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Author Topic:   Morals without God or Darwin, just Empathy
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 15 of 184 (380506)
01-27-2007 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Stile
01-25-2007 1:20 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
Dear Stile, I do feel that there is so much sense in the God-based moral system, and it almost hurts to see people struggling to explain without God. The God-based system is just very misunderstood. It is often viewed as a cause, rather than an effect. Belief in God does not cause morality, not does following the literal words of the Bible. The Bible itself and the fear of God, are the effects of our inability to understnad these things.

Stile writes:

That is to say... I have evolution-istic morals as much as I bake an evolution-istic cake, or do anything at all. I just 'have morals' the same way I just 'bake cakes'. I have the ability, and I put it to use. Where and how those abilites came to be is no longer relevant as to how those abilities are engaged.

If you have an ability as you say...

You can choose to bake a cake.
You can choose to have morals.
If you don't feel like baking, no one cares.
What do you think of people who do not choose morals?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Stile, posted 01-25-2007 1:20 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Larni, posted 01-28-2007 1:04 PM anastasia has responded
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 01-29-2007 9:22 AM anastasia has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 16 of 184 (380530)
01-27-2007 7:04 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Stile
01-25-2007 1:40 PM


Re: Some more agreement
Stile writes:

Yes. I never understood how a static, printed manual for something as complex, ever-changing and vast as "morality" could ever satisfy even the smallest development of a true Good Will Towards All style of thinking.

It doesn't. The commandments and rules of the Bible are of no use when applied without reasoning.

Btw, it is 'Toward Men of Good Will', not 'Good Will Towards All'.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 17 of 184 (380533)
01-27-2007 7:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
01-25-2007 11:28 AM


Stile writes:

I do not think Murder is wrong because it will reduce the number of people around me and therefore reducing our survival-chances.

Good. Reducing the number of people can just as easily increase our survival chances.

. If I feel that a certain action is evil, or good; generally by wondering if anyone is being hurt. Then I deem it as being bad, or right.

You may have forgotten, but often doing evil to someone helps you yourself. If this is purely about survival, who wins? You, or someone else? Do you think it is ok to do bad things when no one else is involved at all? Or even to think about evil? For example, to lust after your best friend's wife?


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 19 of 184 (380718)
01-28-2007 2:11 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Larni
01-28-2007 1:04 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
Larni writes:

You see struggling even when this very subject has been explained to you pretty simply on another thread?

I do, sir. I see only partial pictures, no coherance. You may give me a detailed explanation of brain functions which tell us to feel selfish or emphatic. Sounds good, but you forgot one thing; we don't do what our brain tells us.

For example, when we feel like being selfish, we don't have to. That is what makes the difference between a 'natural' person, and a hero. If it is natural to act selfish, we would see no wrong in it. We say 'it is human nature to act selfishly some of the time' but we hold up as great examples those who do not. We say humans will never evolve beyond war, but we know we hate war. We are looking to something more than natural without even knowing it.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 35 of 184 (380930)
01-29-2007 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Larni
01-29-2007 8:52 AM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
Larni writes:

Some people DO see no wrong in it. People who do see wrong, do so because of socialization (with a few exceptions).

Some see no wrong in selfish actions which originate in their brain.
Some DO see wrong in the action, and therefore admit that they have no trust in their emotions and brains. They are trusting in something unseen, which I have dubbed, a moral compass. In your idea, we do not trust our brains because the world around us also does not when it comes to selfishness, correct? What is the world around us, into which we have been socialized, trust in? I assume that it is the moral compass as well.

Where did we get that? You can not use 'socialization' again. That is out the door.

And I DO have a question; with repeated ignoring of our brain and all of its bio-chemicals, can we cause our brain to stop putting out these chemicals? Can we make ourselves stop feeling selfish?


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 37 of 184 (380938)
01-29-2007 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Stile
01-29-2007 9:22 AM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
Stile writes:

I admit that I do not understand, then, your God-based moral system. My understanding was that the moral system is based on what God says: God says it is good, so it is good. God says it is bad, so it is bad. Could you please explain the system to me if this is incorrect, or perhaps even just incomplete?

I do not have a God-based moral system as you might imagine it to be. It is not 'God said no!'. It is more of lloking at good and bad things in the world, and saying 'God is the good of the worlc' and therefore doing more good to be more like Him. It is a system which believes in Good as something which is more than a human brain function which chnages willy-nilly from day to day. Our ideas of good certainly do change, as we do not know very much of God to begin with, and many of them do have to do with survival, but not because survival is so important.

When I do things because of empathy for another, it is empathy and respect for the soul. I feel for the soul, and I care for the body as it is the home of the soul and it is not my right to end a life before God has done His work with it.

I use my intellect when deciding what is right for the situation. If the Bible says 'thou shalt not bear false witness' I must decide if lying will save someone, or hurt someone. I do this intellectually and empathically, but again not simply because I feel sorry for that person and I would not want to be hurt, but because I know that I have no right to cause them harm.

God-based morality does not deny evolved empathy or use of intellect. It just considers these as part of the arsenal and tools which God gave us to survive, not as physical creatures alone, but as spiritual and immortal.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 38 of 184 (380945)
01-29-2007 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Stile
01-29-2007 12:59 PM


Re: Any more semantics?
Stile writes:

Because my decision that killing is wrong doesn't have anything to do with whether or not I could be killed".

Correct. And nothing to do with whether you could be the one doing the killing. It is an un-emotional, objective thought which is triggered by nothing and no chemical until the moment you are put in that position of being killed or killing. Most of us see crime on tv and feel empathy...we walk away and quite calmly know that the person is no longer suffering, but that the action was wrong. Not because the person suffered; often they do not. Not because we feel death is bad; it is inevitable. It is because we know that we have no right to take life as we have no ability to give it. We subconsciously know we are messing on God's ground. At least that is how I feel about it.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 40 of 184 (380990)
01-29-2007 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Stile
01-29-2007 1:24 PM


Re: The same but different?
Stile writes:

S->It is more of looking at good and bad things in the world, and saying 'I think this world would be better if there was more good' and therefore doing more good.

S->Our ideas of good certainly do change, as we do not know very much of what will work "perfectly" or "have the most good" for this world, and many of them do have to do with survival, but not because survival is so important.

I have written to you because I think you have been dissatisfied as I am with some of the reasons people have given for morality. It is hard to explain, but I feel there is more to it. Making it all survival instinct is making us back into natural animals, and even if I believe in evolution, I believe we have evolved to realize that there is more to life than our body or the visible universe. We have evolved detectors; emotions, spiritual awareness, etc. If there is no God, most of these evolved skills have gained us nothing in terms of survival that animals without emotion or free-will, intelligence or awareness have not gained.

You are thining on your feet and in reality, the best way I can explain my position is by looking at your above two lines.

In each, you speak about 'good'. You say; the world would be better with more good, but then you say; good changes. This is a problem for me. If good changes, how can the world be better with more of it? What IS good? We do not know, we are only guessing, you and me and everyone. I just believe that 'good' is really out there somewhere waiting for us to catch it, and that God has given us the ability to recognize it. This is different than saying 'good' is a product of men, and changes all of the time. Good does not change. We just do not always see it clearly.

The


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 48 of 184 (381121)
01-29-2007 10:10 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Larni
01-29-2007 5:11 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
My bolding.

Larni writes:

People see wrong after the action. At this point the drivers for behaviour have changed.

When we are angry we think angry thoughts, we do angry things. We later re-appraise our actions and conclude:

"I should not have acted that way (because of the internal external repercussions), I feel (insert socialized emotion here)"

Bull-donkey-donks, Larni. I think angry thoughts and I do nothing about them. That is what makes me moral, not this trivial giving in to bad behavior because I can't help it stuff.

What does this mean?

What do our social skille give us? They are but a revalidation of our choice to do something right. They are based on someone else's choice to do right. Where did we get the ability to know what is right for us? Once again, socialization is not an answer.

Yes.

Welcome to cognitive behavioural psychology.

Can I get a nice, in-depth explanation of this, please?


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 49 of 184 (381124)
01-29-2007 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Doddy
01-29-2007 6:32 PM


Re: The same but different?
I had a cat once upon a time who came to me when I was crying. Her name was Gurney. I never once accredited her behaviour to morality, and since a cat can't cry, nor can a chimp, I doubt that they have anything except for body language to go off of. My small daughters react the same way when I am sad or drowsy, and again, it is NOT morality. They have not even reached an age where they know wrong and right. Feeling sympathy is just what it is. If morality was so gosh darn easy to explain, why do we even have a seperate word for it? Why not a simple answer that anyone can grasp, like the way we see a rainbow? Put it in a science book already; Where We Get Morality 101. I do not need any link or example to show me that my dogs and cats have not cried with me, and watching them do so has not opened up any new surprising insights for me. Haven't you ever owned an animal? Do you think my religion was shaken to its core when my cat came over to me as I cried?

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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 50 of 184 (381126)
01-29-2007 10:34 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Stile
01-29-2007 4:00 PM


Re: And now I'll be thoroughly confusing... :]
Stile writes:

This is confusing to me,

Yes, I have seen much confusion here in general.

1. GOOD -> a world state that contains the most happiness for the most people possible. Perhaps this is a Perfect world with unlimited good for all people. Perhaps a world of Perfection is impossible, and GOOD is a world state that only limits the amount of bad to a necessary minimum.

2. good -> specific acts of generosity or altruism or anything that brings us closer to GOOD without compromising anyone's individual rights or priveledges.

A Perfect world is undoubtedly impossible. Good is the closest we come to God/Perfection. That is actually a nice way to look at it. Perfect is, well, Perfect. Good is a good stab at Perfect. Of course Good changes, because we are always trying some new way to be Perfect. Always failing of course. :)

From now on, instead of referring to 'good' I will refer to Perfect. Good...means, you got a good grade. That could be anything, but certainly not a Perfect Grade. It could be better than last semester, but still not Perfect. Morality is our attempt at perfection, and to each according to his ideals.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 51 of 184 (381129)
01-29-2007 10:46 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by nator
01-29-2007 4:50 PM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
nator writes:

It does?

Sure, any relative 'good' changes from day to day. Moment to moment.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 52 of 184 (381130)
01-29-2007 10:55 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by nator
01-29-2007 5:01 PM


Re: The same but different?
nator writes:

We have also evolved the ability to realize that we are going to die someday.

How is that different from;

ana writes:

We have evolved to realize that there is more to life than our body or the visible universe.

In both cases, we wonder what happens when we die.

Where is the "spiritual awareness detector" in humans?

The spiritual awareness is the detector.

ana writes:

We have evolved detectors; emotions, spiritual awareness, etc.

Most higher animals do, indeed, have emotions. Some of the most complex animal emotional lives can be seen, not surprisingly, in our closest relatives, the great apes

I have animals. I see sympathy-type behaviors. I do not see choices, or guilt over lack of sympathy.

Remember, ana, that the ability to imagine a God may easily be an artifact of having such large, complex brains

What does the in-ability to imagine God mean? Small, simple brains?


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 67 of 184 (381269)
01-30-2007 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Stile
01-30-2007 11:02 AM


Re: Mundane? Yes. Survival-driven? Not convinced.
Stile writes:

This I whole-heartedly agree with. I think I'm just arguring that "survival chances" doesn't necessarily have to be a part of morality either, even though morality is still strictly mundane in nature. Although I do concede that an increase in "survival chances" may be a side-effect at certain points.

Think about this one more time. If morality is not based on anything except feelings and survival chances, and our feelings about survival chances, and our long-dead recognition of anything involving survival chances, there is really no wrong action. If we want the species to survive, we need only pick one choice of person to save...yourself, or your neighbor.

In almost any situation the right thing to do is to save your neighbor. This is said to be a by-product of our life in societies. Nonetheless, it is way more natural to love ourselves. In Jesus time, when He told the disciples 'love thy neighbor' they had to ask, 'Lord, who is my neighbor?'. Jesus told them not to throw stones, to turn the other cheek, and to love thy enemy. Whoever these people were who wrote the NT, they were not thinking survival, they were not scientists, nor politicians. Do you not see that our moral standard today is based on these teachings? That these teachings were not normal in the time of Jesus? and that all of this 'scientific' evidence has been gathered from humans who have already accepted these words of Jesus subconsciously? Why are we looking for reasons for our own morality, when obviously morality has changed? The only thing we have seen is a shift from 'love thyself' to 'love thy neighbor'.

We have gone from slavery, which is good for the master, to freedom, good for the slave.

We have gone from rape, good for survival and quite normal, to appreciation of consent.

There are a million such examples. No great prophet has ever preached survival, but love.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4274 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 68 of 184 (381273)
01-30-2007 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Stile
01-30-2007 1:01 PM


Re: We've relied on our survival drive all this time, is it still used?
Stile writes:

I think it is wrong since the learning that has taken place throughout my life has caused me to understand that, as people, we are equal.

Sure, unless we are an innocent Iraqi, unborn, or a criminal. :) We still get to decide who is equal, don't we?

If self-sacrifice is VERY important to a society, why do more mothers-to-be not take that little leap of blah blah natural sacrificial instinct and protect their young, the way you would die rather than be forced to rape?


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