Quote Originally Posted by Once! View Post
Hmmm ... not so sure about that one. As far as I can see, standards of morality evolve and change as civilizations develop.
Yes, I agree with that. All I was saying was that it's instinct (which evolves as any other feature of a species may evolve) is the root of morality, not religion. Religions' various moralities derive from instinctive morality, not from some source that is outside our biological selves.

Do animals have a sense of morality?
Actually, yes. Social animals have social rules and they will, as a group, enforce those rules to ensure what we may call "morality." One example of many is vampire bats. They're a species that depends on their large colonies to survive. Bats who have been fortunate in finding lots of blood to drink will often "donate" part of their night's dinner to less fortunate colony members. Often bats who have full bellies will beg for extra food from their neighbors, but once their deceptions are found out they're ostracized from the colony for short-term "exiles" or permanently if they've offended one too many times. That's maybe the most basic example of animal morality -- don't lie/don't steal/don't take advantage unfairly of the group's welfare -- but there are countless other examples of animal morality in "higher" species, particularly primates and especially great apes. But all social species that have been extensively observed have been noted to reinforce various social rules. What is morality but the pressure of social rules?

And to get really nit-picky, humans are animals. We have morality. Even if no other animal had morals, we do, and therefore animals can have morals.

Do we have the same standards that previous generations had? Will future generations share the same values that we do?
Obviously not.

The idea of morality being hard-wired into DNA? Nope, can't get my head around that one. It's a point of view, but I can't see that it is a self-evident fact.
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my viewpoint, then. I meant that the source of morality -- that is, our social structure -- is in our DNA, not that morality is unchanging. Hell, our DNA isn't unchanging. By morality's source being in our DNA, I meant only that its source isn't external to us -- i.e., its source is not with a deity or with a particular religion or set of beliefs. While any given religion or belief could be judged to be relatively more or less moral than others, given current social norms, none can be said to be the origin of human morality.

That's all I meant.