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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9272
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 91 of 438 (504822)
04-03-2009 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by Granny Magda
04-03-2009 10:13 AM


Maybe we are just getting played
Cedre is a caricature of what I picture as a fundamentalist. I mean he can't be real can he? The avatar should give it away. Is he, and in turn other fundamentalists, so clueless that he doesn't understand that the picture is mocking christianity?
Well I guess when I think about it I am not so surprised. Cluelessness is one of the hallmarks of fundamentalism, whether it is christian, islamic, jewish, hindu, sikh or whatever.
It is amazing that these people profess a moral high ground, but readily admit that if they didn't have their god and book then they would do nothing but rape and pillage all day. I have been an atheist for 30 years and I have never had any of the ideas Cedre has come up with.
I guess I finally have learned something that the bible is good for. It keeps wackos like Cedre in line.

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Granny Magda, posted 04-03-2009 10:13 AM Granny Magda has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2774 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 92 of 438 (504825)
04-03-2009 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by Cedre
04-03-2009 3:26 AM


Re: Avatar
Hi, Cedre.
You're getting a lot of flack, so I'll spare you further assault and try to get us back to the topic.
-----
Cedre writes:
What makes human's so special that they should be treated any differently than other animals. This is the logic that will arise out of an evolutionary worldview.
This sounds like selflessness (and even charity) to me. Anything that leads you to think you should be treated better than something else would be defined as selfishness in my book.
But, quite bafflingly to me, you have also suggested on this thread that selfishness should arise out of the evolutionary worldview. Here's an example:
Cedre, post #23 writes:
Again you have missed the mark with this one, Evolution has to be stingy in order to be effective.
How can evolution lead us to be both stingy and humble?
{Added by Edit: Since you think evolution leads to selfishness, isn't it logical to argue that your favoring your own species over other species could be due to evolution? Why or why not?}
Edited by Bluejay, : Addition

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

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SammyJean
Member (Idle past 4149 days)
Posts: 87
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 03-28-2009


Message 93 of 438 (504832)
04-03-2009 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 83 by SammyJean
04-02-2009 8:34 PM


Re: Avatar
Spoken like a true Christian!!!

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22604
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 94 of 438 (504835)
04-03-2009 11:37 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by Cedre
04-03-2009 3:26 AM


Re: Avatar
Hi Cedre,
I know people people have been telling you your avatar is a spoof, but I'm not so sure. You can read about how it was chosen for use by the blog site Christaddicts + story of a hooker who cannot kick the habit here:
And if you go to that blog site it looks like they're serious (or were, it hasn't been active in a few years), just a bit over the top.
It's incredible that your avatar isn't a spoof, that it was actually concocted in complete sincerity. It's the sort of work that The Onion usually does. It communicates such a strong negative message about Christianity that it's difficult to understand why you would want to keep it, and then compound it with completely unchristian expressions of uncaring insensitivity.
But I again urge you to stop letting yourself be distracted by side issues. Let's continue the discussion about the evolution of morality, which is the topic of this thread, your thread.
--Percy

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Cedre
Member (Idle past 1566 days)
Posts: 350
From: Russia
Joined: 01-30-2009


Message 95 of 438 (504836)
04-03-2009 11:55 AM


looking forward.
Now before we carry on with this thread I think that we’ve all at points posted ad lib. I don’t know if the following move that I’m about to commit will be a smart one in a debate like this one, but smart or not I feel obliged to perform it. I humble myself in the faces of my opponents and retract some of my ad lib statements.
to begin I would like to retract my statements on animals being selfish. The evidence that was available to me at the different times I made these statements gave me reason to make them, but having reviewed all relevant points, I have sensed a discrepancy in my logic as it relates to this area of my argument.
My argument was to this effect, animals are inherently selfish, and whatever acts they perform that would appear altruistic in nature really aren’t altruistic at all but has roots in selfishness, and I also argued that altruistic behavior in animals is instinct based and since morality is a conscious decision/choice, animal cannot display genuine altruism I’m not wholly abandoning the second part of my argument though I still stand on my claim that animals actions hail from in born behavior that has been sculpted and hard-wired in their psychology by the power of natural selection.
I am relinquishing this part of my argument in favor of a better substitution, which goes, animals are neither good nor bad, they are neutral creatures, they may act good or bad given the scenario they find themselves in, but this however doesn’t make them moral or immoral creatures for that matter, because their actions are are dictated by various instincts, and morality conversely is based on choices, human's can either choose to act good or bad not like the animals who have no control over the way they act, and who have no self restraint. We can restrain ourselves even if our bodies make it hard for us. In my next thread I shall start with the definition of altruism and morality.
Edited by Cedre, : No reason given.

Replies to this message:
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 Message 98 by Blue Jay, posted 04-03-2009 12:52 PM Cedre has not replied
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 96 of 438 (504837)
04-03-2009 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Cedre
04-03-2009 11:55 AM


Re: looking forward.
The problem is that you don't seem to have a clear PROBLEM in mind.
By your definition of morality only conscious choices - which cannot be dictated by evolution - count. So it can't be the choices themselves.
So the only way in which evolution can affect morality is if it gave us instincts that favoured behaving morally or imnorally. However, since you grant that animals can instinctively act in ways which would be good if they were consciously chosen it follows that evolution could provide us with instincts that lead us to favour a moral course of action over an immoral one. So it can't be that either.
So what, exactly, is the problem ?

This message is a reply to:
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SammyJean
Member (Idle past 4149 days)
Posts: 87
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 03-28-2009


Message 97 of 438 (504838)
04-03-2009 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Cedre
04-03-2009 3:26 AM


Re: Avatar
Cedre said:
Why should I bother to care about your feelings, there's no guidebook that instructs me to care about your feelings. You're just organized mass of chemicals and advanced animal so then why should I bother myself about your feelings. What makes humans so special that they should be treated any differently than other animals. This is the logic that will arise out of an evolutionary worldview.
Human beings care about each other regardless of whether we see ourselves as an organized mass of chemicals or whether we think we are truly made in gods image. An evolutionary world view does not make us any less human. It doesn't somehow make us not care about other peoples feelings. Atheist and non-religious people are just as capable of being compassionate as religious people.
Do you really believe that only people that have faith in god care about other people? That only self-righteous people like yourself are moral?
People are moral because they have the innate ability to experience empathy. We are good to each other because we know how it feels to be hurt ourselves. We have this ability because our brains are hard-wire by nature for it. Being social animals, as we are, it is necessary for us to be able to see things from another persons point of view, to be able to mirror them, this gives us the ability to understand them. We evolved with large amounts of specialize neurons that give us this ability. These neurons are necessary for us to survive as social creatures. It's not god magic Cedre!

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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2774 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 98 of 438 (504840)
04-03-2009 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Cedre
04-03-2009 11:55 AM


Re: looking forward.
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
...[animals'] actions are dictated by various instincts, and morality conversely is based on choices, human's can either choose to act good or bad not like the animals who have no control over the way they act, and who have no self restraint.
I don't think you have produced sufficient evidence to make this claim.
Can you prove that animals have no control over the way they act?
What evidence allows you to conclude this?
Conversely, can you prove that human actions are not dictated by instinct?
Again, what evidence allows you to conclude this?

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22604
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 99 of 438 (504842)
04-03-2009 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Cedre
04-03-2009 11:55 AM


Re: looking forward.
Hi Cedre,
You're now discovering that there are problems with your chosen terminology. There's a reason science uses the term "altruism" and not "morality". Morality implies good versus evil, while altruism is something done that accrues to the benefit of others without any judgment as to whether it is good or evil. Science tries to avoid becoming caught up in subjective issues of good versus evil.
Bluejay asks the right questions. You need evidence that animals don't make conscious choices, and conversely that humans don't make instinctive ones. As you were informed early on in this thread, from an evolutionary perspective altruism is the result of the selection for behaviors that increase the possibility of one's genes contributing to the next generation. How would you go about determining experiments that demonstrate that human morality isn't instinctive (it sure doesn't seem to be religious, since society is rarely plagued with hordes of bloodthirsty atheists), or that animal behavior isn't actually conscious morality?
In other words, you've got to try to begin approaching the problem scientifically.
--Percy

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 Message 95 by Cedre, posted 04-03-2009 11:55 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 3314 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 100 of 438 (504843)
04-03-2009 2:07 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Blue Jay
04-03-2009 12:52 PM


Re: looking forward.
Conversely, can you prove that human actions are not dictated by instinct?
Again, what evidence allows you to conclude this?
In fact, I would take this one step further. Can he prove that humans make choices at all? Personally, I think choice is just a necessary illusion, and without taking this topic too far afield, Cedre's insistance that morality requires a choice begs the question, in my mind.

This message is a reply to:
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straightree
Member (Idle past 4827 days)
Posts: 57
From: Near Olot, Spain
Joined: 09-26-2008


Message 101 of 438 (504844)
04-03-2009 2:32 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
03-28-2009 8:43 AM


Some freindly advice
Hi Cedre,
I see that you are very young, not only 6, but quite young. So do not be offended by some advice from a senior fellow.
-Do not overestimate your capacity. Never embark again in a so heavy subject, without restricting the number of participants. Three to one should be fine.
-Do not loose your temper. When I was young I used to loose it too, and always regretted it.
If you want to continue the discussion of the subject, please choose the participants you are going to answer, obviously the ones that have been more centered on the subject.
All that said, talking about believe, I am a Christian, and do not find any conflict between evolution and morality. Maybe at the end of that debate you will be closer to me.
Edited by straightree, : No reason given.

Creationism and evolutionism should not be mutually excluding.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 03-28-2009 8:43 AM Admin has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Cedre, posted 04-06-2009 7:14 AM straightree has not replied

  
straightree
Member (Idle past 4827 days)
Posts: 57
From: Near Olot, Spain
Joined: 09-26-2008


Message 102 of 438 (504883)
04-04-2009 3:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Cedre
03-28-2009 8:28 AM


Correction
Hi Cedre,
I made a mistake, and clicked in a wrong box, so that my previous message went as an answer to Admin. Excuses to him, and to you, please just look at my previous message.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Cedre, posted 03-28-2009 8:28 AM Cedre has not replied

  
straightree
Member (Idle past 4827 days)
Posts: 57
From: Near Olot, Spain
Joined: 09-26-2008


Message 103 of 438 (504903)
04-04-2009 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Cedre
03-28-2009 8:28 AM


Some clarification needed
As far as I am aware of Evolution Theory it states that:
- There are genetic mutations
- The environment selects those that are more adapted to it.
This happens in a time framework, so that selection is done on past mutations. If we take the present, selection is being done on mutations occurred in the past.
In this picture there is not any reference to future. That is, the Theory does not say that present actions that will produce future advantage will be selected or promoted at present.
In that sense, I find the remark done by Stagamancer very pertinent.
quote:
Natural selection is never directed by the future success of the species as a whole, and to use this argument puts you in a dangerous position (in terms of debate).
If I am right, then I think that the whole debate is quite unfocused, because it is based mainly on the benefits or advantages that present actions will produce in the future. The debate should not have started, even, because Cedre first statement clearly was talking of future advantage, regarding present actions.
quote:
why is there such a thing as if you would unbeneficial humanitarianism where an individual’ survival success will not be impacted or rather positively impacted directly or indirectly by his or her care giving/taking of others.
My statement is completely honest, and also I am aware that may be completely wrong, so I will accept any informed opinion against it.

This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 104 of 438 (504922)
04-05-2009 4:45 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by Cedre
04-03-2009 3:26 AM


Chocolate and cheese
You're just organized mass of chemicals and advanced animal so then why should I bother myself about your feelings.
Chocolate is just an organized mass of chemicals. It still tastes nice. If I see or smell chocolate I feel a desire to acquire and eat it. If I am eating something with cheese in it, my cat evidently feels the same way.
There is nothing intrinsically or objectively 'tasty' about chocolate or cheese. My desires to acquire chocolate are part of a mechanism that evolved because of its capacity to inspire those that had that mechanism to seek out fruits and other high sugar sources. This was beneficial since the bodies that evolved it tend to require lots of energy to run.
The feeling of desire is not because of something intrinsic about fruit, or sugar, or chocolate.
Eating nothing but sugar is bad for you. It is rare that anybody desires to eat nothing but sugar. It gets a little 'sickly', the diet is a little too 'rich'.
The point? The desire to be nice, the nice feeling once we have successfully been nice are the equivalent of the tastiness of chocolate and the happiness after eating it. But too much niceness is not good for you, being completely selfless comes at a high personal cost.
It might be the case that some people could get away with always being nice, and some people could get away with never being nice with some kind of mixture in the population. Or, what seems more in line with our observations, some people are nice some of the time, sometimes they are neutral, other times they are selfish. There is nothing intrinsically 'good' about being nice any more than there is something intrinsically 'sweet' about sugar.
Sometimes morality is tasty, but other times getting ahead is tastier.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by Cedre, posted 04-03-2009 3:26 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Cedre
Member (Idle past 1566 days)
Posts: 350
From: Russia
Joined: 01-30-2009


Message 105 of 438 (504978)
04-06-2009 7:14 AM
Reply to: Message 101 by straightree
04-03-2009 2:32 PM


Re: Some freindly advice
All that said, talking about believe, I am a Christian, and do not find any conflict between evolution and morality. Maybe at the end of that debate you will be closer to me.
Morality/altruism has been defined on this thread so far as anything put forward by a group, usually a society, the society provides a guide for the behavior of the people in that group or society. In this sense morality might allow slavery, discrimination, lying and so on.
Now morality was also defined as actions performed by organisms be it human or other organism that benefits other organisms, at a cost to itself.
This is the proposed definition of morality on this thread, by those who are against a normative view of morality, that is against the view that the knowledge of good and evil are universal and fixed.
Now there are a few questions one should answer first.
If morality is determined by a society or by a majority vote then we may end up having moralities that benefit a few at the expense of many. Take the Nazi Germany as an example, Hitler most likely believed that the existence of the Jews was immoral, that they should be wiped out. And he infected the greater part of Germany with this wicked mindset, until it became moral to annihilate all the Jews.
Now another thing that was also mentioned is that evolution is the survival of genes. Now answer me how is killing 6 million Jewish people beneficial towards the survival of our species. If in fact the whole world were to believe that the existence of the Jews, or let us take the black population, if society believed that the existence of the black population is immoral, and the moral thing to do is to wipe them out, how would this make sure that our species survive and proliferate.
So the conclusion is morality cannot be decided by a society because it may be detrimental to the human race, and if it is decided by a society then it would not have come about by evolution because it has the potential to defy the principles of evolution by endangering the very gene which it is suppose to protect.
Morality has also been defined as any action or behavior that will not harm others or produce the best overall results in terms of survival, in this sense actions that would put others in harms way or hurt them would be considered to be immoral. But as I have shown above a behavior or action that is considered moral by a society in fact can do a lot of damage to others even members of the same society and what is more it benefits the one being moral or altruistic and not the one on the receivers end. But what about the second definition I give above pertaining to morality being an action or behavior that benefits the receiver and not the giver. How can you resolve this conflicting ideas.
Edited by Cedre, : No reason given.
Edited by Cedre, : No reason given.
Edited by Cedre, : No reason given.
Edited by Cedre, : No reason given.

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Replies to this message:
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