Frans de Waal on “Morals without God?”

Frans de Waal has a long editorial in yesterday’s New York Times, cross-posted (with discussion) at the National Humanities Center’s “On the Human” forum.  A teaser:

Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior. Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed for livable societies, is built into us? Does anyone truly believe that our ancestors lacked social norms before they had religion? Did they never assist others in need, or complain about an unfair deal? Humans must have worried about the functioning of their communities well before the current religions arose, which is only a few thousand years ago. Not that religion is irrelevant — I will get to this — but it is an add-on rather than the wellspring of morality.

De Waal and Robert Wright carry on the discussion on Bloggingheads.tv.

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