1. Territories Unknown
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    15 Jan '08 23:09
    Found this article in the online section of NY Times Magazine. Eight pages, but an interesting read. As always, your thoughts are encouraged.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5087&em&en=61b714508a224f25&ex=1200546000
  2. Standard memberDavid C
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    15 Jan '08 23:37
    An interesting read, but I think you'd have a long way to go if you were to consider using the theme of this article as starting point to justify an external arbiter of Human Morality. In fact, the author goes so far as to state that "Putting God in charge of morality is one way to solve the problem, of course, but Plato made short work of it 2,400 years ago."
  3. Territories Unknown
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    15 Jan '08 23:45
    Originally posted by David C
    An interesting read, but I think you'd have a long way to go if you were to consider using the theme of this article as starting point to justify an external arbiter of Human Morality. In fact, the author goes so far as to state that "Putting God in charge of morality is one way to solve the problem, of course, but Plato made short work of it 2,400 years ago."
    I agree with many of the points the author makes in the article, if not all of his final analysis. For instance, I don't agree that God is necessarily 'in charge' of morality and that man somehow dresses himself up with the designer's latest fashions: man has inherent knowledge of morality, irrespective of belief.

    However, man also possesses an inherent drive for life, as well, also irrespective of life's source.
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    16 Jan '08 00:43
    A moral instinct actually makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective if you consider that humans are social/tribal animals and that anti-social, immoral acts threaten the social relationships that we rely on for our survival.
  5. Cape Town
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    16 Jan '08 07:45
    Originally posted by darthmix
    A moral instinct actually makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective if you consider that humans are social/tribal animals and that anti-social, immoral acts threaten the social relationships that we rely on for our survival.
    It is much more complex than that as man in general is not particularly moral. In fact mans morality is often a case of appearing moral outwardly while being immoral whenever the opportunity arises that allows one to get away with it. Similar behavior can be observed amongst other social species and can be mathematically proven to be the optimum survival strategy for the individual.
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    16 Jan '08 23:50
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It is much more complex than that as man in general is not particularly moral. In fact mans morality is often a case of appearing moral outwardly while being immoral whenever the opportunity arises that allows one to get away with it. Similar behavior can be observed amongst other social species and can be mathematically proven to be the optimum survival strategy for the individual.
    Of course it's more complext than that; I was only trying to make the most general observation of what morality is and how it works. It's obviously true that people will often choose to behave immoraly; but to the extent that we have a moral instinct, as the article claims we do, it makes sense for that instinct to have some foundation in our evolutionary process.

    Often people can behave imorally for their own gain. The trouble is that if everyone behaves that way, the group/tribe/culture/society will fail in a fairly short period of time. So socially - and it appears that humans have always lived in some kind of social arrangement - it makes sense for us to evolve an ingrained feeling that certain behaviors (like murder, etc.) are destructive and wrong.
  7. Territories Unknown
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    17 Jan '08 00:481 edit
    Originally posted by darthmix
    A moral instinct actually makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective if you consider that humans are social/tribal animals and that anti-social, immoral acts threaten the social relationships that we rely on for our survival.
    Actually, morals make no sense whatsoever from an evolutionary standpoint. Morality assumes an objective reality upon which the concepts themselves are dependent, of which they reflect all or part. Evolution, put simply, is just pure, dumb luck/chance. Nothing objective, nothing subjective, no purpose. Survival of the fittest doesn't allow for weakness, has no plan in mind.
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    17 Jan '08 00:55
    You're misunderstaning evolution. Random mutations play a role, but there's much more to it than dumb luck or chance.

    To a large extent nature is based around the survival of the fittest, but if a species' survival strategy relies the on cooperation and cohesion of the social group - as our does - then natural selection would favor the species that develops instincts which encourage a healthy social dynamic. It might be that we have an inherant moral conscience that discourages us from, say, murdering other homo sapiens, because doing so threatens the social fabric on which we depend.
  9. Cape Town
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    17 Jan '08 09:16
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Actually, morals make no sense whatsoever from an evolutionary standpoint. Morality assumes an objective reality upon which the concepts themselves are dependent, of which they reflect all or part. Evolution, put simply, is just pure, dumb luck/chance. Nothing objective, nothing subjective, no purpose. Survival of the fittest doesn't allow for weakness, has no plan in mind.
    Actually, as I think I stated, it is mathematically provable that morality does arise from evolution. Its found in a branch of mathematics called game theory.
  10. Territories Unknown
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    19 Jan '08 14:34
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually, as I think I stated, it is mathematically provable that morality does arise from evolution. Its found in a branch of mathematics called game theory.
    Quite a bold statement for a theory which rests so heavily on assumptions and subjectivity.
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    19 Jan '08 15:45
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Quite a bold statement for a theory which rests so heavily on assumptions and subjectivity.
    Sounds fair enough to me. As a statement, it doesn't require evolution to be true, it's just a question of what arises from the theory if it is true. I think it's too strong to say morality must arise from evolution, but it's not too strong to say that morality would probably arise from evolution. It can be proven that co-operative behaviour would provide an evolutionary advantage, and any trait that arises that confers an evolutionary advantage is likely to become dominant.

    In other words, no argument based on morality against evolution works.
  12. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    19 Jan '08 16:10
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Evolution, put simply, is just pure, dumb luck/chance.
    No it isn't.

    Your ignorance is appalling.
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    19 Jan '08 23:091 edit
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Actually, morals make no sense whatsoever from an evolutionary standpoint. Morality assumes an objective reality upon which the concepts themselves are dependent, of which they reflect all or part. Evolution, put simply, is just pure, dumb luck/chance. Nothing objective, nothing subjective, no purpose. Survival of the fittest doesn't allow for weakness, has no plan in mind.
    You have absolutely no idea what evolution is about, do you?

    Can I suggest you lay aside your concept that somehow 'evolution' is destructive to your beliefs, get a few balanced books and try to understand what it is actually about. Til then, your comments on it will probably shame you, if you were only aware.

    Edit: oops beaten to it, somewhat more to the point.
  14. Territories Unknown
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    20 Jan '08 16:17
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    You have absolutely no idea what evolution is about, do you?

    Can I suggest you lay aside your concept that somehow 'evolution' is destructive to your beliefs, get a few balanced books and try to understand what it is actually about. Til then, your comments on it will probably shame you, if you were only aware.

    Edit: oops beaten to it, somewhat more to the point.
    You have absolutely no idea what evolution is about, do you?
    Since you are so certain that I am ignorant of its content, why don't you enlighten me?

    Can I suggest you lay aside your concept that somehow 'evolution' is destructive to your beliefs, get a few balanced books and try to understand what it is actually about.
    Unlike you, I have studied everything around it and the thing itself: as a theory, evolution leaves far more questions unanswered than it can ever hope to answer. Adding more insult to injury, the theory creates more questions than were thought of in the first place.
  15. Standard membershavixmir
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    20 Jan '08 17:13
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    I agree with many of the points the author makes in the article, if not all of his final analysis. For instance, I don't agree that God is necessarily 'in charge' of morality and that man somehow dresses himself up with the designer's latest fashions: man has inherent knowledge of morality, irrespective of belief.

    However, man also possesses an inherent drive for life, as well, also irrespective of life's source.
    I always thought morality was nurtured.
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