Our own Werner Haag is going to review the content of Frans De Waal’s book “The Bonobo and the Atheist”
De Wall’s book focuses on the biological evolution of morality (extending John Figdor’s talk) back on an evolutionary time scale as opposed to the beginning of the historical record. The book gives numerous examples of many “lower” mammals having well-developed social codes and exhibit empathy and sympathy, which are prerequisites for moral behavior and altruism. Apes and other mammals exhibit both pro-social behavior (a proactive desire to help each other and live in harmony) and fear of group punishment for violating behavioral rules, very similar to human methods of maintaining social order. Thus, basic moral behavior predates existing religions probably by millions of years.
Werner graduated from M.I.T. and has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Univ. of Tennessee. He worked for 10 years in basic research studying the fate of chemicals in the environment and in water treatment, then worked 25 years in industry with manufacturers of air & water treatment systems, and instruments to measure hazardous gases in the workplace. Join us as we hear Werner outline this information, followed by what is sure to be a spirited discussion!
For those first-timers, our schedule for the evening normally goes like this:
6:30-7:15 – Mingle and eat dinner
7:15-7:30 – ACSJ announcements
7:30-8:00 – Main Presentation
8:00-8:30 – Q&A
8:30-9:30 – More meet and mingle
We look forward to seeing you there!