Is innate morality objective?
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02-02-2014, 03:06 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(02-02-2014 02:12 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(02-02-2014 01:29 AM)Stevil Wrote:  But the moment it is used to force people to conform, that is the moment I oppose it.

That's not completely true. You will still have a state and that will still police and enforce conformity to its laws; all you are proposing is that the public sphere is to be as small as possible not that there is to be no coercive state.
I was talking about enforced morality, that is what I oppose.
I am not an anarchist. I do see value in enforced laws e.g. laws against murder because I don't want to be murdered.
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02-02-2014, 03:11 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2014 03:22 AM by Stevil.)
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(02-02-2014 02:17 AM)DLJ Wrote:  OK. No need to be just one on one but let's try this:

Here's the current list of 'moralities' (from Jonathan Haidt)

http://www.moralfoundations.org/

1. Harm / care (empathy)
2. Fairness / cheating (reciprocity)
3. Liberty / oppression (freedom)
4. Loyalty / betrayal (in-group)
5. Authority / subversion (respect)
6. Sanctity / degradation (purity)

Tests show that the liberal-minded are more in tune with 1. 2. and 3. whereas conservatives value all six.

You say "I want to survive and I personally don't want to be oppressed."

"I want to survive..." is a moral position regarding #1.
"... I personally don't want to be oppressed" is a moral position regarding #3.

How dya like them apples?

Smartass

I'll start a new thread. Let's see if we can pin down what qualifying criteria there is in order to deem something as being morally significant.
Problem is, we need to get to "details" if we leave it vague then t is unclear and we can't test for consistency.
Anyway, this may seem cryptic, I'll create the thread, and see where it goes.

Please go to this thread http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...g-criteria
Once we have nutted out a definition (if possible) then we can revisit this post of yours and see if my stance on wanting to survive and not wanting to be oppressed qualifies.
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02-02-2014, 10:24 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
My larger point is that we shouldn't allow theists to hijack the word objective and use universal moral impulses, as evidenced by research like the Trolley study that Chas cited, as evidence that there must be a lawgiver. For instance Dawkins calls our empathy for strangers a misfiring or byproduct of altruistic behaviors that benefited our ancestors living in tribal societies (where strangers were rare), but no longer benefit us. Just as lust where no conception is intended is a misfiring, now completely separated from the motive of reproduction.

So if we are genetically wired for self-sacrificing empathy, then natural selection becomes an external (objective) lawgiver, in the same sense that Christians believe god has given everyone a conscience. As I said it may be nothing more than semantics, but I'd like to recover the word.
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03-02-2014, 01:05 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(02-02-2014 02:08 AM)DLJ Wrote:  But we can only do this if first we make some assumptions i.e. that human well-being is valuable to the universe.

Fuck the universe, human well-being is important to us because we're human. Sort of like how continuing to live is important to the living, not so much the already dead. Yes, the bias in inherent; no, I don't think it's can sidestepped or that it's even a problem.

If the universe doesn't care about us, who will if not ourselves? Consider



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03-02-2014, 09:42 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(02-02-2014 02:43 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I disagree that moral beliefs are eroding. Aren't they slowly being replaced with a revised standard of morality? This has always happened throughout history, societies as a whole decide what's important to them.

Which puts the lie to any claim of morality being "objective" at all.

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04-02-2014, 12:17 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(01-02-2014 06:42 PM)freetoreason Wrote:  We know that our moral impulses are largely shaped by natural selection. Does the evidence from evolutionary psychology support the hypothesis that the influence of nature is sufficiently powerful and independent of the individual to meet the standard of 'objective moral lawgiver'?

Nature is not a law giver as far as we can tell. It is instead, itself ruled by laws. It's also not so clear that innate morals apply to everyone, and if not, then they are also not objective. Worse yet, humans are not the only life forms with eithics, and the ethics of an octopus are almost 90 degrees out of phase with ours, so there is no sense in which human morals are objective.

So no, nature is neither a law giver, nor are the human ethics that are mostly innate to most of us, objective.

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04-02-2014, 12:55 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
my love
is in league
with the freeway



is love objective?
do we always, do more for less?
do we dream, in chocolate fantasies?
nor lace made flesh?
do we all
all of us
regret?

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04-02-2014, 02:00 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
I don't think there is such a thing as innate morality. For one, morality is a concept, not a thing. Like "good", "bad", or "pretty", it is a label for a group of actions that man has deemed to have similar properties. Nothing is inherently good or bad or pretty or moral.

Humans, like all animals, have instincts, but these innate behaviors are survival based evolved traits that do not follow any moral code.

Maybe I am wrong here, but it seems to me when this discussion talks about innate objective morality, that is just another term for instincts (except for the objective part anyway)...
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04-02-2014, 06:46 AM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
(01-02-2014 10:38 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 10:19 PM)Chas Wrote:  Behaviors that have evolved are a phenotypic property above the gene level.

Indeed hence my use of "interests". But you shouldn't forget that the entire genotype evolved merely for the purpose of reproducing some initial subset of genes. The first high-fidelity replicator--a peptide--was nothing besides molecular (self-) reproductive machinery--it had no phenotype as such. All the phenotypic traits that followed were there either because of genetic drift or because they enhanced that original self-replication task. That is the underlying commonality of all organisms and it makes sense to refer to it in quasi-teleological terms.

The quasi-teleological terms are confusing to many, especially those who do not have a grasp of evolution.

It's best to avoid them.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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28-02-2014, 09:09 PM
RE: Is innate morality objective?
I was encouraged by this quote from Victor Stenger, and his use of the word objective. My point is that the morality we've inherited from evolutionary influences provides an objective, externally-derived impetus for our moral choices. We shouldn't allow theists to hijack the word!

Q: Don't atheists believe that morals are relative, depending on the situation?
A: Maybe some do. There is no dogma that all atheists are required to follow. But most atheists and theists hold to the same basic set of objective morals and ethics that evolved over the millennia from the need to live together in society.
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