Sexual morality and Organized Religion

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hanyo
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02 Nov 2011, 6:38 am

ediself wrote:
I don't "use" science to determine whether it's right or wrong to hurt a child (we're talking morality here ), I don't use religion either, since i am an atheist. In fact I don't need to "use" anything because there is a human drive to protect and nurture the young, which can be EXPLAINED scientifically, in terms of survival of the species.


I don't think I have that drive, at least not towards human children. I don't like them. I think I've felt that way towards some animal babies though.

As an atheist my internal morality is based on my belief that harming others and interfering with their lives is wrong.



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02 Nov 2011, 6:41 am

ediself wrote:
I don't "use" science to determine whether it's right or wrong to hurt a child (we're talking morality here ), I don't use religion either, since i am an atheist. In fact I don't need to "use" anything because there is a human drive to protect and nurture the young, which can be EXPLAINED scientifically, in terms of survival of the species. You don't kill children, you don't rape women (it hinders their ability to reproduce later and have more children, out of trauma) you don't try to alienate your neighbours on purpose (being a social animal means you need the community to be on your side), etc. It's not something I need religion for, or science, it's biologically impinted in me. The only people who would need religion would be sociopaths, and I highly doubt they would go into it willingly....

That's fairly close to my way of seeing it. I think the fact that social animals frequently obey their own rules without (apparently) using religion or science strongly suggests that we humans also have a biological morality. I think it's also clear that animals, just like people, sometimes break the rules. There's a tension between the needs of the group and the needs of the individual. While hunting in a pack, an individual dog might find a way of taking less personal risk than the other dogs, and so becomes parasitic to the group.....the group will act to reduce the parasitic behaviour because groups that do that successfully will out-survive the groups that don't. So even in animals we see crime and punishment.

As far as I can see, the only difference between the morality of humans and animals is that humans think and talk about it a lot more, and they use that thinking and talking either to cheat or to fight back against cheating. Frequently, the talking will be crafted to look as if it's intended to stop cheating even though its real purpose is to cheat. Some of the moral dilemmas we face in this modern, globally-interconnected world are so complex and uncharted that I doubt that it's possible to know definitively whether some behaviour is "right" or "wrong."



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02 Nov 2011, 6:43 am

So, if morality is socially determined, why do autistic people have the same level of moral reasoning as anyone else? You would think that if it were merely a part of being a social animal, people who weren't social animals would have less of it... But we don't.


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OJani
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02 Nov 2011, 8:19 am

Callista wrote:
Phonic wrote:
Callista wrote:
I think everyone needs religion


Why
I'm a Christian--so, that means I think that our purpose in life is to know God. In other words--it's like asking why my coffee maker makes coffee. It was made for that purpose in the first place.

Beyond that, religion and philosophy allow us to think about the world beyond ourselves; to think about more than whether we're earning enough money or making enough friends. It's how we think about questions of ethics, the structure of society, the idea of identity.

Hard science, however beautiful it is and however much I love it, is limited. It can only ask questions about testable things--things you can observe; things made of matter or energy. It can't answer questions like, "Is this painting beautiful," or, "Is it right to hurt a child," or, "Is it more important to do what you love or to make your loved ones happy?" All of that is a matter of philosophy, religion, and related fields. They depend on logic, theory, and partly or totally untestable ideas.

If life were nothing but matter and energy, then depending only on hard science would make sense. But life is more than that: Life is also made of information. You, at your most essential, are the information stored in your brain--the raw data that defines your identity and your memories and the way you process information. Information is non-material, and you can't put it in a test tube. When you deal with pure information, you have to use reasoning designed to deal with pure information--religion, philosophy, and oddly enough the hardest science of all, mathematics. Philosophy is necessary to think about information--but, remember, you can't truly prove that anything but your own mind exists. That's where you have to make a leap of faith; you have to believe that other people exist, too, that the world outside you exists. And that's where religion begins.

Hard science deals with the world of matter and energy; philosophy deals with the world of information; and religion connects the information in your head with the information in the world around you. Without all three, you really can't have the full picture.

Substitute "philosophy" or "common sense" for "religion" and all the above will be just as meaningful. So, there's no need for one. (see Occam's razor)

As others pointed it out, basic social norms are innate. Even for autistics. The problem arises with them only if we look at the learned aspects of social rules that is characteristic of a given society.

On a purely philosophical ground, one can not know for sure if there's a transcendent being (i.e. a god) or not outside the universe as we know it. It can't be well hidden within it, as we most likely would know about it by now. But religions are far more a traditional product of human brains along millennia than this abstract philosophical notion, which takes its shape only in the light of modern science/philosophy. I use this latter dichotomy deliberately.



Phonic
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02 Nov 2011, 9:15 am

Callista wrote:
Phonic wrote:
Callista wrote:
I think everyone needs religion


Why
I'm a Christian--so, that means I think that our purpose in life is to know God. In other words--it's like asking why my coffee maker makes coffee. It was made for that purpose in the first place.

Beyond that, religion and philosophy allow us to think about the world beyond ourselves; to think about more than whether we're earning enough money or making enough friends. It's how we think about questions of ethics, the structure of society, the idea of identity.

Hard science, however beautiful it is and however much I love it, is limited. It can only ask questions about testable things--things you can observe; things made of matter or energy. It can't answer questions like, "Is this painting beautiful," or, "Is it right to hurt a child," or, "Is it more important to do what you love or to make your loved ones happy?" All of that is a matter of philosophy, religion, and related fields. They depend on logic, theory, and partly or totally untestable ideas.

If life were nothing but matter and energy, then depending only on hard science would make sense. But life is more than that: Life is also made of information. You, at your most essential, are the information stored in your brain--the raw data that defines your identity and your memories and the way you process information. Information is non-material, and you can't put it in a test tube. When you deal with pure information, you have to use reasoning designed to deal with pure information--religion, philosophy, and oddly enough the hardest science of all, mathematics. Philosophy is necessary to think about information--but, remember, you can't truly prove that anything but your own mind exists. That's where you have to make a leap of faith; you have to believe that other people exist, too, that the world outside you exists. And that's where religion begins.

Hard science deals with the world of matter and energy; philosophy deals with the world of information; and religion connects the information in your head with the information in the world around you. Without all three, you really can't have the full picture.


I made this..long post about why you're wrong but..uhm

I dunno, just stopped caring about half way through. For some reason I keep reading your signature and seeing "Christian" and I don't think I'm ever going to get over how someone rational like you can think everyone needs religion to know if it's right to hurt a child or if "OK Computer" is the best rock album ever.

anyway, heres a piece of art by a couple of people who have no religion or philosophy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8jIb74ldpg[/youtube]


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ToughDiamond
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02 Nov 2011, 10:05 am

Callista wrote:
So, if morality is socially determined, why do autistic people have the same level of moral reasoning as anyone else? You would think that if it were merely a part of being a social animal, people who weren't social animals would have less of it... But we don't.

We aren't a separate species of solitary individuals, even though we often seem to be. Most of us probably have at least one NT parent and lots of NT forefathers, who were highly socialised. So we have inherited a lot of socially-derived traits, such as a sense of honour.

I also think we have a rather different sense of morality to that of NTs, perhaps because of alexithymia and executive disfunction. Although mainstream justice pays a lot of lip service to the dispassionate scales of equality, in practice I think it's a lot more emotionally-driven than that, and it's more likely that Aspies would really take to objective measurement as a way of determining fairness - I'm an example of this because I get very hung up on parity issues, when stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, and letting go of the idea that "we must all be treated absolutely equally all the time" would probably be more in line with mainstream moral thinking.

NTs also tend to value conformity more strongly than we do. In that sense, we can act like social contras and hamper the effectiveness of groups which are struggling to maintain the level of discipline necessary for group survival.

I heard of a recent study on moral perception. Volunteers were asked if they felt it ethical to press a remote button that would kill one man and save the lives of many. Mostly they said it was ethical. But when asked whether personally pushing the man to his death for the same purpose was ethical, they generally felt it wasn't. Such observations led them to conclude that ethical judgement is emotional. Had I been a volunteer, I would have said that both actions were equally ethical, but that the second one just needed a stronger stomach. No doubt my (biological) emotions would have a large bearing on my behaviour (I doubt that I could kill another human being at close quarters), but those emotions don't seem to affect my idea of right and wrong, which for me is more dispassionate and arithmetical.



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02 Nov 2011, 12:22 pm

lol, I often wonder what kind of morals the people who claim religion is required to even have morals in the first place would have if it wasn't for their religion telling them what to do... They must be incredibly selfish and truly uncaring creatures to only do good deeds to make their rap sheet look good for god. Those of us who do not need religion do good deeds because it's the right thing to do... It's not about brownie points, and I don't see how getting brownie points sometimes and then turning around and treating people like s**t when you're not at church makes you a good person. It doesn't. And most christians I encounter regularly use their christianity as a means of ego inflation. They walk around with this "holier than thou" attitude while they s**t all over people who don't pray to the same god. f**k RELIGION. I don't need a book to tell me what's right and wrong, I have it figured out on my own. And I don't believe for one second that a bunch of old rich white guys from 2000 or so years ago knew a damn thing about what it means to be a good person. THEY wrote the bible, not god. If there's a god, prove it. Until then, keep this god to yourself, unless you're also willing to accept that I have an imaginary friend made of spaghetti that flies around the world, attacking people with meatballs. There is just as much evidence of the former's existence as there is for the latter, so for you to suggest that one is absurd and the other is not is insanity.



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02 Nov 2011, 12:41 pm

Callista wrote:
So, if morality is socially determined, why do autistic people have the same level of moral reasoning as anyone else? You would think that if it were merely a part of being a social animal, people who weren't social animals would have less of it... But we don't.


I don't think autistic people are not social animals, we're just the weakest link in a social setting. We don't all want to connect and fail, or decide we can't stand trying anymore and stop, some of us are just not wired to miss human interactions, but we are not "independant animals" either. Lots of us depend on the community to survive and this is still being part of a community.
The people who are not "social animals" in the human community are not the autistic people, it's the sociopaths. They view themselves as being outside the human community, roaming around it, in a predatory fashion , appeasing the humans so they can feed off them. These are the people with no empathy and no social wiring at all. What religion aims to correct are mainly sociopathic behaviours (killing for instance....) not autistic ones (caring but not knowing how to show it, or being unable to read thy neighbour but still being able to be empathetic to a fault once we know what the person is feeling)
Autistic people don't lack moral reasonning , I don't think, but most importantly: religion is not the best base on which to ground your morals, morals are personal, they shouldn't be imposed on you, and in truth I don't think they can be.



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02 Nov 2011, 1:34 pm

Callista wrote:
That's not actually what the article says.

Quote:
Some sort of moral, behavior or ethics code is in order, and that is why it may be useful for some on the spectrum to follow organized religion or philosophy.
So, what they are saying is that it is a good thing for someone with AS to have an organized code of morality, and that organized religion and philosophy both provide that. They also mention the importance of having a good mentor.

The point isn't that they are saying that Aspies need religion (though I'd agree with that statement--because I think everyone needs religion, though not because Aspies need it any more than anyone else). They are saying that it is easier for an organized, concrete thinker to make moral choices when he knows exactly what he believes and has written it down and defined it carefully beforehand.


To me that seems to indicate the author of the article thinks people with AS need someone else to tell them what to believe. I prefer not to blindly follow what someone else wrote down just for the sake of having an organized code of behavior....and I think organized religion does a pretty horrid job of teaching any sort of true morality.



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02 Nov 2011, 2:21 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
To me that seems to indicate the author of the article thinks people with AS need someone else to tell them what to believe. I prefer not to blindly follow what someone else wrote down just for the sake of having an organized code of behavior....and I think organized religion does a pretty horrid job of teaching any sort of true morality.

Not to mention religious morality is subject to change when put under cultural pressure, subverting any claims of "absolute" or "true" morality.


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02 Nov 2011, 7:37 pm

My morality and ethics are primarily of my own devising, but heavily informed by many sources (including secular, religious, and philosophical). Religion isn't all good or all bad, and neither is anything else.

I do find it strange how so many people find questions of "Treating people who do not inherently cause harm by existing as human beings" as so complex and difficult to handle, or who impose their own standards of identity onto other people and question why those people can't be just like them. To me, this approach is unethical and harmful and prevents people from receiving and having what they need. And yet, many religions support such an approach, creating false "us vs. them" dichotomies and positioning entire groups as external enemies to be fought, and not human beings in need of the same compassion that everyone else needs.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with people being religious, or that being an atheist should be any kind of imperative.



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02 Nov 2011, 7:49 pm

Callista wrote:
So, if morality is socially determined, why do autistic people have the same level of moral reasoning as anyone else? You would think that if it were merely a part of being a social animal, people who weren't social animals would have less of it... But we don't.


Because morality (if by that you mean a specific code of rights and wrongs) =/= moral reasoning ability

My morality is absolutely nothing like the society in which I live.

Do I have moral reasoning ability?
Absolutely- I'd say far more than people who accept prima facie things as wrong (or right) based on herd mentality.


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02 Nov 2011, 9:07 pm

Callista said earlier something like, "science can't tell you whether or not you should hurt a child."

Why in the hell would you even NEED to ask that question in the first place? If you honestly need to consult some oldass book to figure out whether or not you should attack a child for no reason whatsoever, then you have some serious problems. Neither religion nor science will solve that.



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02 Nov 2011, 11:53 pm

DerStadtschutz wrote:
Callista said earlier something like, "science can't tell you whether or not you should hurt a child."

Why in the hell would you even NEED to ask that question in the first place? If you honestly need to consult some oldass book to figure out whether or not you should attack a child for no reason whatsoever, then you have some serious problems. Neither religion nor science will solve that.


The kicker is in the words you added, "for no reason whatsoever". There are millions of people in this world, and more likely billions, who do hurt children, and they most likely all have their reasons, or have convinced themselves that it's not wrong, one way or another. The pedophile hurts children, and has convinced himself that they like it, despite what they tell him themselves, because it gives him pleasure. Hitler and Goering were in charge of hurting millions of children, and they were doing it because the children were Jewish and they thought that it was desirable to exterminate Jews. But _nobody_ hurts a child "for no reason whatsoever", unless it's pure accident, not intentional at all, like the child chasing a ball into the street they're driving down.


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03 Nov 2011, 12:45 am

Sibyl wrote:
DerStadtschutz wrote:
Callista said earlier something like, "science can't tell you whether or not you should hurt a child."

Why in the hell would you even NEED to ask that question in the first place? If you honestly need to consult some oldass book to figure out whether or not you should attack a child for no reason whatsoever, then you have some serious problems. Neither religion nor science will solve that.


The kicker is in the words you added, "for no reason whatsoever". There are millions of people in this world, and more likely billions, who do hurt children, and they most likely all have their reasons, or have convinced themselves that it's not wrong, one way or another. The pedophile hurts children, and has convinced himself that they like it, despite what they tell him themselves, because it gives him pleasure. Hitler and Goering were in charge of hurting millions of children, and they were doing it because the children were Jewish and they thought that it was desirable to exterminate Jews. But _nobody_ hurts a child "for no reason whatsoever", unless it's pure accident, not intentional at all, like the child chasing a ball into the street they're driving down.


"Pedophile" =/= Child molestor

Otherwise, I completely agree with you.
We do things in the West unthinkingly which other cultures would find abominable,
same goes for them and us.
It's all subjective.


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03 Nov 2011, 3:41 am

rpcarnell wrote:


All I get is a "page not found" error when I click that link.