What is Morality, Where Does it Come From?

Mar 2013
8,323
8,980
Middle Tennessee
EXACTLY!
Survival of the fittest doesn't mean "Last Man Standing", it doesn't mean survival of the individual, it's survival of the genome, and since evolution is bigger than the genome, it means survival of the meme.

I read a Stephen Jay Gould essay where he talked about the Jewish kosher diet, and how he could only see it as being detrimental to the Jews, at some point having fewer foods you can eat will negatively affect your survival.
Then he had an epiphany, the kosher rules kept Jews away from Gentiles socially, this reduced intermarriage, it discouraged assimilation, it preserved a separate Jewish culture, even as it caused some individuals to starve and by keeping separate encouraged pogroms , it kept the Jews from being assimilated into the European culture, as so many other minorities had been completely assimilated.
In America, where the friction between Jews and Gentiles is almost non existent, the Jewish population declines, through people leaving the congregation to marry outside the faith and the culture.
The whole "Jewish diet" thing was about practicality and PROTECTING the population. Someone, somewhere, figured out that eating (most likely under cooked) pig could make you sick. Same for shell fish more than a few hours old and most of their other restrictions. This was long before refrigeration and they had no idea about micro-organisms that make us sick. All they new was eating certain things could be bad for you.

For the most part, even in countries not hostile to Jews, there was little assimilation but that was more from the local populations than from the Jews themselves. They've always been considered as much a race as a religion.
 
Jul 2008
17,220
11,159
Virginia Beach, VA
There is a book called The Moral Animal: Why we are the way we are by Robert Wright. Here's the thesis:
"Conscience, the seat of our moral sense, evolved as a survival mechanism. When ... we feel guilt because we have harmed a sibling, it is because we have thereby imperiled the proliferation of our genes. When we feel guilt because we have harmed someone outside the family circle, it is because we have potentially damaged our own (survival enhancing) status."

This explanation implicitly contains a remarkable claim. It suggests that there is something in us that is self-consciously aware of the process of evolution, that understands what the goal of evolution is – survival of our own species – and instructs us through our conscience to fulfill the optimal conditions for that survival.

Morality has been required since the caveman. In other words, it's been in place LONG before mankind KNEW OF/UNDERSTOOD God. In order to survive and thrive RULES were put in place for the clan and something called JUDGEMENT became obvious. The hierarchy was established. Punishments were meted out. Obviously, this was not JUST about survival. Parents protected their children from danger. Was that instinct or love? Was that innate or learned?

Since the beginning of man, standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable were in place.
They still are. Some people just CHOOSE to ignore them. People like Donald Trump.
There is no “goal” of evolution and there is nothing “self consciously aware of the process of evolution” (other than ourselves).
Evolution is a positive feed back loop. Each change in our DNA that allows us to live longer and reproduce more is going to be passed on to more descendants then those who didn’t get change/mutation.
 
Mar 2013
8,323
8,980
Middle Tennessee
There is no “goal” of evolution and there is nothing “self consciously aware of the process of evolution” (other than ourselves).
Evolution is a positive feed back loop. Each change in our DNA that allows us to live longer and reproduce more is going to be passed on to more descendants then those who didn’t get change/mutation.

Ya know, I've never understood why SO many Christians are so hostile to science. Let's say God DID create the universe, and he created the heavens and the earth. WHAT exactly would that look like ?? Possibly a BIG BANG ??? Suddenly out of nothing there was the whole universe just appearing in th vast voids of time and space ??

Isn't it total arrogance of us mere humans to assume that six days in God's time is the same as six days here on earth ?? Especially when we have planets right here in our own solar system that have MUCH LONGER DAYS !!!!

Wouldn't an "all knowing, all seeing" God KNOW that things were going to change over time ?? Time measured in BILLIONS of years. Wouldn't he have built in the ability to adapt over long periods of time ??

Seriously, who's to say the big bang and evolution AREN'T how God created the universe ??

I have no hard held religious beliefs. But I never thought of science and religion as being mutually exclusive.
 
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Apr 2013
34,216
23,109
Left coast
Ya know, I've never understood why SO many Christians are so hostile to science. Let's say God DID create the universe, and he created the heavens and the earth. WHAT exactly would that look like ?? Possibly a BIG BANG ??? Suddenly out of nothing there was the whole universe just appearing in th vast voids of time and space ??

Isn't it total arrogance of us mere humans to assume that six days in God's time is the same as six days here on earth ?? Especially when we have planets right here in our own solar system that have MUCH LONGER DAYS !!!!

Wouldn't an "all knowing, all seeing" God KNOW that things were going to change over time ?? Time measured in BILLIONS of years. Wouldn't he have built in the ability to adapt over long periods of time ??

Seriously, who's to say the big bang and evolution AREN'T how God created the universe ??

I have no hard held religious beliefs. But I never thought of science and religion as being mutually exclusive.
Along those lines, if one wishes to invent a "force" that did all those things fine. But there is no way in the world, and no evidence anywhere that this "force" gives a rat's ass about any one of us or will help any one of us at all.

The good news is it therefore also doesn't go out of it's way to particularly fuck you like the bible says god did to Job.
 
Jul 2014
12,417
7,473
massachusetts
The whole "Jewish diet" thing was about practicality and PROTECTING the population. Someone, somewhere, figured out that eating (most likely under cooked) pig could make you sick. Same for shell fish more than a few hours old and most of their other restrictions. This was long before refrigeration and they had no idea about micro-organisms that make us sick. All they new was eating certain things could be bad for you.

For the most part, even in countries not hostile to Jews, there was little assimilation but that was more from the local populations than from the Jews themselves. They've always been considered as much a race as a religion.
Gould said he had been told that story about uncooked pig meat, but that it didn't make any sense, because populations live on the brink of starvation, and excluding classes of food is usually detrimental, but it means you can't sit down and eat with other people, it prevents assimilation. In the US, where Jews mix freely with gentiles, they are being assimilated into the general population, and will eventually disappear.

It wasn't done for that reason, that property emerged, and the Jewish culture survived as a separate distinct culture, while hundreds of other tribes were subsumed into the populations of the countries they inhabited.
Food taboos are usually the result of the leader having a bad experience and forbidding the food to be served.
In the case of the Greenland Norse, they developed a taboo against eating fish, and starved to death, with the richest fishing grounds in the world just offshore.
 
Feb 2007
3,156
1,521
New York
Instead, I found that most of Charles Darwin’s work, especially “The Descent of Man,” not only supports the general argument of this book; it doesn’t support the idea of what most call Darwinism. Darwin’s research shows that “survival of the kindest” is more correct for explaining which species climb the evolutionary ladder efficiently and effectively.​
According to biologists from Darwin to E. O. Wilson, cooperation has been more important than competition in humanity’s evolutionary success. Compassion is the reason for both the human race’s survival and its ability to continue to thrive as a species.​

Even Darwin thought 'survival of the fittest' was misinterpreted
That would be correct. Cooperative behavior is essential for all social animals. What we call morality is basically the cooperative behaviors that are native to our species.
 
Nov 2012
16,506
5,535
Michigan
A person may argue that morality is a social construct and that therefore no moral code is of inherent moral value over any other. But then what should a person teach his/her 5 year old son?

There would be consequences for teaching a child there is no transcendent morality.
 
Jul 2008
17,220
11,159
Virginia Beach, VA
A person may argue that morality is a social construct and that therefore no moral code is of inherent moral value over any other. But then what should a person teach his/her 5 year old son?

There would be consequences for teaching a child there is no transcendent morality.
There is no “transcendent” morality (that is a morality that comes from outside of the human experience).
Morality is just another area of human knowledge that we build upon over years and centuries.
 
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