Evolutionary Link to Morality

September 20, 2007

Excellent article: Is ‘Do Unto Others’ Written Into Our Genes? (NY Times). Very interesting reading. They have a link to an interesting morality survey that is an essential part of the story. These questions are probably a little more difficult to answer "properly" (true-to-self) after having already read the article. Thus I went with my gut reaction on each. Here's how I scored, compared with "conservatives" and "liberals", in evaluating the authors' five categories of morality:

  • Harm: more important in my moral scheme than for either con or lib on average (lib almost as high)
  • Fairness: again higher, with more distance, but still closer to lib than con
  • Loyalty: much less important to me than con, but somewhat more than typical lib
  • Authority: I was pretty surprised by this one – much lower than either!
  • Purity: again I was surprised by this one. I value personal chastity and "godliness," but I try hard not to judge others based on different "purity" values (more likely to judge others based on the first couple of categories above, un-surprisingly). Was much lower than either. I'm surprised to see that libs have more value on purity than cons!