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April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Where do morals come from?

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which our sister blog CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.

(CNN)–
Being nice to others and cooperating with them aren't uniquely human traits. Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, studies how our close primate relatives also demonstrate behaviors suggestive of a sense of morality.

De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Science

soundoff (1,276 Responses)
  1. AtheistSteve

    I've said it before and I'll say It again. When theists and non believers try to compare notes on morality they might as well be speaking in different languages. It all boils down to what each side means when they define morals. To a theist morality exists as a built in feature of the universe. Something to be discovered. Something that isn't dependent on a mind to conceptualize it. Something that doesn't require a situation or event to actually happen, in reality or hypothetically, to still exist. Like it is patiently waiting for a situation to occur before it manifests itself. Combine this with the belief that we humans are equipped with a divine gift. A morality detector that allows us to ascertain the moral value of any situation. In other words a Gods will detector. But the bottom line is this. Moral laws exist. If you have a detector or not, if you have a situation or not, if you think about it or not...moral laws exist....Gods will exists barring anything else.

    For the non believer morals are labels. A concept we attach that evaluates the rightness or wrongness of a situation. After the fact. For comparison to the theist view I will refer to something we actually do have a detector for. Our sense of taste. As an appropriate mirror to good and evil I'll use sweet and sour. It's pretty easy to label your food as sweet...or sour...just taste it. Now this experiment has been run countless times by innumerable taste buds. We even nailed down the chemistry that imparts these qualities to our food. it doesn't matter if you remove the ability to taste a food, the quality of sweet or sour remains. A food you've never tried is a mystery until you put it in your mouth. But, and this is key, remove the food and the quality vanishes. We say sugar is sweet not sweet is sugar. Oh we can imagine the concept of the quality sweet but not without first having experienced the physical sensation. It's a label. But in this case it's a label for something that actually exists and can be demonstrated. Now humans have been running the moral evaluation experiments just as long as we've been running the taste experiments. However in this case it is entirely conceptual. No one has identified a moral organ equivalent to the taste bud. It is an exercise of the mind. But just like the food example if you completely remove the situation or event that you are applying a moral judgment to then the evaluation or quality of morality vanishes too.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Damocles

      Yes, and we could very well have called the taste of sugar 'red' or 'diagonal.' This is why I say there are acts and consequences. The act is the same wherever you go, but the consequences can be far different. Morality is just a word used by those that want to put a spin on things.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Which God?

      My "gods will dector" wasn't working, but my bullschiit detector works fine, and you are full of it, AS(S).

      April 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes language is symbolic. Both sides are using the symbol "morality" to describe the rightness or wrongness of a situation or event.
      The disparity lies in the starting point.
      Theists believe that God is real. Existing in and beyond our perceived reality. That morals are equally real. The same for souls, the afterlife and heaven.

      Non believers think that God is imaginary. An idea...a concept. Same for morals, souls, an afterlife and heaven. Now at least the concept of morality is useful as a gauge or measurement we can apply to situations in our life. The rest...a God, soul and whatever...not so much.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Which God?

      Ooohh. an ad hominem. Wow..you got me. What a brilliant comeback..

      April 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Rodrigo El Obviouso Del Los Santos Y Sanitarios

      A valid one at that. There are many to choose from.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Damocles

      The problem is when you (not you, personally) try to say morality is driven by an unknown, invisible enti-ty. How then, can anyone really know what that enti-ty does/does not consider 'moral.' Oh, they have a book that says this, that, and the other, yet their paragon of virtue and morality murdered the world so they have to backtrack and say 'mysterious ways' and 'oh, it's man's fault.' This doesn't hold water.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  2. Dawkins is an idiot

    American atheists is a cult

    April 15, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Science

      Wound a little tight are you ? ... are you as smart as a 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Dave8582

      Except, there really are no gods. Not even one. Jesus was an urban legend. Morals evolved. They were not given by any deity. Morality is subjective. Killing is wrong...unless you are protecting a little Jewish girl hiding in your attic. Stealing is wrong...unless you are stealing a loaf of bread to feed your children.

      Cheers!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Science

      Poof goes the dragon !

      Engineering 'Ghost' Objects: Breakthrough in Scattering Illusion

      Feb. 19, 2013 — A team at the NUS Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering led by Dr Qiu Cheng-Wei has come out with an optical device to "engineer" ghosts.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219090643.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Damn, I keep missing the meetings...

      April 15, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  3. lol??

    C'mon policy makers in charge of everything, look at poor King David. Science shows the NEED for chast*ity belts with Bathsheba. One little afternoon delight. Women go into heat, just like their cousins, the chimps. Stop the killin'!!

    April 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Akira

      Women go into heat?
      Oh, my.
      You've lost it.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  4. Salero21

    What I've been saying all along!!

    Apes as well as all other animals species and subspecies, have been observed and recorded showing affections and compassion even to animals of other species, genus and families. Domestic and farm animals of course, do show affections even sympathy towards their masters, owners/farmers. I once saw a cricket trying to revive another cricket that I have step on while doing some work in the crawlspace.

    Animals have of course customs, instincts, practices and rituals, like in mating rituals. However animals do NOT have or practice Religion, because they don't have an innate discernment of Right and Wrong. If well trained some domestic animals and pets appear to show remorse or guilt. However they don't do that on their own, they need to be train. Only Human beings belong, follow, have or practice Religion. I'm not a religious man but I don't have grudges against any religion either. It is an attribute, characteristic and trait that separates us Humans from the animals.

    When atheists in their irrational and ravenous rants attack any and all religions, or in particular Christianity; what they're doing in fact is attacking the very fiber of Humanity. In doing so these atheists descend to levels lower than that of Wild animals. They [atheists] become as dogs, goats, swine and wolves in their irrationality.

    Just as Jesus said and compare them to! Jesus called Herod a Fox, and said of other men in a Metaphorical way of course that they were such as dogs, goats, swine and wolves. Jesus said so, the Scriptures say so, God says so!

    April 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Science

      21 and counting

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      Please watch

      The African Rift

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okWkmgkS00w&w=640&h=360]

      April 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Animals don't practice religion (that we know of) because they deal in reality. Humans who lack the will or the means to deal in reality make up gods. It doesn't make those gods real. It just means that humans have the ability to invent concept that comfort them.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ tallulah,

      God Created animals before man you fool! But man is the only creature Created after God's own likeness. That's why God granted to mankind to have and practice religion you fool.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ Science (Pseudo),

      Same as tallulah13.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • .

      Salero21: asshole to the Christian posters. You fool.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Roger

      The human body and design is far from perfefct, Salaro, so God's image has some imperfections also?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Salero, do have ANY concept of how utterly idiotic you appear in your posts?

      It's really sad.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well you're half right. Humans evolved from earlier lifeforms that existed first but that doesn't change the obvious truth. We are animals, not separate from them..

      April 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Salero, you're a joke. A prime example of the shortcomings of our educational system. But please keep on posting, it advances atheism admirably. And provides much comic relief.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Science

      Are you as smart as a 5th grader ?............... sal21

      Is he smarter than a 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A Candid Conversation between Two Species

      The Man: I am the predilect object of Creation, the centre of all that exists…
      The Tapeworm: You are exalting yourself a little. If you consider yourself the lord of Creation, what can I be, who feed upon you and am ruler in your entrails?
      The Man: You lack reason and an immortal soul.
      The Tapeworm: And since it is an established fact that the concentration and complexity of the nervous system appear in the animal scale as an uninterrupted series of graduations, where are we cut off? How many neurons must be possessed in order to have a soul and a little rationality?
      – Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Recollections of My Life

      April 15, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Dave8582

      @Doc Vestibule

      I always love to read your comments. I always benefit from them.

      I once heard that the tapeworm is convinced that man, was created by god, for the tapeworms benefit...

      Cheers!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Salero21

      So... unable to disprove or refute what I said huh! That's why I say atheism is stupidity in Full bloom. All atheists do in these blogs is postings Copy & Paste. They barely have anything close to their own opinion. They just parrot over and over what another fool atheist said.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dave
      Thank you for the kind words.

      @Solero
      Your words are slightly less kind. 😉
      If you ask a biologist whether there is a conflict between religion and science, they will tell you that there is none. Not becuase they occupy different magisteria, but rather because religion is recognized as a sociological adaptation. In other words, religion is a part of evolution.
      We instinctively do that which is least painful. Children do that which is least painful to themselves. Maturity comes when we are able to put aside our own immediate comfort and do that which is least painful for the group. Were it not for our ability to reason this out and cooperate, our species would not survive. As individuals, we are prey animals – soft, squidgy, slow and bereft of in-built offensive capabilities. As a cooperative group, we have become the dominant species in nearly every eco-system on Earth.
      But it takes a mighty big stick to beat the selfishness out of us! Historically, it has been a God sized stick capable to inflicting unimaginable devastation in this life and the hereafter.
      Religion binds communities together by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
      Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this. Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.
      Religion, like people, has evolved based on the laws of Darwinian evolution in that different environments have brought about different religions.
      It is not possible to build a universal, God-based consensus.
      Any proposition that relies on faith can and will be twisted by unscrupulous individuals for their own gain.
      Its just far too easy to manipulate those who are willing to suspend critical thinking and accept something without evidence.
      Sociological evolution is leading us away from religion. Not because Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc are negative in and of themselves, but becuase they are necessarily divisive and exlusive.
      In the 21st century we have numerous examples of irreligious governments running successful societies, like Ja/pan, Switzerland and my home, Canada.
      Some of our elected officials may be religious, but we expect them to act as Humanists, not religionists.
      Ultimately, to survive we must reject tribalism.

      April 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  5. faith

    i believe in dororthy. she has the answers. she loves herself. she hates you if you disagree with her. she is a jealous, neurotic god, but she is better than all them other mythical FSM gods. she is sweet like hitler. just a delightful fella

    April 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • faith

      we all love dorothy because she is:

      1. one well educated dude

      April 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Akira

      Clarity is none of those things.
      Why are you spreading lies about people you don't even know?

      April 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • lol??

      AKIRA, why are you defending people or a computer program you don't even know??

      April 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Akira

      FAITH, why do you continue to lie about people you don't know?
      And now you are saying that clarity is a computer program?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      90% of the time I have no idea what this "faith" person is talking about. He/she sounds like a malicious lunatic. I can't tell if he/she believes in god or not. He/She simply sounds like a nasty piece of work.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • .

      If faith is what your typical one-each GCB's are like, no thanks.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, my comment should be to lol??.
      I desend people here for the same reason anyone should...because when people flat-out lie in the name of Christianity, it doesn't further Chistianity's cause.
      So stop lying, lol??. And learn what the word "socialism" means.

      April 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Akira

      *defend

      April 15, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  6. Bostontola

    Scientists and people of faith both agree that artificial selection is a fact and is capable of changing a species form. Man can change god's creation by applying reproductive pressure. Why is it so outlandish to see that the same species exposed to natural reproductive pressures will change? Tis applies to the hominins.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      Natural selection does not create new species. Mutations do not creat new species. You have FAITH that these things happen. You believe all life is a product of blind chance.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Repeating lies won't make them true, DawkIdiot.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      D idiot
      That is incorrect.
      Natural selection DOES create new species. We see it everyday in single celled organisms.

      You are in denial. Your genetic code traces life back to the beginning on this planet, billions of years ago.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • lol??

      RC, too bad you have a single celled bwain.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  7. amy

    Wow – I'm discovering this "Dawkins is an idiot" is a real – well 'tard. I don't usually like to use that term, but in this case – apropos!

    April 14, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      As an atheist, Amy is most likely loose and easy

      April 14, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Bostontola

      Dawkins, does your belief system and its moral precepts say its ok to draw pejorative conclusions about a Preston's character from almost no evidence? Please don't say, we'll others do it.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Bostontola

      Person's

      April 14, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  8. Dawkins is an idiot

    Can a frog turn into a prince? Atheists belong to a dangerous cult with Dawkins as their leader. They worship Charles Darwin

    April 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Bostontola

      A cult is a group that performs a set of ritual practices. How does atheism fit that?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If Dawkins threatens your myth it just shows how delicate your belief is.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ironic that you should use one of the very examples (frog into a prince) that Dawkins uses to explain how evolution DOESN'T work. Maybe you should read one of his books instead of slandering his name (also known as "baring false witness" if I'm not mistaken)... 🙂

      April 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  9. Dawkins is an idiot

    According to an atheist morals came from nothing. A lighting bolt struck a mud puddle and that's where life, art, emotions, morals, knowledge, etc. came from.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • amy

      LOL. Look who's the idiot. You might try reading some of the replies below – you might just learn something.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • The real Tom

      No, dear. Repeating crap won't turn it into truth. Grow up.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  10. Dawkins is an idiot

    N. Korea is an atheist state

    April 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Bostontola

      Europe was filled with Christian states during the Crusades and Inquisitions. Does that speak to all Christians?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • The real Tom

      Nazi Germany was full of Catholics and Lutherans.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      Hitler got his philosophy to create a perfect race from Darwinian evolution.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Bostontola

      Actually not. Hitler was using artificial selection, like when we breed dogs, not natural selection.

      Do you really not believe artificial selection changes animals and plants?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • North Korea is just like Christianity

      In North Korea :
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of Communisum is bad and non communists are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a CRIME AGAINST THE STATE!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of your life if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      I Christianity:
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of christianity is bad and non christians are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a SIN AGAINST GOD!!!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of eternity if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      April 15, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Science

      Plants

      Photosynthesis: The Last Link in the Chain

      Jan. 4, 2013 — For almost 30 years, researchers have sought to identify a particular enzyme that is involved in regulating electron transport during photosynthesis. A team at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich has now found the missing link, which turns out to be an old acquaintance.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130104101155.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  11. lol??

    All words can be eventually traced back to God, the Word of God.

    "Rev 19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God."

    Corrupt them at your own peril. God did try and slow you down at the tower of babel.

    April 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • amy

      Nonsense.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Rodrigo El Obviouso Del Los Santos Y Sanitarios

      It did not succeed in slowing me down because it does not exist.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  12. Vic

    Morality comes from where we humans and everything else come from! It is created in us! IT IS BUILT-IN!

    We detect the Rules of Nature and Morality through Natural Revelation by our BUILT-IN Basic Instincts, Intuition and Common Sense! What we detect is the Sense of Right/Good or Wrong/Bad.

    Examples of that:

    Right/Good Wrong/Bad

    Breathing Suffocation/Asphyxiation
    Eating Starvation
    Safety Danger
    ...

    Maintaining Self/Each Other Harming Self/Each Other
    Honesty Dishonesty
    Clean Filth
    Speaking Truth Lying
    Earning Stealing
    ...

    I believe God created Everything and Nature and gave all Creatures the Basic Instincts, Intuition, and Common Sense that FIT their Own Species!

    I also believe that this Creation and all Creatures in it are Collectively One Ecosystem on a Micro Level!

    April 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Can an action that would be considered "wrong" be the right opton given the right set of circ.umstaces? And vice versa?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Vic

      Valid Exceptions to the Rules & Discretionary Measures are perfectly fitted into the the above described BUILT-IN Morality!

      April 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Vic, you are asserting that a god built the foundation of morality in humans for which you have no justification to claim.

      April 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Damocles

      Ahhh, yes, morality in nature. Locusts, in their morality driven need to survive, eat everything they can, thus become morally ok murderers by depriving other animals of food. Common sense would tell the locusts that eating everything is detrimental to them in the end, yet they do not heed the call of common sense. Intuition should tell herd animals to band together to defeat predators and while some do, many don't. Basic Instinct was a pretty horrible movie and it should also tell deer, dogs, cats and various other animals to stay off the roads, yet it does not.

      Nature, to a large degree, is driven by death. We humans value those things in nature that kill to survive. We are unique on this planet in that we are driven by instinct and have the capability to say 'I want.' The word 'morality' is fairly hollow, little more than something made to make people feel better about what they do. There are actions and consequences, nothing more, nothing less, for better or worse.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • G to the T

      If morality was objective, I would think there would be one thing, ANYTHING, that would be considered immorral in all human societies. I've yet to see any...

      April 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  13. Science

    The facts.............no gods needed !

    Does the RCC have any ? Bible thumpers too.

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    A wedge !

    April 14, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Bostontola

      I believe no gods are needed to explain the universe and life, but I don't consider it a fact.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Science

      To bad this is what is taught in public schools in US as fact

      Peace

      April 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Science

      Origin of Life: Power Behind Primordial Soup Discovered

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404122234.htm

      April 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Bostontola

      Science, they teach a lot of things in schools, not all is right. My question is; Do you think that it is a fact that no god is needed to explain the universe and life?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Science

      Who would of thought of that ................Sherlock Holmes ?

      Peace

      April 14, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Science

      And the Y

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

      April 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Science

      Education helps !

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 7:42 am |
  14. Bostontola

    Objective morality is interesting but not the only open philosophical question regarding morality. Sufficient morality is also key. All scripture is finite. Even if it defines objective morality, it is finite. The world of people is inventing new situation all the time, many present new moral questions that pit one group against another. There is a philosophical question that is also open which is; Is a finite set of morals sufficient to cover all situations that could be faced by people? Is the set in the bible sufficient?

    I don't know, but my opinion is that the bible set is not sufficient. Many have pointed out the lack of rules against slavery as an example.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • God is a Mythtake

      And of course morality is different across the cultures of the world. For example honor killing if one brings the family into disrepute. Kind of makes you wonder if Chad would have been whacked by his own family.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Which God?

      @ god is a Mythtake. Yeth.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  15. Martin OH

    When CNN seems to favor the religious with their Belief Blog articles, it is refreshing to read an article such as this which points to the obvious – that humans are not the only beings on this planet with morals. As we learn more about what affects our moral decisions, it is also becoming increasingly obvious that objective morality, as some truth assigned in imperfect proportions by some god simply does not exist.

    April 14, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • lol??

      You were born in a war zone. You left out the obvious. Not everyone sees your emissionary omission.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • amy

      Do you think yourself clever, lol?? Cute perhaps? Hoping your cutesy lingo catches on?

      Do you have anything besides the pompous, bitter wind to share?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • lol??

      Amy, do you live in Cuba?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  16. lol??

    Sickular society has to employ the chasti*ty belt to work. Science sayz humans are 98+% chimp. Lot was right turning his daughters over to the mob. The heat was on. They thought their chance of procreatin' was over with all their dead boyfriends. His wife was lookin' back toward her neighbor lover. Tsk, tsk.

    The heat is on, on the street
    Inside your head, on every beat
    And the beat's so loud, deep inside
    The pressure's high, just to stay alive
    'Cause the heat is on

    Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
    Caught up in the action I've been looking out for you
    Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
    (Tell me can you feel it)
    (Tell me can you feel it)
    (Tell me can you feel it)
    The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on
    the heat is on Oh it's on the street, the heat is – on
    Lyrics from eLyrics.net

    April 14, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Akira

      You use Lot's daughters, who had sex with their daddy, and a Glen Frey song to make your point...which is what, exactly?

      Tsk, tsk.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Sickular society has to employ the chasti*ty belt to work.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Lot got drunk and bent his Daughters over....but he was a RIGHTIOUS MAN!!!! Um ...ok

      April 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Robert Brown

    I think God’s laws on morality are absolute.

    Human morality is subjective and depends a lot on culture.

    I was reading the other day where there were cannibals in history who had a very strong sense of honesty. Of course, they saw it as ok, to kill and eat you, but they would never steal or lie. The commentator said you could leave a bag of gold in the middle of the village all day and no one would touch it. They may eat you for supper but your money was safe with them.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      We are not the only animals on the planet with morals. The other animals have cultures, societies, language. they work together for common goals, help each other, share food and shelter. They are only different to humans in one key thing. The animals do it without gods...well then again, so do we.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Science

      Hey Robert Brown been awhile reposted from below !

      Does the RCC have any ? Chad too.

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

      A wedge !

      April 14, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • God is a Mythtake

      RB. Rather than be born again, why not just grow up?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Richard Cranium,

      Yes, humans can have morals without God, as my example above shows. The cannibals were very honest, they thought it was wrong to lie and steal. We could all agree with them on those things, but the killing and eating of other people….

      April 14, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Science,

      Yes, it has been a while, things have been crazy at work and home of late.

      The correct morals come from God.

      You think morals come from Higgs or Hawkings?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      And what makes absolute morality superior to subjective morality?

      You and Chard have yet to describe exactly how they differ in any significant ways. Precisely what are the precepts of "absolute morality"? Enumerate them, Robert.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      So do you think all members of that society viewed cannabalism as morally good? Isn't it reasonable to consider that many were just going along with others simply to avoid becoming lunch themselves. Pulling samples from barbaric cultures to show how subjective morality fails is dishonest. How exactly does this compare to humanistic secular morality? The goal of secular morality is to determine the best course of action based on fairness, empathy, compassion and well being. Under those general rules on what side of right or wrong does cannabalism fit? Way to go comparing apples to oranges. The same applies to claims of atheist atrocities by Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao. Where they using humanistic secular morality? No of course not.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      Steve, those are the same names Chard used to claim that atheists think murder is a-ok.

      Sometimes I am bowled over by the Chard's stupidity.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • captain america

      Sounds like the citizens of a nation to our north. The ass hole per square mile /kilometer is incredibly high there as evidenced by the resident buttinski and ass hole stevie. If stevie was that smart then his own country would listen to it instead of knowing it for the ass hole it is.There's your sign

      April 14, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • The real Tom

      You'd know all about azzholes, wouldn't you, cap'n? Why use your old name instead of your more recent moniker? Embarrassed? You should be.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Science

      Robert reallity is fun you should try IT

      April 14, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CA: On a day pass from the asylum? This is an INTERNATIONAL web site that employs Canadian's and given that the topic is not USA politics and instead about something that you have none of, the comments from your wonderful neighbors to the North will keep up. Time to go and ask your Mommy for your morning dose of meds before the men in the nice white coats come for you.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Let's test that shall we captain asshole.
      In Canada same gender marriage is legal, coast to coast. We have universal health care. Strict gun controls. School systems that don't have to fight creationist bullshit. Many of the battles going on in your country have already been resolved here and to the benefit of all, not just a privileged few.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • JMEF

      Robert
      What do you say about the oh so Christian parent that hears a voice from god in his/her head that tells him/her to take their three kids and drown them in the bath tub and does it?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • mdub3000

      The cannibals would eat someone because of their gods, not because they don't have one. In fact religion allows for what I consider the most immoral behavior.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Science

      Hey Capt'n ass – wipe we send ass wipe to the water treatment plant...............remember !

      April 14, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Robert,

      You could tell similar stories about Christians who were willing to have slaves (not against bible) or deny employment or marriage to gay couples yet were so moral they wouldn't take God's name in vain. There's nothing special about the Christian brand of culturally defined morals.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Robert,

      Is murder wrong in your god's objective morality?

      Would you kill your chld if you beleved god told you to?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Larry

      Culture changes, and with it we face different situations. We also understand people's behavior a lot better these days. What was once seen as abnormal, like being gay, or left-handed, are not anymore. If things stayed exactly the same since 2000 years ago the same rules would be OK, but since they have doesn't it just make sense that our morality has changed to keep in step?

      April 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • G to the T

      It's much easier to understand society-based morality when you realize that most groups don't consider people outside of their group as "humans". Thus there is no moral conflict for the cannibal. They can be completely moral within their own framework but seem immoral to outsiders. "Thou shalt not kill" meant other hebrews (as evidence by the fact that god had no problem with them killing everyone else).

      April 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  18. Reality

    Once again:

    Where do morals come from?

    Human evolution away from the "dark side" of apes and chimps.

    Scroll to p. 1 to see some early examples.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • The real Tom

      It would be about as much fun as pulling weeds. And less productive.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 14, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Wishing on a star has the same effect

      April 14, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • nope

      @diminy
      nope

      April 14, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      When you wish upon a star,
      Makes no difference who you are,
      When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • nope

      @diminy dimwit
      nope

      April 14, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Prove it dope

      April 14, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • nope

      @dimwit
      nope

      April 14, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Are you basing your life force on an animated feature from the 1940's ?

      How smart is that?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Are you basing your life force( you can't base your "life force"on anything) on a fictional work of ignorant men from 2000 years ago?
      How stupid is that?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • The real Tom

      nope is a dope.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • .

      some of the greatest minds in history have been Christian. The authors of the Bible ranged from the sciences, scholars and rulers of their days. all more educated and able than dimwit.

      April 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • .

      the real tom is a proven ass hole

      April 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      April 15, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      @"."
      If you studied history you would know some of the greatest minds in history have also been polythiest (Greek, Roman, Asian, American, etc.), islamic and atheistic. A lot of knowledge was lost or suppressed when christians took over civilizations and destroyed their cultures.

      Also, many biblical authors are unknown, and many are just translations of oral traditions. Therefore your comment about the authors of the bible is simply conjecture on your part. in other words, you are just making things up.

      April 15, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  20. Actually

    It is hard to disagree with the author of the piece that tribes, societies have feelings of fairness and compassion for each individual for the good of all. The only example I can think of that would refute that statement, would be the god or Israel nutter Chad that is never fair, compassionate or truthful, a morally bereft christian.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Science

      Does the RCC have any ? Chad too.

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

      A wedge !

      April 14, 2013 at 8:20 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.