"...we might learn that it is precisely because we have lost ...'certain moral foundations' that explains how we adults can act so inhumanely toward defenseless unborn babies."
National Right to Life
Editor’s note. This ran several years back, but thanks to the Internet, newcomers to NRL News Today continue to run across this online and write to ask me questions. I find the topic not only fascinating, but more relevant today than when I first wrote the story.
Those eight words were put in the form of a declarative statement, rather than a question, in a headline on Fox News. On the same topic, the Daily News of England wrote, “We’re born to be moral: Babies ‘can tell good from evil at six months.” The New York Times, in a magazine article, described the phenomenon as “The Moral Life of Babies.”
What are they talking about? Well, all are reflections of some ingenious work done for many years at the psychology department at Yale University. David Derbyshire summarizes “an astonishing series of experiments” as showing that “Babies aged six months old have already developed a strong moral code, according to psychologists.”
Writing in the Daily News, Derbyshire adds,
“They may be barely able to sit up, let alone take their first steps, crawl or talk, but researchers say they can still tell the difference between good and evil.”The growing body of evidence suggests that babies possess a “rudimentary” moral sense every early in life. Without going into a lengthy explanation, the little ones were “tested,” so to speak, by being presented with a series of events.
Overwhelmingly they responded favorably to “good” or helpful puppets and rejected the naughty or “bad” puppets. (Most of the response is measured by the way they track objects with their eyes, but there are physical exertions as well.)
“A growing body of evidence suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life,” professor Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, told Fox News. “Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bones.”