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January 26, 2008, 05:38:57 PM
Reply #15

Tankdown

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This brief diorama was brought to you by Faijer Inc., with the intention of showing how good and evil do not exist because morality is not black and white, nor is it quantifiable.
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January 26, 2008, 11:33:27 PM
Reply #16

Redefine

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I have always disagreed that Good and Evil are subjective terms. Let us take Good as an example.

To begin with, there is no definition of Good. Good just Is. The same, for instance, can be said about a point or a straight line in Euclidean Geometry: there are no definitions to describe them as they exactly are, though everyone knows what they are. If we are to examine this from another perspective: No one has ever seen a perfect point, nor a perfectly straight line; despite this, everyone knows what a point and a straight line are. Therefore, what we may presume at this point is that for every object there is one Idea, one Form, one Archetype, call it however you like, and this Idea may be manifested in the physical world through many different and imperfect things. For example, the Idea of Good is one and only one. Good, however, may be expressed as many different things; as Oriens has said, in the Mayan culture, it was considered Good to sacrifice a human for the shake of a god and in ancient Greece it was normal for for a man to form a cross-generational relationship with a minor. For the modern and "civilized" person, the above would be characterized as being rather Evil than Good.

Because of this, one might say that Good and Evil are subjective terms, perceived differently throughout the course of History. As I said previously though, Good and Evil are two definite things and Man always seeks to reach Good and distance himself from Evil. Then, you may ask, if this happens, wouldn't Good and Evil be the same for everybody? Not necessarily. See Good, for example, as the top of a high mountain and imagine that there are many roads which lead to this top, meaning that there are many ways to approach the Idea of Good which, no matter how many ways there are to approach it, it is one.

but being morally correct is an action, not an end. people doing nothing cannot be good or evil, its only in the action, like the support of an 'evil' or the doing of 'good' can we make a distinction about a person. thus, good can only be one road, not the summit, not any of the other roads. and everyone has the same idea of a strait line and a point.

if we define good as that which brings about the most happiness. a definite definition. it is still subjective, as different things will make different people happy.
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January 27, 2008, 03:07:55 AM
Reply #17

Faijer

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Quote from: Redefine
but being morally correct is an action, not an end. people doing nothing cannot be good or evil, its only in the action, like the support of an 'evil' or the doing of 'good' can we make a distinction about a person. thus, good can only be one road, not the summit, not any of the other roads. and everyone has the same idea of a strait line and a point.

if we define good as that which brings about the most happiness. a definite definition. it is still subjective, as different things will make different people happy.
1. Being morally correct is a series of actions that you, or your culture, determine to be morally correct, not just one action. Some actions you perform may be morally right, some may be morally wrong, you may have to do things hat would otherwise me morally wrong to do something morally right (killing one to save thousands is a common example).

2. It is not just the action. If I stand by and watch someone get mugged, even though I am holding a gun and could severely wound the attackers (though I am not a law enforcer), is what I am doing morally right? After all, if I could stop someone else getting hurt, what moral justification can I put forth to justify not helping that person? Inaction in this case is not a lack of decision making, but morally wrong, counter-productive (perhaps), decision making, but it is nonetheless a common definition of the term.

3. You seem to be over-simplifying morality into one path, which it is not. As my brief diorama pointed out, people can choose certain actions that others would deem morally wrong, and yet be contributing to humanity in a very positive way. However morality should not, unless you are a hardcore utilitarian or other consequentialist, generally be quantified to the level of one action canceling another. The reason for this is that it can provide justification for what can easily be considered morally reprehensible acts.

4. If we define morality is that which brings about the most happiness, our definition is not subjective, but our particular actions will be. This morality is judged by intention and not action, therefore the morality would be consistent, even if the actions aren't. However this moral basis is high-minded, but immensely hard to implement to any large scale. Like the ethic of reciprocity, it is riddled with practicality holes.
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January 27, 2008, 06:53:53 PM
Reply #18

Chaon

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What everybody seems to be implying, is that right and wrong are subjective to the person. Everybody has to decide for themselves what they believe is good and evil. It isn't that good and evil don't exist, it's just that they don't exist in a fixed state. Instead it changes with culture or time or religious beliefs.

Society has its own set of moral standards that fluctuate on almost a daily basis. Does that mean that our own should also? Our lives are so affected by what we see, hear, read, or experience, that it makes it hard for this discussion to ever be agreed upon. What may be right for the rich millionare in South California, would be something evil enough to commit the act of sepukku in Japan.

What I am really getting at, is that each person must decide for themselves. They have to draw from what they know and have experienced to make the decision of right and wrong.
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January 28, 2008, 12:37:24 AM
Reply #19

Tankdown

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Well technically I was implying that it would require scientific evidence at the end. :rolleyes:
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January 28, 2008, 07:34:59 AM
Reply #20

Chaon

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I don't think that this is something that can have any scientific evidence. Not everything can be measured by a scientific study. With something like this, where each individual has to make a decision based on their own thoughts and experiences, quantification is impossible.
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January 28, 2008, 09:15:28 AM
Reply #21

Faijer

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Quote from: Chaon
I don't think that this is something that can have any scientific evidence.
That statement is unfortunately becoming incorrect as science explores the neurochemistry of humans. While one cannot currently prove that murder is morally wrong, morality is not beyond scientific study entirely. To make such claims is naive, and quite often these kinds of claims are made despite evidence to the contrary already existing. People just tend to think their opinion is somehow backed by research, or lack thereof, without actually looking.
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January 28, 2008, 05:12:54 PM
Reply #22

Tankdown

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Not everything can be measured by a scientific study.
Not yet... :biggrin:
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January 29, 2008, 08:18:53 PM
Reply #23

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That statement is unfortunately becoming incorrect as science explores the neurochemistry of humans. While one cannot currently prove that murder is morally wrong, morality is not beyond scientific study entirely.

If you have any suggestions of how morality could be scientifically measured, I'd be curious to hear them.  There simply is no objective quantity to morality which could be measured- unless you want to make some nasty philosophical assumption, such as "morality equals societies' perceptions of morality" or "morality equals causing certain effects in other humans" or so forth, there simply is no objective quantity of morality which exists to be measured. 
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January 29, 2008, 08:30:38 PM
Reply #24

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The brain chemistry of people can be measured. I didn't take that into account when I said that basic morality or good and evil couldn't be measured. The chemicals in the brain that are released with each decision and thought and memory can be monitored and even seen in real time thanks to MRI's and similar procedures. But what make that person fell that a decision is moral or dishonest, is still that experiences that they had while growing up. Most importantly, the experiences of a child. It has been proven that a persons core personality is formed during the ages of 7 to 14.
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January 30, 2008, 01:22:15 AM
Reply #25

Tankdown

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I repeat, not yet......
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January 30, 2008, 03:12:38 AM
Reply #26

kobok

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I don't think that this is something that can have any scientific evidence. Not everything can be measured by a scientific study. With something like this, where each individual has to make a decision based on their own thoughts and experiences, quantification is impossible.

Morality has been scientifically studied within both game theory and psychology.  The results of psychology studies of morality do show that moral reasoning comes in quantifiable levels of development, and the results of the game theory studies show that there are aspects of morality which are universal, and not arbitrary.

So not only can scientific evidence be accumulated on this topic, it has been.  Therefore I suspect that with time, much more research will be done regarding morality.
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January 30, 2008, 03:53:12 AM
Reply #27

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The results of psychology studies of morality do show that moral reasoning comes in quantifiable levels of development, and the results of the game theory studies show that there are aspects of morality which are universal, and not arbitrary.

Which aspects of morality have been shown to be universal by said game theory studies? And could you point us to some sources which talk about the studies in greater detail?
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