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June 18, 1927

The Natural History of Our Conduct.

JAMA. 1927;88(25):1987. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680510045032

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Abstract

The evolutionists are, of course, convinced that not only the body of man but also his behavior is a direct development from lower forms. The purpose of Dr. Ritter's volume is to establish not only the former fact but also the latter. He indicates that the only successful animal activities are those which are purposeful, but there are also maladaptive activities which work for the destruction of the animal. Human beings also act occasionally for their own destruction. One of the remarkable facts is the lack of regret, sorrow, remorse or sympathy in animal forms in active destruction to their own kind. However, Dr. Ritter expresses the belief that many mammals and birds do possess the germs of moral consciousness. He traces adaptive activities of self-injury through the birds, the mammals and the anthropoid apes to a similar process among human beings of low culture and of high culture. Unfortunately,

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