Misunderstandings abound in regard to human actions. Where do morals come from? Did they miraculously arise when people decided that nature was overruled by Gods?

I think not.

Human survival occurred because certain actions made sense. People couldn't go around killing people. Single individuals or small groups learned that protecting each other assured their own safety. The drive for personal survival was instinctive. Hunting for food was time consuming and when found, food was shared with the entire group. Unlike other mammals, humans shared food and more recently material goods. During times of plenty sharing of goods brought power to the benefactor. Generosity and nurturing behaviors evolved as part of our biology and have secured survival of the human species..

But back to morals. Science and religion periodically become locked in a death match. Known history records cycles of rational thought recurring among escapes into the fantasy labeled as religion. Those are covered in The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. Did the adoption of a set of rules influence human survival? Or did survival demand rules to ensure adaptation and development of our species? Because humans have survived, rules seem to have appeared long before subjection to gods was introduced. History shows those rules were used as the early basis of religions.

Studies by anthropologists and paleontologists show that the size of hominid brains hasn't changed in the last fifty thousand years (read Broca's Brain by Carl Sagan). The family Hominidae as a viable species has flourished because individuals took care of each other - a very strong instinct.

Researchers point out that goodness, generosity, and altruism might actually be our most important genetic traits, see Good and Smart for further details.

Naomi Sherer

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