Morality
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28-12-2012, 03:49 PM
Morality
This question has been plaguing me for a while; how do atheists determine and defend a moral framework?

I would assume most take a evolutionary approach, stating that morality is derived through evolving over time and promoting a species expansion and prosperity. This has some large holes though; namely abortion, homosexuality, and contraception would be in violation of that "expansion," in turn being morally wrong. One could say the earth is already over populated, but wouldn't that void the entire evolutionary moral code?

Also, if there is no overarching objective supernatural morality and it's plural to some degree, who determines right and wrong? If the people of a democratic society determine it and they feel another country is doing "wrong," how could they have the moral authority to tell them they are doing wrong, let alone act on it?

Sam Harris has thrown out the evolutionary approach and states that neuroscience may one day determine morality. But, for one, that day is not here, and two, science is based on measurable, repeatable results. If you're simply measuring chemicals or responses in the brain that signify "happiness" or "well being," a prescription drug could remove all of those "wrong" feelings. In the end, philosophy is at play no matter where you start from in this approach, not the empirical facts.
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28-12-2012, 06:21 PM
RE: Morality
I always figured morality came from what was best for the group, not what causes the most reproduction. I mean, I would argue that abortion can often be better if it improves the lives of the mother (and/or father, and/or previous children). The same thing goes for when they used to leave babies out in the woods, which is essentially post-birth abortion. There are tribes where women, if they have twins, kill or starve one, because they know both will die otherwise. People don't like thinking about it because it doesn't seem "nice," but people are also subject to the carrying capacity of the land (especially true in tribal societies and in the past before agriculture, though I still don 't think people would benefit from having a child every year).

So, in short, I'd say morality would have more to do with quality of life than quantity of lives, so homosexuality would be a non-issue. There are also those who speculate it arised to curb overpopulation, but I don't quite buy this.

The group one is in determines right and wrong. That's why it used to be ok for Christians to mass murder people, because they decided it was right. To a lesser extent, the individual does, also.
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28-12-2012, 06:34 PM
RE: Morality
The great majority of people is born with the capacity for empathy.

One baby cries, they all cry.

There are lots of things you will find on google about the psychology of empathy, I am about to close shop here and don't have tme to look for links.

Empathy is the base of the golden rule, and the golden rule IS morality. As a matter of fact, the golden rule all by itself covers most of the commandments and religious laws.

Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto yourself - you don't steal, rape, kill or hurt others etc.

It is necessary so that everyone can go to sleep without fearing their neighbor popping in and killing them. This has evolved for many centuries, it's social evolution.

Thousands of years ago you needed religious law to lay down these rules because it was pretty wild and unsafe then. But it has long since become general human behavior, everywhere. People who don't follow the golden rule get thrown in jail because they aberrant. They are not perceived as normal people.

It has nothing to do with religion, except for religions all over making it their law, too.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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28-12-2012, 06:48 PM
RE: Morality
All you poopyheads responding to the drive-by... Laughat

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28-12-2012, 06:52 PM (This post was last modified: 28-12-2012 08:41 PM by PoolBoyG.)
Rainbow RE: Morality
I think there’s some misconceptions being made:

1. Evolution. Evolution explains WHY (not should) people feel or act in certain ways. It doesn't excuse those feelings or actions. Example. Geology explains volcanic activity, but because we understand why and how volcanoes occur doesn't mean we sit in its path of a lava flow and let it destroy us. We relocate, or if possible, explore methods to stop or divert it.

2. Neuroscience. Neuroscience only allows us to measure and compare PAIN and PLEASURE responses. It provides information that can be used in questions to make moral decisions. Example. It could be shown that the pain experienced by withholding a piece of cake from a particular person is equal to or GREATER than the pain felt by the average person having their arm cut off. We have measurable proof of this. So, any "moral" decisions in the future would more likely lean towards the average persons arm being cut off than withholding a piece of cake from this particular individual. This is a bit exaggerated, but it gets the point across I think.

Morality framework: All sentient beings recoil from pain. *note masochism is pleasure seeking, not pain seeking. Pain for them would be not being able to perform masochism. Stimulus for all people is different, but the end result of recoiling from pain, and stretching out towards pleasure is universal in all sentient creatures. Neuroscience would show the same parts of the brain light up when a masochist puts needles into their skin, and if the average person eats some delicious cake – its all in the pleasure centre.

Then why doesn't everyone live in a drugged up (or virtual) fantasy. Some may prefer this. But again, the stimulus is different. Pleasure for some people comes about by interacting in the tangible world.

All decisions by people would be to weigh what will cause the least amount of pain, or the most amount of pleasure. The methods and stimuli are unique between people, and understanding these methods for maximum pleasure, and minimum pain, is part of the "morality" framework. It's unique between species too. Humans are social animals by nature, so social interactions are more likely to bring about pleasure. Social interactions for another species may stimulate great pain.

A moral human society measures and weighs and makes decisions to increase pleasure, and decrease pain. And that takes a huge variety of methods, systems, and time scales.
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28-12-2012, 07:47 PM
RE: Morality
Austavion, meet altruism and the Golden Rule.

With that aside, why would I or anyone else need to "defend" a moral framework?

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28-12-2012, 09:01 PM
RE: Morality
Who the fuck do you people think you're talking to? Angel

And whenever I hear people going on about the "golden rule" like it's some meaningful shit, I really feel like a prophet. Big Grin

Cause it ain't. And you're dumb. Dummieheads. Big Grin

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28-12-2012, 09:37 PM
Morality
(28-12-2012 09:01 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Who the fuck do you people think you're talking to? Angel

And whenever I hear people going on about the "golden rule" like it's some meaningful shit, I really feel like a prophet. Big Grin

Cause it ain't. And you're dumb. Dummieheads. Big Grin

It's not "people" it's just Vosur, dumbfuck!





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28-12-2012, 09:56 PM
RE: Morality
(28-12-2012 09:37 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(28-12-2012 09:01 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Who the fuck do you people think you're talking to? Angel

And whenever I hear people going on about the "golden rule" like it's some meaningful shit, I really feel like a prophet. Big Grin

Cause it ain't. And you're dumb. Dummieheads. Big Grin

It's not "people" it's just Vosur, dumbfuck!





Tongue neener neener neener! Tongue
Who is person. Plus Dom, which makes it people. Poopyhead. Laughat

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29-12-2012, 01:02 PM
RE: Morality
Thanks for the good responses!

Based on a few of the listed ideas, if someone was refusing to "treat others as they want to be treated" because it would require sacrifice and they are simply pursuing the most pleasure and least pain for themselves, could that be refuted?

I'm kind of blending to approaches (hedonism and the greater good), but it seems like they could be at odds.

Amyb, you said that "The group one is in determines right and wrong. That's why it used to be ok for Christians to mass murder people, because they decided it was right." So because this group decided it was best for them, would you say it was morally right? Do other groups have moral authority over them in that "best for the group" approach? If each group determines their own right and wrong (and person), how can one say to the other they are doing wrong?
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