110. Evolution's Gift: The Emergence of Morality in Human Existence
Introduction: Drawing from William Search's "Why" and "Conversations with chatGPT"
In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating theory that the existence of humans is intertwined with the concept of morality. This idea is based on the works of William Search in his books "Why" and "Conversations with chatGPT: Exploring the Theory of Morality and Existence." Inspired by Charles Darwin and psychologist Michael Tomasello's research, Search offers a fresh perspective on the origins of human morality and its role in our existence.
Darwin's Evolutionary Perspective on Morality
Charles Darwin, almost 150 years ago, proposed that morality was an outcome of evolution. As natural selection shaped humanity into a highly social species, our moral capacities gradually emerged. He believed that the potential for morality lay in subtle differences between us and our nearest animal relatives. He famously wrote, "The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind."
Michael Tomasello: Investigating the Connection Between Morality and Community
For about 30 years, psychologist Michael Tomasello has been examining this intriguing concept. He sought to uncover the relationship between human communal nature and morality. Tomasello dedicated a significant portion of his career to research comparing the social behavior and cognitive abilities of chimpanzees, our closest relatives, and young human children. He argued that human morality, unique to our species, arises from our innate tendency to engage in collaborative and cooperative behaviors that other great apes do not exhibit.
Primate Studies: The Capacity for Human-like Behavior
At the beginning of the 20th century, experiments on non-human primates, such as chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans, revealed their abilities in various aspects once believed exclusive to humans. These included tool-making, empathy, discerning the intentions and objectives of others, and forming friendships. Yet, humans possess language, laws, institutions, and culture, setting us apart from our primate relatives.
Human Intellect Versus Communal Tendencies
Historically, the dominant explanation for these exclusively human phenomena was our intelligence, as the human brain is three times the size of a chimpanzee's brain. However, some researchers have recently proposed an alternative view. Our stronger communal inclinations may be the driving force that has allowed us to advance far beyond our ape counterparts.
Conclusion: The Interplay of Morality, Existence, and Human Nature
In conclusion, William Search's theories on the connection between morality and human existence, influenced by the works of Charles Darwin and Michael Tomasello, provide a thought-provoking perspective. The delicate balance between our social nature and moral development offers valuable insights into our species' uniqueness. It is through this exploration that we can better understand the role of morality in our existence and our innate ability to shape the world around us.