Showing posts with label morality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label morality. Show all posts

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Human Worth

If you have one, what is your standard for measuring human worth?

How well a person embraces the UU First Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Not every white male; not every Christian (almost an oxymoron, as Christian theology teaches all are sinners;) not every Buddhist; not every civilized person;  but every person.  

Note that this principle does not embrace bad behavior just that the bad behavior is not a result of being a bad person.  That rogue cop, or despot, or exploitive capitalist is not a bad person, hesh has just embraced a bad belief system that leads them to ignore the first principle.  If somehow one could change the belief system the inherent worth would emerge and the conscience (since this is OFS' thread) would repair the bad behavior. 

Changing belief systems is an extremely difficult task.  The brain builds blocks to information contrary to strongly held beliefs, so that contrary data is not even processed by the brain.  Not impossible, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates come to mind as examples from the capitalist belief system.  Possibly, it is early yet, but some have even attacked their own belief systems to bring them more in line with the First Principle, Pope Francis and Bishop Spong come to mind

In order to embrace the first principle it is necessary to be aware of and resist the brain's inherent tendency to create beliefs about other people.  That is to generalize from behavior to the person.  Currently, all Muslims are terrorists is a common belief that leads to terms like Islamist which reinforces the belief system to make it for practical purposes unassailable.

Even atheists can fall victim to beliefs based on belief systems: All Christians are bigots.  Theists aren't reasonable. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hillel, Jesus and the Decalogue

christine3 wrote:
"These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred. If you follow these rules you will not be cut off, you will live in the world to come." For the Commandments were written with the foreknowledge that there was going to be a world to come.

Neither the Hebrew nor the OT Commandments were written with salvation or a world to come.  There was a hint of a world to come in Isaiah but the life after death, sin, and salvation were all invented by Paul. The Decalogue is simply a sacred rulebook as you note.  
I do find it interesting that in the Hebrew Decalogue the social rules are mashed into 2 verses.  In your version the 10 could be contained in 3.  1 through 8 condensed into ""These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred."  I can see where Hillel the Elder got his one foot Torah.  And Jesus found his Two Commandments: 1-8 condensed into Love the Lord thy God, and the rules condensed into Love thy neighbor as thyself.

I know why my Jewish friends liked to talk about Hillel the Elder.  I didn't really notice that God was missing from our discussions.  I have no doubt that God was assumed by Hillel and my friends as the originator of the social rules, but the overemphasis on worship and obedience to "I am the Lord Thy God" was clearly missing.  No wonder atheism is compatible with Judaism.  If the rules, all 613 of them were the result of a tradition that worked there is no reason to add God to the tradition except to establish a supernatural cop that would punish transgressors. Moses was for some reason having trouble governing his tribe, and perhaps thought that a supernatural supercop was just the thing he needed. It sure did work.  A few thousand years of working.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Christian Atheists

YEC:  I would think almost all of the Atheist living in a free society are to one degree or another.
 It is hard to be a Christian if not a theist.  The entire dogma of Christianity is centered around groveling at the feet of God whether it is Jesus, the Trinity, or "Thy God" of Jesus.  Atheists do not grovel at anything or anybody. Nice try at the Great Commission, but abject failure. 
YEC: For a Godless society there is no moral rule.  Natural evolutionism is the rule.  Survival of the fittest.  There is no absolute law in which a standard can be erected.
In a Godless society moral rules are derived from evolutionary necessity and its corollary tribal living necessities expanded to larger societies as required.  While there is no absolute law governing morality, humanistic empathy is a firm foundation.
YEC: You are born, live and die and "puff"'s all over.
Yep.  In the words of Forrest Church one had best live a life worth dying for.  It is all anybody has. Theist or atheist. 
YEC: In a free society the Atheist follow the moral teachings of Jesus and I might add, the bible.  They know the morals work.  They are tried and proven.   If Jesus never appeared, if the bible never existed....if our laws didn't reflect those morals, where would we be?  
Your remarks about Jesus are pretty close to the mark.  The rest of the Bible morality is either obsolete or dysfunctional in a modern society.

YEC: You said, "They're Out There, I Just Haven't Found Any Yet"...the truth is, you are one of them.
Sorry.  There are many atheist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other theistic religions, that enjoy the traditions, rituals and tribal gatherings associated with the faith, but without the faith in God.  Atheists without a religion are not among them.  In general we (I include myself among them) have developed our own meaning and purpose for being alive and having to die.  But in the words of johnbigboote on the old boards it is a One Person Religion.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Michael Shermer The Moral Ark

Live Blog:  The Moral Arc

Chapter 2
Non-violence is becoming more effective is more effective in effecting social change since the violent elements in modern societies tend to eliminate themselves and fail to achieve the rather small minimum consensus to effect change.  This is not to say violence will be eliminated, we seem to be a violent species especially in small groups, but that it is becoming ineffective in creating social changes. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Atheist Value Development

Atheists find value in most of the world religions in formulating their social values.  Confucianism especially as it is basically humanistic.  Atheists must necessarily develop social, moral, and ethical values in order to survive in a fundamentally religious society.  Religions have had 2-3 millennia to develop those values, some useful and some disastrous.  When you remove the "God Sayeth" from them all it is easy to tell the difference between them.  This means that it is necessary for atheists to have an understanding of the dominant religious values, as well as alternatives for the bad ones.  Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism have been very successful for a couple of millennia +.  Christianity and Islam not so much.  Zen is a popular first step away from the modern Abrahamics.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Moral Conflicts.

There are always two communities involved in any moral decision.  One is the "face group community:" my tribe, my church, my village, my SSGThe other is the larger society one may consider oneself to be a part of: my city, my state, my religion, my nation, my fellow humans. 
I find it is almost impossible to violate face group moral standards.  If my church says God Hates Fags, I will drive to military funerals and try to protest with my handmade sign.  If my village says dark skinned people in hoodies are unwelcome it is moral to shoot them. 

It is when face group morality conflicts with the larger society that moral decisions may take us away from personal survival or community survival.   In both of the cases cited above the larger community may take issue with the local morality and prosecute the shooter, or prevent the protest.  Even to the extent of destroying the face group community or forcing the face group to adopt the morality of the larger society. 

The major moral issues that can shread a community occur when the larger community, the religion, or the nation, tries to impose its moral standards on other religions, or nations. Usually it takes a God to create "the other" that is not considered "one of us" and therefore undeserving of moral consideration, but there have been exceptions.  These lead to the ultimate moral violation where both individual and community welfare are violated: war between the larger societies.  Face group morality is irrelevant. Choose to go to war or the Gulag. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Community Moral Origins.

In the cultural and moral history of humanity multiple communities are an almost insignificant part of our heritage.  Certainly not enough to affect the basic moral conditioning we recieve. So for practical purposes the face group of your parents is your community.  It is rare even today for mama's face group to extend beyond the parish, village, etc.  Even dad's community was generally local, the store the smithy, the farm.  So culturally one can be confident that the basic community values are those of mama. 

Multiple communities really began in the 19th Century when the schoolmarm with an out of town education came to influence the children.  Cohesive community morality began the slippery slope to competing community moralities.  We are still just beginning to learn how to deal with them.  Some still don't. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Moral Development at Different Levels of Society

It is important to understand that moral behavior is not necessarily "good" behavior.  Morality is simply the selection of behavior that agrees with the infant's genetic sense of good and bad.  

If a very young child is abandoned and survives, moral actions are those that promote survival.  Society may judge those actions to be dysfunctional and control them but that has nothing to do with moral development.  See Bloom et. al. 

A child brought up by members or a member of an identifiable social group will associate behavior that promotes the welfare of the group with "good" and that which is contrary to the welfare of the group as bad.  The morality so developed may or may not be judged moral by a larger society, but ultimately it seems that compliance with face-group standards is the natural morality of humans.  

Moving up the chain to associations of face groups, either religious or secular, commandments, laws and rules of behavior are established to define minimum standards of behavior that promote the welfare of the larger group.  These commandments, laws and rules are not to be confused with morality, as frequently these commandments, laws and rules will conflict with the genetic sense of what is good and what is bad as it relates to the face group.  The face group at that point may withdraw to the extent possible from the larger group.  See the Amish and other Anabaptist groups who live by their own moral standards ignoring the laws of the larger society except where there is unavoidable conflict. Or they may be forced to withdraw from the larger group as the Native Americans were.  Again, nothing to do with the morality of the larger society, simply rules to make the larger society work. One could make a strong case that the laws of society are by definition immoral as they force compliance with activities that may be against the morals of individuals within the larger society.

Once one gets to the Nation or Religious entity morality is simply treason or heresy. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Geometry and Truth


Abstractions don't work in reality. Hence neither do Euclidean plane figures, Euclidean solid figures, pi, or numbers. They're all mental constructs with no real counterpart.

True.  Nonetheless they work just fine to navigate and calculate your way around in local two/three dimensional space. The transept in 3 dimensions is 90o to the 2 dimensional plane reality.  (Even though it really isn't.  Your 100 story building will stand just fine using that mental concept.) 

In the same way truth, beauty, love, empathy and even God work just fine in the real social space of tribal humans.  Until global social space must be considered. There other concepts of human living come into play. 

Jesus came close to how to live in the global space with "Love thy neighbor" [with all thy heart, and mind] no matter which tribe or culture hesh is a part of.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SSG Heirarchy

There is no real hierarchy.  At whatever level the threat is presented the moral human will react to minimize or eliminate the threat.   Ideally the God/secular leader will never threaten the community, but the history of both religious and secular nations is local revolution against the oppressive/corrupt leadership.  The Lutherans against the Church, the Americans against the King, etc.  Occasionally, actually frequently these days the face group will withdraw from the denomination or city to create a de-facto separate community with a different moral paradigm.  Gated communities on one side of the aisle and rainbow congregations on the other.  In most cases the larger moral entity will ignore the smaller, but revolutions are made of active repression of different moral paradigms.

The Fundamental SSG


The facegroup, the tribe, parish, village appears to be the fundamental social unit.  Perhaps because the indoctrination of the conscience is strongly influenced by this group.  Also this is the group where reciprocity and trust is up close and personal.  Mrs. Grundy is always watching and gossiping, so no facegroup activity is unnoticed.

And yet, morally, people will go against this fundamental social unit at times.  Therefore, morality is something outside of these social units.

I have yet to hear of a serious breach of facegroup morality that was not met with disfellowshipping, shunning, expulsion, incarceration,  or worse.  Think about gays in most communities especially religious ones or dark skinned people in hoodies in a gated community.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Relationships and Getting Fucked

I think that far too many women hold grudges when personal relationships fail. They, in a sense, remain emotionally attached to the failed relationship. I also think that far too many atheists hold grudges against religion. Even after years of separation, many seem permanently attached to the failed relationship.

What else can one expect from religious misogyny and misanthropy?  God and the man demand a relationship, when in reality all God and the man care about is dominance.  Is it any wonder that one promised a relationship and discovers that all that is happening is that hesh is getting fucked holds a long lasting grudge against the fucker?  And then tells the world to beware of fuckers?

Morality might be defined as warning the world about fuckers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Moral Reconditioning


Don't get me started on the Harvard Moral Sense Shit.  Trollies have nothing to do with morality they have to do with killing people. 

The older one gets the harder it is to change moral precepts. It is not impossible, and it seems that moral reevaluation is a natural stage of development past puberty.  But it does take intensive conscious effort to affect an adult conscience. 

The stages of moral development are more cultural than individual.  See Cruz père and Cruz fils.  If mom and dad are at a higher stage of moral development their children are likely to be as high or higher. 

Conditioning the Conscience

We certainly make moral judgments immediately by necessity.  Many moral decisions are made under extreme stress.  There is no time to reason out a moral response.  

However, it does not follow that conscience is an intuitive function of the mind/brain.  The conscience is almost certainly conditioned over time most strongly influenced by family and preschool caregivers.  And, per Robert Fulghum, the kindergarten teacher.  It is ultimately a subconscious conditioning which can be consciously reconditioned later in life if necessary by training and indoctrination.  As an example military training is retraining the conscience to view "the enemy" as less than human and therefore not subject to the conscience's morality toward others in the tribe.  

The conscience cannot be ignored.  You can consciously override it but it will feel wrong if you do.  It will also take time and effort that may not be available under stress.  This is why the conscience can be reconditioned with difficulty as an adult. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moral Evolution

I am not jumping to conclusions.  I have presented on many threads and on this one clear evidence that morality coevolved with modern humans.  That social moral nuance is taught like language is clear, but like basic grammar, basic morality is an evolutionary, that is genetic property of the mind/brain.  One might argue with one of Blü's moral imperatives, but in general they are the source of absolute morality, not some sky god.  Sky gods can and do influence the social moral nuances for believers, in some cases quite strongly, as the follow the leader basic imperative is strongly reinforced by vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies telling believers what God wants as to morality, but it is moral only for believers whether it is hate fags or love your neighbor.    

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moral Evolution

In several different ways we are quite different from other hominid species.  One is the huge brain which is too large for the birthing pelvis and therefore must develop significantly after birth.  Probably associated with this is the hidden estrus which makes a single mating by a dominant male unlikely to be successful in continuing his line.  Both make the human social structure much different from other hominids.  If the male wants to insure his paternity he must pair up long term with a female (and make sure no other male has access to the female.)  This obviously has a huge impact on morality which must have evolved with the brain size of the baby.  

The concurrent evolution of the infant totally dependent on parents for everything from wiping herm ass, learning language, and getting from one place to another for nearly a whole gestation period and the hidden estrus had to have a major effect on the moral relationships between men and women especially for the man.  I suspect the traditional cave man dragging the woman to the cave by the hair would have trouble getting enough sex to maintain his line.  The guy who provided dinner and a dance regularly would have a much better chance. 

The other major difference was the evolution from a hunter/gatherer nomadic life style to an agricultural settlement based society. Again it would seem that the moral evolution would be concurrent with the settled social structure.   

The agricultural settlement where the division of labor among women and men, the men doing the muscle work of tillage and clearing, with opportunistic hunting and field and flock depredation prevention, certainly must have had moral evolutionary effects on both genders:  Women with strong social and community development skills would have much better evolutionary success in the critical chore of  getting a child to puberty.  In the absense of breakfast diners, a man who left home with a substantial breakfast, and could look forward to a substantial dinner, would be much better prepared to concentrate on his daily community chores.   

To be continued ...