Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
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25-10-2014, 02:38 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
I put together a video that was poorly made (sorry). It introduces some of the ideas on Relative Morality and Evolutionary Morality. Remember, it is all about the values and the priorities we give them. Lots of these values are found in all species. Think of values (as far as evolution is concerned) like physical traits passed down over millions of years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D3a-5ZD...exPGtJPUKA
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25-10-2014, 02:40 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 02:31 PM)Mortimer Snerd Wrote:  I've been looking into this topic or a few years now. Here is some basic positions I've made. I'll start with...
Collective Premise I General Morality
a) All living things that have observable behaviors can be examined as pursuing subjective “values”.
b) All living things may have values that are not actually perceived by a conscience, subconscious or intelligible mind.
c) These values may be as simple as survival, reproduction and sustenance
d) These values may be complex and counter-productive, yet still express “worth” to the individuals or group of individuals
e) These values and behaviors may not accurately represent something objectively as “good” or “bad”
f) Morality may be examined by an observable behavior based on “values” found of “worth”
Conclusion I
All living things express behaviors based on values that may make up moral systems.

And just to clarify these terms
Morality (noun) is a standard of a set rules or guides that are based on subjective values found of “worth” that instructs the learned behaviors of evolutionary biological (or cognitive intelligent, TBA) beings as they relate to other biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

Values (noun) are tangible and intangible ideas, items, concepts, systems, behaviors, philosophies, etc. that reflects worth to an individual or a group of individual as desirable, important or useful. (antonym; adversatives)

Good (adjective/adverb) describes an object, action or conclusion that provides a virtuous character or preferred benefit that clearly outweighs any detriments to evolutionary biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

Bad (adjective/adverb) describes an object, action or conclusion that provides an unvirtuous character or detriment that clearly outweighs any preferred benefits to evolutionary biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

I have more, but this is a good place to start.Thumbsup

I don't see how ascribing 'morality' to the behavior of non-sentient creatures is helpful.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-10-2014, 02:43 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 02:40 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(25-10-2014 02:31 PM)Mortimer Snerd Wrote:  I've been looking into this topic or a few years now. Here is some basic positions I've made. I'll start with...
Collective Premise I General Morality
a) All living things that have observable behaviors can be examined as pursuing subjective “values”.
b) All living things may have values that are not actually perceived by a conscience, subconscious or intelligible mind.
c) These values may be as simple as survival, reproduction and sustenance
d) These values may be complex and counter-productive, yet still express “worth” to the individuals or group of individuals
e) These values and behaviors may not accurately represent something objectively as “good” or “bad”
f) Morality may be examined by an observable behavior based on “values” found of “worth”
Conclusion I
All living things express behaviors based on values that may make up moral systems.

And just to clarify these terms
Morality (noun) is a standard of a set rules or guides that are based on subjective values found of “worth” that instructs the learned behaviors of evolutionary biological (or cognitive intelligent, TBA) beings as they relate to other biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

Values (noun) are tangible and intangible ideas, items, concepts, systems, behaviors, philosophies, etc. that reflects worth to an individual or a group of individual as desirable, important or useful. (antonym; adversatives)

Good (adjective/adverb) describes an object, action or conclusion that provides a virtuous character or preferred benefit that clearly outweighs any detriments to evolutionary biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

Bad (adjective/adverb) describes an object, action or conclusion that provides an unvirtuous character or detriment that clearly outweighs any preferred benefits to evolutionary biological or cognitive intelligent entities either directly or indirectly.

I have more, but this is a good place to start.Thumbsup

I don't see how ascribing 'morality' to the behavior of non-sentient creatures is helpful.

Yeah I don't see how coral is a moral actor or for that matter bacteria.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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25-10-2014, 02:57 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
Well, as I tried to explain in the video and written argument, not all living things have "morals" as we know them, but rather have "values" that are the building-blocks of morality. For example, survival is a value, food is a value, reproducing is a value. Most other living things have these values. I know you will want to say that these are "instincts" or "innate traits" and I will agree with you. But many moral actions can be contributed to a healthy or unhealthy priority of these few values alone. As we evolve and develop more complex values, our moral systems also become more complex. This (to me) is one of the reasons it has been so hard to define it. I'm attempting to hypothesize the mechanisms and origins of morals via values. (try not to think of "values" the way they do in political or religious circles, but just as I defined it in the post)
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25-10-2014, 03:50 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 02:57 PM)Mortimer Snerd Wrote:  Well, as I tried to explain in the video and written argument, not all living things have "morals" as we know them, but rather have "values" that are the building-blocks of morality. For example, survival is a value, food is a value, reproducing is a value. Most other living things have these values. I know you will want to say that these are "instincts" or "innate traits" and I will agree with you. But many moral actions can be contributed to a healthy or unhealthy priority of these few values alone. As we evolve and develop more complex values, our moral systems also become more complex. This (to me) is one of the reasons it has been so hard to define it. I'm attempting to hypothesize the mechanisms and origins of morals via values. (try not to think of "values" the way they do in political or religious circles, but just as I defined it in the post)

Again, calling these things 'values' doesn't seem very helpful.

The concept of morals or values would seem to apply only to social animals that have some level of cognition.

Humans have a shared basic moral sense as evidenced in some studies. Where did we get it? Natural selection.

Our sense of fairness and feeling of empathy mostly work for social animals. They helped social animals survive and therefore became common in their genomes.

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25-10-2014, 04:47 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2014 04:58 PM by Mortimer Snerd.)
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
BTW Chas, I like your cat, lol

I think our tendency to ego-centricism leads us to think we alone have morality and values. Suppose we were aliens from another planet, and we were to look at 'morality' or 'causes of social behavior' in life on this planet, and we understood the role that evolution plays in all life, we wouldn't see that much differences in the values found in most organisms. This was my attempt to find as much objectivity as possible. If we keep treating morality like god, and constantly moving the goal-posts, and thinking it exists only for us "sentient" beings, then we'll be stuck with the only answer of "morals work in mysterious ways".

So, the best way (and often the most interesting way) science has discovered the mechanisms and origins of things is to break them up into its smaller parts. Perhaps if we took a step back away from hitting morality head on and just looked at what I'm proposing as "values". Values can be both innate and learned. I propose these values come from 5 different sources (at least for now, and at least in humans). They often overlap chronologically in our lifetime, but generally follow in this pattern.
1) Genetics/Innate - These are simplistic and very powerful values that seem to come 'naturally'
2) Child Development - These are both behaviors and values we learn from our parents or care-givers
3) 1st Person Experience - These are more cognitive decisions based on interaction with the world and become more subjectively learned rather than blind acceptance of authority
4) Culture/Tradition - These are more social expectations like religion, language, 'family values' etc. These are often more developed form of Child Development, but with more arbitrary implications. This is when most of our values are prioritized based on peer influence, clan/tribal/family influence, fear of ostracism
5) Reason - These are when our previously accepted values and their priorities are questioned. This reflects an approach like 1st Person Experience, but may include empathy to those ideas and persons outside of their own clan/tribe/family. This helps decide how to deal with conflicting values instead of just blindly relying on Culture/Tradition. This is when we will often experience 'cognitive dissonance'.

As you can see, these values are not all learned or all innate. This means our behavior based on our values are a combination of nature and nurture (and 1st person experience). If we recognize these values, give them labels, observe them in other species, then we should be able to see the evolutionary consistency throughout most species going back millions of years. If you say that moral values are different than instinctual ones, I will agree, but they have the same roots in evolution. It would be like saying Australopithecus and Modern Humans are not the same species, but we are still all primates.

I love skeptics, because our first knee jerk reaction is to deny claims and demand evidence. I agree, that is the best way to approach all 'truth claims'. For this, I know I've got my hands full, lol. So, please, keep questioning my reasoning and arguments. The evidence is out there, I just don't have the means to study it in depth like I want. I have to rely on the studies of others like Franz de Waal, Dawkins, Harris, etc. Other than terminology, I haven't found any real credible arguments against what I'm proposing. Unless you see something I've missed.
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25-10-2014, 05:00 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2014 05:33 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 04:47 PM)Mortimer Snerd Wrote:  BTW Chas, I like your cat, lol

I think our tendency to ego-centricism leads us to think we alone have morality and values. Suppose we were aliens from another planet, and we were to look at 'morality' or 'causes of social behavior' in life on this planet, and we understood the role that evolution plays in all life, we wouldn't see that much differences in the values found in most organisms. This was my attempt to find as much objectivity as possible. If we keep treating morality like god, and constantly moving the goal-posts, and thinking it exists only for us "sentient" beings, then we'll be stuck with the only answer of "morals work in mysterious ways".

So, the best way (and often the most interesting way) science has discovered the mechanisms and origins of things is to break them up into its smaller parts. Perhaps if we took a step back away from hitting morality head on and just looked at what I'm proposing as "values". Values can be both innate and learned. I propose these values come from 5 different sources (at least for now, and at least in humans). They often overlap chronologically in our lifetime, but generally follow in this pattern.
1) Genetics/Innate - These are simplistic and very powerful values that seem to come 'naturally'
2) Child Development - These are both behaviors and values we learn from our parents or care-givers
3) 1st Person Experience - These are more cognitive decisions based on interaction with the world and become more subjectively learned rather than blind acceptance of authority
4) Culture/Tradition - These are more social expectations like religion, language, 'family values' etc. These are often more developed form of Child Development, but with more arbitrary implications. This is when most of our values are prioritized based on peer influence, clan/tribal/family influence, fear of ostracism
5) Reason - These are when our previously accepted values and their priorities are questioned. This reflects an approach like 1st Person Experience, but may include empathy to those ideas and persons outside of their own clan/tribe/family. This helps decide how to deal with conflicting values instead of just blindly relying on Culture/Tradition. This is when we will often experience 'cognitive dissonance'.

As you can see, these values are not all learned or all innate. This means our behavior based on our values are a combination of nature and nurture (and 1st person experience). If we recognize these values, give them labels, observe them in other species, then we should be able to see the evolutionary consistency throughout most species going back millions of years. If you say that moral values are different than instinctual ones, I will agree, but they have the same roots in evolution. It would be like saying Australopithecus and Modern Humans are not the same species, but we are still all primates.

I love skeptics, because our first knee jerk reaction is to deny claims and demand evidence. I agree, that is the best way to approach all 'truth claims'. For this, I know I've got my hands full, lol. So, please, keep questioning my reasoning and arguments. The evidence is out there, I just don't have the means to study it in depth like I want. I have to rely on the studies of others like Franz de Waal, Dawkins, Harris, etc. Other than terminology, I haven't found any real credible arguments against what I'm proposing. Unless you see something I've missed.

You don't observe "values" in other species.
You observe "behaviors" (which they have evolved which promote their survival) which you interpret as "values".
"Values" is a subjective term.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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25-10-2014, 05:03 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 05:00 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(25-10-2014 04:47 PM)Mortimer Snerd Wrote:  BTW Chas, I like your cat, lol

I think our tendency to ego-centricism leads us to think we alone have morality and values. Suppose we were aliens from another planet, and we were to look at 'morality' or 'causes of social behavior' in life on this planet, and we understood the role that evolution plays in all life, we wouldn't see that much differences in the values found in most organisms. This was my attempt to find as much objectivity as possible. If we keep treating morality like god, and constantly moving the goal-posts, and thinking it exists only for us "sentient" beings, then we'll be stuck with the only answer of "morals work in mysterious ways".

So, the best way (and often the most interesting way) science has discovered the mechanisms and origins of things is to break them up into its smaller parts. Perhaps if we took a step back away from hitting morality head on and just looked at what I'm proposing as "values". Values can be both innate and learned. I propose these values come from 5 different sources (at least for now, and at least in humans). They often overlap chronologically in our lifetime, but generally follow in this pattern.
1) Genetics/Innate - These are simplistic and very powerful values that seem to come 'naturally'
2) Child Development - These are both behaviors and values we learn from our parents or care-givers
3) 1st Person Experience - These are more cognitive decisions based on interaction with the world and become more subjectively learned rather than blind acceptance of authority
4) Culture/Tradition - These are more social expectations like religion, language, 'family values' etc. These are often more developed form of Child Development, but with more arbitrary implications. This is when most of our values are prioritized based on peer influence, clan/tribal/family influence, fear of ostracism
5) Reason - These are when our previously accepted values and their priorities are questioned. This reflects an approach like 1st Person Experience, but may include empathy to those ideas and persons outside of their own clan/tribe/family. This helps decide how to deal with conflicting values instead of just blindly relying on Culture/Tradition. This is when we will often experience 'cognitive dissonance'.

As you can see, these values are not all learned or all innate. This means our behavior based on our values are a combination of nature and nurture (and 1st person experience). If we recognize these values, give them labels, observe them in other species, then we should be able to see the evolutionary consistency throughout most species going back millions of years. If you say that moral values are different than instinctual ones, I will agree, but they have the same roots in evolution. It would be like saying Australopithecus and Modern Humans are not the same species, but we are still all primates.

I love skeptics, because our first knee jerk reaction is to deny claims and demand evidence. I agree, that is the best way to approach all 'truth claims'. For this, I know I've got my hands full, lol. So, please, keep questioning my reasoning and arguments. The evidence is out there, I just don't have the means to study it in depth like I want. I have to rely on the studies of others like Franz de Waal, Dawkins, Harris, etc. Other than terminology, I haven't found any real credible arguments against what I'm proposing. Unless you see something I've missed.

You don't observe "values" in other species.
You observe "behaviors" (which they have evolved which promote their survival) which you interpret as "values".
"Values" is a subjective term.

Speaking of evolved behaviours, I'll just leave this here:



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25-10-2014, 05:11 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2014 05:35 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/scienc....html?_r=0

Do rats have "values" ?

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25-10-2014, 05:34 PM
RE: Moral Relativism Vs. Absolute Morality, and Does morality evolve?
(25-10-2014 05:11 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/scienc....html?_r=0

Do rats have "values" ?
Simple answer? Yes, absolutely.
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