Monkey's Got a Conscience?

  (15 February 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

Altruism, empathy and a sense of fairness: none of these, apparently, is a uniquely human trait. According to The Australian newspaper, scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) suggest that our conscience – a facility many religious groups consider God-given, unique to humans and in no way the product of evolution – is prefigured in apes and monkeys.

If morality is in the genes, then it will vary from one individual to the next. What might that do to our justice system?

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