Heard about this on NPR this morning. A recent study of rat behavior strongly indicates they feel compassion.
It would be quite surprising if morality only developed in humans without any evolutionary antecedent so here it is.New experiments show rats demonstrating compassion and helping other rodents. It's a trait some scientists thought was reserved only for humans and higher primates.
In repeated tests, rats freed another trapped rat in their cage, even when chocolate served as a tempting distraction. Twenty-three of the 30 rats opened the trap by pushing in a door. The rats could have gobbled the chocolate before freeing their partners, but often didn't, choosing to help and share the goodies.
"Basically they told us (freeing another rat) is as important as eating chocolate," said study author Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. "That's a very striking thing."
What do my theist friends make of this study? Does god instill a sense of compassion in rodents? Is it really a bad thing for atheists to consider ourselves evolved from animals?