One doesn't understand what is moral unless they interact with others. A person that has never had to answer for their actions in any way has no concept of what is right or what is wrong. Once you interact with another person, any transgression you commit gets a reaction from the other person. Multiply this by a whole society and a consensus emerges of what is acceptable to the society at large.
Now what is accepted as moral by the society depends on the society. Thus "morals" are dynamic. They change over time. They are different among different societies.
There is not an innate sense of morality. Morality is learned.
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Agreeing that "morals are dynamic," I wonder what is morally acceptable today that will be considered abhorrent in say 50, 100, 250 years.
Your thoughts, people?
I'm sure morals will take into effect interaction with robots and artificial intelligence in some manner.
I don't think morality comes only from society. I think some of it comes from biology.
How so CyberLn? A baby only wants what a baby wants. They are slaves to their needs and desires. You have to teach what is right and wrong. Many things are institutional or cultural, but basic right and wrong are taught. So what morality comes from biology?
Maybe mirror neurons. I've read they are associated with empathy. I think empathy plays a role inwhat we call morality.
I agree. Perhaps we can find a parallel in language. Our brains seem to have innate language mechanisms. We also have a predefined selection of sounds that we can produce. The language we speak depends on which culture we're born into. but there are certain fundamental characteristics.
Similarly, we learn the morality of the culture we grow up in, but there are certain innate rules based on empathy, family/group relationships, etc.
Morality is often defined as a behavior. Wherever there is a behavior, there are genes associated with it; genes that allow or disallow that behavior. Take for example Tourette's Syndrome. They may experience outbursts of foul language. This is because one of the roles of the basal ganglia is to keep certain thoughts and behaviours supressed, due to their taboo nature or inappropriate nature. You and I know not to shout "bomb" on an airplane, or say some racial slur to someone. But in Turret's, you have the urge to say the inappropriate.
You also have disorders such as Down Syndrome and William Syndrome. These individuals are known for they sociability, their friendliness, and heart-warming expressions of love.
There must be genes for bigotry, racism, homophobia, pedophilia, homicide, and rape. So these actions cannot be judged as wrong because some humans are programmed by nature to do them.
"There must be genes for bigotry, racism, homophobia, pedophilia, homicide, and rape. So these actions cannot be judged as wrong because some humans are programmed by nature to do them."
Must there? Everyone of those sounds like a choice people make to me, again we can judge them to be wrong because they are deeply pernicious. If the aim of morality is to create better societies, and protect people then we can objectively say those actions are morally wrong, if that's not the aim of morality then what is it? To please a deity that gives arbitrary diktat we must obey or be punished, forever? That isn't morality that is being an automaton.
@AJ777: "There must be genes for bigotry, racism, homophobia, pedophilia, homicide, and rape."
People programmed by nature to do those things should be declared insane and quarantined for treatment. However, sane people can also learn those behaviors in certain social environments.
The best tool by far for turning people toward bigotry, racism, homophobia, and violent behavior is religion. I'm not sure about pedophilia. Religious organizations always seem to be in the news for that particular crime, but maybe that's because religions attract pedophiles by offering them opportunities to get in positions of trust and authority over children.
Thank you AJ777 for this view. I appreciate that isn't biased in nature and is a true expression of a competent opinion. I don't know if you are correct but I don't would you are by anything I have read. Of course, I disagree because I don't think there is anything organic in morality. I think that it is purely a learned behavior. Although I don't have ANY data that can prove what I believe about this. I do know that "morality" is dictated by the society that it governs. I can prove that aspect. I have proven that aspect many times on this forum alone.
That being said, you have offered a realistic point that should not be dismissed. Thank you for also not just claiming that morality comes from god and going on a proselytizing rant I appreciate that as well.
Now, are there genes for bigotry, racism, homophobia...etc? I don't know. I don't think anyone is testing for that sort of thing. An experiment like that would be monumental. The funding would be outrageous. The time to do it would take centuries. Just isolating a gene that is exclusively relating to behavior would probably be impossible.
I agree with @CyberLN.
From what I have learnt in evolutionary biology, I think that our morals(or human behaviour)are closely related to the behaviour of our genes.In the process of making its preserving more efficient it has given rise to human behaviour as we know it, which can also explain our altruistic behaviour (apparent).But nature and society (later) must also have played significant roles in shaping our morals.
"From what I have learnt in evolutionary biology, I think that our morals(or human behaviour)are closely related to the behaviour of our genes.In the process of making its preserving more efficient it has given rise to human behaviour as we know it, which can also explain our altruistic behaviour (apparent).But nature and society (later) must also have played significant roles in shaping our morals."
Hi Mohammed, we have also evolved brains that enable us to examine our actions and their consequences, so we are not slaves to our instincts and emotions. Why else would our morals keep evolving? If the morality of the bible were from a perfectly moral deity it wouldn't reflect the outdated morals of the cultures and epochs in which the texts originated. Nor would biblical morality be ambiguous and contradictory, and yet that is precisely what it is.
There's always someone trying to explain everything with evolution.. smh.
There's always someone with a chip on their shoulder trying to deny scientific facts as well. Evolution explains the origins of all species and the diversity of all living things, by any objective standards it's explanatory powers are prodigious. Not that you'd know, you're just regurgitating the worst of creationist cliches, it's not nearly as impressive as you seem to think. but self awareness is anathema to creationism.
Do you understand that evolutionary explanations for psychological behaviors, are among the weakest and most controversial explanations in the field?
Nice non-sequitur fake atheist. Care to address my post? Do you know that creationism is farcical superstitious nonsense, that people in the 21st century should be embarrassed to espouse if they were not so woefully ill informed?
You - "Evolution explains the origins of all species and the diversity of all living things, by any objective standards it's explanatory powers are prodigious."
Me - "Evolutionary explanations for psychological behaviors, are among the weakest and most controversial explanations in the field"
You - "Nice non-sequitur fake atheist. Care to address my post?"
If the only things that exist are in the natural world, and there is nothing outside the natural world, then there must be a natural or physical explanation for every persons behavior. No one should truly be held accountable for anything they do because free will is just an illusion in this naturalist view. In myckob4 is right, I can’t trust this thought because it is just a part of my biology.
AJ777 you said, "free will is just an illusion in this naturalist view. " That is explicitly not true.
1) You are not the authority of a naturalist view.
2) I don't think that there is a "single" naturalist view.
Also, you are subtracting a part of the equation that actually dictates morality. Society! We all have free will. Our actions are motivated by our free will. The consequences of our actions are circumstance based on the morality dictated by the society.
I was not suggesting that our morals were not evolving.I agree that our morals are dynamic and have to change with change in societal norms.But at the same time there are some moral behaviours of human beings that are almost objective.For instance murder.The origin of such behaviours has to be our biology.
Even the morals you think are changing are not at all. Their roots have been the same for as long as man has been on this earth. For example, we all know what justice is and why we want it. What changes is our discovery of what new things deserve justice. But idea of justice has not changed.
"the morals you think are changing are not at all. Their roots have been the same for as long as man has been on this earth."
It's true we are societal animals, and as such are innately empathetic. However concepts like equality and universal human rights have replaced hierarchical structures and the 'divine' rights of rulers precisely because more people in post industrialised democracies are free to think about and act on our actions as societies and individuals. Consequently or morals are evolving continuously as are our societies. To deny that is absurd.
Only religious theocracies and totalitarian regimes retard such moral thinking. How many countries in the developed west still think it's acceptable to murder criminals? To torture animals for our own enjoyment? To subjugate women and yoke them involuntarily to their reproductive cycles? To openly discriminate against those who don't share their beliefs.
Our morals have evolved beyond all recognition from just a few hundred years ago. They're also continuing to evolve in those countries where people have freedom of thought and expression.
They all have the same underlying morals at work. For example, think of "do not murder" as an umbrella. And the examples you gave, as thing you put under it. The umbrella doesn't evolve, its constant. What changes are the specific examples that we think fit or don't fit under that umbrella. Do we murder criminals? Do we murder animals? Do we murder in defense?
"Do we murder criminals?"
the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
So yes, (for countries that have the death penalty),
"Do we murder animals?"
No by definition,
"Do we murder in defense?"
Probably not, depending on the circumstances of the defence, premeditation being key.
Our morals have and are evolving, to deny this is absurd. In case you hadn't noticed America no longer allows slavery, women have the right to vote, in most civilised countries there is a moratorium on the death penalty and torture. Laws prohibit children from being beaten, either by their parents or at school. People are no longer jailed for being unable to pay debts, we no longer have workhouses. etc etc..
All of these examples are more than accounted for by my comment. They are all recent additions to the same unchanging moral umbrella.
No they're not.
That is weird. I've found that the word justice seems to mean different things to different people.
Why don't you give us an example of justice; and then we'll see if we all agree with it?
Examples don't make a difference, since my claim is that the idea of justice is universal and timeless, regardless of the specific things we label as just.
Define a universal and timeless justice