The defining question of our times: Are people no more than sophisticated baboons? Are we the product only of random, materialistic evolution? Why does it matter? Because if the answer is ‘yes’ then whenever men do bad things, they do so only because of genetic imperative or imposed societal influences. It would mean that humans have no more choice about their behavior than do baboons. The political, social, criminal and economic consequences of how this question is answered are colossal. The past fifty years of American cultural change substantiate this assertion.
The consequences to the personal and business lives of individuals are no less significant. If I decide that, like bears, bunnies, and baboons, I too must act upon urges, appetites, and emotions, neither my wife, children nor my business partners can ever truly trust me. As a business professional of this bent, I would mistakenly assume that my employees and customers have only materialistic desires, assumptions that would surely mislead my enterprise.
Yet to any genuinely curious person with no axe to grind, the evidence that humans are distinctively different from all other species of life on the planet is overwhelming. We are the only species that will imperil our physical bodies in order to gain some spiritual solace. We risk damage to our systems by absorbing alcohol, drugs and tobacco for non-physical benefit. Some of us engage in risky sports for non-physical benefits like a rush or a thrill.