Human Morality: Are People Born ‘Good?’


Walking past everybody, you see different faces. Some old, some young, some tall, some short. You will see someone who is different from the last every time. Of course, unless they are identical twins, like those creepy ones from “The Shining.” But everyone is also different on the inside, no two people are always going to agree on the exact same things, maybe similar ideals, but nothing ever is the same. But one thing some can be curious about is, are people born good or more or less morally good? Yeah, we live in a world where you must look out for yourself before you look out for anyone else. But the thing is that is the world we acknowledge when we get older, not when we are infants.

Now not many of us remember what we were like as a baby much less a toddler, parents would
say, “You would cry a lot” or “You always liked applesauce but hated broccoli” but not many
would say “You would always pick the heroes over the villains” or “You didn’t like it when people
were mean.”

But when watching the video “Born Good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality,” from the series 60 minutes, we get an insight of whether we are born ‘morally good’. They test babies, the youngest being 3 months old, the oldest being around 6 months old. They were shown a puppet show, when there was one mean puppet and one who wasn’t mean. When asked to pick which puppet they like over three quarters of the babies had picked the one was ‘nice’, and when tired out on even younger babies, who can’t have proper motor control tend to look longer at things they liked, with a baby named Daisy looked at the mean puppet for five seconds then the nice one for 33 seconds, however they tried this at first with two puppets playing catch but the green shirted bunny stole the ball, a little while after they showed the same ‘mean’ bunny trying to open a crate with one stuffed animal helping the bunny and the other slam the container shut, yet 81% of babies had picked the stuffed animal who slammed it shot. The studies showed that the bunny deserved it as punishment for stealing the ball proving they have a sense of justice as well.

Now through that we were able to determine how babies are naturally drawn to more nicer people. We can see a pattern, that babies aren’t just blank slates, they are in fact more drawn to the ‘good’ and ‘justice’ rather than ‘evil’ (as evil as a sock puppet could get at least).

But are there more than just babies picking the good guy over the bad guy? While it was tested multiple times, there still was the small percent that did pick the ‘evil’ puppet. For example, Samuel Scheffler’s book ‘Human Morality’ gives us more of an insight on this, in reviews of his book he gives us the idea of self-interest vs. morality, this book making the argument Scheffler elaborates that of how the conflicts between the two do arise, but morality is a reasonable humane phenomenon,

Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that morality isn’t something that people just learn, ‘It is something we are all born with.’ One of the first signs of this is when babies are able to coordinate, they will soothe those who are suffering by patting that person. Now morality is something that is truly complicated. No one truly knows whether people are born good. But with all the research that has been done it’s safe to say for now that people are born morally good.