Molral Values: God vs Biology

From Erik Brewer’s Comment:

“Why is it that humans are the only moral beings on this earth?”  – Oh! They are Not the only ones! 🙂 And I am not even sure if people have the most moral values from all the animals. It’s not so uncommon to see animals behaving more responsible than humans.

“What is the probability of another animal “evolving” into a state of morality?” – The probability is 100%, you see how cats care for their kittens because if they didn’t they would become extinct, you see even how brainless fish take care of each other, and you don’t see species killing each other because again… otherwise they will become extinct.

“Do you even know that one? It is very improbable that only one “species” would evolve to such a state. It does help the species to be moral, right? Do you not agree with moral laws such as do not murder?” – The “moral laws” that we do not murder each other and the reason we think killing people is bad does not contradict evolution theory at all, rather it is what you would expect to have if evolution is true. You can think of it in a different way: It’s just that those species who were killing each other became extinct.

Link of the video here

So what exactly happens in our brains when we donate to a charity or show compassion.

Here’s some research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was published in the Economist Oct 12, 2006. The link is here

Apparently, it’s the same part of the brain that is activated from sexual pleasures 🙂

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45 Comments

  1. Please do not confuse instinct with morality. A dog’s instinct causes it to copulate when it is mating season with any available female dog. Humans have a sex drive but because of morality we are able to abstain. There is a big difference. Simple ethics classes teach this. I recommend attendance on your part.

    • Guess what? Our morality is also instinctual, though we have built upon this to form ethical systems. It’s one of the things which make us human, but it has it’s basis in the development of a social evolutionary strategy for survival. When’s the last time you got up and say to yourself, “I’m going to be altruistic today!”?

      • So the exact same moral values supposedly developed in all of the humans all over the world, is that what you are saying? Our environments caused us to develop very differently in regard to physical features (Africans compared to European compared to Asians) yet those same environmental conditions caused us to develop the same moral values. It sounds contradictory to me. Should not our moral values also have developed differently according to our environment?

        The evidence points to morality as something given to us. The Bible says that it was God and the values in the Bible are the universal ones. Look at the evidence people.

        Once again you got your conclusions made up and you are looking for evidence to prove it. That is not very intellectually sound.

      • No Erik… again you are wrong… morals are a part of culture… and culture is different all over the world. Some features however are common, and it’s the exact same features evolutions would predict to exist 😛

      • There is too much “chance” involved for all cultures to evolve the exact same morals. Let us take murder for example (not killing by accident or in war but the actual act of murder). It is condemned in every culture. The counter argument is “what about societies that practice human sacrifice?” Good question. Is there a difference between human sacrifice for religious purposes (I am not advocating human sacrifice in any form) and deciding to murder an individual just because I want to do it? You see that same society which practices human sacrifice also condemns the senseless murder of its people. The same is true with the other moral commandments in the 10 commandments. No culture embraces lying (unless you are a lawyer). The same with adultery and rape. Do these things happen? Yes. Are they accepted? No. It is universal in all societies.

        Once again, the odds that the same morals evolved in every society are just too high for it to be probable. I know that you cannot accept that because it destroys your final conclusion, therefore just throw out the facts that do not add up for your conclusion and manipulate the others to make your conclusion “seem” correct.

      • There is too much “chance” involved for all cultures to evolve the exact same morals.

        You’re right. That is, you would be correct if this were so. The problem is that so many counter examples can be put forward as to make your assertion what it is – ludicrous.

        Is there a difference between human sacrifice for religious purposes (I am not advocating human sacrifice in any form) and deciding to murder an individual just because I want to do it?

        Wow, now that’s splitting hairs. Some societies would say that human sacrifice is moral. Some would not. I can’t figure out how that fits in with your unjustifiable world view at all! Seriously! Your argument lacks any cohesiveness! It doesn’t even make sense!

      • It makes total sense. There are universal moral values seen in every culture in every time throughout human history (see the moral commandants of the 10 commandments in the Bible). They are in every culture. All cultures condemn things such as lying and stealing and adultery and murder.

        As to your comment about female circumcision, we are talking about universal moral values yet you bring up something that is not universal as an example, even less about morality. Stay on the subject at hand my man.

      • By the way, the human sacrifice is usually used as a fallacy to justify how some cultures do not see murder as being immoral. From my explanation you can see how societies that practice human sacrifice still condemn murder. Ignoring the truth does not make it any less true.

      • So to you, human sacrifice is not murder?

      • this is a perfect example of latching on to words and then trying to spin what is written. I hope that the problem is in the language and not the tactic that you are using. Read the comment once more and you will see that I said that I am against human sacrifice and I do believe that it is murder. Read the context to understand why I used human sacrifice as an example.

      • So the exact same moral values supposedly developed in all of the humans all over the world, is that what you are saying?

        NO! The apparatus that performs moral calculus evolved. Culture and experience set moral boundaries within which the calculus is performed.

        … yet those same environmental conditions caused us to develop the same moral values.

        I think it’s clear they did NOT. Moral codes can differ hugely between cultures and over time. Thou shalt not kill means something very different now than it did when it was first written. It meant do not kill a fellow Jew. Outsiders were fair game. This is why the idea of an objective morality is ludicrous. You look at the evidence but do not see, and your analysis is superficial.

        If you are truly interested in learning what science has to say about morality, I suggest reading Marc Hauser’s Moral Minds. But I suspect you wish to remain in blissful ignorance.

    • Well… research has shown that we simply get “pleasure” from behaving what we define morally. You should ask an Edocrynologist and he will tell you what types of hormones are released when somebody donates money.
      Economists call that utility. As shown in the link, it’s easy to deduce that had those hormones be released in great quantities, the human being would have had the same intensity of pleasures as when having sex. (i don;t think such type of ppl will survive in our conditions.. unless they are extremely rich)
      We do this because we have the ability to put us in the shoes of the other. The same ability is observed at monkeys!
      Evolution predicts that in harsh conditions, the representatives of the species that are willing to sacrifice some of their welfare to help others are more likely to survive.
      I have absolutely no problem with ethics / morality having have evovled from evolution.

      • Well… research has shown that we simply get “pleasure” from behaving what we define morally.

        Exactly! This is how evolution pushes us to perform in certain ways. That is not to say that we are compelled to act that way, since there are competing interests and other factors may override the pleasure we feel from behaving what we define morally.

  2. I still have not met an evolutionist who can explain how it all got started. Did you hear Richard Dawkins’ explanation on Ben Stein’s “No Intelligence allowed”? It was quite comical.

    What is the uncaused first cause that set things into motion because we know from “science” that something cannot come from nothing. Every action has to have a cause and evolution cannot explain that. The Bible points to God, the uncaused first cause that set everything in motion. Do you have anything better or will you use the “aliens” argument or maybe the magical crystals argument?

    • Well… it’s not scientist that believe everything came from nothing, Erik. This is exactly what you believe: That everything was created FROM Nothing by God.
      There are some scientific hypothesis about how matter was created, but in order to understand that, you also need to understand what anti-matter is and how it interacts with matter, what convolutions functions are and what the relations between space and time is. But please note Erik, that this topic is part of Cosmology and NOT part of Evolution. How many times do we have to repeat the same thing over and over again? Evolution is a theory of how species evolve: It is not a theory of how life appears. Evolution doesn’t attack your point of view that GOD didn’t create the first living organism on earth. (Though Chemistry is the subject that has something to say about that, and I am sure you will consider them with “diabolic plans” as well 🙂 ) Wouldn’t you?

    • How it all got started is too long for a mere comment. I have a blog on the subject that you can read here.

      In regards to Dawkins looking silly in that train-wreck-lacking-any-intellectual-integrity, the interviewers misrepresented themselves (i.e., they LIED about who they were) and then edited the footage to make him look foolish. Anyone can be made to look good or bad in the editing room. The filmmakers’ dishonesty is well documented.

      • When you do not like the results just cry foul. If you know anything about basketball there is always the one player who cries foul when things do not go his way. That is what Dawkins and his disciples are doing. He looked really bad with his answers. It was quit amusing.

      • “Bleat! Bleat! Bleat!” is what I’m hearing. Anyone who thinks that film was at all honest needs to read what’s up on the Expelled Exposed website. The whole film was about how much cdesign proponentsists were being unfairly treated in scientific circles. The truth is they were third rate researchers and it turned into a whine-fest. Gonzales publication record is abysmal and never rated being given tenure.

        It is clear from watching the film footage that it was massively edited to make him look bad, and they have never made the unedited footage available (which Dawkins DOES in his documentaries). Take a look at footage elsewhere where he answers the exact same questions articulately and accurately. Contrast that with what happened in Ben Stein’s piece of crap and even you would wonder about it.

        Talk about pot calling kettle black. All you could muster in response is “When you do not like the results just cry foul.”

        Sounds like you.

  3. Chemistry is great stuff. It is the people who misinterpret the data that cause the problems. I have studied Chemistry and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    You still did not answer the question of how it all got started, the uncaused first cause. I will wait for that one.

    • Not everything has a cause. Radioactive decay, for instance, is uncaused. There is no event preceding the ejection of a particle from a nucleus which one can point to as being the cause. Even if all events in the universe do have a cause (and the don’t, but let’s just say they do), this does not translate to the universe requiring a cause.

      While we do not know what began the inflation of the universe, or what was there before the singularity expanded, there are an embarrassingly large number of possibilities. None of them violates physics. I favor the multiverse model, myself. And any natural explanation for the origin of the universe – no matter how improbable – is infinitely more probable than any supernatural explanation. It is even possible that the universe was self-cause. Weirder things exist than that.

      • But radio active decay comes from something (not just out of nowhere). You are comparing apples to oranges and it does not work. Nice try though.

      • This is not a refutation. It’s not even a relevant argument. You’ve claimed that everything must have a first cause. I’ve demolished you.

  4. By saying that God created I am not saying that something came from nothing. Something came from something is the idea behind saying God created. Once again your argument is flawed.

    • Something came from something is the idea behind saying God created.

      What was the something? What is your basis for this? Claiming god created everything hardly qualifies as an explanation- it just begs the question while not answering the original one.

      • The uncaused first cause that set everything else in motion. Things do not just appear out of nowhere.

      • Okay. So why do you have an uncaused first cause? If all events must have a cause, then there is no such thing. You stop the infinite regress at one level removed in an arbitrary fashion, giving no reason why anyone should accept that other than your say so. Can we have a cogent argument here? Are you capable of that?

        Things do not just appear out of nowhere.

        You mean, like, virtual particles do?

      • Exactly… it’s the same as asking: and who created God?

    • Erik, by saying God created matter you are literally spitting in the face of science.
      Do you have any evidence? This is simply not a scientific method of saying how matter was created. I can just say it was the flying spaghetti monster.

      • “flying spaghetti monster”
        why is this example so prevalent among atheists?

        Science proves that something does not come from nothing. Nothing never produces something. With that in mind what is it that started everything? That is the dilemma of the naturalist. He only believes in naturalism but by doing so he cuts off his own argument at the knees. Something had to set everything in motion. Something had to bring matter into existence. It has not always existed. Therefore the evidence points to something outside the natural realm. The naturalist cannot accept that conclusion so he comes up with all kinds of weird theories (some are quite creative).

      • Science proves that something does not come from nothing. Nothing never produces something.

        No. Science presumes (and correctly) that nothing within the universe can come from nothing. This, as I’ve stated before, does not necessarily translate to the universe itself. Try again. You have refuted nothing that I or luciferultionis (jeeze, man, could you at least have a username like mine that can be shortened?) have said. All you can do is repeat your position like a parrot, even after we have pointed to the shortcomings of you – euphemistically speaking – ‘arguments’.

      • OK… I should appear simply as Lucifer now 🙂 … hopefully

  5. interesting 🙂

  6. Shamelessly Atheist

    Ok, the name calling in inappropriate titles are not needed (unless you are still in grade school).

    I like your name “shameless”. Your pride is very shameless. It is interesting that you are an enemy of God because there is another enemy of God mentioned in the Bible. His problem was his pride. Interesting, you both are enemies of God (one hates Him and the other says He does not exist), he thinks that he knows better than God and so do you. You guys are very similar. Even though you probably do not believe in Satan you have many of his characteristics. He is against people and tries to put them down. You enjoy talking down to others (even when you do not know them).

    As far as the universe and its beginning, does it have a beginning or is it infinite? How can you justify your argument?

    • Oh noes! You’ve found me out! Indeed, I am SATAN!

      Oh, please. If all you have are ad hominems, go away.

      As far as the universe and its beginning, does it have a beginning or is it infinite?

      I don’t know. Neither do you.

      Done.

      • If you buy into the Big Bang theory then there is definitely a begining, hence the cause and effect idea. The uncaused first cause (has no beginning so does not need a cause) sets the rest in motion.

        Could the universe be infinite? Logically speaking, with infinity, how do you ever make it to a specific time and place if the universe is infinite? In infinity you cannot single out a moment in time because it ceases to be infinite (know that sounds strange but logically speaking it is true). If the universe were infinite then we would never have arrived at now. Since we have made it to now then the universe cannot be infinite. Another way of saying it is that we have passed an infinite number of events up until now and there is an infinite number of events after now but when an event happens now infinity no longer exists.

        Also, if the universe is expanding then it cannot be infinite because you are seeing the effects of a cause. Infinity cannot have a cause.

  7. No Erik… the “chance” of being against raping, against killing and against stealing from your own species is exactly what you would expect if evolution was true.
    Human values and morals are relative. Humans kill other humans when they encounter them as enemies. Humans are also less likely to give charity to other people of difference races or nationalities or to people they do not associate themselves with. That’s exactly how you would expect it to be if evolution is true.

    • “Human values and morals are relative”

      What part of the same morals manifested universally in all societies do you not understand?

      • Where do u infer that I did not understand…
        what you are saying Erik are requirement in order to have a stable population. Species that do not comply to these Rules (which we call moralities) are extinct in NO time..

      • What part of the same morals manifested universally in all societies do you not understand?

        The fact that ther are no such things as universal morals. Societies can differ significantly in terms of moral codes. How is it you do not see that? For instance, we do not think (at least I hope we don’t) that female circumcision is a moral act. In some corners of the world, if you claimed it was an immoral act you would be stared at as if you were an alien. How do you justify this?

      • Here’s a good article about: Why humans are not so special … it fits in the context.
        http://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/humans-are-not-special

  8. The same is true with the other moral commandments in the 10 commandments. No culture embraces lying (unless you are a lawyer). The same with adultery and rape. Do these things happen? Yes. Are they accepted? No. It is universal in all societies.

    Excuse me for playing Devil’s Advocate (heh!), but clearly you have never heard of the Yanomamo, who find gang rape quite morally acceptable even if you and I do not. Just another counter example which shows how wrong you are. And just where is ‘rape’ in the 10 commandments? Even incest is allowed within the pages of the bible. You’re on the run and we both know it.

    • “Yanomamo, who find gang rape quite morally acceptable even if you and I do not”
      Can you back this up with some stats? Is the gang rape tied to any religious activity? Is it allowed openly in public? There are some questions that you must answer before you just make such a statement. I found that they are violent people (that is what the Bible says about pagans, read about the pagans that the Israelites encountered in the Bible).

      Give me proof where incest is allowed in the Bible. I would love to see it. Be aware of the context before you run to a web site that offers contradictions in the Bible. I have seen all of the so called contradictions so just know that you are not going to surprise me.

  9. I’ve got a few questions for all the atheists out there.

    As a human can you trust your own mind? (since it evolved) How do we know that we are not all insane and that we cannot trust our reasoning power? What prevents our evolved mind from being systematically deceived? How can you justify the fact that we are not all stupid people, stupidity evolved as the norm. If our current knowledge is from accidental evolution then how can we trust it?

    Give me some real genuine answers here, please.

  10. Luci,
    Your humans are not special article is quite a laugh. I could not determine if this is a basement blogger or a member of the secular progressive democratic party in the States.

    Here are some thoughts on a few of his claims

    “one might easily believe that whatever humans do is what humans were intended to do.”

    That is not really an argument. Humans were put on the earth for a very specific purpose, to rule over the earth. They are to dominate but not in a negative way. They are to care for it. That is what the Bible teaches. Do not forget that this was the original intent before sin came into the picture. Do not try to interpret what you see now as the way that it has always been.

    “No creator, or at least no intelligent creator, would be so wasteful. Why create 100,000,000,000 galaxies and 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets just to put humans on one little rock somewhere in the uncharted backwaters of one medium sized otherwise uninteresting galaxy.”

    Who says that it is a waste? Do you know the full purpose of why it is there? One of the things that God says in His Word is that the magnitude and beauty of His creation is proof of His existence. We are just know learning about the magnitude of His creation.

    “The number of things that are truly unique about humans is shockingly small. Further, there are none that make us fundamentally different than any other species on the planet.”

    Once again we have the universal morality problem for the atheists to contend with. There are universal moral laws found wherever humans are found and they are the same laws in very different cultures and environments.


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