Where does good come from?Posted: April 20, 2011
The biologist, E. O. Wilson, is ready to launch another revolution in understanding how humans are made up and why they do what they do. Currently, he’s convinced that genetic predisposition (DNA) drives humans to form groups and that altruistic acts that could even threaten one’s own survival are a result of DNA, rather than a product of the reigning biological theory of “kin survival,” which says humans make altruistic sacrifices for kin in a self-interested way, i.e. to preserve those closest to them. A fierce fight is developing, which takes us into the heart of whether morality is somehow embedded in the human instinct, or not. What’s at stake here is the old issue of nature vs nurture; is morality in some way a part of our genetic DNA make up or is it culturally derived? There are a lot of slippery slopes, but I’m betting on Wilson. For a good article summarizing the issues involved, click here.