In search of moral behavior

May 23rd, 2013

One of the central tenants in the debate about religion, is that some claim it provides the only construct for understanding moral behavior. In fact, science, research and even our own pets should tell us clearly that empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity are all traits we see in animal behavior. This is particularly true of the primates.

And just as the monstrous instinct exists in all of us, including animals, so to do the traits of social cooperation. It’s simply the other side of the same coin.

No one has done a better job of explaining this than Frans De Waal in his new work The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates.

My conversation with Frans De Waal: