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.
Atheist Community of San Jose: Werner Haag - The Bonobo and The Atheist