Morality

EyeBallSon
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Morality

 Is immorality the opposite of morality?

 


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Well, moral is for the

Well, moral is for the greater good, while immoral is against the greater good.

 

But I wouldn't say that they're 'opposites' in the sense that punching someone is the opposite of hugging them.

 

 

 

 

 


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 Quote:Is immorality the

 

Quote:
Is immorality the opposite of morality?

It depends on how you define morality.  I define morality as the relative value measure applied to human actions with regard to other beings.  With my definition, it's impossible to say that morality/immorality is a dichotomy.  Instead, it's a scale, where one action may be "more moral" or another action may be "less moral" but there could not be a "most moral" and "least moral" act that would be on opposite ends of some kind of a switch.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 "more moral" or "less

 "more moral" or "less moral" than what?


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 Than other moral acts.

 Than other moral acts.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 Are there any acts that

 Are there any acts that are not moral?


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 You mean morally neutral?

 You mean morally neutral?  Yes.

 

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Doesn't neutrality imply

Doesn't neutrality imply opposites?


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 No.(I'll help you here.

 No.

(I'll help you here.  You're not giving me much to work with.  If you'd be more specific about what you don't understand, I could give you a detailed answer.)

 

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I like to think of it like

I like to think of it like the temperature of your house. You have 80 degrees (more moral), you have 60 degrees (less moral) and you have what is assumed to be a middle ground of 72 degrees (neutral). Just as cold is just a lack of heat, immorality would be a lack of morality, judged from an agreed upon benchmark. Saying morality is the opposite of immorality is akin to saying 60 degrees is the opposite of 80.

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." - Bertrand Russell

Stewie: Yay and God said to Abraham, "you will kill your son, Issak", and Abraham said, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone." "Oh I'm sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check... Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here."


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Thank you; but I'd like to

Thank you; but I'd like to take this "by the numbers."  Cool?

If neutrality does not imply opposites, what does the term 'neutral' mean?

It's all in the reflexes...


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 Quote:If neutrality does

 

Quote:
If neutrality does not imply opposites, what does the term 'neutral' mean?

That an act has no moral value, positive or negative.

 [edit:  I shouldn't have said positive or negative, because those are commonly opposites.  I should have said good or bad.  Pardon me.]

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 Awelton85, I didn't see

 Awelton85, I didn't see your post until after I submitted my last.

 


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EyeBallSon wrote:Thank you;

EyeBallSon wrote:

Thank you; but I'd like to take this "by the numbers."  Cool?

If neutrality does not imply opposites, what does the term 'neutral' mean?

Some social customs are arbitrary. When discussing such things it doesn't really make sense to insist that one way is better or worse than another because moral judgments like other value judgments have to be supported by reasons. When someone says that something is morally neutral they're saying there isn't a reason to judge it as moral or immoral.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
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 On the scale you mentioned

 On the scale you mentioned earlier, where does 'morally neutral' fit?

Would it be:

A) [morally neutral] - [less moral] - [more moral]

or

B) [less moral] - [morally neutral] - [more moral]

 

The temperature example above says 'B'

Would you agree?

It's all in the reflexes...


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 Quote:On the scale you

 

Quote:
On the scale you mentioned earlier, where does 'morally neutral' fit?

Off the scale.

 {edit:  The temperature analogy wasn't mine.  I shall not defend it.}

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 Is that a picture of

 Is that a picture of William Shatner?


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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:On

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
On the scale you mentioned earlier, where does 'morally neutral' fit?

Off the scale.

 {edit:  The temperature analogy wasn't mine.  I shall not defend it.}

Got it.  Fair enough.

It's all in the reflexes...


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Hambydammit wrote: Than

Hambydammit wrote:

 Than other moral acts.

Can morality apply to non-acts; like thoughts, feelings, or desires?

It's all in the reflexes...


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EyeBallSon wrote: Is that a

EyeBallSon wrote:

 Is that a picture of William Shatner?

It's a frame from a film that happens to star William Shatner, yes.

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 Quote:Can morality apply

 

Quote:
Can morality apply to non-acts; like thoughts, feelings, or desires?

I wouldn't think so.  I've honestly never spent a lot of time trying to think of an immoral thought.  Can you think of any?

If I have a stick in my hand and spend half an hour sitting next to you thinking how much gratification I'd get from beating you to death with a stick, but I don't, I have by inaction, done a moral thing.

So, if I think something, and don't do it, I have acted morally for choosing not to do what I wanted because the action would have been immoral.  If I think something and do it, I am acting immorally.  In either case, do I not have to think of what I wish to do before deciding to do it?  Morality is reserved for intelligent agents who are capable of weighing the moral "rightness" of an action.  In order to weigh, one must think.

 

 

 

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Quote: {edit:  The

Quote:

 {edit:  The temperature analogy wasn't mine.  I shall not defend it.}

Especially since todangst refuted it.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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All I was trying to do with

All I was trying to do with the temperature analogy was to show how I think. The 72 degree mark is morally neutral. All neutral morality is to me are the actions that society deems normal. Almost any building you walk in to will have it's thermostat set to 72 degrees, not because that is the temperature that I prefer, but because that is the average temperature that people find comfortable. In the same way, I think that if you aren't out feeding orphans or clubbing seals, you are probably behaving in a way that society deems normal. The benchmark is in the middle. You can either be more or less moral from there. That is just my opinion, because the only way I can see to answer this question is with an opinion. It was not stated as fact. That is why it started off "I like to think of it as" and not "it is".

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." - Bertrand Russell

Stewie: Yay and God said to Abraham, "you will kill your son, Issak", and Abraham said, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone." "Oh I'm sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check... Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here."


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 I'm sure neither I nor DG

 I'm sure neither I nor DG meant offense, but as analogies go, temperature isn't a good analogy for morality for the very reason our interlocutor exposed.

Please take our observation in the sense that we are trying to spare you from continually having your bad analogy exposed, and are giving you the chance to find a better one should you wish to defend morality against theists in the future.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I assure you no offense was

I assure you no offense was taken on my part, I just wasn't sure if I had expressed my opinion in the way that I meant for it to be understood.
I understand it was not the most rock solid analogy to use, but you do what you can with a 10 min. lunch break. Smiling

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." - Bertrand Russell

Stewie: Yay and God said to Abraham, "you will kill your son, Issak", and Abraham said, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone." "Oh I'm sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check... Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here."


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 Quote:I assure you no

 

Quote:
I assure you no offense was taken on my part, I just wasn't sure if I had expressed my opinion in the way that I meant for it to be understood. 

Do you get what I'm saying, though?  If we use temperature, then it's fine to say that clubbing baby seals in front of children while taking a shit on a picture of their mother is 1 or 2 degrees Farenheit... not as bad as gassing 6 million Jews (-200 or so), and not as good as giving a few million dollars to AIDS research (+120).  So far we have no problem, but where on the scale is scratching my nose with my little finger while looking across the room absentmindedly while a disinterested passerby glances my way?  Why would we call it, say, 72 degrees?  It does not have any moral impact on the universe, while a temperature of 72 degrees has a physical effect on everything around it in the same way that a temperature of 20 or 150.

There is no such thing as a thing "without temperature."  There are, however, lots of things we can do that involve other people but have no intrinsic moral value.

 

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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No, I understand. I guess I

No, I understand. I guess I just oversimplified it. The post was never meant to try to instill a new measuring system for our morals, just an explaination of how I understand it, condensed.

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." - Bertrand Russell

Stewie: Yay and God said to Abraham, "you will kill your son, Issak", and Abraham said, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone." "Oh I'm sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check... Jerry, pull the high end out, I'm still getting some hiss back here."


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An example of morally

An example of morally neutral:

I'd say picking up a stone is morally neutral. I mean if just to have a look at it.

 

So neutrality doesn't imply opposites. It implies seperation from the realm of morality. It has no impact on the realm of morality one way or the other.

 

How's that? Haven't though a long time about it. It just came to me. So I may be missing something there, but that's my initial thought.

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The discussion is a bit of a

The discussion is a bit of a circular one since it's starting point assumes a single definition of "moral". There  isn't one. There are commonly two which are relevant here.

 

"Moral" in one context implies simply an implied value, just as Hamby said. In other words it implies neither "good" nor "bad" specifically but simply that something can be judged on that scale. It can also mean the inclination to so judge things (such as in "my morals" or "human morals" etc.)

 

"Moral" in another context implies "good" and it is in that sense one can use "immoral" as "bad". This is in fact a misapplication of the original word in terms of its meaning but is now so common as to be accepted as meaningful.

 

If the character of a thought, deed or utterance is typified by its inappropriateness to be applied to Hamby's scale or to be judged "good" or "bad" then english has a word for it - "amoral", and that is about as close to an opposite to "moral" as semantics allow.

 

A third definition of "moral", indicating a lesson learned (eg. the "moral" of the story), is actually closest to the original meaning of the root term "mos" which in latin denoted an acquired disposition. Things that you learnt from experience and which promoted your dignitas or auctoritas went by the genitive "moris", from which "moral" as a noun was later coined. A true opposite therefore to "moral" would be something unlearnt or forgotten and which impacted negatively on your good image. I am not aware of an english word which encapsulates that concept.

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 Though it's very hard to

 Though it's very hard to take you seriously with your current avatar, I must admit you've got some good points.  When I speak of morality, I am typically speaking of the relative value of actions.  I don't like equating "moral" with "good" as it causes too many misunderstandings when people like me talk about something being a moral action.  You've explained well that calling an action a moral action in my context is not the same as calling it good.  It is saying that the action has moral implications and value, which will fall somewhere on a scale of "better" or "worse" in terms of its effects.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Yes, that's one perfectly

Yes, that's one perfectly correct definition of the term and one which does not lend itself to acquiring an opposite.

 

But as I said, the use of "morality" or "moral" to imply specifically "goodness" or "good" is in such widespread use that it too now qualifies as a correct use of the term (in semantics "correct" in this context hinges on comprehensibility). In that sense "immorality" is indeed a valid opposite.

 

Personally I avoid that usage myself and favour your definition if I use the term. I also use "amoral" to denote the opposite to "moral", even though it is not one which applies in absolutely every application of the concept in the sense we both agree is best. But mostly I regret that the phrase's original latin sense is now all but forgotten since it openly and honestly expressed the highly subjective and individual nature of what constitutes morality, something which religion tends to play down of course as it likes to impose a set moral standard of its own devising on everyone else and pretend by that means to have invented an objective concept.

 

Like much else about religion, it's a cheat. Linguistic high-jinks, and essentially dishonest.

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Wow!  Good stuff.I looked

Wow!  Good stuff.

I looked up “moral” on www.hyperdictionary.com and this is what it said:

Definition:

 

1. [n]  the significance of a story or event; "the moral of the story is to love thy neighbor"

2. [adj]  concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles; "moral sense"; "a moral scrutiny"; "a moral lesson"; "a moral quandary"; "moral convictions"; "a moral life"

3. [adj]  psychological rather than physical or tangible in effect; "a moral victory"; "moral support"

4. [adj]  adhering to ethical and moral principles; "it seems ethical and right"; "followed the only honorable course of action"; "had the moral courage to stand alone"

5. [adj]  arising from the sense of right and wrong; "a moral obligation"

6. [adj]  relating to principles of right and wrong; i.e. to morals or ethics; "moral philosophy"

 

Does anyone disagree with any portion of the definition(s) above?

It's all in the reflexes...


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It more or less covers all

It more or less covers all the bases, EyeBallSon.

 

Older dictionaries define the word as I understand it. Newer ones tend to add in a definition making "moral" synonymous with "virtuous" which is the usage that I personally don't like but is with us to stay it seems, or at least until the concept is rescued from its tortuous semantic mangling at the hands of religiously minded morons.

 

The word which should be entirely superfluous is "immoral". It is held to mean "conflicting with moral principles" which, when you think about it, is an impossibility. If it conflicts with a something that is deemed morally right then it is itself morally wrong, not immoral. If it defies any moral judgment whatsoever then it is "amoral". The word only makes sense when "moral" means "virtuous" and its arrival in the late 16th century coincided with the emergence of protestantism and the liberties taken at the time when translating christian liturgy and doctrine into the vernacular. It was nascent puritanism which more or less made the equation between "moral" and "good" and lay preachers who propagated its use. Once it entered the vernacular as a superfluous term for "good", its equally superfluous opposite was quickly coined.

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 Holy Cow!  What are you;

 Holy Cow!  What are you; a philology professor!?

 


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 So, to facilitate the

 So, to facilitate the rescue of the word “moral” from its tortuous semantic mangling at the hands of religiously minded morons, we will not continue to use it in the context of implying ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

What about the word "morality;" what does that mean?

It's all in the reflexes...


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You can if you want. You'll

You can if you want. You'll be understood, especially by religious people.

 

But if you want to be precise you should qualify your use of the word "moral" with a word such as "high" or "low" to indicate exactly what you mean at the time. You should use the word "morality" only to indicate the concept that something can be so adjudged. And you should never use the word "immoral" if "amoral" or "low moral principle" is what you really want to say. That way you avoid the traps that religionists set you and the semantic obfuscation into which they themselves are only too delighted to fling themselves. Their absolutism as it is applied to the concept of morality is subjective and arbitrary (this is why they are glad to obfuscate), and they should be made to confront that fact.

 

Philology rules. Long live stamps! (or something)

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Quote:Morality was a trait

Quote:

Morality was a trait favored by natural selection, as it encourages population growth & stability.

This is from the site’s home page.

I don’t know who wrote it, or what their definition of ‘morality’ is; but it made me wonder.  If ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, and we’ve been evolving for millions of years, why is there still so much immorality?  (I know you guys don’t like that word - you’ll forgive my inability to find a more suitable term)  Is not the “problem of evil” one of the key arguments against theism?  (why demand an explanation for evil if you don’t believe it exists?)  Bad behavior and bad acts are not things that come to mind when trying to list aspects of humanity that encourage population growth & [societal] stability.

Let’s put the philological debate aside and deal with the concepts.  Given the context of the quote, I’m having a hard time seeing how ‘morality’ could be anything other than a propensity toward things, I hope we can call, ‘good’ (e.g.:  compassion, generosity, respect, etc...).  I don’t see things, most people would consider, ‘bad’ (e.g.:  apathy, greed, disrespect, etc...) encouraging population growth and [societal] stability.  If anyone has a problem with the generic terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ then I’m not sure how to continue.

The question is, if ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, why are those aspects of humanity, counter to encouraging population growth and [societal] stability, not more vestigial; since we’ve had millions of years to evolve away from them?

It's all in the reflexes...


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 Quote: If

 

Quote:
 If ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, and we’ve been evolving for millions of years, why is there still so much immorality?

It's primarily because of what is called an evolutionarily stable system.  It's a little complicated to explain in a short post, but the basic idea is this.  Morality, in an evolutionary sense, is either being honest or lying.  Consider a population in which everybody is honest all the time.  (By honest, I mean they take their fair share, or share equally with all others, or the like.  Language isn't required.)  Suppose one creature cheats just a little.  Instead of sharing 50%, he shares 48%.  This slight difference is probably going to go unnoticed, and so the cheater will prosper.  Since we're talking about reproduction, the cheaters are going to reproduce slightly better.  After many generations, we might expect that cheaters would have come to dominate the population, but this is not so.  You see, as the number of cheaters increases, it becomes harder and harder to cheat.   Eventually, it will become so hard to cheat that it becomes an advantage to be honest again.

In short, there is a mathematical value to cheating and to being honest, and in any particular society, we can calculate the percentage of cheaters and honest players that will be stable, such that the next generation will be the same percentages.

This is part of what's called Game Theory -- a way of mathematically looking at complex social interactions originally discovered by economists.  The short answer to your question is that immorality still exists because it is advantageous for a certain amount of immorality to exist.

I highly recommend you read two books:  The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, and The Origins of Virtue, by Matt Ridley.  Actually, three books.  Also read "The Lucifer Principle" by Howard Bloom.

Finally, realize that humans are actually mostly moral.  The reason immorality makes the news is that it's out of the ordinary.  Even the worst criminals are usually moral in most of their activities.  Be careful not to think of morality only as "the big things."  When someone cuts me off on the road, and I don't give in to my urge to ram their car, I am acting morally.  Granted, it's not hard to make that decision most of the time because the consequences far outweigh the reward, but still... if you think about it, 95% of your actions in any given day are socially acceptable, and generally "good."

Quote:
Is not the “problem of evil” one of the key arguments against theism?

Not at all.  Quite the contrary.  It's totally irrelevant.  I never argue from it.

Quote:
Bad behavior and bad acts are not things that come to mind when trying to list aspects of humanity that encourage population growth & [societal] stability.

Seriously, please read those books.  It takes more than a blog post to explain the evolution of morality.  However, the basic idea is that you're thinking in terms of victims.  Its bad for me to steal from you because it hurts you, but in terms of passing on genes, if I can successfully steal from you, not get caught, and then pass on the benefit of my theft in the form of stronger offspring, from a genetic point of view, I win.  You would probably be shocked at how much human acheivement is the direct result of what you would call "bad acts" as a matter of morality.

Quote:
Let’s put the philological debate aside and deal with the concepts

Thank you.  Seriously.  Thank you very much.

Quote:
Given the context of the quote, I’m having a hard time seeing how ‘morality’ could be anything other than a propensity toward things, I hope we can call, ‘good’ (e.g.:  compassion, generosity, respect, etc...).  I don’t see things, most people would consider, ‘bad’ (e.g.:  apathy, greed, disrespect, etc...) encouraging population growth and [societal] stability.  If anyone has a problem with the generic terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ then I’m not sure how to continue.

You're still getting really hung up on good and bad, and that's going to be a problem.  You're trying to assign a property of good and bad when they are not properties.  They're value assignments.

"Green" is a property.  Certain objects reflect visible light in such a way that the reflected light has the physical characteristics we call "green."  (A blind person with a computer and equipment to analyze light can still identify green.)  "Good" is a value judgment.  An act can be good, bad, and neutral, all at the same time.  It is dependent on the actor, the actee, and the result.

Quote:
The question is, if ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, why are those aspects of humanity, counter to encouraging population growth and [societal] stability, not more vestigial; since we’ve had millions of years to evolve away from them?

I believe you really want to learn, and I want you to take this the right way.  You're not ready for this discussion.  I could answer your individual questions, but until you have a proper foundation, you really just aren't going to be able to get this.  I'm going to give you a number of articles written by me, and I want you to at the very least read all of them thoroughly.  At most, I'd like you to read all three books I recommended.

Look, I'm not going to lie to you.  Science is harder than religion.  A lot harder.  The questions you're asking have answers that involve evolutionary biology, economics, psychology, and about a half a dozen hard sciences, each of which requires a lot of study.  If you are comfortable with easy answers, just take the easy answers and go.  I don't mean that in a nasty way.  I just mean, if you aren't willing to put in some work, you're not going to learn the truth.  Science is harder than a blog post.

Anyway, once you've at the very least read and absorbed what I'm going to link for you, let's talk about morality again if you want, but right now, no offense intended, you're not capable of having this conversation.  You need more knowledge.

What Does Sugar Have To Do With Murder?!

Christian Morality (with pictures!)

Godless Morality and Fear

Free Will: Why we don't have it, and why that's a good thing.

Conspicuous Consumption: Why "Good Enough" is never good enough.

Morality: Objective and Subjective

Arms Races

For New Atheists: Is This Really All There Is?

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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EyeBallSon

EyeBallSon wrote:

Quote:

Morality was a trait favored by natural selection, as it encourages population growth & stability.

 

This is from the site’s home page.

I don’t know who wrote it, or what their definition of ‘morality’ is; but it made me wonder.  If ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, and we’ve been evolving for millions of years, why is there still so much immorality?  (I know you guys don’t like that word - you’ll forgive my inability to find a more suitable term)  Is not the “problem of evil” one of the key arguments against theism?  (why demand an explanation for evil if you don’t believe it exists?)  Bad behavior and bad acts are not things that come to mind when trying to list aspects of humanity that encourage population growth & [societal] stability.

Let’s put the philological debate aside and deal with the concepts.  Given the context of the quote, I’m having a hard time seeing how ‘morality’ could be anything other than a propensity toward things, I hope we can call, ‘good’ (e.g.:  compassion, generosity, respect, etc...).  I don’t see things, most people would consider, ‘bad’ (e.g.:  apathy, greed, disrespect, etc...) encouraging population growth and [societal] stability.  If anyone has a problem with the generic terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ then I’m not sure how to continue.

The question is, if ‘morality’ was a trait favored by natural selection, why are those aspects of humanity, counter to encouraging population growth and [societal] stability, not more vestigial; since we’ve had millions of years to evolve away from them?

 

I can follow your line of reasoning very well, but I think you make the mistake of misunderstanding the quote you make (or alternatively, the original quoter has misunderstood the evolution of morality.

The thing is, greed, something I personaly, and I'm sure many others, including you, would consider a "bad" moral trait, is a product of natural selection. Wanting food, sex, and power, is a pretty natural thing. So we have not evolved towards being exclusively "good". The argument for naturaly evolved morality is simply that the things most of us do consider good (Like compasion for others for example) have a natural explanation.

In the case of compasion, you could argue that it was in the interest of our ape-like forfarthers to feel an emotional connection to the ones around them who were of their own species, because it helped tie a social group together and helped them cooporate better: a positive trait for a social animal.

But to suspect that evolution caries us towards being exclusively "good" is to miss the argument. It is not suggested by scientists that it does. Only that what "good" we do have the capasity for, can be explained through natural selection.

 

To see my thoughts on the subject, I have an old thread called...

Can't remember, I'll find it and post the link.

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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Hambydammit wrote: I

Hambydammit wrote:

 I believe you really want to learn, and I want you to take this the right way.  You're not ready for this discussion.  I could answer your individual questions, but until you have a proper foundation, you really just aren't going to be able to get this.  ...  Anyway, once you've read and absorbed what I'm going to link for you, let's talk about morality again if you want, but right now, no offense intended, you're not capable of having this conversation.  You need more knowledge.

Cool.  Catch you on the flip side...

It's all in the reflexes...


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Here's the thread. The OP

Here's the thread. The OP and some of my first responses explain my views pretty well http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14043

 

It does trail off at one point since the poster Netjaeger writes some rather long confused posts, but the back and forth in the thread has some good points from many different people before that

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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 Sometimes, when I look

 Sometimes, when I look back at things I've written, I wonder how I have the patience to write... and yet, somehow, I keep writing.

That thread really did get nutty.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hamby wrote:Finally, realize

Hamby wrote:

Finally, realize that humans are actually mostly moral.

 

Oh, you cheat!!!!!!

Remember your own rule?

 

(mind you, on a moral scale, they're mostly good by their own standards)

 

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Humans are only moral when

Humans are only moral when it benifits them.

 

It's moral to help someone during an emergency, but the more people who see it, the longer it takes for somebody to get help.

 

 

 [EDIT]

Whoops, posted before I was done.

 

To go with my above example, it's basically somebody else's reponsablity to send for help, so we're not required to help and don't feel the responsability to do it ourselves.

 

True "altuism" is pretty much non-existant, we're moral because it benifits us. And because it benifits us, we're moral.


[/EDIT]

 


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 Quote:Oh, you

 

Quote:
Oh, you cheat!!!!!!

Remember your own rule?

 

(mind you, on a moral scale, they're mostly good by their own standards)

By what other scale would I judge them?  Yes, they are mostly good by their own standards.  That's the point.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 ...immorality still exists because it is advantageous for a certain amount of immorality to exist.

Hey, wait a tick!

By that rationale, theism exists because it is advantageous for a certain amount of theism to exist.

If atheists would have theists believe that theism is the frustrating byproduct of faulty intellect, how do they explain its continued existence?  Why have we not evolved away from this ridiculously appalling paradigm?  God knows we've had plenty of time...

It's all in the reflexes...


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Humans

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Humans are only moral when it benifits them.

 

It's moral to help someone during an emergency, but the more people who see it, the longer it takes for somebody to get help.

But this is not always the case. The bystander effect has been studied enough to determine that there are people who will do something, regardless of how long the situation has been going on or how many people have seen it. Myself, for example. I am motivated by my morality to do something, unless I literally am incapable of doing something or if doing something will have a negative effect on the situation. I've never encountered a situation that I didn't react as soon as I was made aware of a problem unless someone else was in control and not needing help.

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Argh! More inexact

Argh! More inexact laguage!!!!

 

The person who does nothing to help in the emergency situation you allude to is equally moral to the person who does. Neither escapes being morally evaluated by themselves and others.

 

And neither of them is exhibiting either altruism or a lack of it in your example anyway. The impulse to help in that situation is not necessarily dictated by one's altruism. And in any case, an altruist in other situations who fails to act in that particular one might indeed feel ashamed afterwards, but that shame itself confirms their basic impulse to be morally good.

 

It was a crap example of morality in play.

 

A far more typical example of morality as it applies to the human condition is the self-imposed restraint the vast majority of us employ in avoiding harming others. It is so innate a trend that we don't even think about it, except when the tendency fails to prevent such injury being done, an aberrant occurrence which the same tendency then demands that we examine, explain and justify. Religion likes to take the credit for this basic human tendency and use our own innate morality to condemn (or even justify) the aberrant behaviour.

 

But it is a lie - like much else about religion. People by and large exhibit the same moral tendencies in much the same mix of conformity and aberration regardless of the religion they may or may not subscribe to.

 

BTW - if this discussion is to make any progress (or even sense) then morality must not be confused with being perceived as good.

 

EyeBallSon wrote:

If atheists would have theists believe that theism is the frustrating byproduct of faulty intellect, how do they explain its continued existence?  Why have we not evolved away from this ridiculously appalling paradigm?  God knows we've had plenty of time...

 

This has nothing to do with morality at all but deserves riposte. Theism is constantly "evolving" in the sense you imply and there is ample evidence that "we" as a species are ridding ourselves from delusional behaviour. The fact that it is now even seen as delusional itself by a significant many is a marker of evolving attitudes. The fact that religion for example is no longer the absolute and unquestioned basis of civil law is seen, even by people living in societies where that archaic behaviour still nominally applies, as something which has to be justified when deviation occurs.

 

A few thousand years ago such was not the case - in fact the opposite assumption prevailed. A few hundred years ago societies now lumped together as "western" made huge strides in making the separation of the two concepts a reality which influenced global social development thereafter. Islam's recent hijacking of the UN's Human Rights Committee is seen as the cynical self-preservatory political ploy that it is. A few hundred years ago such chicanery would have been not only the norm, but the institutionalized norm.

 

The number of "dead" gods which litter this intellectual progression is testamant itself to its existence. The shrinking relevance of those that remain indicate its impending success. The intellect which produced such superstitious allegiance was not "faulty", simply misinformed. Today there is less excuse for such ignorance, and it's showing. The progress, when examined in the short term, can be sen to be a stuttering one. But it has only one general direction in the long term.

 

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There is nothing inexact

There is nothing inexact about my language. I suggest you learn simple english or quit reading my posts.

And I said nothing to imply that anyones morals are superior to anyone elses. I said I was different. I tire of this continued strawman from you.

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-groan- I was referring to

-groan-

 

I was referring to the pineapple quote above, as is evident from what I wrote, I thought. In future I'll be more punctilious about visibly quoting, just to avoid gratuitous offence-taking. Ok?

 

You made a reasonable and subjective analysis of your own private motivations which cannot be gainsaid therefore by anyone, not least because we're not you. It neither advanced nor deviated from the discussion in hand. It simply told us something about you.

 

Stop seeing straw men everywhere. You'll end up in Oz.

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EyeBallSon wrote:Hambydammit

EyeBallSon wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

 ...immorality still exists because it is advantageous for a certain amount of immorality to exist.

Hey, wait a tick!

By that rationale, theism exists because it is advantageous for a certain amount of theism to exist.

Both of you are going to have to stop. No characteristic or product of mind can be assumed in its entirety to be entirely advantageous (and I don't think that's what Hamby's trying to say). Craziness happens quite a lot, and there is no great advantage there.

The general product of craziness in a human population, for example, may lead to a population having an advantage in other ways, but that's not the same thing. Look at the Scots, who are responsible for as much genius in the Western world as anyone else, but they're nuts!

EyeBallSon wrote:
If atheists would have theists believe that theism is the frustrating byproduct of faulty intellect, how do they explain its continued existence?  Why have we not evolved away from this ridiculously appalling paradigm?  God knows we've had plenty of time...

Because evolution is a fuzzy system. Adapting to malaria requires an uncomfortable step: sickle cell anemia. Explaining natural phenomena requires either testing or making-stuff-up, and until the testing is done, the making-stuff-up crowd could very well be right, but that doesn't mean that the stuff they make up is advantageous.

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