Well stated, Ronnie. I do believe that our innate animal morality, supplemented by reason and experience and striped of religious trappings, is the one hope for our survival as a cultured and technological civilization. Unfortunately, I think it likely that advanced technology will be used by ignorant people to end civilization as we know it before enlightened, superstition-free morality is common around the globe. Let's hope that I'm wrong.
From: Ronnie Hawkins <[address removed]>
To: atheists-36 <[address removed]>
Sent: Wed, Jun 5,[masked]:26 pm
Subject: Re: [atheists-36] "The Bonobo and the Atheist"
Thanks for the link, Daniel. Last week I told Jack I'd be interested in leading a discussion of de Waal's new book; he said July might be open for it, but I don't see it listed on the website yet. I have followed de Waal's work for many years, and I see his way of understanding human morality as far more compatible with biology than the fancy linguistic footwork often carried out by academic philosophers. The purpose served by the belief systems of the patriarchal religions seems to be that of binding us together in groups, or more precisely into subgroupings of our species that end up, as you say, perceiving each other as "threats" and sometimes engaging in violent conflict with each other. Getting a cognitive grasp of ourselves both as living organisms--yes, animals, social mammals, primates--and as members of superindividual groupings is something that I think might get us past our present, stalemated state of affairs. _The Bonobo and the Atheist_ is a good place to start.
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