Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scientific evidence of what I've always thought was obvious.

One of the shittiest things about religion is the idea that religion is necessary for morality. If God doesn't tell us right from wrong, the argument goes, how are we to set our moral compass? This is, of course, totally asinine. Different gods from different religions largely agree on what is right and wrong. It would make sense that whoever invented the different religions were guided by something in their brains. It was very refreshing to read this article:

An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong

Marc D. Hauser, a Harvard biologist, has built on this idea to propose that people are born with a moral grammar wired into their neural circuits by evolution. In a new book, “Moral Minds” (HarperCollins 2006), he argues that the grammar generates instant moral judgments which, in part because of the quick decisions that must be made in life-or-death situations, are inaccessible to the conscious mind.

People are generally unaware of this process because the mind is adept at coming up with plausible rationalizations for why it arrived at a decision generated subconsciously.

Dr. Hauser presents his argument as a hypothesis to be proved, not as an established fact. But it is an idea that he roots in solid ground, including his own and others’ work with primates and in empirical results derived by moral philosophers.


realdebate said...

Please either put the real name of my website, or delete the link.

JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Hmmmm. Lately you havn't been as unreasonable and mean-spirited as you were when I added you. Okay.

Scott H said...

Uh, you obviously need one of those annoying letter combination thingys to keep the spam off.

As for other primates having morality being an argument against religion, it has a serious flaw. I mean haven't you seen the amazing monkey churches deep in the Congo?

Lucas said...

Well...I did a bit more research and found out that Wisconsin had laws on the books until the 1980s that could imprison someone for committing homosexual acts.

Does that mean that this state was everything you call me for over a hundred years? Does that mean that the vast majority of the states that had such laws were such terrible places and so wrongly directed for over 200 years? Most Western nations have condemned these acts for years. There continues to be many countries that forbid homosexual acts.

Well I understand the emotional response I don't understand how you can frame me as being extreme for posting about this law and wondering about its propriety.

JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Those laws were blue laws since the 60s. My describing you as extreme isn't based on how long ago your position was the norm. It was based on how crazy it is by reasonable standards, or today's standards. Remember, segregation was the norm prior to 1954 and many segregation laws remained on the books in many states as blue laws long after that. I would describe someone that advocated racial segregation today a bigot and an extremist too. Wouldn't you?

My response was all but emotional by the way. It was based on logic and reason.

Anonymous said...

"One of the shittiest things about religion is the idea that religion is necessary for morality."

While some people may have this idea, I don't think you can attribute such a thought to "religion."

I'm pretty sure many Eastern religions don't subscribe to such an idea. Nor does Judiasism, to my knowledge. Nor does Christianity, to my knowledge. In Christianity, I think that the doctrine is that man was able to know right from wrong when Adam ate from the forbidden tree. Then, I think, there is some understanding that all humans thereafter had the ability to know right from wrong, whether or not they believed in any gods.

Anonymous said...

Religion is the antithesis of morality, and those who believe otherwise are simply philosophical prepubescents.

In particular, Christianity which is based upon myth, and superstition. Moreover, the moral code (if you will) is Original Sin - an obvious contratadiction in terms.

As Ayn Rand so brilliantly stated in Atlas, "A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man's nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code."