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Sorry Sam, Morality Does Not Exist
Posted: 20 December 2006 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“WWFStern”]The problem with morality is this: It is a term without a concept. Or, at least, without a single one capable of being proved correct. An individual could define morality, quite literally, in countless ways; and, each one of those definitions would be equally correct, since there is no evidence available to support one morality conception’s veracity or another’s falsehood. Sam Harris, for example, defines moral actions as those that increase human happiness. On the other hand, in his mind, immoral actions increase human suffering. While that conception of morality seems sensible, it is totally unburdened by evidence. In his book The End of Faith, Harris simply declares that human happiness and suffering are the relevant factors with regard to morality. I could make an entirely different declaration, and be equally correct (as well as equally lacking in actual supporting evidence).

[quote author=“WWFStern”]At the risk of being forced to eat my words, I challenge any of my readers to argue—with actual evidence—that one morality conception is more correct than another morality conception. If, collectively, we choose to define morality in some particular way simply out of speciocentric self-interest, that means that, while morality exists, it has no relationship with the natural universe or the true order of things. That is, genocide only would be immoral because—if speciocentric self-interest is the Key Factor—genocide manifestly runs counter to that self-interest. But to allege that Homo sapiens sapiens’ self-interest inherently is relevant to “morality” would be to make an assertion without the benefit of evidence. Human self-interest easily could be replaced by another Key Factor, such as the primacy of the environment or the supremacy of frogs.

Morality is an abstract social construct, and as such, one does not test for it in the same way that one tests for gravity.  Nor does one suppose that it will be uniformally manifest throughout the universe, like gravity.  Furthermore, one must be careful to understand that abstract social construcs are conventions, which is to say that they exist because, by common agreement, we assign them to a particular aspect of our social interaction.

I’m troubled, however, by the overloading of the term itself, and subsequent equivocation that has taken place.  There are actually two types of morality being discussed here, and they should not be confused.

The first type of morality is what I would call “generic” morality, and it is really simple:  Actions have consequences, and to the degree that an entity is capable of divining the consequences of its actions before the time that a choice is made to take those actions, morality is the method by which said entity judges amongst possible choices based on their consequences, especially with regard to other entities.

This generic morality most certainly exists, and it exists in more than just humans.

The second type of morality is what I would call specific morality, and it includes such assertions as:

Attempting to define perfectly useful words into nothingness is bad.

Things that increase happiness tend to be good.

etc.

The bottom line, however, is this:  As a species, the vast majority of us do, in fact, have an innate sense that some actions are better than others.  We don’t agree about which actions are better, though, at least not all the time.  So, people like Sam Harris come along, and they argue, or put forth their case, for a specific type of morality, because they (quite reasonably) assume that most people will take the generic morality as a given.  To put it another way, for many people, simply reading Sam’s version of morality will be sufficient to make that their morality, because they will see it as a superior way of describing things that they had already been thinking about.

Finally, arguing that morality does not exist is like arguing that the universe does not exist.  You can come up with any number of linguistically and philisophically/logically valid arguments that posit either, but they will be ignored by most people, because those people must go to work in the universe that might not exist, and must make choices about what to do, and how to take care of their kids, all using a morality that might not exist. 

Finally, if morality does not exist, then why bother telling us about it?  What good can you possibly gain from attempting to enlighten us?  On what basis did you decide that coming here an lecturing us on the non-reality of morality was the best use of some of your time?  Surely it wasn’t a moral choice. . .  But, if there is no morality, then why care how distorted the concepts of one’s fellow being are?  Poof, you vanish in a puff of logic.

-Matt

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Posted: 20 December 2006 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“WWFStern”]

Ever since I jumped back into the debate about whether “morality” is objective or simply a matter of opinion, I’ve been asked to clarify my nihilistic view that morality—as a natural, objective concept—does not exist. And, I am happy to do so.

The problem with morality is this: It is a term without a concept. Or, at least, without a single one capable of being proved correct. An individual could define morality, quite literally, in countless ways; and, each one of those definitions would be equally correct, since there is no evidence available to support one morality conception’s veracity or another’s falsehood. Sam Harris, for example, defines moral actions as those that increase human happiness. On the other hand, in his mind, immoral actions increase human suffering. While that conception of morality seems sensible, it is totally unburdened by evidence. In his book The End of Faith, Harris simply declares that human happiness and suffering are the relevant factors with regard to morality. I could make an entirely different declaration, and be equally correct (as well as equally lacking in actual supporting evidence).

This is just the first step in a negative dialectic.  That is, any positive statement of what morality is can be defeated with counter example and argument.  The conclusion eventually is that it is not possible to define morality in any specific way. WWF takes this as proving that there is no such thing as morality, other than as a social construct that is relative to the social group.  I take it as pointing to the need for an internal jump in realization, that is, clarification of the mind so that the relative constraints are bracketed allowing recognition of the objective necessity in each specific case.  In other words, within a social group, there are certain so called moral constraints that individual are expected to adhere to.  But it is also possible for individuals to achieve internal states of consciousness in which there is recognition of the objectively moral action for each specific case.  Since this is not a matter of conceptual or linguistic recognition it cannot be defined, but that does not mean that it does not exist.  Unless one accepts the sophistic argument of Gorgias: Nothing exists; even if
something did exist, nobody could know it; even if something existed and somebody could know it, they could not communicate their knowledge.

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Posted: 20 December 2006 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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I think it’s safe to say that moral codes differ according to species, environment and individual interpretation. But to say that they don’t exist would be ignoring something very real on some level.

WWF, actually I appreciate your stance on the matter of morality in the sense that I can see the importance of acknowledging the fuzzy nature of the concept. You’re correct to point out that morality does not exist in a material way. But that lack of physical essence does not mean that it’s nothing whatsoever. Words and concepts exist at their particular levels of literality. You can easily tease away even matter itself if you know enough about physics. But animal life seems to require and invent moral ways that are patiently waiting to be further defined and articulated by scientists and poets alike. Until recently, the religionists were the gatekeepers, and in fact they still are in many ways. Their grip needs further loosening, in my strong opinion.

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Posted: 20 December 2006 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Saying that morality does not exist, to me, means one or all of three things:

1. You don’t care wether you live or die.
2. You think survival is not contingent on finding the correct course of action.
3. You don’t believe that we need to think ahead, in principles, about what it takes to survive.

I think Sam Harris got it close, but not quite right when he set happiness as the standard of morality. The fundamental standard of morality is human life. Happiness and suffering are two alternative ways to measure if we are surviving or dying.

Ayn Rand put it this way: There are two fundamental alternatives in this universe: Existence and non-existence, and it applies to only one class of entities, living things. The existence of a rock or a planet is not contingent on any course of action, it just is. A living organism, in order to continue to exist AS a living thing, has to act in certain ways in order to continue living. If it fails, the chemical elements that make up its body remain, but it ceases to be a living thing. (I’ve probably taken quite a few phrases from Ayn Ran’d own work here almost verbatim, but I’m working from memory here. A lot of this is also in my own words.)

Human beings have their ability to reason as their basic means of survival. We need to work out a code of values and principles to help guide us in the actions we take in our pursuit of survival and happiness.

I would like to know what you would call such a code of principles, derived from the facts of reality about the conditions human beings need for survival? I call it morality.

As for your taste in slasher movies, that would not surprize Ayn Rand at all. I bet you would also enjoy Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”. I think its malevolently psychotic, so I don’t like it at all. Our tastes in art are strongly influenced by our philosophical premises, and slashers are consistent with a nihilist view of existence.

I don’t know enough about physiology to explain why you like ninety degree weather, but it probably has to do with your energy metabolism, and evolutionary adaptations to hot weather.

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Posted: 20 December 2006 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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which came first nature or science?

science is a tool to study the force of nature.

we constantly adapt the tools of science to study nature more precisely. when we adapt the tools we interpret nature differently.

has nature become more clear or more complex.

if more clear, we discover truth.

if more complex, we increase entropy.

so, man either realizes truth or destroys it.

i guess it just depends on how you look at it. :twisted:

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Posted: 20 December 2006 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“WWFStern”]

Ever since I jumped back into the debate about whether “morality” is objective or simply a matter of opinion, I’ve been asked to clarify my nihilistic view that morality—as a natural, objective concept—does not exist. And, I am happy to do so.

The problem with morality is this: It is a term without a concept. Or, at least, without a single one capable of being proved correct. An individual could define morality, quite literally, in countless ways; and, each one of those definitions would be equally correct, since there is no evidence available to support one morality conception’s veracity or another’s falsehood. Sam Harris, for example, defines moral actions as those that increase human happiness. On the other hand, in his mind, immoral actions increase human suffering. While that conception of morality seems sensible, it is totally unburdened by evidence. In his book The End of Faith, Harris simply declares that human happiness and suffering are the relevant factors with regard to morality. I could make an entirely different declaration, and be equally correct (as well as equally lacking in actual supporting evidence).

This is just the first step in a negative dialectic.  That is, any positive statement of what morality is can be defeated with counter example and argument.  The conclusion eventually is that it is not possible to define morality in any specific way. WWF takes this as proving that there is no such thing as morality, other than as a social construct that is relative to the social group.  I take it as pointing to the need for an internal jump in realization, that is, clarification of the mind so that the relative constraints are bracketed allowing recognition of the objective necessity in each specific case.  In other words, within a social group, there are certain so called moral constraints that individual are expected to adhere to.  But it is also possible for individuals to achieve internal states of consciousness in which there is recognition of the objectively moral action for each specific case.  Since this is not a matter of conceptual or linguistic recognition it cannot be defined, but that does not mean that it does not exist.  Unless one accepts the sophistic argument of Gorgias: Nothing exists; even if
something did exist, nobody could know it; even if something existed and somebody could know it, they could not communicate their knowledge.


Dude,

No offense, but your post is as clarifying as anything written by Hegel.
Sorry, but you lost me.
Please try again in less academic English.

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Posted: 20 December 2006 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“Sander”][quote author=“burt”][quote author=“WWFStern”]

Ever since I jumped back into the debate about whether “morality” is objective or simply a matter of opinion, I’ve been asked to clarify my nihilistic view that morality—as a natural, objective concept—does not exist. And, I am happy to do so.

The problem with morality is this: It is a term without a concept. Or, at least, without a single one capable of being proved correct. An individual could define morality, quite literally, in countless ways; and, each one of those definitions would be equally correct, since there is no evidence available to support one morality conception’s veracity or another’s falsehood. Sam Harris, for example, defines moral actions as those that increase human happiness. On the other hand, in his mind, immoral actions increase human suffering. While that conception of morality seems sensible, it is totally unburdened by evidence. In his book The End of Faith, Harris simply declares that human happiness and suffering are the relevant factors with regard to morality. I could make an entirely different declaration, and be equally correct (as well as equally lacking in actual supporting evidence).

This is just the first step in a negative dialectic.  That is, any positive statement of what morality is can be defeated with counter example and argument.  The conclusion eventually is that it is not possible to define morality in any specific way. WWF takes this as proving that there is no such thing as morality, other than as a social construct that is relative to the social group.  I take it as pointing to the need for an internal jump in realization, that is, clarification of the mind so that the relative constraints are bracketed allowing recognition of the objective necessity in each specific case.  In other words, within a social group, there are certain so called moral constraints that individual are expected to adhere to.  But it is also possible for individuals to achieve internal states of consciousness in which there is recognition of the objectively moral action for each specific case.  Since this is not a matter of conceptual or linguistic recognition it cannot be defined, but that does not mean that it does not exist.  Unless one accepts the sophistic argument of Gorgias: Nothing exists; even if
something did exist, nobody could know it; even if something existed and somebody could know it, they could not communicate their knowledge.


Dude,

No offense, but your post is as clarifying as anything written by Hegel.
Sorry, but you lost me.
Please try again in less academic English.

Okay,

1. Any attempt to give a universal definition of morality will fail. 

2. WWF takes this to mean that morality is always relative to society (or species, etc.) 

3. I disagree, there is an objective morality but it cannot be defined or captured in a concept. 

4. The reason for this is that it is an internal state of the individual rather than anything depending on external conditioning or social doctrine. 

5. That is, it is something for individuals to attempt to achieve by learning to overcome their social conditioning and personal interest, clarifying the mind. 

6. It may be that this can only be accomplished in approximation, but that does not negate the existence of objective morality.

LOL

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Posted: 20 December 2006 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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[quote author=“WWFStern”]With respect to today’s subject, I am in the minority even among atheists. Few non-believers—no matter how strongly they reject traditional Christian morality—are willing to call moral issues strictly matters of opinion. However, I remain a steadfast nihilist despite the rarity of my breed. Morality is, at its heart, a subject about which no hard facts exist. Murder is bad…Altruism is good…Theft is bad – These are nothing more than statements of opinion and expressions of personal taste. Although this bold assertion might seem shocking and offensive to some, I hope to explicate my position by way of two pertinent analogies: weather and movies.

Weather conditions can be classified as “good” or “bad” (or somewhere in between those). Personally, I enjoy the heat. My ideal weather would be 90 degrees and blazingly sunny. If I awoke tomorrow and those were the conditions, I would classify the weather as “good.” However, nothing intrinsically is good about those conditions. Given alternate preferences (for example, preference for snow and wind), the aforementioned conditions would be considered “bad” weather. To me, 90 degrees is “good.” To hypothetical individual A, 90 degrees is “bad.” There is no method by which to discern the intrinsic “goodness” of weather—no existing scientific instrumentation is up to the task. And so, we must conclude that no weather intrinsically is either good or bad. Those concepts are coherent only in the eyes of the beholder, and one opinion is just as good as any other, since none could be considered objectively correct.

Movies can be classified as “good” or “bad” (or somewhere in between those). Personally, I enjoy slasher movies. My ideal flick would be a gory slasher story on the order of Friday the 13th or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If I went to the multiplex on Saturday night and saw a movie similar to the one I just described, I would classify that film as “good.” However, nothing intrinsically is good about that hypothetical film. Given alternate preferences (for example, love stories or historical dramas), the aforementioned flick might well be considered “bad.” To me, slasher movies are “good.” To hypothetical individual A, slasher movies are “bad.” There is no method by which to discern the intrinsic “goodness” of films—no existing scientific instrumentation is up to the task. And so, we must conclude that no movie is either good or bad. Those concepts are coherent only in the eyes of the beholder, and one opinion is just as good as any other, since none could be considered objectively correct.

Morality (the study of “good” versus “bad”) is precisely the same as my two examples. Morality cannot be gauged, measured, quantified or tested in the scientific sense. There are no measurable units of morality comparable to inches, ounces, volts or calories. Unless, and until, a reliable “morality meter” is invented by an enterprising scientist, moral claims must be recognized for what they truly are: statements of unsubstantiated opinion masquerading as universal standards to which we should submit.

1.  This view can’t be said to be right, because there is no such thing as rightness.  This is therefore merely your opinion.

2.  If you could be said to be right, then you’d be wrong, because we can’t explain the phenomena that people in fact disagree about what’s right and wrong.  In purely subjective matters, there is no disagreement. 

3.  You’re not a nihilist.  (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism).  You’re a logical postivist.  (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_positivism)  You believe that statements like “Murder is wrong” is not a meaningful statement.  You’re saying its equivalent to “Murder BOO!”

Logical positivism of course went the way of the dodo because the so-called verification principle which determined those statements that had meaningful content could not verify itself.

But the basic problem with your analysis is that you believe that when someone says ‘Murder is wrong” or “Friday the 13th is a good movie”, they’re making a descriptive statement.  But when someone makes these statements they’re not purporting to describe the world or track truth.  They are prescribing an attitude, evaluation or kind of conduct.  These kinds of statements are related to more familiar kinds of utterances like commands such as “Shut the door” or declarative norms such as “No vehicles in the park.”  None of these statements has a truth value.  And yet they are meaningful.  Take “Shut the door”.  It’s neither true nor false.  On the other hand we know it has a logical relationship with its contrary:  Open the door.  When I say, “Murder is wrong” I’m not describing something to you.  I’m saying something more like, “I disaprove of that act; agree with me.”  (See CL Stevenson on Emotivism) (The general school of thought that takes this view is called non-cognitivism or non-descriptivism:  see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-cognitivism)

There are other problems with your view, but I’ll start with this.

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Posted: 21 December 2006 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“Publius”]But the basic problem with your analysis is that you believe that when someone says ‘Murder is wrong” or “Friday the 13th is a good movie”, they’re making a descriptive statement. But when someone makes these statements they’re not purporting to describe the world or track truth. They are prescribing an attitude, evaluation or kind of conduct. These kinds of statements are related to more familiar kinds of utterances like commands such as “Shut the door” or declarative norms such as “No vehicles in the park.” None of these statements has a truth value. And yet they are meaningful.

I agree with this. I never said morality is not meaningful. I said morality does not exist in the physical world.

As long as, when people say “Murder is wrong,” they recognize they are stating an opinion rather than a natural truth, I have no problem with morality as a concept. My objection lies in the fact that, for many people, opinion is viewed as natural truth.

“Friday the 13th is a good movie” is a meaningful statement, which happens not to reflect the Truth.

“Murder is wrong” is a meaningful statement, which happens not to reflect the Truth.

That’s kind of the basis for my analogy.

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Posted: 21 December 2006 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“WWFStern”][quote author=“Publius”]But the basic problem with your analysis is that you believe that when someone says ‘Murder is wrong” or “Friday the 13th is a good movie”, they’re making a descriptive statement. But when someone makes these statements they’re not purporting to describe the world or track truth. They are prescribing an attitude, evaluation or kind of conduct. These kinds of statements are related to more familiar kinds of utterances like commands such as “Shut the door” or declarative norms such as “No vehicles in the park.” None of these statements has a truth value. And yet they are meaningful.

I agree with this. I never said morality is not meaningful. I said morality does not exist in the physical world.

As long as, when people say “Murder is wrong,” they recognize they are stating an opinion rather than a natural truth, I have no problem with morality as a concept. My objection lies in the fact that, for many people, opinion is viewed as natural truth.

“Friday the 13th is a good movie” is a meaningful statement, which happens not to reflect the Truth.

“Murder is wrong” is a meaningful statement, which happens not to reflect the Truth.

That’s kind of the basis for my analogy.

On that basis, I would have to say that you do not exist in the physical world either, other than as a body moved about by meaningless electrical impulses.  Just to be certain, I’ll ask—do you think that only those things in the physical world actually exist?  In other words, how are you using the term “natural truth”?  For example, would you consider Newton’s law of gravity a statement of Truth?

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Posted: 22 December 2006 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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The fact that some statement describes something about human beings, their ideas, and their relationships doesn’t mean its not about the real world. “I don’t like the movie ‘Friday the 13th’” is a factual statement about me. “Murder is wrong” is a factual statement about the conditions necessary for human beings to live together in a society.

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Posted: 22 December 2006 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]On that basis, I would have to say that you do not exist in the physical world either, other than as a body moved about by meaningless electrical impulses.

I am, in short, an overgrown clump of cells endowed with emergent consciousness, effective mobility and a pair of sunglasses.

Just to be certain, I’ll ask—do you think that only those things in the physical world actually exist?  In other words, how are you using the term “natural truth”?  For example, would you consider Newton’s law of gravity a statement of Truth?

For a concept to be “true,” it must exist outside human thought and, indeed, must be independent of human existence. Physical laws and scientific principles manifestly exist outside human thought. Morality, however, is not “written in the stars.” Rather, it is the spawn of human thought. “It is immoral to murder your neighbor” did not exist 500,000 years ago, prior to Homo sapiens sapiens. It was, instead, cooked up by our thought processes in an effort to sanctify speciocentric self-interest.

[ Edited: 22 December 2006 05:20 PM by ]
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Posted: 22 December 2006 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“SaulOhio”]The fact that some statement describes something about human beings, their ideas, and their relationships doesn’t mean its not about the real world. “I don’t like the movie ‘Friday the 13th’” is a factual statement about me. “Murder is wrong” is a factual statement about the conditions necessary for human beings to live together in a society.

“Murder is wrong” is not a factual statement.

“Murder—if generally treated as acceptable—is difficult to reconcile with human beings living together in a society” is closer to a statement of fact. It’s still sort of an opinion, though.

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Posted: 22 December 2006 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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The other perplexing thing about morality is the inconsistency with which it is applied. If two lions are fighting over a hyena carcass, and one lion kills the other, has that lion committed an “immoral” act? If not, then why, in a similar case, would a human be guilty of immorality? Nobody ever talks about duck-billed platypuses behaving immorally, or geese being the picture of moral perfection. Why are Homo sapiens sapiens subject to moral strictures? We are, after all, just another animal species roaming around this planet. We live on the same evolutionary Tree of Life as lions, platypuses and geese. And yet, when it comes to morality, we pretend that we’re not animals like all the rest of our brethren. The truth is—we are. On this planet, we, like all animals, eat, sleep and reproduce.

We are animals, to be sure, but we are not like the rest of our brethren. Why? Because we have morality - it is a big part of why we can go to a grocery store and purchase meat peacefully without having to fight with and kill one another or other animals for scraps.

“It is immoral to murder your neighbor” did not exist 500,000 years ago, prior to Homo sapiens sapiens. It was, instead, cooked up by our thought processes in an effort to sanctify speciocentric self-interest.

Exactly. This is why morality seperates us from other animals. I’ll concede that there are not objective moral truths equal to the speed of light or gravity for example. I cannot prove to some African tribesmen that ritualistically removing the clitoroses of all the female members of his tribe is an immoral act - that is my opinion. But I can observe and quantify the amount of suffering that act causes. I can then, with social sciences rather than phyical science, set out to prove that as an objective matter of reality the reduction of suffering and the increase of happiness lead to the most condusive environment for human life. It is 100% speciocentric self-interest. If evolution has a point wouldn’t this be it?

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Posted: 23 December 2006 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“TheSkiba”]

The other perplexing thing about morality is the inconsistency with which it is applied. If two lions are fighting over a hyena carcass, and one lion kills the other, has that lion committed an “immoral” act? If not, then why, in a similar case, would a human be guilty of immorality? Nobody ever talks about duck-billed platypuses behaving immorally, or geese being the picture of moral perfection. Why are Homo sapiens sapiens subject to moral strictures? We are, after all, just another animal species roaming around this planet. We live on the same evolutionary Tree of Life as lions, platypuses and geese. And yet, when it comes to morality, we pretend that we’re not animals like all the rest of our brethren. The truth is—we are. On this planet, we, like all animals, eat, sleep and reproduce.

We are animals, to be sure, but we are not like the rest of our brethren. Why? Because we have morality - it is a big part of why we can go to a grocery store and purchase meat peacefully without having to fight with and kill one another or other animals for scraps.

I do not deny that morality has “positive” consequences. It helps facilitate survival and maintain civilization. However, I still would argue it’s a fictitious notion that ought to be recognized as such. Just because a fictitious notion has good consequences doesn’t mean people should pretend it’s real. The Santa Claus legend, generally, is nothing but positive. However, that doesn’t mean adults should think it’s real.

[quote author=“TheSkiba”]

“It is immoral to murder your neighbor” did not exist 500,000 years ago, prior to Homo sapiens sapiens. It was, instead, cooked up by our thought processes in an effort to sanctify speciocentric self-interest.

Exactly. This is why morality seperates us from other animals. I’ll concede that there are not objective moral truths equal to the speed of light or gravity for example. I cannot prove to some African tribesmen that ritualistically removing the clitoroses of all the female members of his tribe is an immoral act - that is my opinion. But I can observe and quantify the amount of suffering that act causes. I can then, with social sciences rather than phyical science, set out to prove that as an objective matter of reality the reduction of suffering and the increase of happiness lead to the most condusive environment for human life. It is 100% speciocentric self-interest. If evolution has a point wouldn’t this be it?

Well, I appreciate the fact that you admit moral strictures are not “written in the stars,” just waiting to be discovered like some physical principle. You also admit that morality really is just the sanctification of speciocentric self-interest. As long as everybody is willing to admit that, I really have no problem talking about morality. As long as everybody agrees that it’s a construct created by Homo sapiens sapiens, we really have no conflict. However, I still can’t help but think ToE is descriptive rather than prescriptive. And, as such, speciocentric self-interest can’t really be justified in moral terms simply on the basis that evolution favors it.

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