Jump to content

What Can Account For Morality?


Recommended Posts

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/...ality-were.html

 

In David Eller's excellent book, Atheism Advanced, Eller basically explains morality as those moral rules made up by people in order to define what it means to be part of any culture. They are usually based upon the religious myths each culture accepts. There is no morality then, only "moralities."

 

He finds that there are moralities among animals like Chimps, so it shouldn't surprise us when language bearing humans came up with more elaborate moral rules. And since we're talking about human beings, it's no surprise that our moralities have some major similarities since we are social animals who need to get along, to be loved and to love, to help and to be helped. Anyone who doesn't accept the moral rules of a culture are not allowed in the group, or we banish them, ostracize them, imprison them, and kill them. Do you want the benefits of being in the group? Then obey the moral rules, or at least don't get caught. Otherwise, you’re on your own. As such, there is nothing prohibiting someone from not accepting the moral rules of a culture if s/he doesn't want the benefits of the group (which would be a Freudian "death wish"). Are acts like murder, rape, and theft objectively and universally "wrong" then? That's probably a nonsensical question.

 

Therefore, there can be no argument for the existence of God based on morality. Human beings make up their own moralities because we're social beings who need to belong and get along. Morality is part of our survival instinct. We need other people to survive!

 

----------

For a Christian who might be stunned by the conclusion that it's probably a nonsensical question whether or not murder, rape, and theft are objectively and universally "wrong," then think again. Look at your own Bible. There is plenty of that to be found in it, all sanctioned by your barbaric God. Elsewhere I've argued that rational self-interest can account for our morality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a Christian who might be stunned by the conclusion that it's probably a nonsensical question whether or not murder, rape, and theft are objectively and universally "wrong," then think again. Look at your own Bible. There is plenty of that to be found in it, all sanctioned by your barbaric God. Elsewhere I've argued that rational self-interest can account for our morality.

 

I have always wondered if Moses was influenced by Egyptian culture, in forming 'Israel', bringing in the Levitical Law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one thing I never got about the argument from morality is if our sense of right and wrong comes directly from God, why do we need the bible to tell us right from wrong since God would have already planted that sense in us? Then the bible and Christianity just becomes redundant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one thing I never got about the argument from morality is if our sense of right and wrong comes directly from God, why do we need the bible to tell us right from wrong since God would have already planted that sense in us? Then the bible and Christianity just becomes redundant.

Exactly. We always hear them argue both points at the same time, which is so annoying. If we have moral programmed in us by God, then we don't need Christianity to be moral. But if we must have Christianity to be moral, then God never planted it in us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... there are moralities among animals like Chimps, ...

Uhm, there have been demos across the country concerning Chimp morals. They do share that murderous rage and murder humans have towards each other. They also make a group event out of hunting down, killing, and eating other monkeys. Yeah, I guess that could be seen as a moral principal by a god-fearing Christian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually I think there's a problem to apply the word "moral" to animals. Not because of that they can act in accordance to a rule which is very similar to what we call a moral act, but the problem lies in what the word moral contains. The concept of moral is such a wide concept, and it contains the definitions, ideas, constructs, words, reason, logic, and so on, on top of ethical behavior. So I have recently decided to call animals behavior as code of conduct just to separate the two. Moral is based on both the natural codes of conduct, and then extended through reasons and arguments beyond the natural source. It's like comparing us speaking English and having a dialogue of value, compared to a parrot who has learned how to use a few standard phrases in the right places. The parrot might know to some degree when to use the phrases, maybe because of the reaction from the observers, but you really can't have a deep conversation about life with a parrot. So "having a discussion in English" doesn't really apply to a parrot, even if it is able to mimic it, and even in correct ways. So animals behave according to both naturally evolved behaviors for survival, and even basic social codes of conduct (probably through learned behavior, seeing peers doing things, body language communication etc), but animals don't have the higher philosophical discussion of morals when it's applied to a complex society.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nightflight:

For a Christian who might be stunned by the conclusion that it's probably a nonsensical question whether or not murder, rape, and theft are objectively and universally "wrong," then think again. Look at your own Bible. There is plenty of that to be found in it, all sanctioned by your barbaric God. Elsewhere I've argued that rational self-interest can account for our morality.

 

Yes, when morality is based upon religion (or ideology), anything goes! Whenever man has separated ethics/morality from humanity, it has given him free reign to apply whatever agenda he desires, at the expence of others who may disagree with the agenda. Reason alone doesn't always make for fair results. We have to consider others with empathy and compassion also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Actually I think there's a problem to apply the word "moral" to animals. Not because of that they can act in accordance to a rule which is very similar to what we call a moral act, but the problem lies in what the word moral contains. The concept of moral is such a wide concept, and it contains the definitions, ideas, constructs, words, reason, logic, and so on, on top of ethical behavior. So I have recently decided to call animals behavior as code of conduct just to separate the two. Moral is based on both the natural codes of conduct, and then extended through reasons and arguments beyond the natural source. It's like comparing us speaking English and having a dialogue of value, compared to a parrot who has learned how to use a few standard phrases in the right places. The parrot might know to some degree when to use the phrases, maybe because of the reaction from the observers, but you really can't have a deep conversation about life with a parrot. So "having a discussion in English" doesn't really apply to a parrot, even if it is able to mimic it, and even in correct ways. So animals behave according to both naturally evolved behaviors for survival, and even basic social codes of conduct (probably through learned behavior, seeing peers doing things, body language communication etc), but animals don't have the higher philosophical discussion of morals when it's applied to a complex society.

 

 

Parrots do not mimic anymore than humans mimic. They can create their own sentences and come up with sensical names for objects they have never seen (like calling a new nut they've never seen a "cork nut" because it looks like cork). Some are as smart as young children and would probably surprise you with their knowledge and ability to create new phrases and understand situations. You cannot simply separate humans from other animals with a big, black line. You say you can't have a deep conversation on morality with animals, but this does not mean anything, nor is it necessarily true. Can you have a deep moral discussion with a human child? How about a retard? How about a human who was raised in isolation by parents who do not speak? How about your average human who hardly thinks about philosophy and seems fairly stupid to some of us? Does this mean that none of them can have morals? Has anyone tried to teach moral concepts to parrots or primates so we can actually know just what all they are capable of understanding? Would a lack of ability to communicate cross-species mean that you're smart but they aren't? Can you speak dolphin? How about raven? I didn't think so. So, maybe certain animals are hanging out, talking about how stupid we are because we can't discuss morality with them.

 

Morality has nothing to do with the depth of understanding of ethics anyway, and as deep as you think humans can get with morality, it all comes down to instinctual forces anyway. It all just comes down to how you should behave and a being's depth of understanding on the subject does not determine whether it is a moral or not. Our morality is still shaped by evolution, just like everyone else's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morality has nothing to do with the depth of understanding of ethics anyway, and as deep as you think humans can get with morality, it all comes down to instinctual forces anyway. It all just comes down to how you should behave and a being's depth of understanding on the subject does not determine whether it is a moral or not. Our morality is still shaped by evolution, just like everyone else's.

Yes, and no.

 

I see morality as a multi-leveled topic. Part of our behavior is innate and genetic, some of it is learned in early childhood through social interaction with our parents and family, and then social contracts through friends, and then we come to the more conceptual discussions of morality later. The first levels is something they've seen monkeys be able to do to. They learn social behavior through body language and basically experience. But when we have morality on the level as humans can take it, it requires language. For instance, monkey can't discuss abortion, right to euthanasia, or right to vote. Morality as it is defined cover the whole range, and I think that's why it confuses the issue if morality is absolute, relative, innate, learned, rational, emotional, ... So in the widest definition, it can't apply to animals, but in a restricted sense--removing certain parts of it--it can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.