The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates
In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution.
For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share
Some thinkers, in reaction to this, try to have it the othe ...more
He also has interesting things to say about the origin of morality in primates, including in humans but the book falters a bit in my opinion when he tries to invent a conflict between his views and atheists' in order to give his book a problem to solve.
Not only does he generalise atheists heavily ( ...more
A real thinker of a book. Right from the beginning I was challenged by de Waal’s approach to religion and atheism. He is very passive. Dogma on either side does not help. People’s minds are not changed by dogma. And both science and religion have a horrible track record of justifying atrocious acts in the name of the greater good. Both religion and science are imperfect.
In chapter 4 the author dives deeper into the ideas of religion and atheism. I went back and reread this chapter t ...more
I couldn't agree with De Waal's perspective on human issues. He opposes a "top down" morality imposed by religion but not religion. He talks about Genital mutilation and circumcis ...more
The sour note was his discussion of atheists. He clearly doesn’t like most of us. He keeps accusing us, sometimes in the voice o ...more
ხაზგასასმელია ტოლერანტული წერის მანერაც. ერთადერთი რაც ავტორისთვის მ ...more
ha ha. her name is Smuts. um. Back to some serious reading now
In all honesty, I chose to read this book to learn about Bonobos and didn't want to fully enter into any religious debate. That part of the book I really enjoyed. However. since this book is titled 'The Bonobo and the Atheist', I will make a few comments.
I will say that I enjoyed reading about Veneer theory. Unfortunat ...more
However, he does not convince me of his opinions, even though I share many of them. Mainly he does himself what he accuses other scientists of: cherry picking, confirmation bias and even stating his opinion as fact.
For example (I don't say I don't agree with some of the below, the point is the way he presents his ideas and opinions):
"Such behaviour is sure to be selected against" (page 7 ...more
He's such a good writer even when he wrote about things I completely disagreed with I would find the book thought provoking. I thought he trivialized the arguments of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and John Stuart Mill. Bu ...more
Insofar as I can figure out what de Waal is arguing for, I agree with most of his premises:
1. Moral conduct exists on a continuum, including the behaviours of other animals.
2. Dogmatism is terrible and should be avoided.
3. Religion is superfluous to morali ...more
However... I am shocked by how naive he is and how much information and insight he lacks about atheism debates. He is so unfamil ...more
Pozitif bilimlerden uzak kalmamak lazım, tarih karşısında komik duruma düşürebilir insanı(pek tabi bunda Nietzche'ye herhangi bir gönderme söz konusu değil :D). Büyük filozofların düşüncelerinden geçerliliğini yitirenlerin büyük kısmı bu yitime pozitif bilimler dolayısı ile uğruyor. Perspektifte sharpness ayarı misali bir etkisi oluyor benim zihin dünyama genetik, sinirbilim, biyoloji ve benzeri bilim dallarının. Flu görü ...more
In essence, it is a book about animal behaviour, topped and tailed with some modestly interesting remarks about what the observed behaviour implies for humankind. What it is NOT, is a long and deep discussion of what observed animal behaviour can teach us about ourselves. Except for the implied connection, most of the book is about chimps and bonobos, with barely a reference to homo sapiens.
It’s none the worse for that – but still it’s not what the packaging implies. The title of the book impli ...more
But he is very muddled in his thinking.
Is God Dead?
'The whole idea of a moral “law” suggests an enforced or enforceable principle, which makes one wonder who the enforcer might be. In the past that answer was obvious, but how to apply this idea without invoking God?' (p.170)
Why is an answer that was obvious in the past no longer valid? God hasn't changed, simply because humanity entertains the ...more
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This is a liberating thought, which teaches us to never hold the history of something against its possible applications. Even if computers started out as calculators, that doesn’t prevent us from playing games on them. (47) (quoting Nietzsche, the Genealogy of Morals)”