Author Topic: Where do our morals come from?  (Read 4953 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Where do our morals come from?
« on: May 19, 2008, 10:28:11 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.





fixed typo in title --dixiebelle
fixed puncuation cuz WE pointed it out :-) --dixiebelle
« Last Edit: May 19, 2008, 10:34:15 AM by DixieBelle »
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline Wretched Excess

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15284
  • Reputation: +485/-84
  • Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happy Hour
Re: Where do our morals come from.
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2008, 10:32:19 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.


fixed typo in title --dixiebelle


and you left the punctuation problem? :-)

Offline DixieBelle

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12143
  • Reputation: +512/-49
  • Still looking for my pony.....
Re: Where do our morals come from
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2008, 10:33:02 AM »
I couldn't resist fixing the typo in the title. Sorry! :-)

Okay, let me think about the questions. I'll be back.
I can see November 2 from my house!!!

Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.

Forget change, bring back common sense.
-------------------------------------------------

No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives. --Bill Whittle

Offline DixieBelle

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12143
  • Reputation: +512/-49
  • Still looking for my pony.....
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2008, 10:34:47 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.


fixed typo in title --dixiebelle


and you left the punctuation problem? :-)

 :tongue: :-)
I can see November 2 from my house!!!

Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.

Forget change, bring back common sense.
-------------------------------------------------

No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives. --Bill Whittle

Offline Lord Undies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11388
  • Reputation: +639/-250
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2008, 10:48:15 AM »
I know where my morals originated, so I am not trying to speak for the general masses here.

My morals formed from my inherent understanding of what is right and what is wrong.  The fact that my religion dictates what I already know tells me I am on track. 

It is my thinking that people are not born as blank slates.  We are born with intuition and the ability to know good from bad, right from wrong, which we, through trial and error, reinforce for ourselves throughout our lives starting at a very early age.

Offline MrsSmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5977
  • Reputation: +465/-54
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2008, 12:57:02 PM »
I think that many of us were taught our basic morals by our parents, and they by theirs, and so on.  I believe the originator of morals is God, but He uses the authorities of our childhood to enumerate most of them to us. 

I also believe that it is the responsibility of an adult to search for true morals and apply them to his or her life.  Many people think they are doing this in high school and college, when those in charge of their classes push things like ecology and "safe sex."  This is how we've ended up with so many people that feel their morals instead of knowing them...resulting in the kind of "moral person" who is pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, anti-"poverty" (but not with their own money), pro-taxation, anti-war, and in favor of teaching kids about "safe" sex instead of abstinence.

Those who have removed or lost their blinders and found God know that the only workable, solid, unchanging morals are His.
.
.


Antifa - the only fascists in America today.

Offline Splashdown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6729
  • Reputation: +475/-100
  • Out of 9 lives, I spent 7
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2008, 01:04:18 PM »
What a great question!

It is, I think, fair to assume that morals are absolute, for the most part. Every major religion, for example, has some form of the Golden Rule. I think morals are hard-wired in. We have souls, therefore, we know right and wrong.

Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila



"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2008, 09:40:26 PM »
I stand behind the absolute truth concept. The whole moral relativity theory seems too much like fence sitting and to be honest I feel that the pluralism that is so prevalent today has lead to the wholesale moral decay that we see not only in America but all over the world. People commit crimes and go to court where some new age-like mumbo jumbo gets used by the defense to explain why the perp does evil things but shouldn't be punished for it. That whole "what's morally right for you isn't morally right for me" schtick makes me sick and I think people use it to justify doing things that they suspect are wrong to begin with.

For me I believe that I was born with the knowledge of right and wrong because God gave that to all of his adopted children. The fact that my basic moral views didn't change when I converted from Taoism to Christianity more or less proves this point for me. The main thing that Christianity has given me from a moral perspective is a keener sense of the rightness or wrongness of my actions and has led me to be more diligent in striving to do the right thing.

One think I think that we can all agree on that it hasn't done for me is made me less prone to typos...
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2008, 08:52:25 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.

I believe that morality is rooted in the human ability to empathize. Empathy, like language, is an innate faculty in humans which has evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years out of a survival need for it and because human societies benefited greatly from it. Empathy, merged with reason, produced abstract concepts such as ethics, morality, and justice. And humans used those concepts to create rules and laws.

Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline Lord Undies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11388
  • Reputation: +639/-250
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2008, 09:07:15 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.

I believe that morality is rooted in the human ability to empathize. Empathy, like language, is an innate faculty in humans which has evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years out of a survival need for it and because human societies benefited greatly from it. Empathy, merged with reason, produced abstract concepts such as ethics, morality, and justice. And humans used those concepts to create rules and laws.



Or it could be part of that "created in God's image" thingy.

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2008, 09:12:30 AM »
Or it could be part of that "created in God's image" thingy.

Right... One can view empathy as an attribute of God which was given to humans as a gift.
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2008, 10:18:13 AM »
Morals?
I tend to make them up as I go along.

You are like my one cat. He seems convinced that taking food from the other cats is moral.
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2008, 11:20:34 AM »
I'm writing another article for my blog and I was wondering about morals and moral behavior so I thought I would purpose this question to the minds at the Cave. Where do our morals come from. I have my ideas but I want to hear everyone elses. If you feel they come from God then how are we made aware of them. If you feel that God doesn't provide our moral standards to us then how does man work that them out? What criteria did man use to detemine that murder was wrong and why is do some morals seem universal to all humans? I am very interested in everyone's input.

I believe that morality is rooted in the human ability to empathize. Empathy, like language, is an innate faculty in humans which has evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years out of a survival need for it and because human societies benefited greatly from it. Empathy, merged with reason, produced abstract concepts such as ethics, morality, and justice. And humans used those concepts to create rules and laws.



What evolutionary benefits are their to morality and empathy? Why would nature perfer moral behavior and empathy over, let's say, merciless behavior? And why does man seem to be the only product of evolution to benefit from the behaviors? If these are evolved traits and they are beneficial to survival wouldn't they be more common in nature?
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2008, 01:37:21 PM »
What evolutionary benefits are their to morality and empathy? Why would nature perfer moral behavior and empathy over, let's say, merciless behavior?

Having empathy benefited humans because it enabled them live and thrive as a society. Humans were and are much stronger as a society than as solitary creatures.

Quote
And why does man seem to be the only product of evolution to benefit from the behaviors? If these are evolved traits and they are beneficial to survival wouldn't they be more common in nature?

I think we are starting to see some animals exhibiting the beginnings of what might evolve into empathy and empathic behavior. Consider food sharing behavior in chimp society. Chimps share food not because they are altruistic or even because they have some sort of understanding of the benefits of sharing food but because the benefits of sharing food has given them, over time, the instinct to share food.

An interesting study about food sharing behavior... http://weber.ucsd.edu/~jmoore/publications/Recip.html






« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 01:43:32 PM by The Night Owl »
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2008, 02:47:43 PM »
What evolutionary benefits are their to morality and empathy? Why would nature perfer moral behavior and empathy over, let's say, merciless behavior?

Having empathy benefited humans because it enabled them live and thrive as a society. Humans were and are much stronger as a society than as solitary creatures.

Quote
And why does man seem to be the only product of evolution to benefit from the behaviors? If these are evolved traits and they are beneficial to survival wouldn't they be more common in nature?

I think we are starting to see some animals exhibiting the beginnings of what might evolve into empathy and empathic behavior. Consider food sharing behavior in chimp society. Chimps share food not because they are altruistic or even because they have some sort of understanding of the benefits of sharing food but because the benefits of sharing food has given them, over time, the instinct to share food.

An interesting study about food sharing behavior... http://weber.ucsd.edu/~jmoore/publications/Recip.html








Interesting theory. Now what proof do you have that mankind followed the path you have just presented? I understand that this is based on conjecture and speculation, but what evidence is there that would lead someone to spectulate that humans exhibited empathy? Also, is empathy truly a precursor to an evolved moral code?

Also, I don't see how empathy would help a fledgling society survive. Supporting the weakest members would seem to hold back the healthy. Elephants are known to do this up to a point but even they will leave older weaker members behind when it comes to protecting the heard. From a survival of the fittest point of view,what you are describing contradicts many of Darwinistic  concepts.
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2008, 05:53:46 PM »
Also, I don't see how empathy would help a fledgling society survive. Supporting the weakest members would seem to hold back the healthy. Elephants are known to do this up to a point but even they will leave older weaker members behind when it comes to protecting the heard. From a survival of the fittest point of view,what you are describing contradicts many of Darwinistic  concepts.


The following article sheds some light on the evolution of empathy as a survival tool...

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/archive/2005fallwinter/FallWinter0506_deWaal.pdf

Quote
Interesting theory. Now what proof do you have that mankind followed the path you have just presented? I understand that this is based on conjecture and speculation, but what evidence is there that would lead someone to spectulate that humans exhibited empathy? Also, is empathy truly a precursor to an evolved moral code?

http://www.empathogens.com/empathy/animal.html
« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 06:11:32 PM by The Night Owl »
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline MrsSmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5977
  • Reputation: +465/-54
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2008, 06:17:48 PM »
If morals were based on empathy, no one would feel OK with abortion.
.
.


Antifa - the only fascists in America today.

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2008, 07:11:50 PM »
If morals were based on empathy, no one would feel OK with abortion.

Perhaps we're de-evolving.
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2008, 10:42:26 PM »
If morals were based on empathy, no one would feel OK with abortion.

Considering that the fear of eternal punishment is not a 100% effective deterrent against wrongdoing, I don't see see why anyone should expect human empathy to be a 100% effective deterrent against wrongdoing.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 10:56:00 PM by The Night Owl »
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2008, 05:37:30 AM »
If morals were based on empathy, no one would feel OK with abortion.

Considering that the fear of eternal punishment is not a 100% effective deterrent against wrongdoing, I don't see see why anyone should expect human empathy to be a 100% effective deterrent against wrongdoing.

You misunderstand Christianity if you believe that people become Christians for fear of eternal punishment. The destination after death is not determined by fear in this life but is the inevitable outcome of responding to the calling of God to His son Jesus Christ.

Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2008, 06:33:47 AM »
You misunderstand Christianity if you believe that people become Christians for fear of eternal punishment. The destination after death is not determined by fear in this life but is the inevitable outcome of responding to the calling of God to His son Jesus Christ.



I didn't argue that people embrace Christianity out of a fear of punishment in the afterlife. What I wrote is that the fear of punishment in the afterlife, like empathy, compells some people to behave morally and ethically but that neither is a 100% effective deterrent against immoral and unethical behavior.

Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline MrsSmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5977
  • Reputation: +465/-54
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2008, 04:43:21 PM »
You misunderstand Christianity if you believe that people become Christians for fear of eternal punishment. The destination after death is not determined by fear in this life but is the inevitable outcome of responding to the calling of God to His son Jesus Christ.



I didn't argue that people embrace Christianity out of a fear of punishment in the afterlife. What I wrote is that the fear of punishment in the afterlife, like empathy, compells some people to behave morally and ethically but that neither is a 100% effective deterrent against immoral and unethical behavior.


Behaving morally and ethically does not determine where a person "ends up," so this idea is even more false than the empathy idea.
.
.


Antifa - the only fascists in America today.

Offline The Night Owl

  • Banned
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • Reputation: +22/-5102
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2008, 07:38:20 PM »
Behaving morally and ethically does not determine where a person "ends up," so...

You might not believe that behaving morally and ethically determines where a person ends up in the afterlife, but a lot of people do and those people feel compelled to live their lives a certain way because of that belief.

Quote
...this idea is even more false than the empathy idea.

Do you honestly believe that empathy does not, in many instances, compel moral or altruistic action? If someone is lying bleeding to death on some city street, do you honestly believe that no one who sees him or her will have enough empathy to want to help the person?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 07:54:37 PM by The Night Owl »
Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas

Offline Rebel

  • Stick a fork in us. We're done.
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16127
  • Reputation: +987/-215
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2008, 08:19:41 PM »
I'd say mine are based in my upbringing from my parents, what I was taught in church, and my own parent's upbringing.
NAMBLA is a left-wing organization.

Quote
There's a reason why patriotism is considered a conservative value. Watch a Tea Party rally and you'll see people proudly raising the American flag and showing pride in U.S. heroes such as Thomas Jefferson. Watch an OWS rally and you'll see people burning the American flag while showing pride in communist heroes such as Che Guevera. --Bob, from some news site




Offline FlaGator

  • Another Pilgrim
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4229
  • Reputation: +386/-29
  • Stand firm in the faith; be men of courage
Re: Where do our morals come from?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2008, 08:27:27 PM »
Behaving morally and ethically does not determine where a person "ends up," so...

You might not believe that behaving morally and ethically determines where a person ends up in the afterlife, but a lot of people do and those people feel compelled to live their lives a certain way because of that belief.
What people? I would like to have them identified before I comment on them.


Quote
...this idea is even more false than the empathy idea.

Do you honestly believe that empathy does not, in many instances, compel moral or altruistic action? If someone is lying bleeding to death on some city street, do you honestly believe that no one who sees him or her will have enough empathy to want to help the person?

I believe that empathy does compel moral behavior in humans who already have a set of morals which define what humanity expects from individual behavior, but I don't believe that empathy was a root cause to the development of a moral code that humans live by. I also do not see how empathy could have evolved naturally in nature. It does not stand to reason that what may appear as empathic behavior in some animals will eventually evolve into the animals exhibiting moral behavior. If this was true and since some species of animals have been around far longer than primates I would think that empathic behavior would be more common if it evolved naturally and was a trait conducive to survival in the wild. Also empathy implies the ability to anticipate potential future conditions and that ability is a sign of higher intelligence. Empathy also implies emotion and emotion is not regarded as a positive evolutionary trait.
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Blaise Pascal