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Thu Apr 11, 2013, 03:25 AM

 

What is the source of morality?

What is the standard? If morality originates in myself or is subject to what I, as an individual, think then it doesn't exist.

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Reply What is the source of morality? (Original post)
fredzachmane Apr 2013 OP
gcomeau Apr 2013 #1
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #4
gcomeau Apr 2013 #18
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #54
gcomeau Apr 2013 #58
trotsky Apr 2013 #19
Warren Stupidity Apr 2013 #22
trotsky Apr 2013 #26
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #55
gcomeau Apr 2013 #67
trotsky Apr 2013 #71
GodlessBiker Apr 2013 #78
Downwinder Apr 2013 #2
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #3
Downwinder Apr 2013 #5
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #9
Downwinder Apr 2013 #15
gcomeau Apr 2013 #27
trotsky Apr 2013 #32
Warren Stupidity Apr 2013 #6
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #10
Warren Stupidity Apr 2013 #12
Jim__ Apr 2013 #7
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #11
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2013 #13
Jim__ Apr 2013 #16
LTX Apr 2013 #24
Jim__ Apr 2013 #30
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #44
Jim__ Apr 2013 #46
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #47
Jim__ Apr 2013 #48
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #61
Lordquinton Apr 2013 #37
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #49
Jim__ Apr 2013 #73
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #75
Warren Stupidity Apr 2013 #81
backscatter712 Apr 2013 #80
backscatter712 Apr 2013 #79
rug Apr 2013 #8
longship Apr 2013 #14
LTX Apr 2013 #25
longship Apr 2013 #41
LTX Apr 2013 #42
longship Apr 2013 #43
trotsky Apr 2013 #17
edhopper Apr 2013 #20
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #21
rrneck Apr 2013 #23
ZombieHorde Apr 2013 #28
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #53
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #62
ZombieHorde Apr 2013 #63
struggle4progress Apr 2013 #29
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #52
struggle4progress Apr 2013 #65
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #74
hrmjustin Apr 2013 #31
gcomeau Apr 2013 #33
hrmjustin Apr 2013 #34
gcomeau Apr 2013 #36
trotsky Apr 2013 #38
hrmjustin Apr 2013 #40
Phillip McCleod Apr 2013 #45
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #59
trotsky Apr 2013 #70
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #56
hrmjustin Apr 2013 #57
ZombieHorde Apr 2013 #39
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #50
eomer Apr 2013 #69
MellowDem Apr 2013 #35
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #51
MellowDem Apr 2013 #66
murray hill farm Apr 2013 #60
Apophis Apr 2013 #64
XRubicon Apr 2013 #68
Thats my opinion Apr 2013 #72
okasha Apr 2013 #82
backscatter712 Apr 2013 #83
Thats my opinion Apr 2013 #85
murray hill farm Apr 2013 #86
Deep13 Apr 2013 #76
Soundman Apr 2013 #77
Iggo Apr 2013 #84
Jim__ Apr 2013 #87
moobu2 Apr 2013 #88

Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 03:30 AM

1. Subjective or relative =/= non-existent.

 

Glad I could clear that up for you.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:49 AM

4. I disagree

 

If the standard of morality is subjective or relative then it is dependent only on the opinions of individuals. Since individual opinion varies there is no single standard of morality...if there is no supreme standard to appeal to, morality doesn't exist.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:31 AM

18. It's not a matter of opinion.

 

Last edited Thu Apr 11, 2013, 11:05 AM - Edit history (1)

Those are two completely seperate concepts. If you disagree you're not speaking English.

Edit: In fact, if we were to accept your reasoning there would be no such thing as a matter of opinion. Matters of opinion are things that are subjective. Those don't exist according to you. So opinions don't exist! Nor do emotions. Nor does any sens of aesthetics. Congratulations, you're defining half the human experience out of existence.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:01 PM

54. Im not saying that at all

 

in fact I am saying that by your standard opinion and things that are subjective are ALL that exists

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #54)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:18 PM

58. Let's back up...

 

What do you think "I disagree" means?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:46 AM

19. Who is the keeper of this "supreme standard"?

You?

Wait, no, I know the answer. You believe it's your god.

So who knows what your god's standard is?

You?

Your pastor?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:58 AM

22. They don't like this line of questioning much.

 

I've never gotten an actual answer.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #22)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 10:50 AM

26. Oh they despise it.

Because it leads right to the conclusion they are trying to argue against.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:10 PM

55. Thats what I am asking

 

Is there a standard? Where does it originate? If my opinion (or yours) is the standard then why do we spend so much time arguing that the opposing side is wrong? You are approaching this like I have a view that Im pushing. I have been thinking about this a lot lately especially due to the supreme court case on prop 8 as I hear both side say the other side is immoral. I'm asking a genuine question because I am trying to learn.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #55)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 01:18 AM

67. You're the only one I see here...

 

... who thinks this "supreme standard" exists. Why are you asking anyone else where it is?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #55)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 09:45 AM

71. We spend time arguing because choices have consequences.

The values we hold determine how we view those consequences.

There are religious people who think homosexuality is despised by god and will result in homosexuals (and any society that "allows" them to exist) being punished by god.

Then there are those of us who think homosexuality is a perfectly normal human expression of love between adults, and that strong, mutually beneficial relationships benefit society.

The former position can't be demonstrated or justified without appealing to unproven and unprovable religious beliefs. The latter can be justified with observation and reason.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 08:59 PM

78. Doesn't morality originate in the judgment of an individual that something is moral or immoral?

I mean, if you take the traditional approach that god has created these rules, or that these rules exist anywhere outside us, can't you still ask the question, "Why follow the rules of god?" or "Why be moral?"

The only answer which makes sense, to me at least, is "Because I, as a human being, with the facility to judge, make the judgment that following god's rules is the right thing to do."

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 03:53 AM

2. Society.

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:43 AM

3. The German society decided Jews were inferior

 

by your explanation, what right did we have to intervene? Muslim society provides that homosexuals are to be put to death, what standard are we appealing to when we say that they are wrong? Our own arbitrary standard?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 06:10 AM

5. And US society allows Banksters to do as they please.

Different societies have differing moral codes which suit the members of that society. Morals are a human construct

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:40 AM

9. If morals are a human construct

 

then what right do we have to say that our positions are "more right" than the repubs?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:20 AM

15. I don't say we are more moral.

Right or wrong are not necessarily moral judgments. Are Corporations moral, immoral, or amoral? Is addressing global warming a moral or a survival decision?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 11:07 AM

27. We don't have any "right" to.

 

It has nothing to do with rights. We have our opinions about what good and proper behavior are and we base our actions on it. If it conflicts with another groups opinions in that regard, it conflicts. Then you figure out how to settle the conflict. Hopefully without one side killing the other... but THAT'S REALITY. Arguing otherwise is simply refusing to acknowledge reality.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 12:33 PM

32. And how did they decide?

The leader of their country said that "...by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

Sounds like he had one of your "supreme" moral standards he was following, not an arbitrary human one.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 06:14 AM

6. So if it originates from an obscured divinity as

 

determined by a self appointed interlocutor then it is real?

Seriously?

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:43 AM

10. I'm asking the question because I want to know

 

not because I am making an assertion. Ive been thinking about it a lot as I follow politics. By what standard, authority, whatever, do I claim that my views are more moral than a person on the right? especially if morals are subjective.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:57 AM

12. No sir, you made an assertion that I find highly contentious.

 


If morality originates in myself or is subject to what I, as an individual, think then it doesn't exist.

That assertion.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 06:14 AM

7. Evolutionary group selection.

That implies that there is no universal standard, and that various moral standards are a part of the competition for survival by groups.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:44 AM

11. but often morality has nothing to do with survival

 

or is even contrary to survival

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:05 AM

13. That's because some people's idea of morality can indeed be subjective

Some people think that pain is a moral good, for instance. If you want to find moral standards that are in some sense objective, then you do need to look to morals that ensure the survival of groups - by benefiting a group, they are not limited to an individual's judgement of what's best for the individual.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:29 AM

16. Often morality has nothing to do with survival? I'm talking about group survival ...

... and I believe that morality always pertains to group survival. It's possible that a particular group will develop a morality that leads to the elimination of the group; but then, that morality has failed the test of selection.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #16)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 10:37 AM

24. Nice just-so story.

But you need to define your "group." Family, tribe, city-state, fiefdom, country? What "groups" instantiate your hypothesis?

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Response to LTX (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 12:19 PM

30. Since we are all members of nested groups, the morality of all the groups is important.

Last edited Thu Apr 11, 2013, 02:47 PM - Edit history (1)

A citizen of the US is also a member of a family. At the present time, the morality of the US has a fairly long and successful record. A US family that accepts and lives according to that morality, is probably not going to be wiped out due to a systemic weakness in their morality. However, the US is a large complex society, and families within the US can implement moralities within their family that are not completely compatible with the larger group morality. Say your family has a habit of violent in-group fights where family members often get killed. While members of your family may survive, the morality of your family will be eliminated, either because you kill each other off, or because the larger group imposes a different morality upon you - the larger group will not tolerate the in-family killings. Notice, that an in-family morality that is not completely compatible with the larger morality and does not violate the morality of the larger group, can be successful for this small group.

On the other hand, suppose the US adopts a new moral code, say pacifism. During the implementation phase of this new morality, it disarms all of its citizens and then eliminates all its own national defense systems. My bet is that this new, pacifistic morality would not survive. Other nations would seize territory and resources from the US and its citizens would likely be used for the benefits of the new locally dominant power. As the US loses its power over its territory and people, its moral system would be wiped out - not likely that the newly dominant groups would embrace it. It's worth noting that a family living in the current US could live a pacifistic lifestyle and would have a high likelihood of successfully passing on that morality - the larger group provides protection.

These are simplistic examples. Is the world more complex than that? Of course it is. But, what is undeniable is that people live in groups; and, in order to live in groups certain in-group behaviors have to be adhered to. What is also undeniable is that some of our closest genetic relatives live in groups too. To me, this implies that a common evolutionary ancestor lived in groups. Some of our behavior is inherited from this ancestor; I'd bet that the elementary behaviors necessary for living in groups come from that ancestor.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #16)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:02 PM

44. you are thinking of ethics..

 

..which are group morals, in a sense. morals are altogether a different thing. one does not, as was argued upthread, have an opinion and base one's actions on that opinion. it's not that simple.

our morals are exposed only when our individual adherence to proclaimed ethics are tested. i like to think i'd intervene if i saw a clear wrong being committed. the bystander effect. or the stanford prison study. what i actually *do* in that situation is the true expression of my moral character, not my proclaimed beliefs.

hypocrites proclaim one thing then do another.

ethics and morals are not the same, and groups can't have morals, because they have no character.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #44)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:47 PM

46. Actually I was thinking of morality, which is the word I used and which is the word used in the OP.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The term “morality” can be used either


  1. descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or,

    1. some other group, such as a religion, or
    2. accepted by an individual for her own behavior or

  2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.


What “morality” is taken to refer to plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories. To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct put forward by a society results in a denial that there is a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings. This descriptive use of “morality”is the one used by anthropologists when they report on the morality of the societies that they study. Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt, Hauser, De Waal) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals, primarily other primates but not limited to them. “Morality” has also been taken to refer to any code of conduct that a person or group takes as most important.


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Response to Jim__ (Reply #46)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:52 PM

47. ah so.. which meaning are we discussing?

 

..seems to me that will make a difference.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #47)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:57 PM

48. Here, excerpted from the previous quote.

... This descriptive use of “morality”is the one used by anthropologists when they report on the morality of the societies that they study. Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt, Hauser, De Waal) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals, primarily other primates but not limited to them. ...


That is what I have been posting about.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #48)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:34 PM

61. fair enough..

 

evolutionary psychology is not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that this concept of morality is an abstraction of the boots-on-the-ground. that is.. just as evolution applies en masse to groups over time, rather than to individuals who do not evolve, but engage in the process of natural selection by which evolution occurs..

..in a similar way this concept of morality appears removed from the individual, when in fact it emerges from the individual. if we observe a pattern of 'altruistic-like' behavior in a group of primates, for instance, it is because individual members of that group are acting altruistically-ish.

to what degree are those behaviors thanks to group agency, and what degree are the result of individual initiative? i think it's a fascinating question and would speculate.. possibly even argue if you give me a chance to do some research.. that the relationship between group and individual moral behaviors (or what i would like to call ethics and morals) is mutually determined.

iow, we have moral agency or even moral 'power' as individuals, even while we are subject to the moral agency of the group.. in fact even while participating in the active *creation* of that group agency in real time.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #11)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:46 PM

37. You seem to not understand evolution

I suggest biology classes, or more youtube videos explaining it's function.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #37)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:42 PM

49. Webster defines natural selection as

 

The process whereby the organisms which are better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.
Evolution is not concerned with the collective. Survival of the fittest or natural selection by its very nature excludes the many for the well adapted few. If morality simply equals survival value then it becomes even more subjective. The 1% steal from the 99%. Consolidating resources certainly increases their chance of survival, does it therefore become a moral imperative?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #49)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 04:47 PM

73. Yes, and merriam-webster defines "natural selection" as applying to individuals or groups.

From merriam-webster:

Definition of NATURAL SELECTION
: a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment


Your response about the 1% ignores an extremely important factor: other groups. As a matter of fact, if selection were based solely on individual survival, yes, the 1% could greatly increase their chances, given that they have the power, by stealing from the 99%. However, what multi-level selection predicts is that their group (the US as a nation) becomes incohesive due to severe in-fighting; and other groups will gain power over the US. The 1% lose out in the competition with other groups.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #73)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 08:33 PM

75. true true true.. natural selection is individual or group..

 

..kinda further complicating matters but also a helpful clarification of the common misconception. it's evolution that the OP is thinking of, which applies also to both groups and individuals (each individual human is also a homo sapiens sapiens for example) but only over the course of long periods of time. oh that pesky 4th dimension. gets the noobs every time.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #49)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 06:12 AM

81. Um, bees.

 

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 02:04 AM

80. I think a lot of what we call morality is the human tendency to learn, spread and create norms.

It's in fast-forward today thanks to the Internet.

We have other memes, such as Grouchy Cat, but we have memes that specify behavioral requirements, aka norms, which is useful a lot of the time to keep the peace and prevent chaos - memes like "Stop on a red light, go on a green light." We've got to have some way to keep from crashing our cars into each other.

But a lot of the memes don't make sense, or they used to make sense four thousand years ago to a bunch of middle-eastern sheep herders, or which were spread to solidify religious belief, but are leftover memetic baggage today. "Do not take the Lord's name in vain." or "Do not make images of the Prophet Mohammed."

The classic example of a religious norm in action was just in the news, the classroom social experiment of asking students to stomp on a piece of paper with "Jesus" written on it. Of course, the exercise is to promote a discussion of why people refuse to do that, what a social norm is, how they govern our behavior.

Much of what atheists do at the pub over microbrews is argue with each other about which memes, & which social norms make sense, and which ones are nonsensical.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 01:38 AM

79. I agree - evolution, which leads to what I'd call psychological morality.

Most people operate instinctively from psychological mechanisms. Empathy, reciprocity (fairness), learning of social norms...

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:35 AM

8. The answer depends on what you think of Natural Law theories.

 

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-theories/

The source of Natural Law, if you accept the concept, can be theistic or nontheistic.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:06 AM

14. Evolution!

To what advantage would a species gain without morality? It's really simple.

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Response to longship (Reply #14)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 10:39 AM

25. I'm not following.

What resource and reproductive advantage is gained by morality, and what specific moral precept gives rise to these advantages?

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Response to LTX (Reply #25)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 02:20 PM

41. It doesn't have to gain anything for the individual.

But only for near kin groups.

Like all animal behaviors, I think morality developed through evolution. It's not hard to come up with an explanation on how morality gains for ones family or ones community and how that evolution would select for such morale behaviors that would be advantageous.

I know that this treads into evolutionary psychology, which can be a dodgy science since testing is difficult. But it is certainly a better explanation than some religious explanations. At least evolutionary psych has a chance of explaining these behaviors even if we don't yet have evidence of an actual path.

It can be dodgy and it is somewhat controversial. But it is my thinking that there should be a natural explanation as the supernatural one is really not an answer at all. Evolution is a pretty good candidate to do the job.

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Response to longship (Reply #41)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 03:11 PM

42. Both your answer and Jim's (post # 30) are reasonable approaches,

but the underlying genesis of morality as an individual behavioral governor (as opposed to ethical codes as applied group governors) is one of the more mysterious aspects of the generally mysterious nature of consciousness. It will be interesting to see where evolutionary psychology goes from here (haven been castigated so soundly of late), but I tend to agree with you -- there's not much around to directly take its place. Not yet anyway.

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Response to LTX (Reply #42)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 03:50 PM

43. Well, I have ideas about consciousness as well.

But I don't want to derail this thread.

However, I do find evolutionary psych explanations interesting and even compelling in spite of its dodginess.


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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:50 AM

17. Clearly it's your god, right?

The one who ordered children to be slaughtered and women to be saved as spoils of war and raped to provide your tribe with more children.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:48 AM

20. "If morality originates in myself or is subject to what I, as an individual,

think then it doesn't exist."

Though others, humanist, atheist, rationalists, free-thinkers will think morals can exist absent a "higher power".
You seem to think there is an absolute, objective morality, absent any evidence that humankind has ever followed any one true morality. Or that there is any universal morality everyone agrees on.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:51 AM

21. well kant covered this ground ages ago..

 

..and came to the same conclusion. i disagreed with him too.

'morals' are not a thing. they are not an object, or even principles.. one may violate one's principles, and that may even be a moral wrong.

morals, imho, are decisions, often made on-the-fly, which reveal our character, and they are rooted in common human compassion and empathy, not in ideology or ideals.

the 'kitty genovese' (bystander) effect is a decent example. as individuals we like to think that we would never close the blinds and let kitty die. the fact is when one is in that situation, then our moral character is shown for what it is, all ideology aside.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 10:17 AM

23. The concept of morality

is about our relationships with others, generally expressed by the golden rule.

It's first priority in human development is the equitable distribution of resources, but as humans have explored a theory of mind and the anthropomorphizeation of creatures and objects, our hierarchy of needs has expanded to include more carefully refined and defined emotional states and projections of those states into the past and future.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 11:13 AM

28. I think morality is rhetorical device used to promote predictable bahavior.

So is government.

Good and evil are emotional reactions to perceived stimuli.

They're all subjective, and exist strictly within the imagination.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #28)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:57 PM

53. Then when I say a fundie is wrong to hate homosexuals

 

and I am right to embrace them, Im full of crap?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #53)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:45 PM

62. when we make a moral decision that lies in a social or ethical gray area..

 

..then yeh we often in history must simply *assert* the new 'good' or 'ill' and then work to make it so IRL.

it was considered immoral in much of the u.s. for black and white to marry until some of 'us' asserted that y'know, that is bullshit. the result? society changed for the better, so that time we got lucky. that time 'we' took two steps forward.

what would have happened if the asserted good had not been an improvement? had not been progress?

easy. bad ideas get to turn on the slow spit. i submit for example, that man-boy 'love' group trying to assert, in a grotesque imitation of the LGBTQ movement, that men and children can have an equal and consensual sexual relationship..

WRONG!

and there's reasons it's wrong. too obvious and horrible to delineate.

starting to figure this whole morality-without-god thing out, yet?

---

edit.. then again, just to bust a brain cell..

..

what about..

WAR?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #53)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:13 PM

63. You are expressing your emotional reaction to stimuli,

which is a valid thing to do, in my opinion. I do it all the time. I don't think there is anything "wrong" with expressing our subjective viewpoints.

However, if you express your viewpoint as objective truth, then you would be "full of crap."

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 11:27 AM

29. Do have you doubts about whether or not it is wrong to gouge out little kittens' eyes for fun?

Is it your theory that moral opposition to such a hobby is groundless, because it might arise from subjective feelings?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #29)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:56 PM

52. I do think its wrong

 

& that is exactly what I'm saying. If it is based only on my subjective feelings, moral opposition to such a hobby is groundless. What standard is used when a "moral" leaves my subjective view and I attempt to impose it on someone else? Its easy to say that the origin of morals is personal, but then why do we not only apply them personally? again..what standard is used when we impose our morality on others, which we do through rules, laws, social pressure etc

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #52)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 10:51 PM

65. Do you regard emotional empathy for other conscious beings as "merely subjective"?

Is the ability to imagine how others might feel something we should disregard insofar as it might be "merely subjective"?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #65)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 06:39 PM

74. I don't think that our empathy is subjective.

 

My ability to experience empathy doesn't seem to originate within me but to be imposed from outside of me. One way this is illustrated is the fact that I am sometimes driven to feel empathy toward someone who I actually do not want to empathize with. Morality often emerges not as what I personally think or want to do, but is imposed on my conscience as what I "should" do, irrelevant of my desire. We as humans are also in the unique position of being able to refuse the advice of our conscience and act contrary to it. The survival instinct of evolution doesn't sufficiently explain morality. Morality often acts contrary to personal or group survival. One example is the fact that we feel compelled to nurture & protect the weakest among us and not simply to let them be weeded out. I also don't see how morality could be defined as just one of our instincts due to the fact that morals often act as an arbitrator between two warring instincts. If I witness someone drowning I will experience two instincts, self preservation will tell me to stay out of it, and my communal instinct will tell me to help them. Morality enters and encourages me to suppress the instinct for self preservation and to embolden my communal instinct. We have many instincts, sexual, defensive, protective, etc But there is no single instinct that is an absolute guide. There is always a time when a particular instinct should be suppressed and a time for it to be encouraged. The force (for lack of a better word) that decides the appropriate application of our instincts can not itself be one of those instincts.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 12:24 PM

31. I am slow! Your saying that if morality starts from within it does not really exist?

 

Can you explain please?

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:29 PM

33. They can never explain...

 

This argument simply redefines the words "subjective" and "relative" to mean "non existent". No rational attempt to justify this is ever made.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:31 PM

34. I just don't get this at all.

 

If the Op would just spell it out for me i would be able to respond.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:44 PM

36. I wish you luck in getting it spelled out.

 

I've tried and failed many a time over the years when encountering this particular claim.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:59 PM

38. I'll spell it out for you.

The OP believes that anyone who doesn't think that a god is the supreme source of morality is wrong, and therefore immoral and evil and probably smelly to boot.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #38)


Response to hrmjustin (Reply #40)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 05:06 PM

45. otoh it start an interesting conversation..

 

..even if the OP has chosen not to participate.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #38)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:20 PM

59. You haven't added anything to this conversation

 

You've spent the entire thread attacking what you think my position is and not making any coherent points in the process. I apologize for not being on all day, I work nights and was sleeping

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #59)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 08:50 AM

70. If that isn't your position, then why aren't you clarifying?

Why aren't you defending the assertion you made?

I can certainly understand why you've decided to attack me instead of defend your claims, though.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:12 PM

56. Sorry..I work nights and was sleeping all day

 

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #56)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:16 PM

57. You don't have to explain yourself to me.

 

I have a big mouth that nobody pays attention to.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 02:10 PM

39. I prefer the term "imaginary," over "non existent."

The imagination is real, but the contents of the imagination that only exist within the imagination are strictly imaginary.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:49 PM

50. It seems to me that if morality originates with each

 

individuals subjective opinion then there is no morality. If morality is based only on personal views (yours or mine) then no one has any right to impose their personal morality on others. If I say denying gay marriage is wrong but fundies think its perfectly moral, by what standard am I saying they are wrong? What makes my subjective standard overrule theirs? Ive been thinking about this a lot, trying to figure out where we base the idea of right vs wrong.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #50)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 07:17 AM

69. But that wouldn't stop us from collaborating, forming a consensus, coming to a commonly accepted set

of moral positions that are held by some group. The group could be a whole society, a club, a religious entity, a gang of thugs - whatever the group is it can have a set of moral positions that originated from individuals but by way of interaction with other individuals and resulting in the consensus morality.

That is in fact what we do, isn't it?

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 01:39 PM

35. Moralities are preferences...

of course they exist. My preference for the color blue exists, even if there is no universal standard of color preferences.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #35)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 07:51 PM

51. If morality is preference

 

what what standard do I judge someones opposing preference?

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #51)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 11:07 PM

66. By your own preferences...

of course.

And your preferences are impacted by a whole slew of things. Hopefully evidence-based facts are part of them, but experience as well.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:23 PM

60. Margaret Mead found that all societies have

the basic equivalent of the ten commandments. All societies. All cultures...no matter how advanced or how primitive or tribal. All believe that is is wrong to kill another person, to steal, etc. All societies have five basic components of government, economics, education, religion and family units and all these components work together to enforce and reinforce each other and the basic moral beliefs. These "morals" are really very basic and break down to the ideal that all persons should and must do unto others as one would have others do unto you. Individuals has varied degrees of the capacity for empathy toward other human beings. Some have an extreme capacity. Some have none at all. In this sense, those with a great capacity for empathy will possess great morality within them and those with little capacity for empathy will have little morality within them, such as the sociopath.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 09:26 PM

64. Morality comes from society.

 

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 05:31 AM

68. Human Beings

We invented every "source" of morals you can conceive.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 01:48 PM

72. In ethics there are two main sources of morality.

I- what is called "deontological."
There are some things written into reality, culture, the very nature of things which always seem to be moral. Kant describes the categorical imperative as, "do what you would have universally done." The unnecessary taking of innocent human life seems to be rooted in every culture.--at least in principle. This has do do with duty, what ought to be done. Plato held that there were certain principles rooted in reality--in the world of forms.

II- "Consequentialism" What results will flow form a particular action? In most cases it is "the greatest good for the greatest number." It is outcomes not oughts that form the basis for morality.

There are no pure forms in either case. For instance. It is immoral to drop an atomic weapon on a civilian city. (deontological), but what if it precluded the invasion of Japan, which would have resulted on many more thousands deaths? (consequential)

Perhaps morality amounts to muddling through complex decisions.

While traditionally religion has played a major part in helping people negotiate between these two forms, religion has no corner on ethics. It tends to see the goodness of life grounded in reality, and reality grounded in God-ness. But outside religion there are those who do the same thing.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #72)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 04:21 PM

82. It seems to me that morality

is a given person's or group's methodology for upholding and defending their values. It's the values that are primary, and they may or may not have anything at all to do with empathy.

This discussion has reminded me of Fail Safe. The bomber pilots' morality includes explicitly ignoring empathy. The President's "muddling through complex decisions," on the other hand, depends on it.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #72)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 04:48 PM

83. There's a third school, Virtue Ethics, that's popular among ethics academics.

On top of deontological (Duty-based ethics) and consequential-based ethics (utilitarianism), there's a comeback of Aristotelian virtue ethics.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/

While deontological schools and consequentialist schools of ethics focus primarily on what actions are ethical or not, virtue ethics focuses on peoples's character traits. Virtue-ethics would tell you to cultivate virtues, or positive traits, such as honesty, empathy, or generosity. When those traits are in play, ethical behavior naturally follows.

Personally, I find duty-based and consequentialist ethics useful more as heuristics, rather than hard rules. Then I use virtue-ethics to cultivate my better traits, and make me more able to make tough ethical decisions when you run into the corner cases (like the Trolley Problem for utilitarians.)

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #83)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:14 PM

85. Ethics growing out of personal character traits is an interesting addition to the other two.

But in a sense it just pushes the argument back one step. Where did these personal character traits come from, and what is the root of their content? Personal wisdom or "ethical intuition" seems to be a a procedural avenue not a substantial one. I may believe that love is better than hate, but did I just pull that out of the air, or is there either some duty or consequence that moves me to that affirmation?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #72)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:55 PM

86. Always plenty of wiggle room in any society...

when it comes to cultural morality.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 08:39 PM

76. humans, the standard for what specifically? wrong.

morality is felt, it is not rational or discursive. So while it is largely innate, individuals are not at liberty to change it.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2013, 08:46 PM

77. The moors n/t.

 

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Response to Soundman (Reply #77)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 10:04 PM

84. Wrong! The Moops.

Moops is the word we were looking for.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 08:22 AM

87. Here is a link to the full text of "Principia Ethica."

http://archive.org/stream/principiaethican00mooruoft#page/xii/mode/2up

If you are thinking about morality, you may find that helpful.

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Response to fredzachmane (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 12:35 PM

88. All the scientific evidence points to a natural evolutionary cause.





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