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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9992
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 391 of 438 (743736)
12-03-2014 11:14 PM
Reply to: Message 384 by ProtoTypical
12-03-2014 5:47 AM


No perhaps not but they would include human intellect which is where the technology comes from. Being able to build a rocket ship is not really that different, in this context, from being able to build a nest. They both stem from the creature's evolved qualities.

No they don't both stem from evolved qualities. I have no shot at building even the simplest house. I believe myself to be as intelligent as people who can, but I don't have the know how to make a house. Technology is something we pass down by writing in parallel with any evolution that might be going on.

I highly doubt that you have evolved to be able to build a working rocket ship. You have exactly the same ability to do so as did Abraham Lincoln.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 384 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-03-2014 5:47 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 394 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-04-2014 6:11 AM NoNukes has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 392 of 438 (743753)
12-04-2014 5:21 AM
Reply to: Message 388 by ringo
12-03-2014 11:36 AM


Morality based on body count? I don't think so. I'd say it's the opposite. Much of our morality is based on doing what's best for an individual, even if it puts larger numbers at risk.

I wouldn't use the term 'body count' as if fails to capture the idea but it is one method of assessing what we are doing. We can review the success of our moral behaviour. Consider the Catholic church's position on the use of condoms. Clearly this an example of a failed moral policy that has caused death and disease for millions. We can know this by looking at the result of the behaviour.

I don't think either gun laws or prohibition have much to do with morality. They're just practical matters, like food and shelter.

Prohibition of alcohol is the quintessential example of a moral policy. It has the intent of reducing the cost of individual behaviour to society. After trying it we can see that it is a bad idea that fails because the cost to the individual is too high.

But what's "good" is highly subjective.

Yes it is but moral consensus finds the common ground.

Should we measure "higher" in terms of more environments or more "survival/extinction incidents"?

I would say that the two are proportional. Being able to survive across a range of environments will, on average, equate to more surviving and less going extinct.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 388 by ringo, posted 12-03-2014 11:36 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 396 by ringo, posted 12-04-2014 10:43 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 393 of 438 (743758)
12-04-2014 5:56 AM
Reply to: Message 389 by AZPaul3
12-03-2014 3:39 PM


The nest builder did not intellectually devise the nest the way humans devise tools.

I don't see any difference between the two apart from capacity. What is the difference between a crow dropping a nut on the rocks and human breaking a nut with a rock? Or a chimp fishing for termites and a human fishing for fish?

Intellect and physiological ability are the only 2 assets that any creature has to resist the universe's attempts to kill it. Maybe luck comes in there somewhere too.

Brace yourself now, I am going to attempt some math. Doesn't the probability of survival increase as the creature's habitable zone increases? Isn't probability of survival an objective yard stick for measuring evolutionary success?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 389 by AZPaul3, posted 12-03-2014 3:39 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 395 by AZPaul3, posted 12-04-2014 7:55 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 394 of 438 (743759)
12-04-2014 6:11 AM
Reply to: Message 391 by NoNukes
12-03-2014 11:14 PM


No they don't both stem from evolved qualities. I have no shot at building even the simplest house. I believe myself to be as intelligent as people who can, but I don't have the know how to make a house. Technology is something we pass down by writing in parallel with any evolution that might be going on.

Not so different from a squirrel or a bird using last years nest or the learned behaviour of any animal.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 391 by NoNukes, posted 12-03-2014 11:14 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 397 by NoNukes, posted 12-04-2014 1:16 PM ProtoTypical has responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 395 of 438 (743763)
12-04-2014 7:55 AM
Reply to: Message 393 by ProtoTypical
12-04-2014 5:56 AM


Doesn't the probability of survival increase as the creature's habitable zone increases? Isn't probability of survival an objective yard stick for measuring evolutionary success?

Remember how evolution works. It works through babies generation by generation. It does not work through longevity. And no, for many species longevity does not mean more babies let alone more successful babies. We have to go out to your babies production of babies to determine your fitness. For most life it is a posthumous award.

Still, even though we don't have numbers, I think you have done well on your math. It makes sense that a larger range offers more resources, more probability for survival for both you and your babies so in that way a larger range can be helpful. But then, for most life, modern technological humans being a major exception, a wider range also means more probability of speciation events. Still, the only measure of evolutionary success is fitness, not survival.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 393 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-04-2014 5:56 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 398 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 4:23 AM AZPaul3 has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 13718
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 396 of 438 (743773)
12-04-2014 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 392 by ProtoTypical
12-04-2014 5:21 AM


ProtoTypical writes:

Consider the Catholic church's position on the use of condoms. Clearly this an example of a failed moral policy that has caused death and disease for millions.


That's an attempt to dictate morality by fairly arbitrary means. They might as well say you'll be more moral if you wear green socks. I don't see what it has to do with actual morality.

ProtoTypical writes:

Prohibition of alcohol is the quintessential example of a moral policy.


Again, it's an attempt to dictate morality. Real morality comes from within; it's a willingness to conform to society (although it doesn't sound very attractive when put that way).

ProtoTypical writes:

After trying it we can see that it is a bad idea that fails because the cost to the individual is too high.


Forced morality doesn't fail because of "cost to the individual". It fails because the internal pressure to "conform" is greater than the external pressure. The carrot is more effective than the stick.

ProtoTypical writes:

Being able to survive across a range of environments will, on average, equate to more surviving and less going extinct.


So being more "highly evolved" depends on being average?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 392 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-04-2014 5:21 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 399 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 4:43 AM ringo has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9992
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 397 of 438 (743796)
12-04-2014 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 394 by ProtoTypical
12-04-2014 6:11 AM


Not so different from a squirrel or a bird using last years nest or the learned behaviour of any animal.

I disagree. It is much different from the learned behavior of most animals.

The learned behavior for most animals is the animals they can hang out with. Humans can draw on much more than that simply by leveraging reading and writing. Beyond that, you don't have to learn how to program your smart phone because I can do that for you. So you can even draw on stuff you cannot understand.

One of my favorite human inventions is calculus. The topic is easy enough to teach to high school students. Yet it was beyond all by one or two people during the time of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. Yet no one ought to be insisting that high school students are more mentally evolved that Newton's peers.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 394 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-04-2014 6:11 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 400 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 5:15 AM NoNukes has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 398 of 438 (743818)
12-05-2014 4:23 AM
Reply to: Message 395 by AZPaul3
12-04-2014 7:55 AM


Remember how evolution works. It works through babies generation by generation. It does not work through longevity.

Still, the only measure of evolutionary success is fitness, not survival.

Yes, I was referring to longevity and survival at the species level and I think that a species that could survive in any environment should rightfully be considered more fit than a species that can only survive under particular conditions. Voila, a scale of evolutionary success.

for most life, modern technological humans being a major exception, a wider range also means more probability of speciation events.

Wouldn't an ability to survive in many different environments reduce the probability of a speciation event?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 395 by AZPaul3, posted 12-04-2014 7:55 AM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 402 by AZPaul3, posted 12-05-2014 7:41 AM ProtoTypical has responded
 Message 403 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-05-2014 8:50 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 399 of 438 (743819)
12-05-2014 4:43 AM
Reply to: Message 396 by ringo
12-04-2014 10:43 AM


Real morality comes from within; it's a willingness to conform to society

I agree that the impetus for morality comes from the individual but I wonder if it is a willingness to conform to society. I would say that it is an attempt to get society to conform to the needs of the individual.

So being more "highly evolved" depends on being average?

You need more antifreeze in your oatmeal. Being more highly evolved depends on the probability that your species will survive. As the range of suitable environments increases so do the odds of survival. I used the qualifier 'on average' because there is always the possibility of an extinction event until the species can survive in any environment.

A moral code that helps your species survive can be considered objectively correct.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 396 by ringo, posted 12-04-2014 10:43 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 405 by ringo, posted 12-05-2014 11:35 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1754
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 400 of 438 (743820)
12-05-2014 5:15 AM
Reply to: Message 397 by NoNukes
12-04-2014 1:16 PM


The learned behavior for most animals is the animals they can hang out with.

I agree. My point is that the only difference for humans is the scale at which we interact and our intellectual capacity. Taking the fur from a bear and using it as a coat is not really so different from collecting twigs for a nest. They are both efforts to modify one's immediate environment.

Our evolved qualities that allow us to kill the bear and make the coat have enabled us to survive in a wider range of environments. This increases the probability that we will survive as a species because we can adapt as the environment changes.

Greater adaptability seems a legitimate measure of evolutionary success.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 397 by NoNukes, posted 12-04-2014 1:16 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 404 by NoNukes, posted 12-05-2014 10:32 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Colbard
Member (Idle past 947 days)
Posts: 300
From: Australia
Joined: 08-31-2014


Message 401 of 438 (743823)
12-05-2014 6:53 AM
Reply to: Message 374 by Taq
12-01-2014 3:42 PM


Tag writes:

From what you have presented, only the natural can be said to be knowledge. The spiritual is based on belief which is the opposite of knowledge.

Forgetting my beliefs, it would be true that if the belief is correct, then its results would promote truth and discovery, even faster than trial and error.

If the belief is false, including the belief in a theory, then it will be struggling to make headway with practical applications.

Genuine spirituality is natural congruent with the universe, false spirituality is a lie.
In other words whatever science proves to be correct is truth and spirituality.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 374 by Taq, posted 12-01-2014 3:42 PM Taq has not yet responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 402 of 438 (743829)
12-05-2014 7:41 AM
Reply to: Message 398 by ProtoTypical
12-05-2014 4:23 AM


I think that a species that could survive in any environment should rightfully be considered more fit than a species that can only survive under particular conditions.

Well, it isn't. The discipline determined quite some time ago that the only scale of evolutionary success is fitness and fitness is assessed by counting babies. You may not be wrong that wider range and environmental flexibility might have a positive impact on fitness, but fitness, as defined, will always rule.

It has to be this way. The more babies the more mutations and genetic variability. The more babies the more the spread of beneficial new traits. And that is evolution.

Wouldn't an ability to survive in many different environments reduce the probability of a speciation event?

I don't think so. Evolution is reproduction with modification. Change will take place. The broader the range the less chance some portions of the population will mix with others to share new traits. The population begins to differentiate by suite of traits. Where you have population differentiation I would think there would be more chance of speciation.

Please don't think of speciation events as bad. That is how evolution drives the diversity of life. The bush gets ... well ... bushier.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 398 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 4:23 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 406 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2014 8:05 AM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11761
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 403 of 438 (743837)
12-05-2014 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 398 by ProtoTypical
12-05-2014 4:23 AM


I think that a species that could survive in any environment should rightfully be considered more fit than a species that can only survive under particular conditions.

Why?

A species that has had very little selective pressure and has genetically drifted into a diverse and adaptable group versus a species that has had a very high level of selective pressure whose genome has been trimmed down to an exact fit for a specific environment and has little to no adaptability.

To me, it would seem that the highly specialized species should be the one that is considered "more evolved". Not the one that has had very little pressure.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 398 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 4:23 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 407 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2014 8:06 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9992
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 404 of 438 (743846)
12-05-2014 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 400 by ProtoTypical
12-05-2014 5:15 AM


Our evolved qualities that allow us to kill the bear and make the coat have enabled us to survive in a wider range of environments.

Being able to kill a bear with a gun that you are not capable of making does not demonstrate that you have evolved. That killing would instead be evidence of a completely different process.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 400 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 5:15 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 408 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2014 9:01 AM NoNukes has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 13718
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 405 of 438 (743865)
12-05-2014 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 399 by ProtoTypical
12-05-2014 4:43 AM


ProtoTypical writes:

I agree that the impetus for morality comes from the individual but I wonder if it is a willingness to conform to society. I would say that it is an attempt to get society to conform to the needs of the individual.


Well, maybe black is white in some cases but I'm not seeing it. Can you elaborate? How would an individual; "get society" to conform to his needs?

ProtoTypical writes:

A moral code that helps your species survive can be considered objectively correct.


I'm the first one to say that consensus is the first step toward objectivity - but I think what you're talking about is only consensus, not real objectivity.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 399 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-05-2014 4:43 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 409 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-06-2014 9:16 AM ringo has responded

  
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