Monday, March 26, 2007

Chimps: Hauser vs. Heinlein

The brain has a genetically shaped mechanism for acquiring moral rules, similar to the neural machinery for learning language, according to Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser... Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others.

That's a very different picture from the pivotal scene in Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, where Valentine Michael Smith finally groks (fully understands) humour as he witnesses chimps in a zoo being cruel to one another.

That's the first thing I thought of as I read the article, and it isn't noteworthy for any other reason.

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