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Author Topic:   Morals without God or Darwin, just Empathy
Larni
Member (Idle past 43 days)
Posts: 3998
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 166 of 184 (383159)
02-07-2007 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by anastasia
02-06-2007 9:48 PM


Ana writes:

I am simply not satisfied with a psychological explanation for things which I can consciously do.

Then you will never find the answers you require.

Ana writes:

In the same way, I feel that all of my immorality is 'hurting' God.

Intersting point. If you relate to a god as you would a loved one I can see how you would not want to hurt it (for the reasons explained in this thread).

However, as I said above, to find out why you have to look to the study of cognition, emotion and behaviour i.e. psychology.

If you ignore a branch of learn geared towards answering the very questiosn you ask, well what more can anyone do?

It's pretty common, by the way; xians ignoring science. Check out the Geology/Flood threads.

Ana writes:

Belief, here, is not to be scoffed at. It is motivation. We must all have a motive for doing good.

Yes, and that motivationis learnt!

Edited by Larni, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by anastasia, posted 02-06-2007 9:48 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4702 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 167 of 184 (383163)
02-07-2007 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by Larni
02-07-2007 8:05 AM


Larni writes:

Then you will never find the answers you require.

You are the only cognitive behaviour therapist here that I am aware of. It is possible to have productive discussions on moral motivation without God, even without talking science. It is possible to discuss music, emotions, and many other things without being scientific.

It's pretty common, by the way; xians ignoring science. Check out the Geology/Flood threads.

There is really no need for disparaging remarks, competitions, assumptions, or type-casting. There are certain members of this forum who are constsntly stooping to this behaviour and appear to have an agenda of ridicule which reminds me so much of an insecurity.

Yes, and that motivationis learnt!

Learned, and chosen.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 4017
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 168 of 184 (383164)
02-07-2007 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 164 by anastasia
02-06-2007 10:27 PM


Complex questions deserve complex answers
anastasia writes:

Yes, maybe you can tell me what a moral person is?


No problem. Here you go:

Message 150
-if you have any specific questions, please ask.

For example, were slave keepers moral, even if we have now decided that slavery is bad?

You answered your own question similar to how I would have:

quote:
I must say they were moral by their standards, but not by better standards such as we have today.

I would say they were within the law, and those that understood how immoral it was were a minority for a long time. I do not think that everyone in those time periods thought slavery was acceptable. Nor do I think that everyone who had slaves was justified for doing so just because it was accepted in that time period. So, yes, I agree that they were moral by their society's standards. But I do think that some people "knew better".

Just as today (we don't have to go into history for examples), in some places gay-discrimination is moral by their society's standards. In some places even racism is still normal and moral by their society's standards. But there are those of us that know better. There are those of us that have used our intellect to judge the information available to us and understand that all people have the same rights and privileges. We also know that to deny any of these rights or privileges to anyone is wrong, and immoral.

anastasia writes:

Yet, somewhere along the line, people began to listen to another voice beside what they had learned. They had always felt empathy, but they did not listen to it. The morality got 'better'. I would say a moral person is someone who listens to the voice of reason, or of God if they believe He is the reason.


I don't think so. I certainly don't see any reason to believe that anyone started listening to some external voice. They just started learning different things, and using their intellect to put more importance on different things. They thought about it, and finally realized that their is no reason for any one person to be able to force any other person to do their bidding. No 'other voice' told them this, they learnt it.

I agree that moral people are acting with the same goodness whether they believe in God or not.

I thought so. I just wanted to be clear. I will stop pestering you for something that isn't there, thanks for your time and participation :)


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 Message 164 by anastasia, posted 02-06-2007 10:27 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
nator
Member (Idle past 919 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 169 of 184 (383322)
02-07-2007 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 167 by anastasia
02-07-2007 9:12 AM


quote:
You are the only cognitive behaviour therapist here that I am aware of.

My husband has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and is a professional scientist at Dartmouth College.

He has been looking over my shoulder at this thread and I've checked with him occasionally to make sure what I've written jibes with what the science shows.

At any rate, I've been arguing from the same (albeit from a layman's level of understanding that is FAR below my husband's and Larni's) place as Larni has.

quote:
It is possible to have productive discussions on moral motivation without God, even without talking science. It is possible to discuss music, emotions, and many other things without being scientific.

Sure. But wasn't the question "Where does morality come from if it doesn't come from God?"

To answer that question, you need science.

quote:
There is really no need for disparaging remarks, competitions, assumptions, or type-casting.

We're frustrated, ana, because you are refusing to accept the science we are presenting to you.

Can you explain how rejecting scientific evidence because you find it isn't "simple" and is "unsatisfying" is any different from what the evolution- and old earth deniers do?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 167 by anastasia, posted 02-07-2007 9:12 AM anastasia has not yet responded

  
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2346 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 170 of 184 (383956)
02-09-2007 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 132 by Larni
02-05-2007 4:55 AM


Empirical evidence
Larni:

You still have to show that this 'higher force' exists.

Let me ask a dim question here.

Why?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 132 by Larni, posted 02-05-2007 4:55 AM Larni has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 171 by Larni, posted 02-10-2007 12:47 PM Archer Opteryx has responded

  
Larni
Member (Idle past 43 days)
Posts: 3998
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 171 of 184 (384182)
02-10-2007 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Archer Opteryx
02-09-2007 4:43 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
Ana writes:

A single person is capable of tapping into a higher 'force' while the rest of society remains mediocre.

I infered from this that Ana proposed a 'higher force' as a driver for morality.

I stated that she would need to substantiate this 'higher force' if she wants to hang her point on it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-09-2007 4:43 PM Archer Opteryx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-10-2007 3:32 PM Larni has responded

  
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2346 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 172 of 184 (384230)
02-10-2007 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by Larni
02-10-2007 12:47 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
OK. Reading the thread I was getting the impression that you might be talking past each other a bit. I enjoy reading what both of you have to say and wondered if I could help as a translator. (I'm a competent if not fluent speaker of both Scientist and Contemplative.)
;)

In your insistence on 'substantiation', Larni, you appear to be demanding adherence to the scientific method. This is a professional discipline of yours and you're good at it.

anastasia's professional habits are different. Her field is soul-building. The work is art, not science. But for that reason she is not obligated to remove from her workbench those ideas that science must provisionally set aside.

As we're in the Social Issues department here, a synthetic approach may be fine. A lot depends on the established parameters and goals of the discussion. Is there a consensus?

I don't know if this is any help, but that's how it looks from this bird's nest.

__


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by Larni, posted 02-10-2007 12:47 PM Larni has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 173 by Larni, posted 02-10-2007 9:15 PM Archer Opteryx has responded

  
Larni
Member (Idle past 43 days)
Posts: 3998
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 173 of 184 (384311)
02-10-2007 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by Archer Opteryx
02-10-2007 3:32 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
Yeah, I do get on my 'science is the way' hobby horse from time to time, :)

I do try to check the Forum I'm in (science or not) but sometimes I need a boot up my arse to keep me straight.

And to be honest, I can't help thinking I have been riding Ana's posts lately, maybe I should back off a bit and reflect (or reload my guns, lol).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-10-2007 3:32 PM Archer Opteryx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 174 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-11-2007 3:41 PM Larni has not yet responded

  
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 2346 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 174 of 184 (384444)
02-11-2007 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 173 by Larni
02-10-2007 9:15 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
Larni:

And to be honest, I can't help thinking I have been riding Ana's posts lately, maybe I should back off a bit and reflect (or reload my guns, lol).

Well, whatever ammo you're packing, it's a good show. You both can take it. :)

It just seemed that repeated requests for 'empirical evidence of a higher power' might be jamming guns. ana has freely admitted, on other threads if not yet this one, that she can't produce this. (ana - Please correct any misrepresentations here.)

The mystics I've known all concede as much. It's worth noticing because it's one thing that distinguishes a true mystic from the fundies we so often see. Mystics don't seek science status for their belief system. They have no Science Envy. They are content to let science be science.

It's fair to say, though, that as a group they're not much in awe of science, either. :laugh:

Mystics know their own work doesn't qualify as science. They just don't find that disqualification fatal.

And we know subjectivity is well and good when the realm is personal. I know you see this in your own field. Psychologists--no matter how rigorous their use of the scientific method when conducting their research--always encourage clients facing moral dilemmas to consult their belief systems and feelings. Whatever the origins of human moral behavior, the process of doing it does demand that we consider these things.

I appreciate everyone's particiaption in this thought-provoking discussion. Here are a few things I've gleaned from it as a lurker:


- Talking about where behaviors come from is not the same thing as talking about how best to behave.

- Talking about how best to behave is not the same thing as talking about where behaviors come from.

- The subjective impressions of one person do not equal objective evidence for anyone else.

- Discussing morality in an empirical way does not substantially alter our personal experience of morality until the ideas also register in a subjective way. (hypothesis)

- Natural origins can be ascribed to things we think and do, but the origin of nature itself may (or may not) lie beyond reach of the scientific method.

- Supernatural origins can be ascribed to things we think and do, but the origin of this idea may (or may not) lie within reach of the scientific method.

- One can order one's life according to premises that cannot all be demonstrated empirically and still qualify as a rational, thinking person. But to order one's life according to premises that contradict obvious facts would be delusional.

Full disclosure: my own approach to morality is not to think of morality at all. I just think of making the best decisions I can make.

The word 'morality' appears to refer to a subclass of decisions: those for which society heaps special levels of shame on undesired outcomes. The image of divine displeasure would then be one way society stigmatizes unwanted behaviors and give solace to individuals harmed by them.

___


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4702 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 175 of 184 (385151)
02-14-2007 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 174 by Archer Opteryx
02-11-2007 3:41 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
Thank you, Archer, for bridging the sea.

I may approach a conversation assuming that everyone has at one time tackled the issue of personal morality, and most likely come to some resolve even before an education in science. In that scenerio, abandoning a strong resolve to a loose specualtion of moral origins and causes does not necessarily do justice to the present complexity of the issue in other fields of study.

It is very likely that some people do not ever come to a personal moral 'conclusion' but rather schlep through life following the standards of society's social contracts, and in that sense there may be very much a 'preservation instinct' behind it. This is not quite pursuing the 'good' for its own sake.

I would say that morality at its roots is a personal Code of Honor; doing one's best through recognition of the inherent value of life and human dignity, and by extension giving value to the lives of others and helping them to regard themselves as dignified. I.e., worthy of the same rights and freedoms, the same love and acceptance. Not every moral code holds to the same standard, and those of some societies honestly do not treat much at all on the dignity of an individual, but put more emphasis on the safety of their body and personal property.

As an example, the cultures of the East are much more respectful of the 'spirit' if you will, in the way that US southerners are 'nicer'. In regards to the OP, the ability to empathize is at its finest when we recognize the deeper, less physical needs of others. Therefore I would look for a motive beyond empathy as a 'why we do good' and empathy would be a 'how' we decide what is good.

The 'higher force' idea is not proven of course. But for me at least it has 'evidence' simply in the evolution of morality since ancient times and man's gradual progress toward some higher standard. Yet we are not limited by the highest common denominator which society can put into a social contract. This is why I have been harping on saints and heros. They have in a sense broken the social contract and are often regarded in the same way as those who break the contract in pursuit of something lesser. Prime example, of course, Jesus. But I suppose the heros and geniuses of any times and any field are those who have helped us to reach a higher plateau. Since they did not 'create' this plateau I would believe they tapped into it. Math is not invented or created, but discovered. I tend to think of morality in that way.


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 Message 174 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-11-2007 3:41 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

  
MadaManga
Junior Member (Idle past 4958 days)
Posts: 31
From: UK
Joined: 03-06-2007


Message 176 of 184 (390418)
03-20-2007 9:41 AM


An Example of an Atheist Code of Morals
I think part of the difficulty with this issue is that atheists &/or evolutionists don’t appear to be giving good examples of what their morals are, they just give an example instant or situation, so judging their morals is rather like pulling teeth. Now, I reckon atheists are capable of setting ‘official parameters’ for themselves. So I thought I’d write out a simple definition of my moral ideals as proof it can be done & perhaps as a means of encouraging other atheists that their morals can also be more clearly enunciated. (I must illustrate that this definition is personal to me, and I don’t speak for any other member of this debate). Now, as one person figuring things out for themselves without an external guide, I have to admit this could be a ‘work in progress.’ It’s not as simple as it first appears.

First off – my key ideal is “social responsibility,”which is an aspect, if you will, of empathy. I also assume people have certain rights – like the right to exist or the right to their own opinion (freedom of thought), and that immoral means will not result in a moral outcome. (If you have a different key ideal then your morals will be based on different principles and your assumptions may be different to mine).

Secondly, my definitions on how I judge an issue;

    A. The subject has little to no moral impact on society
    B. It benefits society and is moral
    C. It deprives society and is immoral
    D. I do not understand the issue and
      i. I need to study more on the issue before deciding
      ii. I will never be able to understand the issue enough to judge

Thirdly, how I should act in reference to my morals (a self-pledge);
I should try to act in a manner which will support an issue I consider moral and I shouldn’t support issues I consider immoral. Careful thought should be given about acting against an immoral issue – as my action in and of itself can be immoral. If I am unable to judge an issue I shouldn’t support or hinder either side. I should recognise that I’m not infallible and should admit faults, try to correct any errors I make or apologise when the error is beyond correction. I admit that daily life may mean I can not focus on certain issues or give the support I believe they deserve.

Fourthly, I think there is a hierarchy of social influence and need (but DON’T confuse with social class – I’ll explain further in a second). When faced with an issue that has social pros & cons I place the issue on the hierarchy. If the issue deprives a higher tier than the tier that which is benefited, I conclude the issue is immoral. If the issue benefits a higher tier but deprives a lower tier it can still be considered moral. It’s a case of greater good. When faced with two issues of benefit that counteract, the one of greater benefit deserves my moral support.

    1st Tier: Personal Society – the smallest unit of society, immediate relationships (example: family)
    2nd Tier: Global Society – the sum collection of society, the world as a whole (example: international affairs)
    3rd Tier: National Society – the society within a nation (example: a country)
    4th Tier: Local Society – a knit of communities within an area (example: a county/state)
    5th Tier: Communal Society – the society formed by proximity (example: a town/neighborhood/estate)

I realise this is somewhat generic. On a size scale it goes from smallest then largest, then successively getting smaller in scale. Other social aspects that I can set into the tiers include economical, military and global communities – like the scientific community or a religion.

An example minor issue with pros & cons: displaying sweets at the counter. Consideration : sweets can be displayed elsewhere, it is a marketing method to sell more sweets. Outcomes : children see sweets & demand them, adult impulsively pick up candy bars they wouldn’t have brought otherwise. Pro- it benefits the stores which can benefit the economy. Con – it aids overweight and dental problems. The con is effective on the 1st tier – personal, the pro is effective on either the 3rd or 4th tiers – local society. Conclusion: displaying sweets at the counter is immoral. Possible actions: asking stores not to display sweets at the counter, trying not to buy from stores which do display sweets this way, favoring stores which have made it their policy not to do so. Doing all of these actions is probably not realistic – sometimes I shop from the only store around & just get annoyed at where the sweet display is.

This is about as much as I can define. So far, I find this code/guideline/set of principles useful for sorting out how I stand on morals issue in daily life. I hope it makes some sort of sense.

******

Now, I know this is a moral code produced by an atheist, but is this also an Evolutionary version of morals? Hmmm… To be honest, evolution wasn’t on my mind at all when I created this.
However, in some ways, yes, I guess. Social responsibility - an individual working to benefit its species - this moral view point has got to help the species survive and prosper. Though this hardly supports the selfish gene theory. It might be that I find this my key issue because I evolved that way - one of the reasons our species prospers so well. But, if others don’t feel that way, then perhaps not. I’ve never considered evolution and morals in the same light until looking at this thread.

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.


  
MadaManga
Junior Member (Idle past 4958 days)
Posts: 31
From: UK
Joined: 03-06-2007


Message 177 of 184 (390443)
03-20-2007 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by anastasia
02-02-2007 10:40 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
Anastasia writes:


No thanks. I would rather believe that all men are equal, that there is no 'happy accident' or any stupendous malfunction, but a true and living spirit of God which lives in and equalizes everyone...God is the equalizer, giving human creatures of every discription the exact same potential to be perfected.

Actually, you have forgotten Free Will in your arguement.

Yes, people are unequal in that they are physically different, with different strengths & weakness.

However, people's situations are also different, and the choises of others can, and do, hinder their potential.

For example, there have been geniuses born in undeveloped countries who were never able to apply their genius due to their circumstances. That is not an equal opportunity to be the best they can be. The will of (some?) people in their & other (developed?) countries hinders them.

I think what you mean is that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, which is quite different to God made everyone equal. It mean God doesn't have favortism.


Find me a study of a human being who has been kept alone for all of his life, and prove to me that he shows nothing of what we consider 'morality'. Then, I may believe that morals are learned. Specific moral codes are learned, morality itself is not.

I guess you haven't heard of 'Feral Children'.

Before being taught how to interact they are survivalists, who do commit acts which can be considered immoral.

As they are taught how to interact & communicated they establish a set of social morals i.e. they are shown anti-social (immoral) behavior has bad consequence & makes people conflict with them & social (moral) behavior has good consequences & makes other aid them.

See Feral Children

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 112 by anastasia, posted 02-02-2007 10:40 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 178 by anastasia, posted 03-20-2007 2:48 PM MadaManga has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4702 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 178 of 184 (390472)
03-20-2007 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by MadaManga
03-20-2007 12:43 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
MadaManga writes:

Actually, you have forgotten Free Will in your arguement.

Yes, people are unequal in that they are physically different, with different strengths & weakness.

However, people's situations are also different, and the choises of others can, and do, hinder their potential.

For example, there have been geniuses born in undeveloped countries who were never able to apply their genius due to their circumstances. That is not an equal opportunity to be the best they can be. The will of (some?) people in their & other (developed?) countries hinders them.

I think what you mean is that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, which is quite different to God made everyone equal. It mean God doesn't have favortism.

If I didn't mention Free Will here, it is because I mentioned it ad nauseum elsewhere. :)

I think you are saying that we are equal in potential, as in, inherently equal, before or despite the hand that fate dealt. In the eyes of God...metaphorically or realistically. The eyes of God can be borrowed for our own use. What is amazing is that this simple moral principle of equality took so long to develope, even after the coming of Christ. What I mentioned in that post was not denying our potential, but only saying that amoungst Christians, equality is not based on being human amoung humans, but more on the spiritual belief of each human being a housing of God and desired by His will. It is not our humanity which makes us equal, as our humanity can seperate. Consider only that two people on the same footing in society, with equal opportunities and sucesses, can judge each other and condemn each other based on their knowledge of what the other person has done morally. It is hard to apply potential to a real situation, and love another for what they could be. To be blunt, there was some talk earlier to the effect that we can't be otherwise than what we are. That was my main area of disagreement, precisely because of this free will you mentioned.

I am not anti-evo. The assumptions during this thread were that I was. Altogether, I just feel that morality is more a product of intelligence than of a natural evolutionary purpose.

Before being taught how to interact they are survivalists, who do commit acts which can be considered immoral.

Also, I had a hard time getting folks on the same page as I was. It is not that I don't know about feral children etc. But if you read my question, I am not interested in whether a person does things which are condisidered immoral. I was interested in whether they did things altogether without 'guilt' or knowledge of the wrongness of certain actions. I don't care if they see eating with two fingers immoral, or walking on one side of the road, or murder. I was looking only for evidence that the individual would not recognize any
sort of standard. I certainly believe they would even if they were never exposed to another human. That doesn't mean God did it...but like I said, moral codes are learned, morality may not be.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by MadaManga, posted 03-20-2007 12:43 PM MadaManga has responded

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nator
Member (Idle past 919 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 179 of 184 (390530)
03-20-2007 10:51 PM
Reply to: Message 174 by Archer Opteryx
02-11-2007 3:41 PM


Re: Empirical evidence
quote:
It's fair to say, though, that as a group (mystics) they're not much in awe of science, either.

Wow, that either must be through ignorance or arrogance.

How can someone who cares about alleviating suffering not be in awe of the power of science to eradicate smallpox from the entire Earth, for example, and come close to eradicating many other diseases?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 174 by Archer Opteryx, posted 02-11-2007 3:41 PM Archer Opteryx has not yet responded

  
MadaManga
Junior Member (Idle past 4958 days)
Posts: 31
From: UK
Joined: 03-06-2007


Message 180 of 184 (390562)
03-21-2007 6:20 AM
Reply to: Message 178 by anastasia
03-20-2007 2:48 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
anastasia writes:

If I didn't mention Free Will here, it is because I mentioned it ad nauseum elsewhere...What I mentioned in that post was not denying our potential

Then I misinterpreted what you were saying. :o It did strike me as very odd that someone who freely admits be being Christian would omit something so fundamental to Christianity, but I couldn't see where you were mentioning it!


anastasia writes:

I was looking only for evidence that the individual would not recognize any sort of standard. I certainly believe they would even if they were never exposed to another human. That doesn't mean God did it...but like I said, moral codes are learned, morality may not be.

As I believe that you are in a state of innocence until you are able to comprehend morality, I still disagree with you on this point.

First off, without human interaction there is no need for moral standard. Issues of morality only come into play when there is some sort of social interactivity.

Further more, you need to have an ability to understand beyond your immediate survival needs - cognizance, and the ability to understand others - empathy.

For example, a baby has no morality, they are in a state of innocence. They can't understand that they need to use morality & they are unable to use it anyway. Babies have wants and they will use any means they have available to obtain them (mainly crying and kicking up a fuss). They don't consider that their behavior may be inconvenient to other, as they lack the ability to understand how others may perceive their actions.

Psychological studies have shown that empathy in children usually doesn't start developing until around 3 years old. The ability to fully recognise that your actions can cause harm to others is legally defined in the UK as 10 years. It’s known as the age of legal responsibility. ;)

Would you hold a young child accountable, regardless of the moral codes of the society they were raised in, as they were born with morality instilled into them? They are unable to feel guilty for their actions - they lack the morality required. A child's reason for not doing harmful acts is a fear of punishment, their reason for generous acts is potential rewards (even if it's just having a parent paying attention to them).

Another example is sociopaths - an adult that can not feel guilty because they lack empathy & morality. In our current legal system sociopaths aren't held accountable for their crimes - they are declared mentally impaired &/or criminally insane. Sociopaths are in a state of innocence, but happen to be fully cognitive, letting them 'fit in'. See here for further explianation of a sociopath.

quote:

The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain. This area is also related to fear conditioning. The abnormal anatomy or chemical activity within this area of the brain may be caused by abnormal growth (possibly genetic), brain disease, or injury. This theory has been supported by much research using positron emission tomography (PET) which visually shows the metabolic activity of neurons within the brain (Sabbatini, 1998).

The amygdalae, two small regions buried near the base of the brain, have long been known to affect aggression, sexuality and recklessness. Recently, they have also been shown to affect how people interpret the emotions of others. Subtle damage to the amygdalae may explain many of the characteristics of psychopaths - including the difficulty of getting through to them emotionally. It may be that they simply cannot "see" emotions in others.


So this would seem to indicate that it is possible for some people to be born incapable of having morality, who just so happen to have a lack of empathy.

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.

Edited by MadaManga, : Grammer

Edited by MadaManga, : Explaining further

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.

Edited by MadaManga, : Spellings

Edited by MadaManga, : No reason given.

Edited by MadaManga, : Found a nice quote


This message is a reply to:
 Message 178 by anastasia, posted 03-20-2007 2:48 PM anastasia has not yet responded

  
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