Another Blow to Natural Law: Chimpanzees are Naturally Homicidal

New research has concluded that man’s involvement has nothing to do with the murderous habits of chimpanzees. It had been assumed that human encroachment on chimp lands and resources had caused them to become more aggressive and homicidal. But a new study overturns that theory. Chimpanzees are just bloodthirsty killers by nature:

The researchers pored over 152 killings by chimps, most of which were carried out by males acting together.

. . . The investigators had to determine whether these acts were driven by hunger, human disturbance or deforestation and whether the protected area the chimps inhabited was large or small.

Most of the killings occurred in east African communities that were least affected by human interference of any kind.

So there you have it. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. And natural law takes suffers yet another mortal blow. If it is the fact that chimpanzees, our “most closely related evolutionary ancestors,” form gangs to kill rival males and babies, it should put a damper on our hopes of finding a noble untainted ethical framework in nature.

Homosexuals are the most likely group in our day to appeal to natural law. “See, homosexuality occurs in nature. So it’s natural.” Well, it turns out that a lot of things are natural. Like murder, for instance. And infanticide. Incest. Pedophilia. The list could continue.

We should probably stop trying to derive our moral code from nature. It has always been the case, and it will ever be the case, that a functional moral ethic cannot be taken from the natural world. And humans have not proven themselves natural paragons of moral rectitude either. So, it follows that if we are really looking for a fixed set of ethics, we need to look beyond ourselves. Almost like it has to be revealed to us from a transcendent God or something. What a novel idea. It seems familiar somehow.