1. Standard memberFetchmyjunk
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    20 Apr '16 06:46
    Assuming life arose from non-life with no supernatural intervention, and according to the survival of the fittest principal, why have humans created the concept of right and wrong? And why do people feel guilty if they have done something wrong?
  2. SubscriberGhost of a Duke
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    20 Apr '16 07:10
    Originally posted by Fetchmyjunk
    Assuming life arose from non-life with no supernatural intervention, and according to the survival of the fittest principal, why have humans created the concept of right and wrong? And why do people feel guilty if they have done something wrong?
    A conscience is arguably mankind's greatest achievement, that we have evolved into beings with the mental ability to analyse and reflect, empathize and regret. Why anybody would want to handover this great achievement to a fictional deity is beyond me.

    'Survival of the fittest' still lurks in humanity, but it no longer has most of us clubbing a neighbour over the head to steal his dinosaur steak. (Worth noting that this morning, while i popped to the kitchen, my dog helped himself to one of my slices of toast. I found the dog hiding in the bedroom looking terribly guilty).
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    20 Apr '16 07:19
    Originally posted by Fetchmyjunk
    Assuming life arose from non-life with no supernatural intervention, and according to the survival of the fittest principal, why have humans created the concept of right and wrong? And why do people feel guilty if they have done something wrong?
    Because we are social beings and a well functioning society is beneficial to our survival.
  4. SubscriberFMF
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    20 Apr '16 07:27
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    Because we are social beings and a well functioning society is beneficial to our survival.
    These would also be factors behind the growth and prominence of religion in its various forms in societies around the globe.
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    20 Apr '16 07:31
    Originally posted by FMF
    These would also be factors behind the growth and prominence of religion in its various forms in societies around the globe.
    Yes, indeed.
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    20 Apr '16 07:56
    Originally posted by Fetchmyjunk
    Assuming life arose from non-life with no supernatural intervention, and according to the survival of the fittest principal, why have humans created the concept of right and wrong? And why do people feel guilty if they have done something wrong?
    Animals that live in social groups tend to be nice to each other for two reasons:
    1. It is mutually beneficial.
    2. Your relatives have the same genes as you and benefiting them is benefiting your genes.
    For more reading:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene-centered_view_of_evolution#Individual_altruism_and_genetic_egoism

    Social animals show certain predictable patterns of behaviour including:
    A. favouring close relatives over less closely related individuals.
    B. a delicate balance between selfish competition for mates and resources and altruistic behaviour. Game theory can be used to study the best strategies - and demonstrates that some amount of selfishness is to be expected.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

    Overall human behaviour is very similar to that of other social animals and is well explained with evolutionary theory. It is very poorly explained (or not explained at all) with theology. Theology utterly fails to explain bad behaviour, always trying to hide it behind the curtain. Common attempts at hiding it include a 'curse' put on the world because Adam ate an apple, or the influence of Satan the arch example of bad behaviour whose on bad behaviour is left unexplained.
    Nothing is said in theology about favouring of close relatives.

    Human sexual behaviour is also well explained by evolution theory - right down to the differences between male and female behaviour, and totally unexplained by theology which struggles mightily with it.
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    20 Apr '16 08:00
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    A conscience is arguably mankind's greatest achievement
    Bollocks. It's not an "achievement" at all, it just happened.
  8. SubscriberSuzianne
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    20 Apr '16 08:24
    Originally posted by FMF
    These would also be factors behind the growth and prominence of religion in its various forms in societies around the globe.
    So are you actually positing that the growth and prominence of religion is beneficial to a well-functioning society?
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    20 Apr '16 08:50
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    So are you actually positing that the growth and prominence of religion is beneficial to a well-functioning society?
    Certainly in the minds of the founders of religions and most of their adherents ~ maybe not so much by those who were slain for dissent and thought crimes, or conquered.by outsiders with different religions.
  10. Standard memberfinnegan
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    20 Apr '16 09:241 edit
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    So are you actually positing that the growth and prominence of religion is beneficial to a well-functioning society?
    Human religion is incredibly diverse and many faceted. If someone wishes to make a statement like "religion promoted our survival" or many variations on that theme, they would also have to set about some definition of what they are referring to,

    For example, modern distinctions such as between science and religion have no validity in our history before modern times. It is impossible to distinguish, for example, the role of religion from the role of philosophy or even the role of mathematics in Indian, or Chinese, or modern European thinking. The extremes of idealism versus materialism, or rationaliism versus empiricism, or ritual versus social activism, are repeated in all sorts of permutations throughout world history and have place within every religious tradition. Consider the Sufi tradition in Islam as an example of the contrast between mystical and rational religious thought and practice. Or consider the role of the papacy in mediaeval Europe, making a bid for theocracy along much the same lines as Islam, and failing owing to the rival secular power of emerging kingdoms and the early nation states.

    If "religion" has a special place in our history that is not one that can be slotted into the categories of modern western thinking.
  11. Standard memberDeepThought
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    20 Apr '16 10:23
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Human religion is incredibly diverse and many faceted. If someone wishes to make a statement like "religion promoted our survival" or many variations on that theme, they would also have to set about some definition of what they are referring to,

    For example, modern distinctions such as between science and religion have no validity in our history before ...[text shortened]... our history that is not one that can be slotted into the categories of modern western thinking.
    Just a point, but the Ancient Greeks seem to have separated philosophy and religion fairly early on, although I agree they are unusual in doing so. The Church from about 300 AD set itself the task of controlling all knowledge so the division was broken and then reestablished with the Renaissance.
  12. SubscriberGhost of a Duke
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    20 Apr '16 12:32
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    Bollocks. It's not an "achievement" at all, it just happened.
    Thought for a moment you were suggesting 'bollocks' were mankind's greatest achievement. 😲

    And it depends of course on your definition of 'achievement.' (Synonyms include attainment, reaching, gaining, acquirement, procurement). Did a conscience 'just happen' or did we attain it?
  13. Standard memberfinnegan
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    20 Apr '16 12:502 edits
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Just a point, but the Ancient Greeks seem to have separated philosophy and religion fairly early on, although I agree they are unusual in doing so. The Church from about 300 AD set itself the task of controlling all knowledge so the division was broken and then reestablished with the Renaissance.
    Which Greeks? Plato's project was inherently religious. Greek philosophy contains a diverse range of positions, from the idea that we invent gods in our own image, the materialism of atomist cosmologies, and the deployment of scepticism against all systems to the most abstract statements of divine perfection, with religious ritualism and theatricality very well represented in Greek culture. Judaism was hugely affected by Greek thought after the conquest of Alexander the Great; it transformed the Jewish religion. Christianity is very much shaped by hellenistic philosophy - arguably it is a continuation of one strand, rather than a diversion away from Greek philosophy, though the Christians ensured they destroyed the philosophical academies and suppressed their rival opinions.

    The Greeks were not unique in considering materialist cosmologies, empiricist methods and various alternatives to religion including radical scepticism. The Chinese and the Indians had similar strands of thought. In any case they spoke to each other along the silk roads and shared many ideas and themes. In any event, we write our histories tidily, presenting one side of many stories when the reality was many sided. Most of the profound differences between Greek, Indian and Chinese philosophies are fictional. The idea that Western Europe was the unique seat of creativity and culture, based on a linear progression from Greek thought, has been around for too long - it is nonsensical and unhistorical and only works while people remain ignorant of other accounts.
  14. Standard membervivify
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    20 Apr '16 12:56
    Originally posted by Fetchmyjunk
    Assuming life arose from non-life with no supernatural intervention, and according to the survival of the fittest principal, why have humans created the concept of right and wrong? And why do people feel guilty if they have done something wrong?
    "Survival of the fittest" is really an outdated term. More correct would be to say that the organisms best adapted to their environment have the best chances of passing on their genes. It's not necessarily the "strongest", "fastest" or "biggest" but being the most well adapted that matters. For example, hermit crabs may be at a disadvantage if they are too big to fit into a shell for protection.

    The idea of "survival of the fittest" benefits individual organisms, rather than the community the organisms live in. Since communal organisms best thrive by working together, the concept of right and wrong is something beneficial to social beings like humans.
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    20 Apr '16 13:00
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    Thought for a moment you were suggesting 'bollocks' were mankind's greatest achievement. 😲

    And it depends of course on your definition of 'achievement.' (Synonyms include attainment, reaching, gaining, acquirement, procurement). Did a conscience 'just happen' or did we attain it?
    It just happened.
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