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#31410 - 08/04/09 07:08 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Revlgking]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Where, in American culture, is the domain of knowledge that we would identify as morality studied and taught?

I suspect that if we do not quickly develop a science of morality that will make it possible for us to live together on this planet in a more harmonious manner our technology will help us to destroy the species and perhaps the planet soon.

It seems to me that we have given the subject matter of morality primarily over to religion. It also seems to me that if we ask the question ‘why do humans treat one another so terribly?’ we will find the answer in this moral aspect of human culture.

The ‘man of maxims’ “is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a ready-made patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality—without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardly-earned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human.” George Eliot The Mill on the Floss

I agree to the point of saying that we have moral instincts, i.e. we have moral emotions. Without these moral emotions we could not function as social creatures. These moral emotions are an act of evolution. I would ague that the instinct for grooming that we see in monkeys is one example of this moral emotion.

We can no longer leave this important matter in the hands of the Sunday-school. Morality must become a top priority for scientific study.

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#31416 - 08/04/09 02:22 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: coberst]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Modern science cannot answer every question we care to ask, regardless of how important it is. Another option is to make up an answer and put a lot of scientific jargon around to make it sound like it's all scientific and everything.

Science can help us understand how morality develops in human; potentially how evolution enabled morality to emerge in our ancestors. It even has the potential to help us clarify what we collectively consider morality.

But science is never going to tell us what is right and what is wrong. Most people believe in objective or at least common reality. People who don't believe in objective reality are either insane or they are very poor thinkers. Else we would have a lot of conversations like the following:
"You punched me in the nose."
"No I didn't."
"Yes, you did, I saw you."
"That was *your* reality. In *my* reality, I handed you a million dollars."
And so forth.

This is a recognition of objective physical reality. But we are not satisfied with this. We want to believe in objective moral reality. We want to believe that there is something that tells us what is right and wrong that exists beyond just us. We desperately want to believe that "we matter" and that the universe or something greater than us notices us, even cares about us.

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#31428 - 08/05/09 04:24 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
FF wrote:

"We want to believe in objective moral reality".

This is so and there is of course no such thing as moral reality or absolutes. The best we can hope for is an agreed code of conduct supported by laws drawn up by the affected population cooperating together.

There is a place for such cooperation everywhere, and it is more effective than fear. However there are still too many areas where religion and coercion impose their moral version with their own limited vision.

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#31433 - 08/05/09 04:45 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Ellis]
Tutor Turtle Offline
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Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: Ellis

There is a place for such cooperation everywhere, and it is more effective than fear. However there are still too many areas where religion and coercion impose their moral version with their own limited vision.

That which inspires the religious is the same which inspires those who label themselves non-religious. Each has their own ideas of what that may be and want to own it as their own and to be right about it. And in being right about it one will do whatever they can to demean the other for their ideals and berate them for thinking they are right.
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#31443 - 08/06/09 01:16 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
As you know TT I am ignoring you and this is only the second time that I have read your posts in about 5 months.

And things haven't changed have they?

Where in my post did I 'berate' or 'demean' everyone with a religion? In fact I did not. I stated that cooperation is the best way to go.

It would be difficult to deny that some religions and regimes do coerce their inhabitants to adopt ideas of morality and behaviour. It would be difficult to defend a point of view if you have been stoned to death or poisoned, both in the name of different religions... or sentenced to death in a court of law that is corrupt and dishonest... all for the sake of an interpretation of moral behaviour.

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#31445 - 08/06/09 02:03 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Ellis, on seeing your last post I thought I would check the recent comment by TT to see if I could find the one to which you responded.

Is this the one you had in mind? "... And in being right about it one will do whatever they can to demean the other for their ideals and berate them for thinking they are right."

This prompts me to ask: TT, are you talking to yourself?

BTW, in today's National Post--a national daily in Canada--there was quite an interesting article on the danger of what he called "missionizing" religions: They are the fundamentalist kind (found in all the world religions, but especially in Islam) which strive to impose their morality on the whole community, not just on their own faithful members.

The article was by the very controversial academic Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and a fellow at the Hoover institution of Stanford University.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pipes


Edited by Revlgking (08/06/09 02:05 AM)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#31446 - 08/06/09 02:25 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Revlgking]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
I found the article:
http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1860105

Why shariah must be opposed

Daniel Pipes, National Post Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Those of us who argue against shariah are sometimes asked why Islamic law poses a problem when modern Western societies long ago accommodated Halacha, or Jewish law. In fact, this was one of the main talking points of those who argued that shariah law should become an accepted part of dispute resolution in Ontario in 2005.

The answer is easy. A fundamental difference separates the two: Islam is a missionizing religion, Judaism is not. Islamists aspire to apply Islamic law to everyone, while observant Jews seek only to live by Jewish law themselves. ...

The article goes on to give examples of this happening in England of all places.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#31447 - 08/06/09 03:57 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Ellis]
Tutor Turtle Offline
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Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: Ellis
As you know TT I am ignoring you and this is only the second time that I have read your posts in about 5 months.

And things haven't changed have they?
If by meaning that you react to my posts and tell me you are ignoring me by responding to me, then I guess things haven't changed.
Originally Posted By: Ellis

Where in my post did I 'berate' or 'demean' everyone with a religion? In fact I did not.

I Didn't mention you personally, but if you want to wear that shoe by reacting to my statement it's not my fault...

Originally Posted By: Ellis

It would be difficult to deny that some religions and regimes do coerce their inhabitants to adopt ideas of morality and behaviour.

If would be difficult to deny that anyone with an opinion would like to have their opinion validated by having others assume the opinion as well. Some even repeat themselves often, hoping to get their point across so they can be validated by those who might give them the attention they crave.
Originally Posted By: Ellis
It would be difficult to defend a point of view if you have been stoned to death or poisoned, both in the name of different religions... or sentenced to death in a court of law that is corrupt and dishonest... all for the sake of an interpretation of moral behaviour.
Well the universe is sometimes seen as random and chaotic and by others as the reflection of order and purpose. Everyone picks their ideal based on what they are feeling and what they want to identify with.
If there was an absolute then who would be the authority if everyone wanted their beliefs validated and if the absolute was in conflict with their beliefs?
It's much more convenient to protect ones beliefs and ideals by denying any kind of natural law or absolute, or to insist that their opinion was based on an absolute.

Originally Posted By: Revlgking
... "And in being right about it one will do whatever they can to demean the other for their ideals and berate them for thinking they are right."

This prompts me to ask: TT, are you talking to yourself?
If you and Ellis are ignoring me then I must not be speaking to either of you.... confused
Besides I could never demean or berate anyone. Every good psychologist knows it is not the other person that makes one feel what they feel, that's just a personal choice to identify with ones low self esteem.
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#31454 - 08/06/09 03:38 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Ellis, in the literature there is ample and abundant evidence of the fact that when psychopaths/sociopaths inflict any kind of pain--physical, mental or spiritual--on others, in no way do they accept any responsibility for doing so. To direct questions, they will usually respond with a question: "Who, me? Not me!"

Sure some victims can make things more painful for themselves, by being too passive, too willing to be victimized--it just encourages the bullies. Compare how Chamberlain handled things at Munich.

On the other hand, victims can be too ready to take revenge. Both extremes are not the way to go.

But there are those who know how to learn valuable lessons from all experiences; when life hands them a lemon they will make lemonade, or they will turn their scars into stars. Or, like the oyster and the grain of sand, they will turn it into a pearl.

Thanks TT, I am enjoying the lemonade and the pearl of a dialogue this experience can create.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#31455 - 08/06/09 04:09 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Revlgking]
Tutor Turtle Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: Revlgking

Thanks TT, I am enjoying the lemonade and the pearl of a dialogue this experience can create.
You're welcome.
Just goes to show you that all the power of comprehension is in the ear and eye of the beholder. In that, there are no victims.

Those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear....
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#31456 - 08/06/09 07:00 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Hallelujah! May the pearl of a dialogue continue and grow into a string of pearls.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#31463 - 08/07/09 01:41 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Revlgking]
Tutor Turtle Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Hallelujah! May the pearl of a dialogue continue and grow into a string of pearls.
It's always a choice to see things the way they are or the way you want to, isn't it? There is a pearl in every moment and in every experience if you are not stuck in a personal opinion or belief that leads to judgment of the experience before seeing all possibility.
I used Ellis' statement as a springboard for my post and she took it personally, thinking I was accusing her of something which hadn't entered my mind. So its all relative to ones point of reference. Someone who has little stress in their nervous system and who is less likely to react within their experience of life is going to be more objective than one who is burdened by the stresses of personal beliefs and opinions and insists life look a certain way. The one who is objective is less likely to cringe when something is moved or there is change, where as one who is critical and opinionated will be more likely to suffer when change is experienced and something seems out of place to them.
Life is what you make of it based on where your point of reference is. Objectivity comes naturally when the mind is not burdened by belief and opinion, but when it is burdened by belief and opinion objectivity is subjective.
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#31465 - 08/07/09 10:39 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Tutor Turtle]
coberst Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 369
Objectivity is our shared subjectivity.

Because all normal humans have the same cognitive apparatus and since everything that we think, know, or perceive is subjective to one degree or another then it follows that anything objective (anything that we all share) must be introduced by our cognitive structures.

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#31475 - 08/07/09 04:13 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: coberst]
Tutor Turtle Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 1249
Loc: Everywhere and nowhere
Originally Posted By: coberst
Objectivity is our shared subjectivity.

Because all normal humans have the same cognitive apparatus and since everything that we think, know, or perceive is subjective to one degree or another then it follows that anything objective (anything that we all share) must be introduced by our cognitive structures.
What we share beyond individuality is one-ness. When we poke a finger the rest of the body feels it. In our individuality we often ignore the hand and the mind that creates and suffer the hell of ignorance.
As much as the ego and the identification with personality wishes to shut out all that it believes is separate from belief and opinion this action is cutting the hand off from the body. There is no reflection in the universe that is not of the Whole and the only way to know this is to look elsewhere than the myriad of reflections which are endless as are all subjective ideals. Our pride in our ability to think something is owned by individuality and personality is the weak link and breaks the chain in the awareness of the Thread that leads to absolute Unity.
_________________________
I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!





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#31477 - 08/07/09 04:35 PM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: coberst]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
About being subjective and/or objective: The following edited version of a letter, by me, was published in the National Post, today, with the headline:

'Two-way missionizing'

National Post Published: Friday, August 07, 2009

Re: Why Shariah Must be Opposed, Daniel Pipes, Aug. 5.

Daniel Pipes makes the very important point that there is a fundamental difference which separates Judaism from Islam. Unlike Islam, Judaism is not a missionizing religion.

What about Christianity? Surely it was a missionizing religion from the beginning. Many Christians are still proud missionizers. They like to remind Christians of the quote, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Long before the rise of Islam, Paul and others were filled with this missionary zeal. Where did they get it?

Nowhere is it written in the Hebrew scriptures that Jews were told by God never to spread the idea that he is the one, all powerful God who would eventually expose the evils of idolatry and draw all good people to him. In fact, the Book of Isaiah is about drawing people to the worship of the one true God in Jerusalem.

I advocate a two-way kind of missionizing -- dialoguing about our differences. Let the dialogue begin.

Reverend Lindsay G. King, Thornhill, Ont.
=======================================
Actually, I should have said: Let us dialogue about our similarities and our enriching differences.

In his August 5 article, the very controversial Daniel Pipes seemed to imply that Islam is the only missionizing-kind of religion and that Judaism isn't.

Incidentally, Pipes failed to mention Christianity, which began as a sect of Judaism. The Hebrew Bible, part of the Christian Bible, especially the book of Isaiah, makes it clear that Judaism began as a theocracy--similar to Islam. The Bible tells us that it was expected that God was going to establish the House of David as his choice to rule the Kingdom of God of justice and peace, forever.

BTW, in Luke 4: 16-30, at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2. And I believe he quoted it to reform, not with approval. He wanted to include the Gentile world. Note: the passage tells us his refrom was rejected.

JEWS, CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS WERE ALL MISSIONIZERS
=================================
The original intention of certain ambitious political leaders was to spread the Kingdom of God, under a Jewish Messiah--one who would rule, politically and religiously, from Jerusalem which would be the capital of the world.

Rome later picked up the pieces left after the break-up of the empire started by Alexander the great. It took up the idea a theocracy and called it Christianity. There followed an ongoing struggle as to whether the Pope or the Emperor was the supreme power under God.

In the 7th. Century, Islam came along with the same idea. The idea of the separation of church and state did not come along until much later:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state
Thomas Jefferson (1802) mentioned the phrase in a letter he wrote.


Edited by Revlgking (08/07/09 09:19 PM)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#33771 - 03/30/10 06:45 AM Re: Why do we seek moral absolutes? [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Well this topic is front page again! FF- How prescient were you? It seems that science does have something to say on this topic!

I seem to have been arguing in this thread that moral absolutes (and perhaps even morality) can only exist in the presence of the reaction of others, as really morality is (always) shown as a behaviour towards another person. I do not think that the science has negated that point of view. It seems that morality can indeed be imposed upon others though, as an arbitrary code of conduct, not as a manifestation of divine inspiration.

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