Day By Day

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Latest From the "Evolutionary Psychologists"

The Holy Grail of secularists has been to find a "scientific" basis for moral behavior. Now a Harvard evolutionary biologist claims to have found it.

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.

Read the whole thing here.

Hauser's "moral grammar" concept is inspired by Noam Chomsky's idea of a "universal grammar" and was developed in collaboration with Chomsky. It represents an attempt to remove questions of right and wrong from the deliberations of ethicists and moral philosophers and to "claim" them for evolutionary biology.

Of course, as the article notes, there is absolutely no direct evidence for any of this, and most evolutionary biologists reject it for technical reasons, but the quest to demoralize and dehumanize humanity goes on..., and on..., and on, and as long as it does the NYT will avidly report on it.

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