Monkeys have Morals

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by T.A.G., Nov 25, 2009.

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  1. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    What would one say to a person who states this? Let me give you an example, I was at a University witnessing the gospel and telling the guy that our morality is based off God. Because we are made in the image of God we base our morality off of that. He said that could not be true, he stated that Monkeys have morality and there have been tests that show monkeys do not like hurting each other etc.
    What would you say?
  2. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I would say "So what?"

    Morality isn't simply a "dislike" of certain actions, so monkeys don't have morality per se.

    If it were, then one would have to conclude that eating worms is morally wrong, since most people dislike (some strongly so) eating worms.
  3. nate895

    nate895 Puritan Board Freshman

    I would ask on what does he bases his morality. Basing if off the reaction of neurons in a monkey's brain is a foundation of sand. Who cares if monkeys think it's bad if they hurt other monkeys? Why would that validate or invalidate a system of morality? How do we know monkeys haven't gotten it all backward, and hurting other assemblages of electrified pond scum isn't the most moral thing to do?
  4. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Tell him to try standing with his face between the bars of the monkey cage at the zoo. I'm sure something that is thrown or discharged on him will change his mind. Also, ask for the "test" results and see how truly scientific they are. I believe it may be easier to debunk his bad science than his Darwinian tendencies. A work of God is needed to do that. Heb 11:3
  5. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    Man, I get tired of hearing stuff like that. He makes a assertion based on probably one study, if there's any truth at all to this "test". He made the assertion and therefore needs to prove it before going any further. Ask him to cite the study and what other research has supported the idea that monkeys have morals.

    In other words, challenge the premise of the argument before addressing it.

    I'd tell him has monkeys don't have "morality" as he would understand it. They have instinct and patterned behavior, such as a mother bear closely protects its cub, but that doesn't comprise "morality" per se.

    Tell your friend to watch Animal Planet or Discovery channel which shows chimpanzees, ostensibly human's closest relative, ambushing, killing and eating other monkeys (which I have personally watched), then ask how cannibalism fits into a monkey's moral code.
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    The non-believer's claim ignores the fact that morality is derived from an "oughtness" that can only come from an objective personal moral Lawgiver.

  7. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    How did they do this experiment? Did the monkey psychologist ask the monkey if he hated his mother?

  8. Rogerant

    Rogerant Puritan Board Freshman

    It may be true that monkeys do not "enjoy" hurting each other. But why do men enjoy hurting each other. Why does man, who has more intellectual capacity, rape, murder, sodomize children, commit suicide, etc, etc and monkeys don't? Because monkeys are not in a moral conflict with each other and their God. Man is. The very fact that they don't show these tendencies is a case for man's fallen moral character.
  9. Dieter Schneider

    Dieter Schneider Puritan Board Sophomore

    Animal morality? It's popular atheistic nonsense! Certainly in Spain and New Zealand. The logic of it is expressed by [video=youtube;gAhAlbsAbLM][/video] whose contributions, are deeply disturbing! Start at around 1:30.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  10. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Why shouldn't God give animals a degree of altruism?

    As "Darwinian Fairytales" and other books show, evolutionists have a hard time explaining altruism in humans, and in animals.

    Before the Fall we know there was more altruism in humans, and maybe there was also more altruism in animals.

    It is the atheist evolutionist's contention that the purpose of humans and animals is to survive and reproduce as much as possible. When something goes against that the evolutionist has a problem.

    But there are lots of things that humans and animals do that have no self-survival value, so the evolutionists have lots of problems.

    It is more than doubtful whether animals always or ever have a conscious interest as individuals, or collectively as groups of animals, in saving and promoting their genes. Neither is the ridiculous idea of Dawkins of "the selfish gene" any more tenable.

    Atheistic Darwinists have another problem. Although they say they believe that evolution is a completely random and purposeless process, they find it impossible to avoid using teleological language.

    See "Darwinian Fairytales" by David Stove and see this thread where I discuss with "Confessor" how much animals have a knowledge of God, direct or indirect:-

    Here's another thread on animals and how much we know or don't know about them, which I haven't looked at:-

    If we came to the conclusion that (some) animals have some kind of morality, all that should be would be an added headache for the evolutionist.

    Can the atheist evolutionist account for morality/altruism in animals? No.

    How does the Christian Theist account for morality/altruism in animals? Well for a start, do we as Christians believe that animals are only there to survive and spread their genes? No.

    What is/are the purposes of animals?

    The atheistic evolutionist is turning a problem for him, animal (and human) morality/altruism, and turning it into a problem for the Christian Theist. But if animals do have some type of altruism/morality, is that, or should that, really be a problem for the Christian Theist?

    -----Added 11/26/2009 at 03:51:36 EST-----

    Why should monkeys hate their mothers, according to a Christian Theistic worldview? Why shouldn't they love their mothers? or have changing feelings about their mothers?
  11. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Good word. :up:
  12. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    This post may be of interest:

    Of Apes And Men

  13. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    But do they show altruism/at least apparent "morality"? This is a bigger problem for the atheistic evolutionist, as evolution can cope with/understand selfish behaviour in Man and animals more easily in line with its basic tenets, as each creature is said by evolution to want or be programmed to survive and reproduce its own genes as much as possible.

    Evolution finds altruistic behaviour more difficult to explain in both Man and animals. In fact it must be explained away as a disguised selfishness otherwise the basic principles of evolution are contradicted.

    Where this pure will and instinct to survive that evolutionists posit came from - even in the genes(?!) by Dawkins- is not explained by evolutionists. So selfishness is actually a problem for evolutionists too!

    Why should apparent morality in animals be a problem for the Christian Theist?

    Did God just create the animals merely to self-centredly survive as long as possible and reproduce as long as possible, as evolutionists say, or for other purposes?

    Why should real morality in animals be a problem for the Christian Theist?

    Do (higher) animals have any knowledge of God, that is qualitatively different to ours?
    Are animals just machines, with no spirit, or do they have a spirit not made in God's image, and not eternal?

    In the Bible there are a number of examples of animals doing God's will.
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Darwin taught that animal and plant life (and all life) existed for the purpose of survival and reproduction.

    Each individual in a species was in competition with the others in order to survive.

    Later "sociobiologists" have taught a wider form of competition called "collective fitness" in which animals are willing to be altruistic towards their relatives so that more of their own genes will survive overall.

    Dawkins ("The Selfish Gene")locates the will to survive in the genes themselves - though how genes got this, presumably unconscious drive to survive - is not satisfactorily explained.

    David Stove kicks lumps out of these ideas in "Darwinian Fairytales"

    Presumably we as Christians believe that the ultimate purpose of animals and plants is to glorify God, and that the ability to survive, adapt and propagate genes is only a secondary one given to creatures by God so that they can continue to glorify Him, along with the need to entertain and fascinate Man, and fulfill Man's purposes, etc.

    Presumably the purpose of survival, adaptation and propagation - still in subordination to the glory of God - became more prominent after the Fall and the Curse.

    After the Fall and Curse, presumably one of the purposes of some animals and plants, became to cause Man trouble, pain and anguish, all to God's ultimate glory.

    I think the Q of TAG and animals (or higher animals) using laws of logic, science and morality should be discussed with a creationist (socio)biologist and also someone like John Frame.

    Paradoxically and ironically, we have atheist evolutionary sociobiologists, desperate to explain away any sign of altruism/morality in animals (or Man) as just being a form of disguised selfishness, and also on this very thread we have Reformed Christians - presumably Creationists - desperate to do the same thing with animals.

    These things need to be disentangled.

    We as Christians do not believe animals were only created for the purpose of surviving and propagating (?)
  15. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    my question brother would be what would you say to someone who asks something one the lines of "you tell me you no and have morality because you are made in the image of God, well then why do animals have morality?"

    Thanks brother
  16. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Good Q.

    Do animals have morality in the same sense as us, or when they are 'altruistic' are they just following instinct that has been placed in them by God? How do atheistic Darwinian sociobiologists account for "morality" in animals, whether real or seeming - with great difficulty?

    Even if animals (higher animals?) do have real altruism do we know that they have no knowledge of God in any sense?

    More fundamentally how do we account for human morality, which we do have a better understanding of than animal morality or "morality", without positing a Personal and Absolute God Whose moral law is rooted in His character and Whose writ runs everywhere.

    If you're atheist friend believes that certain things are morally wrong for humans everywhere and at all times (and certain things are morally wrong for animals everywhere and at all times?) how can he account for this if he believes that the universe is governed and conditioned by impersonal, meaningless, and amoral chance and determinacy, rather than by the Personal, Absolute, Good, etc, God of the Bible.

    Even if there is some kind of "real" morality in animals as we would understand it, rather than them being nice to each other by instinct, how can that be accounted for in a godless universe. There is no absolute standard of good and evil. What your atheist friend in his godless worldview believes to be "good" and "evil", are ultimately meaningless conventions.
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