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Absolute Morality: Does it exist?

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posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 01:14 PM

Originally posted by rogerstigers
Moralism is defined by cultural traditions and practices. Differant cultures produce differant morals.


Morality changes over time.

Even for the most heinous of crimes ppl think of today going back into history will lead them to the point where they concede "well it was alright then cos so and so" or because "God said so"/ For example:

1 - "The reason abortion is wrong is because it is taking the life of the unborn child who has committed no wrong. In other words, the child is not being put to death for a sin that it has committed."

Hosea 13:16 says:

"Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

Whats the difference?

"Oh. . . bu-but God said so. Life he giveth and take away etc."

At the end of the day the absolute morality clique eventually converts to relative morality at some point.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 01:22 PM
great question, is there ultimate morality

i beleive that there are no absolutes in this world, and that morality is a perspective built on the individual experiencing it

so basically i beleive, no there is no ultimate morality

[edit on 9/5/2010 by indigothefish]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 01:26 PM
reply to post by igor_ats

Exactly. Morality changes over time.

many schemes of Morality are existed, but a few of'em makes SSS
others make society of scum

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 01:53 PM
Maybe I was not clear in my previous reply. Probably because I was not clear about my personal view, Lol.

I do not think this ultimate moral exists.

Cannibalism has been completely normal for people in the long distant past and even not so long ago.

Murder is always a big no no. Yet those who scream on top of their lungs that it is not OK are the biggest murderers. ( Governments, hell... in the states you can even be murdered for being a murderer go figure )

I've seen interviews with child molesters who actually think that the child can perfectly make its own choice and aged 7 even offered themselves freely.
Yes I think it was sick, but apparently they did not feel it was a bad thing to do.

Personally I think a relationship between a 15 and a 17 year old are normal yet in the states the 17 year old can be charged even without taking the consent of the minor and his or her parents. The 17 year old could be damaged for life.
15 has been an average age to get married not so long ago.

Religious morals are also quite contradicting. I honestly hope I do not need to give an example.

In reality we see that even among the western world there are major differences in moral. Even bigger when we look at other parts of the world. We all learn in school that our history shows that moral changes over time.

Maybe there is another question to take into consideration ?

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 05:06 PM
Sorry, was driving all afternoon, but two points of clarification:

1) For those of you arguing age of consent -- my question was whether it is acceptable to sexually abuse children, so my question to you would be "at what age is it acceptable to sexually abuse children?"

2) The three questions should be viewed from two perspectives, because that's where I'm going with all of this. Answer those questions from YOUR perspective (ie: #2 - if you were transported in time to a past society that accepted child abuse, do you see yourself going along with it?) and also from SOCIETY'S perspective (ie: #2 - have there been instances in the past where this is accepted behaviour?)

As I said, the nature of the questions doesn't matter all that much, you can substitute any issue you like.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 05:32 PM
reply to post by adjensen

I'm going to assume that by absolute morality you mean OBJECTIVE morality as in it would be the same for everyone.

1) No

2) No. As far as I know even in the days of child brides it was considered wrong to molest children.

3) No

because there are people who DO believe it to be acceptable

So wait. I thought you were arguing FOR absolute morality. How can it be absolute if people disagree with it?

You claim that it is absolute BECAUSE we agree with it - the idea that its a matter of opinion, however, would immediately make it SUBJECTIVE and not absolute.

Now that we've seen that an absolute morality exists

But you haven't demonstrated any such thing.

Morality stems from what is deemed best for individuals as a society. This is why things like slavery were kept around for so long. The slaves were not counted as part of the society, they were considered less than human and even after they were considered human their labor was considered too integral to society to allow them to be free.

The reason we all have a revulsion to child molestation is because we are taught a collective morality that stems from the society in which we live. It is not absolute and to prove this all one needs to do is find a less horrific issue than child molestation like legalizing pot or same sex marriage. You'll find a vast array of differing opinions on those subjects.

Same sex marriage is one that often points out the source of someone's morality. If someone is raised in a very religious family where homosexuality is thought to be a sin than that person will likely turn out against same sex marriage. Once again this points toward SUBJECTIVE morality.

The wavering morality we see if we look back to history is indicative of morality being subjective and not absolute.

My take away of that is that this particular absolute morality points to something which underlies it

Yes. Human beings are a social animal, we survive better in communities. As such behaviors that hurt the community/society, or individuals within the society, are considered immoral. Evolution has provided us with a very basic moral framework. This I think is the underlying "absolute" you are pointing to, that the human mind is hardwired for morality. But we can see that despite the hard-wiring it is the nurture element that has the upper hand on the nature part.

one would think that even an intellectualized species would not shy away from this.

Animals that kill their young have a distinct disadvantage to those that don't. This is why typically those that do kill or eat their own young are the sort of animals that reproduce more than one baby at a time. Human beings typically only have children one at a time and our infants, unlike the infants of some other species, are almost entirely helpless and need to be nurtured. Evolution has built into us instincts to nurture our young which are meant to subvert more primal instincts that might be vestiges of a time before we were apes.

However that is not to say we haven't practiced plenty of infanticide. Human sacrifice was once common in certain cultures as was killing off the sickly and deformed infants. Once again we see that morality is equal parts nature and nurture.

In conclusion:

While I do think a moral framework exists within us I also think it fairly obvious that this is not absolute. The framework is there but the morals themselves are decided typically according to what is deemed best for society or necessary.

I'm reminded of a line the Joker gives to Batman in the Dark Knight about how people are only as good as the world allows them to be. We're only as good as the society we live in and our morals are only as good as the source of our morality. Our parents and our society give us a starting morality to work from and as adults we typically make up our minds on how WE feel about subjects often taking into account our experiences.

Morality is Subjective, not absolute.

[edit on 5-9-2010 by Titen-Sxull]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 07:25 PM

Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
reply to post by adjensen

I'm going to assume that by absolute morality you mean OBJECTIVE morality as in it would be the same for everyone.

No, not entirely. Holding an absolute view means that no other view can be correct, but with any particular issue, a person may hold their own absolute view (as you did) but it cannot be absolute if someone else can hold a different view.

To start this discussion, I'm interested in people's views of their own absolute morality, because that's the only thing that they can attest to. Societal morals are clearly non-absolute.

While I do think a moral framework exists within us I also think it fairly obvious that this is not absolute. The framework is there but the morals themselves are decided typically according to what is deemed best for society or necessary.

While I agree with the substance, do you agree that your own morals are absolute, at least on some issues? Is there, for example, something that could happen that would change your three "no" answers up there? (I discount the example given earlier of someone forced to perform reprehensible acts under threat of death, as it doesn't make the act acceptable, merely justifiable to some.)

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by adjensen

i ans your question positively
yes, absolute morality... more exactly, finite set of absolute moralities are existed

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 07:56 PM
A relatively short post from me.

There is a recognized religion that states "Do what you will, but harm ye none"

The other basic tenant of this belief is the law of thrice return. Much like Karma, these are things that I can believe in.

If you live by the first rule, then abuse doesn't play into the picture, and that is where everyone seems to get hung up. Arranged marriages of very young girls is acceptable in many parts of the work, however sexual relations usually don't take place until sometime later.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 08:35 PM
reply to post by adjensen

Are all of my morals absolute? No. But there are certain issues on which my opinion isn't likely to change. Basic things like murder, rape and child molestation are always going to be in the immoral column for me. This is partially due to being taught by parents and society that these are wrong and cause massive harm to others but it's also because after thinking about it myself it is evident these things are wrong simply because of how detrimental they are to the victims and society as a whole.

Empathy, I think, is definitely part of the evolutionary framework of morality. As social creatures we are programmed to understand the emotions of others and abstract thought helps us put ourselves into other people's shoes. Through this mechanism we can determine what is hurtful to others and help forge a society, community, family, etc, with stronger bonds.

So yes some of my morals are absolute but on other issues, like the example of legalizing pot or allowing same sex marriage, my opinion has changed over the years.

[edit on 5-9-2010 by Titen-Sxull]

[edit on 5-9-2010 by Titen-Sxull]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 08:54 PM
Hi, adj.

Let me throw something out. I think you will find widespread agreement that there are certain general kinds of behavior that present moral issues. But you won't find near-universal agreement on what the resolution of the issues are.

Sexual behavior. You can keep it with adults even. People, all over the place, at any time, in whatever culture probably think that not every conceivable adult sexual act is morally permissible.

Some may think this one is OK, and that one not. Other people may think it's the other way around. But both groups of people think that the subject matter of adult sexual behavior needs scrutiny, is worth talking about, maybe needs regulation.

Killing people is probably another behavioral category. Animal cruelty. Involuntary transfers of personal "property." Community service, even if it is tossing your own trash in the waste can rather than dropping on the public right of way.

Maybe the way to say it is there is a widespread sense among people that there are some things whose doing requires some justification besides "I feel like it," and some agreement among people about what the categories are which need attention.

If you actually did find some specific act that everybody everywhere would reject, I would be willing to bet that it would be an extreme case, an outlier on a spectrum of behaviors where there was disagreement all across that spectrum. Yet, if you go far enough, then you finally find some far-fetched tiny bit which everybody happens to agree on.

That's why I am suspicious about your child abuse example. It is the extreme case of "cruelty toward other innocent people," which maybe everybody would agree is a category of concern, even as they disagree about what is cruel, what is innocent, and even what are people (certainly an issue in some places in the past, and of course in abortion discussions).

Sex is overrated. How young is too young to drive? or drink? or operate a powered food slicer? Most people would agree there are issues there, I'll bet. The answer doesn't have to be a time interval, maybe it's having achieved some developmental stage, or passing some other test.

Good grief. If people can't agree on the form of the answer (age, development, test, ...), then how could they possibly agree on the answer itself?

Nevertheless, there may be a case, a developmentally disabled three year old, whom everybody can, as a matter of fact, agree shouldn't be left unsupervised to operate a powered food slicer.

(1) It is not acceptable.
(2) It was never acceptable in the past.
(3) I disbelieve that it will ever become acceptable in the future.

Yet, no absolute moral principle has been discovered, only an outlier in a general field of widespread moral concern.

Just my opinion. Thanks for reading.

[edit on 5-9-2010 by eight bits]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 09:04 PM
reply to post by Titen-Sxull

you can think 2+2=5, but fact is 2+2=4
own morality is possible & yes, that may be subjective, meanwhile, far no every morality can produce Stable Social System. for example, human might want to kill, to rape, to torture... but Morality, Religion stop him from so brutal & no tolerant actions

[edit on 5-9-2010 by SarK0Y]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 09:29 PM
reply to post by Titen-Sxull

Exactly! Some of our views (most of them, likely) are fluid, and are based on things which may or may not be both appropriate or constant. Over the years, I have been both in favour of, and opposed to, gay rights (in whatever form they happened to be at the time) and the reasons were varied -- sometimes religious, sometimes political, sometimes cultural. So my stance there was a non-absolute. Although I am currently in favour of equal protection, and see no reason for changing my perspective, I recognize that this is not an absolute.

On one hand, this may make me wishy-washy, were I running for public office, on the other, it makes me open to seeing the world in a manner which is not absolute, and recognizing that a simplistically myopic view of an issue like homosexual rights is not a reasonable thing to hold.

However, we still have those absolutes hanging out there. You didn't say if you felt the same way, but I go back to my utter disdain for things like the abuse of children or animals, for which I recall no teaching, no instruction, and nothing to indicate that I should dislike it to the extent that I do.

The question becomes whether this personal absolute is truly an absolute, or whether it is a factor of current societal norms, hence question #2 (and #3) above. If I lived in a society where these actions were the norm, would I adopt them, or would I hold to my absolute and become a moral deviant?

Given my feelings on the subject today, I can see no circumstances by which I would bend on these issues, and I have the impression that you would not, either.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 09:33 PM
Morality is a human invention so it is not absolute.

Yet it is a derivative of some natural law that is absolute.

So I suppose morality is indicative of the absolute.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 09:42 PM
reply to post by eight bits

Well, I don't see it necessarily as something that "everyone need agree on", more a matter of a belief that one personally hold as an absolute. Again, I'm not looking at this in terms of source, but just whether such a thing is even possible.

There are no moral codes which everyone will agree on. If we dismiss those who don't agree with some particular moral code, at what point do we leave the realm of "deviate" and enter a space of simple moral ambiguity?

In my instance, I recognize that there are those who are narcissistic enough to believe that there is nothing wrong with their hedonistic view of child abuse. These, however, are dismissed as a deviant view (at least in our current state of society.) For the rest, it is something of a baseline of commonality -- we agree that this is abhorrent behaviour.

But is this merely in accordance with our current societal view of what is right, and what is wrong, or does it indicate something deeper?

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 09:47 PM
reply to post by AProphet1233

nope, any families of animals have determinate morality.

[edit on 5-9-2010 by SarK0Y]

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 11:07 PM
i think all child molesters should be executed. they should be shot in the head or they should be hung by trees and doused with gasoline starting with the legs, that way the flame should work its way up. thats my moral code.

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 11:28 PM

Originally posted by randomname
i think all child molesters should be executed. they should be shot in the head or they should be hung by trees and doused with gasoline starting with the legs, that way the flame should work its way up. thats my moral code.

Okay, but what is that based on? You and I (and most people) agree on the fact that this is reprehensible behaviour, but is this an absolute belief? Can it be justified in any manner? Can it be viewed in a different light if the society that we live in views it differently?

It is not surprising that, given the level of civilization that we currently see, this behaviour would be viewed as horrible, but if you divorce your view from society, can you see your view changing?

posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 11:39 PM
reply to post by randomname

So your moral code is to burn people for their immorality? That's not a moral code that's a penal code. A moral code states what is right and wrong. And I can think of a great deal of moral arguments against your particular proposed method of execution.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 01:59 AM
If it doesn't, then it's my moral imperative to take control of the world and build society in my ideal image. And anyone who disagrees will have to dethrone me before I eliminate them.

It's the strongest who make the rules, and if you don't like the rules you should become the strongest. Who's to say that's immoral? They have no authority to since morals are relative and there's no right and wrong.

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