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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 19 of 438 (504500)
03-30-2009 12:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Cedre
03-28-2009 8:28 AM


Conscious Evolution
Hi, Cedre.
It's good to see you back.
Cedre writes:
Lets for a second analyze what I actually mean by unbeneficial humanitarianism; many times when we are good to others almost never do we think about the future much less about our selfish futures we in fact try to concentrate on the present and how we can best help the person who is in need, this is the experience of even the individual who argues from the selfish standpoint that I have given above that is that we do good things to others because we will benefit in the end.
I think you've missed something rather important with this explanation:
Evolution is not a conscious process. Altruism need not be, either.
The fact that you aren't consciously thinking about the future when you do something good doesn't really prove anything about your reason for doing it. You need not be aware of the evolutionary benefit of something in order for it to have an evolutionary benefit.
For example, does it require any forethought in order to sweat?
Perspiration helps us prevent overheating on warm days, yet one does not need to be aware of this benefit in order for perspiration to occur.
Likewise, you do not need to understand the benefits of feeling good about helping somebody in order for the feeling to convince you to help somebody.
So, the good feeling you mentioned is easily explained as a mechanism of immediately rewarding a behavior whose real evolutionary benefits are not so immediate. Anyone who receives such a reward will continue to behave such that the reward continues, and, because the behavior brings benefits, those who find the behavior rewarding are more likely to perform the behavior, and, consequently, more likely to achieve a greater portion of the benefits.
And, they need not be aware that any of this is going on, at all.
-----
I should also like to point out that selfishness is as much dependent on premeditative analysis as is altruism. How can you serve your own best interests if you are unable to determine what behaviors serve your own best interests? Impulsively grabbing a piece of cake cannot truly be considered selfish if it doesn't benefit you more than not grabbing the cake, so selfishness requires as much knowledge of what will benefit oneself as "selfish altruism" does. So, if the message of Christ is true (i.e., that charity is in our best interest), how can greed and gluttony be considered selfish? Rather, they should be considered, short-sighted.
-----
Cedre writes:
for this selfless acts to be dismissed as your typical selfishness in disguise they should ultimately increase the survival of the giver to be precise and not anyone else apart from the giver.
There is no need for evolution to be stingy. Bees visit flowers to get nectar and pollen for food. But, it inadvertantly helps the flower propagate itself. Thus, there is clearly no need for an action to completely deny benefits to all but one’s own self. Furthermore, designing such an action such that nobody else could benefit from it would probably require more forethought than selfish altruism.
Edited by Bluejay, : Minor edits

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Cedre, posted 03-28-2009 8:28 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Cedre, posted 03-30-2009 3:34 AM Blue Jay has not replied
 Message 23 by Cedre, posted 03-30-2009 4:04 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 43 of 438 (504592)
03-31-2009 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Cedre
03-30-2009 4:04 AM


Re: Conscious Evolution
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
Bluejay writes:
Evolution is not a conscious process. Altruism need not be, either.
The fact that you aren't consciously thinking about the future when you do something good doesn't really prove anything about your reason for doing it. You need not be aware of the evolutionary benefit of something in order for it to have an evolutionary benefit.
You have missed the point of that statement...
Perhaps you should reread what you wrote, because my statement spoke directly to that. Here are your words:
Cedre, OP writes:
many times when we are good to others almost never do we think about the future much less about our selfish futures we in fact try to concentrate on the present and how we can best help the person who is in need
If your point was not that our conscious thoughts prove that there is no evolutionary benefit, then perhaps you should have restrained from writing that our conscious thoughts prove that there is no evolutionary benefit; rather than writing it and then criticizing me for responding to it.
I say again: that you do not consciously think of the evolutionary benefits of your actions does not prove that your actions do not have evolutionary benefits.
Let me try another angle of attack:
You cannot explain evolution with single, special-case scenarios as you have been doing. There is no such thing as a behavior that is 100% successful and beneficial in every scenario. Therefore, natural selection favors patterns of behavior that generally result in greater self benefit. If a certain behavior turns an evolutionary profit more often than it imposes an evolutionary deficit, it will be favored by natural selection.
Does the incredible speed of a cheetah guarantee its success in capturing a meal? No: it is probably only successful in half of its hunts. Furthermore, due to its slender build and small size (necessary for its speed), it loses many of its kills to bigger, meaner predators (hyenas, lions, etc.). So, it probably ends up with 20--30% of its hunts resulting in a meal.
Likewise, if you have a behavioral pattern of altruistically helping others, you may end up doing countless unrequited good deeds. However, some of those good deeds will certainly be returned, especially if the rest of your society also has a behavioral pattern of altruism. So, where everybody is altruistic, nearly everybody gains some measure of benefit at some point in time. Thus, the pattern of altruism, if it is genetic in nature, persists.
-----
Cedre writes:
Bluejay writes:
There is no need for evolution to be stingy. Bees visit flowers to get nectar and pollen for food. But, it inadvertantly helps the flower propagate itself. Thus, there is clearly no need for an action to completely deny benefits to all but ones own self. Furthermore, designing such an action such that nobody else could benefit from it would probably require more forethought than selfish altruism."
Again you have missed the mark with this one, Evolution has to be stingy in order to be effective. Bees are attracted to the brightest sweetest smelling flowers aren't they. If your a dull little tiny scentless flower in the shadow of your bigger flower neighbors, your chances of having a bee land on you are meager compared to you brighter larger counterparts, in this way the flowers also compete to be more attractive and they may also find new ways of disseminating their pollen or fertilization.
So, is it your argument that bees and flowers do not both benefit from pollination?
You do realize that, if both bees and flowers benefit from pollination, your argument that evolution must be stingy fails, right?

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Cedre, posted 03-30-2009 4:04 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 71 of 438 (504729)
04-02-2009 10:15 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by Cedre
04-02-2009 9:50 AM


Re: Defining Altruism
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
Point for point break down why any one of my examples analogies whatever were horrible.
I'd be glad to.
Let's start with this one:
Cedre, post #68, writes:
Percy let me reply you with a scenario. Suppose that my neighbors do not have electricity and at sunset instead get about the house by the aid of candles, so each time one of them pass by anyone of the windows all one gets to see are their shadows. Suppose also that my neighbors are extremely introversive and as such I never got a glimpse of them at any time, what they actually look like. Would it be wise of me to conclude that they are a black family, of six children, that the youngest child is named lulu and the oldest daughter is named Sarah, John has a scar on his right cheek because he is so fond of skirmishes.
In fact I would be able to conclude all of these things because there is no end to my imagination. The only way I can be certain of who my neighbors actually are is to pay them a personal visit and to meet with them face to face. The two techniques used to infer mirror neurons in human brains (noninvasive electrophysiological magnetoencepholography and brain imaging)is not too different from what I have done with my neighbors.
Let me compare both your reclusive-neighbors analogy and SammyJean's mirror-neurons citation to a third example, a birdwatching analogy:
If I were to hear the song of a warbler behind me, could I conclude that there is a warbler behind me? Yes, although I might be in error, it would be a valid conclusion on my part that a warbler is behind me.
This is analogous to the scientists concluding that there are mirror neurons in the human brain because they saw signs of mirror neurons in the human brain.
If I were to not hear the song of a warbler behind me, could I conclude that there is a warbler behind me? No, there is no reason to think that there is a warbler behind me.
This is analogous to your example, in which you conclude that your neighbors are Black and John has a scar, despite the fact that there are no signs of this.
This is why your analogy is flawed: you equated an example having imperfect evidence with an example having no evidence. Do you see the difference? Do you see why your reclusive-neighbors analogy is not analogous to the mirror-neurons example?
Edited by Bluejay, : changed color for legibility
Edited by Bluejay, : Double-enter within "qs" box

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Cedre, posted 04-02-2009 9:50 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 74 of 438 (504732)
04-02-2009 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by Cedre
04-02-2009 10:17 AM


Re: Defining Altruism
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
Now point out which part of my example doesn't compare to what the neurologist are doing.
Here is the difference: neurologists have solid evidence that mirror neurons are involved in copying behaviors. Thus, when they see human brain activity associated with copying, they conclude that there are likely mirror neurons in the human brain.
This is logical. It is a tentative conclusion, but it's a valid conclusion.
The conclusions you drew from your example are completely off the wall. Shadows are not in any way correlated with names, ethnic groups or personalities, so there is no way make a logical leap from seeing shadows to concluding names or ethnicity.
Edited by Bluejay, : The grammatical structure, "they seen brain activity" suggests to me that "they" in fact know very little about brain activity.

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by Cedre, posted 04-02-2009 10:17 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Cedre, posted 04-02-2009 10:32 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 82 of 438 (504756)
04-02-2009 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by Cedre
04-02-2009 10:32 AM


Re: Defining Altruism
Hi, Cedre.
As Percy has pointed out, we've strayed considerably from the topic, so this will be my last post about experimental evidence.
Cedre writes:
There are probably other cells as well that can account for this and other factors may also account for this activity.
Name one.
You talked earlier about wild imaginations. Your alternative to mirror neurons is pure imagination: you have no idea whether there are any other types of cells that can do what mirror neurons do, but you insist that we must take your non-explanation seriously.
However, scientists have definitive proof that mirror neurons do in macaques what they observed happening in humans. Therefore, they have two similar phenomena, the cause of one of which is known. They are simply extrapolating what they do know into unknown places where the pattern is consistent.
It simply is not imagination to attribute similar phenomena to similar causes. In fact, this type of extrapolation is an integral part of the scientific method, and it has led to numerous monumental discoveries throughout the history of science.
-----
Now, I hope we can get back to the topic of morality.
Here are a list of analogies that have been brought up in this thread (by no means exhaustive):
Reclusive shadow neighbors
Diseased squirrels
Pack-caring wild dogs
Carcass-sharing lions
Bees and flowers
Shrewd businesspersons
Thievery and recompense
In each case, you have argued either that morality is detrimental to a population or that human morality is somehow inherently different from animal morality because humans are self-aware.
We could provide you hundreds more examples of behaviors from the animal kingdom that seem to be driven by the same altruistic principles as human charity, and essentially overwhelm you with data. I suspect that, were we to do so, you would simply deflect them away by insisting that animals don't really show altruism and/or that humans are different.
The entire point of a discussion like this is to get at the core disagreement, which is whether or not morality is beneficial for evolution by natural selection. As Percy has pointed out, we've spent an awful lot of time debating silly analogies and virtually no time at all debating the core concept.
You are burying your core argument behind a smokescreen of analogies, so that nobody on this thread has yet been able to evoke any sort of discussion from you about your core topic.
I would like to see a discussion about the principles you propose, but I have so far been thwarted by your insistence on dealing only with analogies. In my next post, I hope to directly address the topic, but I may not have sufficient time to put it together today or tomorrow.

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Cedre, posted 04-02-2009 10:32 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 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.

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

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 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:
 Message 95 by Cedre, posted 04-03-2009 11:55 AM Cedre has not replied

Replies to this message:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 110 of 438 (505085)
04-07-2009 10:40 AM


Paper on Game Theory
I thought I should point this out. It just came up in the news today at ScienceDaily.
This paper is a study on "game theory," which basically describes organisms' behavior as gambling: organisms cooperate when it has a high chance of benefiting them, and they cheet when it has a high chance of benfiting them.
These scientists showed how a yeast gains an evolutionary advantage by producing a good for the entire yeast population, even when all the rest of the population is simply mooching, creating a burden for the one "altruistic" yeast there.
In this scenario, the "cooperative" aspect of the yeast's behavior is actually just a side-effect of its own best interests (it produces sugar for itself, but can only use a small portion of the sugar itself, leaving the rest freely available for the population). So, this fits with my "bees and flowers" example, where the benefit to other organisms is more coincidental than planned.
But, these scientists also showed that the equilibrium state in a population of social organisms will always contain both cooperators and cheaters.
I thought the timing was quite ironic.
Edited by Bluejay, : space before the URL

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 136 of 438 (505660)
04-14-2009 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by Cedre
04-14-2009 9:11 AM


Awareness
Hi, Cedre.
You are still pushing the consciousness issue, when the argument against you has nothing to do with what a person is consciously aware of.
-----
When studying biology, there are a number of scales at which phenomena can be studied. For now, let’s consider proximate and ultimate reasons for behaviors.
Let’s consider the example of my dinner last night. Why did I eat dinner last night?
The proximate reason why I ate dinner was because I was hungry.
The ultimate reason why I ate dinner was because my body needs food to develop and function properly.
So, what is the real reason why I ate dinner? Was it because my body needed the protein? Or, was it because I was hungry?
Actually, it’s both. But, I was only consciously aware of one of the two: the proximate cause---hunger. The ultimate cause---nutritional requirements and deficiencies---requires specific training and education to understand, and, since I do not have that expertise, I cannot claim to be aware of those deficiencies within myself.
-----
Morality is exactly identical to that. Proximately, you do unselfish service to people because you perceive their need, or because you feel that it’s the right thing to do. You are completely unaware that this pattern of behavior also has an ultimate reason, and that ultimate reason is community stability, which breeds an environment where you and your offspring can thrive.
That you cannot consciously make the connection between your selflessness and the community’s stability with your individual reasoning is as inconsequential as the fact that you are not aware of the connection between your hunger and your body’s deficiency in vitamin K.
-----
In short, it doesn't matter one bit what a person is thinking at the moment they are acting, because individuals are not programmed to be intuitively aware of things that happen on an evolutionary scale.
Ask a sage grouse rooster why he and all the other males are lekking, and he will not explain to you the concepts of preservation of the species, but the concepts of "I want some lovin'!"
Ask a spider why she builds a web, and she will not explain that this is her niche in her ecological community, but that she is hungry.
Ask a zebra why it runs away when a pack of wild dogs approaches, and it will not say that it must carry on in order to keep its genealogy alive, but it will say, "I don't want to die!"
-----
Get out of your proximate, conscious world and understand that the universe is not solely about what you perceive in the moment, nor is it about what results from your personal feelings, choices and behaviors.
Christians claim to be good at recognizing that there is more to us than we know, yet, strangely enough, you're the one stuck within the confines of "what you know," while atheists are trying to explain the transcendant wonders of a universe greater than what is immediately before you.
How is that for irony?

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Cedre, posted 04-14-2009 9:11 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Cedre, posted 04-20-2009 8:23 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 144 of 438 (505945)
04-20-2009 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by Cedre
04-20-2009 8:23 AM


Re: Awareness
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
The ultimate reason as per your reasoning causes us to make this ludicrous statement: I morally ought to be unselfish so that I can be more thoroughly selfish.
No! You are still mischaracterizing my position.
You seem to be conflating me with everybody else. I do not share the views of everybody else in this forum, so I would appreciate it if you didn't treat my argument as a clone or spin-off of theirs.
The argument does not boil down to, I will personally benefit from this action, but to, The group that is founded on the principles behind this action will be more stable than the group that is not. As I have now repeated half a dozen times, the argument is not made on a conscious level: it is not made by the individual, for the individual, but is made by the population, for the population; and the population enforces the argument with negative feedback against individuals that do not conform.
The entire point of altruism is that it benefits the entire group. As such, the reason it is favored by natural selection can only be resolved at the level of the group, and not at the level of the individual: the entire group succeeds (and, thus, the individuals within the group succeed), so the traits to contribute to the group persist.
You cannot reduce it to an individual decision or rationale. I have not employed such reasoning in my arguments, yet you have consistently characterized my argument as if I have been. This is the epitome of a straw-man argument.
Please do not mischaracterize my argument again.
Once again, when discussing group selection, the ultimate reason for the behavior has absolutely nothing to do with the benefits to an individual, but with the benefits to an entire group, and the benefits the individual gains are incidental to the process.
There is no individual, selfish reasoning involved in the ultimate reason. Do you understand this, or will you once again insist that I am still arguing for selfishness?
-----
Cedre writes:
You’re trying to stereotype Christians here, maybe you have met Christians stuck within the confines of what you know as you put it, but I have also met many atheist who do the same thing even do it better than Christians sometimes.
By the way, I am a Christian myself. A member of a clergy, in fact: I am an elder. I believe that I am as intimately familiar with the mindset of Christians as you are. I was not stereotyping, but commenting only on you, personally, and your contributions to this thread. I did not say that all Christians suffer from the same problems of perspective as you do.
Edited by Bluejay, : No reason given.

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Cedre, posted 04-20-2009 8:23 AM Cedre has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 146 by Percy, posted 04-20-2009 12:01 PM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 150 of 438 (505997)
04-21-2009 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 148 by Cedre
04-21-2009 6:45 AM


The Importance of Scale
Hi, Cedre.
Percy, post #146, writes:
I don't think Cedre is purposefully mischaracterizing or misconstruing your arguments. Once the light bulb goes on I guess the principles of group selection seem obvious, but there's a lot that has to be understood before one reaches that point.
Percy’s right (grumble grumble): I’ve been letting my frustration get the best of me. I apologize for making this personal when I should have stayed objective.
-----
Cedre writes:
Like this next one which goes: whatever exists exists because it was favored by nature, so morality exists because it was favored, this is not solving the problem, it’s not answering anything.
You’re absolutely right: natural selection does not explain why things exist. Sometimes we anthropomorphize natural selection because it’s easier to explain. But, rest assured that most of us do understand this principle, even if we skimp on it in informal debates like this.
Natural selection only explains why things persist, not why they exist. Natural selection did not create morality: it preserved it once it appeared because of the benefits it provides.
Things are brought into existence by means of what we call random mutations. This has always been a source of some confusion for me, because random mutations is not really a well-defined concept. We call them random because they occur in a probabilistic fashion that is extremely difficult to predict. There are many, many different chemical situations and mechanisms that can cause mutations to occur, and, as far as I can tell, they’re not really spontaneous in the strictest sense of the word: all of them happen because of the action of some physical phenomenon that is, itself, rooted in the principles underlying the function of the universe.
So, sometimes I think the term random is a bit of an oversimplification. Truth told, I cannot tell you what causes mutations, so I can’t really tell you what, exactly, causes new traits, such as moral behaviors.
But, what I can tell you is that the incidence of morality fits the pattern that everything else fits, and so, it is likely explanable by the same phenomenon that explains all other traits and behaviors.
-----
Cedre writes:
For example if you die during self-defense how can you be repaid for this act? Or if you take care of your pet whose going to reward for taking care of your pet. If you were going to crush a bug underfoot but noticed it just on time who will honor you for that act of mercy. You are far from proofing that every act of compassion is influenced by selfishness.
This is again an issue of scale. Is each individual action or type of action a unique trait that must be selected for by evolution? Or, are the actual traits just bits of a personality that govern which individual decisions and actions will be made?
Sparing the life of a bug is not an action that was, on its own, selected for because of its advantages. Rather, the general personality trait of being nice is selected for because of its advantages within society, and this general pattern resulted in the side effect of compassion toward the insect.
You cannot expect evolution to happen on the scale of individual actions and decisions, because individual actions are not coded for on individual genes. Rather, large personality patterns are encoded in the genome. Thus, a lot of superfluous acts of kindness will happen without having any direct connection to your evolutionary success, because it isn’t the individual action, but the personality pattern, that is being selected for.
This is what I meant by proximate and ultimate causes: proximately, you do something nice, not because it will benefit your personal evolutionary success, but because you perceive a need to help. But, ultimately, you perceive the need to help because human society selects for helpfulness. Since it is not you, personally, who is doing the selecting, you do not perceive the selection taking place in your actions.
Always remember to remain in context of the proper scale:
  • The molecules of your body detect and respond to specific chemical cues. They do not detect or respond to your emotions, passions, appetites, etc.
  • You do not detect nor respond to specific chemical cues, nor do you notice when individual molecular signals are transmitted between cells. You respond to emotions, passions, appetites, etc.
  • You do not respond to the pressures of natural selection. You respond to emotions, passions, appetites, etc.
  • The population responds to the pressures of natural selection. It does not respond to your emotions, passions, appetites, etc.
  • This does not mean that the pressures of natural selection do not exist for you, or that chemical reactions do not exist for you. You perception is not required for it to have a real impact on your world.
What you perceive and respond to at your individual scale of awareness is not necessarily applicable to anything that goes on at a different scale of awareness. If you apply this insight into your arguments, you will understand why I said you were missing out on the transcendant wonders of a world beyond your perception.

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 148 by Cedre, posted 04-21-2009 6:45 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by Cedre, posted 04-21-2009 11:19 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 155 of 438 (506003)
04-21-2009 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by Cedre
04-21-2009 11:19 AM


What COULD happen and what DID happen
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
Where did it come from? is it genetic in nature? can it be preserved as such? Give me some proof here, its not enough to say that it arose and natural selection preserved it.
Why is that not enough?
The preservation of the trait is the only thing the Theory of Evolution really explains.
ToE does not explain the mechanisms that cause mutations. Thus, no matter what mechanism produces the new trait, so long as that trait is genetic in nature, ToE is not in conflict with it. Thus, morality, if it is genetic, is not a thorn in Darwin’s side.
But, as to your question, I already provided that answer in my post:
Bluejay, post #150, writes:
Truth told, I cannot tell you what causes mutations, so I can’t really tell you what, exactly, causes new traits, such as moral behaviors.
But, what I can tell you is that the incidence of morality fits the pattern that everything else fits, and so, it is likely explanable by the same phenomenon that explains all other traits and behaviors.
It has been shown with undeniable accuracy that the traits of organisms are linked to their genes.
It has been shown with undeniable accuracy that genes can be changed by random mutations.
It has been shown with undeniable accuracy that mutations can result in new traits.
And, tt has been shown with undeniable accuracy that behaviors are heavily influenced by genetics.
It’s really a simple connection from there.
Too many religious people want to cloud the issue with vague probability statements, incredulity, and gap-Gods. But, each step of the process from mutations to genes to traits to behaviors has been documented with multiple sound scientific investigations, such that, although there could be a unique exception to the pattern in the case of morality, there simply is no reason to believe such an exception exists.
The burden of proof is on the guy proposing the exception. In this debate, that's you.
Edited by Bluejay, : All three of those were supposed to be "undeniable"

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by Cedre, posted 04-21-2009 11:19 AM Cedre has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 178 of 438 (516732)
07-27-2009 7:45 AM
Reply to: Message 176 by Cedre
07-27-2009 6:37 AM


Re: Simple and obvious
Hi, Cedre.
Welcome back.
Cedre writes:
The problem is the instant you declare that one suite of morals is better than another; you are in fact measuring them by an ultimate standard. And the moment you own up that there must be some ultimate standard, you are arguing for the existence of God.
Well, this isn't true: the ultimate standard championed by most atheists is simply a rational decision. The decision that one should not expect better treatment than is given to others does not require the existence of God: all it requires is a realization that there is no objective, rational reason to consider oneself particularly special.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 176 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 6:37 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 182 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 10:24 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 192 of 438 (516912)
07-28-2009 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 182 by Cedre
07-27-2009 10:24 AM


Re: Simple and obvious
Hi, Cedre.
Cedre writes:
Bluejay writes:
Well, this isn't true: the ultimate standard championed by most atheists...
I will stop you right there Bluejay, championed by whom? Most theists you say, not even by all and definitely not by all the inhabitants of the earth.
You didn't say "universal": you said "ultimate."
No opinion is currently universal.
-----
Cedre writes:
Your retort does nothing at removing the subjectivity that morality is forsaken with once God has been removed from the picture
And, morality is still subjective if God is part of the picture. Getting a reward (e.g. going to Heaven) for behaving in a certain manner doesn't mean that said behavior is objectively correct: all it means is that somebody who is able to give rewards agrees with you.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 182 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 10:24 AM Cedre has not replied

  
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