12 October 2009

Dogs, Altruism, and Morality

Francis Collins has argued that altruism isn't proof for God in the world but it is a strong indication for God in an essay contributed to the Templeton Foundation:

Do not get me wrong. I am not arguing that the existence of the moral law somehow proves God’s existence. Such proofs cannot be provided by the study of nature. And there is an inherent danger in arguing that the moral law points to some sort of supernatural intervention in the early days of human history; this has the flavor of a "God of the gaps" argument. After all, much still remains to be understood about evolution's influence on human nature. But even if radically altruistic human acts can ultimately be explained on the basis of evolutionary mechanisms, this would do nothing to exclude God’s hand. For if God chose the process of evolution in the beginning to create humans in imago Dei, it would also be perfectly reasonable for God to have used this same process to instill knowledge of the moral law.

However, it appears that altruism isn't uniquely human. Not only have we seen altruism and morality in our primate relatives.

We see morality in canines too.


fausto said...

Which explains why "God" is "Dog" spelled backwards?

Desmond Ravenstone said...

And on the third day, the Lord said: "WOOF"

Mystical Seeker said...

If Francis Collins believes that God guided evolution in some way to result in human morality, then it would make sense that those same evolutionary processes were at work among our mammalian forebears as part of that process leading up to us humans, which could then easily mean that other animals also exhibit something akin to human morality.