intelligent creators.

        April 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
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