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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 206 of 438 (737924)
10-02-2014 9:45 AM
Reply to: Message 202 by Wyrdly
10-02-2014 4:50 AM

In the absence of a god what reason do i have to behave according to anyone's so called morality?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by Wyrdly, posted 10-02-2014 4:50 AM Wyrdly has not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 213 of 438 (739734)
10-27-2014 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM

Responding to someone else's point:
Too often i see the answers from atheists saying "i don't need god to be good" - "I have empathy" i am compassionate" etc etc
That may have been mine... (I'm not an atheist btw)
In Message 202, you asked:
In the absence of a god what reason do i have to behave according to anyone's so called morality?
My response, in Message 206, was "empathy".
That is, empathy is the reason you have to behave according to anyone's so called morality.
The way it works is that you don't like being hurt. Through empathy, you can understand how your actions can hurt others. Given that you don't want to be hurt, and that through empathy you can understand that other people don't want to be hurt either, therefore, it is right for you to not hurt other people.
Now, you're saying:
this avoids the root of the question of what is good, what is moral.
If those are the questions you want answered, then those are the questions you should ask.
I contend that we don't really need to nail down what those things are in order to realize that empathy is the reason for being good without a god.
My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.
Empathy doesn't make them good. Empathy is what allows you to realize the goodness/badness in the actions that you take.
Its the actions that are either good or bad.
Empathy is the way, without a god, to realize whether or not those actions are good or bad.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 225 of 438 (739837)
10-28-2014 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 222 by Stile
10-28-2014 9:13 AM

Re: Good and Bad
I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.
Again, it's not the sort of thing I was aiming for.. but even as an aside... I would disagree
I have nothing off the top of my head, but if you want, I can search the internet... are you sure it will be impossible for me to find a single person in the entire world that does not want to be healthy? Or another single person who does not want to "prosper"?
There's another angle:
If everyone was prosperous and happy then we'd quickly overpopulate and ruin the planet and then nobody could be prosperous and happy.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 222 by Stile, posted 10-28-2014 9:13 AM Stile has seen this message but not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 272 of 438 (742550)
11-21-2014 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by Stile
11-20-2014 12:01 PM

Re: Good and Bad
One is more impactful to being a moral person to me, the other is simply "following orders"
I think that we should strive to use our conscious mind as much as possible when dealing with moral decisions. As that is the entire idea of morality: what do we want to do when interacting with others?
I understand that some level of instinct is going to be included and may even be unavoidable. I don't have an issue with that, I just think that morality should be about trying set a goal that is the "most moral" and then trying to setup a system that's best for achieving that goal.
The particulars after that (game theory, evolution, this idea, that idea...) are not as foundational (to me)
I'm actually leaning towards the "following orders" side as being more foundational. Analogy time!
Let's say we have two different people confronted with the same moral dilemma. I dunno, they stumble across an injured woman laying on the side of the road.
Person 1's immediate thoughts/instinct is to make sure the woman is okay and to help in any way they can.
Person 2's immediate thoughts/instinct is to capitalize on the situation and take her purse from her and steal her money.
Then they both think about it for a bit, and they both decide that they should help her.
Wouldn't you say that Person 1 is a more moral person than Person 2?
I mean, they both ended up with the same moral act, but the first person is more moral at heart.
I agree that we should use our intellect to form moral decisions, but we all also have that inner voice, or instinct, that drives our initial reactions to situations.
And I think that inner voice is the more foundational part of your morality, and that the intellectual assessment of that actually overrides our instinct and allows us to do something else.
So the intellectual part, to me, seems to be more ancillary than foundational, and the "following orders" is actually the foundational part.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by Stile, posted 11-20-2014 12:01 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 273 by AZPaul3, posted 11-21-2014 6:24 PM New Cat's Eye has replied
 Message 279 by Colbard, posted 11-22-2014 7:16 AM New Cat's Eye has replied
 Message 338 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 10:14 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 274 of 438 (742559)
11-21-2014 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 273 by AZPaul3
11-21-2014 6:24 PM

Re: Good and Bad
Aren't the initial thoughts of both 1 and 2 products of acculturation and not instinct? Maybe you define instinct different than I. An acculturated instinct? Is there such a thing as an "instinct" based on nurture rather than nature?
Maybe this has already been covered here and I've just been too lazy to read up-thread. Feel free to slap me around.
I'm under the impression that Mod is talking about the evolutionary, or more "instinctual" aka 'following orders', side of things; what with all the "game theory" analysis n' stuff... and Stile is talking more the learned, or more "acculturation" aka 'conscious mind', side of things.
They were talking past each other, and came to an understanding, and I just thought that Stile's consideration of the "acculturation" part as being the more foundational one was misappropriated against the "instinctual" side, which I consider to be more foundational.
Whether or not that's due to more social, as opposed to genetic, differences I honestly do not know, so I'm open to evidence. But they really do get kinda blended in this situation, so, its prolly hard to tell.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 273 by AZPaul3, posted 11-21-2014 6:24 PM AZPaul3 has seen this message but not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 304 of 438 (742634)
11-22-2014 2:25 PM
Reply to: Message 279 by Colbard
11-22-2014 7:16 AM

Re: Good and Bad
According to evolution neither are moral or immoral,
No, evolution doesn't proscribe any morality at all. There is no answer "according to evolution" at all.
Like, what would be the answer "according to gravity"? That's nonsense.
and are both playing a role in the eventual survival of a fitter species.
No, not everything an individual does has an impact on the fitness of the population.
Individuals do not evolve.
nice feelings are just hormonal responses which in the long run help the species or ruin it,
Not necessarily. For example, drinking beer provides nice feelings that are not hormonal responses.
depending on chance and circumstances alone
Huh? What is there besides chance and circumstances?
Both are acting on inbred or accumulated behaviors,
There's still room for independent behavior. If there wasn't, then behaviors could never change.
and neither can be held accountable for their actions, it is totally natural.
Being natural doesn't have anything to do with accountability.
And as you point out, you are accountable for your actions, not whether or not you had any say in doing them.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 279 by Colbard, posted 11-22-2014 7:16 AM Colbard has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 312 by Colbard, posted 11-22-2014 9:55 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 320 of 438 (742693)
11-23-2014 12:52 AM
Reply to: Message 312 by Colbard
11-22-2014 9:55 PM

Re: Good and Bad
There is no such thing as accountability in evolution, accountable to what or who?
Accountable to us. The rest of us humans. The ones who are imposing the punishments.
Realizing that we evolved doesn't prevent this. It hasn't and it won't. Nor should it, its the action that is punished, not the culpability.
That's emphazised by the expression that you are "accountable for your actions".
If you are part of evolution you have no accountability, and no one has the right to hold you to any accountability even though it can be enforced by the majority.
You're talking about culpability, not action. That's not what you're accountable for.
You have the opportunity to develop a means by which you can exterminate all your oppositions, and rise above them in excellence.
But even then, that does not make you righteous, because if it turns the other way, it is the way of physics and natural consequence, which has no morals or intent, or accountability.
Evolution is something that happens to populations. It doesn't matter what you do if you're not contributing to the population.
In your "rising above" you may procreate a bunch of offspring, and that could have an impact on your population's evolution. But that may be through immoral acts, and the fact that you succeeded evolutionarily, as you point out, doesn't mean that it's right.
What is more, you cannot demand, at any time or circumstance, the accountability of others towards you. They have their own role in the process of evolution based on chance and circumstances.
Accountability implies purpose, and evolution has none.
You yourself have admitted that we hold each other accountable for our actions. It is not our culpability that is punished.
So we can, in fact, hold accountability against action, as you propose, without consideration towards culpability, and therefore there is such a thing as accountability in evolution, despite the fact, that you bring up, that there is no what or who to really be held accountable to.
If it does then you have created a god with mind and personality to which you bow.
How so?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 312 by Colbard, posted 11-22-2014 9:55 PM Colbard has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 323 by Colbard, posted 11-23-2014 7:34 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 339 of 438 (742760)
11-24-2014 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 338 by Stile
11-24-2014 10:14 AM

Re: Good and Bad
I think we're using the word foundational differently. My fault, though, pretty sure I'm the one using it a bit strangely.
You're saying the instinctual stuff is 'more foundational' because it's natural and inherent to the person?
In this way, I agree.
I'm saying the thinking-about-it/learned-stuff is more foundational to a "good" moral system.
That is, I agree that the using-our-intelligence aspect is more abstract, but I think that being more abstract like that is more important for a good moral system (as opposed to not using our intelligence at all).
Oh, I see. Yeah, I can't disagree with that.
No, I would not.
I would say that Person 1 is "better" than Person 2 in a general sense, though (that is... I see your point).
However, I don't see how we can say Person 1 is "more moral" than Person 2 when they are not responsible for the aspect of themselves that you're saying makes them more moral.
Because of the whole free-will or predestination dichotomy?
Don't we judge your morality on what you do, and not whether or not you are ultimately culpable for it?
That is, if you are having those bad thoughts, then you are immoral for actually having them, not because you're ultimately responsible for having them.
In this scenario, you seem to be saying that Person 1 is more moral due to their instincts... due to the "luck of the draw." Person 1 had no control over that. And Person 2 had no control over their instincts.
This is why I cannot say that Person 1 is more moral.
But a person programmed to do bad things is still doing bad things even though they are not ultimately responsible for it, and they can still be considered immoral for doing bad things, regardless of the fact that they were programmed that way.
"Moral," to me, carries a certain amount of personal-responsibility with it.
If it wasn't you making the decision, then it's not you being moral.
Considering that you are your mind, and your mind did do those bad things, then you are technically still responsible for the bad things that you did even if it wasn't ultimately your decisions to do those bad things. Your mind, i.e. "you", still made those bad choices.
Otherwise, you're on a slippery slope towards nobody being accountable for anything. "It wasn't my fault, I was programmed to run that red light, I shouldn't get a ticket"
Well, you still did run the red light and that is what the ticket is for, regardless of whether you were programmed to do it or not.
To me, the intellectual part is more important to being a moral person (good person) than any amount of following orders.
That is assuming that you have both the opportunity and capability of the intellectual assessment.
I contend that many times we do just "follow orders" without really thinking about it.
Don't accidentally remove those situations from the moral consideration by focusing on the times that we can intellectually assess the situations.
But I agree that the intellectual assessment allows us to pursue a better moral consideration than without.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 338 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 10:14 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 341 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 1:54 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 340 of 438 (742764)
11-24-2014 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 323 by Colbard
11-23-2014 7:34 AM

Re: Good and Bad
But while many sleep and dream, their lives are drawing to a close, and the battle between good and evil is coming to a sudden unexpected climax on this earth, and we need to be informed how it takes place and make a wise decision about it.
People have been saying that for 2000 years.
Meanwhile, science has been making all kinds of advancements that have improved the lives of countless numbers of people.
I'll keep my bet on science, thanks.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 323 by Colbard, posted 11-23-2014 7:34 AM Colbard has not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 342 of 438 (742767)
11-24-2014 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 341 by Stile
11-24-2014 1:54 PM

Re: Good and Bad
I don't really understand that dichotomy, so I try to stay away from it
If everything was predestined, and you don't have any free will, then you have no culpability for your behavior and we cannot say that anything you do is immoral.
I see your response to that is:
If such a thing existed, I wouldn't consider it a person.
If it's simply programmed... then I'd consider it a robot. Robot's can't be good or bad, only their programmer's can be such.
And that's fair enough.
Regardless of whether or not actual free-will exists, can we agree that using our intelligence to derive a decision is "deeper" than following an instinct without thinking? Maybe free-will doesn't exist and both are robotic... but at least while using our intelligence, we're doing everything we can do about it, right?
That's why I think intelligence > instincts in a moral context.
Understood. That's agreeable.
I actually don't consider thoughts to be good or bad.
I don't have a problem with someone having what others would consider "bad thoughts" all day long.
It's what they decide to do that makes them moral or not.
I dunno. A guy sitting around all day sulking over the fact that he really want to kills all the spics is a less moral person, to me, than one who sits around all day dreaming about feeding poor hungry people. Even if they both don't ever actually do anything. The second person is more moral at heart, imho.
In fact, if Person 1 had no bad thoughts, and is a good person... and Person 2 has bad thoughts all day and is still a good person despite that... I find Person 2 to be a stronger/more-honorable person. After all, Person 2 is overcoming adversity to be a good person. Person 1 is just doing what feels natural (closer to robotic-following-orders).
Think of it like Person 2 has actual evidence that they are a good person, where Person 1 has never actually been tested.
Maybe they're both the same level of good-ness? Maybe not... but we do have evidence for Person 2.
I may be more honorable to overcome your immorality and do good things, as opposed to following your morality and doing good things, but I still feel like the person who has those bad thoughts is a less moral person, even if they don't ever act on them.
I've known some bad people in my life, and some of them are just bad people at heart. If if they never actually commit crimes, I still think they are bad people.
Cat Sci writes:
Stile writes:
To me, the intellectual part is more important to being a moral person (good person) than any amount of following orders.
That is assuming that you have both the opportunity and capability of the intellectual assessment.
No. This is a valid point for both systems (if we are intelligent or if we're just robots).
It's just that if we're robots, we don't get to have the more-important part
I was actually thinking along the lines of having the time to do the assessment.
A lot of times we just react to situations and don't have time to think about them. In those cases, there's still a moral choice but we do not intellectually assess them.
That's where your instict plays a bigger role in the equation. Take this gif for example (its totally fake but that doesn't matter):
That guys reaction could have been to dive out of the way. But instead he saved the reporter.
That, to me, makes you a more moral person at heart. When you do the right thing even when you don't have time to think about it...
And there's something to that, that has a value that I don't see you really appreciating.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 341 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 1:54 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 343 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 3:34 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 344 of 438 (742780)
11-24-2014 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 343 by Stile
11-24-2014 3:34 PM

Re: Good and Bad
Yeah, I get the point, and I think it's a valid point.
I'm just not sure how important it is.
That is... we just have 2 guys both sitting around doing nothing.
Okay, so if you had to pick between the two of them, which would you rather spend your day hanging out with?
Would it bother you to know that the guy sitting next to you all day was filled with murderous thoughts? Even though he isn't actually acting on them...
We don't really have anything objective to look at until we have a physical action with someone being affected.
That's true. And that's a practical constraint. I think I'm deviating from what you intended to achieve.
I would just like to add that we also have the ability to train our instincts.
Sure, but training muscle memory is stretching the analogy farther than I care to discuss.
I find this sort of himming and hawing to be... tedious.
I don't think it matters until there's an action.
I get it. And action is required for it to matter in any objective, and probably even any useful, sense.
But I contend that is still actually matters to you, you personally, what your peers are thinking, and/or how they feel in their heart, even if they aren't acting on it.
Not that it matters to an objective analysis of morality, but that it does matter.
Is the guy who already has good-instincts (that he just has from luck-of-the-evolutionary-draw...) but doesn't try to improve at all a "better" person than the guy who has bad-instincts but tries very hard and succeeds at getting over them?
I find that hard to swallow.
I wouldn't say they are necessarily better as a quality of a person. But I would say that they are more moral. Specifically, more moral at heart.
And honestly, I prefer to surround myself with people who are more moral at heart. Even if they don't do a lot of action.
So where's the line?
How do we deal with it in reality?
Do we line everyone up and test them and see? Or do we have to monitor real-world situations as they come?
If we're monitoring real-world situations as them come... what system should we use for that?
Shouldn't that system be the one already described anyway (based on actions)?
Don't get me wrong: we should still use the system based on action.
I just thought you were failing to appreciate the more impractical side of things.
I just find this information (that someone who has good instincts is better than someone who has bad instincts) to be not-very-important and kinda useless.
Heh: "I appreciate it, it just isn't important and doesn't matter"
To me, good/bad only really matters depending on actions and the results of those actions.
Everything else can be interesting, but it pales in comparison for real-world applications and usefulness. Pales so much that it's hardly worth contemplating unless we can identify a manner to incorporate it into practical applications.
Even without a practical application, I still feel a certain level of importance.
Like I asked: Who would you be more comfortable hanging out with?
Even when nobody is acting, aren't you less comfortable around people who you think are bad at heart?
Why do you think that is?
Perhaps its because you think they are more inclined to act immorally?
If so, then doesn't this impractical side actually do have an effect on you?
Perhaps it should be incorporated into the assessment?
Or maybe its just too impractical to be used, I dunno.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 343 by Stile, posted 11-24-2014 3:34 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 345 by Stile, posted 11-25-2014 10:05 AM New Cat's Eye has not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 348 of 438 (742983)
11-26-2014 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 347 by Colbard
11-25-2014 11:58 PM

I have a lot to think about, because I have never heard this approach on the development of morals before.
You have a lot to learn. Ask questions.
Added By Edit (ABE):
Seriously, you are prone to making proclamations, and then you're seeing if they stick.. that only leads to confrontations.
Try asking about stuff instead and see where that leads you.
We can, in fact, help you. We're not all against you. This is not a "fight".
end ABE
You can always reject our answers, but at least you will have seen them.
That is learning.
What struck me about your earlier post was the application of Romans, which in essence speaks against exclusivity practiced by religions, and you had daringly and rightfully honored that text by saying it scoops up all of humanity.
You do have fellow Christians here, including me.
And even the atheists here are really well versed in Biblical passages, so there's a lot to "see" even if they're totally wrong.
I've been here for almost 10 years. It has been fantastic. Despite all the knowledge I've acquired, I've at least wonderfully increased my written communication skills. And that has been invaluable to my working career.
So stick around. And don't be a dick. Try to utilize us in a way that you can actually learn something.
You will gain from it.
Edited by Cat Sci, : see ABE

This message is a reply to:
 Message 347 by Colbard, posted 11-25-2014 11:58 PM Colbard has not replied

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member

Message 403 of 438 (743837)
12-05-2014 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 398 by Dogmafood
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.
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 Dogmafood, posted 12-05-2014 4:23 AM Dogmafood has replied

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

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