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danielost

why do non-believers always

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spacecowboy342

How can it be irrelevant ? it proves that humans always under estimate that which they are capable of and that increasing technology reduces the tyranny of distance. As an Australian I am especially aware of this It took my ancestors many months to sail from Europe to Australia I can fly there in less than a day New scram jet technology will mean that I can have breakfast in Sydney and tea in London on the same day.

Humans have already transported photons faster than light over increasingly long distances (instantaneously) and will have the ability to be able to transmit solid matter within a decade or two according to the scientists working on these subject.s The only problem with traversing a wormhole is the energy involved Once we develop energy shielding it will only be a relatively short time before we can have shields capable of withstanding the force of a worm hole OR we can transmit through a worm hole and reformat on the other side. Again this technology (Matter transmission and energy shielding) is being developed right now, and will be up and running before the end of this century not some far distant time in the future.

You know, for a space cowboy you don't have much confidence in space travel. :devil:

NASA is already developing a plasma shield for future space flights to Mars. When traveling beyond the confines of Earth’s magnetic fields, astronauts would become vulnerable to solar radiation and charged particles ejected from the sun. We have experienced cases in which circuits on deep space satellites were fried and rendered inoperable because solar flares destroyed them.

In the eventuality that Man takes another “small step” to the next planet in our solar system, we will have to protect our astronauts from solar flares. NASA’s plasma bubble is established by a wire frame network of charged plasma to induce a magnetic field around the ship. This design is similar to the one proposed here, except that my concept uses magnetic fields to conform a bubble of plasma in order to block phasers and torpedoes. While plasma shields are theoretically possible, we may not see brilliant space battles anytime soon. Nevertheless, NASA’s own inventions and efforts in the development of shield technology is very electrifying (excuse the pun), and this brings us one step closer to landing humans on another world for the very first time.

This whole article is worth a read. It is by an expert in the field (excuse the pun) and is already nearly 3 years behind present developments

http://www.treknews....act-shields-up/

It is irrelevant as it is fallacious to say because one idea was wrong another one is as well. I have confidence in space travel just not so much in going FTL Edited by spacecowboy342

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aquatus1

But this can be applied to a real word situation. Like you I do not have much use for theoretical philosophy but the identification of good/evel helps humaniy make wiser decisions and not commit destructive deeds. Once an individual identifies the harmful effects of his actions he is less likely to commit them.

Only if he intends to spare other humans from harm. If he doesn't see other races as human, he isn't going to worry too much about it. Alternatively, if he sees the harm he is committing to be lesser than the harm resulting from not committing it, he is again, likely to commit it.

Again, this definition allows for genocide to be considered not evil.

Destructive outcome from deliberate intent to be destructive, is always evil whatever the social context of the act. it is not the actual deed but its intent and its effects which make it evil.

Which is why it cannot be applied to real life. Your deciding factor relies on a subjective analysis of intent which can only happen if the person both admits it and does so honestly.

So slavery is sometimes evil and sometimes good abortion is sometimes evil and sometimes good. Murder is sometimes evil and sometimes good. But ALWAYS if the act is deliberately and consciously designed and chosen to create a hurtful harmful and destructive effect, without other mitigating effects, it is evil.

Like I said before, no one is arguing that. What is being argued isn't the things your definition encompasses. It is the things it does not encompass that are the issue.

I am not wrong about the difference between humans and other animals nor am I wrong to say that science recognises this difference. It is a matter of science not belief it is physically impossible for an other animal to have human equivalent cognition without human equivalent speech for example because our internal thoughts are the same as our external words and use sophisticated conceptual and symbolic forms which other animals cannot create or use. Like love or hate or empathy or spirit. And because they cannot create them in external speech it is physically impossible for them to form or create them in their minds and thoughts. We learn and evolve human level cognition via language skills. This has been known to science for at least 40 years.

You keep saying that, but never quote any sources, and I am not about to take your word for it. You seem to think that a complex language is required to transmit concepts and symbols. The noted behavior of chimps directly contradicts this. In de Waal's...second book, I think, you read about how a tribe of chimps separated from their original tribe and brought to Arizona soon developed a new word for snake, never having seen that particular creature before. The interesting part is that the same word also came to be used for any general danger, regardless of its relation to snakes. In other words, they transferred the concept of danger to the concept of fear, using the snake as a symbol. I seem to recall, though don't quote me on it because it has been years since I read the books, that the chimps were even once observed using a rope laid out in a s-curve on a rock that had a small cacti growing just beyond the line of sight that had punctured a chimp or two.

Iit doesn't matter what fools think about race, sex, or religion. It is not justifiable to base your beliefs or opinions on those of uneducated or stupid people. So I don't have to take into consideration the thoughts of someone who thinks a black person is innately less intelligent than a white one, or that a woman has a different and lesser mental capabilty to a man, just as I don't really have to consider the opinions of someone who thinks the earth is flat.

Well, like I said, your definition doesn't apply to real life. In real life, you can't just ignore the people that disagree with you because you don't consider them to be properly thinking creatures. After all, that's exactly what they are doing.

Species are different in brain capacity, evolved intelligence, language utility, self awareness and cognition, unlike men and women, or blacks and whites. It is politically correct and scientifically accurate therefore to be speciest.

Sure. That, however, doesn't mean that you are correct about what science says about evolved intelligence, language, self awareness, and cognition.

And dangerous, because it is flawed thinking and will lead to false actions, to equate other animals with human level self awareness

So who's equating them with human levels of anything? Heck, I personally even made it a point to show that the only difference was in scale.

You keep stating that science says this or that, but you never back it up and just expect people to believe you. You keep making connections that you are questioned about but never bother clarifying. You keep arguing for the part of your definition no one is disagreeing with, but ignore the part people are disagreeing with.

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Mr Walker

Only if he intends to spare other humans from harm. If he doesn't see other races as human, he isn't going to worry too much about it. Alternatively, if he sees the harm he is committing to be lesser than the harm resulting from not committing it, he is again, likely to commit it.

Again, this definition allows for genocide to be considered not evil.

Which is why it cannot be applied to real life. Your deciding factor relies on a subjective analysis of intent which can only happen if the person both admits it and does so honestly.

Like I said before, no one is arguing that. What is being argued isn't the things your definition encompasses. It is the things it does not encompass that are the issue.

You keep saying that, but never quote any sources, and I am not about to take your word for it. You seem to think that a complex language is required to transmit concepts and symbols. The noted behavior of chimps directly contradicts this. In de Waal's...second book, I think, you read about how a tribe of chimps separated from their original tribe and brought to Arizona soon developed a new word for snake, never having seen that particular creature before. The interesting part is that the same word also came to be used for any general danger, regardless of its relation to snakes. In other words, they transferred the concept of danger to the concept of fear, using the snake as a symbol. I seem to recall, though don't quote me on it because it has been years since I read the books, that the chimps were even once observed using a rope laid out in a s-curve on a rock that had a small cacti growing just beyond the line of sight that had punctured a chimp or two.

Well, like I said, your definition doesn't apply to real life. In real life, you can't just ignore the people that disagree with you because you don't consider them to be properly thinking creatures. After all, that's exactly what they are doing.

Sure. That, however, doesn't mean that you are correct about what science says about evolved intelligence, language, self awareness, and cognition.

So who's equating them with human levels of anything? Heck, I personally even made it a point to show that the only difference was in scale.

You keep stating that science says this or that, but you never back it up and just expect people to believe you. You keep making connections that you are questioned about but never bother clarifying. You keep arguing for the part of your definition no one is disagreeing with, but ignore the part people are disagreeing with.

I do not need to prove what I say. First it it is impossible to disprove. Secondly wide and adequate reading will bring any non biased person to the same conclusion. It is generally acknowledged that t human psychologists and animal behaviourists began anthropomorphising animal behaviour in the twentieth century. Scientists now agree that behaviour is not necessarily indicative of thought process and certainly not human type thought process Perhaps the closset proven abilty to use human level thought exists in dolphins not primates Cognition is a natural part of evolutionary process so in one sense you are correct about scale. in another you are wrong Humans reached an evolutionary discontinuity which no other animal has yet reached and which the nearest appears to be about 100000 years behind humans in evolutionary terms. Sure animals Will develop self awareness and its accompanying abilities, and may do this sooner with human help. But they are not there yet They show no sign of creative art or spiritual thinking for example.

Take two simple tests Could we charge any other animal with wilful homicide and make the charge stick? Iif not why not? is there a single piece of evidence for another animal thinking like a human in abstract symbolic terms eg do they show evidence of understanding the nature of things like life and death love and hate. Their own natural behaviours are not enough because they have evolved responses which can be interpreted in human terms we have to see actual physical evidences such a s human ones like burying the dead with grave items or constructing a shrine or painting on a rock wall. Failing this, is there any evidence of complex internal language facilities in nn humans Again it is physically impossible to progress to human level thought without such sophisticated language.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Sherapy

It is cognitively impossible for a chimp to know (as a human knows) that they are deliberately doing wrong and that they have a choice in their behaviour. Such knowledge requires sophisticated language structures and other cognitive processes, that chimps do not possess. They react to internal and external stimuli such as reward and punishment, but not from internal conscience, because conscience requires a level of thought that is beyond a being without sophisticated language skills. If this was not the case then chimps could, would, and should, be charged with murder when they make a choice to kill another chimp. For example unless a being is capable of understanding, and understands intellectually the nature of life and death, and the difference between those states including the permanence of death and the fleeting nature of life , then to deprive another of life is "natural." If a being cannot transfer its own understanding of pain and joy to another being then it will not understand the harm done in hurting another being.

You do not get my point about evil. Evil is absolute and consistent across human behaviour. It occurs where a person knows that one choice will be creative and another will be destructive, and then chooses the destructive path, despite knowing and understanding that his /her actions will cause unnecessary harm. Eg for me to deliberately deprive a child from learning or from love, is an act of evil because I know it will, for ever, limit the potential of that child. For me to smack a child in order to enforce productive behaviour is good, not evil because of the intent behind it . A holocaust victim raping hitler would be doing evil. Two wrong acts do not make a right act. Hitler and the rapist would then both have committed acts of evil.

Edited by Sherapy

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aquatus1

I do not need to prove what I say.

Which makes it a belief. Which means it is not objective. Which means your definition of evil relies on your personal interpretation.

First it it is impossible to disprove.

So is pretty much 95% of everything else people claim.

Secondly wide and adequate reading will bring any non biased person to the same conclusion.

And yet, one of us backed their points with a source, and the other did not, even though their comments were apparently widely and adequately available.

It is generally acknowledged that t human psychologists and animal behaviourists began anthropomorphising animal behaviour in the twentieth century.

Which doesn't actually change the reported behaviour of the animal in question.

Scientists now agree that behaviour is not necessarily indicative of thought process and certainly not human type thought process

Agreed, it isn't necessarily indicative of it. However, when the intent and long-term goal becomes both predictable, observable, and even noted in the evolutionary development of other primates (namely, humans), it is pretty hard to argue that the thought processes aren't pretty much parallel.

Perhaps the closset proven abilty to use human level thought exists in dolphins not primates Cognition is a natural part of evolutionary process so in one sense you are correct about scale. in another you are wrong Humans reached an evolutionary discontinuity which no other animal has yet reached and which the nearest appears to be about 100000 years behind humans in evolutionary terms. Sure animals Will develop self awareness and its accompanying abilities, and may do this sooner with human help. But they are not there yet They show no sign of creative art or spiritual thinking for example.

And yet, we have birds like the Bowerbird, who makes elaborate, lavishly decorated nests, each one individual and only resembling another in the most basic ways. The birds spend literally hours adding personal touches, moving things from one place to another, sometimes millimeter by millimeter, till they get it just right. They even display rage when their masterpiece is tampered with, such as the one who destroyed his entire nest in a fit after a researcher had glued a marble in a different place than the bird had desired.

And, of course, we have heaven knows how many examples of animals who enjoy painting. Kaplan and Rogers famously researched the aesthetic senses of major mammals and found that the paintings produced by them were found by professional critics to contain definite, if primitive, emotional expressiveness (one of the artists inquired if the paintings had been done by mentally challenged individuals, a comment which led to agreement from the others). Interestingly, there were situations where science seemed to say one thing and the animals another, such as elephants prefer a pallet with multiple colors (and getting a bit snippy when not provided with it), even though they technically should only be able to see blue-violet or yellow-red. With the apes, it was a bit easier, as some where able to communicate effectively enough through sign language that their crude scribbles were birds and plants.

Speaking of apes, no less than Jane Goodall published her well-known and well-received paper "Primate Spirituality" in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, a definitive collection of the studies and research showing the evolutionary source and the spiritual practice of animals around the world. And these are things they developed for themselves. Humans had nothing to do with the Water Dance, for instance.

I'm going to repeat myself one more time and then step out of this circular conversation. You keep making points that you claim are based in mainstream science, yet I actually post mainstream sources showing that these points are not only not universal, they are occasionally not even the current mainstream thought. You claim that your definition of evil is objective and can account for an "absolute" evil, but never explain how, as well as being flexible enough to allowing genocide a margin for being excusable as not evil (which, to be fair...isn't the first time a belief has resulted in this). The biggest issue, however, is the inherent hypocrisy of it. People who do not meet your standards are relegated to either being ignorant or unimportant, to the point that they should not even be considered a significant factor. This is, of course, the exact same sentiment some of these people express regarding other races. Claiming justification based on science is meaningless if the science is being used as a belief and not a science, such as proclaiming dogmatically and without sources that something is so and that is all there is to it. You might as well justify yourself with passages from a non-scientific source, such as the bible, for all the objectivity it brings.

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aquatus1

Take two simple tests Could we charge any other animal with wilful homicide and make the charge stick? Iif not why not?

Sure. We destroy animals all the time because they have shown a willingness to attack and kill. Heck, park rangers even have a system for color tagging bears so that if they are caught in flagrante delicto, since we seem to be playing law here, action can be taken. A nuisance bear with a yellow marking, for instance, has been determined to be a danger to humans and if caught attacking (or even approaching in an aggressive manner), they get shot.

is there a single piece of evidence for another animal thinking like a human in abstract symbolic terms eg do they show evidence of understanding the nature of things like life and death love and hate.

Single? There's two entire encyclopedias full of studies of it.

Their own natural behaviours are not enough because they have evolved responses which can be interpreted in human terms we have to see actual physical evidences such a s human ones like burying the dead with grave items or constructing a shrine or painting on a rock wall.

So, you are asking for evidence of behaviour indicating abstract concepts such as love, hate, etc,...but we can't use examples of behaviour of animals indicating abstract concepts of love, hate, etc, because you don't think animal behaviourists are capable of coming to the conclusion you want them to?

And instead, you want evidence similar to human rituals that are entirely defined by a given culture, as variable and as diverse as the dozens of cultures that embrace them?

Failing this, is there any evidence of complex internal language facilities in nn humans Again it is physically impossible to progress to human level thought without such sophisticated language.

When you get to the point where you have to dismiss direct examples of people not fitting your definition with nothing more than a "They're stupid, ignore them", when you get to the point that you are demanding evidence as long as it isn't evidence that could be supportive of a point you don't agree with, and when you keep trying to divert attention to a point no one disagrees with, then there is really no point to continuing. I've made my points, given my sources, and anything else at this point is just going to be repetition.

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Mr Walker

Exactly, which illustrates my point. What one society might condemn as evil another would see as normal

But both societies condemn as evil, an action which causes them harm or destruction, even if the actions are diametrically opposite in nature.

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Arbenol

But both societies condemn as evil, an action which causes them harm or destruction, even if the actions are diametrically opposite in nature.

So, therefore, there is no such thing as absolute morality - it's all relative to your point of view.

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Mr Walker

Sure. We destroy animals all the time because they have shown a willingness to attack and kill. Heck, park rangers even have a system for color tagging bears so that if they are caught in flagrante delicto, since we seem to be playing law here, action can be taken. A nuisance bear with a yellow marking, for instance, has been determined to be a danger to humans and if caught attacking (or even approaching in an aggressive manner), they get shot.

Single? There's two entire encyclopedias full of studies of it.

So, you are asking for evidence of behaviour indicating abstract concepts such as love, hate, etc,...but we can't use examples of behaviour of animals indicating abstract concepts of love, hate, etc, because you don't think animal behaviourists are capable of coming to the conclusion you want them to?

And instead, you want evidence similar to human rituals that are entirely defined by a given culture, as variable and as diverse as the dozens of cultures that embrace them?

When you get to the point where you have to dismiss direct examples of people not fitting your definition with nothing more than a "They're stupid, ignore them", when you get to the point that you are demanding evidence as long as it isn't evidence that could be supportive of a point you don't agree with, and when you keep trying to divert attention to a point no one disagrees with, then there is really no point to continuing. I've made my points, given my sources, and anything else at this point is just going to be repetition.

You just made my point for me We kill animals without a trial of their peers all the time, because a trial would serve no purpose for that animal or for its peers.

But every human, gets a trial of their peers because we as a species understand the need for justice, AND because every human is in a position to make a conscious choice as to how to behave and can be held accountable for that decision.

You mis read or misrepresented my question "could we charge any other animal with wilful homicide and make the charge stick? Not could we just killl a dangerous animal?" No we could not so charge another animal or make a case against it in a court of law. We could never prove that the animal was competent or able to make an informed decision to kill, being aware of the consequences of its actions. Thus a trial is pointless, and dangerous animals are put down without one.

No there is no scientifically accpetable proof that any other animal has the cognitive level of a human being or anything really close to it. Until recently there was only behavioural evidence( which has been discredited as really being able to prove anything) Very recently there have been some tests which are more accurate in determining animal cognition as mri and other scans have advanced in sophistication. One ape species approaches the level of a human child about two to three years of age Dolphins show the closest form of cognition to humans of all animals so far tested.

We cannot use animlal behaviours to determine if they love or hate unless those behaviours prove they do as human behaviours prove we do. Love and hate do not exist outside of human minds and if a species doesn't recognise them it ant feel them because they involve intellectual components .Hate is not a biological or instinctive behaviour, it is an attitude or construction of cognition. When an elephant kills its trainer, or a dog bites its master, it has nothing to do with self aware and abstract intellectual constructions, like hate. They are just reacting with instinct. Animal" love" is jus the same They cannot love as a human does because human love is not emotional or biological but a product of self aware reflection. and a mix of very complex abstract concpets there is not an animal in the world capable of loving us as we love them. We fool ourselves into this delusion precisely because WE CAN think in this manner. Other animals cannot. Plus I will grieve for a loved one for decades. I know now before they die th t I will do so. Animals do not have this sense of understanding and so any sense of loss is brief and again an instinctive emotional reaction rather than an intellectual construct they choose to feel.

Human ritual and artefacts are not defined by culture, they are universal in our evolution, precisely because they are a response to our evolving self awreness and recognition of abstract things. MAking a fertility statuette (almost 50000 years ago )PAinting on cave walls animlas pictures (30000 years) ago the first burials of neandertals with dignity respect in family groupngs and with grave goods/ochre (100000 years ago ),and other measurable product s PROVE the existence and evolution of human self aware cognition Show me any similar evidence for ANy non human animal

Some people are stupid. We already disagreed about why anyone should take any notice of them. It is easy to look for and find evidences which support ones own point of view. The issue of human cognition and self awreness is highly multidisciplinary But basically there is not a single reputable scientist in the world who would argue that other animals have developed the degree of self aware cognition which makes them liable for a murder charge OR capable of forming religious views.

What is important here is motivation. Human capability does not give us absolute rights over animals rather it gves us some rights but a lot more duties and responsibilities if we argue tha t animals are as capable as humas then they do not need protection care or help

it also helps form logical sensible and reasonable laws, For example, given the difference in self awreness and cognition between humans and other animals it is moral and ethical to kill most species of other animals for food where it is not to kill and eat a human animal. BUT given what we now know about animal cognition it is never acceptable to make an animal feel physical pain needlessly or for no purpose Thus we modify our animal slaughtering to be as humane as possible Some societies ban the killing and eating of certia species with higher levels of cognition (it is illegal to kill a dophin in Australia or even to approach a whale Other cultures hold different views. I would eat a kangaroo with out a qualm, but only eat a whale or a dolphin or another human being if I was starving.

I would only eat the human if it was already dead, but I would kill a dolphin or whale to keep myself alive with only some regret at having to do so. . Unless forced to eat meat I am generally a vegetarian, eating only a little fish and chicken.(both very low in cognitive ability)

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Mr Walker

So, therefore, there is no such thing as absolute morality - it's all relative to your point of view.

No the absolute morality is to NOT do harm to others in your society without good cause. Not all humans hold to that morality but it IS absolute in it philosophy/nature Societies differ in their definition of harm or destructive acts, because the nature of each society is different (One may need/require theft to ensure its growth and stability. Another might find that theft causes damage and lack of stability Another may have no concept of theft because it has no concept of individual ownership.) but no society allows its members to endanger that society by their behaviour. Thus, the conscious intent or act which does harm, limits the potential of others or society, or is destructive, is universally seen as evil or bad.in every society on earth .One only has to read human laws regulating behaviour going back to the sumerians and up to the present day, to establish this.

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aquatus1

You just made my point for me We kill animals without a trial of their peers all the time, because a trial would serve no purpose for that animal or for its peers.

What point do you think you are making? Who said we treat animals the same as we do humans?

Again, no one is disagreeing with you here. Stop spending so much time defending something no one is attacking.

But every human, gets a trial of their peers because we as a species understand the need for justice, AND because every human is in a position to make a conscious choice as to how to behave and can be held accountable for that decision.

Except, of course, for those who don't. Because the people that imprison them don't consider them to merit the rights accorded to humans.

You mis read or misrepresented my question "could we charge any other animal with wilful homicide and make the charge stick? Not could we just killl a dangerous animal?" No we could not so charge another animal or make a case against it in a court of law. We could never prove that the animal was competent or able to make an informed decision to kill, being aware of the consequences of its actions. Thus a trial is pointless, and dangerous animals are put down without one.

Oh, my bad, I thought you were asking a more difficult question. Yeah, charging animals with human laws has been done a fair number of times. They are referred to as Animal Trials. Dogs, pigs, horses, charged with everything from homicide to witchcraft. There is even one amusing tale of a donkey being tried for beastiality, but acquitted because several villagers stepped forth and testified to the donkeys virtue and good standing.

No there is no scientifically accpetable proof that any other animal has the cognitive level of a human being or anything really close to it.

Again, you are arguing something that no one is disagreeing with.

Until recently there was only behavioural evidence( which has been discredited as really being able to prove anything)

No, it hasn't. This is becoming repetitive.

We cannot use animlal behaviours to determine if they love or hate unless those behaviours prove they do as human behaviours prove we do. Love and hate do not exist outside of human minds and if a species doesn't recognise them it ant feel them because they involve intellectual components .Hate is not a biological or instinctive behaviour, it is an attitude or construction of cognition. When an elephant kills its trainer, or a dog bites its master, it has nothing to do with self aware and abstract intellectual constructions, like hate. They are just reacting with instinct. Animal" love" is jus the same They cannot love as a human does because human love is not emotional or biological but a product of self aware reflection. and a mix of very complex abstract concpets there is not an animal in the world capable of loving us as we love them. We fool ourselves into this delusion precisely because WE CAN think in this manner. Other animals cannot. Plus I will grieve for a loved one for decades. I know now before they die th t I will do so. Animals do not have this sense of understanding and so any sense of loss is brief and again an instinctive emotional reaction rather than an intellectual construct they choose to feel.

Well, being that you did nothing but repeat yourself and didn't supply any reason why your claims should be considered valid, I'll just assume you made it up and do what I should have done a page ago. If you ever get around to defending the points that people are actually not agreeing with, I might take an interest again.

Edited by aquatus1

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spacecowboy342

But both societies condemn as evil, an action which causes them harm or destruction, even if the actions are diametrically opposite in nature.

Right meaning concepts of good and evil are social constructs not universal truths Edited by spacecowboy342

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Ben Masada

You make a good point but I find genocide distasteful in any circumstance.

That's nice to hear as I take your opinion at heart to have been extremely distasteful to you for the Nazis to eliminate six million Jews 70 years ago. Only 70 years ago, mind we all.

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Arbenol

No the absolute morality is to NOT do harm to others in your society without good cause. Not all humans hold to that morality but it IS absolute in it philosophy/nature Societies differ in their definition of harm or destructive acts, because the nature of each society is different (One may need/require theft to ensure its growth and stability. Another might find that theft causes damage and lack of stability Another may have no concept of theft because it has no concept of individual ownership.) but no society allows its members to endanger that society by their behaviour. Thus, the conscious intent or act which does harm, limits the potential of others or society, or is destructive, is universally seen as evil or bad.in every society on earth .One only has to read human laws regulating behaviour going back to the sumerians and up to the present day, to establish this.

You're right - as it applied to older societies. I think, to a large degree, we've improved somewhat on that.

I would argue that absolute morality (if it exists) applies to how we empathise with others, and is not simply about 'not doing harm'. During human history, we've steadily expanded that. Originally that would have applied to family groups and then tribes. As societies got bigger and more complex it became about the communities, cities and then nations we developed.

I would argue that morality developed as a result of an evolutionary pressure to cooperate. Humans are crap animals (too small, too slow) and cannot survive alone. But together we can do great things. Those able to empathise were more able to cooperate. We empathise with people we see as our own 'kind'. That is how Christian slavers could, in all good conscience, enslave huge numbers of Africans - they were not seen as the same kind.

Seeing morality this way allows for a more complex view of it. I believe it provides a better explanation for human moral development than simply it being about doing no harm.

As an example, I predict that over the next couple of generations (all things being equal) people in 'western' countries will eat less meat in their diets. (It's already begun in my own household). I think a significant reason for this will be on moral grounds. People will object to the way animals are treated during the 'industrial' production of meat. It already happening with pork, for example. This phenomenon occurs when people empathise with the livestock. This in itself will encourage people to eat less meat - along with an increase in costs. We'll be a more vegetarian society in the future. And this will not be a result of us wishing to do no harm. It doesn't harm our societies one bit that livestock are treated badly. In fact, I would argue the opposite to be the case - better treated livestock means more expensive food (eg free-range over battery eggs).

So, doing the 'right' thing does not always mean doing what's in our own best interests. That's why I can't see your explanation of 'doing no harm' as being sufficient to define the moral development of modern societies.

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aquatus1

I would argue that absolute morality (if it exists) applies to how we empathise with others, and is not simply about 'not doing harm'.

I agree with this. For me, "evil" is defined by humans losing a sense of empathy with their fellow humans. Some loses are temporary and out of necessity, such as the young soldier fighting in a war. Some are a bit more absolute, such as the psychopathic killer who literally has no ability to feel remorse or fear. In between you have the common portion of the Bell curve, the ordinary humans who, out of greed, hate, fear, or simple perverse pleasure, intentionally abuse their fellow human.

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spacecowboy342

That's nice to hear as I take your opinion at heart to have been extremely distasteful to you for the Nazis to eliminate six million Jews 70 years ago. Only 70 years ago, mind we all.

Yeah that is the most heinous action of the twentieth century, except perhaps for Stalin's genocide of twenty million during the same time period. The US's genocide of the native American took place over hundreds of years. All these things disgust me and make me lose faith in the humanity of humans

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Mr Walker

Right meaning concepts of good and evil are social constructs not universal truths

No it proves that one truth is universal among humans, and thus as far as we know, among all self awre species.

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Mr Walker

You're right - as it applied to older societies. I think, to a large degree, we've improved somewhat on that.

I would argue that absolute morality (if it exists) applies to how we empathise with others, and is not simply about 'not doing harm'. During human history, we've steadily expanded that. Originally that would have applied to family groups and then tribes. As societies got bigger and more complex it became about the communities, cities and then nations we developed.

I would argue that morality developed as a result of an evolutionary pressure to cooperate. Humans are crap animals (too small, too slow) and cannot survive alone. But together we can do great things. Those able to empathise were more able to cooperate. We empathise with people we see as our own 'kind'. That is how Christian slavers could, in all good conscience, enslave huge numbers of Africans - they were not seen as the same kind.

Seeing morality this way allows for a more complex view of it. I believe it provides a better explanation for human moral development than simply it being about doing no harm.

As an example, I predict that over the next couple of generations (all things being equal) people in 'western' countries will eat less meat in their diets. (It's already begun in my own household). I think a significant reason for this will be on moral grounds. People will object to the way animals are treated during the 'industrial' production of meat. It already happening with pork, for example. This phenomenon occurs when people empathise with the livestock. This in itself will encourage people to eat less meat - along with an increase in costs. We'll be a more vegetarian society in the future. And this will not be a result of us wishing to do no harm. It doesn't harm our societies one bit that livestock are treated badly. In fact, I would argue the opposite to be the case - better treated livestock means more expensive food (eg free-range over battery eggs).

So, doing the 'right' thing does not always mean doing what's in our own best interests. That's why I can't see your explanation of 'doing no harm' as being sufficient to define the moral development of modern societies.

I grew up among other moralities on asmivovs three laws of robotics. Leaving out the ned to obey human commands these are FIRST do no harm. Second allow no harm to come to others, third ensure no harm comes to yourself.Iit was always evident to me tha t he meant these as moral laws for humans morality came form the humanmind which while it is aproduct of evolution does not mean that its constructs are Human moralities must be codified and taught, explicitly or implicitly they cannot be known intuitively. (read "lord of the flies" and compre it to "coral island" to see what i mean. We havent evolved our biological moralities in 100000 years, only our intellectual constructs of morality which we have modified remarkably and will continue to do.

There are 3 philosophicla forms of morality Universal That which is seen as universla to humanity we assume a respect for human life to be universal allowing for some conditions.. Social :that which is taught and imposed by a persons society and usually forms the basis of a society's laws And individual ;The personall y developed ethics and moralities of an individual, based on their unique experiences and conclusions on life.

Ps it is not empathy if we only empathise with family clan tribe or nation tha tis an evolved social functionbased on repciprocal need (eg I will pick your nits if you will pick mine) We are only biologically capable of feeling this emotional attachment to about 100 people. Empathy is a personal quality of equating ANY other being with our selves. It requires an intellectual awareness of self and other and our connection, no mater how far apart we are or how different we might be.

Edited by Mr Walker

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spacecowboy342

No it proves that one truth is universal among humans, and thus as far as we know, among all self awre species.

No because even among humans there is no consensus for one truth as every culture has their own ideas of good and evil. And even if there was such a consensus and even if humans re the only self aware species we are still only on this planet and our ideas of good and evil are not universal but apply only to those involved

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Mr Walker

No because even among humans there is no consensus for one truth as every culture has their own ideas of good and evil. And even if there was such a consensus and even if humans re the only self aware species we are still only on this planet and our ideas of good and evil are not universal but apply only to those involved

You really do not understand what I am saying, rather than disagreeing with what I am saying.

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aquatus1

You still don't see how you keep justifying that you cannot be wrong by claiming that anyone who disagrees with you just doesn't get what your are saying? Just like those other people were too stupid?

Is it really so inconceivable to you that someone who disagrees with you might actually have a valid reason for doing so?

Edited by aquatus1
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Ben Masada

Yeah that is the most heinous action of the twentieth century, except perhaps for Stalin's genocide of twenty million during the same time period. The US's genocide of the native American took place over hundreds of years. All these things disgust me and make me lose faith in the humanity of humans.

Don't forget though, we are all humans. We never know how we would behave if real political power were entrusted on us.

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Mr Walker

Don't forget though, we are all humans. We never know how we would behave if real political power were entrusted on us.

Some of us do.

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Yamato

Magical thinking seems to be the default setting for most humans. Maybe that's why some have such a hard time understanding that atheists don't share that.

I can't answer for anyone else but everything that was ever magical was magical before it was not.

Maybe superior forms of life and energy are hard for us to believe, but given that many planetary systems are millions of years older than ours, I wouldn't get too smug with the skepticism too fast. We could get visited by things so advanced they might as well be Gods when compared to our concept of what God is. Eternal life and resurrection might only be the tip of the iceberg.

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Frank Merton

Magical thinking is belief in cause and effect, only having the causes and effects not quite reflecting real causes and effects.

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