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Survival of the Kindest

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posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 01:30 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by juveous
 


To say that good morals are instinctive does not help in preventing immorality.

Two questions:

  1. Is this the purpose of religion, then – to ‘prevent immorality’?

  2. Why do you think understanding the origins of morality won’t help in propagating moral behaviour?

All animal behaviour consists of responses to stimuli. The better we understand the behaviour, the more likely we are to be able to stimulate it.

Edit: - 1. Saying if it is 'the' purpose of religion, and saying it is 'a' use of religion are two different things.
2. - probably a bad choice of words - I was referring to the acknowledge of instinctive morals as in just because you understand right from wrong, doesn't change you from doing wrong - where as in the suggestion of religion, there is a community that can help change you altogether. - I am not saying religious people don't do wrong, that's absurd, but commenting on the difference between altering ones understanding and altering ones being.


But if morality is at root instinctive, and religious ‘morality’ is at odds with those roots, do you not see the problem? And do you not see that religious ‘morality’, imposed by fiat, would be (i) always trumped by instinct in the long run and (ii) actually not morality at all, but immorality?.


'if" it is at odds. i'm curious as if you would be ok with a consensus of what is moral, based off evidence and data? Sam Harris talks alot about why science should be a base for morality - how exactly would you define these roots? I was using instinctive morality in the common sense fashion of what most people would agree on regardless of their upbringing.


Nonetheless you have been arguing for it. Why ?

And why do you think you don’t need religion? What makes you different from others?


I pretty much already answered that, I will say that I think as time and intellect progresses, people will be reversing the seriousness of religion, you can even see it a lot in America where it has been nonchalantly secularized, and even 'fun' for a lot of people, wearing 'jesus is my homeboy' trucker hats and movies with priests as superheroes. and as for what makes me different from others, I don't even know who the others you are referring to are? I'm open minded. The religious and the atheist are both closed minded. That has nothing to do with intellect, one's a choice, one's a non-choice, both having varied degrees of belief.

edit on 16-9-2011 by juveous because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-9-2011 by juveous because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:47 AM
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reply to post by Mindpeace
 

I’m afraid you haven’t answered the question. I asked you to imagine yourself observing a troop of primates and tell me what conclusions you drew from that. Instead of attempting that, you offered me a lecture on how ethologists think, something I would be better advised, as I am sure you will agree, to ask a practising ethologist about.

Your argument is very clear to me. You believe that the process of scientific enquiry is based on certain assumptions about reality, and that these assumptions negate or at least compromise the claims of science to tell us anything truthful about the world. There is no need to keep on explaining this in different ways, nor indeed – if this is your intention – to attempt to convince me of this. I am already convinced. However, I do not think the case so dire as you make it out to be.

We cannot judge the value of your insight, however, until you show yourself willing – in a vulgar phrase – to put your money where you mouth is and answer the question I asked you specifically and pragmatically, rather than taking cover inside yet another a thicket of philosophical generalities. I have dealt fairly and honestly with you. I am asking you to do the same, as far as possible, with me. Thank you.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 08:59 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Good Morning Astyanax.

Well, I guess a climax in our interaction has been reached...

"We cannot judge the value of your insight, however, until you show yourself willing – in a vulgar phrase – to put your money where you mouth is and answer the question I asked you specifically and pragmatically, rather than taking cover inside yet another a thicket of philosophical generalities..."

Although I believe the basic premise of your opening sentiment in this passage to be unavoidable, please know here that your judgments concerning ANY subject matter are much more important to you than they are to me. But please ALSO know that I offer this observation for reasons you most probably don't even suspect.

Your assumptions concerning MY motivations when interacting with you are more than a bit off the mark. I am NOT attempting to convince you of anything. I am NOT making an argument [pro or con] with respect to your ongoing supposition(s) with respect to an evolutionary biological source (genetics) for "morality". I have simply offered up what I consider to be nothing more than an indistinct route to a possible alternative explanation for the source for morality. How you interpret my interaction is, of course, entirely up to you. In other words, read into it what you will.

Near the close of my previous series of thoughts, I stated "...and that question, for me, deals with possible motives for stances taken and boundaries set." This premise, for my "money" (to partially reiterate your relatively mild use of vulgarity), most certainly applies to me as it does to anyone else...including yourself. You have drawn conclusions apparently based upon assumptions concerning my "motivations" for interacting with you and my interaction with what I take to be your initial, basic premise. My motivations are mine and mine alone and, although I consider them as being rather altruistic, again, how you interpret my interaction with you is, once again, up to you.

You enter a forum aptly named "PSYCHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY AND METAPHYSICS" and, in reply to my initial [obviously] philosophical interaction with you and your subject matter, you propose (or should I term this "attempt to "redirect" my contributions to this thread in order to be in keeping with the interactive strategy YOU seem to employ") that I [imaginatively] apply a reflection of the Scientific Method while observing the behavior of a troop of primates in order, I guess, so that I would "see the light" with respect to the validity of the Scientific Method. However, I cannot [consciously] contribute to the confirmation of the validity OF this interactive strategy you seem to place the greatest of "dire" importance upon due to my position with regards to what I consider as being the INHERENT misleading nature OF that strategy. Reflective of this stated position, my efforts in this dynamic - which I attempted to convey to you on several occasions - have apparently been met with rigidity, mild insult and outright disdain.

"I’m afraid you haven’t answered the question. I asked you to imagine yourself observing a troop of primates and tell me what conclusions you drew from that. Instead of attempting that, you offered me a lecture on how ethologists think, something I would be better advised, as I am sure you will agree, to ask a practising ethologist about."

Whatever your motivation here, I once again state that I believe the observer will draw conclusions based NOT ONLY upon the observed behavior, but will...without fail...incorporate their own individual assumptions into the mix (consciously or otherwise) - whether or not they believe they are doing so. And, for me, this practice will most certainly be employed by a "...practising ethologist..." (consciously or otherwise) - this partially represented by the opinions and conclusions of their respective, learned professors - no matter the level of validity placed upon those "practised" opinions.

I believe I can, at this point, safely assume our interaction has now reached its denouement. You have my sincerest Thank You for your choosing to interact with this shared dynamic, and I close here by offering my very best wishes for happiness and life fulfillment to You, Your Family and to All Those Whom You Hold As Being Dear.

Mindpeace

p.s. You said "I have dealt fairly and honestly with you. I am asking you to do the same, as far as possible, with me. Thank you."

Believe it or not, I believe I have been both forthright and honest with you from the outset. So...you're welcome.


edit on 18-9-2011 by Mindpeace because: (no reason given)

edit on 18-9-2011 by Mindpeace because: ...an interesting (to me) afterthought...



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 09:34 AM
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reply to post by juveous
 


i'm curious as if you would be ok with a consensus of what is moral, based off evidence and data? Sam Harris talks alot about why science should be a base for morality - how exactly would you define these roots? I was using instinctive morality in the common sense fashion of what most people would agree on regardless of their upbringing.

Instinctive morality is expressed in feelings and actions, not in views and beliefs. It is not the application of consciously-understood rules but a matter of reflexes and impulses bred into us by aeons of natural selection.

To illustrate the difference between instinctive ‘moral’ behaviour and morality that is prescribed by a code, take the question of social relations. We are all aware that our attitudes towards others vary greatly with the degree of genetic and social relatedness we bear to them. Our children receive our fullest care and consideration, spouses nearly as much, parents and other relations a bit less. Friends are more or less prized according to their intimacy with us. But strangers are treated with wariness, if not outright suspicion and hostility. Now this is perfectly natural behaviour for primates; but it is a world away from the moral code that tells us to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’.

Instinctive morality is not about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; it only looks that way because we have evolved to perceive it thus. In fact, it is about survival of the fittest. Humans who support their kin and social groups tend to receive life support from members of these groups in return, which helps make them ‘fitter’ individuals from an evolutionary point of view. Humans who instinctively value and follow their communal and nurturing impulses tend to leave behind more offspring, who in their turn will do the same. Thus these impulses, and the value we place on them, spread through the population and come to form the bases of our moral codes.

I am not trying to say that civilized men and women can live without shared moral values that are more or less carefully articulated and codified. I am merely arguing that religion is not the ultimate root from which these values spring. The root is instinct; morality is bred into us.

Moral codes are not bred into us; they are taught us. And in this regard, I question whether science can provide us with any kind of basis for developing a set of morals or a code of ethics. I don’t know about Sam Harris but I don’t see science as a source of illumination on this subject. What can it teach us? We are, all of us, born experts on morality; even psychopaths know what is socially expected of them, even if they do not always deliver on it. There is nothing science can teach us about right and wrong. That is not its function.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by Mindpeace
 


I have simply offered up what I consider to be nothing more than an indistinct route to a possible alternative explanation for the source for morality.

Indistinct is right; nowhere in the foregoing exchange did you give me the impression that you were proposing any alternative beyond the well-beaten Shakespearean motto about there being more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy.

Would you care to state it explicitly now?


edit on 18/9/11 by Astyanax because: it seemed better brief.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 10:36 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Another "Good Morning" Astyanax.

"Indistinct is right; nowhere in the foregoing exchange did you give me the impression that you were proposing any alternative beyond the well-beaten Shakespearean motto about the being more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy."

That wasn't very nice but, then again, I wasn't expecting anything at all for that matter. So, no offense taken IF it was either intended or inferred.

"Would you care to state it explicitly now?"

If you had considered the information provided in my initial posting to you in this thread, you wouldn't have posed that question.

To state what is the obvious to me - I’m not walking in your shoes, Astyanax. What you choose to see in and of this world is uniquely You. This premise most certainly includes what you are reading at this moment.

Conversationally here, I [generally] subscribe to the Seth Information* (as overtly stated in my initial posting in this thread) – although, also as previously stated, due to my own individuality I have incorporated my own “truths” into that mix (i.e. my understanding of the interpretation of quantum mechanics presented by David Bohm and Basil Hiley)**

"The Nature of Personal Reality" by Seth as channeled through Jane Roberts.

**“The Undivided Universe” by David Bohm and Basil Hiley.

Although I am absolutely convinced of the substance of the framework which is represented by my system of beliefs, I concluded a life time ago that what I accept as probably true in this life is “true” to me, and me alone. If some of my ideas are shared by others, that's good. If not...well, that's good too. For me to attempt to bestow any value whatsoever upon my personal philosophy when interacting with others - other than "indistinct" statements regarding mostly intuitive conclusions based upon exploration of the above and other additional sources, life experience and contemplation during reflections of that experience - would be both assumptive and self-important...from my point of view. For me, that's a "pragmatic" approach for me to take.

I am NOT concerned with the "right or wrong" of your (or anyone's) stated position(s). I am merely experiencing a facet to the wondrous variety of experience (and interpretation of same) I associate with this probable existence. I am also offering "indistinct" and alternative routes to interpreting given events for I also concluded long ago that just because I choose to view an event unfolding in this or that manner - it may not necessarily always be as it may appear...to me.

At any rate, thanks again for your choice(s) to interact...

My Very Best To You And Your Family.

Mindpeace.


edit on 18-9-2011 by Mindpeace because: Afterthoughts...
extra DIV



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:41 PM
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reply to post by Mindpeace
 





I am NOT concerned with the "right or wrong" of your (or anyone's) stated position(s). I am merely experiencing a facet to the wondrous variety of experience (and interpretation of same) I associate with this probable existence.


and yet - you chose to play the game

why not play by the rules that were clearly established at the start?

you can still disagree with the premise - that's why it's here in the Psychology, Philosophy, and Metaphysics forum

very curious actually about why all the artificial politeness - when you intended from the start to do something rude?

as you said yourself - it's a very interesting subject



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:32 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


Hello Spiramirabilis.

**********************************************************

"and yet - you chose to play the game

why not play by the rules that were clearly established at the start?

you can still disagree with the premise - that's why it's here in the Psychology, Philosophy, and Metaphysics forum

very curious actually about why all the artificial politeness - when you intended from the start to do something rude?

as you said yourself - it's a very interesting subject"

**********************************************************
**********************************************************

Yes, it's most certainly an "interesting subject" - for different reasons for different individuals.

"why not play by the rules that were clearly established at the start?"

After some rather superficial exploration into the possible/probable role played by evolutionary biology as being the source of "morality", paving the way for conversation to begin, the "rules" (as you put it) were simply this...a question posed at the close of the very first posting of this thread:

"Does religion serve us, then, or do we serve religion?"*

*Additional parameters (i.e. "What is the use of religion to the believer? Please bear in mind the biological aspects of the argument when replying. That is what the thread is about.") were presented on Page 2 of the thread within the OP's reply to StandingTall.

The answer to that specific question as posed by the OP, and as it appeared to me, is simply that we do NOT serve religion; nor does religion serve us. We serve ourselves through the choices that we make...for better or for worse - and it was the introduction of this [philosophical] premise that I had hoped would add an additional facet of interest to the overall substance and discussion...although the "either/or" framing for the initial question would indicate only those two stated possibilities.

"very curious actually about why all the artificial politeness - when you intended from the start to do something rude?"

While I don't place any great measure of either importance or validity upon my personal philosophy, one of the "end results" of practicing what I preach is simply this conclusion: The way we choose to live our respective lives is determined NOT genetically, but by conscious choice...and this [philosophical] premise is reflected in the manner I [consciously] choose to employ when interacting with others; by allowing others the dignity and courtesy they inherently deserve, with personal, sincere respect AND with an open ear when confronted with ideas other than my own.

Nowhere have I either stated or inferred that the OP or anyone else was right or wrong about anything. I have simply offered my general thoughts on the matter - and I have discounted absolutely no premise(s) here. If you have consumed and digested my sentiments and arrived at the conclusion that I have been "rude"...well, that's up to you.

Hopefully, your curiosity concerning my "...artificial politeness..." has been sated.

My Very Best To Both You And Your Family.

Mindpeace



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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reply to post by Mindpeace
 


Yes, it's most certainly an "interesting subject" - for different reasons for different individuals.

hmmm... :-)


The answer to that specific question as posed by the OP, and as it appeared to me, is simply that we do NOT serve religion; nor does religion serve us. We serve ourselves through the choices that we make...for better or for worse

now, that does seem closer to being a reply that directly answers the original question


Nowhere have I either stated or inferred that the OP or anyone else was right or wrong about anything. I have simply offered my general thoughts on the matter - and I have discounted absolutely no premise(s) here.

it's not a crime to discount a premise :-) it's pretty much what we live for here at ATS

just be honest about it

If you have consumed and digested my sentiments and arrived at the conclusion that I have been "rude"...well, that's up to you.

I didn't consume - or digest - anything. I'm just wondering about why you showed up to derail a very interesting thread with the classic Cherry Pie argument. It's an oldie - and a goodie - but it doesn't fit here :-)

or, at least - it didn't fit yet

Hopefully, your curiosity concerning my "...artificial politeness..." has been sated.

no - it hasn't - but, I'll live :-)

if you're at all curious about what I'm after - it has something to do with this:

By the way, your own "established parameters" set for my response here won't be followed to any great degree...due to my own "established parameters" for replying to questions. I'm merely framing what you are about to encounter...

when what I was really waiting for all along was a direct response to this:

Are you suggesting that this is what religion is good for? Would you care to expand on this?

I was genuinely looking forward to your hearing your thinking here

are you still up for it?



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


Another Hello Spiramirabilis.

You know, I greatly appreciate your offering of an exchange of ideas; perhaps more than you may know.

Now, I feel I should address a couple of your well-taken points:

"I didn't consume - or digest - anything. I'm just wondering about why you showed up to derail a very interesting thread with the classic Cherry Pie argument. It's an oldie - and a goodie - but it doesn't fit here :-)

or, at least - it didn't fit yet"

As I indicated in my previous reply to you, "...and it was the introduction of this [philosophical] premise that I had hoped would add an additional facet of interest to the overall substance and discussion...", there was not, nor ever was any intention to "derail" this marvelous thread; only to contribute in a positive and constructive manner. Seeing three or more sides to that same coin, so to speak

Yes, I felt as though I had jumped the gun a bit on that "pie" thing. Since the point I was making seemed to call for a metaphor, I initially considered the old "size of the holes in ones fishing net" chestnut, but the excitement I encountered when mentally envisioning that pie resulted in my impulsive and even reflexive posting. Upon a reread OF that post, I DID consider rewording it, but that entailed a bit too much assumption on my part with respect to the cognitive mindsets of others. In retrospect, of course, it was my bad...and thanks for making mention of this stumble on my part.

And to Astyanax - if you are reading this posting, please accept my apology for my good intentions apparently having gone bad.

...and then:

"if you're at all curious about what I'm after - it has something to do with this:"

""By the way, your own "established parameters" set for my response here won't be followed to any great degree...due to my own "established parameters" for replying to questions. I'm merely framing what you are about to encounter...""

I am curious...

Before I placed those thoughts, I had of course read Astyanax' previous posting, which went like this:

"I’m afraid you haven’t answered the question. I asked you to imagine yourself observing a troop of primates and tell me what conclusions you drew from that. Instead of attempting that, you offered me a lecture on how ethologists think, something I would be better advised, as I am sure you will agree, to ask a practising ethologist about."

I chose to initiate my posting in a "By the way..." manner in order to head off the OP's reaction to my continued "generalizations". In other words, I was simply attempting to lower the OP's expectations; and nothing more. And incidentally, I failed in that regard as well - for I wasn't singling out "ethologists" with respect to how "they" think; it was a mere demonstration of the blanket I throw upon the vast majority of humanity which followed - and how I believe they create "facts", then reinforce those "truths" with only supportive evidence while, consciously or otherwise, disregarding the rest.

Again, no offense was intended or inferred.

"it's not a crime to discount a premise :-) it's pretty much what we live for here at ATS

just be honest about it"

Addressing issues by applying a right or wrong mentality isn't an action I pursue. I have found it to be limiting, rigid and, on occasion, most distasteful. There's far too much "gray area" within a given Individual's experience in this life for me to take a carved-in-stone stance on issues which are, and to me always will be, ephemeral in their significance. I much prefer to explore and discuss that "gray area" which comprises most of experience.

With respect to my being "honest about it", I will say here that deception is not in my bag of tricks. With the single exception of my wife of thirty years asking me if her ass looks too big when modeling a new pair of slacks, being deceptive or even outright lying doesn't EVER occur to me; and I don't recall any instance in the past twenty or so years when choosing to deceive someone about anything was an option I even considered. It simply doesn't happen. But when disagreement occurs, I DO make an effort to preempt any potential offense I may inadvertently offer by choosing my words with some measure of care.

In closing, may I address one more mention you made:

"I was genuinely looking forward to your hearing your thinking here

are you still up for it?"

Most certainly. However, perhaps we should take what has become a semi-separate discussion to either private message or a new thread. I truly have no wish to derail this potentially rewarding original posting by inserting a discussion that could possibly veer beyond this thread's accepted borders.

At the moment I, unfortunately, have other things calling for my attention - namely the wife with things for me to do.

All my best, and thanks again my friend.

Mindpeace.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 09:49 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


because I helped to derail your thread - and for what it's worth...

Baboons don’t venture out into the open too far from the safety of the trees

I think this would work as a metaphor – and an answer. But, I really mean it just the way it is

The safety of the trees is everything to the baboons. Without the edge of the forest in sight, they are uneasy. They have things to do in the open – but it makes them vulnerable. It’s a stressful situation

Reducing stress is important to survival

We are – as far as we know – the only critters that know what’s going to happen to us. This is stressful. We have stuff to do – and we do it better without all the extra stress

Morality is in us regardless, but religion gives us a tree-line to focus on and run to


...It is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

I’d like to say far be it from me to disagree with old Karl, but as I’m about to disagree with him, I’ll just say – I think it’s not as much an opiate as it is an analgesic. It can’t forestall pain – we already know how it ends. But religion can soothe. It is the safety of the trees – death prevented or deferred. It makes the boo boo feel better

Maybe even closer to the truth is that religion is a placebo. But, if it works – it works

New parents often go through a period of time getting their newborn to learn to ‘self-soothe’ back to sleep – without needing extra help from the parents every time he or she wakes

We humans have many different ways in which we self-sooth ourselves out of stress and into altered states of awareness – and I’m not even talking about anything mystical or chemically induced. I see religion as being one tool out of many – and since we are social creatures, it figures that a social tool would be necessary at least some of the time

Humanity moves forward in baby steps and we let go of our need for the forest as we figure out new ways to reduce the stress


The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition that needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of woe, the halo of which is religion.


Here’s the thing I wonder about the most – are we really capable of living – and functioning – without the illusion? If it is a biologic necessity and we have evolved into a creature that requires a certain amount of make-believe just to survive – how do we let go of that - and still survive?

Will we just replace one illusion with another – automatically?

We’ll call the new illusion reality – we have to in order for it to do what we need for it to do

This whole idea is very interesting to me because if survival is the be all and end all of it all – then we’ll do whatever it takes to survive. Even lie to ourselves on a regular basis

What also interests me is not just what we tell ourselves, and what we’ll believe – but our need for things to have meaning

What’s that all about?

:-)
edit on 9/18/2011 by Spiramirabilis because: needed to add a boo



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 10:06 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

thank you for your excellent challenge. the challenge is not only in finding an answer, my speculation, but also to find adequate words to express what is easier known through communion than communication.

you asked:: "But if religion is merely an addictive drug, how did religious teaching come to acquire a moral character?"

because bullies indoctrinated teachings as moral standards by which we are able to judge. that works very good, there is always reason to blame and one self can easily be fooled to believe that one is never at fault. no need to change. and people not changing out of that vicious circle are easy and beneficial to manipulate. they created the double edged moral, the religious moral:: on one hand they proclaim morals that could help a person to understand itself better, on the other hand making sure there is plenty of evidence at all times to reinforce the judging of ‘bad ones, very bad ones that always want to kill us’.

so I see you are right in proposing:: "But if morality is genetically programmed into us (along with greed, selfishness, lust and the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins, of course), what is the purpose of religion? Clearly it cannot be to teach us morality, because – instinctively – we already know it."

this is in regards to the moral standard that is equal to teachings by any religion as far I can see. the differences are in the cut of the facets not in the stone itself.

then there is the other moral, that you propose is instinct, is in our genes. and you state "Yes, the responses are in your genes. They are there because animals with those responses are your ancestors; the ones without them made the wrong responses and died as a result. No, it was not necessary for your first ancestor (which was probably nothing but a replicating molecule) to have all those experiences."

my speculations in regards to this second variety of moral will also refer to your question :: " Do we actually need moral instructions and the threat of divine punishment to make us good?"

if genes do not change and I have genes that were in animals (who did not have changing genes either) so the molecules must have had a full operating set of genes also (because genes don’t change).

I will stick to my initial intuition that “God (or blueprint of life itself, we are created in his image) is my first ancestor” to get my ideas unfolded.

it is not ‘moral’ that is genetic, but the ‘pursuit of excellence’, the ability and need to grow, that is inherent in all of us. I dare say this would be the same in animals as well as molecules. we are but different manifestations on the scale to excellence.

the pursuit of excellence is achieved through activation of our full potential. this of course can be called to be moral however this statement is not religion, but the profound insight of someone. only the repetition and interpretation of this insight makes it religious. a person in isolation, free of any religion, would still behave this way.

truth is recognized as we go, we solve life’s challenges and activate more and more of our potential that seems to be dormant in our genes.

the way life installs this pursuit is simple also. it uses not moral but the unavoidable meta system, a system that we can only recognize and obey to. no matter what, the meta system is a fact. every single resistance to any of life’s facts is painful to the degree of the resistance or the importance of the fact (which is individual according to ones level on the scale). to eliminate pain we automatically grow - if we do not find the growth factor, then we found merely an avoidance-mechanism; life will present us more of the same until we have grown, solved the resistance to a particular fact. facts fully recognized disappear from immediate perception and set us free to tackle a new level.

taking the proposition, that God as ultimate potential is in our genes emphasizes also our ability to recognize truth until all is revealed. we don't create truth.

I am not sure yet what happens then. I have vague ideas that life is a spiral motion rather than a circle. but then….. where is the beginning and the end of the spiral…..?? maybe the spiral itself ends in a circle. I thought I share with you my findings so far and hope to receive further questions.

the above is in regards to life teaching with the tool of pain. there are other methods life can teach !!



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


Here’s the thing I wonder about the most – are we really capable of living – and functioning – without the illusion?

Probably not. The conservative philosopher John Gray argues cogently that religion serves a vital function that has little or nothing to do with the details of what one believes. I don’t agree with all he says, but I do agree that the emotional consolations of religion are far more relevant and useful to most people that the articles of whatever faith they profess. Indeed, dogma is often a hindrance to them.

*


reply to post by bestintentions
 


if genes do not change and I have genes that were in animals (who did not have changing genes either) so the molecules must have had a full operating set of genes also (because genes don’t change).

This would be true if genes didn’t change. But they do.

These changes are called mutations and they occur all the time. Genes (or rather alleles) change composition and shape, they multiply, migrate from one locus on a chromosome to another or simply drop out of the genome altogether.

Another thing worth remembering is that evolution, seen through the eyes of evolutionary biologists, is an undirected process. Genes and organisms don’t want to evolve in any particular direction; they just do.

Thanks for your contributions to the thread, incidentally. It seems you agree with Spiramirabilis that religion is an ‘analgesic’, and that is its use to believers. John Gray, in the article linked in my reply to Spiramirabilis, has a very interesting take on that idea, which I urge you to read. I think you will enjoy it.

*


reply to post by Mindpeace
 

I’m sorry you thought what I said earlier wasn’t nice. ‘Indistinct’ was a word you yourself used to describe your approach, so I was merely repeating what you said. In fact, I was trying to be polite, because nowhere in our conversation have you presented any alternative proposal, distinct or not, regarding the roots of morality.


I [generally] subscribe to the Seth Information* (as overtly stated in my initial posting in this thread) – although, also as previously stated, due to my own individuality I have incorporated my own “truths” into that mix (i.e. my understanding of the interpretation of quantum mechanics presented by David Bohm and Basil Hiley).

Yes, you mentioned the Seth Information earlier. However, I did not ask you for an exegesis of your personal philosophy; my question to you was ‘what alternative explanation for the source for morality are you proposing?’ Or, earlier, ‘if the roots of morality are instinctive, what is the purpose of religion?’

Your reply to Spiramirabilis suggests that you believe all reality to be the result of personal (individual or collective?) choices. Does that mean you believe morality is whatever we choose it to be? In that case, what happens when people or societies with conflicting moral codes confront one another? If two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong. Or don’t you believe that?


edit on 18/9/11 by Astyanax because: of just deserts.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 04:08 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





It seems you agree…….. that religion is an ‘analgesic’, and that is its use to believers.


no no no, I’m sorry if my phrases led you to that conclusion. whereas I played around with possibilities and stated, that the ‘analgesic’ factor might be the ‘selling factor’ - I never mentioned that to be the sole use a believer gets out of it. religion is but one of many ways we learn. some need it this way some an other way. probably most of us struggle with ‘analgesic’ factors.

I refered to the following questions raised by you
how did religious teaching come to acquire a moral character
whether morality is genetically programmed into us
these are the questions I intended to answer, incidentally.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Another thing worth remembering is that evolution, seen through the eyes of evolutionary biologists, is an undirected process. Genes and organisms don’t want to evolve in any particular direction; they just do.


exactly what I mean. the ‘pursuit of excellence’, ‘figuring out the truth’, ‘growth’ - it’s an attitude, a way of living, a goal, not a direction. it is free of values. one expands in any direction. without guidelines. one never knows where one finds what. truth is everywhere.



posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 03:38 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I completely agree that we don't need external guiding rules from some father figure. However I would argue that "The 10 Commandments" and those like it aren't at all central to the true meaning and value of religion - and that is a connection to each other and to the divine. I would argue that a lot of focus has been put on these commandments by the controlling and dogmatic bodies that have sprung up around all religions in an effort to control people.

If you think about it, the world was a much more wild/savage place back when the now major religions were getting started. As an example, the Romans were just nailing people to wood and leaving them in the sun to die. I think it makes sense that Messiah figures would come along and tell people about a better way to live.

Look at the 10 commandments and also look at the rules of other religions. They are all just good ideas for keeping your species alive and functioning well. In the context of the times they were written they were great guidelines for how to change our way of living.

I don't pretend to have extensive knowledge of the Quran or Islam, but consider the concept of Halal meat. The general idea is that the animal must be slaughtered by cutting its throat and then draining its blood and that the meat should be cooked before eating. In the context of the time - where people had much more lax methods for killing and preparing food - this makes perfect sense because it is a more humane way of slaughtering an animal and lays out a method for safely preparing the food so that you don't get sick.

Consider the passages in the Bible that talk about not taking blood into the body. This was specifically targeted at drinking raw blood from animals, which could make you sick or at Pagan ritual sacrifices which held the same potential. However 2000 years later, you have Jehova's Witnesses refusing to have blood transfusions because it is forbidden by the bible, but there is no way the people who wrote the Bible could have even imagined the concept of life-saving blood transfusions.

No, I don't think these religious texts are the word of god but interpretations by humans that are also littered with practical advice on how to live more healthy lives. However its been taken as gospel, literally, and hence we have so many problems in the world.

As for the original question I think religion has a place in the world, but I don't think we need external guidance to do the "right" thing. Just do what you want as long as it doesn't impinge on anyone else's right to do the same.



posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 07:28 AM
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reply to post by Cecilofs
 


the true meaning and value of religion... is a connection to each other and to the divine.

It is certainly true that religion is a great unifier of peoples. Muhammed unified the tribes of the Arabian Desert and conqured the Middle East; his successors created a huge empire in Europe, Africa and Asia. The belief in a divine mission to spread the Gospel to all peoples helped power the discovery and settlement of America and build the world-spanning mercantile empires of Europe. Religion has made nations – admittedly not very viable ones – out of ethnically mixed polities in Israel and Pakistan. And of course many religions proclaim the brotherhood of Man.

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘a connexion to the divine’, though. The interpretation would depend, I suppose, on where one stood on the question of divinity oneself. But I agree that the ability to offer a mystical sense of communion with something, whatever it may be and whether or not it ‘really exists’, seems to be an important element in the appeal religion has for us. It is one of the benefits I describe as ‘the consolations of faith’.

But what if religious faith is nothing more than a reality-distorting, non-pharmaceutical ‘drug’? Those who describe it as an opiate or analgesic might retort that the much-prized sense of unity you describe is simply the effect of the drug at work. They will point out that actual drugs like ecstasy also make users open-heartedly accepting of others, empathetic and affectionate, while '___' and '___' can deliver compelling feelings of ‘comunion with the divine’. This is not an easy charge to answer.

And – here’s another thing – if human beings are almost universally susceptible to religious feelings (I cheerfully admit to having had my fair share), could it mean that this, too, is an evolved trait? Is religion, in an evolutionary sense, good for us? Is the capacity for religious feeling a survival characteristic?

Looked at in that light, how does this appear?


I would argue that a lot of focus has been put on these commandments by the controlling and dogmatic bodies that have sprung up around all religions in an effort to control people.

Maybe this, in an evolutionary sense, is precisely the advantage religion confers? As you say, it unifies people. It can unify them against a common threat, or unite them into a conquering horde. In the first case, it helps protect the tribal gene-pool; in the second, it sows genes from the pool far and wide, multiplying their chances of survival.

Is this, then, the purpose of religion – to weld individuals into congregations and armies for the benefit of their genes? The idea is sickeningly plausible; it also seems to explain, almost in passing, the human propensity (and talent) for warfare.


I think religion has a place in the world, but I don't think we need external guidance to do the "right" thing. Just do what you want as long as it doesn't impinge on anyone else's right to do the same.

As one grows older, one oftens find that one’s moral choices lie less often between the right and the wrong thing to do, as between the greater and lesser of two wrongs.


edit on 20/9/11 by Astyanax because: of empathy.



posted on Sep, 20 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



As one grows older, one oftens find that one’s moral choices lie less often between the right and the wrong thing to do, as between the greater and lesser of two wrongs.


Couldn't we say the same applies to all of mankind - as it grows older?

Peace of mind isn't something you can really grab by the tail and hold on to for very long - is it?

This is a little troubling - but really, the more I think about it, it's a comfort. It's still about the best solution for all of us in the end. It's just how we are - even when it's hard to see when we're in the thick of things. It all keeps moving forward. We discard what doesn't work - keep what does.

It's been a long strange trip - looking back. Clay fertility goddesses and paintings on cave walls to intricate prose and verse, symbolism - printed on air thin pages. Rooms and cities and countries of men and women examining line after line...words and words and more words.

All of us trying to figure out what it means - and then, no - what does it REALLY mean...

I really wish that I could be here to see what the monkeys come up with next - they're such clever little things

:-)



posted on Sep, 21 2011 @ 11:49 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 

My last posted comment was mostly an aside, but we certainly do learn from experience and this learning may affect our subsequent behaviour (it certainly affects our subsequent opinions, but that’s a different matter).

Still, this ability to learn from experience is also built into us; we are the Learning Animals. And it is quite interesting to note that, aside from a few unfortunate specimens who are driven by genetics or circumstances into lives of ever-increasing violence and brutality, most of us grow kinder and we grow older.

Perhaps this is because older individuals, especially female ones, have an important role to play as carers, particularly of young children, within the social unit – the hunter-gatherer band, agricultural community or traditional society. They also require the help and protection of younger and stronger group members in order to survive. So it behoves old folk to be kind. Though it is hard to see how such kindness could reliably be inherited... maybe it gives enough of a survival advantage to grandchildren to make it heritable.



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