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Changing Morals

Discussion in 'Ethics and Morals' started by Harel13, May 31, 2020.

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  1. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    Based on some comments I read recently here on RF, in particularly one (unfortunately, I can't remember who said it or where) in which the poster said something along the lines of "Human morality changes over time to best suit the survival of mankind/society."
    When I asked, they answered that if, in the future, for example, it turned out that raping women (I think that was the example we used) was the best means of survival, then yes, it would in fact be okay and moral.

    To any who agree with this view, I'd like to pose a few hypothetical questions:

    Say you are shown a window into the future, and indeed the future is fraught with what we may consider nowadays immoral - murder, rape, theft, [insert whatever you may feel is currently immoral], etc. And you are told that this is the best way the human race can survive.

    a. Would you appreciate the future society's continuing evolving morality?
    b. From your POV in the present, would you view those people in the future as moral?
    c. Had it been up to you, if there was another way for the human species to survive, bearing in mind that the best way is to do said acts, would you prefer going for the best way or for a different way, which may be considered in the present as more moral, but in the future, not the best or easiest way for mankind to survive?

    I hope I made sense...

    Note: I'm not interested in attacking any sort of view, I would just like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
     
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  2. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Changing with the winds is not a productive way to be moral.

    If everyone chose immorality for their morality it still would never make it right.

    Those things are never moral.

    Is the human condition that bad today that we have to ask these kinds of questions?

    It freaks me out!
     
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  3. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    I hope not, but more and more people seem to say that morals are subjective. That comment (that I haven't been able to track down) sort of clinched it for me: is this a possible future?
     
  4. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    I don't really think these are questions that can be answered in a meaningful way, due to the example alone. Obviously murdering, theft etc. is not beneficial when it comes to surviving due to the very nature of them.

    I do however agree with the person that used it as example, even though I assume they used it simply to make a point.

    No and again it would be highly unlikely that such society would survive to the future if that were considered the best way of survival.

    No, not from my point of view. But as the person making the example. Unless you can point out raping, killing etc. as being objectively morally wrong. Then from the future peoples point of view, assuming that the women and those having friends etc murdered. All agree that this is absolutely the most moral best thing to do, then yes it is morally right from their perspective. Again why I don't think the question makes a lot of sense, as I doubt most women and people having loved ones murdered would agree that it was good.

    Don't understand the question. Can you rephrase it?
     
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  5. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    You may insert any sort of example you wish.
    I think I was the one who brought up the example...:sweatsmile:
    Say you are now the person about to decide the fate of mankind: will it pick survival route a or survival route b? Survival route a is something that in the present is deemed immoral by many (again, insert whatever example you want) but is also the best chance of survival for mankind. Survival route b skirts around the immoralities but isn't the best chance of survival for mankind (maybe not everyone will make it, maybe life will just be harder in general, etc).
    What would you choose?
     
  6. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    I really hope and pray that it is not possible. I hope it is an anomaly.

    I'd be interested in data about how many people view morality as based on personal, subjective feelings.

    To me it clearly and obviously is not.
     
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  7. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    I think there are things that may be considered moral when we get to face distinct scenarios. But it is hard to imagine how rape could ever be moral.
     
  8. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    Which is why I wrote:
     
  9. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    An interesting take on the question of absolute or relative morals.

    I see human moral as routed in human evolution as a social species. Empathy is innate and beneficial. But empathy is only the basis. All social animals have some kind of it. Human moral is different as we also reflect upon our empathic behaviour and especially on the cases where it fails us. We know of no animal who does that.
    So moral is based in reflexes but it only becomes morality when we start thinking about it. That makes morality more than a survival tool and the future you envisioned unlikely.

    The Evolution of Morality
    Since the time we started thinking about morals, our understanding has matured. Philosopher never stopped evaluating our ideas of morality and they've come up with systems, models and tools that made us more moral over time (on average, with some nasty bumps in the road).
    I can see human morality degrading temporarily in a time of hardship (see bumps in the road) but the general tendency is towards a higher morality.

    I don't call people in past immoral when they couldn't know better and I wouldn't call future people immoral when they had lost the knowledge we have today, but with our current understanding I don't see us going back.
     
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  10. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    Could you clarify a bit on this?
     
  11. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    It is such an odd question, Ill give you that :D

    Im not even sure how you would come up with a meaningful example of "Survival route a is something that in the present is deemed immoral by many (again, insert whatever example you want) but is also the best chance of survival for mankind."

    The reason being that most things that are considered immoral today, lets just say murdering as an example. is not really impacting our survivability. Meaning less people are murdered each year than there are people born. So we would have to take it to the extreme and increase the rate of murdering with like X amount Making the world a complete slaughter house.

    Even if we go with something like abortion which many people considers immoral, doesn't really impact our survivability. So I don't really know how to answer, because I can't even think of an example in the first place :D
     
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  12. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Think, for example, about the traditional role of women. From an evolutionary point of view there is no reason for not leaving it at that. Only through thinking about equality did we realise women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. It didn't come "natural" to us. In fact we had to fight our reflexes and, possibly, our evolutionary viability.
     
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  13. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Yes, I very much support morals and ethics evolve by the evidence in history. Considering the evidence in history Your hypothetical deterioration of morals and ethics is what we could face in the future more reflects the morals and ethics of some ancient tribal societies, and we are moving away from these ancient standards . The evolution of tribal morals and ethics to contemporary morals and ethics is that rape is becoming more immoral over time in today's contemporary standards.

    I am looking forward, at present there are many cultures where the standards of morals and ethics are tribal with different standards for those outside their cultural paradigm.

    I would differentiate whether humans are immoral or moral, and what are moral and ethical standards of a culture differently. I consider the moral and ethical on the international perspective to be superior to ancient tribal moral and ethical standard.

    This get's more complicated. First, I would never contemplate a standard of morals and ethics that would be 'up to me.' Second, the evidence indicates that there has been a basic human morals and ethics since humans have always been human that promote the cohesive stable social structure at the family, and tribal societies.Third, there are foundation morals and ethical standards that have always been human. What is evolving is the broader expansion of a standard of morals and ethics that are evolving and extended beyond the tribal standard to an international standard. Based on the evolution of morals for example the ending slavery, particularly slavery of foreigners is evolving in response to the needs of contemporary international world..
     
    #13 shunyadragon, May 31, 2020
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  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    As it happens, @Harel13, one of the questions in the evolutionary sciences is why humans rape. How did we evolve into a species for which that behavior is even possible, let alone a frequent event?

    It is a fact that observed rapes are rare to non-existent in the vast majority of primate species. Certainly there are no species in which it is actually common --- other than humans. So why humans?

    If you go with the thinking of 40 or 50 years ago, the reason is simple. We evolved to become a species whose behaviors are entirely learned. That is, a species totally free of any genetically-rooted, instinctual basis for our behaviors. Unfortunately, that thinking doesn't hold water these days, even though an old guard still clings to it. The evidence that all human behaviors are rooted in our genes to at least one degree or another has become overwhelming.

    So if you accept that, then the questions in the OP take on a new light. It is no longer a matter of a daughter species becoming rapists. It is instead a matter of our own species being rapists. So, to answer the three questions in the OP:

    a.) Not sure what you mean, but it is a logical fallacy to claim that a behavior is moral on the mere grounds that it is natural. Morality has little to do with what is the case, and everything to do with what ought to be the case. And in my opinion, it's tragic that our species evolved rape as a reproductive strategy. From a moral standpoint, the act can have such devastating consequences that I am not convinced even the survival of our species morally justified rape. In a way, it's a 'quality v quantity' issue. Do you want to survive? But at what cost?

    b.) I do not view rape as rendering humanity on the whole immoral anymore than I view acts of kindness as rending us moral. Overall, whether we are to be thought of as a moral or immoral species would need brains bigger than ours to calculate. There are just too many comparisons and contrasts involved. e.g. do the atrocities of one war balance out all the acts of kindness of an entire generation? That sort of thing. How can one resolve such issues?

    c.) Again, not sure what you mean, but if I had my druthers, we would be less likely to rape than gorillas, and there has yet to be an clear-cut observation of a gorilla raping a gorilla.
     
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  15. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Human morality is based on human survival. Morality is a prosocial behavioral concept. It does change with time depending on the situations which cause such prosocial behavior to control human behavior for the situation presented.
    Yes human morality is evolving. What else would you expect???? New situations require new morality decisions. If you as for an example. Well the time when early parts of the bible were written the idea of be fruitful and multiply makes sense. Now with over population outstripping the carrying capacity of the earth should cause a "god" that cares to say "Ok that's enough, you are destroying my creation on earth, but do you see this "god" saying this? the answer is NO!
    Our morality must change if humans want to survive on planet earth!!!!!
     
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  16. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    I think morals are subjective...but that doesn't mean anything goes, or that there is 'less' morality.

    Happy to take whatever questions you wish, but the OP looks like hypothetical and extreme extrapolation of what 'subjective' means.
     
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  17. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    By the witness of the history of humanity morals and ethics have both objective and subjective attributes, The consistency of morals and ethics throughout human history in the evolving social dynamic of human societies, and from culture to culture has an objective basis, Some attributes of the variability of morality and ethics may based on subjective attributes of being human.

    Some consider morals and ethics to be subjective based on the belief that morals and ethics are based on individual choice of some sort, but no morals and ethics are tied to the culture or society that the individuals belong.
     
    #17 shunyadragon, May 31, 2020
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  18. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    I think we probably talk about these in slightly different terms, but basically we agree.
    I use the word 'subjective' where I know some other would say 'objective', but I certainly wouldn't be arguing that subjective morals are determined by individual choice (at least, not in the vast majority of cases).

    And yes, there are consistent moral premises that appear repetitively across societal and geographic barriers. But taking 'rape' as an example, the definition of what is rape, and whether it's 'acceptable' is actually pretty varied. Moving forwards I couldn't imagine any scenario where rape is morally acceptable (even given my belief that morals are subjective) but in the past I could name some distinct examples where it was.
     
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  19. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Of course, you can name distinct examples of subjective attributes of morals and ethics, but the foundation of morals and ethics lie in the social evolution of an intelligent social omnivore that required morals and ethics to maintain cohesive family and tribal organization to survive.
     
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  20. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    How can it be rape Or theft if the (as per your definition) everyone including the victim of rape and of theft think that is the right thing to do? Same for murder.

    Rape would just be consensual sex.
    Theft would just be property transfer.
    Murder would just be heroic sacrifice.

    So no, they will not be immoral.... obviously.
     
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