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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Member Since: Sun Jan 02, 2011
Posts: 2,113
Subj: Re: Morality is progressive, and is decided by society.
Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 at 04:13:18 pm EST (Viewed 173 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Morality is progressive, and is decided by society.
Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 at 03:15:48 pm EST (Viewed 181 times)


      To a point, sure. Some things do seem to have older roots than others. Like murder for instance. There have always been "buts" though.

    The thing is, even lower animals understand that killing members of their own species is 'wrong' and has consequences for the 'society' of those animals. Animals have a sense of inner-species trust while hunting in packs, for example. We could not have evolved, or grown to this point in societal advancement, if we killed our own casually (with the caveat that human tribalism is about seeing other cultures/groups as the 'other').

    It's almost a genetic law, rather than a moral one. We need to cooperate in order to exist.

    Laws against killing -- even Biblical laws -- are designed to deal with aberrations of the norm, rather than actually prevent everyone from killing each other. Our nature state is not to kill each other. Morality can be boiled down further as simply cooperation and co-existence within the species.

This gets more complicated in biology though, I do not totally disagree with the premise for humans in most ways.

It does not even need to be within species. Sharks learn that killing the lampray or similar fish is not good because they help them. Same with other symbiotic relationships. In Africa we see huge herds of various herbivores (even a few carnivores mixed in but are barely tolerated) together peacefully. Not saying it is all peace and hugging but they collect in these large groups for water and share it just fine across potentially massive evolutionary distances.

Even microbes that have been thought to exist in isolation have complex social relationships with one another. Sometimes antagonistic but not always. Many times the opposite or indifferent towards the others. Qorum sensing in a species or intraspecies can be important, symbiosis or responding to other organisms signalling gives all sorts of cues.

Things really are quite complicated. As an evolutionary technique one could argue that while the battle for scarce resources is important and critical, not being needlessly antagonistic conserves energy and generally enhances fitness. Not in every case but it seems to be a common theme.

Early on I think we mistakenly thought, particularly at the microbe level, that it was always a battle. Sometimes it is, a fair bit it is not. Even the immune system, usually thought to be at war all the time, has a complex relationship with numerous microbes that make up the microbiome (particularly of the intestine but also the lung). Some of these microbes it is in the bodies best interest to allow them to do their thing. And they are largely left unmolested.

Really cool stuff. Again, I am not saying it is all sunshine, but in a fair bit of biology live and let live really has a role. Animals eating each other throws a bit of a wrench in aspects of that but even then those animals do not go on murderous rampages. They kill and eat because that is their food source. They do not just go out and wipe a species out because they made the choice that "I hate antelopes".

I digress. Overall it is just an interesting thought that so many things live in ecosystems that are interacting in such complex ways and dependencies on each other. That can be both antagonistic or cooperative depending on many factors.


      Sure, but one can make the same point you are at other times. Many or all of these beliefs are also subject to change over time as different text are read with an eye of the time as opposed to the past. Or rather an interpretation supporting what they want it to say.


        As in honesty, the Bible (I am picking it out because I am considering the US and my debates with creationists) really does not say much on modern issues. Some pretend it does but it really does not. There was even a very good book on the subject a year or so ago by a few Biblical scholars.

    I think there's a role for religion as a philosophical tool, even a moral guideline, but using it as a strict source for morality can be very tricky, and requires a lot of cherry picking. According to Christians, God is a progressive being because he basically reformed his old laws when he reincarnated as Jesus (hence they refer to the New Testament and not the Old). As Jesus, he even suggested that the old laws were wrong and outdated (e.g. when asked if it was moral or just to stone an adulterer). If God can change his mind, then these laws are not immutable to begin with and can be modernized.

Isn't that one interpretation of it? That is what I grew up with, but one could argue that Jesus himself lived by Old Testament law. If a Christian's goal is to live like Jesus than understanding all of it would be required to some extent.

I agree with you, just saying that it requires some degree of cherry picking either way.

    Buddhism is analogous to Christianity in that they (or he, if Buddha existed) tried to reform the old Brahman laws that were a bit outdated and were producing problems for society. Buddhism went a step further and removed the 'God' component from the moral equation, while retaining a strong spiritual element.

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