Selfish Genes, Russian Dolls, and Christian Ethics

Published on July 16, 2015

Frans de Waal rejects the “Veneer Theory” of Dawkins and others who see morality as an artificial addendum to a basically selfish world of competition. Rather, de Waal sees human nature as “good-natured” because there must be some basic drive that produces co-operation, and this serves as a necessary corrective to the “selfish gene” theory. I argue that Christian ethicists can use de Waal’s insights for their own development of a theory of compassion.

Craig A. Boyd | Saint Louis University