Monday, September 01, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

‘We Don’t Need God’ to Explain Human Morality, Writes Canisius College Lecturer

Tonight Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, will host behavioral biologist Frans de Waal, who denies that God is the source of human morality.

De Waal, reportedly a former Catholic who is now an atheist, is scheduled to speak tonight at the Montante Cultural Center about his book, The Bonobo and the Atheist: Morality, Religion, and Prosocial Primates.

The book seeks to argue that “empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals including humans, and that religion is not the source, but rather a way to enforce good behavior,” according to Canisius’ website.

In the book, according to NPR, de Waal writes, "It wasn't God who introduced us to morality; rather, it was the other way around. God was put into place to help us live the way we felt we ought to."

ABC News reported about de Waal’s book:

"There is little evidence that other animals judge the appropriateness of actions that do not directly affect themselves," he writes. Yet, "In their behavior, we recognize the same values we pursue ourselves.

"I take these hints of community concern as a sign that the building blocks of morality are older than humanity, and we don't need God to explain how we got to where we are today," he writes.

Our sense of morality, he continues, comes from within, not from above. 

The event is sponsored by the Canisius College Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations (ISHAR). The discussion will conclude with a book signing. 

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