The evolution of morality

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The evolution of morality

Postby Brian Jordan » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:07 pm

Jonathan Leake, Science Editor, Times On Line

MONKEYS and apes have a sense of morality and the rudimentary ability to tell right from wrong, according to new research.

In a series of studies scientists have found that monkeys and apes can make judgments about fairness, offer altruistic help and empathise when a fellow animal is ill or in difficulties. They even appear to have consciences and the ability to remember obligations.

The research implies that morality is not a uniquely human quality and suggests it arose through evolution. That could mean the strength of our consciences is partly determined by our genes.

Such findings are likely to antagonise fundamentalist religious groups. Some believe the ability to form moral judgments is a God-given quality that sets humans apart.
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