The God Delusion - Chapter 6

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The God Delusion - Chapter 6

Post #1

Post by otseng »

McCulloch's question:
Does our morality have a Darwinian explanation?

An additional question:
What is meant by "good" and "moral sense"?

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Confused
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Post #51

Post by Confused »

bunyip wrote:Really? "Single overwhelming moral" is an easy stance to take, since the human mind has found any number of ways to circumvent our biological foundation. Still, "murder" is a pretty universal crime, even if the defined victims are a restricted set [such as the Ten Commandments dictum]. While there are obvious exceptions, "adultery" is another.

You're correct that absolutes must be avoided, but that shouldn't blind us to what universals, no matter how foggy about the edges they may be, actually exist. Otherwise, we miss the lessons of the other primates and complex creatures.

the bunyip
Murder isn't always wrong. Justifiable homicide, self -defense, etc... If I overdose you on morphine because you are dying of terminal cancer that has spread everywhere and nothing will take the pain away, am I guilty of the same murder as the 38 year old man who kidnapped, raped and tortured a 5 year old little girl? There are exceptions to every rule. If one exception exists, then it is not universal, nor is it absolute. Is there no tribe left that practices human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice? Either way, murder is taking the life of another person against their will or even with their request in most cases.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Post #52

Post by Cathar1950 »

I don't think universal is the same as absolute but I do see where you are coming from and happen to agree.
Frankena writes about ethics and looks for a reasonable idea.
He had some principle that he argued should be involved in any ethical theory and stance.

Reason
Justice
Experience
Universal
Mercy
Beneficence
Sympathy

I am off to bed but I would like to go further on your ideas.

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Post #53

Post by bunyip »

> "Murder isn't always wrong. Justifiable homicide, self -defense, etc... If I overdose you on morphine because you are dying of terminal cancer that has spread everywhere and nothing will take the pain away, am I guilty of the same murder as the 38 year old man who kidnapped, raped and tortured a 5 year old little girl? There are exceptions to every rule. If one exception exists, then it is not universal, nor is it absolute. Is there no tribe left that practices human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice? Either way, murder is taking the life of another person against their will or even with their request in most cases."

I could have sworn i modified "universal" with "pretty", but never mind.

One has to wonder if your giving an OD to a patient in a society where such a deliberate taking of life would lead to family retribution against the perp. Dawkins' comments about "relative" morality is significant here.

the bunyip

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Post #54

Post by Confused »

bunyip wrote:> "Murder isn't always wrong. Justifiable homicide, self -defense, etc... If I overdose you on morphine because you are dying of terminal cancer that has spread everywhere and nothing will take the pain away, am I guilty of the same murder as the 38 year old man who kidnapped, raped and tortured a 5 year old little girl? There are exceptions to every rule. If one exception exists, then it is not universal, nor is it absolute. Is there no tribe left that practices human sacrifice? Animal sacrifice? Either way, murder is taking the life of another person against their will or even with their request in most cases."

I could have sworn i modified "universal" with "pretty", but never mind.

One has to wonder if your giving an OD to a patient in a society where such a deliberate taking of life would lead to family retribution against the perp. Dawkins' comments about "relative" morality is significant here.

the bunyip
I think perhaps we are saying the same thing, but getting wires crossed. I see morality as subjective to the society be evaluated, and relative t the time period in which it is being evaluated.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Post #55

Post by bunyip »

> "I think perhaps we are saying the same thing, but getting wires crossed. I see morality as subjective to the society be evaluated, and relative t the time period in which it is being evaluated."

Quite likely.

The "subjective" thing was brought abruptly to mind for me this week. I've just finished Bernd Heinrich's [he of "The Mind of the Raven"] "The Snoring Bird" about the life of his naturalist father. During WWI, Gerd Heinrich, at the age of 19 was ordered to execute two "spies" caught on the Russian front. He wasn't happy, but he did his "duty".

Two generations later Gerd railed at his son for supporting the US war in Viet Nam.

Shifting moral values make any discussion of the topic as an absolute impossible. All the more reason why Richard rejects any idea of morality coming from an artificial entity. All the more reason, also, why we need to better understand where our "morality" derives from. It certainly doesn't come from a ghost or a set of ancient books.

the bunyip

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