The Brights' Morality Project

The Brights' "Morality Project"

With the “Reality about Human Morality” project, Brights across the globe are furthering public understanding of the natural foundation of human morality.

The purpose of this Brights' project is (1) to identify what scientists actually know at this time about the origins of human morality and (2) to pursue varied means to communicate "the reality" to the general public (making resources available in several languages).

"What is the basis of morality?" This is a question that has plagued humankind since (at least) the time of the ancient Greeks. Yet, societies and individuals today continue to have their diverse "answers" to the question, most of which embrace a culturally approved supernatural agency. This project is an educational effort to change people's perspective on that age-old dispute in light of new empirical evidence that the origins of morality are, after all, natural.
(Details are in the Project Rationale below.)

The project began with development of scientifically-supported statements concerning the natural basis for morality. (Along with a panel of expert reviewers—morality researchers and ethicists—the team of participating Brights identified four essential elements of a naturalistic explanation.) Subsequent actions will involve educating about those essentials. Brights are now looking to disseminate that information to the public at large using infographics, posters, well-placed advertisements, etc.

Participants have already developed an infographic and Web portal that includes explanations (in varied languages), recommended readings, and a repository of research studies. Over time, we hope to pursue activities that will remove the discussion of morality from the speculative realm entirely. Such an endeavor can help explain that persons can be good without adhering to any supernatural worldview.

With the help of personal donations from supporters like you, we can expose the public to the evidence for the natural evolution of human morality. If you would like to support this activity, please don't hesitate to make an earmarked donation using the button below.

Project Rationale

Today, many individuals from across the planet tend to believe that morality is either a system of commands given by supernatural entities or constraints imposed by supernatural forces. Many of those same individuals also worry that morality has no real underpinning without postulating those supernatural entities. Without faith in the supernatural, they say, morality is merely subjective: a sort of human contrivance without objective bases.

In fact, scientific evidence suggests that morality actually has naturalistic origins. Human beings aren't the only animals to exhibit moral behavior; many other species behave in similar ways.

Evolution plays some part in shaping these behaviors, and they exist in all human beings across all cultures in time. Young children and infants even display some aspects of moral cognition and behavior far, far earlier than they are able to reason about complex philosophical beliefs.

The evidence so far is that humans, as social animals, have had their morality built into their DNA. Being moral/immoral is simply part of what it means to be human. The project will endeavor to make such concepts increasingly understandable and acceptable. Morality: It's only natural!

Chronology of Project

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