morality almost solved
I’m still trapped on morality. I wanted to move on to theism being default, or the evil of eating animals, or how deities speak to people, but they’ll have to wait for another day. I’ve been pursuing the morality theme on other people’s blogs and have had some interesting challenges that I would like to address, so that I can be sure that after thousands of years of endless rambles on morality, it was me who finally cracked the nut! Delusional? Perhaps. Not been reading other books that already say this? Ooops! (Let me know if they exist, so I can do a huge tut and hang my head in deep, lazy shame.)
A standard Christian charge is that morality is meaningless without a god. I would suggest that following rules without question because they are part of your culture or religion is meaningless. This type of morality has no place in modern day society, where we can obtain information on all types of life experiences to help us make rational and logical judgements about appropriate behaviour. What I suggest, rather, is that our modern day moral compass is based on a logical assessment of the possible outcomes of any given situation, which we can verify by the vast pools of information that are now available to us.
… most people do not engage in “logical consideration” of very much at all, including “potential outcomes of possible behaviors or actions.” Would be nice if all of us did!
This is a great point that highlights my lack of clear explanation. There are lots of decisions and paths we take intuitively, perhaps evaluating more commonplace issues in the blink of an eye. I know we don’t sit down and carefully analyse the potential outcomes of our every action. But on the occasions where more consideration is required, on the occasions where we realise we’re not sure why something feels ‘wrong’, I think it’s important for society that people learn to realise the difference between their ‘cultural moral compass’ and plain old logical thinking – and take the logical route every time.
The example I gave on this occasion was the attitude too many people hold towards homosexuality. “It just feels unnatural and wrong.” – is quite often heard. What’s unnatural about something that occurs naturally in nature? In humans and many other animals. Are homosexual penguins making an immoral lifestyle choice? It’s clearly not unnatural. Why is it wrong? Because culturally, historically it has been labelled as wrong. And what happens time and time again, is that as soon as someone finds out their brother, their friend, their aunt, is gay, and discusses what being gay is, and understands a real person’s situation, the fact that the outcomes of their natural behaviour aren’t harmful, they start to realise their cultural moral compass was giving the wrong direction. Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they accept the person but can’t change their illogical beliefs. Sometimes they can’t even bring themselves to get past the rule or ‘feeling’ and accept the person they love as they are. Tragic!
It’s a little naive
I don’t see how anyone can hold your viewpoint simply given the fact that there are people who shoot kindergartners in their classroom.
I can see how there’s something naive and idealistic about the model at first glance. However, I’m not suggesting that everyone can make completely logical decisions all the time – I’m saying that this is the basis of ‘normal’ moral compass. We have evolved successfully by nurturing our offspring. We want a nice life for ourselves and our offspring. In this past, this entailed fighting for land and food. For most of us now in our modern global society (at least those of us with the luxury of blogging), logic and common sense tell us that people treat us nicely when we treat them nicely. But I don’t believe in an absolute logic, like I don’t believe in an absolute good. People make decisions for different reasons, our brains are all formed differently, and our life experiences give us different perceptions of empathy and self worth. All these things will affect how we make decisions.
As I’m sure you can tell, I’m making this up as I go along, and basing it on common sense and general observation. It’s not anything I’ve really considered before in detail, but the more I’m challenged on it, the more I’m convinced it’s accurate. I welcome any other comments and criticism (but, if you haven’t already, please read my other post ‘a big bunch of bunkum’ to get a fuller picture).