Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
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19-03-2012, 02:44 PM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
[xquote='kingschosen']
This is a problem right here. This is a moral statement. Your assumption is that your opinion is right and should be universally accepted based on your basic knowledge and common sense.

Again, I think being amoral is basically sticking your head in the sand and saying "nuh-uh". It's an impractical theory at best.
[/xquote]

Don't be so quick to write off amorality.

I should have qualified my statement better.
For my own survival (selfish interest) I want to exist within a stable and functional society. I recognise that oppression causes people to retaliate and that creates danger for me. I recognise that oppression based on arbitrary reasoning means that I might be next to be oppressed based on arbitrary reasoning. I recognise that some of my friends are oppressed, I recognise that if I stand up for my friends then they are likely to stand up for me, if I become oppressed.

Debate based on a common goal such as a desire for a "stable and functional society" is a worthwhile debate. For this debate we can discuss the pros and cons of actions and rules the impact they have towards or away from the goal.

Debate based on "morality" is worthless. We can simply shout at each other that our own morality is better than that of the other person.

If we open up law to be based on morality then (for instance) how can we complain when the government makes it illegal for gay people to marry. If the government and majority of society deems this as immoral then how can we complain? My morality is better than your morality is not much of a basis for complaint.
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19-03-2012, 04:27 PM (This post was last modified: 19-03-2012 04:35 PM by Glaucus.)
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(19-03-2012 02:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  We can simply shout at each other that our own morality is better than that of the other person.

That is a specific type of morality, moral relativism, which I agree is pure hogwash. It is rarely considered by philosophers to be of any value because of it's cop out nature. That's why philosophers look toward the other moral philosophers: Kant, Rawls, Aristotle, Mill, etc.. They try to actually define right and wrong, by casting a much smaller net.

Though you're comment about debating the pros and cons (right and wrong) of an action or law is defining morality. "Moral -- of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong;". Morality is how we create laws, we try to define right and wrong in order to have a stable society. We can complain when a government makes gay marriage illegal by showing that it isn't the right answer, that morality says they're wrong. Our morality isn't perfect, but that's why we keep improving it as time goes on. After all, it is a soft science.

You're problem with morality seems to come from the idea of moral absolutes, which comes from the religious influence on morality. Without moral absolutes, God's judgement cannot be easily defined by simple commandments. That's why many moral philosophers say moral absolutes do not exist.

"...morality comes from humanism and is stolen by religion for its own purposes." -C. Hitchens

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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20-03-2012, 02:54 AM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
The religious concept of morality is a list of rights and wrongs as deemed by their god and transferred from men to men by word of mouth and written into scripture by a group of men and translated into languages by another group of men and interpreted by another group of men.

These religious rights and wrongs are believed to be enforced by eternal happiness or eternal damnation. A coercive system of reward and punishment. This system resembles a law more than a morality.

Consider the legal law, where violators face monetary fines or imprisonment. Is it considered to be moral to obey the law or is that simply considered to be law abiding?

"Morality is how we create laws, we try to define right and wrong in order to have a stable society."
I disagree with this statement because I don’t think that we desire a moral society. We can’t even collectively agree on morals. There are some countries that have a moral branch of the police force. They arrest people for wearing revealing clothing, or for kissing in public, or for an unmarried women been caught alone with a man. Is this really the type of society that we desire? Should we convict people for cheating on their spouses, for telling lies, for standing up someone on a date?

When you suggest that laws are based on morality, then I’d have to ask, whose morals are these laws based on? You also go on to suggest that we could complain about a law “by showing that it isn't the right answer, that morality says they're wrong.” but again, whose morality is showing that the morality of the law isn’t the right morality?

If someone tries to come up with a seemingly objective standard on which to base their morality such as humanism, well, does that trump someone else’s morality based on the golden rule or someone else’s based on the enlightened teachings of Buddha or how about someone’s morality based on deep thought and reasoning?

My stance based on a stable and functional society does not come from my opinion of what is right and wrong. It comes from my selfish desire to survive and have the freedom to make my own life decisions. I am not the least bit concerned if people around me are acting morally or not. My neighbour could be cheating on his wife with my other neighbour’s husband. They could be getting themselves tangled up in all sorts of immoral positions. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher could be having sex with her own father (while her mother watches, masturbating in the corner) for all I care.
I have no interest in whether people are acting in the right way or the wrong way. Actually, I don’t feel it is my business or societies business to judge on the morality of anyone’s actions.

All I want is to be safe. Therefore I don’t want people to have the legal ability to murder indiscriminately, if they were able to do this, then what makes them not do this to me? If you understand the principle of natural law you then understand that regardless of the legal law, people will be provoked into violence if certain natural laws are violated. E.g. if a person’s life is threatened then they will retaliate with violence, some bystanders may also be compelled to retaliate with violence, same goes for rape, assault, theft, and oppression such as anti gay laws.
I want a safe, non violent, stable society, so that I can be safe. Not so that I can live amongst moral people.
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20-03-2012, 06:06 AM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(19-03-2012 02:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Don't be so quick to write off amorality.

Which is a moral declaration. Tongue

Simple chemical intelligence in my book - morality - where empathy is a more evolved form. I'm a prophet, I know these things. Big Grin

Religious morality is a primitive attempt to codify a social standard but even in the beginning it was corrupted by totalitarians and their narrow minded views. It becomes a crutch for those who lack vision. These types are just another form of junkie, reveling in the chemical stimulation of righteousness. What should be apparent to any person of intelligence is that omni means omni - all that is doable is allowed - and therefore morality cannot come from god.

Silly theists. Wink

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20-03-2012, 06:10 AM (This post was last modified: 20-03-2012 06:20 AM by Sol.)
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(19-03-2012 08:44 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  I'm writing a new theological note about morality.

Since there are like eleventy-billion threads about morality, I'm too lazy to search through each one to try and glean something useful or the link.

So, could someone provide the scientific evidence of animals showing morality and empathy?

Also, if you want to add anything, feel free. I may put it in the note.

Not sure if this may have been covered elsewhere on the forum KC, but it might be of interest as it covers mirror neuron approach to empathy.
Its a lengthy paper, but a rare science paper that has a quote from scripture in the coda (Matthew 7:12, I think).

Also a short TED Vid by RS Ramachandran on the same topic.

Hope it's useful to you.


Forgot to add, most if not all mammals especially social mammals have a cluster of mirror neurons to a greater or lesser degree.

Cannot find a readable link but a search for Hal Whitehead's work with sperm whales is quit revealing about culture/ religion in non-human species.

In life you can't have everything................. Where would you put it ?
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20-03-2012, 07:24 AM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
Thanks, Sol.

Looking into it now.

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20-03-2012, 03:59 PM (This post was last modified: 20-03-2012 04:23 PM by Glaucus.)
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
Obeying the law simply makes you law abiding, it does not make you moral.

"I don’t think that we desire a moral society. We can’t even collectively agree on morals." But we have agreed on morals, just not all of them. We want a moral society because we want a stable society, and a common view of morals translated into law gives us that. We've determined that unwarranted murder is wrong, but murder in self defense is right. Yes, we're debating about what is right and wrong, but that's the nature of morality, determining what is right.

The countries that I know having a moral police force are trying to protect the religious views of morality. Right and wrong dictated by a deity is not thinking through to determine right and wrong, it's simply being "law abiding" to your faith.

It does not matter where your morality comes from, all that matters is that it be open to revision.

"then I’d have to ask, whose morals are these laws based on?..." Depends on what country you come from, dictatorships give laws based on the views of a few, democracy's try to include the public in the discussion. Democracy's allow for more discussion on what is right and wrong, so their laws would more adequately represent morality.

A few people may corrupt the laws of a democracy to their own views of morality, but that doesn't mean morality is broken.

"I want a safe, non violent, stable society, so that I can be safe." That's why you teach people to distinguish right from wrong, to be moral. Morality isn't about setting down laws, but laws are used to help distinguish the moral from the amoral. I read somewhere that some cities have taken away speed limit signs and have seen a decrease in traffic accidents. This is because moral people know that they should not speed through residential areas, and they drove slower than the previous speed limits were set at. An amoral person, someone who cannot distinguish between right and wrong, would be oblivious to the signs (or absence of them) and simply drive however fast they saw fit.


It seems like your problem is simply the transition between laws and morality, which is a difficult thing to do. We've screwed up many times by making wrong actions law. So let's try this another way, would you go to your local school and shoot the students? Why or why not? I don't care about a rebuttal to the previous section, I just want to know if you are truly "amoral". Someone who is "amoral" is usually described as a sociopath, because they can't process the difference between right and wrong and therefore would be indifferent towards the above choice. Someone with a sense of morality can distinguish the different options and their corresponding consequences of going to the school and shooting the students. Choosing the right way makes someone moral, the wrong makes them immoral.

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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20-03-2012, 04:38 PM (This post was last modified: 20-03-2012 04:41 PM by Stevil.)
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(20-03-2012 03:59 PM)Glaucus Wrote:  Someone who is "amoral" is usually described as a sociopath, because they can't process the difference between right and wrong and therefore would be indifferent towards the above choice.
This is a very poor description of amorality.
Amorality is the stance that morality is a belief system that has no real existence outside the believer's mind.
I would not consider killing someone to be moral or immoral.

This goes somewhat along the lines of a theist believing that an atheist cannot be good without a belief in god. Which is proven to be untrue, at least if you define good to be synonymous with law abiding. Secular societies are more than capable of defining law that results in a stable and functional society. Secular people are more than capable of acting in a law abiding and socially acceptable way. Neither a belief in god nor a belief in morals are necessary in order to behave in a law abiding and socially acceptable way.

I don't go around killing people, because I know this will result in people retaliating against me, and hence will endanger my own life. As a person that needs to cohabitate and interact with other people, I desire a society which discourages murder because that lessens the chances of myself being murdered. I understand also that if I act in a way that I want others to act towards me then I am influencing some of society to do so.
As a member of society I do have that ability to influence and thus I do have that responsibility, which ultimately and selfishly improves my own lot in life.
Do I consider killing people to be immoral? No.
Do I consider killing people to be wrong? No.
Do I consider myself killing people to be a risk to my own life? Yes.
Do I consider other people killing people to be a risk to my own life? Yes.

I maybe an amoralist with no distinction on moral or immoral, right or wrong, but I am not an idiot. I can understand the implications of my own actions and how they might put myself at risk. Ultimately I just want to survive, I don't care about morality of others, I don't care if my own actions are moral or not.

If we take an approach of amoral survival, then we won't allow our government to impose oppressive rules against us such as against gay marriage, polygamy, euthanasia, incest, pornography, prostitution etc. We will be less likely to judge other's behaviours. We will be more tolerant and will learn to appreciate and encourage diversity.
Why is this important?
Because Stevil wants to survive and recognises that oppression, can cause conflict and hence risk to Stevil's life.
Society will be much better off, and hence most important of all, Stevil will be better off.
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20-03-2012, 05:46 PM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(20-03-2012 04:38 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I don't go around killing people, because I know this will result in people retaliating against me, and hence will endanger my own life.

That philosophy is made of suck. Tongue

I live under the auspices of "my Gwynnies smiling at me (of course I'm delusional Big Grin )" and leaving a trail of death and destruction is contraindicated. The problem with such an idealized standard is the temptation to tell others "don't do that." Yet the standard you propose is falsified in practice as killers are the most feared and left alone.

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21-03-2012, 02:01 AM
RE: Yes, I'm lazy, but can someone show me that morality link about mice and empathy?
(20-03-2012 05:46 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Yet the standard you propose is falsified in practice as killers are the most feared and left alone.
Without law the potential killers ought to realise that there will always be someone bigger, stronger or quicker.
But people are smart enough to realise if they band together, then in their unity they will be bigger and stronger than the individual. So groups form, but then the biggest and strongest group rules the roost, but are often challenged and this creates confict and risk. Eventually people realise that in order for survival it is best to belong to a very large inclusive group, a society, with rules to improve chances for survival.

In the society that I live in the killers get to rot in prison.
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