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Forums > Social Discussion > Morals and ethics-thread... (on public demand)

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:You asked for it - Now you have it!

(did a search and nothing like that came up - if there is a pre-existing thread, please accept my apologies and close this one)

So here it goes:

Wikipedia on Morality

Written by: wikipedia
Morality, in the strictest sense of the word, deals with that which is regarded as right or wrong. The term is often used to refer to a system of principles and judgments shared by cultural, religious, secular (eg. Humanist) and philosophical communities who share concepts and beliefs, by which people subjectively determine whether given actions are right or wrong.

These concepts and beliefs about right and wrong are often generalized and codified by a culture or group, and thus serve to regulate the behavior of its members. Conformity to such codification may also be called morality, and the group may depend on widespread conformity to such codes for its continued existence. Individuals who choose to conform in this way are popularly held to posess "Moral Fibre", whereas those who lack "Moral Fibre" may be labelled as socially degenerate. A "moral" may refer to a particular principle, usually as an informal and general summary with respect to a moral principle, as it is applied in a given human situation.



Same source Ethics

Written by: wikipedia
The first social science
Assumptions about ethical underpinnings of human behavior are reflected in every social science, including: anthropology because of the complexities involved in relating one culture to another, economics because of its role in the distribution of scarce resources, political science because of its role in allocating power, sociology because of its roots in the dynamics of groups, law because of its role in codifying ethical constructs like mercy and punishment, criminology because of its role in rewarding ethical behavior and discouraging unethical behavior, and psychology because of its role in defining, understanding, and treating unethical behavior.



Members of HoP:

Written by: Patriarch
First, let us ask some questions to get us started:

Question 1: What is the ultimate source of moral rights?

(suggested answers deleted for freedom of mind)

Question 2: Do moral rights change?

(suggested answers deleted for freedom of mind)



and:


Written by: jeff(fake)
(..)In an general sense morality is relative. However, for arbitary reasons human beings world wide share an almost identicle fundemental system of emotions and values. A Chinaman and an African can both agree that murder and rape are generally wrong for instance. We base our moral system on these values. Thus morality is in a specific sence absolute accross the human race.(..)

(..)Humans (thats us) have a set of needs and emotions which are hardwired into our brains. With the exception of sociopaths and some of the brain damaged, this is undeniable. We all retract our hand from fire and we find suffering unpleasant.(..)



So here are the questions:

What is the source of morals?
Do morals change?
Is morality something fundamental, that is hardwired into our brains?

yeah - "can of worms" rolleyes not the first one wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:You've missed an option -

Things are moral or not for no other reason than what's written in the [insert holy book of choice]

And this is the first time a suggestion of mine has constituted popular demand... ubbrollsmile


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
Noam Chomsky

'depending on circumstances, any human being has the potential to become a saint or a concentration camp guard'



Morals are not hardwired, otherwise they could not change. And they quite clearly do. Its not hard to work it out..

Otherwise either;

a) we all have slaves
b) no one ever had slaves. Slavery is immoral

or

a) we all want to exterminate Jews
b) the holocaust cannot have happened because exterminating Jews is immoral

If these statements dont concur with your ontological perceptions then the logical conclusion is that morality is not hardwired, but contextual.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:i think to some degree it is hardwired...while all cultures are different, many of them agree that certain actions are wrong, the punishment is often different though, or there are clauses for exceptions

Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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Prometheus


Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Total posts: 459
Posted:I find morals are only as strong as their justifications for immorality. Such as murder is 'wrong,' but we have capital punishment.

Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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spiralx


spiralx

veteran
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 1376
Posted:Written by: dream


Morals are not hardwired, otherwise they could not change. And they quite clearly do. Its not hard to work it out..



That's not true. Morals haven't really changed much at all over time - most things that are considered immoral are still either violence of some kind or cheating somebody.



However what has changed is how we apply our morality. It used to be that only your tribe was part of your morality; it was fine to kill people from other tribes, eat them, rape their women etc etc. As time has gone on people have started applying moral rules to wider and wider groups of people - to all free men, to slaves, to women etc etc.



Whenever someone wants people to fight an enemy, the first thing they do is to try and dehumanise the enemy, so that they get removed from the group of people morality applies to. Once people think the enemy are monsters, there's no need to apply morality to any actions against them...



Written by: dream


Otherwise either;



a) we all have slaves

b) no one ever had slaves. Slavery is immoral



or



a) we all want to exterminate Jews

b) the holocaust cannot have happened because exterminating Jews is immoral



If these statements dont concur with your ontological perceptions then the logical conclusion is that morality is not hardwired, but contextual.



Both of these support what I'm saying - in the first case peoples' moral circles have widened to include those who were previously slaves, and in the second case the Jews were stigmatised and dehumanised so that they were removed from peoples' moral circles.

EDITED_BY: spiralx (1141399931)


"Moo," said the happy cow.

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spiralx


spiralx

veteran
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 1376
Posted:Plus, just because we have an innate moral sense in no way means that people are obliged to follow it - we make our decisions, not our genes.

"Moo," said the happy cow.

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
It used to be that only your tribe was part of your morality



???

I think you mean that only those humans who constituted your tribe were considered worth applying moral standards to.

I could point out that when and how one applies morals is a moral decision but its so obvious it really shouldn't need saying.

I think I'm staying out of this one


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Less address question number one tho....

What is the ultimate source of moral rights?

Is it the government?

The people?

Any individual at a time?

A specific individual we appoint?

A specific individual we choose to follow?

And... how do we arbitrate between people who have different ultimate moral sources who live under the same arbitration system?


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:The ultimate source of moral rights is first you, then your society.

If you follow your morals, and they coincide with the morals of your society then that's alright. As soon as you don't follow your own morality or the morality of your society then bad things start to happen.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Dunno - people are prone to follow their own, their societies, the holy scripts or other peoples morals whenever they feel that this or that is apropriate.

For example: Whenever in peace and everything goes smooth and we're nice citizens, we follow the common morality. Whenever we start parking in front of a hydrant and receive a ticket, we switch to our own morality (dough!). Whenever it gets hectic and wild, we like to trust upon the morals of a few individuals (particularly in times of war). And especially when we're close (to death) we love to trust in the morality of a supreme being ("G'd please help me, I promise to be good for the rest of my life")...

So IMHO morals can change from one to the other extreme within 24 hours (it has also been described in the Bible, one example I would name is the story of Peter, when Jesus got arrested...)

We can see it every day (in the media): while we condemn the killing of nearly 3.000 people in the 9/11-terrorist attacks, we have little problems with about 3.000 innocent civilian casualties in the strafe-bombings on Afghanistan ("collateral damage") - now you may point out that YOU DO have a problem with it and that MOST of the american public has, but the results of Bush's re-election speak a different language. However you may now claim that the elections are manipulated, but then if you hold this view - how can you continue living in a country that started out as a refuge for religious and individual freedom and now is corrupted, almost opposite?

While we support warlords and dictators, we have little problem in him (for say Saddam Hussein) killing some 250 - 300.000 of his own people, or about 1.000.000 souls "lost" in the Iraq-Irani war. But then later we capture him and put him in front of a tribunal. According to the 21 March 1998 Times Union (Albany), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 1,000,000 Iraqis, incl. 560,000 children, died as a result of malnutrition and disease caused by the international embargo imposed following the invasion of Kuwait. The article mentions the use of these numbers by an official of the United Church of Christ, and also labels the figures "commonly used -- but also disputed".

We condemn and charge other peoples actions, but when we do something wrong ourselves we hope that there is no law enfocement officer around to catch us by the toe.

When looking at children, I find great differences. Some have little to no problem in wiping out entire tribes (ants for say), I find no compassion or empathy, some others have a different mindset and are more careful.

To me there are indications that morals are purely and exclusively deriving from education and the socio-cultural backdrop. I am almost going as far that a human holds no morals whatsoever when being born and that this develops over time and experience.

Thus said, I compare todays (global) society very much with a human being and it's very own life-cycle. I can easily come to the conclusion that currently mankind is in it's adolescent phase... maybe.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:It's not the exact same topic but it is related.



BBC - Altruism Built into Humans


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:morals are the things that we as invididuals find ethical
ethics are what collective people find moral

or something like that.
Confused? yeah, me too....;)

If people change, so can morals.

The moral of this story? Don't start a discussion on morals as:-
1. It confuses other people
2. You'll end up feeling more confused
3. Just when it's getting serious, I'll add my two cents and thus, you might as well have posted it in chat.... ubbloco


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Seriousness is only kicking in, when the wellbeing of people is endangered and then I happily accept your two cents and double them with mine! wink biggrin

So morals can and do change (with time and experience and circumstance?)

How possible? Is the definition of "right and wrong" not absolute? I mean for sure "right" means something different to different people (en detail) as does "wrong".

Could we "classify" people by their morals?

I have to confess that I am thinking about this a few times on and off. My country has a significant history in this. And it's happening every day (about 40 armed conflicts worldwide).

One day neighbours - next day enemies...

After WWII people were put in jail for what they have committed during this time, as being concentration camp staff, participated in the ruling party, etc. (side-remark: many judges, attourneys, officials have been spared and remained in duty, because "they were simply not enough replacements") In the 50's almost all of them have been released with no further charges. They could come back into service and their history was wiped. Around 80.000 perpetrators remained free.

You know I personally have not much problem with morals and ethics being somehow "floating" - but I am very sure that it confuses more and more people that there are generally always 2 moralities: one for the average joe and one for the superior george... How so? How can some people demand ultimate freedom from all kinds of morals and laws - on which grounds do they claim this right? umm

On the other side: how can people be charged with what they have done in best faith and according to the (then) present laws?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:Following on (or perhaps similar to) SpiralX's view;

Morals are on the whole universal because societies dont work unless the people in the groups can trust each other. If you couldnt trust that everyone around you wasnt going to kill you the next chance they get, then the benefits of group cohesion would be lost.

So - since we have had cooperative groups, we must also have an underlying moral code that keeps the groups working. How widely we define our groups (eg from a few trusted business partners out to the whole universe of living beings) determines who we apply our moral code to.

So yeah - I vote underlying morals are universal and evolutionary (in a social sense) however some very basic ones are also hardwired. Killing babies is wrong because its bad for the group from an evolutionary sense.

Josh


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:I dont see how morals can be hardwired into the deterministic brain, as the only thing the brain is hardwired for is for survival. Morals are learnt responses, agreed to by a community. Given that communities differ, we get a range of moral standards in different communities.

For example, cannabism is (was) accepted in some communities, while the idea is considered abhorrent in other communities. Legal age of marriage (age of consent) is another example where communities differ. So communities consider killing babies wrong, yet other communities kill their daughters because the community values son's more.

So:

What is the source of morals? Generally the community we live in.

Do morals change? Yep, different communities have different morals.

Is morality something fundamental, that is hardwired into our brains? Nope.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:The Infanticide argument can be viewed from the perspective of being environmental - after all Inuit people were originally thought to be terrible for killing many of their female babies, until it was shown that if they let them live within their current organisation of roles the men would be unable to hunt enough food, and people would die of starvation - thus the whole group would suffer. A difficult position to be in, but infanticide is actually better for the group as a whole.



Othe examples of infanticide found in some countries where boys are seen as more desirable than girls often boils down again to accepted practice - girls go off to look after the husbands parents...therefore when facing a limited number of children boys are sometimes kept over girls. I think you would be hard pressed to find people in these societies that believe its right to kill baby girls, rather they think they dont have any other option.



Obvious arguments can then arise about the division of labour and that if things were simply organised differently infanticide would be unneccessary. However the moral code of behaviours that are good for the group are good still stands - and at that basic level all viable groups share that moral code. And consider this - if it is neccessary for groups to share a moral code to 'get along' then surely at some level evolution must have bred in morality - after all, its difficult to breed if your dead? If its bred in, then its genetic - at some level. Is the mothering instinct learned or bred in?



Josh

EDITED_BY: Pyrolific (1141623392)


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:So do we conclude that there are some basic morals and ethics that are grounded upon survival (of the immediate individual/ family/ society, or tribe), meaning that the first basic need is met: survival?

As we have ensured our immediate survival, we use the time on our hands to set up more peripheral morals, concerning the community and how we can survive as such/ live together...?

Do even the basic morals differ, based upon our history and environment?

Sure, basically it's not "OK" to kill the baby daughter, but in order to grant survival of the tribe, it's necessary? Are these "exeptions" then still carried, even though they are no longer needed, but are not reviewed and therefore remain?

Of course, what about the morality of a carnivale, raising an animal in captivity and abuse it's trust to then kill it for a feast? Or not doing the "dirty job" her/himself, but leaving it to others, turning them into butchers and "dealers in death"...

But what is the morality of a vegetarian? Because his vegetables can't scream, it's OK to kill plants? Is the notion that plants have a "lower consciousness" than animals, not exactly the same as those arguments of meat-lovers? Is one becoming automatically more saint-like if eating veggies only and wot about pointing at other peoples food? What about ex-vegetarians?

What is the morality of an Eco-tourist, who still uses a 747 to get to his destination?

Therefore: are morals absolute? Or are they more "spongy" and change, depending on actual circumstances?

I love the quote: "why do we kill people, who killed people, to proove that the killing of people is wrong?"

Right now "the West" is facing increased and substantial criticism for "spongy" morals, by the community of (fundamental) Muslims (of course also from fundamentalists of all faiths). But why they care for anything that is going on in our countries? They don't HAVE to look at "our" TV-programs and Internet-pornography, they don't HAVE to take drugs and commit adultery and they (in return) don't HAVE to respect Jesus, or the Pope. What right does anyone claim to interfer with the morality of another tribe/ society/ state/ race?

Just to raise a few questions... wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: FireTom

For example: Whenever in peace and everything goes smooth and we're nice citizens, we follow the common morality. Whenever we start parking in front of a hydrant and receive a ticket, we switch to our own morality (dough!). Whenever it gets hectic and wild, we like to trust upon the morals of a few individuals (particularly in times of war). And especially when we're close (to death) we love to trust in the morality of a supreme being ("G'd please help me, I promise to be good for the rest of my life")...




Breaking the law by a parking offence is not immoral, it's just illegal. There are differences. When things get hectic and wild, then that's when I rely on myself. I'm almost always confident of my own ethical values, so the need to trust someone else's judgement doesn't really arise. If you're talking about relying on the politicians morals then I would say that I've never seen a war that was wanted by the normal people. It's always the leaders who decide they want a war in the first place, so I'd say relying on their morality was a bit silly.

And no, I don't trust in the morality of a supreme being. If he can't take care of me when I'm alive, I have no reason to assume he can take care of me when I'm dead. Your life is what you make it, and so is your death. Deities don't come into it.

Written by: FireTom

We can see it every day (in the media): while we condemn the killing of nearly 3.000 people in the 9/11-terrorist attacks, we have little problems with about 3.000 innocent civilian casualties in the strafe-bombings on Afghanistan ("collateral damage") - now you may point out that YOU DO have a problem with it...



Damn straight.

Written by: FireTom

...and that MOST of the american public has, but the results of Bush's re-election speak a different language.



Elections have little or nothing to do with ethics. It's not who you think is the nicer guy, but the person who's plans you like the look of most. The majority of these plans aren't judged on their ethicality, rather, by their usefulness to society.

Written by: FireTom

However you may now claim that the elections are manipulated, but then if you hold this view - how can you continue living in a country that started out as a refuge for religious and individual freedom and now is corrupted, almost opposite?



I don't. I live in the UK. smile And "How can you continue to live there" is not a valid criticism of people who claim the elections were fixed. Many people think that and are protesting about it. It is more effective to protest if you happen to live in the country you're protesting about.

Written by: FireTom

While we support warlords and dictators, we have little problem in him (for say Saddam Hussein) killing some 250 - 300.000 of his own people, or about 1.000.000 souls "lost" in the Iraq-Irani war.



Speak for yourself. Just because my Prime Minister supported him, does not mean that I do. I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who thought that Saddam Hussein was a moral person before either of the Gulf Wars.

Written by: FireTom

We condemn and charge other peoples actions, but when we do something wrong ourselves we hope that there is no law enfocement officer around to catch us by the toe.



umm If I do something wrong then I know it's wrong. Therefore because I know it's wrong then I condemn my own actions. I don't try to "get away with it" because you can't escape your own ethicality. It's not something you drop whenever you do something wrong and then get back. Every single misdeed you ever committed creates another hole in the tapestry of your consciousness, and that's why I spend so much time doing what is right by me.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:But from where dost ones own ethicality come from?

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:From reading the right kind of books. Heroic fantasy is particularly good.

Where do you think I got mine? rolleyes

smile


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Survival Josh. Infanticide, in that environment is a question of survival, not morals. Same for the second example, its survival not morals. Most communities would view infanticide as immoral.



I think the moral codes come from having to keep our survival mechanism in-check in a community situation. By survival mechanism I mean the fight/fright mechanism or reptilian brain if you like. The morals come after, as a learnt response, in the community situation.



Im not sure if the mothering instinct is learned or bred in. I know that our cousins, the chimps etc dont know how to look after their young when kept in isolation at a zoo.



Still not convinced, then catch a repeat of last nights Four Corners, 11pm Wednesday 8 March. It was called "How the Kids Took Over" Its about how marketing is tapping into kids reptilian brain to understand their needs as consumers. As in the design of new Toyota vans for example.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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spiralx


spiralx

veteran
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 1376
Posted:Written by: Stone
I think the moral codes come from having to keep our survival mechanism in-check in a community situation. By survival mechanism I mean the fight/fright mechanism or reptilian brain if you like. The morals come after, as a learnt response, in the community situation.


This isn't very internally consistent. If we require morals to keep our "survival mechanism" in check to survive as a community, then morals are also just a "survival mechanism" and will convey a survival advantage and will be selected for. The only way that wouldn't happen is a) we've only just started living in communities or b) we've not evolved since we have.

Written by: Stone
Im not sure if the mothering instinct is learned or bred in. I know that our cousins, the chimps etc dont know how to look after their young when kept in isolation at a zoo.


That still implies that they want to look after their young. It's possible for a mothering instinct to be built in but it requires learning to know how to do it. Certainly all kittens have the desire to learn to hunt, but unless they're taught by their mother they won't ever be any good at it.


"Moo," said the happy cow.

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:It is part of human nature that we tend to focus on little differences. Because of that sometimes minor things get blown out of all proportion. Human morality is very similar worldwide although there a few triffleing difference that we do tend to focus on.

My question is - Why would morality be so similar worldwide if it were simply a learned matter?

You might disagree that morality is similar worldwide of course, but my answer would be that morality is based on factors which are common in all human beings (and to a degree in the higher apes) and so we find the same solutions.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:spiralx, Im not sure what you mean. I was speculating a bit there with the morals keeping the survival mechanism in check. We have not evolved as a species, so Im open to suggestions. I would suggest that mothering instinct is a survival mechanism.





Jeff(fake) asked Why would morality be so similar worldwide if it were simply a learned matter? Communication and travel.



Addendum: Certainly the indigenous populations in the Americas and Australiahad had different values before Columbus, Cook and missionary men took European morals to those countries.











smile


EDITED_BY: Stone (1141771250)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Jeff(fake), a better answer to your question would be that morality seems to have risen with monotheism about 3500 years ago. Zarathustra, Moses and Muhammad all objected to the wild sex and drug use that were associated with the belief in idols.



wink


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Out of curiosity, what were the morals pre-monothesism in the world and what were the morals of the native Americans in pre-colonialism times?

Also, if morals are purely a learned behaviour, how is it ever possible to convince people that they are wrong, like what happened when slavery was considered moral?


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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spiralx


spiralx

veteran
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 1376
Posted:Written by: Stone
spiralx, Im not sure what you mean. I was speculating a bit there with the morals keeping the survival mechanism in check. We have not evolved as a species, so Im open to suggestions. I would suggest that mothering instinct is a survival mechanism.


"We have not evolved as a species"?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/07/science/07evolve.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
br>
But apart from that what you're posting is logically inconsistant. If morals keep the survival mechanism in check to aid survival in groups then it follows that morals increase your chance of survival, which is the definition of a survival mechanism. You're contradicting yourself.

Written by: Stone
Jeff(fake) asked Why would morality be so similar worldwide if it were simply a learned matter? Communication and travel.

Addendum: Certainly the indigenous populations in the Americas and Australiahad had different values before Columbus, Cook and missionary men took European morals to those countries.


And yet I'm guessing all of these cultures believed incest was wrong, killing members of your tribe was wrong, hoarding food for oneself at the expense of others was wrong and so on. Details may differ, but there truly are human universals.


"Moo," said the happy cow.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Jeff(fake) what you said seems self evident. We have big brains. I never said people couldnt change their behaviour, only that morals werent hardwired in.

Interesting article spiralx. I suppose it depends on what you mean by evolved. I suppose it is no surprise that no consensus has been reached on the definition of the word specie. I take the traditional approach. Something like the biological species concept or isolation species concept, where species are groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups (Wikipedia)."

Perhaps spiralx, you should read a bit more history before jumping to conclusions. Human sacrifice was pretty popular with the Aztecs around Hernan Cortes time. And unfortunately, incest is still present in our societies at an alarmingly high rate. For sure, killing members of your tribe would be considered wrong, but not members of other tribes or strangers. There are other difference also like time.



Why are people having difficult believing morals are acquired and not hardwired?


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:I'm saying that there are fundemental factors on which we base our morality which are wired in. When these are followed to the logical extremes we get our morality.

We aren't born with 'thou shall not kill' written into our brains but if we follow our inate ability for compassion and empathy then we all reach that conclusion.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:jeff(fake) I wish what you said was true. If as you say, these fundamental, innate factors for compassion and empathy were wired-in, then the world would be a much happier and more peaceful place than it is today.

More than likely, our ability for compassion and empathy is something we learn as we grow up.



cheers


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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