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Thread: Are morals even real?

  1. #1 Are morals even real? 
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    first, define morals. ive seen some people put down some good thoughts then get ripped cause they didnt define something, lol. so here goes.

    Morals- What a person bases their ideology of a "good"/"bad" human being on.

    having done that, let me continue.

    a moral is neither right, nor wrong, as it is a persons opinion of what is right and wrong, and, as Jeremyhfht and i have discovered, ones opinion can neither be right nor wrong. So we have established morals cannot be wrong(or right).

    But, if a moral is neither wrong, nor right, then why does it matter what ones morals are?

    if morals are neither wrong nor right, then doesnt that just kind of blow the def. of morals right out of the water? How can you be a "good" person if there is no "final" def. of a "good" person?

    does anyone see where im going with this?


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    You know what, it seems obvious to me that the reason to be nice is not morals, in fact, no part of your spine contains the reason to be nice. Not that I know of anyway. It is found in your creativity center. If you don't have it, then you'll just do whatever that you gain from. If you have it, you will be nice and be treated nice.

    The reason that you should be nice is that you ain't getting away.


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    i gotta disagree man. i dont think that people that are not nice simply lack a part of the brain or chose not to use it. i think it all comes back to morals, but like i said, what the hell are morals if they're not right or wrong?
    i ripped this off of someone else's signature, but i felt that it equally applied to me.
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    All the old religions have managed to capture the moral subject as if they were the source of morals. Christianity even claims we are evil and sinfull beings who were cursed for Adam and Eve's "transgresion." Social scientists have been too easy on this subject.

    Actually, we are instinctively moral beings. That is because we are social animals. We evovled as hunter-gathering group social beings through millions of years of evolution. We could not survive as groups if we had not acquired an instinctive moral nature.

    So, morals is not a gife given to us by some supernatural being! All social animals have social/moral instincts. There is nothing new or unusual about this. We find moral systems useful to us to enable our societres to function more efficiently, but moral systems become old and ultimately obsolete and have to be replaced.

    For example, a new moral system would oppose the sewing of mines, of rape, torture, kiddnap, stalking, giving bribes, and slavery. It would also return to acceptance things that the old laws forbit but are actually harmless and even sometimes constructive.

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    You have defined morals, but you have not defined 'real'. In reality if you have no belief in God how can morals be real? As Charles said, morals are needed or extremely helpful in society. If everyone was so bent on kill everyone, their children, etc. then how could we make any progress? Morals are also selfish. "Hey, I wouldn't want someone to kill me, but I don't care about killing them. Lets just make it so it's 'bad' to kill someone."
    WHAT?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kabooom
    You have defined morals, but you have not defined 'real'. In reality if you have no belief in God how can morals be real? As Charles said, morals are needed or extremely helpful in society. If everyone was so bent on kill everyone, their children, etc. then how could we make any progress? Morals are also selfish. "Hey, I wouldn't want someone to kill me, but I don't care about killing them. Lets just make it so it's 'bad' to kill someone."
    firstly, you dont need a god to be moral, that is the most infantile statement yet. (and which god, which one is the most moral, I see none from my chair)
    secondly, I am more moral, then any god you can think of, I cannot think to kill. I have no wish to harm. I do not wish to have someone cower before me in fear.
    we are born with an innate need to be wanted(accepted), this defines our behavior, it is outside influences that make us become morally inept.
    hence why we have laws, to keep us to our social morals.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Well I didn't mean if you don't believe in God then you can't be moral. I don't kill people, or want to harm anyone and I don't believe in God.

    Sorry if my message came off wrong. I was trying to say if you don't believe in God then how could morals be real? If there is no God then morals are simply a human manifestation...
    WHAT?!
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  9. #8  
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    morals are relative.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perk
    i gotta disagree man. i dont think that people that are not nice simply lack a part of the brain or chose not to use it. i think it all comes back to morals, but like i said, what the hell are morals if they're not right or wrong?
    I didn't say they lack a part of their brain, I said that logic moral is found by thinking, and if you don't think, then you won't find it. When you find a such, and use it, it will be found in your creativity center. Else, you wouldn't know if you are right or not. Right?
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  11. #10 Morals 
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    Morals are personal belief systems so they are relative to individuals. However; it is society's mean average of everybody's morals which go on to become laws.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  12. #11 Re: Morals 
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins
    Morals are personal belief systems so they are relative to individuals. However; it is society's mean average of everybody's morals which go on to become laws.
    And the law book should be logic. And the humans should be logic. Everyone should learn logic.
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  13. #12 Re: Are morals even real? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perk
    a moral is neither right, nor wrong, as it is a persons opinion of what is right and wrong, and, as Jeremyhfht and i have discovered, ones opinion can neither be right nor wrong. So we have established morals cannot be wrong(or right).
    Heres your problem right here. Opinions are wrong all the time. There is simply one correct answer to many questions, even though many wrong answers are given.

    To say that opinions are not right or wrong is motivated by social biases as is highlighted by your "discovery" of it with another person. You want to be nice and cut a deal rather than one person in a debate having to be wrong... but sadly it doesn't work like that.

    Regarding morals they do matter, and the way they work is pretty simple. Morals boil down to the golden rule - or else. If you violate the golden rule, whoever you harm will stop you. Therefore any behaviorial guidelines derived from the golden rule carry the weight of this knowledge as well. Morals become complicated when it becomes difficult to determine who has what obligations when people on both sides stand to be harmed if they don't get their way.

    For exmample you might like it if a particular girl dates you, but she may not want to given who you are and how you act. Here you must alter yourself to be more competitive so that she will choose you rather than try to force the girl to date you. You just have to carefully reason how the golden rule applies to each situation.
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    Morals, as I see it, are merely decisions you make based on your belief system, morals conform to something, whether it be to a law, a religion, your parents, whatever. As far as them being right or wrong, well that depends on where you derive your morals. There are right and wrongs in a society, as there are in laws, but as far as right and wrong in the mind of yourself, well there really isn't any. In order for there to be a right and wrong you have to define either right or wrong.
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    A moral is the meaning: the moral of the story is... the meaning of the story is don't stick your hand in a crocs mouth as it will get bitten off
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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  16. #15 Re: Are morals even real? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perk
    first, define morals. ive seen some people put down some good thoughts then get ripped cause they didnt define something, lol. so here goes.

    Morals- What a person bases their ideology of a "good"/"bad" human being on.

    having done that, let me continue.

    a moral is neither right, nor wrong, as it is a persons opinion of what is right and wrong, and, as Jeremyhfht and i have discovered, ones opinion can neither be right nor wrong. So we have established morals cannot be wrong(or right).

    But, if a moral is neither wrong, nor right, then why does it matter what ones morals are?

    if morals are neither wrong nor right, then doesnt that just kind of blow the def. of morals right out of the water? How can you be a "good" person if there is no "final" def. of a "good" person?

    does anyone see where im going with this?
    You are right.... my brain just got tied in a knot... :? I'll have to come back to this one.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  17. #16  
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    My take on Perk's post (top)

    "a moral is neither right, nor wrong, as it is a persons opinion of what is right and wrong"

    - morality of behaviour can be right or wrong within a limited social frame, but not in an absolute or universal sense

    "...why does it matter what ones morals are?"

    - It matters because 'systems' of morality evolve in societies. They serve the function of 'policing' behaviour to conform with local ideals and expectations.

    "...doesnt that just kind of blow the def. of morals right out of the water?"

    - No, for the reasons given previously.
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    Perk,

    In life, nothing has a definite, when it comes to output of the conscious. Physical laws have their definites, because they can be calculated and defined through math. But, not creative thoughts. At least, not from our current standpoint.

    If one tries to bring to an absolute science of what is right and wrong, he will find himself in loops. Just as you find yourself in loops when trying to define morality. However, it is unfortunate that we must somehow come to even a shady defenition of what is right and wrong, according to our beliefs. If we don't then we won't survive this world.

    So, 'moral' is a word, that in your case, must be dropped. Instead, forget right and wrong and think about it in the perspective of what is beneficial to you, and others who are not against you. Is it beneficial to be uncontrollably angry at another individual when in an argument with them? Or, is it more timesaving and relationaly beneficial to calmly discuss a matter with the opponent? This makes more sense, it seems, than viewing it from a perspective of 'Is it right or wrong to be uncontrollably angry at an opponent". It is easier to come to a conclusion this way, I think.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    So, 'moral' is a word, that in your case, must be dropped. Instead, forget right and wrong and think about it in the perspective of what is beneficial to you, and others who are not against you. Is it beneficial to be uncontrollably angry at another individual when in an argument with them? Or, is it more timesaving and relationaly beneficial to calmly discuss a matter with the opponent? This makes more sense, it seems, than viewing it from a perspective of 'Is it right or wrong to be uncontrollably angry at an opponent". It is easier to come to a conclusion this way, I think.
    I sounds like you have a similar point of view as Siddhartha Gautama himself:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Buddha
    ...after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
    In this case I think that we have to have faith that we know what is good for us. It's kind of odd. From the standpoint that we are all a product of nature it would seem that it is only natural that we should know such things.

    Your question: Are morals real?
    My question: What is real?
    Quote Originally Posted by Einstein
    Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  20. #19  
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    morals are as real as thoughts.

    reading and watching war films, you realize the shaky ground morals usually are on.

    killing is viewed as an universal "wrong" and the army struggles with
    morally justifying its killing

    you have "morally justifiable acts" such as killing your "enemy" "for the greater good"
    and relative to the side fighting, you have the "good guys" and "bad guys"

    the morally good act, usually involves in saving someones life.
    serial killers however, are excluded.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    Right and wrong are secondary compared to good and evil. You can safely say any good action is right, and any bad (or evil) action is wrong.
    where are we? what are we?
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    Personally, I truly view 'right' and 'wrong' from an evolutionary, survivalism standpoint. Knowing this of me, I will try to define the two terms based on my views.

    Right - Actions or comments that cause no harm to come upon the individual, or group of individuals. These actions usually have a benefit of some sort.

    Wrong - Actions or comments that bring harm to an individual or indivuduals.

    So, something is 'right' and/or 'moral' when it causes no harm. So, if arguing with one another causes more disruption than originally present, than it was 'wrong' to argue. If driving a car over someone causes harm to them(obviously it would), then it is 'wrong' to do so. Of course, complex situations take more investigation of the mind as to if it is beneficial('right') or not('wrong').

    Simply, the psycological thoughts of right and wrong might have derived from the more basic thoughts of those things that harm, and those things that do not harm. Good and evil would have eventually derived from these learned terms, sometime when religion came about into the thoughts of men. Eventually, morality came then.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Wrong - Actions or comments that bring harm to an individual or indivuduals.
    That is all fine and well but you have not shown why i must not do things that bring harm to other people - what is the merit of being moral according to your definition?

    The is-ought gap always bites this line or argument.
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  24. #23  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    When it comes to not doing harm to a group of individuals, it pretty much means the those (immediately or not) effected by the words or actions. Group survival, may I call it. An intent brought up from evolutionary 'survival of the fittest'. That, not only do you need to survive solely, but it also takes the help of those around you...or your species.

    I do not usually place morals on such a scienctific scale as this thread is doing so. Therefore, my daily habits and actions can sometimes tend to be waverly. I sometimes become confused about if what I did or said is 'right'. I believe we all go through this. I don't know for sure. In the end, I usually weigh out the benefits of my actions towards me and those around me. I then, almost all of the time, see how I could have said or done the action more effeciently, or beneficially.

    I usually percieve me as doing something 'wrong' when it comes from laziness. Which means doing nothing at all, or doing it partially as well as my full potential allows me.

    Definitions are a tough subject. Maybe even one I should not step foot onto. Because, the definition ultimately ends up defined from ones conscious deeply psycological vision. Sometimes, in which language has it's limits. Or, our minds have their limits in which they percieve themselves as. So, the debate is endless.

    Benefits, whatever they may be to me at the time, are my meritsof dong what is 'right'.
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  25. #24  
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    Nanobrain, you make some good points. A couple of comments:

    "Therefore, my daily habits and actions can sometimes tend to be waverly. I sometimes become confused about if what I did or said is 'right'."

    - There are probably comparatively few moral issues that can be seen in black and white. It's usually a case of 'shades of grey' - and shifting shades, at that. Try as we might to do our best, there are sometimes moral dilemmas that don't appear to have a 'right' solution', and can cause us a great deal of anguish.

    "I usually percieve me as doing something 'wrong' when it comes from laziness. Which means doing nothing at all, or doing it partially as well as my full potential allows me.

    - We have to remind ourselves of our human limitations. There's a limit to what we can do tackle the problems of the world without ourselves becoming part of the problem. Yes, most of us probably could do more, but a great deal is in the hands of fate, or God.

    Don't take that as patronising. I address it to myself also
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  26. #25  
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    I guess everyone likes picking on Nanobrain. :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Personally, I truly view 'right' and 'wrong' from an evolutionary, survivalism standpoint. Knowing this of me, I will try to define the two terms based on my views.

    Right - Actions or comments that cause no harm to come upon the individual, or group of individuals. These actions usually have a benefit of some sort.

    Wrong - Actions or comments that bring harm to an individual or indivuduals.
    The problem here is looking at the whole of things. Generally speaking evolution is a beneficial thing. If you look at insects they evolve much faster because of their short life spans. Does this mean we should start killing eachother to benefit the species? Obviously, like you said, it is more complicated than it is at first glance so I don't necessarily expect you to answer that question. It's probably more beneficial for your health if you don't polute yet most people drive cars every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Definitions are a tough subject. Maybe even one I should not step foot onto. Because, the definition ultimately ends up defined from ones conscious deeply psycological vision. Sometimes, in which language has it's limits. Or, our minds have their limits in which they percieve themselves as. So, the debate is endless.
    You are right but, it is in the search for definitions that we gain more understanding and insight as to how we define them. Sometimes we find our definition was so far off that it is not worth recognizing while other times it is worth considering under certain circumstances. Either way greater understanding is gained. Even though it seems you just went in circles.

    Other times for convenience sake it is easier to simply pull out the dictionary. My dictionary gives me 10 definitions for the word moral.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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    I guess everyone likes picking on Nanobrain.
    Hehe, it's my fault, honestly. I pulled myself into this.
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  28. #27  
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    honestly. I pulled myself
    Whatever turns you on...
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    Hehe...cheapshot.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Hehe...cheapshot.
    wow, an alcoholic too
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    may i suggest an alternate way of viewing morals?
    enter my own very brand and delightfully invented explanation:
    moral context!
    it basically works like mathematical parenthesis expressions.

    (greater good ( lesser good ( minor good ( trivial good trivial evil) minor evil ) lesser evil ) greater evil )

    if you have a lot of trivial good, it will do something towards the minor good, and a very tiny amount towards the lesser good, and finally, nearly nothing towards the greater good.
    if you are within the trivial good context, you will take note of this, but you won't take notice of the greater good.
    if you are within the greater good bracket, you will not take notice of the trivial good, although a lot of lesser good might affect you.
    hahah, moral mathematics.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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  32. #31  
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    wow, an alcoholic too
    ... :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanobrain
    Personally, I truly view 'right' and 'wrong' from an evolutionary, survivalism standpoint.
    There's probably truth in that. The ability of human beings to survive and evolve has almost certainly been due, to a great extent, upon their capacity for intelligent cooperation. For example, killing a mammoth would have been a mammoth ( ) task for a single human being, but much easier for a coordinated group. The ability to cooperate would therefore have been a survival factor. The ability to form intelligent moral judgements regarding their communities would have enhanced that cooperation, and so increase the ability of the group to survive. The tendency of Darwinian evolution would therefore be most likely to favour the reproduction of genes related to moral behaviour and social conscience; or, in other words, to favour the tendency to do the 'right' thing for the community.
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  34. #33  
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    I'm still stuck on my utilitarian definition.

    A successful moral ideal is one that, if adopted by enough people, creates a better environment for all participants to live in. The larger the scale it can be applied to, the more successful a moral it is.

    Think about it. What is the goal of morality to begin with? Why even have morals? Typically, a moral we can all agree on will be one that makes life better for all of us. A moral we disagree on will typically be one that may or may not make life better for all of us, and some of us think it does while others disagree that it doesn't.
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    Ofcourse morals are real, as real as any other word in the english dictionary.

    also i should point out before i start ranting, that i found your request for a definition and your definition ironic. You define morals in terms of rights and wrongs, but you dont define rights and wrongs, bad and good. the entire thing is circular.

    for me morals, as with any other word or concept, should be approached from a social, cultural, linguistical perspective. I am not excluding biological perspective here, but not expressly mentioning it because in a way, the biological reality governs it all as the only "real" perspective.

    i now you realise that a definition is required, but not for the word "moral", but rather for the perspective that you should approach explaining it. Hopefully the distortion caused by the definition of the perspective is far enough, in terms of association, from the concept we are considering ("morals") that it wont distort its explanation.

    god damn i cant be bothered with this.

    um, do you feel bad when you run into a dog? would you feel worst if you did it on purpose? would you think someone who ran into a dog on purpose was an ass? well if you answered yes to these, then you got morals. if you said no, then you are a sociopath, and a possible threat to society. hopefully you wont have too many babies - and someone will probably knocks your blocks off before you do have some babies. and thanks to that, your sociopath genes die with you.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sohy
    You define morals in terms of rights and wrongs, but you dont define rights and wrongs, bad and good. the entire thing is circular.
    I am not sure exactly who you are speaking to. But, I know that I define morals from 'right' and 'wrong'. Now, watch the quotes. Right and wrong from a survivalist standpoint, as I stated before, is what is beneficial. Which, I will agree is a bit circular. Seeing that the word 'beneficial' also needs a bracket for what it is.

    What is beneficial to one depends on his depth of care. He, of course cares for himself(some do not, but they wouldn't even bother with 'right' and 'wrong'). But, who else does he care for? His immediate socialy bonded others? Maybe it extends beyond them, to caring for people he does not know(which it should).

    So, to me, just for example, what benefits anyone in whom I have an understanding of the possibilty of my actions(or whatever cause fo a reaction) benefiting them, is therefore beneficial. And therefore 'morally right'.
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    ok, i have a problem here. so would you say morals come from what we feel is a beneficial (and for beneficial i am going explain it as the survival -longterm- of my genes and my relatives in an order of reduced level of imporatance as genetic dissimiliarity increases.

    or what is actually beneficial (with beneficial having the same meaning).

    or would you say that thousands of hears of natural selection has made them equivalent (which is doubt, as surely there would be situational exceptions where they would deferentiate).

    or would you say that "morals" come from interfering with other right to survive (which i doubt is what you are saying, cause it is bogus)
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  38. #37  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sohy
    so would you say morals come from what we feel is a beneficial
    Well...yes. Maybe 'percieve' works better than 'feel'. But, of course as I stated, that the word 'beneficial' is in itself a circular. Maybe 'care' should be replaced by 'what is needed or necessary'. If something is needed, it would be 'wrong' to get rid of it. Right? But, it is 'right' to keep it safe.

    This is tough.
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  39. #38  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Are morals even real?
    certainly.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

    http://www.atheistthinktank.net/thinktank/index.php

    Theists welcome.
    ___________
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  40. #39  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    Maybe we should say, consciously, morals are real. Unconsciously, nothing is real.
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  41. #40  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sohy
    ok, i have a problem here. so would you say morals come from what we feel is a beneficial (and for beneficial i am going explain it as the survival -longterm- of my genes and my relatives in an order of reduced level of imporatance as genetic dissimiliarity increases.
    I'm going to go with this one. Clearly morals are based on perception, as are all other decisions. You can't base a decision on absolute reality, because you only have perception to go on.

    Humans are different from other animals because we're able to use our imaginations to perceive things that aren't directly near us. We can see how allowing theft, for instance, would create a bad environment for us to live in.

    Maybe the main basis to morality is the desire to create a good environment for us to live in. I mean: why do we feel such a universal disdain for pedophiles? Most of us are afraid that our kids, young cousins, or nephews might become the victim of one.
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  42. #41  
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    Maybe the main basis to morality is the desire to create a good environment for us to live in.
    Yes. I believe this hits it on the dot.
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