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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Are atheists more prone to amorality?

   
Author Topic: Are atheists more prone to amorality?
PanaceaSanans
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I am an atheist, but I firmly believe in what Jesus taught about interhuman relations.
I also do believe society benefits from religion as a catalyst of morality (although the respective neighboring society might not)...

But why do I feel morality is "right"? Ethics, I presume. Although the core principle of "treat others as you would be treated" can be outargued by ways of:

"What would stop me from lying to/ stealing from/ killing somebody, if I am sure I would never be caught?"
"You would be punished if they found out."
"Yes, but say they don't find out. Is it still wrong then?"
"Yes, because if everybody did that..."
"Well, they don't."
"But if you did, then everybody would."
" [Big Grin] Not true."

An environment in which most people do abide by morality is the perfect chance at amorality, and yet here we are, living so civilly, and I would like to understand why.

Why is morality right, and amorality isn't?
Is there reason to it, or do we merely succumb to biological instincts of being social beings who crave intimacy?
And does the majority of humans act moral only out of fear of punishment (worldly or divine)?
Does religion make people more moral, and does, in consequence, atheism make people less moral?

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Jake
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Answer: uoᴉʇɐlndod ɹǝɥʇo ʎuɐ uɐɥʇ ǝɹoɯ ʎuɐ ʇoN
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Dogbreath
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I personally think someone who behaves morally only (or mostly) because they're afraid of God being angry at them if they don't is akin to a child who doesn't eat candy for breakfast only because they're afraid of their parents' discipline, rather than understanding things like nutrition, or why doing so would be bad for them. By which I mean, inherently simplistic and childlike in their approach to morality.

There are some people - a lot of people, actually, maybe most people - who do in fact act this way, but often with regards to law. They often conflate "what is legal" with "what is moral", and will either justify doing something monstrously immoral with "hey, it's not against the law!", or condemn something that has very little moral importance because it's against the law. I think that approach is an inherently limited one as well.

While I think not wanting to get caught/be punished definitely affects decisions I make of otherwise little or no moral or physical consequence (it's the only reason I don't smoke weed, for example), I think almost all moral decisions I make are based on 1) my own understanding of morality, which comes from philosophical contemplation, 2) my desire not to hurt anyone or damage important relationships and to be a good person in general, and probably most importantly, 3) my desire to be someone I can, if not respect and admire, at least be able to live with.

And I think that inherent desire to be a good and decent person that I can live with is what inspires 1 and 2, and makes me spend so many hours thinking through questions like "what does it mean to be a moral person?". Or makes me want to run through interpersonal issues and conversations and confrontations in my head to try to find the right, least harmful solution. Or makes me think about what I'm going to give my wife for our anniversary, or little things I can do to show her she's loved, or what I should write on a note and put in her lunch bag for her to find at work later that might encourage her or make her smile. That all comes from this inherent desire I have to be a good person, but as far as I can tell that desire isn't inspired by fear of God, or desire to obey the law, or anything else external. It's just part of me, like hunger or thirst or the need to be loved.

I would also argue that a lot of religious people would argue that they don't follow the precepts of their religion because they are afraid of being punished by God. (Though Born Again Christians with their fear of eternal damnation certainly might, *shudder*) Rather they do it either because A) they feel that obeying God's commandments and living righteously will make life better for them and everyone around them, because they trust that there is wisdom that can be discerned from prayer or studying their respective scriptures that is beyond what they could think up on their own, or even more importantly B) they value their relationship with God, and want to respect, nurture, and strengthen that relationship by doing things that show respect and love for him. I'm sure you've heard people, distraught in having fallen away from God or being in rebellion, talk about "feeling distant from God" in almost agonizing terms. (See Psalm 22, for example, or Jesus at his crucifixion) They see an incredibly important, intrinsic value in that relationship.

So to answer you: no, I don't think so. But I don't view morality as being the primary benefit of religion, or even necessarily something religion *should* be about. I think people should strive to be moral human beings regardless of their religion, and that religion should be about their relationship to God/the Universe/the numinous, or whatever you want to call it. I think it could *inspire* moral behavior, maybe. I realize religion has been used often as a tool to impose morality, though, and in that sense I feel like it's been perverted to detriment of both religion and morality.

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PanaceaSanans
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[Smile] I hoped for that kind of answer from you, Breath. And I do thoroughly agree with what you are saying.

It seems religion is the easier way to morality, and it does seem to work for a majority of people, if only because there IS a kind of codex to guide them to what is "right".

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
1) my own understanding of morality, which comes from philosophical contemplation , 2) my desire not to hurt anyone or damage important relationships and to be a good person in general, and probably most importantly

But why does philosophical contemplation lead to morality? Philosophy does not inherently have to be moral, right?
And why do we desire to "be good", even when we might maximize individual gain by being bad?


Also
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
what I should write on a note and put in her lunch bag for her to find at work later that might encourage her or make her smile.

This is incredibly cute.
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Dogbreath
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Well, as for your first question, I addressed that later in my post: I feel that we use philosophy to try to understand morality and become more moral, decent people because of that innate desire to "be good."

As far as why we have that desire? I can't answer that for sure, but I've seen answers along the lines of: we evolved by chance to be social animals that depend on community, and social skills that allow you to exist successfully in that community, to survive, so it makes sense we have a strong innate desire to form bonds of love and friendship and camaraderie with our fellow human beings, and also to not act selfishly and thereby hurt or destroy those relationships.

I mean, there are sociopaths, but we also recognize that lack of empathy to be a mental disorder.

ETA: you totally edited your post while I was writing this. [Razz] For clarity, I'm responding to the middle part. (What was originally your whole post before editing)

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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
ETA: you totally edited your post while I was writing this. [Razz] For clarity, I'm responding to the middle part. (What was originally your whole post)

Yes, sorry. I try to avoid that, but you were fast. [Razz] I did not change it though, merely added to it.

---

A little bit of reading had me realizing that what I asked of you seems to be the core question of Nietzsche's / Moral Nihilism.
I should do my research more carefully for appropriate threat titles...

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
As far as why we have that desire? I can't answer that for sure, but I've seen answers along the lines of: we evolved by chance to be social animals ...

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I mean, there are sociopaths, but we also recognize that lack of empathy to be a mental disorder.

Which, I learned yesterday, would be the "intrinsic" approach to explaining it. But that is also saying that a human would turn out to be a moral being even if not raised in a moral social environment.

"If morality is intrinsic to humanity, then amoral human beings either do not exist or are only deficiently human.
If morality is extrinsic to humanity, then amoral human beings can both exist and be fully human, and may be amoral either by nature or by choice."

There is this very interesting German book I read years ago, called "Kaspar Hauser's siblings", but unfortunately it has not been translated... It features stories of wild children, some of whom lived with wolves or goats or other animals for a while, some who spent years in total isolation from human society. And time and again they are described as amoral (not immoral). Also, none of them had a defined religion, which strikes me as obvious but was interesting to read about.

So if morality is not intrinsic to humanity, it has to be extrinsic and thereby a conscious(?) choice and so there has to be reason, neh?

Has anybody read Nietzsche to the extent of being able to provide his answer off of the top of your head?
Or - even more interesting - does anybody have their own rationale to argue the case?

[ September 03, 2016, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: PanaceaSanans ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by PanaceaSanans:
Which, I learned yesterday, would be the "intrinsic" approach to explaining it. But that is also saying that a human would turn out to be moral being, even if not raised in an moral social environment.

I'm not sure if we can say whether that is true or not? The example you give later of the children raised among goats, for example, is a fictional one, but I think we're conflating two different ideas:

I'm not saying morality itself is intrinsic, I'm saying that the desire to "be good" from which morality is derived - that desire to not hurt people, to not damage relationships, to take care of people you love - is intrinsic. (For that matter, it can be seen in social animals other than human beings) Morality is what happens when you apply rationality to that intrinsic desire, and try to codify how to act in such a way as to satisfy it.

So that being said, it doesn't make sense to take someone who grew up completely isolated from other humans and see whether or not they act morally, because the natural state of a human is not to be alone, it's to be among other humans. To the point where depriving someone of contact with other humans is a form of abuse. It's possible that said feral child would still have that innate desire to "be good", but lacking anyone to be good to, how could he develop a sense of morality? That doesn't mean morality is extrinsic or has to be learned *from* other people, instead it means you have to have other people around to be moral towards in order to develop a sense of morality, or for "moral" to even make sense. I think a better question is: if you have a group of feral children raised completely separate from the rest of humanity, with no one to teach them morality, would they in time develop morality anyway and act in a moral manner towards each other? And I think, anthropologically speaking anyway, the answer is absolutely yes. There are numerous isolated pockets of humanity - including the Sentinelese, for example, who have been thought to be isolated from the rest of humanity for almost 60,000 years - who have universally come up with the idea of morality independently. It seems to be something that arises spontaneously wherever humans live together.

As an analogy, take a heterosexual man who, from birth on, never had any contact with or exposure to women, or even knew they existed. Would you call that man asexual, or because he doesn't independently think up the concepts of sex, marriage, romance, dating, etc, say that sexuality is not intrinsic? And if he was suddenly, after reaching adulthood, allowed to meet women, wouldn't you think he would pretty quickly start to develop an understanding of sexuality? In that case, you wouldn't say he learned it from the women he met, and therefore sexual desire is extrinsic to men, you would simply say that there wasn't any context for him to understand sexuality before meeting women.

So to put this together, and to answer your "why" question: the reason we carefully apply rationality to and codify that desire to "be good" is the same reason we apply rationality towards and codify other desires, like the culinary arts for the desire to eat, or romance and marriage for the desires for sex and companionship; because doing so satisfies those desires in a much deeper and more fulfilling way. If the desire to "be good" is intrinsic (which I've made the case for), then the reason for using our intellects to help us better fulfill that desire is pretty self-explanatory.

[ September 03, 2016, 08:08 AM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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TomDavidson
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To me, what we consider the essence of morality is a rational necessity of empathy, and empathy has both cultural and biological roots. No culture that does not encourage empathy will be as successful as one that does; along the same lines, people with biological traits that encourage empathetic bonds will tend to more successfully produce offspring.

It's not at all difficult from an axiom like "harm is bad" to derive a functional ethical framework.

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PanaceaSanans
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
the natural state of a human is not to be alone, it's to be among other humans. To the point where depriving someone of contact with other humans is a form of abuse.

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Would you call that man asexual, or because he doesn't independently think up the concepts of sex, marriage, romance, dating, etc, say that sexuality is not intrinsic? And if he was suddenly, after reaching adulthood, allowed to meet women, wouldn't you think he would pretty quickly start to develop an understanding of sexuality? In that case, you wouldn't say he learned it from the women he met, and therefore sexual desire is extrinsic to men, you would simply say that there wasn't any context for him to understand sexuality before meeting women.

I think I failed to describe the book accurately. It was a scientific approach to the "urban legend" of feral children. Many of the investigated cases were dismissed as either mere attention seeking or misinterpretation. But there were cases of feral children who had been found in the wilderness, and the assessment of amorality was given after the (often futile) attempt to integrate those children into human society. [And one of them had indeed lived among goats.]


quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I'm not saying morality itself is intrinsic, I'm saying that the desire to "be good" from which morality is derived - that desire to not hurt people, to not damage relationships, to take care of people you love - is intrinsic. (For that matter, it can be seen in social animals other than human beings) Morality is what happens when you apply rationality to that intrinsic desire, and try to codify how to act in such a way as to satisfy it.

quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
the reason we carefully apply rationality to and codify that desire to "be good" is the same reason we apply rationality towards and codify other desires, like the culinary arts for the desire to eat, or romance and marriage for the desires for sex and companionship; because doing so satisfies those desires in a much deeper and more fulfilling way.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
To me, what we consider the essence of morality is a rational necessity of empathy, and empathy has both cultural and biological roots. No culture that does not encourage empathy will be as successful as one that does; along the same lines, people with biological traits that encourage empathetic bonds will tend to more successfully produce offspring.

This actually helps me understand better. Thank you. [Smile]
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ClaudiaTherese
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Dogbreath, have you been hanging around Kant? Because that's an excellent elaboration/interpretation of the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals.

[/Kant's maid at heart]

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:

As an analogy, take a heterosexual man who, from birth on, never had any contact with or exposure to women, or even knew they existed. Would you call that man asexual, or because he doesn't independently think up the concepts of sex, marriage, romance, dating, etc, say that sexuality is not intrinsic? And if he was suddenly, after reaching adulthood, allowed to meet women, wouldn't you think he would pretty quickly start to develop an understanding of sexuality? In that case, you wouldn't say he learned it from the women he met, and therefore sexual desire is extrinsic to men, you would simply say that there wasn't any context for him to understand sexuality before meeting women.

This is off topic, but do you really think that what you're describing here is how it would unfold? In that context, do you really think that the person would simply not possess sexual desire until they were to meet a member of the opposite sex? I suspect that when puberty hit and their sexual self awakened, it would find expression. It might be that they would be more attracted to members of their own sex that had physical characteristics more common of the opposite sex. It might be that they would just not be all that attracted to the people that were options for them. It might be that they would develop an attraction to something non-human, whether animate or inanimate. I'm certain, though, that they would experience sexual desire*, and I think it's likely that they would fixate on something as an object of that desire.

*Unless they were actually asexual, but the person in the analogy explicitly isn't.

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Kama
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/06/religious-children-less-altruistic-secular-kids-study
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PanaceaSanans
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Now that is very interesting. Thank you, Kama. [Smile]
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Darth_Mauve
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I've delved deep into the idea of morality and immorality, evil and good, right and wrong. After comparing and contrasting different religions and philosophies, I discovered 4 basis of evil and 4 basis of good that I use to determine my moral decisions.

These four evils are strong, unconquerable forces that we can only keep at bay, and never defeat. Worse, if you strive to fight just one or two of these evils, the other two will defeat all the good that you want to do.

These four are:

Pain.
Ignorance.
Entropy.
Self-absorption.

And each of these four have a polar opposite, that you can find in any holy text describing the divine.

Joy
Enlightenment
Creation
Love.

Not on that list of divine attributes are Justice, Obedience, Loyalty or Honor. In fact, each of those last 4 get in the way of the divine attributes, causing pain to ensure justice, demanding obedience by insuring ignorance, using destruction to enforce loyalty, and promoting self-absorbed honor over love.

I could (and will) write more about this theory, but its relevance here is simple. If a faith leads you down the road toward those 4 divine attributes, and away from the 4 evils, then that faith will make you moral. If it instead gets caught up in the petty and the authoritarian, and leads you down the road to the 4 evils, you will be less moral.

Atheism is neutral. It leads you nowhere, which is why some fear that it will lead down. Its the morality that the non-believer brings into his choice to disbelieve that determines if they will be amoral or not.

It takes a strong moral view to disbelieve. Its easy to weakly go along with what other think. Sometimes this moral view is of amorality. Sometimes its of humanistic love.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
This is off topic, but do you really think that what you're describing here is how it would unfold? In that context, do you really think that the person would simply not possess sexual desire until they were to meet a member of the opposite sex?

Nope, I'm saying the opposite, actually. I'm comparing sexual desire to that "desire to be good" we're talking about - call it empathy - and arguing that it is intrinsic to humanity. I'm making the case that, lacking women to feel that desire towards, it would be strange to call that man "asexual" (or at least, "not heterosexual") because he didn't have the chance to actually express that desire towards women because he didn't know women existed.

That being said, it's just an analogy, and every analogy has it's breaking point. I think we've reached it in this case. As I've alluded to before, I think both analogies are inherently flawed, because I think any attempt to analyze a human in their natural state requires for them to be around other humans. I think our hypothetical Mowgli here would probably develop a sense of empathy for the animals around him, just as he might feel sexual desire for them in the place of women (or men) to feel it for.

But I also think that's because that person would be mentally and emotionally aberrant in many ways. For example, from my (limited) understanding of the subject (please correct me if I'm wrong), sometimes sociopathy can be linked to severe physical or emotional trauma in early childhood. I imagine that, in reality, any child that grows up completely cut off from human contact is going to have a lot of developmental and mental disorders caused by that lack of contact. (as well as malnutrition, etc.) It would be no surprise to me if they ended up being amoral, not because morality is necessarily extrinsic to humanity, but because they grew up in a highly abnormal way that didn't let them properly develop as human beings.

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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
Dogbreath, have you been hanging around Kant? Because that's an excellent elaboration/interpretation of the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals.

[/Kant's maid at heart]

CT, I actually think that Kant himself would strongly disagree with you. For instance, Dogbreath said:

quote:
I'm not saying morality itself is intrinsic, I'm saying that the desire to "be good" from which morality is derived - that desire to not hurt people, to not damage relationships, to take care of people you love - is intrinsic. (For that matter, it can be seen in social animals other than human beings) Morality is what happens when you apply rationality to that intrinsic desire, and try to codify how to act in such a way as to satisfy it.
Kant would be aghast at the idea that morality could be rooted in any desire, no matter how good/noble/praiseworthy that desire might be. In fact, for Kant, behavior that stems from desires (no matter how good the behavior or good the desires) lacks all moral worth. The only actions with moral worth are those that stem from a good will, with 'a good will' being defined as one who makes her decisions solely on the basis of the moral law. One who does her duty because it is her duty. And for Kant, those moral duties are generated by rationality alone, and so therefore not being moral is literally irrational. Kant actually sees this as a benefit of his system. A person, no matter how depraved her desires are, because she is rational, can nevertheless generate the Categorical Imperative and other derivative duties, and understand that it would be irrational to do things not in line with the categorical imperative. Which isn't to say I disagree with Dogbreath, just that I don't exactly see his view as Kantian. [Smile]
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Dogbreath
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Yeah? Well, Kant is a doo-doo head. [Razz]

To answer your question, CT: I'm not too familiar with Kant, though I learned about him many years ago in a Philosophy class.

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Strider
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For submission for publication.

Title: A Scathing Critique of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Author: Dogbreath

Chapter 1

Kant is a doo-doo head.

[Big Grin]

[ September 03, 2016, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: Strider ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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Well, yeah, that's why I flagged it as an "elaboration," dude. [Wink] It clearly isn't tombstone polishing, as we used to say in my grad department, but it did look like Kant might have been used as a springboard to me. I found that interesting.

But I'm not really interested* in an argument over whether a "desire to 'be good'" is of the same natural set as other things we typically think of as "desires," although there is grounding in Kant for that, too. (He changed a wee bit over time, as do we all.) No matter.

I'm just a slut for incorporating rationality into ethics. [Big Grin]

---
*(the reams of prior discussions here to the contrary!)

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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:

But I'm not really interested* in an argument over whether a "desire to 'be good'" is of the same natural set as other things we typically think of as "desires," although there is grounding in Kant for that, too. (He changed a wee bit over time, as do we all.) No matter.

I took Dogbreath's reference to the "desire to 'be good'" as just a catchall term for the desires to "not hurt people, to not damage relationships, to take care of people you love," etc. But I would agree with you that, interpreted in a certain way, that "desire" would not be in the same category as those others, and could be in line with Kant. But yes, yes, elaboration (and modification). [Smile]
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Dogbreath
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CT:

I think it's entirely possible Kant resonated with me deeply enough that his philosophy subconsciously informs how I think about this subject. That seems to happen a lot, and it's always something I've wondered: how much of anything I say is actually original vs. how much is me digesting, synthesizing, and regurgitating everything I've read over the years.

In any case, regardless of whether morality arises, transcendent, from human desire coupled with rationality, or is something more pure that can only be found through rational thinking, I am very glad that we, as humans, have the privilege of being able to think and live in a world of rationality, empathy, enlightenment and altruism, instead of being forever bound by a sort of reptilian self interest. [Smile]

(I know some people *cough*Rand*cough* argue that, because morality has it's basis in desire, altruism and morality are merely delusions of the self-righteous, and a rational person should therefore act in their own self interest. My response to people like that is also to call them doo-doo heads)

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
I took Dogbreath's reference to the "desire to 'be good'" as just a catchall term for the desires to "not hurt people, to not damage relationships, to take care of people you love," etc.

Ah, I see you, laddie. I see you clearly. Ye be tryin' ta seduce me back into my pontificating academic ways. Get thee behind me.

(Okay. That's not nearly as interesting a suggestion as it sounds. My mom used to say, "Get thee behind me, Satan.")

quote:
But I would agree with you that, interpreted in a certain way, that "desire" would not be in the same category as those others, and could be in line with Kant. But yes, yes, elaboration (and modification). [Smile]
We shall smoke our pipes, and nod our thoughtful nods, and mission out together to drop the level on this bottle of old tawny. Done and done.

[ September 03, 2016, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Dogbreath
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Are you sure you won't want to do even a little bit of pontificating? Think of how much fun it would be! :]
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ClaudiaTherese
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*prim look

I'm just a good little Catholic girl, and I think as I'm told.

[Wink]

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I personally think someone who behaves morally only (or mostly) because they're afraid of God being angry at them if they don't is akin to a child who doesn't eat candy for breakfast only because they're afraid of their parents' discipline, rather than understanding things like nutrition, or why doing so would be bad for them. By which I mean, inherently simplistic and childlike in their approach to morality.

There are some people - a lot of people, actually, maybe most people - who do in fact act this way, but often with regards to law. They often conflate "what is legal" with "what is moral", and will either justify doing something monstrously immoral with "hey, it's not against the law!", or condemn something that has very little moral importance because it's against the law. I think that approach is an inherently limited one as well.

While I think not wanting to get caught/be punished definitely affects decisions I make of otherwise little or no moral or physical consequence (it's the only reason I don't smoke weed, for example), I think almost all moral decisions I make are based on 1) my own understanding of morality, which comes from philosophical contemplation, 2) my desire not to hurt anyone or damage important relationships and to be a good person in general, and probably most importantly, 3) my desire to be someone I can, if not respect and admire, at least be able to live with.


This is fantastically well-said. I think the candy for breakfast analogy is a great way of explaining how maturity prevails over desire in situations that are not illegal and immoral (albeit fattening).

One of the classic arguments (I think Richard Dawkins made it) about inherent morality is that large portions of the Bible are complete immoral and contradictory garbage (the part in Deuteronomy where it says it's okay to go kill people from this one village springs to mind), but you would never hear about them at church because the religion has collectively decided to ignore them. All parts of the holy book are supposed to be taught, so how do people know to what to ignore if it's all God's word. It's actually the same inherent morality atheists have that makes Christians focus on the "love thy neighbor" part, while entirely disregarding the "make your daughter marry her rapist" bit.

Ironically, since I live in a place where weed is legal recreationally and employer drug testing is not (my employer does prohibit weed), there is next to no chance me of being caught doing it. I have no interesting in trying the drug in any form for moral and physical reasons.

However, I after I finished my cereal, I had 10 m&ms. [Evil]

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Jacare_Sorridente
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As near as I can tell every human culture uses stories to transmit notions of morality. The stories often have common cores and one culture borrows from another with adaptation of the story to fit the preferences of the society.

With respect to morality the issue of whether or not one believes in god is not even a real differentiator between which specific stories one sees as important as demonstrated on this thread. American culture is permeated with Biblical stories which shape our notions of right and wrong independent of whether or not one believes in the literal truth of those stories.

Your morality is grown by the micro and macro cultures you are raised in.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
*prim look

I'm just a good little Catholic girl, and I think as I'm told.

[Wink]

That is what we do. [Evil]
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Samprimary
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kant at least primarily informed my attitude towards good works — they're not for my benefit, they're not for my volentourism selfie, they're not for my self-congratulatory facebook post about this good thing i did.

for whatever reason i started with the tendency, i don't advertise when i'm volunteering time and effort towards charitable works. i'm not doing them for any sort of return, nor am i compelled with the promise of some sort of eternal reward or worldly prosperity on my karmic takeback or anything like that. i'm doing it because i abhor the needless suffering of this world.

if this attitude creates some sort of 'nobility' then okay whatever, but i generally stay super quiet about the whole thing.

an unintended consequence of it is that i can't shake a large amount of annoyance at self-congratulatory do-goodery

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Samprimary
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like even that post makes me want to slap myself and i was just trying to talk about kant-ish crap. ooh let's casually drop that we secretly do-good but we're above talking about it ooooh
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Jacare_Sorridente
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Talking casually about doing good is cool. It is the self-righteous prigs that give public righteousness a bad name. As Jesus said, "verily they have their reward" which is looking cool in front of their pals
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Stone_Wolf_
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Personally, I think that humans, are above all else, are a social beast. We are motivated by not wanting to be alone. So, our morality is based upon what we perceive as causing others to think poorly or well of us, i.e. if they reward or punish that behavior.

What is the ultimate punishment in prison...being alone. Why do soldiers fight thru incalculable fear of death, for the guys next to him.

What is right or wrong must be measured in personal loss/gain vs group loss/gain. If one were to become super rich but gained a hefty infamous status, become the outcast as it were, than the money would not be worth it. Like that corporate president who bamboozled the employee pension fund to get rich. He is ostracized and generally hated.

Look at the mythos of Robin Hood...someone who went against the standing order, gave up his own personal holdings and cushy noble position to be branded a traitor and a hood and put his own personal life on the line, only to share the rewards.

Personal loss/gain vs group loss/gain.

If one looses little personally, but expects to gain socially, then they move into the self righteous prig status.

Honestly though, morality is a microcosm of humanity thinking their minutia is actually substantive, when in reality, the vast majority of human's only real impact upon the race is that they managed to pass on their genes in the brief eye blink that is the abruptness of individual human life expectancy.

Or, in fewer words...morality is the lie we soap bubbles tell each other before we pop so we can continue to pretend to be relevant.

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Jacare_Sorridente
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quote:
Honestly though, morality is a microcosm of humanity thinking their minutia is actually substantive, when in reality, the vast majority of human's only real impact upon the race is that they managed to pass on their genes in the brief eye blink that is the abruptness of individual human life expectancy.

Or, in fewer words...morality is the lie we soap bubbles tell each other before we pop so we can continue to pretend to be relevant.

I mostly agree with this sentiment- especially the part about thinking that our minutia is substantive, but most people I know long to leave a bigger mark on humanity than just their genes. Good parents try to mold their kids into people who will make the world a better place. Good authors try to tell stories which will nudge their readers into attempting to become better people...
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Stone_Wolf_
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I agree...I certainly hope to leave a mark on humanity...I have plans.

Project Oasis (giant desalination plants, with no moving parts, made out of free sand and freeer sunlight)

SubProject Giant Solar Death Laser

*Little Silver Boxes For Humanity (emergency meals/first aid shippable/shelf stable supplies)

I have a couple of novels in skeletal form + a couple chapters written out, all, I hope at least, to have a positive impact.

And my kids...who will.

[ September 09, 2016, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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