My conversion from philosophical atheism to whatever-sort-of-Christian-I-am-now came over the course of a couple of weeks, after having a series of epiphanies about what it is to be human.
The first of these epiphanies came after watching a video where the animal behavior researcher, Frans De Waal, explains the ongoing project to “discover” the rules of human morality based on a detailed study of animal and human behavior. He conducted experiments showing moral behavior in elephants, dogs, monkeys. What intrigued me most was the experiment that proved that monkeys (and even birds and dogs) show a consciousness of fairness:
In the experiment the monkeys are trained to perform a simple task for a reward. The two monkeys were accustomed to getting one cucumber slice for each task. During the stream of tasks the monkeys performed the researchers gave one of the monkeys a grape for their task instead of a cucumber. When the second monkey received only a cucumber slice for his task, he immediately threw the cucumber back at the researcher, screamed, and shook his cage in protest. The dramatic emotional response from the monkey was eye-opening.
I know we have gone over this before, but given that some may not be clear on what is a critical issue I think it may be worth posting on this, since it has been the subject of lots of threadjacks.
Many here have pointed out that it is acceptable to ban gay marriage on moral grounds because all law is based on some morality. I disagree.
I am a positivist as far as the law is concerned. We arbitrarily make laws for all kinds of reasons. Most of these involve giving some economic or political advantage to one group over another. The law is a tool in the general competition in values. Its doesn’t have a lot to do with morality to favor the meat industry over the corn industry, for example.
However, morality and fairness come into play when we apply laws and infringe on critical human interests, and this is one of the bedrock moral foundations of American law. Laws should be fair and just when they protect and disadvantage interests. When it comes to critical human interests, privacy, expression, religion, liberty the law protects these against infringement by the majority.