Point of Inquiry

Center for Inquiry

Religion & Spirituality, Science & Medicine, Social Sciences, Society & Culture, Philosophy

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Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins. Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.


Frans de Waal - The Bonobo and the Atheist

April 2nd, 2013

Episode 377 of 570 episodes

Host: Chris Mooney You hear it a lot from religious believers: Faith is about doing good works, bringing about good in the world, and showing compassion. In fact, some go further and argue that you can't really be moral without religion. Well, says primatologist Frans de Waal, they really ought to take a look at our close cousin the bonobo—in his new book The Bonobo and the Atheist. For that matter, De Waal continues, those defending a faith-only version of morality ought to look at any number of moral, empathetic behaviors throughout the animal kingdom, in species ranging from dogs to elephants. De Waal's conclusions from all of this, for atheists, though, are controversial. He wants a more secular morality, but also thinks you can't just wipe religion away, because it is too closely wrapped up with our evolved morality and our group allegiances. So we wanted to interview De Waal about the latest science on morality—and about what it means for those who want the world to try running a more secularoperating system. Frans de Waal is a celebrated primatologist who directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and is the C.W. Candler professor of psychology at Emory University. He has written widely about our primate relatives, in books that include Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape and The Age of Empathy.

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