Born good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality

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posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:04 AM
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It's a question people have asked for as long as there have been people: are human beings inherently good? Are we born with a sense of morality or do we arrive blank slates, waiting for the world to teach us right from wrong? Or could it be worse: do we start out nasty, selfish devils, who need our parents, teachers, and religions to whip us into shape?

The only way to know for sure, of course, is to ask a baby. But until recently, it's been hard to persuade them to open up and share their secrets. Enter the baby lab.

This is the creature at the center of the greatest philosophical, moral, and religious debates about the nature of man: the human baby. They don't do much, can't talk, can't write, can't expound at length about their moral philosophies. But does that mean they don't have one?


I found this article and video to be interesting. It appears even at a very young age babies show a preference for "good" instead of "bad". The questions this raises about the nature of morality is interesting (at least to me)


Are we born inherently good? or are we born inherently evil?

The video also raises questions about other things, such as a predisposition towards punishment.


We watched as Wynn and her team asked a question that 20 years ago might have gotten her laughed out of her field. Does Wesley here, at the ripe old age of 5 months, know the difference between right and wrong?

Wesley watches as the puppet in the center struggles to open up a box with a toy inside. The puppy in the yellow shirt comes over and lends a hand. Then the scene repeats itself, but this time the puppy in the blue shirt comes and slams the box shut. Nice behavior...mean behavior...at least to our eyes. But is that how a 5-month-old sees it, and does he have a preference?


SOURCE


edit on 19-11-2012 by SyntheticPerception because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:11 AM
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Of course we are born good, it's society that corrupts us.



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Putyournamehere
 


The video also looks at such emotions such as "judgement" or a predisposition towards punishing others. We come hard wired with more then we think in my opinion.

I wouldn't say society corrupts us, I would say that is one possibility, society can shape us in positive ways as well.



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Putyournamehere
 


I'd say that we're born with an expectation of goodness and fairness. But, ultimately, we're born selfish. As we develop and grow, we begin to actively seek out what we perceive to be good and fair for us, we may do things that others find not good and unfair.



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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But, ultimately, we're born selfish. As we develop and grow, we begin to actively seek out what we perceive to be good and fair
reply to post by windword
 


It is funny you say that. One of the studies shown looked at the exact thing you mention in "kids". As they progressively got older, what they found is EXACTLY what you have said.


For the most part.. Some kids continued the selfish "path"



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by SyntheticPerception
 


Good and Evil are relative based on perspective. I guess figuring which side of the fence you inherently chose to be on would be interesting but people seem to fail to understand the nature of "good" and "evil" within our own minds and how it differs from others.

Hitler genuinely thought his goals and aspirations were of good intention...he didn't view his goals as necessarily evil. Obviously...he had enough people who agreed with him on that perspective to get the worlds attention. NOW...from the outside perspective we could argue all the live long day that his intentions were "evil" and he was a horrible person and etc...

Real evil does exist but the catch is, it sees itself as good...the interesting part about this is that it also perceives its counterpart as evil...so I'm sure Hitler saw the allied forces as evil in their intent and objectives...

its ALL perspective/context...one mans trash is another mans treasure.

To say that children are inherently one or the other is odd to me as you cannot decide...what the universal good or evil IS without the social definition of such...there is absolutely no objective indifferent definition of good and evil...so there is no control in this study and is subject to social bias...since society is what determines what is considered a "good" act and what is a "bad act"....the experiment or study has societal goggles on...

They may be able to objectively say x% of infants inherently have personality A) or personality B) depending on the traits of A) and B) but to say one is good and one is evil and imply that the infant knows that and knows the difference is....a reach imho.

What we know of good and evil is what society has taught us...and not all societies are the same...and not all people acknowledge the influence of society. Society has usually been the most influenced and controlled by those with prestige given an iconic idolization status amongst peers...so societies values aren't necessarily a representative of what everyone values...

Anyway I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to come to any conclusion on this study of infants. Any conclusion would be biased based upon the interpretation...If they concluded that infants are inherently "good" how many different versions of "good" do you think that baby is to the world?

I don't necessarily like social-psych studies because they make conclusions that can't possibly be made and people misinterpret those false conclusions in their own way under their own influence wearing their own goggles...at the end of the day you can't really honestly say what is going on is unbiased science...its more like using science to manipulate perspective and world view.
edit on 19-11-2012 by Sly1one because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by Sly1one
 


Interesting points. Thanks for adding to the thread


I am passed the "duality" nature of things, or should I say my awareness is.


Like you say, Hitler believed he was doing a "good" thing for humanity. Who am I to then pass judgement upon him if from his perspective he was doing "good"?

I still find this article to be interesting though. At least an interesting angle to approach the subject matter, offering a different perspective towards certain "views".

It's all relative.


I was reading a book Or maybe it was a magazine Suggestions on where to place faith Suggestions on what to believe But I read somewhere That you've got to beware You can't believe anything you read But the good Book is good And it's all understood So don't even question If you know what I mean

But it's all relative Even if you don't understand Well it's all understood Especially when you don't understand And it's all just because Even if we don't understand Then lets all just believe

But there you go once again You missed the point and then you point Your fingers at me And say that I said not to believe I believe I guess I guess it's all relative



It's all relative

And the follow up



But if we're the ones to blame then the fruit Shouldn't taste so good we were used Used to thinking we got nothing to lose We're losing everything but the truth Is walking straight into a roadblock ending left here bending Your point of view was chosen by the serpent's ruse

With all its do's and don'ts The future is an empty promise Unconcerned and so tired of waiting We could sell it wooden horses full of nightmares and when they open This all might recompose There's no going back to the good old days it's just a phase bring in some new life Archaism is a dusty road leading us back to nowhere


They do they don't



posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 05:41 AM
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reply to post by SyntheticPerception
 

You hear stories of how children grow up in emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive lives, and once they mature they end up tryng to help others and are good intended themselves.

What is it that motivates them to turn out that way?

Or what is the that pushed the last button to go the other way (bad)?


edit on 23/11/12 by chloe2850 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by chloe2850
reply to post by SyntheticPerception
 

You hear stories of how children grow up in emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive lives, and once they mature they end up tryng to help others and are good intended themselves.

What is it that motivates them to turn out that way?

Or what is the that pushed the last button to go the other way (bad)?


edit on 23/11/12 by chloe2850 because: (no reason given)


It does make you wonder.

Guess that is the nature of free will, and choice.





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