1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Discuss politics - join our community by registering for free here! HOP - the political discussion forum

Does Man Need a Moral Code?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by GenSeneca, Nov 15, 2008.

?

Does Man Need a Moral Code?

  1. Yes

    13 vote(s)
    68.4%
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
    31.6%
  1. Hobo1

    Hobo1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Move around
    There has been a lot of work done recently on the what might be called "modern paleoanthropology" which means the study of recently extinct members of the genus Homo sapiens - in other words, the evolution of man over the past 60,000 years.

    A recent book written by Wade, Nicholas, entitled, "Before The Dawn, Discovering the lost history of our ancestors." relies upon a lot of study performed on the human genetic system or human genome.

    There are a lot of references to his book on the Internet, but Wikipedia's "Origin of religion" gives a general synopsis of how scientists believe religion has developed from the stone age to the present.

    In brief, the concept is that religion and early moral codes evolved as mankind developed behaviors of empathy, the ability to learn and follow social rules, reciprocity and peacemaking. In other words, the ability to get along with your neighbor enhances your ability to survive, and thus these religious or moral traits were passed on to future generations. Conversely, other early humans who were not genetically inclined to follow a religious/ moral code were destine to die an early death.

    This train of thought leads us to the conclusion that modern man is genetically predisposed to hold a moral code. So you can rightfully argue that modern man is born with a moral code, recognizing that this was the result of our evolutionary development since the stone age.

    At the same time, a genetic predisposition is also subject to a lot of modification based on interaction with society. For example, "no stealing" may be a commonly held moral code, but "competition for profit" or "unequal sharing" may be justified behavior by societal codes of ethics.

    I think it is indisputable that the world would be a more peaceful and orderly place to live if all civilizations accepted a commonly held and interpreted moral code.

    Equally indisputable is the idea that humans could never co-exist on earth if we were not all born with some basic moral code. So to the question, "Does Man Need a Moral Code?" the answer is..."This is a mute question, we are all born with a genetic moral code"
     
  2. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    6,776
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horse Country
    If social evolution is true then moral codes have evolved because they serve a purpose.

    Big rob said that man is self-interested. Those who apply genetic evolution to human behavior like to point out that even altruism is the result of self-interest being selected in by the genes. All altruistic acts are really selfishness. Good samaritans are nice because they feel good about being nice. They do it so they can feel good. Which is still better than hurting people because one likes the way that makes one feel.

    Yes we need a moral code. Everyone has a built in moral code. The evolutionists say it is genetic the Christians say it is written on the heart.

    Then civiliization takes the moral codes that are inside of a million people and brings them all together to make one set of laws.

    Man is inherently evil, meaning that he cannot stop his evil nature from effecting his actions. He likewise has goodness in him and is effected by that, but when one compares man to the ideal, or the model of what he should be, he is so far from that, that it is more accurate to say he is inherently evil than to say that he is inherently good.

    Sociologically man gets somehat civilized by the code of morals so we need them. Theologically they never succeed in making any one of us good enough to be called good so we need far more than a code of morals. If you find what can make you good then you can discard the code of morals as obsolete. It is useful and needed up to that point but once one is weaned from mother's milk it is not needed.
     
  3. numinus

    numinus New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,525
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I do not think the necessity of a moral code is as much a dispute as the nature of morality itself. A genetic predisposition to social behavior does not say much about the nature of good and evil. At best, it suggests morality to be a human construct -- hence entirely relative.

    I am of the opposite opinion -- that morality is as much an objective existence as logic and mathematics.
     
  4. Hobo1

    Hobo1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Move around
    Perhaps you do not understand the mechanism behind evolution. Evolution follows a very logical path guided by the principle that a behavior that benefits mankind will survive. Anti-social or what we call "unethical behavior" could cause the offender to either die in an intense argument, or failure to find a willing spouse. Thus the unethical behavior is punished by failing to produce offspring.

    Geneticists have recently observed that mutation of genes happens much more frequently than previously thought. In essence some humans are born with relatively evil tendencies, while others are born with more moralistic tendencies. In an environment where the ability to "get along" with your neighbors increases your chances of survival, the evil genetic mutation will be at a disadvantage.

    The question that begs to be asked is, "if evolution tends to modify human behavior to become more moralistic, then why isn't the world a more peaceful place?" The answer to that is evolution is always a work in progress. Mankind has progressed passed the point where raiding a neighboring village to steal the wealth, kill the men, and take the women and children as slaves.

    But the question of what is good and what is evil is not always clear. Look at the issue of torture at Guantanamo Bay. Clearly, from a moral perspective, torture should be labeled as evil. However, the counter argument is that torture performed with the intention of locating an even greater evil is justified.

    Strangely enough mankind cannot answer this moral question using all of the powers of logic at his disposal. Yet, through some circuitous route and over time, one would suspect that mother nature will answer this question for us.

    I think the events at Guantanamo Bay are being judged by all societies as being moralistically wrong. Opening the door to "morally-correct torture" will, in the future, cause much more suffering by innocent people than the occasional benefit can justify. One would suspect that that societies who practice torture must either change their ways or they will find themselves eternally at war and will eventually perish.

    Whether that presumption is correct can only be answered by Mother Nature. Will using torture benefit the survival of a society, or will adverse reaction to using torture help cause the demise of a society?
     
  5. samsara15

    samsara15 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Moonbase 2B
    All the moral codes mankind has ever had have not made mankind any more moral. Even mankind's religions have just added to the intolerance and bloodshed. No one has ever been able to come up with a moral code that all can agree with, without a great deal of coercion, if not violent repression. What's more, many cultures have had morals that were far out of sync with the morals of other cultures.

    I voted no, but with reservations.

    Nonetheless, it might not be such a bad idea to teach some sort of ethics in secondary schools, were it done carefully and with the caveats that no universal agreement ever has and ever will be achieved.
     
  6. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    6,776
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horse Country
    I suspect the opposite. I suspect that the reason that moral codes are so widespread is that they work to shape the behavior of people.

    Shall we start a poll? This could be one of the questions.

    Q1) How many of you have avoided shoplifting or doing some other activity because those around you thought it was wrong?

    Or did you mean that sociologically? That mankind as a whole is not more civilized. I think we act more civilized but at any moment we could lose the civilizing influence of our moral codes. Once upon a time infanticide was commonplace. Today it makes the paper because it is rare. In fact, infanticide helped to cause the dramatic rise of Christianity because it was the Christians who picked up all the infants abandoned in the streets and raised them as more Christians. Today it is the Christians who oppose abortion and adopt a disproportionally larger amount of babies or offer assistance to teen mothers.
     
  7. samsara15

    samsara15 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Moonbase 2B
    Surely the Maya and the Aztecs had a moral code -yet they practicticed human sacrifice in numbers, all in the name of their religion. The Sumerians, and the ancient pre-Christian Romans had a much different sexual moral code from us. The Romans thought suicide was a normal response to loss of honor. That was part of their moral code. As you ntoed, the ancient Greeks thought it perfectly normal to abandon unwanted babies in the wild. Modern Muslims in many African and Asian nations condone treatment of women that Western people find barbarous.

    Perhaps we do need a moral code after all, Dr Who, but we should not expect it to be universally accepted, or not to change over time, or to be an absolute.

    One could even argue that liberals and conservatives have a different moral code in modern America.
     
  8. Octavius

    Octavius New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Does it matter?
    ok, so
    1. i need someone to give me the flat out definition of "moral code", and
    2. maybe we should make the topic less general, i.e.- does man need a moral code to survive or progress or something along those lines.

    "does man need a moral code" just seems too vague... do we need a moral code to what?
     
  9. bododie

    bododie New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My answer is yes. MAN needs a moral code. Oh gosh oh golly, were you talking about mankind?
     
  10. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    6,776
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horse Country
    I agree. Everything you said is true of any man-made moral code.
     
  11. Robert Berger

    Robert Berger Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    8
    The Golden Rule is a good moral code . Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you .
    Simple enough in theory, but anything but simple in practice.
     
  12. Hobo1

    Hobo1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Move around
    The Golden Rule is indeed an excellent Moral Code. So are most parts of the Ten Commandments. Interesting because the Ten Commandments pre-date all organized religions.

    Having said that, we can turn an eye on our own actions. The US and its allies have fought and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. These are casualties of war - called innocent civilians. Yet our missions have been to stop specific individuals - Bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein. Yet, for abstract reasons, since the Vietnam War we have started a war for specific purpose then expanded operations far beyond the original mission.

    We kill anyone who gets in our way - kind of the cowboy moral code. These dead innocent civilians had families who loved for them. Yet death rained out of the sky, killing the good and the bad.

    This may be necessary in a war like WWII where a man like Hitler had an army and could only be stopped with overwhelming force. But Saddam Hussein and Bin Ladin were bad men with a few bad followers. Quickly substituting the code of war for our pious moral code we profess to follow simply can not be justified. The US has been mass murderers and seemingly enjoys finding excuses at every opportunity to kill.

    We talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.
     
  13. Gipper

    Gipper Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    6,077
    Likes Received:
    387
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Winter Wonderland
    I don't think you have your facts right.

    Can you please post a reliable source proving your claim that the US and it's allies have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanland?
     
  14. Hobo1

    Hobo1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Move around
  15. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Messages:
    16,331
    Likes Received:
    1,313
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Sec 9 Row J Seat 1 @ VCU home games
    Hussein had a pretty significant army as well, largest in the region
     
Loading...

Share This Page