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Featured Can science reconcile different moral positions?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by infrabenji, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    I wanted to get opinions. I’ve had several conversations on line on the subject of morality. There are so many philosophical positions one can hold and many seem to be exclusive, on their own accounts, and have ardent defenders. Is morality neural and societal simultaneously? Subjectively, our thoughts are intangible and, in a manner of speaking, come from nowhere. Objectively, we can show that thoughts are the result of neural processes that are observable. Is the ANS and PSNS, their effects on brain chemistry, and their evolutionary traits sufficient to explain the origins of moral objectivity and subjectivity? Can science reconcile the differences in philosophical positions on morality? Can biological and psychological altruism account for both objective truth and subjective value judgment? Or are they mutually exclusive? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
     
  2. Snow White

    Snow White Veteran Member

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    I see morality as something that comes from within, but I do believe health, mental health, and emotional health, all play a role in a person's ability to act moral. So if religion does improve a person's health, mental health, and emotional health, then it does indeed have the side effect of making a person more moral.
     
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  3. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Probably not, but I think it can point out that they are subjective, and I still see that as useful to removing conflict between cultures.
     
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  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Veteran Member
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    Human morality is a mix of evolved moral tendencies (appropriate for gregarious primates who get enormous benefits from cooperation), evolved equipment with the conscience and the capacity for empathy, and the rest largely cultural.

    The evolved moral tendencies are child nurture and protection, dislike of the one who harms, like of fairness and reciprocity, respect for authority, loyalty to the group; and a sense of self-worth through self-denial.

    The rest ─ how to encounter the opposite and same sex, those older, younger or same age, those related or strangers, those your social inferiors, equals or superiors, various kinds of authority (boss, doctor, teacher, police, guru &c), observances for birth, coming of age, bonding and death, the rules of excretion ─ and so on ─ we get from our upbringing, culture, education and experience.
    Contribute to the debate, yes. Resolve, I doubt.
    Sorry, I don't understand the question. Or perhaps, see above.
     
    #4 blü 2, Aug 9, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  5. Aštra’el

    Aštra’el Aštara, Blade of Aštoreth

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    No.
     
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  6. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    Often in my conversations about morality a person will already have a position of certainty such as morality can only be subjective. Do you see objective morality and subjective morality as mutually exclusive?
     
  7. blü 2

    blü 2 Veteran Member
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    There is only objective morality in the sense of our evolved tendencies (and conscience and empathy). And it's often difficult to say what's objective about a tendency which in humans has to compete with need, indifference, appetite, desire, duty, obligation, custom, obedience to authority, accident, opacity of the situation and all the things that make us human and social.

    Against that background, "good" is what pleases me, what favors me and mine and the causes I support; and "bad" is what is displeasing or unfavorable. It's sometimes seemed to me that if I were a dolphin the most moral thing I could do for me and mine was wipe out the human race.
     
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  8. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Morality is seen though the mirror of our individual minds. it is never objective.
    However we can come to local collective conclusions about morality.
    They are never complete or permanent and are subject to change.
    Scientists can have opinions about morality, and subject themselves to it limitations.
    But science itself can only investigate the causes of our opinions. morality itself is outside its remit.
     
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  9. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    That’s really interesting. It makes me think of objectivity and subjectivity as existing in a state of superposition. Like Schrödinger’s cat. In the thought experiment the cat ends up both dead and alive at the same time, right? Because the existence of a cat that is both dead and alive at the same time is absurd and does not happen in the real world, it shows that a conscious observer is not needed? Can an objective altruism be applied independently of a conscious driven observer? Does perception alter reality outside of the spectators consciousness? If not, it seems to follow that objective altruism is not dependent on the perception of the observer. If, for example the cat is dead, this state of reality exists independently and has the quality of being fact. It doesn’t seem dependent on a conscious being to make a value judgement about its state to exist in that state. Maybe moralism is simply a reflection of evolutionary traits existing as facts in reality among all organisms? When value judgements are applied it doesn’t effect the de facto state of reality, but adds modifiers in which the non corporeal contribution of data can be applied. It seems that objective and subjective morality are not mutually exclusive and that objective precludes subjective and that subjective morality itself is a by product of reality.
     
  10. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    That’s really interesting. It makes me think of objectivity and subjectivity as existing in a state of superposition. Like Schrödinger’s cat. In the thought experiment the cat ends up both dead and alive at the same time, right? Because the existence of a cat that is both dead and alive at the same time is absurd and does not happen in the real world, it shows that a conscious observer is not needed? Can an objective altruism be applied independently of a conscious driven observer? Does perception alter reality outside of the spectators consciousness? If not, it seems to follow that objective altruism is not dependent on the perception of the observer. If, for example the cat is dead, this state of reality exists independently and has the quality of being fact. It doesn’t seem dependent on a conscious being to make a value judgement about its state to exist in that state. Maybe moralism is simply a reflection of evolutionary traits existing as facts in reality among all organisms? When value judgements are applied it doesn’t effect the de facto state of reality, but adds modifiers in which the non corporeal contribution of data can be applied. It seems that objective and subjective morality are not mutually exclusive and that objective precludes subjective and that subjective morality itself is a by product of reality.
     
  11. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Science can certainly develop explanatory hypotheses for some aspects of social behaviour that seem to suggest a form of morality. One can see such things elsewhere in the animal kingdom too, in the form of cooperative and altruistic behaviour, love for, and preservation of, the young, even social rules regarding respect for private property and so forth.

    We don't as yet have any scientific account of how or why human beings have elevated such behaviour into abstract "morality" in their thinking. But that's part of a far wider issue of our current lack of understanding of mental processes more generally.

    At a practical level it seems to me the answer to the OP question is "no". Science has little useful to say about different moral positions in general. Though it's always true that understanding science can help an individual in forming moral positions on certain issues (euthanasia, medical prolongation of life, reproductive morality, climate change and so forth).
     
    #11 exchemist, Aug 9, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Morality is no more than a codification of opinion concerning right and wrong.
    Like all opinion it is subjective.
    even when applied collectively.
    It has no reality of itself.

    A majority view of morality, is still only one of many possible views.
    Morality is never an absolute.
     
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  13. blü 2

    blü 2 Veteran Member
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    The Golden Rule of evolution is to survive long enough to breed. Humans typically wince at the wasp laying its eggs in a living caterpillar which the hatchling will eat, but the wasp is geared to what works. We have morality because we're gregarious and we need social cohesion if we're to have the best chance for our tribe to survive. It's always about us; that subjective element always has priority, because if it doesn't, we die out.
    And ALL morality is relative. The number of absolute moral statements is zero.

    For instance, how can you objectively justify a statement like, "The human race must survive at any cost"? Why not, "The marmots must survive at any cost"?
     
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  14. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Okay ,a drive-by regarding the word objective:
    - expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.
    - of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.
    - having reality independent of the mind.
    - involving or deriving from sense perception or experience with actual objects, conditions, or phenomena.
    Definition of OBJECTIVE

    Now if you check the usage of the word, you can learn to spot the following: If someone can do something subjectively, they can subjectively claim it is objective and get away with it, because they can do it subjectively.
     
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  15. blü 2

    blü 2 Veteran Member
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    Hmm.

    Strange.

    This post appears not to be here.

    Perhaps it doesn't exist?

    Or could it be somewhere else?
     
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  16. MikeF

    MikeF Proponent of RAEism
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    Could you elaborate on what ANS and PSNS are? I am not familiar with those acronyms.
     
  17. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Northern scum

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    No, you've just got them on Ignore.
     
  18. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    The autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
     
  19. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    My fiancé has plans for me the next couple days. So I won’t be able to be on the forum. Thought you might enjoy this paper. Biological Altruism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
     
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  20. infrabenji

    infrabenji Active Member

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    You might find this interesting. I’ll be out the next couple days.
    Biological Altruism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
     
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