Do you believe that the basis for morality is a product of human evolution or that it’s derived from religion?  Many scientists agree that morality – the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior – is a product of evolution and human experience.

Morality is not exclusive to human beings; elements of it can be found in other animal relationships, like chimpanzees.  Additionally, because morality is acquired through evolution, moral universals – like reciprocity, cooperation, sanctions – are exhibited in all societies and cultures.  Finally, infants display signs of morality even before they have experienced much of the world.  More specifically, before they have been exposed to religious or cultural tenets.

The reality about morality is that it is not based on religion, but rather it is a part of our DNA – built from the ground up through evolution as an adaptation to survive as a social species.

The reality of morality.
Image source: http://www.the-brights.net/

 

  • SimplyMe

    The universal understanding of good vs evil is the basis for the argument of Apologetic Christianity. We all understand good because God has left his imprint in us. Take it to heart or not, C.S.Lewis’ ‘Mere Christianity’ is a good read, especially the first two parts. Since this seems to be a predominately atheistic website, I will not recommend it as a religious conversion, but instead as a philosophic viewpoint

  • luke

    it’s kinda funny that you, (and all the contributors to that infographic, even with all of their PhDs) didn’t even consider the fact that morality could be the product of socialization, rather than religion or DNA. Church and DNA are not the only things that affect what people do, for crying out loud. Everything we do is the product of our environments interacting with our genes. Moral beings aren’t born, they’re cultivated.

    • Jim Fox

      It’s kinda funny that you missed the point entirely. Morality evolved millions of years before religion.

      • luke

        You didn’t read what I wrote, now did you. Come on. Be honest.

        • Jim Fox

          I confess I skipped too quickly over your post. However, morality is not exclusively human, which you infer from using “WE”. Many animals exhibit morality, necessary for group success. Inherited behaviours independent of DNA have recently been accepted (was Lamarck right in some respects?) so the question of nature/nurture
          is more open than before.
          “Moral beings aren’t born” is not true- very young children show basic morality long before they can be socialized. So, no- I disagree that morality is necessarily cultivated. Though it is reinforced later, positively or negatively.

          Certainly, none of us is born with ‘original sin’…

          • luke

            I hear you, and you make some good points, and I wholeheartedly agree with you that the concept of ‘original sin’ is misguided at best. Perhaps we have different understandings of what constitutes moral behavior, and what cognitive abilities are required to utilize such behaviors intentionally. In my work with youth and young children I often refer to Kohlberg’s stages of moral development in observing whether or not a particular action is based in altruism, or simply following conventions.
            The work of Dr. Bruce Perry shows some genuinely fascinating aspects of human development, and illustrates how sensory and interactional deprivation in the first year of life (also known as the fourth trimester) can result in severe, or even complete impairment in the development of empathy – essentially fomenting sociopathic tendencies in later life. It’s research like this that is behind my statement that moral beings aren’t born, they’re cultivated. Even if it’s just by feeding a child healthy food and holding them in their first year of life, it is an epigenetic occurrence; nature through nurture.