Morality – a Tale of Three Evolutions with Brian Gane | York Humanists

 Registration is closed for this event
August 2nd, 2022 19:30   --   21:00

This talk looks at how best we can get on with one another. After a short introduction to cosmic and biological evolution, we’ll look at the evolutionary origin of human morality in Africa and identify two sets of attitudes that result:

  1. In-group attitudes – cooperation, empathy and a sense of fairness. These allowed small groups of hominids to survive by having strong interrelationships.
  2. The out-group attitude of tribalism, which made people suspicious/aggressive to outsiders. This explains a lot of human history.

The positive attitudes can be detected in very young children and can be enhanced (or distorted) by experience and education. Our increasing ability to communicate has led to this instinctive morality being developed to apply to much larger groups – 'the Human Family' – and to a much more complicated society.

This can be illustrated in operation in the modern world, including the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, Interpol etc., and relates to the long term decline in violence demonstrated by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of our Nature.

Brian Gane retired from a career in local government, initially as a Chartered Surveyor/Planner and then in economic development. He has been interested in science since Sputnik 1 went up, including the history of science, and he did a degree in geology with the Open University as a hobby. In recent years he has become increasingly interested in early Christianity and its impact on scientific progress down to the present day.


Priory Street Centre (Denham Room)
Priory Street
York, YO1 6ET
United Kingdom

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