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Thread: limits of science

  1. #1 limits of science 
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    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?


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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Can morality be inherited?
    Morality can be inherited and/or formed culturally, socially, and through situational experience on a personal level. Or are you asking whether it can be inherited biologically, perhaps in the form of a genetic inheritance?


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Morality is something you are taught by observing those around you and what you learn as you go through life.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Morality is an emergent, artificially defined property arising from genetically controlled behvioural tendencies modified by cultural influences. So, yes, it can indirectly be inherited.
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    What would happen if everyone decides to tell lies? Truth will surely surface. Those who would accept truth have got rational minds(say). Some people are against truth cause of their vested interests. Now logically here the truth speakers(upholders) should progress. In real world however truth has got little chance. Someone tell me why this is so?
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    What would happen if everyone decides to tell lies?
    I think you will find that is the current state of play.

    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Truth will surely surface.
    Why are you so certain this will be the case. Truth will sometimes surface, but surely? Surely not.


    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Those who would accept truth have got rational minds(say).
    You can accept the truth personally, but deny it publicly. This is a common stance, else the dictionary would lack the word hypocrite.

    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Some people are against truth cause of their vested interests.
    They are against certain truths becoming widely known. (A lady of class, commenting on Darwin's evolutionary theory and its implications for human origins said, "Let us hope it is not true, but if it is, let us hope it does not become generally known.)


    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Now logically here the truth speakers(upholders) should progress.
    Only in some circumstances, else con-artists and the advertising industry would not flourish.

    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    In real world however truth has got little chance. Someone tell me why this is so?
    Lying is a successful survival technique inherited from our ape ancestors.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    This is a common stance, else the dictionary would lack the word hypocrite.
    Hypocrite (n): An actor (obsolete).
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    I think for anyone to really address your question, you'd need to need be more specific about what you mean by morality - a particular belief or behavior, as in "X is wrong" ? Empathy ? Altruism? Fairness or justice?
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    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    Here's an example of how a moral belief or practice might be selected for (and I'm not saying they all are.)

    A surprising number of cultures or religions have the belief that a menstruating women or menstrual blood is unclean or dangerous. There are references to this in the Bible, the Qur'an and in pre-revolution China. According to Vincent de Beauvais (1498) menstrual blood could prevent wheat from germinating, turn grapes sour, kill herbs, render fruit trees barren, make iron rust, tarnish bronze, and cause rabies. (I confess, the last one made me laugh.) In China, menstruating women were not only considered unclean but were deployed in battle, waving their sanitary rags from the city walls to deflect the enemy. (I don't know how well this worked.)

    Typically, a menstruating women in these cultures was required to separate herself from the group to some degree, and abstain from sex for the time she is menstruating and another 7 days after, which places her - bingo- on the 13th day of her cycle.
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  11. #10  
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    Whether morality is inherited is an unanswered question at this time. It is not impossible, and altruism or tendencies towards altruism may be a candidate for inheritance. However, until a gene is identified that governs morality or altruism, the question remains moot.

    My own personal opinion (note well : opinions count for nothing in science) is that altruism appears, in some form or other, to be universal among human societies. If it were purely learned, it would not be universal. Thus, to some degree, it is inherited. However, that is just my opinion, and whaddoiknow?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Whether morality is inherited is an unanswered question at this time. It is not impossible, and altruism or tendencies towards altruism may be a candidate for inheritance. However, until a gene is identified that governs morality or altruism, the question remains moot.

    My own personal opinion (note well : opinions count for nothing in science) is that altruism appears, in some form or other, to be universal among human societies. If it were purely learned, it would not be universal. Thus, to some degree, it is inherited. However, that is just my opinion, and whaddoiknow?
    I agree, the fact that morality and empathy is universal leads one to believe that it is biological, even when different groups vary in particular beliefs and practices. And it's not just universal to people, but found in varying degrees in other primates, elephants, dogs, etc.

    It's also interesting to read about sociology experiments that show effects of different things on moral choices, such as in priming experiments. If our moral decisions were entirely based on our unique personalities and reasoning, you would not expect to get such statistically significant results. Here are two:
    Moral in the morning, but dishonest in the afternoon -- ScienceDaily
    Money may corrupt, but thinking about time can strengthen morality -- ScienceDaily
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  13. #12  
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    I think morality is taught first by parents then by teachers. Or Children can learn by themselves.
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    There is nothing to say that morality cannot be both genetic and learned. Like language. It is clear that humans at a young age have an aptitude for soaking up language. That aptitude is genetic. But the language they learn, English or French or whatever, is learned.
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    One more question : Why are all humans eternally hopeful(I think humans were this way before all organised religions en-cashing on it)
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    One more question : Why are all humans eternally hopeful(I think humans were this way before all organised religions en-cashing on it)
    They aren't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    One more question : Why are all humans eternally hopeful(I think humans were this way before all organised religions en-cashing on it)
    I think our sensory systems and perceptions have to reflect reality accurately enough so that we aren't making huge blunders as we navigate our environment and deal socially with others. On the other hand, as others have said, all evolution cares about is survival. So it wouldn't surprised me if we are somewhat biased to view situations as more promising than they really are in order to maximize any slim chance of success.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    I don't think so. One's morality however is subjective, and based on choices. Someone can teach a person right from wrong, but it still boils down to individual choices.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wegs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    I don't think so. One's morality however is subjective, and based on choices. Someone can teach a person right from wrong, but it still boils down to individual choices.
    Possibly, but that kind of begs the question. What are those individual choices based on?
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by wegs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    I don't think so. One's morality however is subjective, and based on choices. Someone can teach a person right from wrong, but it still boils down to individual choices.
    Possibly, but that kind of begs the question. What are those individual choices based on?
    Based on observation. Based on others ‘educating’ you on themorals within one’s family, or specific to society. But, one’s morality isstill the sum total of one’s choices based on all they’ve been exposed to.
    Morality is also subjective, I reckon. Unless one is religious, and then religion dictates the morals for that person. (And all too often, religious types try to dictate those for us all) But, at the risk of straying from the OT. I'll leave that alone.
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  21. #20  
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    Pardon the words not spaced apart. This happens a lot to me lately, when posting here. Hmmm...My apologies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Whether morality is inherited is an unanswered question at this time. It is not impossible, and altruism or tendencies towards altruism may be a candidate for inheritance. However, until a gene is identified that governs morality or altruism, the question remains moot.

    My own personal opinion (note well : opinions count for nothing in science) is that altruism appears, in some form or other, to be universal among human societies. If it were purely learned, it would not be universal. Thus, to some degree, it is inherited. However, that is just my opinion, and whaddoiknow?
    The other possibility is that altruism is a really good idea, so that all successful societies promote it at least among members of the home tribe. But wars are pretty much universal as well.
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  23. #22  
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    Progress in science is welcome, not loss of innocence though.Human society will evolve and 'realise' one day. Science cannot bring back the lost moments for everyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Progress in science is welcome, not loss of innocence though.Human society will evolve and 'realise' one day. Science cannot bring back the lost moments for everyone.
    Societal innocence I think is just another romanticized term for ignorance that more often than not made societies worse by any objective comparison; it's similar to our notions of "noble savage," when most tribal societies were ANYTHING BUT noble.
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  25. #24  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Totally agree with you, Lynx.

    "Innocence" is such a wishy washy and ill defined term. What the hell does it mean?
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    Is it just me, or is the answer also simple. Which is yes. Yes, morality can be inherited. Violence breeds violence (proven), negligence breeds apatic and unsocial people, which will be negligent parents. And good parents, raise either spoiled brats, or good people.

    Its not 100% affected by the parents, but they put in a significant penny.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    I have a simple question. Can morality be inherited?
    Is it just me, or is the answer also simple. Which is yes. Yes, morality can be inherited. Violence breeds violence (proven), negligence breeds apatic and unsocial people, which will be negligent parents. And good parents, raise either spoiled brats, or good people.

    Its not 100% affected by the parents, but they put in a significant penny.
    Some studies say that while genes alone are not predictive of sociopathic behavior, the combination of certain genes and a neglectful or abusive environment is. Good genes, bad parents - you're ok, Bad genes, good parents - you're probably still okay. Bad genes, bad parents - recipe for disaster.

    I was listening to a segment on NPR about a neuroloscientist who was studying prisoners diagnosed as sociopaths. They needed more brain scans to use for the control group and started using friends, relatives, employees. One day a colleague approached the neuroloscientist and said, "You might want to take a look at this one." It more closely matched the brain scans of the psychopaths even though it was from the normal, or undiagnosed group, and it was his own.

    The interviewer asked him "How did that make you feel, having the brain scan of a sociopath?" She asked if he questioned his findings, or questioned whether he had those tendencies.

    He said he wasn't 100% surprised, and that he actually had a few murderers in his distant family tree. He said other people have often said about him that he can be rather calculating and unemotional at times. But he said he thought the reason he was not a sociopath was that he had grown up with extremely loving, nurturing and ethical parents. He also said that knowing that something like that might be lurking in his DNA made him want to be especially caring and supportive towards his own children. It was an interesting interview.
    Last edited by DianeG; February 18th, 2014 at 09:28 AM.
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