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Thread: Is morality innate or inherited?

  1. #1 Is morality innate or inherited? 
    Forum Freshman HB3l1's Avatar
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    Are we born with the sense of what's bad and wrong or are we are taught by parents,society and medias during our growing up?


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    Little bit of both.


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    I think morality is mostly cultural, although saying that there does seem to be evidence that people (and other animals) have an innate sense of "that's unfair to me" which may influence moral thinking. Unless it's just jealously rather than unfairness.
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    there does seem to be evidence that people (and other animals) have an innate sense of "that's unfair to me" which may influence moral thinking
    That's the first thing that came to my mind. If we have an innate sense of "fair", which I would contend is linked in some way to innate number sense, then we have a neat, ready-made foundation on which we can build more elaborate ideas of morality.

    Though of course it's not just quantity that affects the sense of fair-unfair. There are also issues - most importantly, comparisons - of desirability and quality.

    These 2 videos, 1 brief, 1 TED talk, give an introduction to moral issues within animals. It would be very surprising if we were born with less innate inclinations to morality than our closest relatives exhibit along with other animals with strong intelligence.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbb27GQ_X1I&hd=1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk&hd=1
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    I think we all have an inherited sense of "tit for tat" kind of thinking, and that we do inherit morals not in a "family belief" way but in a positive social way and it these traits that allowed us to evolve together in communities and to have a natural want of friendship/companionship. but i truly believe negative moralities are taught and i think the real question is asking whats taught to be morally acceptable in different cultures things like racism, woman abuse, child exploitation, these are all products of culture and cultural greed. Even events like the holocaust become justified to the instigators of such behaviors and actions. that type of hatred and cruelty towards your fellow human beings can never be inherited.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Little bit of both.
    I agree; it is a bit of both.


    I don’t think questions of value or moral beliefs can be derived from science. That usually results in what’s called naturalistic fallacies – the idea that because something is natural, it must be good or right. That said, there are parts of the brain, like the prefrontal cortex, that when damaged result in socio-pathic behaviour, and this has been known for many years. Many people are familiar with the famous story in neurology of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker in 1848 who had an iron rod driven through his skull and lived, damaging his prefrontal cortex. His intelligence and memory seemed relatively normal but his personality changed radically. He was previously good natured and hard working and became belligerent, violent, irresponsible, and foul mouthed. Another famous case is Charles Whitman in 1966, who killed his mother and wife, and went on a shooting spree at the University of Texas, killing 14 people and wounding 31 others, including the ambulance workers who tried to help the victims. Whitman knew something had changed horribly in his thinking, and said so in a suicide note. He asked that an autopsy be done, which found a tumour pressing on his amygdala, a part of the brain associated with emotions like fear and rage.


    I don’t think that brain damage like that described above results in people making different moral decisions, or bad moral decisions. I think they are no longer capable of making any moral decision – that is, the question isn’t even addressed because the part of the brain that normally does that is no longer functioning or connected to other parts of the brain.


    The prefrontal cortex is not the fountain of moral values. From what I've read, it’s more like a judge in a court room that listens to evidence or pleas from all parts of the brain and arrives at a decision. And although we tend to think of “rational” responses as being more moral than our “animal urges,” that isn’t always true. One study showed that when forced to make an quick decision, people were more generous and and less selfish than when they had time to mull it over, and do a cost-benefit analysis. The experimenters were actually expecting the opposite result.


    I don’t think you can take a particular moral or political belief or idea and predict it neurologically. Interestingly, on brain scans, fervent liberals and hardcore conservatives were more similar to one another neurologically than they were like either moderate liberals or moderate conservatives.



    Although religion, education and philosophy like to take credit for civilizing human beings and teaching us to resist our brutish impulses, I think humans are hardwired for cooperation and empathy, every bit as much as aggression and competition. We are a social species, like elephants and wolves, and we nurture our young through a lengthy childhood. Survival of the group requires cooperation and reciprocal favours, but biological altruism goes beyond simply “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” A lot of work has been done on mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire when you perform an action, but also when you watch someone else perform that action. They are thought to be the basis of learning complex skills. They fire when you’re pain, but also when you witness others experiencing pain.


    Some people, like Richard Dawkins, feel that altruism contradicts “survival of the fittest”, but there are evolutionary benefits to empathy. If I know how you feel, I can better predict what you will do, whether you are more likely to share food with me or club me over the head. I can also learn from your mishaps without having to suffer the consequences myself, but in order for that lesson to make a strong impression, I have to, as Bill Clinton used to say “feel your pain.” And the natural response to pain is to try to stop it. Supposedly, even rats will try to free another trapped rat in distress if they know how.
    Last edited by DianeG; January 29th, 2014 at 05:28 PM.
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    I think its mostly taught. Much of the teaching isn't deliberate, but a matter of seeing positive and negative examples and the consequences of each. Some children are never exposed to positive examples and never learn the value of moral behavior. In my view, selfishness is pretty much the natural state and people only behave unselfishly when they are given reasons to do so.
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    In my view, selfishness is pretty much the natural state and people only behave unselfishly when they are given reasons to do so.


    I'm not so sure that science supports your opinion. Humans are social animals, and most social animals exhibit altruistic behaviors to some degree, particularly strong towards kin--and probably without any reasoning at all.

    I think it's far more likely morality to be more like language, where humans are hardwired to pick it up, and that natural ability is developed through learning. Our "natural state" is probably to act unselfishly with immediate family and remain neutral to other humans--the rest, for good or evil is developed by learning.
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    i think its depends on the society we grown up to and of course the family, including self study @ discovery.
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    I think it depends on culture....not all things acceptable in one is acceptable in another.

    In the end, it comes down to what you feel is moral.
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    Morality is defined by plants as a spectrum of responsibility. Good/evil, right/wrong, bad/good are just separations and that is not morality. Morality is all responsibility and no control.
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    I'd argue that we (most of us) have an innate ability to empathise with others (or those we allow ourselves to empathise with), which i've always took to be the foundation of morality. The ability to act on this empathy however is another matter, which I believe to be more of a cultural artifact.
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    I am unclear on what moral the idea of morality refers to.
    Are you talking about a specific set of morals that some people adhere to?
    Are you talking about morals and morality as general operating procedures we have a genetically coded preference for following?
    I don't know quite what the question means because the concept of moral is not well enough defined.

    I can point out that most of the morals taught by major religions are there to facilitate business and government.
    For example in Islam there are moral rules covering hospitality. A stranger requesting hospitality not only gets a meal and a place to sleep, they get protected against attacks. Even if it places the host at risk. A similar concept is displayed in the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah. In trading nations that depended upon caravans for their survival protecting the caravans from robbers was paramount. In the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah the great sin was not the sexual perversion. It was the attack on the travelers including the rape threat. So in this case the morality is definitely taught.

    However dogs can sense the fairness of rewards and understand recipricosity, so some of what we consider moral is innate to social beings.
    The specifics vary a lot on that though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think it's far more likely morality to be more like language, where humans are hardwired to pick it up, and that natural ability is developed through learning. Our "natural state" is probably to act unselfishly with immediate family and remain neutral to other humans--the rest, for good or evil is developed by learning.
    I would agree with this except for the part about remaining neutral to others. The history of man is mostly a history of various wars. The games and sports we like to play tend to be simulations of wars. In this we are like other social animals, like wolves or lions, who cooperate within their own pack or pride, but who are territorial and defend their territory against outsiders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    In this we are like other social animals, like wolves or lions, who cooperate within their own pack or pride, but who are territorial and defend their territory against outsiders.
    In which case, since it is a "defense" scenario, wouldn't apply to prove either of our points. And unlike wolves and lions, our tribal history also shows cooperative large scale trade and get-togethers at neutral locations to exchange goods, marriage partners, play competitive games etc.
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    Evolution does not care about morality. Evolution only cares about what works best most of the time. In desert environments scorpion exceed the carrying capacity of the environment all of the time but as a species they can do it because they kill and eat their young on sight. So I suppose cannibalism works for desert scorpions and is moral for them.

    Wolves need to cooperate in packs to kill enough prey to survive. If they were killing and eating each other on sight they would be unable to form a pack and they would all starve to death.
    So cannibalism would not work and would be immoral to them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    In this we are like other social animals, like wolves or lions, who cooperate within their own pack or pride, but who are territorial and defend their territory against outsiders.
    In which case, since it is a "defense" scenario, wouldn't apply to prove either of our points. And unlike wolves and lions, our tribal history also shows cooperative large scale trade and get-togethers at neutral locations to exchange goods, marriage partners, play competitive games etc.
    We have culture in addition to instinctive drives, and so our definitions of the in group is much more flexible than animals who have more fixed behaviors. An exceptional example of behavior does not disprove the rule; otherwise a dispute within a family would show that the general rule of cooperation within a family is not true. Territorial animals are not above invading the neighbors or having a fight over disputed territory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    In this we are like other social animals, like wolves or lions, who cooperate within their own pack or pride, but who are territorial and defend their territory against outsiders.
    In which case, since it is a "defense" scenario, wouldn't apply to prove either of our points. And unlike wolves and lions, our tribal history also shows cooperative large scale trade and get-togethers at neutral locations to exchange goods, marriage partners, play competitive games etc.
    trade and get togethers are also behaviours. These and other social behaviours are also evolutionary. If you think engaging in trade does not increase most people's chances of survival most of the time just look around at the wealth of trading nations. Does trading replace taking by theft or war? Of course not and to think so would be falling victim to the false dichotomy of either/or thinking.
    The best survival strategy can, usually is, a mix of behaviours that can be varied to suit the circumstances.Trading is one set of strategies for gaining resources when you have excess of another resource. It is much less risky and much less costly than war. War is for when trading, negotiating, or relying on family ties fail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    The best survival strategy can, usually is, a mix of behaviours that can be varied to suit the circumstances.Trading is one set of strategies for gaining resources when you have excess of another resource. It is much less risky and much less costly than war. War is for when trading, negotiating, or relying on family ties fail.
    The best survival strategy also depends on who you're playing with. The game of Prisoner's Dilemma has been used to study various behavior strategies with analogies to biological systems, economics, etc.
    Prisoner's dilemma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The strategy of tit for tat or some variations seem to work best most of the time. Of course, if everybody always cooperated with everybody else, that would be the best outcome. If you do that, though, you'll run across some "players" using a different strategy. So that's not going to turn out to be the rational choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    In this we are like other social animals, like wolves or lions, who cooperate within their own pack or pride, but who are territorial and defend their territory against outsiders.
    In which case, since it is a "defense" scenario, wouldn't apply to prove either of our points. And unlike wolves and lions, our tribal history also shows cooperative large scale trade and get-togethers at neutral locations to exchange goods, marriage partners, play competitive games etc.
    trade and get togethers are also behaviours. These and other social behaviours are also evolutionary. If you think engaging in trade does not increase most people's chances of survival most of the time just look around at the wealth of trading nations. Does trading replace taking by theft or war? Of course not and to think so would be falling victim to the false dichotomy of either/or thinking.
    I'm not arguing either way, and as you point out, humans to a great degree are capable of being antagonist or benevolent to strangers depending on circumstance...reinforcing my point that the default is probably neutral.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Evolution does not care about morality. Evolution only cares about what works best most of the time.
    I agree, Evolution is just about survival. So the question is whether certain behaviors that we associate with morality, enhanced survival of individuals and/or the group.

    But a second option is that some behaviors or traits might be "fringe benefits" of evolution. That is, we have certain traits that were naturally selected for because they provided some advantage, but those traits also allowed us to do other things that may have had only a small, or even no actual benefit for survival. Musical ability, or mathematics, might be an examples. I doubt early man needed to be able to solve quadratic equations or play the piano, but we have those abilities anyway, for reasons not directly related.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    The best survival strategy can, usually is, a mix of behaviours that can be varied to suit the circumstances.Trading is one set of strategies for gaining resources when you have excess of another resource. It is much less risky and much less costly than war. War is for when trading, negotiating, or relying on family ties fail.
    The best survival strategy also depends on who you're playing with. The game of Prisoner's Dilemma has been used to study various behavior strategies with analogies to biological systems, economics, etc.
    Prisoner's dilemma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The strategy of tit for tat or some variations seem to work best most of the time. Of course, if everybody always cooperated with everybody else, that would be the best outcome. If you do that, though, you'll run across some "players" using a different strategy. So that's not going to turn out to be the rational choice.
    When Nash formulated the Prisoners Dilemma he was already deeply paranoid and delusional so he built it with the underlying assumption that you will always be betrayed. If you are a single player and the consequence of being betrayed is death then I would say Nash had the right analysis, paranoid or not.

    edit:
    (John Nash and Game Theory is likely enough for an entire thread of its own)
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Evolution does not care about morality. Evolution only cares about what works best most of the time.
    I agree, Evolution is just about survival. So the question is whether certain behaviors that we associate with morality, enhanced survival of individuals and/or the group.
    Exactly. And why we find benevolent and altruism ("morality") in social animals. It's evolutionary role being to improve (or at least not strongly decrease) the reproductive fitness of those species in its particular environment. As the case on many other characteristics there's probably an optimum balance of some proportion of selfishness versus altruism as well--made all the more complicated by human quickly shifting their own environment (e.g. agriculture, trade, cities etc) over the past few ten thousand years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    The best survival strategy can, usually is, a mix of behaviours that can be varied to suit the circumstances.Trading is one set of strategies for gaining resources when you have excess of another resource. It is much less risky and much less costly than war. War is for when trading, negotiating, or relying on family ties fail.
    The best survival strategy also depends on who you're playing with. The game of Prisoner's Dilemma has been used to study various behavior strategies with analogies to biological systems, economics, etc.
    Prisoner's dilemma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The strategy of tit for tat or some variations seem to work best most of the time. Of course, if everybody always cooperated with everybody else, that would be the best outcome. If you do that, though, you'll run across some "players" using a different strategy. So that's not going to turn out to be the rational choice.
    In some game scenarios the best strategy actually is to screw over your opponent, unless you are playing multiple rounds with that person, or by extension, likely to play against someone they know. In which case, establishing trustworthiness becomes more of a factor in maximizing ones long term gain. In small towns, people know that if a person or business rips people off, does shoddy work, doesn't pay their bills, etc. others won't deal with them.

    It's interesting, too, that politicians appeal to a very primitive fear in people, when they accuse anyone who disagrees with the party in power of being a traitor or even "unpatriotic."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    I'd argue that we (most of us) have an innate ability to empathise with others (or those we allow ourselves to empathise with), which i've always took to be the foundation of morality. The ability to act on this empathy however is another matter, which I believe to be more of a cultural artifact.
    IMO, this is the proper path to follow. I think we can say that the "Golden Rule" is a common denominator of almost all cultures. This concept brings in play the "mirror neural network" of our brains. The ability to experience another's pain is a fundamental aspect of empathy.

    Thus we can say that we are taught morals by our emotional "mirror" response from our own experiences.

    IMO this is a very important study into the fundamentals of human behavior.

    Empathy as a communication skill

    Empathy can be employed as a communication skill. Empathy can allow great communicators to sense the emotions of an audience and is the mutual understanding and inspiration communicated to the audience. A lack of empathy involves a poor sense of communication that fails to understand the perspective of the audience. An audience may feel a positive or negative sympathy to both the communicator and the message as it is transmitted in communication. Empathy can also be found in the artist, musician, and drama, as well as the audience.
    Empathy vs Sympathy - Difference and Comparison | Diffen

    and from wiki,
    A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.[1][2][3] Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate and other species including birds[citation needed]. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex[citation
    Mirror neuron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    I think we can say that the "Golden Rule" is a common denominator of almost all cultures.
    One of the largest doesn't do that. Hinduism, and most of its offshoots, need the caste system and all its nasty follow on effects to ensure that people don't endanger their status in this life and therefore in their next/following lives. When you're afraid of being contaminated by allowing someone else's clothes to brush against your own, you're not in a wonderful position to ...

    a) recognise them as being as fully human as you yourself are, nor to
    b) be kind or helpful or to make any gesture in the "do unto others" category common to most other faiths and practices. In this case, "doing unto others" is only possible when you're certain that the other party is exactly the same status as you are.

    I'm not sure about other faiths. Hinduism may be just one among many forms of faith or ways of being, but the sheer number of adherents makes it an important exception.
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    To say the golden rule is a common denominator of all cultures is a trivial observation that doesn't tell us much. It's only looking at one half of the equation in the game of prisoner's dilemma, i.e., cooperation. The other strategy is non-cooperation or defection. Both of these strategies need to be employed depending on the circumstances. A strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy as is the strategy of "always defect."
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    The fault lies with me. I am not arguing the relative merits of the virtue of the Rule.
    The propostion I am trying to make is in regard to the "mirror neural network" which gives us the ability to experience empathy and provides a baseline standard of acceptable behavior. I used the general concept of the golden rule, even as that in itself does not guarantee equality. Nobility mirrors nobility, Castes mirror the established order between castes. Males mirror males, females mirror females.
    This mirror effect is employed throughout nature, especially where there is interaction of great numbers of social animals or herd animals or hive animals, or birds, or fish. Mirror reflex action can be found throughout nature and is generated in the mirror neural network of the brain. It seems to be very important in shaping cooperative behavior and the emotional satisfaction of shared values.

    IMO, as layman, I propose that the "mirror neural network" seems a common denominator in brain function of many sentient species and deserves a prominent place in the study of shared values (morality).

    The proposition is even made in religion where "God made man in His Image". As an atheist I propose consideration of the function and role of the mirror neurons in the brain, which seem to have memory storage throughout the brain, but is absent in (for instance) autistic individuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    T
    IMO, as layman, I propose that the "mirror neural network" seems a common denominator in brain function of many sentient species and deserves a prominent place in the study of shared values (morality).

    The proposition is even made in religion where "God made man in His Image". As an atheist I propose consideration of the function and role of the mirror neurons in the brain, which seem to have memory storage throughout the brain, but is absent in (for instance) autistic individuals.
    Layman or not, your view that mirror neurons are the basis of empathy and morality is shared by many neuroscientists. VS Ramachandran even refers to them as "the neurons that shaped Civilization" because of their importance in imitating and learning complex skills, adopting the point of view of other persons and predicting their behavior, language acquisition, and empathy. (If you're interested in mirror neurons, Ramachandran is a very interesting and entertaining scientist to read, if you aren't already familiar with his work.) Mirror neurons not only allow us to copy and mimic behavior, but as Ramachandran says "Anytime you want to make a judgement about someone else's movements, you have to run a virtual-reality simulation of the corresponding movements in your own brain. And without mirror neurons you cannot do this."

    In a sense it speeds up or leap frogs over other kinds of natural selection in which an organism with certain instinctive behavioral traits survives and passes on his genes, slowly dominating the gene pool. With mirror neurons, all it takes is one person to stumble on a survival enhancing strategy, which can be learned and spread by others. It doesn't contradict evolution, though, because there is still a biological mechanism and a selective process.

    What makes mirror neurons interesting is their flexibility. As Harold14370 said above, sometimes the optimal strategy is to cooperate and sometimes it is to defect. But in both cases the player has to adopt to point of view of the other person in order to figure out which to use, as in "I think my opponent is most likely to do X, so I should do Y."

    It's important to note, though, that mirror neurons are moderated by other parts of the brain to prevent us from mindlessly mimicking every action we see, or empathizing to the point where we literally confuse another person's pain with our own. Ramachandran says the frontal cortex suppresses mirror neurons when necessary, and competition from our own sensory information competes or dominates, so that we don't confuse what is happening to someone else with what is happening to our own bodies.

    Perhaps that moderation or control from other parts of the brain is the basis of what Lynx_Fox referred to earlier as our neutral default mode. Other parts of the brain can inhibit, or moderate mirror neurons so that we can emotionally empathize or simply rationally calculate someone else's next move without necessarily caring about their well being.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    we can emotionally empathize or simply rationally calculate someone else's next move .
    I knew you were going to write that!
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I think we can say that the "Golden Rule" is a common denominator of almost all cultures.
    One of the largest doesn't do that. Hinduism, and most of its offshoots, need the caste system and all its nasty follow on effects to ensure that people don't endanger their status in this life and therefore in their next/following lives. When you're afraid of being contaminated by allowing someone else's clothes to brush against your own, you're not in a wonderful position to ...

    a) recognise them as being as fully human as you yourself are, nor to
    b) be kind or helpful or to make any gesture in the "do unto others" category common to most other faiths and practices. In this case, "doing unto others" is only possible when you're certain that the other party is exactly the same status as you are.

    I'm not sure about other faiths. Hinduism may be just one among many forms of faith or ways of being, but the sheer number of adherents makes it an important exception.

    One possible explanation is that the caste system reduced in-side fighting and the risk that comes with competition. If everyone agrees that certain sub-groups have certain roles and a designated status, then they don't have to battle it out endlessly. In both human societies and other animals, there is a balance between competition between individuals and competition between larger groups or species. Killing off your competitor within your group may enhanse your own survival, but can make the group as a whole less likely to survive, and undermine the survival of your offspring.

    On the other hand, a caste system prevents the group from taking advantage of abilities and talents of individuals born into the wrong caste - a brilliant mathematician with the misfortune to be born an untouchable, for example. This would make the group as a whole less competitive with other societies, and perhaps that is why the caste system is disappearing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I think we can say that the "Golden Rule" is a common denominator of almost all cultures.
    One of the largest doesn't do that. Hinduism, and most of its offshoots, need the caste system and all its nasty follow on effects to ensure that people don't endanger their status in this life and therefore in their next/following lives. When you're afraid of being contaminated by allowing someone else's clothes to brush against your own, you're not in a wonderful position to ...

    a) recognise them as being as fully human as you yourself are, nor to
    b) be kind or helpful or to make any gesture in the "do unto others" category common to most other faiths and practices. In this case, "doing unto others" is only possible when you're certain that the other party is exactly the same status as you are.

    I'm not sure about other faiths. Hinduism may be just one among many forms of faith or ways of being, but the sheer number of adherents makes it an important exception.

    One possible explanation is that the caste system reduced in-side fighting and the risk that comes with competition. If everyone agrees that certain sub-groups have certain roles and a designated status, then they don't have to battle it out endlessly. In both human societies and other animals, there is a balance between competition between individuals and competition between larger groups or species. Killing off your competitor within your group may enhanse your own survival, but can make the group as a whole less likely to survive, and undermine the survival of your offspring.

    On the other hand, a caste system prevents the group from taking advantage of abilities and talents of individuals born into the wrong caste - a brilliant mathematician with the misfortune to be born an untouchable, for example. This would make the group as a whole less competitive with other societies, and perhaps that is why the caste system is disappearing.
    I think there is not much difference between the class system England had before WWII and India's Cast system except possibly in how strongly enforced it was. Even places like USA still has class descrimination based on wealth as well as ethnicity. The rest of your comments on class systems I agree with except for the idea they are disappearing. In North America social stratification is not only increasing it is becoming more fixed because social mobility in declining at the same time.

    Wikipedia has a page called Social mobility and another page titled Socio-economic mobility in the United States.

    From the Social mobility page:
    Several studies have been made comparing social mobility between developed countries. One such study (“Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults?")[4][21][22] found that of nine developed countries, the United States and United Kingdom had the lowest intergenerational vertical social mobility with about half of the advantages of having a parent with a high income passed on to the next generation. The four countries with the lowest "intergenerational income elasticity", i.e. the highest social mobility, were Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Canada with less than 20% of advantages of having a high income parent passed on to their children.[21](see graph)

    From the Socio-economic page:
    Belief in strong social and economic mobility—that Americans can and do rise from humble origins to riches—has been called a "civil religion",[4] "the bedrock upon which the American story has been anchored",[5] and part of the American identity (the American Dream[6]), celebrated in the lives of famous Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Henry Ford,[4] and in popular culture (from the books of Horatio Alger and Norman Vincent Peale to the song "Movin' on Up"[7]). Opinion polls show that this belief has been both stronger in the US than in years past, and stronger than in other developed countries.[8]
    However, in recent years several large studies have found that vertical inter-generational mobility is lower, not higher, in the US than in those countries.[4] Studies differ on whether social and economic mobility has gotten worse in recent years. A 2013 Brookings Institution study found income inequality was becoming more permanent, sharply reducing social mobility.[9] A large academic study released in 2014 found income mobility has not changed appreciably in the last 20 years.[10][11
    _
    ___
    So, it seems all societies stratify into rich and poor classes because "The Old Gold Rules" instead of The Golden Rule.
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    I agree with your analysis, but does it answer the OP question about morality?

    The Golden Rule is a moral restriction, but oddly The Old Gold Rules is the foundation of Capitalism and we applaud the "unrestricted free market" as a good and moral economic system. Something is missing here.
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    I'm not sure how morality can be innate. The brain and nervous system has no idea what sort of species it will be pre-birth - how could it be equipped to be moral?
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I agree with your analysis, but does it answer the OP question about morality?

    The Golden Rule is a moral restriction, but oddly The Old Gold Rules is the foundation of Capitalism and we applaud the "unrestricted free market" as a good and moral economic system. Something is missing here.
    What is odd about it, and what do you think is missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming
    I'm not sure how morality can be innate. The brain and nervous system has no idea what sort of species it will be pre-birth - how could it be equipped to be moral?
    Well, you'd have to agree that morality of other animals is innate, wouldn't you? Take for example the aforementioned wolves. They instinctively know they are supposed to look after all the pups in their pack, keep to a certain dominance hierarchy, be hostile to wolves from other packs, and so forth. This is a moral code, isn't it? With humans it's a little more difficult. It's the old story of nature versus nurture. How much of our behavior is innate and how much is learned is really hard to determine. It's like picking fly specks out of pepper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I agree with your analysis, but does it answer the OP question about morality?
    The Golden Rule is a moral restriction, but oddly The Old Gold Rules is the foundation of Capitalism and we applaud the "unrestricted free market" as a good and moral economic system. Something is missing here.
    Which brings us back to the idea that the world, evolution and society don't care about morality except if it enhances productivity and wealth.

    I guess if we think of morality as a set of suggestions for how to get along with each other without resorting to murder and mayhem we might have a chance of working out just what the OP's question actually means.

    If morality is innate then why do children show so little morality. Our brains might be genetically programmed to prefer empathy and reciprocal behaviour. We might even have an innate sense of what is fair treatment, maybe. But the vast bulk of what is moral behaviour has to be taught.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    If morality is innate then why do children show so little morality. Our brains might be genetically programmed to prefer empathy and reciprocal behaviour. We might even have an innate sense of what is fair treatment, maybe. But the vast bulk of what is moral behaviour has to be taught.
    Or learnt through observation and practice in a social setting.

    Morals, morality, and moral behaviour requires a social setting; either real or imaginary. I'm still trying to determine whether those three apply in absence of a social element. Social animals such as us have the capacity to learn and exhibit behaviour that one considers as moral. If I'm not mistaken, solitary animals such as grizzly bears exhibit limited forms of sociability and aren't above killing and/or eating a younger cub.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I agree with your analysis, but does it answer the OP question about morality?

    The Golden Rule is a moral restriction, but oddly The Old Gold Rules is the foundation of Capitalism and we applaud the "unrestricted free market" as a good and moral economic system. Something is missing here.
    What is odd about it, and what do you think is missing?
    A moral compass.

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming
    I'm not sure how morality can be innate. The brain and nervous system has no idea what sort of species it will be pre-birth - how could it be equipped to be moral?
    Here is where the mirror neural system plays a major role in behavior identification.

    Well, you'd have to agree that morality of other animals is innate, wouldn't you? Take for example the aforementioned wolves. They instinctively know they are supposed to look after all the pups in their pack, keep to a certain dominance hierarchy, be hostile to wolves from other packs, and so forth. This is a moral code, isn't it? With humans it's a little more difficult. It's the old story of nature versus nurture. How much of our behavior is innate and how much is learned is really hard to determine. It's like picking fly specks out of pepper.
    This may be illustrative of moral behavior in primates. Quite remarkable, IMO
    "Our results show that generosity toward strangers is not unique to humans," lead author Jingzhi Tan adds in a statement. "Like chimpanzees, our species would kill strangers; like bonobos, we could also be very nice to strangers. Our results highlight the importance of studying bonobos to fully understand the origins of such human behaviors."
    Bonobos buy friends with bananas | MNN - Mother Nature Network
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U
    What is odd about it, and what do you think is missing?
    A moral compass.
    Your mirror neurons must be misfiring if you can't see that somebody could have a different moral compass than your own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U
    What is odd about it, and what do you think is missing?
    A moral compass.
    Your mirror neurons must be misfiring if you can't see that somebody could have a different moral compass than your own.
    I can clearly see the different moral compasses in various cultures. The fact remains that the mirror neural network is the organizing factor of seperate viewpoints especially when isolated from other viewpoints. This is the problem with theism, which demands unquestioned obedience or the active persecution of people who are "different". The mirror neural network only reflects what it is trained to experience. emotionally.
    Anyone who has hit their thumb while driving a nail wil have cringed and physically produce a biochemical emotional responses of pain. Now you can stand 20 ft away from someone hitting their thumb while hammering a nail and cringe and produce the very same biochemical reaction of an empathic pain even as you are perfectly unharmed. The mirror response creates empathy. IMO, this empathy can be used as a fundamental floor for moral behavior, in this case. getting a cold wet cloth and wrapping your friend's thumb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I can clearly see the different moral compasses in various cultures. The fact remains that the mirror neural network is the organizing factor of seperate viewpoints especially when isolated from other viewpoints. This is the problem with theism, which demands unquestioned obedience or the active persecution of people who are "different".
    Better take a look in that mirror. You might see somebody demonizing people who are "different,"
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post

    From the Socio-economic page:
    Belief in strong social and economic mobility—that Americans can and do rise from humble origins to riches—has been called a "civil religion",[4] "the bedrock upon which the American story has been anchored",[5] and part of the American identity (the American Dream[6]), celebrated in the lives of famous Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Henry Ford,[4] and in popular culture (from the books of Horatio Alger and Norman Vincent Peale to the song "Movin' on Up"[7]). Opinion polls show that this belief has been both stronger in the US than in years past, and stronger than in other developed countries.[8]
    However, in recent years several large studies have found that vertical inter-generational mobility is lower, not higher, in the US than in those countries.[4] Studies differ on whether social and economic mobility has gotten worse in recent years. A 2013 Brookings Institution study found income inequality was becoming more permanent, sharply reducing social mobility.[9] A large academic study released in 2014 found income mobility has not changed appreciably in the last 20 years.[10][11
    .
    That's really ironic when you think about it, that belief in social mobility might actually hinder it to some extent. That is, the idea that anyone can be rich and successful if they try hard enough may blind us to genuine obstacles or advantages. I really like Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Outliers" which examines the effect of culture, family, and serendipitous circumstance on success. Gladwell is known for his 10,000 Hour rule - that becoming really great at anything, whether it's computer programing or playing the guitar, requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. So effort is definitely tremendously important. At the same time Gladwell shares many interesting stories of unique, even chance, events that contributed to someones success. Bill Gates is an example of the 10,000 hour rule. At the same time, he also was fortunate to go to a school that had a computer, and not a computer with a laborious computer card system, but a time sharing terminal with a direct link to a mainframe computer in downtown Seattle. Bill Gates got to do real-time programming as an 8th grader in 1968, a very rare opportunity, Gladwell says, but of course, of no consequence if Gates had not also been interested or motivated.

    These stories may seem merely anecdotal, but Gladwell also looks at bigger, statistical relationships. In Canadian hockey, more players are born in January than any other month. February is second, March third, etc. with few players born in November or December making it to the NHL or even the junior league. January 1 is the cut off date in age-class hockey. A boy who is 10 on January 2nd is playing against a kid who doesn't turn 10 until December. The older kid is bigger, faster, gets more ice-time, more experience, better coaching, and advances to the next level.

    I'm digressing quite a bit from the topic of morality. But my point is that how we respond morally to others often depends on whether we view the situation they are in (good or bad) as being totally the result of their own choices and effort. Our mirror neurons allow us to empathize with others, but they may also mislead us into thinking, "Hey if I can make it, this other person should be able to as well - he's just not trying," and we may over look reasons why it isn't always so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    I'm digressing quite a bit from the topic of morality. But my point is that how we respond morally to others often depends on whether we view the situation they are in (good or bad) as being totally the result of their own choices and effort. Our mirror neurons allow us to empathize with others, but they may also mislead us into thinking, "Hey if I can make it, this other person should be able to as well - he's just not trying," and we may over look reasons why it isn't always so.
    Fortunately Bill Gates had good role models as well, a Mom who was leadership for a huge charity organization, a father who was one of the city leadership, a prominent lawyer and could afford to send Bill to the best private prep schools--the combination allowed Bill to develop his full genius potential in the context of a good perspective and appreciation for those less fortunate.

    --

    While I like the idea of mirror neurons, are they even established science yet? Or just a metaphor for empathy we feel from far more complex brain activity?
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;523456]
    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    While I like the idea of mirror neurons, are they even established science yet? Or just a metaphor for empathy we feel from far more complex brain activity?
    Yes, they're real. They were first discovered in monkeys by a neuroscientist at John Hopkins several decades ago, with additional work done by Italian neuroscientists in the 1990s. Mirror neurons are found in different areas of the brain and there are different types, such as sensory or motor mirror neurons. They are also found in humans in areas of the brain responsible for language, such as Broca's and Wernicke's area.

    Since then they have also been studied, as Write 4U mentioned, in connection to autism. Autistic individuals have abnormal mirror neurons in some areas, and this might be responsible for problems in both learning as well as social interaction, empathizing or understanding the feelings or intentions of others, even the absence of make-believe "let's pretend" games in autistic children.
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    I'm not so sure. Going through the first couple pages of Google Scholar reveals the discussions about mirror neurons mostly from psychologist and sociologist as a theory of mind, rather than an actual biological neuron--and even in those cases it was tied mostly to theories about how it helps imitative learning, NOT how it might play a role in empathy. In a year of anatomy required for my teaching certificate, though we going pretty deep into the biology, often even at the molecular level, mirror neurons were NEVER part of the discussion--no pictures, no diagrams of their networking through the central or peripheral nervous system, no mention of them at all.

    What are they?
    Where are they?
    What is their polarity?
    Which neurotransmitters do they use?
    Are they supported by myelin sheaths?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I'm not so sure. Going through the first couple pages of Google Scholar reveals the discussions about mirror neurons mostly from psychologist and sociologist as a theory of mind, rather than an actual biological neuron--and even in those cases it was tied mostly to theories about how it helps imitative learning, NOT how it might play a role in empathy. In a year of anatomy required for my teaching certificate, though we going pretty deep into the biology, often even at the molecular level, mirror neurons were NEVER part of the discussion--no pictures, no diagrams of their networking through the central or peripheral nervous system, no mention of them at all.

    What are they?
    Where are they?
    What is their polarity?
    Which neurotransmitters do they use?
    Are they supported by myelin sheaths?

    Here's a two papers on mirror neurons that may answer some of those questions, at least as far as where they are located. The last link is a summary from wiki scholarpedia.

    The Mirror Neuron System http://users.unimi.it/fisibioc/mirror neuron.pdf

    Mirror neurons and their clinical relevance
    http://www.nature.com/nrneurol/journal/v5/n1/full/ncpneuro0990.html


    Mirror neurons - Scholarpedia

    The word mirror refers to the fact that these neurons fire when a person performs a given motor act but also when a person observes others performing that same motor act. Likewise sensory mirror neurons fire when a person feels something (like a pinch or a tickle) but also when he sees some one else being pinched or tickled. What makes these neurons important from a social aspect is that they don't respond to movements or actions of inanimate objects. They don't, for example, fire in response to the up and down movement of a basketball - just actions or perceived sensations of other people or animals - whatever we attribute "a mind" or intentional action to. They don't fire in response to movements - yours or mine - that don't appear to be attached to a goal or task of some kind.

    In addition, if I understand the research correctly, mirror neurons also fire "that code for what will be the next motor act of the not-yet-observed action." That is, if I see you reach for a tooth brush, not only do my "reaching for the tooth brush" neurons fire, but also my "brushing of teeth neurons" begin to fire in anticipation of what I think will be your next action. If you stick it up your nose instead, my brain records a big mismatch between what my mirror neurons predicted and what I actually observed, and I would expect that neurons in other parts of my brain would immediately be called upon to try to explain this surprising event.

    As far as empathy goes, I would expect it involves any mirror neurons that fire in response to painful or pleasureable sensations and witnessing those sensations in others, like when one flinches watching a person fall off a trampoline or wipe out on a skate board on those youtube video shows, or listening to sad story on the evening news.

    I suppose one could argue that the difference between mirror neurons and other neurons is a difference of function or versatility, not micro-anatomical difference. I don't know if it's been proven one way or the other.
    Last edited by DianeG; February 7th, 2014 at 11:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    I can clearly see the different moral compasses in various cultures. The fact remains that the mirror neural network is the organizing factor of seperate viewpoints especially when isolated from other viewpoints. This is the problem with theism, which demands unquestioned obedience or the active persecution of people who are "different".
    Better take a look in that mirror. You might see somebody demonizing people who are "different,"
    Who am I demonizing?
    How am I demonizing?
    Is the observation which appears demonizing to you founded in fact?

    I am always looking through my mirrors, as are you.
    Last edited by Write4U; February 7th, 2014 at 11:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I'm not so sure. Going through the first couple pages of Google Scholar reveals the discussions about mirror neurons mostly from psychologist and sociologist as a theory of mind, rather than an actual biological neuron--and even in those cases it was tied mostly to theories about how it helps imitative learning, NOT how it might play a role in empathy. In a year of anatomy required for my teaching certificate, though we going pretty deep into the biology, often even at the molecular level, mirror neurons were NEVER part of the discussion--no pictures, no diagrams of their networking through the central or peripheral nervous system, no mention of them at all.

    What are they?
    Where are they?
    What is their polarity?
    Which neurotransmitters do they use?
    Are they supported by myelin sheaths?
    Thus my effort to draw attention to this potentially very important brain function.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Here's a two papers on mirror neurons that may answer some of those questions, at least as far as where they are located. The last link is a summary from wiki scholarpedia.
    The Mirror Neuron System File non trovato (File not found)* - Users.unimi.it
    The first doesn't. It does however quite frequently refer to mirron neuron system, which doesn't make clear whether there are distinctive types of neurons, or whether it's merely a designation given for a function rather than a form. Note it also refers to learning motor coordinations....such as watching someone play a guitar chord--that's a heck of a lot different than empathy.

    --
    Again nothing about a distinctive form (e.g, a unique type of neuron), but of functions related to learning motor coordination task.
    --

    Mirror neurons - Scholarpedia

    The word mirror refers to the fact that these neurons fire when a person performs a given motor act but also when a person observes others performing that same motor act. Likewise sensory mirror neurons fire when a person feels something (like a pinch or a tickle) but also when he sees some one else being pinched or tickled. What makes these neurons important from a social aspect is that they don't respond to movements or actions of inanimate objects. They don't, for example, fire in response to the up and down movement of a basketball - just actions or perceived sensations of other people or animals - whatever we attribute "a mind" or intentional action to. They don't fire in response to movements - yours or mine - that don't appear to be attached to a goal or task of some kind.

    In addition, if I understand the research correctly, mirror neurons also fire "that code for what will be the next motor act of the not-yet-observed action." That is, if I see you reach for a tooth brush, not only do my "reaching for the tooth brush" neurons fire, but also the "brushing of teeth neurons" begin to fire in anticipation of what I think will be your next action. If you stick it up your nose instead, my brain records a big mismatch between what my mirror neurons predicted and what I actually observed, and I would expect that neurons in other parts of my brain would immediately be called upon to try to explain this surprising event.

    As far as empathy goes, I would expect it involves any mirror neurons that fire in response to painful or pleasureable sensations and witnessing those sensations in others, like when one flinches watching a person fall off a trampoline or wipe out on a skate board on those youtube video shows, or listening to sad story on the evening news.
    --
    This last source was a little better, but only refers to three studies and in your additions refers to pretty simple motor activities and imitations...not to the deep emotional links some of us feel to others--aka empathy.

    The overall impression is that motor neurons might be real but extremely overhyped as explaining far more complex human behaviors when as yet there's not a solid basis for making that leap.

    I suppose one could argue that the difference between mirror neurons and other neurons is a difference of function or versatility, not micro-anatomical difference. I don't know if it's been proven one way or the other.
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    I believe this is a reputable source.
    Abstract

    Neurophysiology reveals the properties of individual mirror neurons in the macaque while brain imaging reveals the presence of ‘mirror systems’ (not individual neurons) in the human. Current conceptual models attribute high level functions such as action understanding, imitation, and language to mirror neurons. However, only the first of these three functions is well-developed in monkeys. We thus distinguish current opinions (conceptual models) on mirror neuron function from more detailed computational models. We assess the strengths and weaknesses of current computational models in addressing the data and speculations on mirror neurons (macaque) and mirror systems (human). In particular, our mirror neuron system (MNS), mental state inference (MSI) and modular selection and identification for control (MOSAIC) models are analyzed in more detail. Conceptual models often overlook the computational requirements for posited functions, while too many computational models adopt the erroneous hypothesis that mirror neurons are interchangeable with imitation ability. Our meta-analysis underlines the gap between conceptual and computational models and points out the research effort required from both sides to reduce this gap.
    Mirror neurons and imitation: A computationally guided review
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    This last source was a little better, but only refers to three studies and in your additions refers to pretty simple motor activities and imitations...not to the deep emotional links some of us feel to others--aka empathy.

    The overall impression is that motor neurons might be real but extremely overhyped as explaining far more complex human behaviors when as yet there's not a solid basis for making that leap.
    In many areas of neuroscience it is difficult to show step by step how to get from cellular activity to a particular thought or mental experience. Huge debates rage over things like neurological basis of consciousness and qualia. Some philosophers flat out deny that any biological mechanism will ever fully explain consciousness, let alone morality or empathy.


    Never the less, you can show pretty strong correlations between the activity of mirror neurons and the subjective experience of empathy or empathetic responses. In fMRI experiments, subjects are shown pictures of a person getting a car door slammed on his hand, and the greater the response of mirror neurons in the temporal regions, the more the subject reports that the picture is unpleasant or painful to look at. But it isn’t just perception of physical pain that make mirror neurons fire. In the part of the brain called the insula, mirror neurons are involved in perceiving and expressing emotions like disgust, including social and moral disgust, in an empathetic manner according to Ramachandran. Neuroscientist Gazzaniga also comments in his book that the mirror neurons of the insula are mediated through the visceromotor response – they trigger involuntary smooth muscle, heart rate, hormones released by glands, so there is a physiological response that accompanies the social or moral disgust. It will literally turn your stomach or make your heart race to witness the abuse of another person, even if you yourself are not in any danger. That unpleasant physiological response contributes to the intensity of the empathetic reaction.


    A back door approach if one cannot yet demonstrate how thoughts are derived from cells is to at least verify what happens when those parts of the brain, or specific neural pathways are absent or don’t function the way they are supposed to. Abnormalities in mirror neurons do result in diminished, or a lack of, empathy, so they would seem to have a causal relationship. These systems are more developed in animals like other primates, dogs, dolphins, crows, and animals that experiments show are able to adopt the point of view of another and empathize. They are less developed in animals that can’t. They are more developed in humans than other animals. It might be coincidence, but I doubt it.


    But I would agree that mirror neurons aren’t entirely responsible for empathy. Empathy also requires engagement of the amygdala which is associated with emotional response. Without the amygdala’s contribution, a person may be cognitively aware of another person’s intentions and even their state of mind but may not “care” or attach any positive or negative feeling to it. In addition, the medial frontal lobes have also been shown to be important in moral and ethical reasoning, and sociopaths are known to have disturbances in these circuits. So no, mirror neurons aren’t the whole story.
    Last edited by DianeG; February 8th, 2014 at 02:15 PM.
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    I don't know the science term for empathy, or what it scientifically entails. I only know when I see someone in need, I try to help them to the best of my ability.

    I call it being a human being.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I don't know the science term for empathy, or what it scientifically entails. I only know when I see someone in need, I try to help them to the best of my ability.

    I call it being a human being.
    On the other hand the motto of a clan with which I have an association is Miseris Succurrere Disco. This is translated as I learn to succour the distressed. But given the habits of parts of humanity it might just as well be I learn to sucker the distressed.
    Last edited by John Galt; February 11th, 2014 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Grammatical correction
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    the motto of a clan with which I have an association is Miseris Succurrere Disco.
    D.I.S.C.O.

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    Morality is subjective, nay non-existent:

    - There are no moral human DNA strands, or DNA causing specific morals to arise
    - There is no universal moral law, akin to say the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics

    So then morality is whatever one makes it to be. No one moral system is superior to another.
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    Assuming human morals have deeper ethical considerations, rather than extensions of our instinctual survival mechanisms, it would seem logical to assume a role of empathy , the mirror which allows us to feel (share) anothers joy as well as pain.
    When we look, we want to see images of ourselves expressed in the actions of others. It creates a common 'judge" ( tulpa) of proper morals and behavior.

    It is a direct consequence of our advanced emotional "mirror neural network" experience. The definition of the Golden Rule clearly indicates a mirror image and in case of law, actions are recreated to clarify logistical information. These are subconscious functions of the brain attempting to change the primitive survival instinct to a more humanistic ethical framework, because we have the ability to destroy ourself on purpose, if we so choose.

    There is a common mirror response between all humans and only secular (non religious) laws identify these moral judgements. I believe it is an "emergent" property, fundamentally innate but evolving in sophistication .
    Last edited by Write4U; February 20th, 2014 at 01:07 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Morality is subjective, nay non-existent:

    - There are no moral human DNA strands, or DNA causing specific morals to arise
    - There is no universal moral law, akin to say the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics

    So then morality is whatever one makes it to be. No one moral system is superior to another.
    Not quite. Morals are Tulpas (metaphysical creatures conjured by the mind and taking on a physical aspect. A metaphysical thoughtform with causal qualities.[7]
    Tulpa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    p.s. it is true that moraility is a subjective moral response, but the rules change when many experience the same subjective (mirrored) emotional response at the same time as you do.
    It is not the moral that needs to be feared, it is our response in action to it's implications. IMO, it creates self fullfilling prophecies.
    Last edited by Write4U; February 20th, 2014 at 01:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Assuming human morals have deeper ethical considerations, rather than extensions of our instinctual survival mechanisms,
    Why would you make that assumption? What does "deeper" mean?
    it would seem logical to assume a role of empathy , the mirror which allows us to feel (share) anothers joy as well as pain.
    When we look, we want to see images of ourselves expressed in the actions of others. It creates a common 'judge" ( tulpa) of proper morals and behavior.

    It is a direct consequence of our advanced emotional "mirror neural network" experience. The definition of the Golden Rule clearly indicates a mirror image and in case of law, actions are recreated to clarify logistical information. These are subconscious functions of the brain attempting to change the primitive survival instinct to a more humanistic ethical framework, because we have the ability to destroy ourself on purpose, if we so choose.
    You seem to be fascinated with mirror neurons, which haven't actually been shown to exist. Mirror neurons are not necessary for cooperative behavior, since some organisms cooperate without any neurons at all. For some reason you want to ignore non-cooperative behavior, which is also a part of any moral system. The strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy in computer simulations of moral behavior. A "tit for tat" strategy works far better.
    There is a common mirror response between all humans and only secular (non religious) laws identify these moral judgements.
    What?
    I believe it is an "emergent" property, fundamentally innate but evolving in sophistication .
    I believe you have no basis for your statement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Assuming human morals have deeper ethical considerations, rather than extensions of our instinctual survival mechanisms,
    Why would you make that assumption? What does "deeper" mean?
    You are answering that quesion yourself later in trhis post.
    it would seem logical to assume a role of empathy , the mirror which allows us to feel (share) anothers joy as well as pain.
    When we look, we want to see images of ourselves expressed in the actions of others. It creates a common 'judge" ( tulpa) of proper morals and behavior.
    It is a direct consequence of our advanced emotional "mirror neural network" experience. The definition of the Golden Rule clearly indicates a mirror image and in case of law, actions are recreated to clarify logistical information. These are subconscious functions of the brain attempting to change the primitive survival instinct to a more humanistic ethical framework, because we have the ability to destroy ourself on purpose, if we so choose.
    You seem to be fascinated with mirror neurons, which haven't actually been shown to exist. Mirror neurons are not necessary for cooperative behavior, since some organisms cooperate without any neurons at all. For some reason you want to ignore non-cooperative behavior, which is also a part of any moral system. The strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy in computer simulations of moral behavior. A "tit for tat" strategy works far better.
    You bet i am fascinated with the demonstrated concept of a highly developed mirror neural network in the human brain. Especially in the area of empathic emotional and physical responses which can teach us how to teach ourselves.
    There is a common mirror response between all humans and only secular (non religious) laws identify these moral judgements.
    What?
    A universally acceptable way of life.
    I believe it is an "emergent" property, fundamentally innate but evolving in sophistication .
    I believe you have no basis for your statement.
    Only because we are nowhere near civilized enough yet. A natural comfort of species in their environment can be a long evolutionary road. Today our technology far outstrips our common wisdom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    The strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy in computer simulations of moral behavior. A "tit for tat" strategy works far better.
    Actually I thought those simulations usually showed a combination was almost always more effective as well as being what we see in most social organisms including humans.
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    Im not sure what you mean by morality but Ill take a guess and say imo its a little bit of innate(more basics stuff) and a lot of inherited (culture, environment)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    The strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy in computer simulations of moral behavior. A "tit for tat" strategy works far better.
    Actually I thought those simulations usually showed a combination was almost always more effective as well as being what we see in most social organisms including humans.
    Tit for tat is a combination, in that you cooperate initially, then if you encounter someone who defects, you retaliate by defecting the next time. This works well, as long as you have accurate information, but if you mistakenly think somebody defected when they didn't, it can lead to a vicious cycle of retaliation. In this case it may be better to include some more forgiveness by holding off on the retaliation until the second defection. A lot depends on the other players in the game. But if you never retaliate, you'll probably be taken advantage of by players who are "not nice."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    The strategy of "always cooperate" is a losing strategy in computer simulations of moral behavior. A "tit for tat" strategy works far better.
    Actually I thought those simulations usually showed a combination was almost always more effective as well as being what we see in most social organisms including humans.
    Tit for tat is a combination, in that you cooperate initially, then if you encounter someone who defects, you retaliate by defecting the next time. This works well, as long as you have accurate information, but if you mistakenly think somebody defected when they didn't, it can lead to a vicious cycle of retaliation. In this case it may be better to include some more forgiveness by holding off on the retaliation until the second defection. A lot depends on the other players in the game. But if you never retaliate, you'll probably be taken advantage of by players who are "not nice."
    Ok and I agree.
    --

    I also have huge doubt about the mirror neurons considering the actual scientific literature is almost always entirely about an animals ability to fire centers of the brain triggered by watching another's motions-- I imagine it's sort of a form of rehearsal similar to dreaming. The literature showing it actually connects to emotion seems much more tenuous--although I cannot deny many people seems particularly well tuned to pick up and share emotions being expressed by others--whether it's a well acted seen in movie, or a violent mob; such empathy seems pretty common in highly developed social animals. Also think it's not far fetched at all to see a strong role in the ability of shared emotion with a person's morality. Something akin to someone not hurting another because they'll share their emotional pain. In psychological profiles of some sadistic criminals there seems a lack of that form of empathy.
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    Edit: I kind of forgot the topic while writing this. Then I deleted this mostly. Then I saw replies to this, so then I found a quote of this, so here it is.
    I think we are all 100% selfish and there is no such thing as altruism. I'm kind because it makes me happy. I'm a jerk because it makes me happy. As far as I know, we learn based on reward. There is no neurotransmitter I know of which deals with ethics. I think most people think kindness is selfless. I define selfless action as not causing immediate or anticipated happiness and aiding others. While many actions aid others, the two requirements never have the same cause. When I feed my cat, I no longer feel guilty (i.e. unhappy) and I feel happy. I know this is a morbid perspective, but that's too bad. Behavior is caused by the brain, which is a complex system of mechanisms.
    Last edited by NNet; February 25th, 2014 at 08:37 PM.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    What about in cases of one person sacrificing their life for a complete stranger?

    It's hard to imagine the psychological "reward" in that case is worthwhile.
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    post NNet,
    I think we are all 100% selfish and there is no such thing as altruism. I'm kind because it makes me happy. I'm a jerk because it makes me happy. As far as I know, we learn based on reward. There is no neurotransmitter I know of which deals with ethics. I think most people think kindness is selfless. I define selfless action as not causing immediate or anticipated happiness and aiding others. While many actions aid others, the two requirements never have the same cause. When I feed my cat, I no longer feel guilty (i.e. unhappy) and I feel happy. I know this is a morbid perspective, but that's too bad. Behavior is caused by the brain, which is a complex system of mechanisms.
    You just described the progression from an empathic experience into an action to alleviate the mutual dustress. This IS the function of the "mirror neural network", it assures a shared biochemical (neurological) response, a commonality of general behavior. We also call it "instinct".

    But then we have a few examples of the mirror effect in nature in the case of the cuttlefish, who have mastered the mirror effect to where they can truly claim the title of "shapeshifter".
    Video: Kings of Camouflage | Watch NOVA Online | PBS Video

    IMHO, the mirror function is one of the fundamental properties of the universe. It is found everywhere you look, from quantum to relativity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I don't know the science term for empathy, or what it scientifically entails. I only know when I see someone in need, I try to help them to the best of my ability.

    I call it being a human being.

    So morality is completely subjective and then it isn't? got it..
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    I don't know the science term for empathy, or what it scientifically entails. I only know when I see someone in need, I try to help them to the best of my ability.

    I call it being a human being.

    So morality is completely subjective and then it isn't? got it..
    I guess it is for me. I can't judge anothers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    post NNet,
    I think we are all 100% selfish and there is no such thing as altruism. I'm kind because it makes me happy. I'm a jerk because it makes me happy. As far as I know, we learn based on reward. There is no neurotransmitter I know of which deals with ethics. I think most people think kindness is selfless. I define selfless action as not causing immediate or anticipated happiness and aiding others. While many actions aid others, the two requirements never have the same cause. When I feed my cat, I no longer feel guilty (i.e. unhappy) and I feel happy. I know this is a morbid perspective, but that's too bad. Behavior is caused by the brain, which is a complex system of mechanisms.
    You just described the progression from an empathic experience into an action to alleviate the mutual dustress. This IS the function of the "mirror neural network", it assures a shared biochemical (neurological) response, a commonality of general behavior. We also call it "instinct".

    But then we have a few examples of the mirror effect in nature in the case of the cuttlefish, who have mastered the mirror effect to where they can truly claim the title of "shapeshifter".
    Video: Kings of Camouflage | Watch NOVA Online | PBS Video

    IMHO, the mirror function is one of the fundamental properties of the universe. It is found everywhere you look, from quantum to relativity.
    If we feel the emotions of others, isn't helping them simply to benefit yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    What about in cases of one person sacrificing their life for a complete stranger?

    It's hard to imagine the psychological "reward" in that case is worthwhile.
    Maybe it isn't, but we help people so often that maybe we learn to ignore the reward and simply help people by habit. Also, self-sacrifice doesn't usually happen when given the chance (?). The brain is not perfect. People commit suicide, because the brain is a system of mechanisms, not rules for every situation. Also adrenaline rush, protecting children, want for fame, etc.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    post NNet,
    I think we are all 100% selfish and there is no such thing as altruism. I'm kind because it makes me happy. I'm a jerk because it makes me happy. As far as I know, we learn based on reward. There is no neurotransmitter I know of which deals with ethics. I think most people think kindness is selfless. I define selfless action as not causing immediate or anticipated happiness and aiding others. While many actions aid others, the two requirements never have the same cause. When I feed my cat, I no longer feel guilty (i.e. unhappy) and I feel happy. I know this is a morbid perspective, but that's too bad. Behavior is caused by the brain, which is a complex system of mechanisms.
    You just described the progression from an empathic experience into an action to alleviate the mutual dustress. This IS the function of the "mirror neural network", it assures a shared biochemical (neurological) response, a commonality of general behavior. We also call it "instinct".

    But then we have a few examples of the mirror effect in nature in the case of the cuttlefish, who have mastered the mirror effect to where they can truly claim the title of "shapeshifter".
    Video: Kings of Camouflage | Watch NOVA Online | PBS Video

    IMHO, the mirror function is one of the fundamental properties of the universe. It is found everywhere you look, from quantum to relativity.
    If we feel the emotions of others, isn't helping them simply to benefit yourself?
    Absolutely, but regardless of motive the ability to feel empathy, leads to sympathy and and that's what makes it such a great tool for promoting the morality of cooperation or symbiosis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    What about in cases of one person sacrificing their life for a complete stranger?

    It's hard to imagine the psychological "reward" in that case is worthwhile.
    Maybe it isn't, but we help people so often that maybe we learn to ignore the reward and simply help people by habit. Also, self-sacrifice doesn't usually happen when given the chance (?). The brain is not perfect. People commit suicide, because the brain is a system of mechanisms, not rules for every situation. Also adrenaline rush, protecting children, want for fame, etc.
    In any case it has proven to be an effective and successful survival mechanism, as demonstrated in the insect world.
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    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.

    Kind of silly when the evidence supporting subjective morals overwhelms that of absolute morality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.
    I'm not a mean person, but you should jump off a bridge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    What about in cases of one person sacrificing their life for a complete stranger?

    It's hard to imagine the psychological "reward" in that case is worthwhile.
    In any case it has proven to be an effective and successful survival mechanism, as demonstrated in the insect world.
    Ah, but in those cases it's for the good of the colony, which is (from what I gather) one single family of siblings?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.
    I'm not a mean person, but you should jump off a bridge.


    lol.. you're comical. People contradict. Why is so hard to fathom? Again, why do you tolerate all others' and then condemn mine? Who says I'm "not allowed" to do so? Did God himself say as such? if so, kindly demonstrate as such?
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    Because other people are stupid, ignorant, crazy, or just plain pants-on-head retarded.

    You, however, are genuinely offensive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.
    I'm not a mean person, but you should jump off a bridge.
    lol.. you're comical. People contradict. Why is so hard to fathom? Again, why do you tolerate all others' and then condemn mine? Who says I'm "not allowed" to do so? Did God himself say as such? if so, kindly demonstrate as such?
    Unsurprisingly, nothing you say is hard to fathom. It's all pretty simple-minded. Why are you so upset that I'm picking on you? Isn't that just part of human reality you should have to deal with?
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    I reserve my right to contradict. Though if it's "offensive", I don't care, I'm laughing at you all based on your unsubstantiated "greater right" to contradict. Sorry, but you'll have to cite how the universe/God or whoever gave you this "greater right", or accept others don't think as you do, or what your neighbourhood spiritual leader told you when growing up or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    you'll have to cite how the universe/God or whoever gave you this "greater right"
    Who on Earth are you talking to? No one here thinks they were "given" any greater moral standard. We have, as a society, chosen to set the moral bar at a certain level so we don't have to live in complete degeneracy.

    Again, I'm speaking for others which is something I don't like to do, but I feel safe in this instance; no one here is concerned about you laughing at them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    you'll have to cite how the universe/God or whoever gave you this "greater right"
    Who on Earth are you talking to? No one here thinks they were "given" any greater moral standard. We have, as a society, chosen to set the moral bar at a certain level so we don't have to live in complete degeneracy.
    A nice lie, but the yeah, I don't need to care about your fatalistic belief system. Is there a reason why I must?
    Again, I'm speaking for others which is something I don't like to do, but I feel safe in this instance; no one here is concerned about you laughing at them.
    It is funny, because your "regulation" is baseless and without foundation. If I contradict, so be it. I don't get how it's worse than all of the other contradictions here, namely people who say "I value universal kindness" and then tell others to fuck off, or those who cite nihilstic views and then cite grand humanity haha.. It's really funny, since you claim intelligence yet seldom display it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.
    I'm not a mean person, but you should jump off a bridge.
    lol.. you're comical. People contradict. Why is so hard to fathom? Again, why do you tolerate all others' and then condemn mine? Who says I'm "not allowed" to do so? Did God himself say as such? if so, kindly demonstrate as such?
    Unsurprisingly, nothing you say is hard to fathom. It's all pretty simple-minded. Why are you so upset that I'm picking on you? Isn't that just part of human reality you should have to deal with?
    Eh? I don't care if a stranger "picks on me". As said, your actions amuse me, since I am contradicting yet you let others get off scott free lol.... The explanation is based on some "fatalistic" belief, but as said I don't need to care.

    Incidentally, I'm referring to all of you. There are many other posters here who continually contradict, again it's amusing based on your morality you think all others need to care about. Look at people people like babe or Strange for continual contradictions.

    You know what, I don't care if you're partial. It makes for good comedy, since you clearly don't get the human condition.
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  82. #81  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    The important thing is that YOU think you're funny.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Eh? I didn't understand since you and your baseless views (as well as expecting a total stranger to welcome you) is comical. don't you have friends? A spouse? Parents and siblings? Children? Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews? Don't these people need to dote to you more than some stranger online?
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    No. I live alone in a cave. Please like me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    Because other people are stupid, ignorant, crazy, or just plain pants-on-head retarded.

    You, however, are genuinely offensive.

    Kudos for the usage of "pants-on-head retarded".
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    The important thing is that YOU think you're funny.
    As a friend of mine once said a symptom of mental illness is an "in-joke" with only the nutjob in on it. Sums up this guy pretty well...
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    lol.. what you're saying doesn't make sense. As said I find you amusing for following me around and telling me how I "contradict". I don't care if i do, and considering the numerous other contradictions you don't cite/rebuke this is amusing....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    I'm not a judgmental person, but then I believe that only religious dopes or the cowardly believe in moral absolutes.
    I'm not a mean person, but you should jump off a bridge.
    Don't punish the bridge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    As said I find you amusing
    And as we've said, we don't care if you find us amusing. Crazy people think fish sticks are funny. It doesn't mean anything.
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    lol.. I don't need to you care. only complain about how "contradictory" I am, when all others do it.
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    definitely both. babies are born knowing many things, but complex situations arise which require judgement calls babies can't make.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scurius View Post
    babies are born knowing many things
    Such as?
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    To answer the question more fully, I used to believe in absolute morals, but then noted an incongruence. For most, nay all, of my adult life I've believed in non-absolutes. We're only human, so we can't perceive of any "true" absolute. So why is morality different? It's a "thing" or phenomenon, isn't it? So it cannot be exempt from the "no absolutes" standpoint.

    I think the reason many believe in moral absolutes is thus:

    - Religion/God. This figures, since if God is absolute, then he determines all.

    - Fear. People fear being murdered, raped, stolen from, enslaved, etc. This is legitimate, but then the fact these occurs lends to a subjective moral system. I'm not a sociopath though and would never condone them occuring to anybody.

    - It depresses people. But then if God cannot be known to exist (there is a separation between God and religion), and nothing is absolute then ultimately all is meaningless in life. In 200,000, should we not progress technologically, we'd be severely curtailed by an ice age. As far south as London, Paris, NYC and Beijing, there would be an ice sheet. It was OK 20,000 years when we few in number, but at current technology/development levels it's catastrophic.

    The point being is that we can't determine the true nature of anything, so this must include morality.
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    Moral code is basicly a frankenstein monster.

    Innards made from biological disposition and genes
    Flesh made from cultural factors
    Stitchings made from upbringing; like parents, friends and other people near you
    Bones made from religious influences and personal beliefs

    These factors makes different people with different subjective codes of right and wrong.
    The question then is, if two monsters fight... and a third monster observes them. How can the third monster decide who is right and who is wrong?

    And this is why I normally dont post when high.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    As said I find you amusing
    And as we've said, we don't care if you find us amusing. Crazy people think fish sticks are funny. It doesn't mean anything.
    OK, so the gist of the thread is "anything goes morally, nothing matters at the base" and then I post similar and I am bad lol. got it... I get the feeling you like to project your norms/standards onto others, I'm an individual...
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    To answer the question more fully, I used to believe in absolute morals, but then noted an incongruence. For most, nay all, of my adult life I've believed in non-absolutes. We're only human, so we can't perceive of any "true" absolute. So why is morality different? It's a "thing" or phenomenon, isn't it? So it cannot be exempt from the "no absolutes" standpoint.
    To say that there are no "absolute" morals is not the same as saying morality therefore doesn't exist, any more than saying that because different social practices enhance survival and reduce human suffering, all or any of them are equally effective and desirable.
    Last edited by DianeG; March 6th, 2014 at 06:15 PM.
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    Dogs invite play, and have a complex set of behaviors surrounding what to do if one bites a little too hard, and how to start it, and how to be reciprocal, since if it's not reciprocal others will shortly stop being willing to engage. Many animal behaviorists point to this as "inborn morals." As we continue to study primates, we find more and more examples of reciprocal behavior and resulting cooperation in everything from food gathering, grooming, and play, to standing guard while someone else is defecating. It appears that this sort of thing is inborn, and especially common in animals that live together in groups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    To say that there are no "absolute" morals is not the same as saying morality therefore doesn't exist, any more than saying that because different social practices enhance survival and reduce human suffering, all or any of them are equally effective and desirable.
    Don't you think that morals have to be thought of as absolute, on some level, if they are going to work at all? How can you believe in something that you don't really believe in?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Don't you think that morals have to be thought of as absolute, on some level, if they are going to work at all? How can you believe in something that you don't really believe in?
    That's pretty easy once context of the particular culture and environment is considered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Don't you think that morals have to be thought of as absolute, on some level, if they are going to work at all? How can you believe in something that you don't really believe in?
    That's pretty easy once context of the particular culture and environment is considered.
    Your answer does not solve the dilemma for me. I'm not sure you got what I was trying to say. Sure, you can study the morals of a culture in the particular context. You can also see that your own moral system is a product of the culture and environment. How does this affect your belief in your own moral system or values?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Don't you think that morals have to be thought of as absolute, on some level, if they are going to work at all? How can you believe in something that you don't really believe in?
    That's pretty easy once context of the particular culture and environment is considered.
    Your answer does not solve the dilemma for me. I'm not sure you got what I was trying to say. Sure, you can study the morals of a culture in the particular context. You can also see that your own moral system is a product of the culture and environment. How does this affect your belief in your own moral system or values?
    Some morals are universal: thou shalt not kill. Exceptions are made, and even extensively made, in some cultures; but in general, humans will not group around anyone who commonly kills people for no reason. And our cousins are even less likely to; they're much more pragmatic and less likely to be talked into things (mostly because they can't talk).

    Reciprocity is the root of all morality. Even dogs are reciprocal, in play, and during the hunt. All social animals are. Primates engage in grooming to establish these relationships and reinforce them. The breaking of such a relationship is a cause for sorrow or anger, among chimps and bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. It certainly is cause for sorrow and anger among humans.

    Morals are for children and animals. Thou shalt do this, thou shalt not do that, honor thy mother and father, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, and so forth. Humans are extremely skilled at detecting cheaters. This suggests that we have been social for a lot longer than Proconsul (the most recent common ancestor of Pan and Homo). Pan is extremely adept at detecting cheating; an individual who had bitten off one joint of the finger of a veterinary worker who tended her during a husbandry activity evidenced inconsolable grief and hid in a corner every time that worker appeared to examine and treat her troop after the incident. (I wish I knew whether they were ever reconciled.) This is guilt, which is a pretty complicated emotion for a chimpanzee I'd say. She was not afraid; no one punished her. The vet never offered any violence. But she felt bad every time she saw the vet. This is clearly a social instinct; she has done something she cannot figure out how to atone for.

    How much smarter we humans are to have invented an imaginary super magic sky daddy to apologize to so we don't have to hide in the corner like her. Errr, well, hmmm.

    Adult humans use ethics. We assign values to everything, and then we choose the highest value. This is the height of honest, honorable, and correct human behavior; and that we are able to use it is the height of our knowledge of ourselves, as our physics and cosmology are the height of our knowledge of the universe we exist in.
    Last edited by Schneibster; March 6th, 2014 at 11:19 PM.
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