Your Moral Compass
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20-09-2010, 05:57 PM
RE: Your Moral Compass
I had no idea there were mormons in the UK.

Hare Krishnas - them you've got plenty of. Every time I'm over in the warm weather and I make my way towards Nelson's giant phallic symbol I feel like I'm going to get trampled by them. But, mormons?

News to me. Learn something new every day.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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20-09-2010, 07:09 PM
RE: Your Moral Compass
Aye they get everywhere.

They even built two temples, one of them there were willing to fight British airspace for the right to put a big shiny gold statue on the top to match the giant gold statues inside (idolater hypocrites xD) because pilots were being dazzled.

Guess who had more money...

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20-09-2010, 07:54 PM
RE: Your Moral Compass
Why do we not lie?
Because it feels bad to lie (to most of us, unless you are a sociopath)
Why do we not kill?
Fear of legal retribution (doesn't matter to some; they do it anyway) or fear of being killed in return (by remaining family/friends of the deceased)
Why do we not rape?
Fear of legal retribution is all I can think of. Rape is an act of violence, and most people are just not that violent. However, it happens all the time, more than is reported.
Why do we not steal, even when we wont get caught?
We still think we MIGHT get caught, plus it makes us feel guilty. A lot of people steal though anyway.
Why do we aid strangers at great cost to ourselves?
A lot of us have a feeling of obligation to our fellow humans, or enjoy the sense of well-being we get when we help.
Why do we care for the wellbeing of members of other species?
Part of it is nurturing, or concern for another creature.

All this said, I think a lot of the feelings of guilt when we do a "bad" action, or feelings of well-being when we perform a "good" action are intrinsic in human nature, and even occur in other primates. Bonobos (an ape similar in appearance to chimps, but closer genetically to us) are a prime example of altruistic behaviour being observed in primates other than ourselves.
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20-09-2010, 09:18 PM
 
RE: Your Moral Compass
(20-09-2010 10:05 AM)BnW Wrote:  In "The End of Faith", Sam Harris does a wonderful explanation of your first question.

Does this mean great minds think alike? Just kidding, I'll have to read that.
(20-09-2010 07:54 PM)catdance62 Wrote:  Why do we not lie?
Because it feels bad to lie (to most of us, unless you are a sociopath)
Why do we not kill?
Fear of legal retribution (doesn't matter to some; they do it anyway) or fear of being killed in return (by remaining family/friends of the deceased)
Why do we not rape?
Fear of legal retribution is all I can think of. Rape is an act of violence, and most people are just not that violent. However, it happens all the time, more than is reported.
Why do we not steal, even when we wont get caught?
We still think we MIGHT get caught, plus it makes us feel guilty. A lot of people steal though anyway.
Why do we aid strangers at great cost to ourselves?
A lot of us have a feeling of obligation to our fellow humans, or enjoy the sense of well-being we get when we help.
Why do we care for the wellbeing of members of other species?
Part of it is nurturing, or concern for another creature.

I guess I'd like to think that I wouldn't do any of these things even without fear of retribution.

Perhaps we don't do them because we could imagine (unlike most animals) how shitty it would feel to have them done to us. In this way, the evolution of empathy plays an extremely foundational role in the development of our morality.
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21-09-2010, 02:51 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(20-09-2010 09:46 AM)athnostic Wrote:  What role did the evolution of our ability to empathize play in the development of our morality?

Survival of the herd. We are social animals and need each other to survive. Before tools were invented we were very vulnerable. If you didn't help a friend, then that friend wouldn't help you. If you were ostrasized from the group you where unlikely to survive, which is why we need to feel accepted. This is a proccess that becomes bonding over time. As language grew these ideals started being taught. We started understanding each other more than ever. Immoral people will have enemies. If their enemies gained power they were in deep trouble.

I am sure that an anthropologist could give you a much more complete
essay than this.
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21-09-2010, 03:47 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(20-09-2010 10:12 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Sometimes a friend, new or old, just needs to hear that one thing that makes them feel "less shitty".



.....right Kenny? Wink

Right! Tongue Thanks again, by the way. (And no harm done at all, but "Kenny" is just what my family calls me--I've gone by "Levi" for years. Whichever one you prefer, though, doesn't matter so much to me Tongue)

Since it seems people have explained #1 better than I ever could, so I'll just leave that one alone. Tongue

As for me, personally? I guess I honestly got a lot of my morality from my Christian upbringing. There are still a few things that I rationally understand are a-ok, but feel conditioned into thinking it's immoral. I'm steadily getting over that, though. I guess my code of ethics is basically... making the world a better place? Generally, for me, that involves not starting unnecessary conflict, getting along and cooperating, learning about and understanding and promoting diversity, and keeping the mood light.

Whenever I get in an argument with a friend and it's not in the "heated" category, I tend to throw in lots of jokes and " Tongue " faces. It's not a conscious thing, but maybe it's something I've subconsciously acquired after learning people are more susceptible to change if they're not on the defensive.

And of course trying to make people's days less shitty. Tongue

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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21-09-2010, 06:18 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(20-09-2010 09:46 AM)athnostic Wrote:  When I was a christian, I never gave a thought to where my morals came from. I assumed, like all christians, that they came from god.

Now that I'm an atheist, I've had to rethink my morality, where it comes from, and the guiding principles by which I can become the best human being possible.

Here are my questions:

What role did the evolution of our ability to empathize play in the development of our morality?

What ethical principles do you live your life by and why?


im gonna give it a try i accualy have no idea.
evolution on a daily basis is how we learn to react to things same as you genes learns somehow. so if we say that you family lived in a crowded getto for some genarations. then your family moves in to the city. you will be probably be more aggressive then your freinds "its in your genes"
and a few genarations later your childrens children will be as well adjusted as you where in the getto. you learn -> your genes learn.
theres a sientist ( i cant recall his name) who did studied genes and he resault where that if you father / mother is lazy you are much more like to be lazy then your friend who has not so lazy parents. with lead to the descovery that we inherit behavior more then we ever imagined before.
and as you said in the most societys you accualy earn more in being nice and caring then being an ass and that behavior has stayed with us. thats what i think. sorry for my sentence structure
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21-09-2010, 06:44 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(21-09-2010 06:18 AM)Gucar Wrote:  theres a sientist ( i cant recall his name) who did studied genes and he resault where that if you father / mother is lazy you are much more like to be lazy then your friend who has not so lazy parents. with lead to the descovery that we inherit behavior more then we ever imagined before.

This would only be a valid experiment if the people he studied had been adopted. If they where not, how would he know if the similarity in behavior was a genetic trait or a product of their upbringing?

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
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21-09-2010, 07:14 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
(21-09-2010 06:44 AM)ThinkingNorseman Wrote:  
(21-09-2010 06:18 AM)Gucar Wrote:  theres a sientist ( i cant recall his name) who did studied genes and he resault where that if you father / mother is lazy you are much more like to be lazy then your friend who has not so lazy parents. with lead to the descovery that we inherit behavior more then we ever imagined before.

This would only be a valid experiment if the people he studied had been adopted. If they where not, how would he know if the similarity in behavior was a genetic trait or a product of their upbringing?

the studdy was going on for sevral years. and i think they covered all basis.
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21-09-2010, 11:16 AM
RE: Your Moral Compass
I am a little surprised that nobody has put much emphasis on the evolutionary basis of our morals. The code of what is morally right is so universal throughout the world that it in my opinion can not be a matter of culture or upbringing. It has to be either a common evolutionary trait or the result of divine intervention. Guess witch one I find the most probable. Tongue

Andy Thomson is a great source for knowledge when it comes to understanding the human mind. This is one of his youtube videos which I highly recommend you take a look at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg

I will give you a few examples of how evolution can explain our moral traits.
I will start with lying, simply because it is so easy to understand. The urge to be truthful is something we evolved very early. actually it evolved pretty much at the same time as language itself. Consider this: If we not have this urge, anything anyone said to you would have a 50/50 chance of being true or false. The information they give you is therefore useless, and the whole point of language goes down the drain. The art of lying is something we "invented" at a later stage when the part of our brain involved in cost/benefit calculation started growing. This is why we sometimes lie today. The more "modern" part of our brain is suppressing the old "don´t lie" part.
Most of the times we find ourself in a moral dilemma, it is the result of different parts of our brains disagreeing over priorities like this.
Murder is example. In this case an early developed part of ar brain is constantly telling us "don´t hurt the guy" (in the words of Mr. Thomson), and the more modern parts are weighing the beneficial and detrimental consequences of killing the guy against each other.

And still the theists ask us where our morals come from. "evolution can´t explain morality" they say. BS says I!

P.S. This has nothing to do with this thread but I want to ask a favor of all of you, if I may. As you may have picked up, English is a second language to me. If you catch me misspelling a word, or using a word in the wrong way, would you be so kind as to correct me?
Thanx. Big Grin

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
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