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Thank You to our Sponsors!

Agnes Scott College Atlanta Pro AV City of Decatur Emory University Jabian Lenz Marketing Mail Chimp Public Broadcasting Atlanta

Anonymous

Book Logix Publishing Services
Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta
DeKalb County Public Library
Emory Libraries
Georgia State University
Verb
Visit South Walton
The Art Institute of Atlanta - Decatur
Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta Writers Club
Carlos Museum
Champion Windows
Classis Tents and Events

Dawn and Lee Walker Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Decatur Arts Alliance
Decatur Education Foundation
Decatur Rotary Club
Devry
Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association
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Georgia Tech Library

The Hightower Fund

Jim Ellis
Ketel One
M.L. Malcolm
On the Same Page
Sparkling Ice
Uber
UGA Press

Frans de Waal

www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/bonobo_atheist/

Festival Appearances:

Frans de Waal is a Dutch-American biologist who has been named among TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” and Discover Magazine’s “47 (all-time) Great Minds of Science.” The author of Our Inner Ape among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Primate Center, and is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. He lives in Atlanta.

Books

The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates

The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates, 2013

In The Bonobo and the Atheist de Waal delivers a fully fledged, masterfully argued account of how evidence of ethical behavior in our primate cousins strongly suggests that fairness and empathy are not exclusive to our species but were conferred on us by evolution. De Waal bases his argument in the behavior of primates. We tend to think of the natural world as a blood-soaked battlefield where only the toughest survive—Tennyson’s “Nature, red in tooth and claw”—but de Waal delivers a compelling counterargument replete with accounts of fairness and compassion among our closest animal relatives. For example: • Apes will offer a companion access to food, even if they lose part of it for themselves in the process. • Chimpanzees console distressed members of their group, hugging and kissing them, and they will care for the infirmed members of the group and bring water to the elderly who are too weak to reach the water source. • If two capuchin monkeys receive cucumber slices for the same task, they will work hard on it. But if one of the two is rewarded with grapes whereas the other still gets cucumber, cooperation breaks down. Cucumber has lost its appeal, and is angrily thrown down in protest against the unfairness. Following his line of argument, de Waal’s fresh and provocative perspective is that human morality is not a cultural invention, as are religion and law, but predates those inventions by thousands, perhaps millions of years. It is not imposed from above or from without but begins within us: in the core of our biology. Because our capacity to be moral is biologically hardwired, religion—or the lack thereof—cannot fundamentally change it. And our fears that a world without religion is a world without right or wrong are unfounded. But unlike recent atheist books that have established their own abrasive, all-or-nothing dogma, The Bonobo and the Atheistdoes not scorn religion or discount its cultural significance and social value. Drawing on a long tradition of humanism de Waal asks readers to consider what role, if any, religion might play in an enlightened society, and where believers and nonbelievers alike can find the inspiration to lead a good life. A mind-expanding book that vividly reminds us of our place in the natural world, The Bonobo and the Atheistwill appeal to readers of Jane Goodall, Robert Sapolsky, E. O. Wilson, and David Brooks. One of the top scientific minds of our day, de Waal brings together research and philosophy to offer a heartening new perspective on human nature and our struggle to find meaning in our lives.