• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

Are you a moral person?

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,274
Moral in terms of reducing the harm I do to others in my day to day life? Sure.

Moral in terms of self sacrifice? Not really.

For a guiding principle Ahimsa comes to mind. I don't even kill bugs if I can avoid it.
 

phands

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
1,976
Location
New York, Manhattan, Upper West Side
Basic Beliefs
Hardcore Atheist
Yes.

I am a very moral an ethical person.

I care deeply about my fellow humans. I try to give back because I'm relatively privileged. In my case, I teach Maths and Science to kids who are struggling, and build or repair houses for Habitat For Humanity at the weekends.

Your silly, trivial question about filching pens is too trite.
 

Ford

Contributor
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
5,713
Location
'Merica
Basic Beliefs
Godless Heathen
I try to be.

There's a quote I've got saved in my head attributed to Confucius that goes something like "to do good not because of the reward you would receive in this life or in a life to come, but to do good because you enjoy doing good...that is to love good."

To me, that's kind of the heart of morality. To do good (or be good) not out of fear of retribution in the afterlife, but to be good because good is an end in and of itself.

I've failed in this quest many times, but I keep trying. If I weren't a moral person, I'd stop.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
I try to keep to the golden rule, do unto others as you would have yourself.

Often hard to keep to and you don't always get anything in return. I feel if I do not try I'll end up being something I do not want to be. Most of the time I find the effort gets returned by others, even strangers. When you are consistent people notice it.

Nothing large, simple daily courtesies and acknowledging others. A simple hello and eye contact can turn around somebody's day.
 

BH

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
866
Location
United States-Texas
Basic Beliefs
Muslim
I think I am a moral person. I obey the laws of the land and have courtesy towards others. I do not take what is not mine, and if I accidentally take a pen from work I take it back when I realize my mistake.
 

WAB

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
4,055
Location
Hyperboria
Basic Beliefs
n/a
I try to be.

There's a quote I've got saved in my head attributed to Confucius that goes something like "to do good not because of the reward you would receive in this life or in a life to come, but to do good because you enjoy doing good...that is to love good."

Or, "Virtue is its own reward." - which basically says the same thing.
 

phands

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
1,976
Location
New York, Manhattan, Upper West Side
Basic Beliefs
Hardcore Atheist
I'm not so sure there's a traffic law I haven't broke.
But is that immoral?

Of the one's I know I've broke, I don't think so.

Agreed, breaking traffic rules is generally not immoral. I've been a motorcyclist for over 45 years, and have frequently done over 185MPH on public roads. That may be quite foolhardy, but it's not immoral.....but what if I got into an accident because of that speed, and killed someone? That feels immoral, but where does the line get drawn?
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,274
Of the one's I know I've broke, I don't think so.

Agreed, breaking traffic rules is generally not immoral. I've been a motorcyclist for over 45 years, and have frequently done over 185MPH on public roads. That may be quite foolhardy, but it's not immoral.....but what if I got into an accident because of that speed, and killed someone? That feels immoral, but where does the line get drawn?

The line gets drawn where the collective community you're a part of draws it. When put into certain contexts everything can be moral, but when people start coming after you with pitchforks that's when you have a problem.
 

abaddon

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
Messages
2,129
Basic Beliefs
naturalism, ecocentrism
Of the one's I know I've broke, I don't think so.

Agreed, breaking traffic rules is generally not immoral. I've been a motorcyclist for over 45 years, and have frequently done over 185MPH on public roads. That may be quite foolhardy, but it's not immoral.....but what if I got into an accident because of that speed, and killed someone? That feels immoral, but where does the line get drawn?

The line gets drawn where the collective community you're a part of draws it. When put into certain contexts everything can be moral, but when people start coming after you with pitchforks that's when you have a problem.

I would say endangerment. I think you're aggressively trespassing into others' space by putting anyone in danger and that can be considered immoral.

I don't consider I've done something immoral for speeding. But if I'm in an area where people are in danger of me hurting them, that... not law-breaking, but just the endangerment itself... is immoral.

If you want to phrase in terms of community agreement, then I think most everyone agrees they don't want other people endangering their lives.

I'm not sure how much vocal agreement matters though. I mean in ethics more generally. Some immoral acts are perpetrated by humans against nonhuman lives who can't verbalize an agreement. If humans were to join the community of life this century (better late than never) then we could consider other animal's (maybe ecosystem's) interest in life to be ethically significant.
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
7,493
Location
Deep South
Basic Beliefs
Pragmatic
I am only as moral as necessary to survive, which is the whole point of morality, anyway.
 

Underseer

Contributor
Joined
May 30, 2003
Messages
11,413
Location
Chicago suburbs
Basic Beliefs
atheism, resistentialism
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?

People aren't moral or immoral.

Morality is a property of decisions.

Humans are both good and evil not because of divine magic, but because humans are a bunch of eye-gougingly stupid knuckle-draggers who barely grasp the consequences of the various decisions we make.

All of us believe things that are wrong.

The wrong things that we believe become the premises for other arguments that lead to other conclusion. So one wrong belief can lead to a cascade of stupid that ends in a whole series of bad decisions. And yes, those bad decisions can include bad moral decisions.

People with certain bad beliefs are vulnerable to starting a cascade of stupid that can lead to consistently bad moral decisions. This is why we perceive some people as being inherently evil. It's still the decisions that are moral or immoral, but because they make consistently bad moral decisions, we call them evil.

Nazis
Ever notice that Nazis keep using the word "Aryan" instead of white or Caucasian?

It's because of a particular claim of theirs: Atlantis proves that white people are superior.

Of course anyone with an ounce of education knows that you can't use an unproven and unprovable claim as the premise for other arguments. No one has the foggiest clue if Atlantis was ever a real place, nor do we have any idea how much of the claims about Atlantis were true even if the place did exist. So of course it's ludicrous to insist that Atlantis proves that white people are superior. It proves nothing of the sort. Atlantis can't prove anything.

But once you accept that white people are inherently superior and that non-white people are inherently inferior, these assumptions become the premises of other arguments that support other conclusions, and it's not hard to imagine those assumptions leading to all kinds of networks of consistently bad moral decisions, such as the Nazi Holocaust, or the belief that Donald Trump is a competent leader.

The Nazis were not trying to make the world a worse place. They genuinely believed that they were making the world a better place by saving the superior white race from all those dirty brown people. They accepted a few bad conclusions that led to other bad conclusions that led to consistently bad moral decisions.

African Evangelicals
I lived in an Evangelical part of America. If you never did, you might not be familiar with some of their more unhinged notions about witchcraft. I did live in such a place. I saw the demented, terrifying gleam in their eyes whenever they quoted their favorite Bible passage "THOU SHALL NOT SUFFER A WITCH TO LIVE!"

And that really was the Bible passage I heard quoted most often while living in a predominantly Evangelical area. Not the passage about turning the other cheek, or the bit about treating the least of you, but the mandate to kill people who practice witchcraft.

At some point, American Evangelicals started sending missionaries to parts of Africa in order to compete with Catholic missionaries.

The Evangelical teachings about killing witches interacted with local African beliefs about witchcraft, which has resulted in the modern practice of killing children for witchcraft.

An estimated thousand children have been killed so far. That estimate is years old, so the number could easily be higher by now. Most of the children killed were killed with either fire or acid. If you have the stomach for it, you can find a video on the Internet of a man kicking a burning child back into a fire.

These African Evangelicals are not evil people, nor are they bad Christians.

They accepted one truth claim that turned out to be false. They accepted the claim that witchcraft is a real thing.

Play a little game with yourself Start with the assumption that witchcraft is real. Then ask a series of follow up questions and see where that can lead you. For example, how do you know when witchcraft has been performed? How do you know who has or hasn't practiced witchcraft? How do you defend yourself from witchcraft? Because witchcraft isn't actually real, every one of those follow up questions is going to result in wrong answers, that in turn lead to other wrong answers. It's not hard at all to imagine that one bad truth claim[ent]mdash[/ent]that witchcraft is real[ent]mdash[/ent]leading to the kinds of atrocities we see in European history, American history, or modern Africa.

I want to remind you that those Africans genuinely believe that they are making the world a better place by doing the things that they are doing.

If you asked them to stop killing children, they would almost certainly resist. To them, you would be asking them to stop making the world a better place.

Conclusion
So, am I a good person? No. I am not. People are not good or evil. Our decisions are good or evil?

Am I capable of making bad moral decisions? I do. I'm as much of a screaming moron as the rest of you bald apes using asphalt as a substitute for a central nervous system. Humans are idiots and I'm a human.

The only defense against my own stupidity is being prepared at all times to admit when I am wrong about something.

Being prepared to admit that I could be wrong about anything is an important part of moving closer to truth, but it's also a critical part of improving the quality of our moral decisions over time.

I try to analyze past decisions and figure out where I went wrong so that I can improve the quality of future decisions.

Unfortunately, our world includes a bunch of people who don't go through life under the assumption that humans are idiots and we all have to be prepared to admit we are wrong about anything. Many in our world have decided that because they read a book written by a bunch of desert goat herders from a pre-scientific civilization, that therefore all of their moral decisions are right and that they don't have to analyze past moral decisions for possible mistakes.

And you know what?

That's a problem if we want a world in which people make more good moral decisions and fewer bad moral decisions.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
'people are neither moral nor immoral' is nonsense. We make value judgements all the time. The question for the OP is how you navigate your day.

If you say you are entirely amoral without any awareness of consequences, I believe that is the definition of a sociopath.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,599
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
So, Bronzeage, a sage grouse that winds up being food for predators because it camps on the outskirts of Sage Hen town is moral?

No, and neither would you if it were actually the case that morality was a component of fitness which is certainly is not.

Rationality is at the base of most (supply a word that rhymes with duplicity). That rabbit is never going to catch that turtle, hear?/nonsense

Steve bank did you just say what I said is like what Trump sez? RU also saying that a value judgement is always subjective? Value can be operationalized yano.

gbmteach. NO!

Stop this nonsense. Get back to flipping prayer wheels. OK?
 

DrZoidberg

Contributor
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
10,247
Location
Copenhagen
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?

I'm Nietzschean. So I'm amoral. I'm good because I want others to think of me as good. I'm dependable because I want others to trust me. I don't lie because it often comes back to bite me.

I believe that if we never would have to answer for our transgressions morality would erode fast.

I also think this is universal. Any other belief is delusional IMHO
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,274
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?

I'm Nietzschean. So I'm amoral. I'm good because I want others to think of me as good. I'm dependable because I want others to trust me. I don't lie because it often comes back to bite me.

I believe that if we never would have to answer for our transgressions morality would erode fast.

I also think this is universal. Any other belief is delusional IMHO

Yep. Instead of calling it a 'moral' code, it makes more sense to call it a 'behavioral' code. If you want to live or work comfortably in a community, you need to follow the rules inherent to the community.

You don't do it for some sense of 'doing good', you do it because it's a necessity for survival.
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,274
The line gets drawn where the collective community you're a part of draws it. When put into certain contexts everything can be moral, but when people start coming after you with pitchforks that's when you have a problem.

I would say endangerment. I think you're aggressively trespassing into others' space by putting anyone in danger and that can be considered immoral.

I don't consider I've done something immoral for speeding. But if I'm in an area where people are in danger of me hurting them, that... not law-breaking, but just the endangerment itself... is immoral.

If you want to phrase in terms of community agreement, then I think most everyone agrees they don't want other people endangering their lives.

I'm not sure how much vocal agreement matters though. I mean in ethics more generally. Some immoral acts are perpetrated by humans against nonhuman lives who can't verbalize an agreement. If humans were to join the community of life this century (better late than never) then we could consider other animal's (maybe ecosystem's) interest in life to be ethically significant.

Time and time again I see conversations about whether or not a certain thing is moral, and I'm always thrown back to the subjectivity of it. Something is moral or immoral if an observer of your behaviour deems it to be so. In Sweden atheism is normal, in Saudi Arabia it could mean death.

If as an individual you have beliefs about what is moral and what is not, fair enough, but those things by definition cannot be universally true.

Moral code is contingent on the subject, it just so happens that because all subjects are a part of the same reality that our rules have a degree of consistency.
 

Underseer

Contributor
Joined
May 30, 2003
Messages
11,413
Location
Chicago suburbs
Basic Beliefs
atheism, resistentialism
'people are neither moral nor immoral' is nonsense. We make value judgements all the time. The question for the OP is how you navigate your day.

If you say you are entirely amoral without any awareness of consequences, I believe that is the definition of a sociopath.

As I already explained, accepting certain kinds of conclusions can lead to a cascade of consistently bad decisions, but it's still the decisions that are moral or immoral.
 

DrZoidberg

Contributor
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
10,247
Location
Copenhagen
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?

I'm Nietzschean. So I'm amoral. I'm good because I want others to think of me as good. I'm dependable because I want others to trust me. I don't lie because it often comes back to bite me.

I believe that if we never would have to answer for our transgressions morality would erode fast.

I also think this is universal. Any other belief is delusional IMHO

Yep. Instead of calling it a 'moral' code, it makes more sense to call it a 'behavioral' code. If you want to live or work comfortably in a community, you need to follow the rules inherent to the community.

You don't do it for some sense of 'doing good', you do it because it's a necessity for survival.

That said, I do do loads of moral actions even when nobody (that matters) is around to watch. Simply because it's good to get in the practice of being good. So that when a time comes when your moral virtues are being judged, you will make the right call. But I still think the root of it is acceptance by the collective.

BTW, true story, a few weeks ago I was walking down a Copenhagen street in front of a big group of Italian tourists. I came across a bicycle that had fallen down. Probably blown down. I stopped to right it and made sure it stood more securely and kept on walking. Behind me the group of Italians had stopped to watch me, and when I was done they started clapping and cheering for me. I guess it's not common for Italians to do things like that.
 

PyramidHead

Contributor
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,080
Location
RI
Basic Beliefs
Marxist-Leninist
Do you see yourself as a moral and ethical person in daily life? If so what guides you and why?

Is lying by word or omission in the work place ok? Taking pens or copy paper? Taking unfair advantage of someone?

I'm Nietzschean. So I'm amoral. I'm good because I want others to think of me as good. I'm dependable because I want others to trust me. I don't lie because it often comes back to bite me.

I believe that if we never would have to answer for our transgressions morality would erode fast.

I also think this is universal. Any other belief is delusional IMHO

Nietzsche showed that morality must go if we are to embrace and affirm life. What he did not see is that the other option, embracing morality at the expense of life, in defiance of it, is just as valid.

I am convinced that humans are basically unable to be moral, not because of any fatal flaw in our psyche, but just because of the constraints placed on us by life itself. Because we are all in a fast process of decline from the get-go, which we don't like and wish to postpone, we are obliged to make something of the time we have through effort. There is no way to do this without harming others, as a simple consequence of there being not enough space for everyone. My project of postponement will inevitably clash with yours at some point, and it will not do so fairly but gratuitously.

We are all vulnerable to extremes of physical and mental pain that swiftly demolish our moral obligations. Even if they never come to pass, the possibility of such scenarios is a permanent structural component of life, and is sufficient to cheapen our moral aspirations. Regardless of how we conduct ourselves IN life, the fact of our being alive, by itself, places obstacles in the way of morality.

Thus:

phands said:
Yes.

I am a very moral an ethical person.

I care deeply about my fellow humans. I try to give back because I'm relatively privileged. In my case, I teach Maths and Science to kids who are struggling, and build or repair houses for Habitat For Humanity at the weekends.

Your silly, trivial question about filching pens is too trite.

The best that can be achieved through acts like these, like teaching children science and helping the homeless, is a second-degree or secondary morality. By continuing to exist, irrespective of my behavior while existing, I essentially give up on meeting my primary moral duty, which is to put the interests of others before my own. I occupy a space that could benefit someone else, use resources that could be diverted to someone who needs it more, and everything I do to entertain myself imposes onerous costs on the environment. So, I am already in a position of deep disrespect of the interests of others by virtue of my persisting in the world. It is only situated within this primary moral failure that secondary do's and dont's can reside, and we find all the moral systems of civilization in this compromised, deflated space. All of them, with no exceptions I have seen, are only interested in the second-degree questions of "how should I live?" or "how can I be a good parent?", and never radically reflect on the primary concerns of "should I live?" and "should I be a parent?"

Concealing or downplaying the primary concerns, and propping up the second-degree questions as if they were primary, is the enterprise of all societies everywhere on the planet. In this way, the moral distortions on display each day are not surprising--letting some people be hungry so the economy can move forward, designating some people as dispensable so they can be killed to preserve peace between nations, stepping on the rights of your neighbor to score political points--and we should acknowledge that these are not anomalies of "our way of life", as if a different way could finally be authentically moral, but inherent qualities of life.
 

Underseer

Contributor
Joined
May 30, 2003
Messages
11,413
Location
Chicago suburbs
Basic Beliefs
atheism, resistentialism
Of the one's I know I've broke, I don't think so.

Agreed, breaking traffic rules is generally not immoral. I've been a motorcyclist for over 45 years, and have frequently done over 185MPH on public roads. That may be quite foolhardy, but it's not immoral.....but what if I got into an accident because of that speed, and killed someone? That feels immoral, but where does the line get drawn?

Actually, the lax enforcement is a problem, and I'm pretty sure it's on purpose.

If the cops habitually fail to give tickets for traffic violations, then everyone gets in the habit of breaking traffic laws.

If everyone is in the habit of breaking certain laws, then the police can target certain individuals or certain groups for harassment and legitimately make the claim that they are enforcing the law. The accused can't complain about the fact that other people are not prosecuted because to do so would be to commit a tu quoque fallacy.

Selective enforcement of the law invites abuse of power by the police.

If you ask me, if most people have a problem with obeying the traffic laws, then we should change the traffic laws. Either we consistently enforce a law for everyone, or else take the damn law off the books.
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
7,493
Location
Deep South
Basic Beliefs
Pragmatic
So, Bronzeage, a sage grouse that winds up being food for predators because it camps on the outskirts of Sage Hen town is moral?

No, and neither would you if it were actually the case that morality was a component of fitness which is certainly is not.

Rationality is at the base of most (supply a word that rhymes with duplicity). That rabbit is never going to catch that turtle, hear?/nonsense

[......

Stop this nonsense. Get back to flipping prayer wheels. OK?

This does not make any sense.

Morality and moral codes exist in order to allow human groups to survive in a harsh environment. It works so well, that at this point in time, the environment is threatened by us, most of the time. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality is to make us better humans.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
So, Bronzeage, a sage grouse that winds up being food for predators because it camps on the outskirts of Sage Hen town is moral?

No, and neither would you if it were actually the case that morality was a component of fitness which is certainly is not.

Rationality is at the base of most (supply a word that rhymes with duplicity). That rabbit is never going to catch that turtle, hear?/nonsense

[......

Stop this nonsense. Get back to flipping prayer wheels. OK?

This does not make any sense.

Morality and moral codes exist in order to allow human groups to survive in a harsh environment. It works so well, that at this point in time, the environment is threatened by us, most of the time. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality is to make us better humans.

Nice, that sums it up.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Ignoring traffic rules is immoral. You put others at risk for your own convenience.

Laws against homosexuality and sodomy have gone away because it can not be shown to be harmful to others. Maybe not all, our civil codes exist to prevent and limit harm, and punish those who do harm.
 

Bomb#20

Contributor
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
6,248
Location
California
Gender
It's a free country.
Basic Beliefs
Rationalism
So, Bronzeage, a sage grouse that winds up being food for predators because it camps on the outskirts of Sage Hen town is moral?

No, and neither would you if it were actually the case that morality was a component of fitness which is certainly is not.

Rationality is at the base of most (supply a word that rhymes with duplicity). That rabbit is never going to catch that turtle, hear?/nonsense

[......

Stop this nonsense. Get back to flipping prayer wheels. OK?

This does not make any sense.

Morality and moral codes exist in order to allow human groups to survive in a harsh environment. It works so well, that at this point in time, the environment is threatened by us, most of the time. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality is to make us better humans.
Morality has existed for seventy-odd million years longer than human groups have existed. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality has anything to do with humans.
 

Bomb#20

Contributor
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
6,248
Location
California
Gender
It's a free country.
Basic Beliefs
Rationalism
Ignoring traffic rules is immoral. You put others at risk for your own convenience.

Laws against homosexuality and sodomy have gone away because it can not be shown to be harmful to others. Maybe not all, our civil codes exist to prevent and limit harm, and punish those who do harm.
Laws against homosexuality and sodomy have gone away because they were shown to be discriminatory. Laws against marijuana and obscenity and prostitution and internet poker haven't gone away even though they cannot be shown to be harmful to others. It would be a good idea if our civil codes existed to prevent and limit harm, and punish those who do harm, but that's not the way of the world.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Ignoring traffic rules is immoral. You put others at risk for your own convenience.

Laws against homosexuality and sodomy have gone away because it can not be shown to be harmful to others. Maybe not all, our civil codes exist to prevent and limit harm, and punish those who do harm.
Laws against homosexuality and sodomy have gone away because they were shown to be discriminatory. Laws against marijuana and obscenity and prostitution and internet poker haven't gone away even though they cannot be shown to be harmful to others. It would be a good idea if our civil codes existed to prevent and limit harm, and punish those who do harm, but that's not the way of the world.

Laws against gays and also against hetero oral sex went away because there is no evidence of harm to society as a whole.

I used drugs in high school and the 70s. Whether pot and all the other drugs are harnful in the long run IMO is an open question. Drugs including legal ones are creating a dependent society that relies on crutches, IMO. If it were not for a stromn lobby tobacco would be banned. I see the long term efects of it everyday in the facility I am in. Nicotine is highly addictive, people with lung cancer continue to smoke.As to prostituion it is harmful to the worked and society. Drugs and crime that is associated with it. You can argue that legalization eliminates that. Nevad has legal brothels. Women from Ca who work regular jubs spens high paying weekends at the upscale brothels.

If you become addicted to heroin or coke it is not just you that is harmed, it is family and friends. In the long run medical care. In high school in the 60s I knew a kid who used heroin. One night I walked around with him scoring. We went into his place and locked ourseves in the bathroom. I watched him cook and fix. Black scars on brown skin. His eyes rolled and legs wobbled. If you haven't seen it up close you have no fucking clue. He ended up dead in prison.

Legalize all drugs, with the caveat you are on your own. No insurance coverage for drug related problems. I support legal prostitution. Germany at least used to have regulated brothels. No pimps and exploitation, mandatory STD testing. Take awaynthe crime related to prostitution and the sex harms no one.

With imperfect humans we get an imperfect civil law system.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,599
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Morality and moral codes exist in order to allow human groups to survive in a harsh environment. It works so well, that at this point in time, the environment is threatened by us, most of the time. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality is to make us better humans.

Moral codes exist to protect existing status quos more than anything else. IOW moral systems protect existing power systems which tend to fail when conditions change which is not really a definition of fitness. Yes arrogance is extant in individual thinking just as is maximization and proportion estimations are perpetuated forms of statistical error in future estimation. None of them are valid nor serving of fitness nor are they part of natural law.
 

ruby sparks

Contributor
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
9,167
Location
Northern Ireland
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Agreed, breaking traffic rules is generally not immoral. I've been a motorcyclist for over 45 years, and have frequently done over 185MPH on public roads. That may be quite foolhardy, but it's not immoral.....but what if I got into an accident because of that speed, and killed someone? That feels immoral, but where does the line get drawn?

Arguably, somewhere closer to the legal speed limit. :)
 

ruby sparks

Contributor
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
9,167
Location
Northern Ireland
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
BTW, true story, a few weeks ago I was walking down a Copenhagen street in front of a big group of Italian tourists. I came across a bicycle that had fallen down. Probably blown down. I stopped to right it and made sure it stood more securely and kept on walking. Behind me the group of Italians had stopped to watch me, and when I was done they started clapping and cheering for me. I guess it's not common for Italians to do things like that.

You did well. Your personal sense of self worth and the reputation of Scandinavians in general were enhanced by, it seems, your noticing beforehand that the tourists were behind you.


I'm not being particularly sardonic. I tend to agree with your pov on morality, by and large. I often quote Mencken on this. He said, 'when people say we need god, they usually mean we need the police'. It doesn't hit the nail on the head precisely, but it's related, I think.

- - - Updated - - -

Morality has existed for seventy-odd million years longer than human groups have existed. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality has anything to do with humans.

I think I know what you're trying to say. But it is possible to say instead (or as well) that morality did not exist before humans and that as such it IS to do with humans.
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
7,493
Location
Deep South
Basic Beliefs
Pragmatic
Morality and moral codes exist in order to allow human groups to survive in a harsh environment. It works so well, that at this point in time, the environment is threatened by us, most of the time. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality is to make us better humans.

Moral codes exist to protect existing status quos more than anything else. IOW moral systems protect existing power systems which tend to fail when conditions change which is not really a definition of fitness. Yes arrogance is extant in individual thinking just as is maximization and proportion estimations are perpetuated forms of statistical error in future estimation. None of them are valid nor serving of fitness nor are they part of natural law.

Everybody doesn't like something, but a personal grudge against the power structure does not constitute an argument. I've never contended that morality is natural law, but it is a natural result of the human brain's reaction to threats to existence. If you think there is a better way, please propose it for consideration.

My statement stills stands and the fact that survival of human groups requires an authority structure, is a result of our survival strategy, not our actual strategy. Morality created the power structure, so why wouldn't a society's code preserve the status quo? Again, what alternative model would be better?

The power structure which puts a police force in existence, allows us to hold our property with some sense of security. That's a status quo that most people want to keep in place. The power structure is the source of building codes and traffic lights. If you want to see what life is like without a power structure, turn off the traffic light at a four way intersection. Suddenly people have to settle petty disputes, in groups of four at a time, while everyone else sits in traffic. It's very inefficient. The only reason such a thing is not a great threat to human society is the fact that one of the first things our power structure did was eliminate all the large predators which once killed and ate distracted humans.

People challenge the strictures of morality all the time. This is always seen when standards of living rise, and threats from the environment are put at bay. We can do that when we're not worried about jaguars.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Id go a little farther. The tendency towards hierarchical structure is likely in part genetic for us humans. The alpha male female mated wolf pair. Primates. The Abrahamic god as the ultimate alpha male. Wild horses compete for dominance and breeding rights.
 

Bomb#20

Contributor
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
6,248
Location
California
Gender
It's a free country.
Basic Beliefs
Rationalism
Morality has existed for seventy-odd million years longer than human groups have existed. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality has anything to do with humans.

I think I know what you're trying to say. But it is possible to say instead (or as well) that morality did not exist before humans and that as such it IS to do with humans.
Behavior homologous to human morality is also present in the other primates. Saying morality didn't exist before humans, and labeling monkeys punishing violation of monkey rules with some name other than "morality", and accusing those who call that monkey behavior "morality" of anthropomorphism, would be as perverse as insisting that walking didn't exist before humans and what dogs do doesn't qualify as "walking". The other primates do morality for the same reason we do it: because we share genes for it. It follows that morality doesn't exist to allow human groups to survive; morality exists to make more copies of morality genes in the gametes of lemurs and monkeys*.

(* And, perhaps, of bats -- it's not clear whether similar bat behavior is inherited from bats' and primates' common ancestor or is a case of convergent evolution.)
 

Bronzeage

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
7,493
Location
Deep South
Basic Beliefs
Pragmatic
Id go a little farther. The tendency towards hierarchical structure is likely in part genetic for us humans. The alpha male female mated wolf pair. Primates. The Abrahamic god as the ultimate alpha male. Wild horses compete for dominance and breeding rights.

Unfortunately for us, the human brain has evolved so many layers, we can no longer depend upon instinct. Our social structure must be learned.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,599
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Id go a little farther. The tendency towards hierarchical structure is likely in part genetic for us humans. The alpha male female mated wolf pair. Primates. The Abrahamic god as the ultimate alpha male. Wild horses compete for dominance and breeding rights.

Unfortunately for us, the human brain has evolved so many layers, we can no longer depend upon instinct. Our social structure must be learned.

Amazingly things seem to be coming together. We remember and analyse things that are unusual rather than just do. Spikepipsqueak wakes up all bushy tailed when she is unburdened by responsibility of children, fromderinside finds associations in terrifying driving experiences based on place where they took place and Bronzeage argues our brain is complex so learning is found distinct from instinct.

In fact all are expressions of interplay between memory and emotional context. We need not assign morality, learning, or instinct to situational material that is relevant. We only need to recognize it as being unusual, not normal, and we can throw all of these situations for understanding unusual social situations as the basis for recognizing we operate differently when we are confronted with such into the same box.

Morality is no more than a catchword for how we deal with that which is emotional and unexpected. It isn't fitness or necessary. It is just we have capacity to do things differently when we necessarily have to treat emotion and unusual objective environment together. What is different is that we are capable, all species for some time now, to deal with emotion and the unusual differently from the mundane and normal.

Now, knowing this is relevant need we supply intervening explanatory notions into this breech. I don't think so. Adding morality as a fitness construct when all that is necessary is to understand we have separate capacity to deal with the unusual situation in emotional context differently from the mundane seems a bit over the top. Just learn to understand we have separate capacity to deal with the unusual form the mundane should be enough.
 

ruby sparks

Contributor
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
9,167
Location
Northern Ireland
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Morality has existed for seventy-odd million years longer than human groups have existed. It is human arrogance which makes us think the purpose of morality has anything to do with humans.

I think I know what you're trying to say. But it is possible to say instead (or as well) that morality did not exist before humans and that as such it IS to do with humans.
Behavior homologous to human morality is also present in the other primates. Saying morality didn't exist before humans, and labeling monkeys punishing violation of monkey rules with some name other than "morality", and accusing those who call that monkey behavior "morality" of anthropomorphism, would be as perverse as insisting that walking didn't exist before humans and what dogs do doesn't qualify as "walking". The other primates do morality for the same reason we do it: because we share genes for it. It follows that morality doesn't exist to allow human groups to survive; morality exists to make more copies of morality genes in the gametes of lemurs and monkeys*.

(* And, perhaps, of bats -- it's not clear whether similar bat behavior is inherited from bats' and primates' common ancestor or is a case of convergent evolution.)

I think we agree a lot, but at the same time I think it does depend to some extent on what is meant by morality. So, for example, it might not be too hard for me to mostly agree with your first sentence, that morality, or at least behaviour homologous to it (which is already not exactly the same thing by definition, unless one is a strict behaviourist) existed before humans. Though I still couldn't agree that it hasn't anything to do with humans, even were I to consider 'behaviour homologous' as equivalent (which I sort of don't fully). I might say 'not as much to do with humans as most humans think' or 'not exclusively to do with humans' and agree that there is arrogance (and vanity) at play.
 
Last edited:

Jobar

Zen Hedonist
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Messages
1,102
Location
Georgia
Basic Beliefs
atheist/pantheist
The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would be done by.
The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
The Silver Rule: Do *not* unto others what you would not have them do to you.
The Brass Rule: Do unto others as they do to you.
The Iron Rule: Do unto others as you will.

The more noble the metal, the more moral the actions it requires of us. But it's the sad and sorry truth that there are circumstances where we can't always apply the Platinum or Golden Rule; there are people who will shamelessly and blatantly abuse anyone who tries to treat them morally. In the most extreme case, in open warfare, you use the Iron Rule, or you die.

If one is to behave morally, one has to be alive; so moral behavior requires us to first assure our survival, in most situations. Yes, sacrificing your own life may be seen as the highest demonstration of moral excellence, sometimes. But if you do that for unworthy and immoral people, who would never do the same for you or for others, your sacrifice will reduce the general morality of human beings, not increase it.

I think that the most moral action is that which will increase the general morality of the human race. If that action involves killing some barbarian, criminal, or scumbag, so be it.
 

untermensche

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
24,504
Location
Here
Basic Beliefs
magic mood ring
Id go a little farther. The tendency towards hierarchical structure is likely in part genetic for us humans. The alpha male female mated wolf pair. Primates. The Abrahamic god as the ultimate alpha male. Wild horses compete for dominance and breeding rights.

Rape was probably part of the hierarchical structure at one time, for a long time.

Overcoming harmful hierarchical structures is a task for humans.

None are inevitable.

That is the difference between humans and other organisms.
 

ruby sparks

Contributor
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
9,167
Location
Northern Ireland
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Fwiw and to answer the OP question directly, no, I am not a moral person. Or better to say that I definitely do not consider myself a moral person, because that latter allows for the infinitesimally small chance of me being wrong in the first statement, which would be fab, but then so would winning the lottery tomorrow.

I am a flawed mixture. Also, the mixture fluctuates. Sometimes I do 'good' things and sometimes I do 'bad' things. I'm not going to go into specific details about the latter here, obviously, but take it from me, I have done, am doing and almost certainly will do them.

There's this annoying guilt thing, especially for the ones that I don't get caught at or punished for, but it doesn't seem like the guilt is enough to stop me.
 
Last edited:

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Fwiw and to answer the OP question directly, no, I am not a moral person. Or better to say that I definitely do not consider myself a moral person, because that latter allows for the infinitesimally small chance of me being wrong in the first statement, which would be fab, but then so would winning the lottery tomorrow.

I am a flawed mixture. Also, the mixture fluctuates. Sometimes I do 'good' things and sometimes I do 'bad' things. I'm not going to go into specific details about the latter here, obviously, but take it from me, I have done, am doing and almost certainly will do them.

There's this annoying guilt thing, especially for the ones that I don't get caught at or punished for, but it doesn't seem like the guilt is enough to stop me.

The question is how you define good and bad. If you see no difference between doing good and bad then you are amoral, and I would trust you about as far as I could throw you. If you have no empathy or remorse for having hurt someone in the worse cases you are labeled sociopath and or psychopath and are considered a danger to society.

- - - Updated - - -

Id go a little farther. The tendency towards hierarchical structure is likely in part genetic for us humans. The alpha male female mated wolf pair. Primates. The Abrahamic god as the ultimate alpha male. Wild horses compete for dominance and breeding rights.

Rape was probably part of the hierarchical structure at one time, for a long time.

Overcoming harmful hierarchical structures is a task for humans.

None are inevitable.

That is the difference between humans and other organisms.

Which is more harmful, chaos or structure?
 
Top Bottom