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Henry Woeltjen

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Ethics: Written by Nature?

I realize that many think morals, and the evolution of ethics....has been a subjective path.

It has been. It has definitely been defined by our perception of nature.

However, people tend to state that "this has no guide or structure" as it is subjective.

That would only hold true if nature didn't have laws or governance of its own...and it does.

Humans could not have survived without cooperation. I think we can all understand that. So as it may seem subjective....morals and ethics have evolved along a path towards "unity" or "efficiency" and could not have been some "random chain of events" that leads us to some random ethical perception.

If you debate it has been guided I would have you refer to writings from as early as 350 B.C. when people wrote about "human potential" and "happiness".

As you could try an say "happiness" is subjective let me confront that.

Happiness is not a subjective term. A state of being "happy" is absolute.

Happy is merely when a human reaches the state of "contentment" in relation to his or her needs.

The question is...for a pattern or "evolutionary pattern" to exist...structure that outlines morals would have had to already be present in nature.

Crazy thought...but I think when we look at nature...nothing works without cooperation.

Adding to that...our necessity for team-work as a survival tool. It has all pointed towards a goal "cooperation" and that goal is only achieved through certain "actions" and is therefore defined making morals a "universal concept" or "law of nature".

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    Gail . 50+

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    Sep 25 2012: I don't have any morals. I don't believe in them.

    What I do have is the desire to live a rewarding and satisfying life. What I do have is a desire to be powerful in my own reality. And as I create my own reality, I can choose my behaviors (consequences of thoughts/words/emotions).

    The power to manifest desires is a universal one. We all do it all the time. The rules for deliberately manifesting your reality are very simple. As you do to others (be it through looking down on them or up to them, for example), you do to yourself, and you invite parallel consequences into your own personal reality.

    So I do not treat others as I want to be treated out of any sense of morality. I do it out of utter SELF interest. If we all did this, what a fine world it would be. But it's really hard for a society to get there when religions tell you to debase yourself or follow "morality" that someone else has decided is better than the basics - love your neighbor - love yourself - and as you do this, loving consequences will follow.
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      Sep 25 2012: Moral is a term that defines "right and wrong" and is not indicative of anything specific.

      You do have morals.

      Desires are created from base needs like hunger, sex, and thirst. These needs were given to us by nature. It is the driving force behind our actions and emotion.

      I can say...we already have a society that lives for their own interests...I think we should move away from that.

      Great points though.
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    Sep 25 2012: QUOTE: "Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibiting. If you violate her laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman."-- Luther Burbank
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      Sep 25 2012: well said Edward,

      I think the fact that we think we can transcend these laws are nothing more than an illusion and a way to repress out existential anxieties...
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        Sep 25 2012: Do you have an example of natural law we can ignore?
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          Sep 27 2012: My initial guess would be no but do you mind elaborating a little more? I"m not sure I understood the question (at no fault of your own I may add).

          and if you need more elaboration on my end I won't mind explaining as well.
    • Sep 25 2012: i can't agree with that more.
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    Sep 25 2012: Here is a talk about animals and their moral behavior:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html

    Hope that gives insight :)
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    Sep 25 2012: Hmm, maybe it is something natural. Familial values are almost always the same everywhere or every culture you go. You even see it in animals.
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      Sep 25 2012: Great point James.

      Animals do seem to understand cooperation as well.

      They would...especially if this theory is true.
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        Sep 25 2012: And the mother bear is protective of the young.
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    Sep 25 2012: Great Question:

    Do we even know what constitutes as natural laws or what they really are?

    I think philosophy and science are best at getting to some truth about this but the only law of nature that I would say that is certain is: SURVIVAL


    after that I think we jump into some grey area, which is why I think we need our biology just as much as the capacity to create our own values. Biology and self-created values (which may ultimately be reducible to our biological makeup) I think are the best combination for a moral system..

    If your looking for something absolute, I'd have to tell you that your wont get anymore absolute than ones own subjectivity being that there is nothing within the laws of nature that gives one iota that the laws of nature have a moral basis.
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      Sep 25 2012: Orlando rules of nature definitely exist.

      1) You cannot have life without thermal energy.
      2) You cannot have a plant without nutrients
      3) A plant can only grow under (x) conditions in (x) amount of light.
      4) A human must eat (x) amount of food in (x) amount of time to sustain life.
      5) Gravity will pull an object of (x) weight at a rate or force of (x).

      Rules exist everywhere. However, we cannot see them so we assume they don't exist.
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        Sep 27 2012: Hi Henry,

        I never mentioned that they didn't exist, I just simply stated that outside of humans (and certain animals perhaps) that such laws do not seem to have a moral basis and that morality is ultimately self-created. I also mentioned do we exactly know which laws of nature contributes to our moral systems? none of these statements imply they do not exist.

        The laws that you mentioned are indeed laws that can be backed by science and rationality but none of these laws have a moral basis and ones survival is contingent upon all of them. Ultimately no matter how many norms, principles or value that we decide to create as a guide to our lives, biology (our creatureliness) wins out and I think most of our moral values are contingent upon this necessity to survive...this is not to say that morality is not important or even necessary. It may be universal but I don't think its completely absolute.

        Ultimately what I'm trying to assert is that there is no moral fabric imbedded within the universe and I think this is evident when we contemplate and study the queerness of the universe.
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    Oct 1 2012: I think:
    (1) “Ethics” is written by our ancestors about 10,000 years ago and saved in our DNA.
    It is our ancestors’ successful experiences for “cooperation”/SYNBIOSIS.
    (2) VALID “happiness” is the short time feeling of things being a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive.
    It is also our ancestors’ successful experience saved in DNA.