Atheist Girl

The Atheist Kurdish Girl. Helping to build a world free of superstitions.

About Me

Name: Roya
Home: sydney, Australia
About Me: I went from looking for god to finding him evil to finding he does not exist, all before turning 14. Now, I can proudly say, I'm a libertarian, an anarchist, and a free thinker.
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    More evidence that our morality comes from nature not god.
    Saturday, November 04, 2006
    From New York Times:
    An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong

    Who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong? Yet that essential knowledge, generally assumed to come from parental teaching or religious or legal instruction, could turn out to have a quite different origin.

    Primatologists like Frans de Waal have long argued that the roots of human morality are evident in social animals like apes and monkeys. The animals’ feelings of empathy and expectations of reciprocity are essential behaviors for mammalian group living and can be regarded as a counterpart of human morality.

    Marc D. Hauser, a Harvard biologist, has built on this idea to propose that people are born with a moral grammar wired into their neural circuits by evolution. In a new book, “Moral Minds” (HarperCollins 2006), he argues that the grammar generates instant moral judgments which, in part because of the quick decisions that must be made in life-or-death situations, are inaccessible to the conscious mind.
    . . . .
    The proposal, if true, would have far-reaching consequences. It implies that parents and teachers are not teaching children the rules of correct behavior from scratch but are, at best, giving shape to an innate behavior. And it suggests that religions are not the source of moral codes but, rather, social enforcers of instinctive moral behavior. Readmore

    You theists got that? Stop using your moral argument cause it doesn't gonna work.


    posted by Roya @ 7:44 PM  
    • At 6/11/06 3:28 PM, Blogger Drunken Tune said…

      Thanks for posting the article! Evidence for morality without adding a god to the equation is just one more nail in the coffin of religion. Too bad it's a heck of a zombie, and keeps coming back demanding more brains - and a 10% tithe.

    • At 7/11/06 9:16 AM, Anonymous Silvestre said…

      Vaya con Dios

    • At 8/11/06 6:12 PM, Blogger Lui said…

      Vaya con bullshit, more like it Silvestre. (oh yeah, same thing) If evolution is "just a theory", what does that make religion?

    • At 9/11/06 9:58 AM, Blogger Simon said…

      Why do humans commit crimes, though?

      We can agree that it is wrong to rape and murder, but can we blame the rapist or the murderer?

      So, there is some element of morality intrinsic to human nature. This does not alter the fact that morality and behaviour are ultimately chemical processes over which we have no real power.

      We cannot be blamed for our actions.

    • At 9/11/06 10:05 AM, Anonymous Silvestre said…

      "Vaya con bullshit, more like it Silvestre.."
      I didn’t know that this was a racist weblog. OK. It’s good to know it.
      ADIOS (for good)

    • At 9/11/06 7:56 PM, Blogger Tommy said…

      Hmmm, somebody's touchy today.

    • At 9/11/06 11:48 PM, Blogger Lui said…

      Racist? I'm from Uruguay, so I know what you were saying. I was just saying that your idea that evolution is "just a theory like many others" to be a load of rubbish. Sorry if you get offended so easily.

    • At 15/11/06 12:43 PM, Blogger chooseDoubt said…

      If morality comes from religion then why don't we stone children for disrespecting their parents in majority Christian countries? That is what the scripture says to do and before anyone leaps in with "let he who is without sin blah blah blah" just remember that your superman is also quoted in Luke 19:27 saying something rather different.

      Morality obviously doesn't come from religion since the only people that actual adhere to the scriptural morality are the bloodthirsty fundamentalists that mainstream religion tries to distance itself from anyway. The rest of us, including the Pope, find the literal scriptural approach to morality rather extremely barbaric and unpleasant. The argument was lost by the theists the second they stopped the inquisition (Muslims excluded from this of course) they just didn't notice they lost yet. Still, that's not the only argument for which that has happened.

      Que me cago en dios. :)

    • At 18/11/06 10:23 AM, Blogger Kevin Parry said…

      Good article. The problem with the theist's assertion that we derive our moral nature from God is that they fail to explain where God derives his own moral nature.

      Memoirs of an ex-Christian

    • At 22/11/06 6:44 AM, Blogger Infidel753 said…

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • At 22/11/06 6:50 AM, Blogger Infidel753 said…

      What might be called legitimate morality comes from group self-interest. We try to prevent murder, rape, theft, etc. (including punishing those who commit them) for the same reason we try to prevent plagues and floods -- not because an imaginary God forbade them, but because they are dangerous.

      Religion's contribution is a fake "morality" condemning things like atheism or unusual sexual behavior among consenting adults, which don't harm other parties and are therefore none of society's business.

      Frans de Waal's books are well worth reading for anyone interested in this subject. Apes (not monkeys) are astonishingly similar to humans in behavior, just as they are in anatomy and biochemistry. If the apes are not our close relatives, then that imaginary God was sure trying very hard to make it LOOK like they are.

    • At 4/12/06 4:50 AM, Anonymous servitore said…

      What's interesting about the article is that it makes the presupposition that evolution is the driving force which hard-wired this "moral grammar" into peoples genetic code.

      I've not read his book but from the article it would seem his entire premises is based on the infallibility of evolution. It's just as easy for a theist to say that God hard wired this "moral grammar" into our genetic code.

      So I suppose it really boils back down to the debate of whether or not a God exists. Interestly enough I'd say that the authors findings (as summarized here) would actually be consistent with Biblical doctrine if we exchange God for evolution as the author of this genetic hardwiring.

      A final point - Christian doctrine fully agrees with the concept that we do not have a blank slate from birth but are rather inclined to rebel in sin. So I'm not really sure why the idea that teachers and parents must shape the innate behaviors of children is so counterintuitive to religious (Judeo-Christian) thought.

    • At 4/12/06 6:57 AM, Blogger Infidel753 said…

      Theism does not explain why God would also hard-wire precursors of human morality into apes -- unless, again, God for some reason designed everything to look as if we evolved from apes.

    • At 5/12/06 2:46 AM, Blogger chooseDoubt said…

      Also,absolutely every piece of evidence ever found fits with the theory of evolution. God and evolution are not interchangable terms.

      "A final point - Christian doctrine fully agrees with the concept that we do not have a blank slate from birth but are rather inclined to rebel in sin."

      So the reverse of what this study is actually saying then - that we are inclined to cooperative mutually beneficial behaviour.

    • At 15/12/06 6:58 PM, Blogger The Alpha said…

      This is a good article. I'm so sick of theist claiming that their sense of morality is derived from their scripture and that atheist are inherently eveil. When they say that, I'm sure they haven't read it. It shocks the conscience to think about some of the atrocities laid out in some of the scriptures, and orgaized religion just helps to numb people it.

    • At 20/12/06 5:52 AM, Anonymous eirc said…

      well first of all i too believe (believe - not know) in the non-existence of god, but surely this is no evidence for that.
      in fact it's an interesting matter but it has nothing to do with religion.
      anyway in such small things "god" can always find an easy way out of the mess :p

    • At 20/12/06 3:41 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney said…

      Oh my God youre an anarchist too???? YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! :D

    • At 26/12/06 11:21 PM, Blogger Lui said…

      "It's just as easy for a theist to say that God hard wired this "moral grammar" into our genetic code. "

      Except that there's absolutely no evidence for that.

      This is just another case of a theist trying to muscle in on science's findings and claim them as his own, without giving us any compelling reasons to take him seriously.

    • At 28/12/06 1:33 AM, Blogger Demo said…

      Applause to AG for posting this. I've read arguments about morality since the day of Socrates, yet the theists persist in ignoring anything that they don't want to understand.


    • At 31/12/06 4:17 AM, Blogger Robert said…

      Hello there, I recently put up a topsites list for Atheist websites on the net, because in my opinion we are greatly in need of a high quality list of websites.

      Please visit and sign up if you would like, your membership is instant.

    • At 1/1/07 11:13 AM, Blogger Infidel753 said…

      Robert -- I tried to join, but the Turing word thing at the bottom kept giving me "The word you typed does not match the image", even though I made sure it did. This may need tweaking.

    • At 25/3/07 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      If morality is hardwired into our genes, curious that it does not prevent genocides, wars, bullying, rapes, lynchings, child murder, etc., from happening.

    • At 2/7/07 1:25 AM, Blogger Lui said…

      You view of morality is one dimensional, anonymous. You seem not to understand that morality isn't an all-or-nothing thing. In-group morality can come at the expense of out-group morality. We can be predisposed to treat others as we would like to be treated, while at the same time be predisposed to be xenophobic towards other people from other tribes. This is reflected in many religions, which have rules for in-group law enforcement, but advocate such things as genocide and slavery for those outside the faith.

    • At 5/6/11 3:25 AM, Anonymous Poker Blinds said…

      It do not agree

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