Frans de Waal, the Evolution of Morality, and the Origin of Religion

Mitchell Diamond

11 a.m., May 5, 2024

Join Mitchell Diamond in person OR online.

Perhaps the most popular explanation for the origin and purpose of religion is that it enhances social cohesion and group cooperation. Mitchell Diamond, who spoke to the Humanist Community in January about the Evolutionary Biology of Religion, presents a short video of the primatologist Frans de Waal describing his research that explores morality and empathy in non-human animals. Diamond then reviews ways some academics invoke religion to explain the development of morality, social cohesion, and cooperation in human societies. He finishes by examining the relationship between morality, empathy, and other social cohesion mechanisms in animals and similar features in humans.

Diamond received a BA in biology with a focus on behavioral and evolutionary biology. He has extensively researched the popular cognitive science of religion theories and found an explanation for the evolution of religion that better fits the evidence. He’s given talks to many of the atheist and freethinker groups in Northern California and has appeared on atheist podcasts including The Atheist Experience with Tracie Harris.

Here’s the short video Mitchell will present:
Moral Behavior in Animals —

5/5/2024 Mitchell Diamond from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


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