Morality

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cranky47's picture
That depends on whether I the

That depends on whether I the am unpopular person .

I'm half serious. I'm very wary of hypotheticals and moral absolutism . I lean towards the greatest good for the greatest number as a broad principle . Having said that, it is my belief that human beings as species can and do regularly rationalise any activity what so ever.

I also believe every human being is capable of any action what so ever given the right circumstances.

rat spit's picture
“Morality” (as far as the

“Morality” (as far as the studies of Biology and Evolution are concerned) can be reduced to a set of mathematical equations (often framed under “Game Theory”). Under such equations all actions either benefit or take away from the animals level of fitness (survivability).

“Altruism” is simply an act which indirectly increases the fitness of the actor. In other words, virtue for the sake of virtue is a farce of an idea.

However, Joe Shmo may still jump in front of a bus to spare an old woman an untimely end. The fact that this kills Joe and leaves the old lady with a few more years of life speaks to the utter absurdity of life and - more specifically “morality”.

There is no such thing. Unless “karma” exists, morality and all of our actions are either selfish or absurd/ or both.

Example. Is it right or wrong for a chimpanzee to use a bull frog to give him self a blow job? This isn’t even an attempt to troll. There is video of one such chimpanzee in captivity doing this to a bull frog.

Should we condemn the ape or just laugh? Of course we should laugh at absurdity! There is no moral standard for such a precedence! The chimpanzee enjoys it! That’s why he does it. It is not good or evil. It is neither beneficial nor detrimental to his fitness. He does it for the pleasure.

Every moral or immoral act can first be reduced to the question of “did he do it for pleasure?”

And what about our poor bull frog. An unwitting victim of rape? Will he need years of councling? Why didn’t I think of using a bull frog to give my self head? THAT’S what I want to know.

For Mohammed to rape a nine year old girl ... ??? Not good or bad. Extremely fucked up dirty old man and a poor, unfortunate girl who is going to have issues later in life.

Pain and pleasure. We all deal in it. It was a part of our make up long before any sense of “morality” ever entered the picture.

The only purpose of morality is to shine a light on justice and make people think that some of it exists in the world.

rat spit's picture
I’ll keep going if it pleases

I’ll keep going if it pleases the audience.

The invention of God would not be complete without the invention of Hell. What I simply love about Abrahamic religion is that God “commands” you to do this or not do that. He can’t force you but He will command you. And this is of course very arbitrary - with the exception that you will burn in an eternal oven if you disobey Him. Better yet, 5000 years later, God decided to write a new law. If you don’t believe that a magic man named “Jesus” is the only way to heaven - then you will burn in the eternal oven. Nice.

Consequences are an arbitrary system meant to dissuade people from doing what most people consider socially unacceptable.

Of course, it always benefits the criminal to steal if he needs to; to kill if there’s money involved; sell weapons that kill others; sell drugs that kill others; fuck - how about “tupper ware”? The plastics industry is making a killing off that shit and it’s killing all the life in our oceans.

It’s only when we deem an action unsuitable for the security of the rest of the tribe that something becomes “immoral” and more importantly “punishable”.

But punishment is genetically inherent. Well, when I was growing up my second grade teacher could still smack me in the head with her bible. Not so much these days. Spanking hasn’t been outlawed every where. But the point is we learn to fear our parents from a very early age. The reality is repercussion. The exchange of bodily pain for some certain undesirable set of childish misbehaving.

And that principle has guided religion to invent Hell. It is the pinnacle of pain. And whether it exists or not, there are many who will fear it simply because of hearsay.

The same principle guides our laws. A life of confinement and shitty food follows certain low grade criminals. The fact that many commit crimes in spite of penalties is another testimony to the absurdity of all moral systems - especially God’s moral system. Except that God will always catch you and bring you to judgement. The same can not be said of any human body of legal authority.

LogicFTW's picture
@rat spit

@rat spit
... agree...

... agree...
...
More agree...
....
..

Except that God will always catch you and bring you to judgement.

Wut? You were doing so well, and then... that!

Did I read it wrong, did you not write what you meant well?

rat spit's picture
Heh. That part is a little

Heh. That part is a little inside joke. Let’s just say I was being ironic or sarcastic.

But, do we have another amoralist on the team, Random Hero 1981? Oh please say “yes”!!!!

Leper's picture
"Morality evolved from

"Morality evolved from primitive tribes and societies in order to preserve harmony and increase effectiveness in the quest of survival."

I don't think this can be said since the very wish and aspiration to preserve harmony seems to be influenced by a sense of moral.

I Believe it is a built in feature in man and in many many animals. It can't be in direct connection with deciding what is appropriate and what is not unless you believe species of monkeys do that kind of thinking too - since they too have moral emotions.

Randomhero1982's picture
That would imply that I was

That would imply that I was saying that morality started at that point, which is not the case.

What i am stating is that you can see how morals can form through basic interactions.

To say we are ingrained with "built in" morality, would mean that we have to be made with some objective moral truths.

This would be patently wrong, in my opinion.

Leper's picture
@Random

@Random

"To say we are ingrained with "built in" morality, would mean that we have to be made with some objective moral truths.

This would be patently wrong, in my opinion."

Do you have any reasoning for that or is it just sentiment? It all comes down to emotions and emotions are dependent on the brain. We are born with a certain type of a brain that developes and functions in a certain way. Hence it is" built in".

Randomhero1982's picture
Of course, I would suggest

Of course, I would suggest that as the preponderance of evidence clearly supports evolution by natural selection and adaptation,
Coupled with the clear fact that there is absolutely no empirical evidence of any God, of any religion... It appears safe to conclude that morality has evolved along with every other natural phenomena.

These are all natural phenomena that are in keeping with the laws of nature and do no not require any supernatural explanations.

But, if you can provide genuine evidence of any God, without committing fallacies, such as an appeal to authority or God of the gaps... then I'm happy to have my mind changed.

Sheldon's picture
Leper "We are born with a

Leper "We are born with a certain type of a brain that developes and functions in a certain way. Hence it is" built in".

All societal animals evolved this ability to determine the difference between right and wrong behaviours, humans evolved a brain, and the ability to create complex language, and to speak, this enables us to examine those evolved morals.

No superstition is needed to explain any of this.

David Killens's picture
@Leper

@Leper

"We are born with a certain type of a brain that developes and functions in a certain way. Hence it is" built in"."

Have you ever observed a two year old child? They steal, they lie, they cheat, they manipulate, they are the most amoral creatures that can be imagined. Children have those qualities because they need them to survive at such a young age. As they develop, the societies morals are taught to the individual.

One can never state that such morals are built-in when one is very aware that children do not have that quality.

xenoview's picture
@leper

@leper
What do you mean monkeys have moral emotions? You don't think monkeys have morals they follow like humans?

Leper's picture
@xenoview

@xenoview

Scinetific studies of the behaviour of monkeys show that they show certain such behaviour. For instance, a test has been made where if a monkey touches something and it causes harm, such as a small electric shock to his fellow, he avoids doing it even though it causes no harm to himself. And monkeys take care of each other in general. They even masturbate each other........

xenoview's picture
@leper

@leper
That shows that monkeys have morals. They know touching the idea that shocked the other monkey is wrong.

cranky47's picture
Well, actually, not monkeys

Well, actually, not monkeys so much, but studies have shown chimps in the wild will exhibit compassion

.I contend that human beings are essentially self interested. That morality has a survival value*. I accept that there are altruistic acts, many, daily. However, as far as I can tell, I have never actually met an altruistic person.

Point of clarification : Anti evolutionists often angrily say something like " I didn't descend from no monkey!" . Quite right ,and Darwin never said we did. WE DO have common ancestors with monkeys and even with pigs as well as a great many other species. .

OF COURSE human beings evolved from apes. That is to say from other apes. Human beings are primates, a species of ape.

*reference Milo: Egoism and Altruism .

Sheldon's picture
"Anti evolutionists often

"Anti evolutionists often angrily say something like " I didn't descend from no monkey!" . Quite right ,and Darwin never said we did."

"Human beings are primates, a species of ape."

Indeed, I am always stunned anyone can get a simple fact so utterly wrong. Another of my favourite creatard canard is "evolution can't explain what caused the big bang, I mean if they start equating evolution with physics rather than biology, what can one say really.

Talyyn's picture
Or Darwin created a religion.

Or Darwin created a religion.

David Killens's picture
Or that someone can be a

Or that someone can be a "Darwinist".

Talyyn's picture
I really don't care about

I really don't care about Darwin, His theory has been largely refined in the past century.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - My response was in

Jo - My response was in reference to Old man shouts claim that Christianity will be dead in three generation (he said something like that).

ANOTHER straw man Jo? Really?

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Here is the exact quote from Old man shouts.
"It will live on like a creaking geriatric with dementia for a few more generations but expire, in the end, without grace or fond memories."

Sheldon's picture
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 02:38

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 02:38 (Reply to #38)#39
Jo

@ Nyarlathotep

Here is the exact quote from Old man shouts.
"It will live on like a creaking geriatric with dementia for a few more generations but expire, in the end, without grace or fond memories."

FFS Jo which bit of "in the end" in that sentence is hard for you to grasp? Can you really be this stupid, or is it yet again an example of rank mendacity on your part? IN-THE-FUCKING-END, he didn't say live on like a creaking geriatric with dementia for a few more generations AND THEN EXPIRE. is English really your first language?

Really Jo everyone here understood him perfectly, and I am still not convinced you're not trolling tbh.

Rabbi Mark's picture
What you say is true. Of

What you say is true. Of course societies adopted moral principles (but that does not imply it is an invention of men, the reason I will give below) and its true that right and wrong are just labels,if needed they can be changed to good and bad.However the concept of morality is not a label. For an example, the words 'right lane' and 'wrong lane' with respect to road travel are just labels; however the concept of right and wrong lanes are not labels but are conditions.

Morality is about understanding what conditions give humans a joyful, peaceful and happy times and then framing laws to achieve them (to note, these laws must grant equality for all and all does not mean for those who trespass the laws) and above these come the labels that you mentioned, what action is right and what is wrong.

Let me give an example, killing is an action. If you kill in self defense it is not wrong. But if you kill as first offense then it is a wrong. Why? Killing in first offense means that you are infringing upon the right to a happy life of another person but if you kill in defense you are killing to guard your right to living. So we frame self defense killing as right and killing as first offense is wrong.

Unfortunately, none of these concepts rights, right and wrong, good and bad don't apply in an evolutionary model. Since everything (thoughts, actions and processes) are just random dance of non-intelligent particles. So next time when your car is stolen you have to assume that it was just a random dance of particles. And worse if it was your precious things or loved ones. But in a Biblical model, your body is just a computer over which you (a higher dimensional being / a soul) has been granted control. You are not meant to harm others and unfortunately due to the fall on mankind not everyone will think the same way as you do so you are also obliged to guard yourself from harm. And it is here (in the Biblical model) that you find the real existence of rights, right and wrong, good and bad, reward and punishment and judgement and it is God the Creator who is the reason for the origin of morality (Since he designed/programmed that way) and not men or societies.

CyberLN's picture
Rabbi Mark, you have not, it

Rabbi Mark, you have not, it seems, ever heard of emergent properties. You might want to study up on them and consider how they apply to, for example, the human brain.

Randomhero1982's picture
Also needs to brush on

Also needs to brush up on evolutionary theory, adaptation and so on....

Calilasseia's picture
Oh dear. Looks like someone

Oh dear. Looks like someone else is in need of an education ...

Unfortunately, none of these concepts rights, right and wrong, good and bad don't apply in an evolutionary model. Since everything (thoughts, actions and processes) are just random dance of non-intelligent particles.

This is so far into the realm of absurd bullshit, that it's vanished into its own black hole of stupidity.

First of all, evolutionary processes (and for that matter, all other testable natural processes) are NOT "a random dance of non-intelligent particles". What part of "the requisite behaviours are systematic, regular, and reliably repeatable" do you not understand? For example, chemical reactions are not "a random dance of non-intelligent particles", not least because if they were, the entire discipline of chemistry would not even exist, because there would be NO reliably repeatably behaviours therein to subject to analysis. Pick up any textbook on organic chemistry, and you will find hundreds of regular classes of chemical reactions documented therein, ALL of which are reliably repeatable in the laboratory, and many of which have been given names after the discoverers thereof (see, for example, Friedel-Crafts reaction, Swern oxidation, Michael addition, Birch reduction, Claisen condensation, etc). Indeed, without reliably repeatable chemical reactions, life itself would not exist.

Second, when scientists talk about "random" processes, this term has a specific and precise meaning in scientific discussions of various interactions, and has nothing to do with the caricature thereof peddled by supernaturalists. One, such processes are capable of being modelled by Markov chains, which are precisely defined mathematical entities. Two, scientists describe a process in biochemistry using the word "random" as a shorthand for "several well-defined pathways exist to produce this result, but we lack the data informing us which one actually took place". I've posted in the past on "random" variables here, and you would be well advised to learn the contents of that post, before posting more drivel about "random" processes.

Meanwhile, I've already covered at length in another post here the fact that there exists an abundant scientific literature covering the evolutionary and biological basis for [1] our acquisition of the cognitive machinery required for ethical thought, [2] the development of said thought via that machinery, and [3] the motivation to act upon said thought. There's a raft of papers pointing to the emergence of ethical thought as a means of ensuring social cohesion within groups of social organisms, with the development of such notions as reciprocity and altruism having a well-understood evolutionary foundation. I've provided expositions of several relevant papers in that post, and you would be well advised to read said expositions, if only to avoid posting canards on the subject in future.

But in a Biblical model

This isn't a "model", it's a collection of mythological assertions, several of which are known to be not merely wrong, but absurd and fatuous into the bargain, such as the ludicrous view of genetics contained in Genesis 30: 37-39.

due to the fall on mankind

Another mere mythological assertion, and one that never happened. Oh wait, the entire Genesis "morality fable" is a complete crock from start to finish. I launched an entire thread devoted to the dismantling of this nonsense here. That's before we factor in to the equation, the fact that scientists have known about the existence of diseases affecting various organisms tens of millions of years in the past, courtesy of clinical symptoms of such diseases as tuberculosis in Mesozoic fossils, which, oops, happens to be a long time before your mythology asserts the universe was "created", though I'll spare you the embarrassment of your mythology asserting that the universe was purportedly "created" 22,000 years after prehisotric Germans invented sex toys, unless you want to go full-bore creationist on me, in which case, you'd better have a fucking good fallout shelter to hand.

And it is here (in the Biblical model) that you find the real existence of rights, right and wrong, good and bad, reward and punishment and judgement

Crap. Not least because large sections of the Old Testament are devoted to the gleeful depiction, in a manifest exercise of self-justification propaganda, of numerous bloody Lebensraum wars pursued by the raving followers of the requisite mythology's imaginary magic man. Including such disgusting activities as taking underage girls as sex slaves after slaughtering their parents in said wars. Numerous examples exist in this vein, such as Numbers 33: 50-53:

And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.

Then there's the big sex slaves episode, a little earlier on in Numbers 31, starting with Numbers 31: 7-11:

And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.

and concluding with Numbers 31: 15-18 (the part that says "keep all the underage girls as sex slaves"):

And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Or Deuteronomy 2: 33-35:

And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.

Or Deuteronomy 7: 2 and Deuteronomy 7: 5 (the latter being one of three major instances where that venomous contribution of the Abrahamic religions, known as ruthless enforcement of conformity to doctrine, is stated explicitly):

And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

..

But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Temporarily diverting to cover the venomous concept of ruthless enforcement of conformity to doctrine, we see this again in Deuteronomy 17: 2-5, this time expressed as "kill alll who do not conform":

If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

Which is also contained in Exodus 23: 24:

Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.

And now, back to the Lebensraum wars, this time with added taking of sex slaves, in Deuteronomy 20: 13-14:

And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

There's also pretty much the whole of Joshua 10 and 11, and of course, the Scorched Earth instance in 1 Samuel 15: 3:

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

If you want to claim that your imaginary magic man is "the reason for the origin of morality" as you asserted above, you have the above embarrassing litany to deal with. Apologetic fabrications erected in a vain attempt to hand-wave them away won't count.

LogicFTW's picture
Another theist apologist gets

Another theist apologist gets utterly wrecked by Calilasseia.

Will the theist apologist simply not reply or, actually be dumb enough to try and rationalize away the points laid out above by Calilasseia?

We shall see....

Cognostic's picture
@Rabbi Mark:

@Rabbi Mark: (CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU WIN THE PRIZE FOR THE DUMBEST COMMENT ON THE INTERNET THIS YEAR.)
"Unfortunately, none of these concepts rights, right and wrong, good and bad don't apply in an evolutionary model. "

Small clan societies form and must live together, There must be a power structure and rules for their survival. Who eats fists? Who does what chores. Who is in control of what? Who has sex with whom? Is there ownership of property? What to do with people who violate the rules of the clan? Each and every moral development is an evolutionary development, Each and every development assists the species, not just humans, to get along with its fellow species and procreate. Those that can not get along are killed, shunned, or banished and this is the same thing we do today with our miscreants of society. It's all evolution and biology. YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE. Don't you think you should take a biology class before commenting on it? You are attempting to talk about things of which you know nothing at all about. It just makes you look amazingly ignorant.

Leper's picture
@Cognostic

@Cognostic

"You are attempting to talk about things of which you know nothing at all about. It just makes you look amazingly ignorant."

That's rich coming from you.

Cognostic's picture
@Leper: RE: Rich!

@Leper: RE: Rich! "Thanks!" We get so tired of listening to ignorant Muslim and Christian apologetics and their inane world views. Glad you have seen the light. Your apology is appreciated.

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