Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavi

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sinsboldly
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21 Mar 2007, 1:23 am

Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior

Social OrderChimpanzees have a sense of social structure and rules of behavior, most of which involve the hierarchy of a group, in which some animals rank higher than others. Social living demands a number of qualities that may be precursors of morality. More Photos >

By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: March 20, 2007
Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.

Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality. They further believe that if morality grew out of behavioral rules shaped by evolution, it is for biologists, not philosophers or theologians, to say what these rules are.

Moral philosophers do not take very seriously the biologists’ bid to annex their subject, but they find much of interest in what the biologists say and have started an academic conversation with them.

The original call to battle was sounded by the biologist Edward O. Wilson more than 30 years ago, when he suggested in his 1975 book “Sociobiology” that “the time has come for ethics to be removed temporarily from the hands of the philosophers and biologicized.” He may have jumped the gun about the time having come, but in the intervening decades biologists have made considerable progress.


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/scien ... ei=5087%0A



T-rav20
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21 Mar 2007, 1:26 am

Interesting, but this belongs in the News And Current Events forum.
(Sweet, post one thousand.)


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JYossarian
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21 Mar 2007, 1:32 am

Well, it seems like virtually anything in "Random Discussion" on topic but I agree, this will likely garner more attention/discussion at the News board.



krex
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21 Mar 2007, 1:44 am

This supports my theory that humans are actually devolving...they can get a human to shock another human just by giving them uniform and a badge,(dounuts are extra).Dont even get me started on water boarding.


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21 Mar 2007, 2:38 am

Wow. This reminds me that chimps commit something similar to warfare too. Including wiping out one another's groups.