The Bonobo and the Atheist — Frans de Waal


Wow, what an interesting read. Even if you don’t agree with the many, many ideas brought forth in Frans de Waal’s central argument, or if you’re a staunch anti-atheist or hate bonobos, there is no denying there is a lot to chew on in the pages of this book.

There are some really, really interesting theories put forth about the origins of morality and how, contrary to popular belief, perhaps they do have a basis in biology.

Certainly de Waal’s work with bonobos, and other scientists with other animals like elephants, but even rats, helps support his claims.

If there is one criticism it would be De Waal’s obsession with Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, I mean I think it was meant to be an interesting jumping off point, but mostly it felt like a huge distraction, especially since no full reproduction is included only bits even though many other parts of the painting are discussed. What does a 15th century painting have to do with Bonobos and Atheism? to be honest I don’t remember anymore.