Modern morality

Tonington
#1
Western society, still largely Christian, I think has progressed quite well insofar as our morals are concerned. There are still the vestigal remains of darker days, but for the most part we have benefitted a great deal by the enlightenment movement.

We have concepts like humanism which reject external authorities and rely on the individual to make a choice as to what is fictitious and what is the truth. Similarly, Luther's reformation movement placed emphasis on personal interpretations rather than following the orthodox stance. Now this can lead to problems but for the most part I have to assume it has been a great revelation.

Most if not all would agree that there are passages from the sacred texts of the Abrahamic religions that in current modes of thinking are outdated, barbaric and immoral. For instance, the people practicing idolatry probably did not think they were living a life of sin, without morals, as they were stoned to death in punishment for their beliefs. Thankfully, that idea for punishment went out the window long ago, though it is still practiced by some Islamic cultures.

The enlightenment not only has allowed us to question which morals are worthy and what is just, but also relieved the constraints on science. Perhaps this is where theology and science are most at odds. Through the advocacy for reason, the movement has given us a glut of advancements. Physics, biology, chemistry, all flourished. Democracy was revived from the ancient civilizations as the idea that there exists a contractual arrangment between society and the citizen took off. This ultimately gave rise to the Liberalism movement as well.

Without covering all of the enlightenment, a monumental task itself, I'll jump ahead to current times and events. There are many subjects today which pit the modern enlightenment ideals against one of it's founding theories, divine right. Divine right was the idea that a reasonable God made the Universe, gave it order, and through Him and his earthly representatives we have proof of His power. This seems to have met in a stalemate as some Western nations have began to stagnate. The idea that perhaps we have gone to far. How can that be though?

We haven't embraced all of our citizens, to pull those up who can't pull themselves up. Rights are still denied by what seems to be some archaic baby blankee clutching. The social contract is perverted to where we have individuals hoarding wealth, while our fellow man and woman struggle. While there are those who advocate for these people, their message might be discarded by yet another perversion, media and democracy. The polemic discourse between entrenched combatants, who clutch at straws and jump at every opportunity to discredit those on the other side of the aisle, is the most infuriating of all.

While the social contract has been perverted, the rights we give up to the government for some measure of social order, the governing system itself has been perverted to a state of help your friends, political gains, very much not in the civilians best interests. That is furthered by a media that refuses to report objectively, so that we must wade through the muck to find some hint of truth.

Modern morals as advanced as they are, seems to me to have plateaued. A modern enlightenment or some such school of thought is needed, or perhaps just a re-evaluation of what it is we are doing and where it is we came from. I'd like to think we're not beyond our reason.
 
tamarin
#2
Classic oxymoron!
 
hermanntrude
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

Classic oxymoron!

Tonington takes the time to post a long and well-thought out text like that, and your response is an off-the-cuff flippant two-word remark? Your debating skills could use some work.
I assume the "oxymoron" you're trying to highlight is the phrase "modern morals". If this is true, you are suggesting that there are NO morals in modern times. This is obviously not true or someone would have strangled you by now.
 
Tonington
#4
Yes Tamarin, forgive my ignorance, but the only oxymoron I see in this thread is the word oxymoron.
 
L Gilbert
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

I'd like to think we're not beyond our reason.

We aren't. And we haven't gone too far.As of yet our road is endless. Perhaps sometime in the future we might see an end to the road with a nice little seaside cottage to retire in at the end of it, but for now, most philosophers philosophise that we haven't gone that far yet.
 
L Gilbert
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Yes Tamarin, forgive my ignorance, but the only oxymoron I see in this thread is the word oxymoron.

Well, the remedy is to feed the moron more oxygen.
The part that got me was Tam said, "Classic" oxymoron. The reasoning behind that evaded me.
 
hermanntrude
#7
fascinating post tonington. The only problem with it was that it covered absolutely everything. I have nothing more to say.
 
Tonington
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

We aren't. And we haven't gone too far.As of yet our road is endless. Perhaps sometime in the future we might see an end to the road with a nice little seaside cottage to retire in at the end of it, but for now, most philosophers philosophise that we haven't gone that far yet.

One of the examples I was thinking about as I wrote this out was the stem cell debate. To me, reason says that if an embryo is to be discarded the fate is allready sealed. Further, it's not a destruction of life, that bundle of cells will continue to grow and live, to provide medical treatments so that others may survive or have an improved quality of life. The only death that results is from the destruction of an unused embryo.

So in that sense, some of us are trying to move farther while others think we have gone too far and to me it is a lack of reason that stalls progression.
 
Tonington
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

fascinating post tonington. The only problem with it was that it covered absolutely everything. I have nothing more to say.

Heh, thanks Hermann.
 
darkbeaver
#10
Excellent Tonnington, I've printed it and intend to give it the thought it deserves later on this evening, I have some questions but can't formulate them right now.
 
darkbeaver
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

Tonington takes the time to post a long and well-thought out text like that, and your response is an off-the-cuff flippant two-word remark? Your debating skills could use some work.
I assume the "oxymoron" you're trying to highlight is the phrase "modern morals". If this is true, you are suggesting that there are NO morals in modern times. This is obviously not true or someone would have strangled you by now.

Herm, strangulation is a bit radical a remedy for our good friend Tamarine, I'm sure he has not meant to insult and will later give us a fuller appreciation of the work which will enlighten us. I welcome his criticle mind. He has a lot to offer I think.
 
darkbeaver
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

Tonington takes the time to post a long and well-thought out text like that, and your response is an off-the-cuff flippant two-word remark? Your debating skills could use some work.
I assume the "oxymoron" you're trying to highlight is the phrase "modern morals". If this is true, you are suggesting that there are NO morals in modern times. This is obviously not true or someone would have strangled you by now.

Herm, strangulation is a bit radical a remedy for our good friend Tamarine, I'm sure he has not meant to insult and will later give us a fuller appreciation of the work which will enlighten us. I welcome his criticle mind. He has a lot to offer I think. On the other hand the rotten intelligent basturds just won't take the time to give us a proper critique.
 
Curiosity
#13
Tonington

Absolutely nothing to add or argue - excellent essay - your mind is amazing. Greenie for that one!
 
L Gilbert
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

One of the examples I was thinking about as I wrote this out was the stem cell debate. To me, reason says that if an embryo is to be discarded the fate is allready sealed. Further, it's not a destruction of life, that bundle of cells will continue to grow and live, to provide medical treatments so that others may survive or have an improved quality of life. The only death that results is from the destruction of an unused embryo.

So in that sense, some of us are trying to move farther while others think we have gone too far and to me it is a lack of reason that stalls progression.

Folks, see what happens when you get fed more oxygen? You end up making sense.
 
Tonington
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by CuriosityView Post

Greenie for that one!

Yay! Greenie for a greenie Glad you enjoyed it.
 
darkbeaver
#16
Damn colour chauvinists.
 
westmanguy
#17
Where does religion fall into morals.

Or does it fall into any part of morals.

The creation of morals?

Or does religion reaffirm our morals?

Just questions to ponder
Last edited by westmanguy; Apr 18th, 2007 at 07:00 PM..
 
hermanntrude
#18
here we go again
 
westmanguy
#19
fixed
 
tamarin
#20
Modern morality...hmmmmm. Surely, one doesn't presuppose the other. Morality, the civil bind for a community, is under huge pressure today. If it weren't, we wouldn't need to live in an age of ever harsher regulation. The state has stepped into the void left by communities no longer adept at finding and enriching common ground.
The Enlightenment entered a world buried in ignorance and Luther long before this challenged the reach and power of the Church. How much either influenced the life of the street or individual morality is debatable.
Certainly, if one admitted to being moral today, what exactly would he be saying?
 
Tonington
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

Certainly, if one admitted to being moral today, what exactly would he be saying?

That's kind of my point. Have we reached a plateau, with some groups having moved beyond what is morally acceptable to others?

I don't see the impact of the Enlightenment, or at least the fundamental ideals debatable at all. Call the shift whatever we might, but the notions of a morality as passed down from a deity, specifically in our case Christianity, is what I would call debatable. Many different faiths have outlined what is and what is not acceptable, and many of them still hold true today. As time has progressed, we have realized that not all of the practices once deemed acceptable by a moral authority hold true today. Is it not more likely that our morals were inherent to a functioning society and thus requisite of any creed?

Is it simple coincidence that the Reformation overlaps the scientific revolution, which in turn overlaps with the beginning of the Enlightenment?
 
Niflmir
#22
What is morality to begin with? To be considered moral a person must choose the right action consistently, without being told what to do. An automaton is not really moral. So unlike many things, objective morality cannot exist if it cannot be observed, because if there is no way to know what the right action is then you cannot be obliged to do it. A sentient being cannot create an objective morality, since they could simply choose to change it. If we are not born with the objective morality implicit in us, then we can never learn it since we would have no way of judging it as "more right" than another morality given that we don't know right from wrong. If objective morality is nothing more than acting instinctually, many murders should be considered morally acceptable.

That is the basis of moral relativity. Ethics nowadays choose an objective principle on which to base ethical theories and moves on from there. A good and modern principal is the elimination of "unnecessary" suffering (notice that the moral ambiguity is simply shuffled into the word unnecessary). Regardless of the fact that there are more regulations now then in the past, there is far less suffering now than in the past. There are less cases of hunger, diseases have been fought often in ways people at the time thought immoral, crime rates are decreasing. Yet somehow, I am supposed to believe that this is because people are more immoral today when these things came about directly from the abandonment of the old moral principles? If that is the case then someone has a lot of explaining to do.
 
tamarin
#23
"crime rates are decreasing. Yet somehow, I am supposed to believe that this is because people are more immoral today..."

Say what? Crime rates aren't decreasing. Certainly, official numbers are, in key areas like juvenile crime, where figures tend to bloat quickly. Canada with the Youth Criminal Justice Act has put emphasis on redirecting as much youth criminal activity out of its clogged arteries as is possiblbe. Police officials who insist youth criminals be processed ( and recorded for stats, of course) must meet paperwork hurdles and the jaundiced eye of their superiors. All the anecdotal says youth crime is soaring. But as long as the stats can be suppressed through alternative management strategies the feel-good crowd gets its way.
Numbers have become big business. Massaging gateways for obesity, diabetes and heart disease have resulted in our much ballyhooed "epidemics." Beware those in charge of deciding what gets recorded and what doesn't.
Maybe, a better way to measure our justice system and what's happening there might be police budgets. If crime is falling, as you say, then those budgets must be falling too. Who would pay for redundancy?
 
Libra Girl
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post


While the social contract has been perverted, the rights we give up to the government for some measure of social order, the governing system itself has been perverted to a state of help your friends, political gains, very much not in the civilians best interests. That is furthered by a media that refuses to report objectively, so that we must wade through the muck to find some hint of truth.

As usual an interesting and well thought out post...
 
Niflmir
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

"crime rates are decreasing. Yet somehow, I am supposed to believe that this is because people are more immoral today..."

Say what? Crime rates aren't decreasing. Certainly, official numbers are, in key areas like juvenile crime, where figures tend to bloat quickly. Canada with the Youth Criminal Justice Act has put emphasis on redirecting as much youth criminal activity out of its clogged arteries as is possiblbe. Police officials who insist youth criminals be processed ( and recorded for stats, of course) must meet paperwork hurdles and the jaundiced eye of their superiors. All the anecdotal says youth crime is soaring. But as long as the stats can be suppressed through alternative management strategies the feel-good crowd gets its way.
Numbers have become big business. Massaging gateways for obesity, diabetes and heart disease have resulted in our much ballyhooed "epidemics." Beware those in charge of deciding what gets recorded and what doesn't.
Maybe, a better way to measure our justice system and what's happening there might be police budgets. If crime is falling, as you say, then those budgets must be falling too. Who would pay for redundancy?

Facts are facts Tamarin, whether or not you or I accept them. One can't just disregard evidence because it disagrees with what one previously believed. Anyone is entitled to an unfounded opinion but they must acknowledge that the actual evidence might support the opposite conclusion. The crime rates are based on actual reported crimes, not necessarily on convictions. If this were not the case your objections would be accurate. It is the job of actuaries to know the nuances of their data, they look out for these things. The anecdotal evidence has increased as the ability to learn of events has increased. The media ensure that every violent crime is reported and so give the illusion of a higher crime rate. Measuring the budget would be terrible for you and I, since we would have to account for the increase in paperwork over those years, the increase in new laws, increases in the budget due to inflation, training for new recruits as the baby boomers leave and way too many other factors. Furthermore, while the crime rate may be low, a constant police presence might be necessary to keep it that way, which surely wouldn't imply a lower budget.

Regardless, all of that is highly irrelevent to the main point. Even if the crime rate was constant, we would be better to view the non-offenders if we want a good guage of moral behavior. Back in the early twentieth century I might have been an upstanding citizen in every regard, yet I would never hear anyone suggest my wife should be allowed to vote, would turn over any homosexuals in the neighbourhood over to the police for a quick jaunt to the slammer as well as any woman who thought she could prance around topless like a man, would think that whatever they did to animals to make my wife's cosmetics was fine, and would have other now seemingly barbaric views and people would still consider me a morally sound example for the community. Furthermore, one can only imagine the number of innocent people killed because of false convictions for murder until 1976! The death of one innocent in the name of the law unequivocably extinguishes the flame of justice, proof beyond any doubt is impossible in law and surely "We didn't think his excuse was reasonable," is a horrible justification for killing someone.

In short, look to who we would consider as moral citizens by today's standards and compare to the moral citizens using the standards of the past. I think we certainly produce citizens of a much superior caliber. I only wish I could do justice to Tonington's opening statement.
 
MikeyDB
#26
"There is no morality there is only popular opinion.": Geofry Goines.
"Morality" is human preference for a particular condition/experience of existence. When human beings attempt to define a structure of "right" / "wrong", that definition is predicated on what is satisfactory to those elements of the social structure that have the means and willingness to effect change....with or without acknowledgement of any "standard" of morality that's been dictated and either embraced or rejected by the power elite of prior agents in earlier times. There is no objective proof/evidence or substantiation for any particular "moral code". As Dawkins would suggest, our genetic development to a significant degree predetermines some of our basic notions regarding "right" and "wrong". Phenotypic plasticity as discussed in the work of Baldwin (Baldwin Effect) is the vehicle among complex multi-celled creatures that both propagates and preserves any particular framework of both ethics and morals. Religion has forced and invited subscription to various moral and ethical codes...since the earliest days of humankind when there was a nearly total absence of scientific inquiry and structure of protocols adequate to the task of identifying and defining particular cause effect relationships that through 'default' became the foundation for organized religion.
Part of the reason why religion has failed to achieve "whole-cloth" change ..effective long-term change in the ideology of the huaman being is because the nature of organization as adopted by humankind to his evolutionary adjustments to a hostile planet has subsumed individual personal dynamics within the effort with the result being a hypocrisy loosed upon the world by a situational morality. Mankind must lose himself ...to find himself.
Although we've practiced great wars and all the machinations that have been passionately and fervantly embraced...religion and "believer-constructs"....greed, genuflection and alms paid to the victor in response to imperialism of all kinds, our systems and code of "morality" haven't worked. We have evolved in many respects to adopt an amoral...perspective on existence....that won't work either.
 
MikeyDB
#27
Well there you go...

I had forgotten this thread entirely....

Barbara Frum's little boy David worked as a speechwriter for George Bush. David wrote a speech delivered in Cincinnati by the President regarding the conflicts and turmoil brewing and boiling throughout the Middle East (with special emphasis of course on Iraq) and the "urgent necessity" to bomb the beejeepers out of men women and children there...to secure world peace. Davey used the term "crusade" to characterize the "value(s)-conflict" between the United States and Iraq. Although it's been some time since I reviewed that speech, the phrase "crusade" was I believe dropped from the delivered version...

This issue of "values"..played a significant role in this early attempt by Bush to rationalize and legitimize the extermination of (approx..) 500,000 Iraqi people as effect of the various economic embargoes and sanctions against Iraq. Before of course the threat of enormous weapons of mass destruction, and the obscurity surrounding UNSCOM inspections being denied full access and Iraq failing to make complete disclosure of its weapons program necessitated armed invasion.

While our friend George Bush is a good practicing Christian, and with a spectrum of helping hands like Davey Frum and religious advisers available...this good gentleman could make an argument for murdering children in their beds as they slept....

Wait a minute that's not fair!.....

Saddam Hussein was a monster who killed thousands and ruled Iraq with an iron fist...He (Saddam Husein had little compunction about killing Kurds or anyone else for that matter)...perfect justification for slaughtering thousands more....?

We are confronted with the ambiguity of "modern morality", as means to justify some "end", demonizing the actions and behaviors of many rogues over the years (WWI, WWII, slaughter of the North American plains indians, Conquistadors and fortune hunters exterminating millions is South and Central America...) and one could understandably become confused about how one can determine "right-thinking" and "right-behavior" in the context of "morality" that permits descriminating the actions of Saddam Hussein as remarably more "evil" or "wrong" than the prelude and execution of the American invasion of Iraq.

The American ethos suggests that "oppressive regimes" un-friendly to coercion and manipulation by the United States and Britain...when it comes to controlling arms proliferation and natural resources (petroleum) ought best be characterized as outgrowths of religious fundamentalism gone awry...

The assumption (proposition) that the "right-minded-ness" accompanying subscription to Christianity and "western values" is a priori the greater "good". One could wonder or at least consider how this same rationale translates into the bloody regimes established financed and militarily supported by the United States in various locations around the world....

These are of course dynamics and notions well beyond the capacity and thinking of your humble scribe, and better left to the greater minds of Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powel, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and of course the beacon of "right-thinking"...George Bush.

But let's explore the notion of "morality" and I'd like to focus my attention as the dialogue develops to the phenomenon of "morality" in the context of post-modernism.

Anyone want to get the ball rolling?
 
MikeyDB
#28
Spanking kids...euthanasia...contraception...genetics...mor al decay and the hobgoblins of post-modernity...

Is there any interest in looking at these dynamics?
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#29
MOVED FROM OTHER THREAD I FORGOT TITLE OF....lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyDB
The issue of spanking children...is it abuse or is it a necessity stemming out of the realization that children (according to Piget and others) don't yet enjoy the facility to internalize instructions before age 7... even when those instructions are intended as means to securing the child's safety and reinforcing discipline..to later of course merge into the capacity for self-discipline...


first off yeah I like this guy too Robin, said so in the pot thread.

Now as per spanking kids.
Never allow your judgement of children not comprehending you drop to the level of violence is a solution!!! please I beg of you.

children even if mentally challenged are not farm animals to be beaten. Even farm animals should not be prodded but that is another thread.

Parents lacking in skill resort to violence to teach or demand their will be done.
It teaches violence as an answer when you do not get your own way as one grows up.
It desensitzes the child as well.....

It's never an option.

please do not condone this sort of really low economic scale ignorant toally out of date misuse of parenting skills.
 
triedit
#30
What complicates the spanking issue is the degree. I don't approve of beating a child (although Ive been guilty of it out of my own lack of control and my childs' obstinance). I do, however, think that slapping hands and swatting butts serves a good purpose for a short period of time. Roughly 6mos to 3 years old. During that time children are not in the least bit reasonable and sometimes it takes a twinge to get thier full attention or to put an immediate stop to a behavior. The difference is twofold. First, the motivation. If the desire truly is to teach and protect the child rather than revenge or frustration or anger, then to me that's a moral plus. Secondly, if the actual act is once--one slap on a hand or one slap on a butt-then it should not be considered spanking. And certainly if an object besides an open palm is used, THAT is wrong.

So basically Im saying that my morals are that if I swat my 2 year old on the butt once with an open hand to get him to not touch something breakable that he's already been told not to touch, Im ok with that.

I will fully admit to breaking my own moral code. I think most of us, as parents, have done so. Its something Im not proud of and have to combat from time to time. Fortunately, the urge doesnt happen often.
 

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