Monday, July 09, 2007


A recent article in the Washington Post reveals that “[neuroscientists] are using brain imaging and psychological experiments to study whether the brain has a built-in moral compass. The results—many of them published just in recent months—are showing, unexpectedly, that many aspects of morality appear to be hard-wired in the brain, most likely the result of evolutionary processes that began in other species.”

Yep—altruism is not the result of being forced, by commandments, to treat one another well, but is probably the result of our realizing at a deep evolutionary level that the person we treat well is also made of flesh and blood just as we are. Altruism results from our comprehending that the person (or animal) we help is made up of the same tissue as we are. Link up to the article for more evidence of this fact.

Long ago I came across this idea in a book called The Moral Animal. Now more evidence is accumulating.


Melanie said...

You have an interesting blog, Geo. It kept my attention, which doesn't usually happen (no offense to the 999,999 other bloggers out there). I am curious about you, but didn't see a profile button to click on. You must want to remain completely anonymous.

Pardon my Freudian interpretation of your blog, but due to your unfiltered vehemence, I'm thinking that you must have had a cruel, pseudo-religious grandmother who forced you to sit in a cold closet with nothing but a candle and a crust of bread until you finished memorizing your catechism. Am I close?

I hope that's not the case, of course, but you did make me curious...not about your atheistic stance...because everybody's got an opinion, of course, but more so about who made you so angry.

Well, interesting blog. Nice talking to you.


Geo said...

Thank you, Melanie. That's what I always like from others—interesting and new ways to view reality. And old religions are so full of old and boring ways of viewing reality.

That's primarily why I'm an atheist. Most believers seem to want to believe that atheists have arrived at their factual stance towards life by the same emotional path that believers arrive at theirs—i.e. a profound disillunsionment with their personal reality. Believers don't seem to understand that rationality has its own rewards and that atheists are primarily people who emphasize reason in their approaches rather than emotional superstitions. Note how many fundamentalists nowadays keep seeking ever more emotional churches to attend. They are not interested in a rational approach to life; they want to get high and have transcendent emotional experiences. This is because factual reality is too boring for them. They have to have a high in order to find life acceptable. This is another reason why so many Christians fall into sinful ways and sinners fall into religious ways; they both have the same need to escape everyday reality with a high.

Finally, Melanie speaks of my "unfiltered vehemence" as if my discussion of the facts is vehement. I'm not aware of feeling vehemently when I point out irrationality in faith views of the world. I'm just impatient with people who run from the facts of life into an irrational framework. They are the kinds of people who blow up people who disagree with them. They take their model from their god the father who has once hypothetically murdered the entire human race because they did not slavishly obey his orders. Now there is "unfiltered vehemence" if I've ever seen it.

Melanie said...

I was finally able to view your profile by clicking on your picture. You have an MFA in Creative Writing? Have you ever done any teaching? Published any work?

So what I perceived as "vehemence" was actually "impatience"? Good to know. :)

With the exception of a few fundamental differences, I agree with much of what you are saying. Every time I turned on the television, I watch this blind, highly-emotional and "patriotic" evangelical movement creep into world politics and I can see that history is repeating itself (again). If this continues, we're headed for another dark period in history.