Thursday, July 05, 2007



Creationists see no natural reason for human beings to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others or even to act on ordinary moral obligations. Belief in God and fear of eternal damnation are the only things, they say, that keep people from each other's throats.

How humans got by in the years before Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from the mountain are, apparently, a mystery.

There are other ways of seeing, and studying, our sense of moral obligation to our fellow creatures. Sam Brown, an evolutionary biologist from The University of Texas at Austin, says, an act of altruism "can continue to give benefits even after the cooperator is dead. Conversely, cheating will have consequences in the future."

Could these benefits play a role in survival? Could the genes of altruistic individuals have been passed along in greater numbers than those who act selfishly.

I find it easier to believe than the notion that human beings ran riot, killing, stealing, and raping each other until they learned God was against it.


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