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The source of morality

Many times religious people claim that atheist people are immoral, because they have no reason to be good. Claim is false, ungrounded and impudent but it has a point. Atheist people have no base for their morality. When there is no divine ruler; nothing is sacred, everything is permitted. But it is not! Why? Because not! I dumped old beliefs that prohibits samegender sex, or intercourse before wedding or eating pig meat etc. Still my morales very similar with what religion gave us, and when they can say "God forbid it" I can't say anything. I need those explanations. I need proofs that shows incest, bestiality, necrophilia is obnoxious and bad. I need proofs that shows wars ar ugly and bad.

Otherwise someone will just say, the siblings loved each other what is wrong with that? War is best way to develop technology is totally legit and necessary. Torchere is necessary, it can not be removed. No it is mean and ugly! Would you like to be torchered? Why am I a criminal?

I tried to build my own reason. I changed "the good" and "the bad" to "the flawed" and "unflawed" act. Now I can give reasons by revealing flaws of the act I do not approve. It made sense to me. But it is very subjective.

So what do you think about it. If you're not religious, what is your morales based on? Or what community should base their morale on it?

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    May 26 2013: My religion is my SELF.

    My pilgrimage is discovering my self.
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        May 26 2013: We search for happiness out side, but it lies with in.

        Source of morality is within. We are the keeper of our own conscience.

        Biggest victory is not out side , it is to win your self.

        A self realised person is like bright illuminating light.
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      May 26 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Adesh...."know thyself" is one of the most important underlying elements to any growth, and in my perception, it is the foundation of our morality. Wherever information comes from, it is important to know how it impacts us and applies to us as individuals.
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    May 26 2013: My source of morality is within.

    I can hide from any thing in the world but never from my self
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      May 26 2013: This is true Adesh.....wherever we go, there we are with our "self".
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        May 26 2013: We search for happiness out side, but it lies with in.

        Source of morality is within. We are the keeper of our own conscience.

        Biggest victory is not out side , it is to win your self.

        A self realised person is like bright illuminating light.
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          May 26 2013: Well said Adesh:>)
          People often search for thoughts, feelings and beliefs outside of themselves, when we can usually find them within. We are the "keeper of our own conscience".....I like that!

          I believe we can take in information from many external sources, and ultimately, we make choices. When people say the source of morality is something outside themselves, it feels like they are giving the choice and responsibility for that choice to an outside force/source.

          I think this is the source of a lot of chaos in our world. People will sometimes say....I did it in the name of a god.....god directed me....etc. These folks are giving up their own choices, and therefor giving up their responsibility as well. What do you think about that?
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        May 27 2013: Your god Vs my god.

        That is how they justify their henious acts.
        They create hell on earth for others, so that they can live in haven.
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          May 27 2013: Adesh,
          Your comment reminds me of the TED talk by Devdutt Pattanaik. He speaks about "my world" vs "your world", and he addresses the subject in a very kind and loving way....I love this talk.

          http://www.ted.com/talks/devdutt_pattanaik.html

          I agree that some folks who strongly believe in a certain god or religion create hell on earth for others, so they can have a good place in heaven...so they think!

          With this practice, I observe a very obvious contradiction, hypocrisy, lack of honest morals, and I cannot understand why these folks do not see this in themselves! I guess because they do not want to!

          In my perception, and apparently in your perception as well, happiness, contentment, morality, etc., is within us. When people give credit and/or responsibility for these qualities to an outside source, they give up both their individual choices AND responsibility.

          They would like to demand that we believe as they do....or else we will go to hell! We must be the devil if we do not believe as they do....can they not see the contradiction and hypocrasy???
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        May 31 2013: They is being refered to

        People who kill or harm others in the name of religion.
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    • May 26 2013: Hi Don, It's me again...
      I had to give you a thumbs-up.

      You keep searching.
      You will find it, what you're looking for, right around the corner,
      at the local coffee shop, when a complete stranger sits down
      beside you and you two talk.

      Why this works the way it actually does, I couldn't begin to say.
      Frank
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        • May 26 2013: Don,
          Last night I couldn't find the reply button.
          I became confused because I didn't take my insulin shot.
          Here is my conversation from then. Sorry I am late.

          Sorry Don,
          Did I forget to answer a question.
          No I haven't listened as yet. I plan to.
          Really.

          Before I do, I want you to know that I believe that 'outside the brain' exists.
          A story might help you to understand how I think about things.
          God's Hand?

          One of many I have experienced.

          I picked my car from the mechanic, with brakes done, and 4 new tires.
          I drove several blocks on the frontage road beside and beneath the Freeway.
          I was moving never more than 20-25 mph.

          I passed 3 small children playing in a little red wagon in the gutter of a
          quiet street corner.

          I passed several cars parked on the curb, when, all of a sudden, a wee boy
          on a bike, came from between two of the parked cars. I slammed on my brakes.
          Left 4 patches of rubber on the street, and still hit the boy...

          I rushed to him, his broken bike nearby, and carried him into a shop a few feet away.
          A lady inside took him from me, to check him over.

          At that moment, a 'hellish sound' was heard. I looked and a large blue Buick
          flew from off the Freeway some 20 feet high in the air... It took only a moment,
          then that large blue Buick slammed to the ground crushing that little red wagon.

          The 3 small children had left the wagon and were clustered about my car.
          Safe.

          The boy I had hit was fine. His bike replaced by my Insurance company
          the following day.

          There are more stories, but I am beginning have problems recalling them...
          And, that makes me more than sad.

          Some interesting conclusions might be drawn in that I never knew the children.
          Never remembered to find them, or to seek them out as they grew to adults..
          I never sought them out. And today I also forget to do so. Brain-mind ??

          God's hand? The moral? I leave that to you to figure out.
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    May 25 2013: Our morals are hard wired by our creator, but can be overridden by our will if we are determined enough,

    :-)
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      May 25 2013: Morals have little to do with any deity.

      Dan Ariely, bestselling author and professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University visits the RSA to examine the mechanisms at work behind dishonest behaviour, and the implications this has for all aspects of our social and political lives.
      http://www.thersa.org/events/video/vision-videos/free-beer-the-truth-about-dishonesty
      • May 25 2013: Theodore, My confession...
        I was a stone cold crook for much of my life.
        I talked people out of their money.
        It was fun.

        I'd have them drive me to their bank, sit beside them
        as they took a very large loan.
        Accept their endorsed loan check,
        and deposit it to my account.
        I loved my job.

        I once hired a Hypnotist, a good one.
        He made 60 sales in one day.
        And he had never sold before.
        I loved my job.

        Being a crook is of course immoral.
        But, there is a God.
        Mine gave me Cancer.
        And let me live with it.
        God loves his job.
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          May 25 2013: Frank,
          I'm sure Theodore may pop in here, and in the meantime, I'm trying to understand your post (your confession as you say).

          It sounds like you are proud of your criminal behavior?

          You believe in a god because he gave you cancer and he loves his job?

          You believe the cancer was a punishment from god?

          Thanks for your help in trying to understand the meaning of your comment.
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          May 25 2013: Some years ago George C Scott starred in a film called "The Flim-Flam Man."
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flim-Flam_Man

          A favorite line in the movie was, "You can't cheat an honest man."
          I thought about that line during the Bernie Madoff scandal; lots of investors putting money into a scam that was to good to be true.

          As for God(s), there is no shortage of them to believe in, but like placebo, its all in the mind.
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          May 26 2013: What are you saying, Ariely is an atheist too?
          There are believers and those that believe in something different.
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          May 28 2013: The use of the term "the creator," and not "a" creator is interesting. A creative force in the universe may not be anything we can to appeal to or petition.
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    • May 26 2013: Hello LaMar
      I was speeding through and my eye caught your first sentence.

      I agree wholeheartedly with your entire message.

      There seems to be an area to yet be explored. Mental Illness,
      or bluntly speaking, the lack of morals in crazy people's thinking.

      I've raised 3 children, and 3 step-children. Several have turned
      to drugs. All but one child, have recovered completely. Of my many
      grand-children, several turned to drugs. One of my children,
      my daughter, and both her children are addicts. Addicts have
      little in the way of a moral code. I felt desperate for many years
      knowing my daughter was 'out there'. I had a phone call from her,
      she said, "Dad, I live a different lifestyle, and I want you to stop
      worrying about me. I am happy with myself. Drugs and all."
      She freed me, but of course I still worry.

      Her two boys on the other hand, are 'rapscallions' of the first order.
      But they still visit, when they think I won't notice drug use. I get to
      worry again. I worry not about the great-grand-children, they are
      wee babies.

      Watching my grandson's lack of moral constraint is difficult, but
      being on a first name basis with the local cops helps here and there.

      But the status in a society of those who cannot recognize that there is
      a moral compass. Means that they must undergo society's punishments.

      Does any society have 'that' right to punish those who violate said society's
      preset moral standards?
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        • May 26 2013: Shades of gray...
          Hi. LaMar...

          Someone. long ago, understood what you wrote.
          And today Judges have limits imposed upon them when sentencing.
          Well thought out limits in most cases.

          The acceptance of homosexuality is harder for us oldsters than it
          should be. But like color, we will change and accept the differences.
          Morality improved.

          A bit late for me to get on that bandwagon.
          ===

          I have a Black son-in-law. Wonderful man. Works hard, takes great
          care of my daughter, and is a kind man. I could say more nice things.
          He grew up, adopted into a White family. I don't think he knows what
          color he is. I don't either. Morality improved.

          He had, and has conquered drug addiction, as did my daughter.
          They do not enable one another. It has been many years ago for both.
          I salute them both. Morality improved.
          ===

          My heritage, is Arkansas, through and through.
          I bet my relatives may have boys that still chase their sisters
          (as the jokes go).
          The moderator has my permission to strike this paragraph. LOL
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        • May 27 2013: LaMar,
          I don't think I want to weigh in on this one....
          hahaha I'm splitting a gut.
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          May 26 2013: MMMMMMM.....interesting.......

          "Don Wesley
          2 days ago: Perceptions are often offered as contending arguments, unfortunately.
          Perceptions are too often bubbles that keep us filled with funny information"
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        • May 26 2013: Don and LaMar.
          I'd like to weigh in on this.

          I pose the argument that religion makes no difference.
          Religion merely expresses it's morality, it's code.
          Religion gives followers 'A sturdy wall, it's moral code, to lean upon'.
          Religion comes with conditions, based upon it's code.
          :
          The conditions of western religions, "Believe and Be Saved."
          Otherwise, "Be Damned to Hell".

          Before the "Bible" was written, there were like writings in other societies.
          The Egyptians, Ethiopians, Persians, Chinese, Indians, Islanders, etc..
          Writings and Gods, all closely related in the story telling.

          So guys, believe as you will. And, believe me, you will do exactly that.
          Be moral, and have a direction in your hearts that is beneficial.
          Thank you both for a stimulating conversation or two or more.
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        • May 26 2013: LaMar,
          You nailed it.
          You've won the coveted HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
          ===
          About that Example, the man just needs not to sit on thistles or poison ivy.
          that could be a moral dilemma.
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          May 27 2013: Well I hoped that Link by Dan Ariely explained why people always believe God is on their side.
          I'm yet to see a war where people go "God is on the enemy's side! And we must fight against God!". (:P).
          I'm against viewing God as a "delusion", and I think you are overestimating the negatives of a belief in God. I have many religious friends (in the UK) who are perfectly normal people. Some (many) even more intelligent than me
          (Out of interest (if you don't mind me asking) how long have you been on the TED community. Because it's pretty impressive you have TED Cred score "10" already!)
          Anyhow I'm not altogether sure Christianity is a "shame based religion". I think it just tried to remind you of the fragility of man... (Which is kind of true when you think about it!).
          Regards,
          Bernard.
          Did you read all the link? :-)
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          May 27 2013: WOW! I'm impressed. It's taken me so long to this TED Cred score! :D
          Seems you must have a gift! ;)
          I'v definitely studies "Jim Jones" due to reading the "Lucifer effect".
          "Jesus Christ"? Why do you compare Jesus Christ to Jim Jones? This is very odd.
          Considering Jesus Christ preached about "compassion and forgiveness", while Jim Jones exploited various psychological mechanisms like "Obedience". (As you study in the "Lucifer Effect") Clearly Jim Jones is not worthy of being called a Christian, considering he did not follow the Jesus Christ's messages.
          "anyone that disagrees is of the devil"
          I must disagree with this. As stated, I know many Christian people, who have never claimed that I am "of the devil". I have never heard such absurd claims...
          Maybe only in America? :P
          What's the difference between an "illusion" and a "delusion" then?
          Considering I am agnostic, I do not know whether they suffer from a delusion. However if their beliefs give the hope and they do cause much harm I see no problem. Tolerance is a virtue.
          "Yes I did read the link."
          Did you read the LinkS? (All of them?)
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          May 29 2013: Lamar.
          Are you replying to me (considering I am not getting notifications of these replies!).
          Tolerance within moderation is a virtue. For instance if you tried to steal from me. You die.
          However if you had a difference of opinion from me, with well-thought out opinions, then we debate. If we can not come to a compromise we "agree to disagree" (without being disagreeable).
          I admit religion can cause harm. I have never stated otherwise. I just feel that many portray religion doing more evil than it actually does. Considering most Christians are peace loving, law abiding citizens. It is the "Availability heuristic" which creates this illusion.
          Watch "Atheism 2.0" (http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html), or read his book "Religion for Atheists" (http://www.alaindebotton.com/religion.asp) to give you an impression of some of the positives of religion.
          Or even watch "RSA Animate - The Truth About Dishonesty" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBmJay_qdNc) for some other positives of religion...
          "A delusion is something the person actually believes to be true that does not exist in reality and an illusion is something a person uses to convince others something is true that does not exist in reality."
          However I do not know God does not exist, so how can you be certain they suffer from a delusion? (:P) Read "Am I an agnostic or Atheist" : http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell8.htm
          So then (in your subjective eyes) God is an "illusion + delusion". However I am firm in my belief (I know you never said this) that to declare that religious people are "irrational and have a low IQ" is ignorant in itself.
          I have to admit as stated the atrocities have usually been more political...
          For more information watch "The Crusades - Pilgrimage or Holy War?" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0zudTQelzI)
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          May 29 2013: Oh dear...
          "It won't work and Don knows I am correct and so do you!"
          He really doesn't. Insulting people is no method of persuasion! ("rescue of Don" You could frame this in so many ways...)
          You should know better.
          Also you are (unconsciously) negatively stereotyping "religious" people, which will influence how you deal with their opinions.
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    May 31 2013: Don, thank you for your patience and thoughtfulness. Clearly, you do have first person sources. And those are the BEST kind. You can't beat a face to face discussion with an expert in his/her field. Also, you are clearly widely read. Thank you for that. I'll check out the videos.

    In keeping with your good advice, I have edited my earlier comments. What's here, I am sure, conforms to the standards of TED in a much more reasoned way.

    I was concerned. Although there didn't seem to be anything dangerous afoot. I am a firm believer that we all face our own challenges in our own way. And my own, fairly middle-of-the-road Christian faith has done much for me in that regard. But one has to be careful. We all do.

    I tend to be cautious on-line. And I'd advise that for anyone. I am open to dealing with people on both sides of the "God is REAL!"/"Oh No he's NOT!" debate! I apologize for 'tagging' you with an 'epiphany.' That was not my intent. But if you felt as if I was "measuring your thought" so to speak, that was my goal.

    And now you've had your go at that! It would seem that I've "trapped" myself "in to such a Box, since at the very best we have, is only theoretical knowledge amounting to 4%." Well, I guess if I learn something, then that is good! That's why I spend time on TED! Give me some time to get it done. But I will review the videos. And thank you Don. I appreciate a challenge. And I especially appreciate the thoughtful and discerning way in which the challenge has been issued. Now I go learn something.
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        May 31 2013: I have reworked the offending comments. And thank you for your vigilance and guidance on this matter. It is a good thing to be "corrected" when one had made an error. And I wish to avoid even the perception of offense.
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    May 30 2013: The source of morality - nature, nurture and hopefully some personal thought on how best to treat other people, what reduces suffering, improves the human condition, and constitutes a good life.

    In regards to gods and goddesses being a source of morality - well I suggest we don't know if any of these actually exist. The various spiritual revelations of what is moral conflict. In many cases our morality is more enlightened than that in old scriptures that endorse slavery, murdering homosexuals, adulterers, infidels, unruly children and people who break the sabbath.

    Blindly accepting this or that supposed morality from this or that prophet or preacher is a sad waste of our intellect and the best of our humanity.

    If there is a creator god, then it is not reasonable to automatically assume whatever it orders is moral. This is simply divine command. If a god says its okay to keep and beat slaves, it does not make it moral. A gods morality is just as subjective as a humans and subject to the same analysis.

    The challenge is perhaps agreeing on basis for assessing morality. Personally I look at what reduces suffering and enriches conscious life. I tend to think enlightenment values, humanism and human rights are a good foundation.

    Another useful test say of a policy, is would you support it if you might be randomly placed in the shoes of anyone anywhere in your community, country or planet earth for that instance.

    Unfortunately folks who believe in the conflicting commands supposedly revealed by mutually exclusive god and goddess concepts generally think these commands supersede what we would normally consider moral or immoral if it was not under the banner of divine command.

    Eternal punishment of created beings by their creator must be the most immoral concept I have ever heard of.
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        May 30 2013: Perhaps there is no ultimate source of morality and humans will just continue to muddle their way through life as we do.
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        May 30 2013: Hi Don, there is also energy and the natural forces gravity etc.

        Also scientists talk about dark matter and energy.

        The natural universe is quite amazing, large and complex.

        Why is there anything? Why are things this way?

        I don't know. But I don't find saying a god did it and this is the way god wanted things a satisfactory explanation. It doesn't explain anything really. You just have more questions.
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      May 30 2013: @ Obey You make good points. If we must realise many scripture is subjective, its revealed to that Time period and objectives by the Clan or Community it came to. So yes you are correct on human morals

      But lets look at the humanities legislation is respect thereof. What we accept as Morals and ethics. If there was no divine scripture or divine rules. What would society look like.

      Since Incest is but a word in the Scriptures it bears no meaning to our current Generations that belief that there infatuation supersede divine law. Science has determined that same genetic, weakens the DNA strain and Leads to lots of Abnormalities. So how did past communities know this remember, that period of time is very close to Darwin's prediction of Evolutions. So do we carry this divine ruling from primate customs. If so how low have we fallen, we disregard the rule of nature, that is elevated only by our inferior species.

      We have to look at the matter more holistically not just at scripture. lets discuss the Morality found in beast. Do they perform any of the acts we feel is our Human rights? if not what station do we hold?. If so are we equal to the Swine because he grovels and eat his own excrements. When we intoxicated we act low than that. So do we blame scriptures for everything when its a manual and a rulebook or the itinerary of past prophets.

      We are now more intellectual than our primitive forefathers that regarded the world as Flat. They were 'ignorant and dumb'. Our intelligence is measure in IQ. But does that benefit society? does our intellectuals show a better class than our forefathers. do the intellectuals morals increase our level of ascension. Is there proof where the soul resides since scriptures are so backdated. If there is any evidence to the contrary that is better? Why break the mould. Break the mould of the immorality and inequality as it does not serve humanity.
      if we do not have empathy we have no compassion, humanity dies due to that ignorance.
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        May 30 2013: Hi yusuf, I suggest men invented religion and gods, so it is natural the associated morale tennants reflect the time and place of their origin.

        We can have morals without religion. Religion did not invent Moral laws or tenants. They just ascribed them to this or that god.

        I can think of good reasons for laws or taboos against incest, murder etc.

        I'm not sure if we are more intelligent than humans some thousands of years ago. We just have the benefit of a greater knowledge base.

        I'm not sure we have a soul in the religious sense, but I suggest humanist morals or those based on reducing suffering and improving the human condition are far superior to most old religious beliefs. You can teach and model morals without religion. We don't need fear of hell or divine ccommandd beliefs. The least religious countries such as Sweden don't seem too bad. All the atheists are not running around committing incest.

        Most convicted murders, rapists, child molesters believe in gods I guess.

        Most of us do have empathy. Religion did not invent empathy, or murder, it just wove this or that god or goddesses into stories.
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        May 30 2013: I personally believe we are better off basing laws and ethical systems on what we reasonably know to be true, not cultural god beliefs.
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      May 30 2013: Good points Obey, as Yusuf says:>)

      Yusuf,
      You ask..."If there was no divine scripture or divine rules. What would society look like."

      I believe our world might look and feel more safe without some divine scripture or divine rules.

      You say "Since Incest is but a word in the Scriptures it bears no meaning to our current Generations that belief that there infatuation supersede divine law."

      That has not been my experience as I volunteered in a women's shelter, where we had several very young girls pregnant by their father, brother or uncle....sometimes multiple times.

      That is bad enough. The next part is sickening....the famlies were such good christian families, they didn't agree with birth control or abortion, so the very young girl (sometimes 10-12) was forced by her "good christian family" to carry the child that she was carrying (because of incest) to term. They believed, because they were told by their church leaders that abortion and birth control are morally wrong. Raping a young member of their family was apparently ok.

      For you to say "Incest is but a word in the Scriptures it bears no meaning to our current Generations that belief that there infatuation supersede divine law", tells me that you have no idea how the words in the scriptures are impacting many people in our world.
  • May 28 2013: Tibet Altar Yilmaz,

    Thanks for this. Morality is a pressing matter for many throughout their lives especially when they see others acting against their own morals.

    I personally believe that morality is subjective as there is no moral center in the brain. Thus, humans are not endowed with a set of guide lines in which to live their lives by. These "morals", as we call them, are social norms that are passed down from generation to generation and become deeply imbedded in one's worldview. Philosopher Mark Johnson of the University of Oregon speaks of this in many of his works and is worth looking at to understand just how subjective our world is.

    What is important to note is that religion serves a social function. As man has evolved, religion has become a means in which to understand the world in which we live. The experiences and beliefs of certain people (Jesus, Buddha, etc.) were accepted by a group of followers which turned into a community and then, in turn, created a religious following which, came to effect the lives of millions throughout today's world. Someone worth reading as well is Sociologist Robert Bellah out of Harvard University with his book Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age.

    Hope this response is helpful.
  • May 28 2013: morality is an evolved adaption we have inherited through the process of natural selection, period. Social and Moral deviance are rare phenomena everywhere you go no matter what religion culture or nation, and even when there are greater rates of deviance in an area its most likey because of a unique circumstance that the subjects are facing or your loosely defining what deviance is. Point is humans are by and large a very socially cohesive species and whether your a Buddhist from China, a Christian from Europe, or a Communist from the Soviet Union, the great majority of us will live our lives within the accepted parameters of our environments social and moral constructs reguardless of place and time.
  • May 27 2013: I've often thought about the same and at one point I came up with this description based on Darwinism. It too is flawed but provides an objective basis for morality based in nature:

    In nature there are solitary animals and group animals. Solitary animals tend to have much greater strength and more effective weapons like claws and fangs. Group animals adapted to live in groups because they lack the physical prowess to live solitary lives. Now, compared to most animals, humans are incredibly weak and ill-equipped for self defense. I believe the two greatest reasons that we have had such success are our intellect and our adoption of group dynamics, both of which have now been taken to the extreme.
    Solitary animals must have a complete lack of compassion, or they will certainly be slaughtered. Group animals, on the other hand must be able to recognize when it is appropriate to protect another and when it is appropriate to kill another. I believe this may be the natural basis for our built in sense of good and bad, as in these packs it is good to protect one who protects the group and it is good to kill one who threatens the group. Our society is merely an extension of the pack, so we now take the principles of group dynamics learned from pack behavior and apply them to how we should treat one another. From this, all humans have a symbiotic relationship with one another and morals are based on protecting your relationship with others.
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      May 27 2013: Interesting theory Kris, which makes sense to me!

      Until the last statement..."all humans have a symbiotic relationship with one another and morals are based on protecting your relationship with others."

      If our morals are based on protecting our relationship with others, how do you explain the seperation between people based on having different perceptions of what is "moral" and what is not?

      For example, killing people in the name of a god. Some religious extremists think that is moral, because they are doing it in the name of a god. Some religious extremists believe that whatever they do in the name of a god is "right" and moral, and anyone who disagrees must be influenced by the devil! What happens, in your perception, to the idea of protecting a relationship with others?

      BTW, you write in your profile..."I have an almost unhealthy fascination with knowledge. I love learning..."

      In my humble perception Kris, learning and gaining knowledge can NEVER be unhealthy at any level:>)
      • May 27 2013: Hmm, well the first thing that comes is tribalism. Packs of animals in the wild often fight each other over resources. So then we will tend to identify killing "others" as a good thing. For example, many people (myself not included) believe that wars to protect the nation are a good thing. By extension of this, the deaths of "enemies" in war are identified as "good". So if a person identifies "best for my group" as "aligned with my ideas of god," then it becomes quite easy to justify the deaths of people who don't subscribe to their idea of god.
        Keep in mind, however, this is a theory of the origin of our sense of morality, not what is actually moral. We have since gained the ability to use logic and discern a "best" that is based on higher order thinking rather than instinct. If we understand why we believe in morality then we can work toward finding the best morality.
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          May 27 2013: Kris,
          Well said!

          You are suggesting that fighting over resources (survival) over-rides a symbiotic relationship with one another, which protects relationships with others.?

          I agree with that, and everything else you have offered:>)

          You say..."we have since gained the ability to use logic and discern a "best" that is based on higher order thinking rather than instinct. If we understand why we believe in morality then we can work toward finding the best morality".

          Do you think/feel that sometimes some people do not USE, or do not recognize the ability in themselves to use logic and discern what is best? Do you think/feel that sometimes people may stay in the tribalism/survival mode because of fear?

          That is my theory.....that sometimes, some folks are afraid to step out of the "box" of beliefs they have created for themselves, so they continue to project information which supports their beliefs.....what do you think?
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          May 28 2013: It would be good if this information...."90% of our thinking is unconscious, which is where beliefs are held hidden" , could be supported with evidence. I do not believe this to be true.

          Some folk's "thinking" may be unconscious, and I believe that many of us who think and feel for ourselves are aware of our conscious thinking:>)
      • May 28 2013: I misspoke a little bit when I said all humans are in a symbiotic relationship with one another. What I should have said is that all humans are in symbiotic with others they consider part of their group. It was early in the morning.

        Yes, I would absolutely agree that in fact most of the time people don't use their logic to discern what is best. Tribalism is alive and well today, only it's been transformed into the nation/state system. Most people, I think, stick to the more instinctual moral code which is essentially based on protecting your own group and ideas that you associate with your group. They don't use logic to justify their actions, they only do what they're told. I think changing that is a huge and necessary step toward a more prosperous society.
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          May 28 2013: Hi Kris:>)
          I think/feel all humans CAN be in a symbiotic relationship with one another. In fact, we ARE living together in our world and often interdependant with each other. The part that seems to be missing at times is "mutually beneficial relationships". Unfortunately, there often seems to be lack of symbiosis WITHIN certain groups.

          I agree that changing for the better involves the elements you mention. I also agree that people sometimes "stick to the more instinctual moral code which is essentially based on protecting your own group...ideas..and do what they're told."

          I really believe that is changing for a large group of people. Statistics show that half of the people in the USA are changing or totally abandoning religions. That seems to indicate that some folks ARE starting to question the value of religion regarding morals. It suggests that people are starting to think and feel for themselves, rather than being led and simply told how to think and what to do.

          It is no wonder that so many people are questioning the value of religions, when we have so many religious leaders who do not walk their talk and dogma that continues to divide and seperate people with contradicting, hypocritical information.

          Perhaps it is time in our evolution, as thinking, feeling, intelligent humans, to move out of the paradigm that accepts violence and abuse in the name of a god or religion. Perhaps we can move beyond the idea that the institutions which stand by, cover up, and/or advocate violent, abusive behaviors, are not very good examples of what they preach, or good sources for true morality.
      • May 28 2013: Agreed completely. :)
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    May 27 2013: Hi Don. Its very hard work but the Glory of sharing that wisdom is greater.
    Life is wonderful if we accept our calamities as Messages and Stepping stones.
    They are not there to cripple us but grant wisdom and create a holistic understanding of life.
    When we discover our purpose and we are enlightened to be more than what we perceive
    we achieve a state of comprehension that eluded us. Just concentrating on single goals.
    That makes life so wonderful and meaningful
    Discovering you true ability. Gaining wisdom through spiritual interconnectivity of Body and Soul
    we achieve this blessing when we accept it. Our morals is our guidance not limitation but parametre to work with.
    We understand the social etiquette and respect each other ethics when we do we have achieve true enlightenment.
    We don't receive this in any schooling but by embracing your inner guidance that was influence by those teachings.
    We open ourselves to more accepting social pressure to ascertain acceptable parameters.
    How we interact with this stimulation is our choice and our choice's have consequence
    Cause and effect
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    May 27 2013: Morality is not just based on belief and upbring
    but the self education of Common sense
    We discover this through interaction and understanding becoming sustainable.
    We create our own yardstick by the monotony of our lives and how we conform to rules and regulations.
    We use our life lessons as tools to sustainability and how we use determined by morality will determine our projected character to society.
    We must embrace our divinely blessed aura, it is meant to empower us and bless those around us.
    Our Live's is our journey, how we influenced by those calamities is our tenacity to change.
    http://www.bukisa.com/articles/734013_the-innocense-of-youth-is-also-the-stupidity-of-youth
    If we filled with integrity we provide positive solutions.
    if we have morals and ethics we create social acceptable change.
    fighting this change is difficult because we have been indoctrinated by our past and acceptance of negativity.
    So we need to look within not at the Obstacle but the message it contained.
    We need to understand our tragedies as choice's that had was cause and effect.
    When we accept this, we will comprehend our purpose.
    http://www.bukisa.com/articles/732905_the-drunk-policeman-that-tried-to-killed-me-but-died-trying
    I have been in 35 Accidents. 7 MVA a Tornado, Battery explosion, Hijacking Gang attacks and so much more.
    But even through this I have lived a life trying to understand the message.
    I have tried to devise solutions to those problems I have encountered. During my 10 years of Collective convalescence I have discovered in my inner power.
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/18343/are_multiple_personalities_com.html
    I discovered my true purpose of Inventions and innovations by using my Calamity as the foundation and stage to greater possibility. My life has its many wonders and I am thankful for this. It did not destroy my morals but cemented it. It gave me a greater understand of my Purpose.
    We are here not to change Morality but Influence common sense!!
  • Comment deleted

    • May 27 2013: Why Don, what a great response.
      I will give you this to chew upon.

      This is a True-Story.
      As a wee child of 4 or 5, I was a crafty lad, getting into all the things I was
      not supposed to. When caught red handed by my Mother, I would be
      scolded quite harshly. She was Mistress of the 'Scold'... Excuses were
      never called for... Her moral codes concerning children were set in stone.

      Caught, and made to stand before her, my Mother had me dead to rights.
      She sat on the couch in front of me and voiced her displeasure loud and clear.
      I was standing there, when out of the blue, I floated up to the ceiling over
      into one corner of the room.

      From where I stood in front of my Mother, I could see myself up there,
      out of a corner of my eye, looking down at both of us.
      Wow!!! What a shock.

      But wait there's more...
      From my ceiling position, up there in the corner, I could also see my
      Mother sitting on the couch, while giving me a verbal shellacking,
      and I could also see myself standing down there, in front of her.
      Her verbal tirade was causing me to cry real tears.
      Wow!!! What a shock.

      But wait there's more...
      From my ceiling position, up there in the corner, I wasn't crying.
      And, I didn't really want to come down. I finally did, in a blink...

      If you think this is bull, you are wrong.

      For me, this was not the only case of really odd happenings.
      One of them I have actually done on purpose, but haven't
      the guts to ever do it again... It really is too dangerous.
      ===

      I believe that our acceptance of Morality has to be a Morality that
      we construct... We can borrow from others, but it belongs to us.
      I believe we each 'own' our Moral Compass. It is created, or not
      created, by each of us individually.
      • Comment deleted

        • May 27 2013: Ohhh, Don... Tsk Tsk
          I must disagree with your first conclusion,
          "True, we all think we are creating our own set of morals, but at 5 and 6 they are your mother's morals and her mother’s morals and so on."

          And also your second conclusion.
          "That's what good science, unfettered by the baloney has revealed."
          ===
          Could be,... .. Nah !!!
          A story,
          As a 'wee' babe in my Mother's arms, I listened as she explained to another lady that
          I didn't talk yet. I became upset... I knew I could talk, but the words wouldn't leave
          my mouth correctly. I screamed to my Mother that she was wrong. She cooo'd me quiet.
          ===
          Don, I have developed my own Morality. My Mother had her own. I disagreed with some of
          hers. Before she began to smoke, as a 'wee' child, I would open her purse (she left laying)
          and smell the rich aroma of her spearmint gum. After she changed to a smoker, the odor
          was a terrible thing. She had made a moral choice unacceptable to me.

          You may (or may not) believe me, since what you have learned from others with the letters behind their names differs from my account. That being a normal practice in our society. Credentials make our society go. The lack of said credentials is subject to disbelief.
          ===
          I will read forward, and may have a more positive vent a bit later.
        • May 27 2013: Don, You stated about my story -
          "I would like to agree with the story-within but can't."
          The story was honest.
          The story-within was hopefully understandable.

          Your imagination may have added NDE to my story, when you stated,
          "I have to imagine what happened to have that NDE at ceiling looking down."

          It was not that at all.
          My ears we hot, and probably red, but nothing else.
          Not an NDE experience.

          And, yes I am Scot. 'Kings of what we survey.'

          Don, I learned to play from an employee of my company. A world-class
          pool player, Dollar Jack , in Phoenix, Arizona. We played a game called
          Golf, on a 5x10 table with the smaller billiard balls. When he first started
          to teach me, he won 10 of 10 games. At the end of his lessons, I won 5.
          For a number of years I had a 5x10 table in my basement at home, in the
          mountains of Utah. My son, as a 'wee' child, at night would fall asleep
          under the table until later I carried him to bed. He plays a bit, but doesn't
          have the passion. Being unable to beat Dad isn't something your child
          will enjoy for long. He also doesn't care to handicap the horse-races
          with me for the same reason. His claim to fame is that he may well be
          the greatest fisherman I have ever known. It all evens out in the end.
      • Comment deleted

        • May 27 2013: I was a crafty lad? hee hee
          Cunning enough to beguile my Mother into thinking
          she'd heard the whole truth...

          Have I solved the mystery?
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        May 27 2013: Dear Frank,
        I perceive your story and perception to be very consistant with what "others with the letters behind their names" teach:>)

        We have the ability, as thinking, feeling, intelligent, multi-sensory, multi dimensional humans to evaluate information and sift through it to discover what feels "right" to us as individuals. Some folks get "stuck" with certain beliefs, and will attempt, at any cost, to prove that they are "right".
        Some of us will continue to explore, evaluate, and use information in a usefull way....meaning to learn, grow and evolve in our "self", while contributing to the whole.

        My mother taught me lots of things when I was a wee little lass. One very important lesson, in my perception, was her encouragement to think, feel and evaluate information for myself:>)
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          May 27 2013: "multi dimensional humans"
          How does that work? (Sorry couldn't help asking!)
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        May 27 2013: I LOVE your questions Bernard, my TED traveling companion:>)

        Dimension:
        "one of three or four coordinates determining a position in space and time; the quality of spatial extension; the range over which or the degree to which something extends; one of the elements or factors making up a complete personality or entity"

        As humans, we have these elements.....do we not?

        When we recognize information from various dimensions, perspectives and perceptions, we have the ability to take in more information, which causes us to make different decisions (sometimes better) regarding our moral judgement......make sense?
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          May 27 2013: Then I believe animals also have these elements you speak of!
          (Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals :
          http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html)
          However I am currently trying to figure out whether animals can have "various dimensions, perspectives". Considering many other animals lack a "theory of mind", so logically they shouldn't have "cognitive empathy" (considering this requires the ability to see into another perspective, and it is our "Theory of mind" which enables us to do this). However other animals do have "Mirror neurons"...
          Which does suggest (as Frans de Waal shows) that other animals do have some form of "empathy".
          Out of interest :
          Do you believe other animals have these "multi-dimensions" you speak of?
        • May 27 2013: Colleen,
          Bernard went way past me...
          That flew over my head, for sure.

          We always had cats and dogs. The kids, would take a box
          full of kittens and sit all day outside the supermarket to give
          them away.

          I have no animals. But my son's cat has adopted me.
          I never feed or water him. He sleeps all day on my window sill.
          Yawns, stretches, looks at me and the door. I let him out.
          I can put him into a paper bag, and he will play there.
          We call him Scrappy. And he is that. Dogs fear him.
          Morals -- He don't need no 'stinkin' morals. He's free.
          He's a cat.
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        May 27 2013: Sorry you are getting all the reponse notices Frank! Bernard's comments are leaving me no reply option!

        Bernard,
        I also believe animals have all or some of these elements maybe in different degrees?

        It has been researched and proven that some animals show some level of empathy and compassion. I wonder if empathy/compassion is only a result of the mind and cognitive thinking? Or perhaps it is also related to instinct/intuition? See, I believe everything is interconnected, so I do not try too hard to catagorize and label:>)

        All animals have a position in space and time....yes?
        Animals have the quality of spatial extension.....yes?
        Animals have different "personalities".......yes?

        So, yes, I would say that all animals have these elements to some degree:>)
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        May 27 2013: This one's for you Frank...LOL:>)

        Sounds like the cat has "cat morals"!

        Did you ever hear the saying...
        "Dogs have masters, cats have staff?".................It's true.....I've had several of both!!!
        • May 27 2013: Colleen,
          Cats have feelings
          Be brutal, and the cat will get even.

          Cats are observant.
          They can open doors and use a commode.

          Cats own us. Dogs love us.
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        May 29 2013: Dear Frank,
        This is a response to your comment...

        "Frank Barry
        1 day ago: Colleen,
        Bernard went way past me...
        That flew over my head, for sure."

        What part of Bernard's comment flew over your head? Can I help?
    • May 27 2013: Don, thank you.

      Our day to day lives leave little time for reflection on our moral
      compass. Perhaps some give a prayer at bed. But I think that
      may be rare. So a conversation of this design is important and
      as you can plainly see, many others weigh in with their input.
      Some of them with complex insights. Great to read.

      The internet is a grand library without par....
      But, the Internet Library is also filled with 'unchained Gossip'.
      Much like a tabloid sold at a supermarket check-out station.

      Today's Internet Newspapers, compete for Advertising Dollars,
      that require they adhere to their Clients, 'unchained Morality'.

      Professional and novice editors have now a field day.
      They work with a zeal to create readership and Advertising Dollars.

      News today is designed by the advertisement dollars to lead
      and to change reader's opinions to become the opinions held by
      unseen and unknown Clients of the Internet editors. This is no
      different from Print Newspapers. But readership can be increased
      a thousand-fold overnight. And that is a much greater way to spread
      the morality of the Client.

      You can guess who the largest Clients are, can't you?
      As to this new "Unchained Morality" being right or wrong,
      we have only to look back 20 years, and count our society's
      losses and maybe our gains as well.

      Is it worth it, -- this new morality created by Advertising Dollars.
      Is it?
      • thumb
        May 27 2013: Frank,
        I agree that news and advertisements are designed to change readers opinions, and often for financial gain.

        Do you honestly think this is new? Or do you think it may be intensified because of advanced communication systems and how they are used?

        There definitly is an opportunity to influence morals, and in fact, I believe that many things which may not be beneficial to humankind are "normalized" through the media. Violence and abuse for example. There is also the opportunity to influence in the other direction....like here on TED:>)
        • May 27 2013: Colleen,
          TED told me I've reached the max number
          of "thumbs up" to give to you...
          But I wanted too.

          The Internet is a different media. A very effective tool.
          Not new, but the impact it causes can be huge.
          Both the DNC and RNC have been using it to share
          the Complete Control it offers.

          Therein lies the rub...
          Congress has passively ignored the issue, and we cannot
          make them legislate safeguards, since they benefit from it
          the way it has evolved. And, if we did, could we trust that
          the safeguards would actually be in our interests.
          The Internet, a very effective tool.

          Ours and other nation's governments will become stronger
          and more entrenched as they can lead and change public
          opinion overnight.

          Our collective societal morality has been changed to allow
          the two party system the way to wall out their competitors.
          Leaving them only the soap-box in the park. Or maybe TED.

          We will elect, and have now for about 20 years, elected, whomsoever
          the republican and democrat party leaders decide to place before us.
          They did not design this oddity, but they sure seem to have found a way
          to take advantage.
          ===
          I find in life, to 'examine the motive' fits best.
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    May 26 2013: The most basic ideas of objective morals come from what every human needs to survive: food, shelter, care. A moralist should realize instantly when these three things are violated there are problems with the situation. However after these concerns are left alone, we find that people generally are distorted with what is 'moral.' And that question is the key to being a moralist; never stop questioning morality or ethics and you may have the ability to judge what is proper, just and good (or unflawed). However, questioning comes from also looking at different perspectives of morality - this requires investigation into a series of social sciences (anthropology, culture studies, psychology, etc.) and theology.

    The source of morality should also give explanation to how there will never be a perfect moral system:

    We humans are what debates and labels an action as moral or immoral - we made the topic of ethics. Yet, a human is clearly an imperfect machine, therefore when those machines function in large groups the communication seems to get disconnected (the game telephone) over time (history casually repeating itself). We have a communication problem as a species, which individuals are not inherently designed to overcome without crisis or urgency. We do not yet fully understand what is to be 'human' or what is being a good 'human' being. However if we were to constantly investigate and question our natures and psyches... We will be better at performing moral decisions (decisions overall). There will never be a perfect system of ethics because as humans evolve so will the necessities of a moral system. BUT there may one day be a system of ethics which is universal, but done so by better communication abilities.

    To have the closest thing to a 'perfect' moral system, to me, is be a futuristic multiculturalist or (in my extended opinion) a transhumanist. Pancritical rationality emphasizes a lot of my ideas here, as far as reasoning for an unbiased position of truth.
    • thumb
      May 26 2013: Hello Nicholas,
      As usual, you have a lot of good things to say, and one thing in particular jumps out at me....

      "...if we were to constantly investigate and question our natures and psyches... We will be better at performing moral decisions (decisions overall)."

      I so wholeheartedly agree with that statement. So many times, some people get "stuck" with beliefs that are not beneficial to humankind. The beliefs were maybe taught and accepted at one time, by a certain group of people, and so many folks do not take the time and energy to consider, re-evaluate or investigate the relevance of the information. I read somewhere that the world is flat, and so I'm sticking with that belief no matter what!!! LOL!

      When we talk about the source of morality, it seems like some people's compass is somewhat outdated. What do you think?
      • thumb
        May 26 2013: Indeed, most base their moral compasses on traditional and indoctrinated ideas of ethics - ideas handed down or exchanged with family, friends, idols, leaders (religious or political), accepted third-parties, etc. This would not be bad, if those very same groups recognized they were in fact making a biased ideology AND/OR encouraged constant inquiry on the moral lessons (all the lessons) passed down.

        The goal of no 'bias' thinking should be the goal of everyone - while some take the challenge - many never realize how they could just be innately biased (by nature).
        • thumb
          May 26 2013: I agree Nicholas, and perhaps these conversations on TED encourage all of us to re-evaluate, reconsider and explore what we think we know!

          The challenge with encouraging "no bias thinking", is that sometimes those who have biases do not recognize them as such, and prefer to think of them as "truth".

          The introduction to this talk for example states...
          "religious people claim that atheist people are immoral, because they have no reason to be good.... Atheist people have no base for their morality".

          We know this to be a common argument from some religious people, and to me it is bias. For a person to say s/he has morals because s/he accepts and practices a religion, and the person who does not accept god or religious beliefs does not have morals is ridiculous! I know.....I'm preaching to the choir:>)
  • May 26 2013: Tibet Altar Yılmaz
    Thank you for a most interesting topic.

    If everyone could see as well as you do the
    problems of the world would be easier to deal with.

    But, people cannot see as well. And, they actually enjoy it.
    Trapped by 'their inability to foresee', they sink into being
    followers of those Improviser's who promise erroneous facts.
    Followers of Lies.

    There are no real answers. We can only guess.

    I look at the world as being a giant 'Ant Hill'.
    Billions of Ants. Killing and Maiming each other.
    Adults and Wee Babies all.

    Hopefully we never will develop space travel.
    Perhaps Global Warming will toast us all gone.
    Maybe sooner than we want to think.
    A move to Canada seems a great idea about now.
    • May 28 2013: Dear Mr. Barry,
      I like your predictions and your reference to liars
      "There are no real answers. We can only guess."
      There are answers and there are excellent studies!
      And there is something with "evidence."
      And who are these "Followers of Lies" ?
      Where do you find the blind people[I suppose you are not one of them]
      • May 28 2013: Eberhard, thank you.
        This will be overload, sorry.

        To answer your query -- Where do you find the blind people?
        Actually the 'blind people' have been created by a simple procedure.

        Political parties 'Pay for their Advertising'.
        The benefit: Control of media opinion, and control of voter opinions.

        Like a cartoon in real life.
        Using columnist's and video personalities who have celebrity status,
        the media fights and squabbles amongst themselves. Entertainment
        for their fans. To support their opinions with proofs or evidences,
        they refer to public intellectual's taken from a list of volunteers.
        ===
        The coffers of both political parties are filled by party politicians,
        running for election, after elected, and when supporting platforms
        and other politicians for election.

        To fill political coffers, political parties 'target' wealthy attendees
        to their functions, including those who lobby for gain from regulation,
        also the unsavory, and foreign manipulators.
        (A night in Lincoln's bed comes to mind).

        Highly paid political fund raisers work steadily from 'election day
        to election day', telemarketing, mail soliciting, filling the party coffers.
        They never stop, they never sleep.

        The moral? Just politics?
        Perhaps, or maybe a well oiled machine, 24/7/365.

        And who are these "Followers of Lies" ?
        Need I answer?
  • thumb
    May 26 2013: My morality is based upon what I view is right. I always try to improve myself and take all points (and perspectives) into consideration. The source of my morality is myself, I suppose.

    A great TED talk on morality is this :
    Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals
    http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html
    Frans de Waal believes that morality precedes religion. Yet religion may have been used to promote moral behaviour.
    (This view of religion reminding us of our moral duty (/ encouraging pro-social behaviours) has been confirmed by quite a few studies, can be seen in "RSA Animate - The Truth About Dishonesty" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBmJay_qdNc).
    Also watch "Frans de Waal: Morality Without Religion" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEQuIDqY6Cc), for more information on Frans de Waal's view that morality precedes religion.

    To me personally?
    The source of morality doesn't matter that much. (The "Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins" gives quite an interesting view on what the source of morality may be.)
    Considering whatever the source of morality is won't change the way I view morality.
    However it is worth noting that I do feel that even if God doesn't exist then none of the moral teachings (and virtues) religions promote (such as compassion and forgiveness) become redundant in anyway. If anything these teachings become even more beautiful.

    I even view that some things religions teach should be implemented into secular society.
    (Watch "Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0" for more information on this : http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html)

    I can't see any reason (or evidence) that religious people are more (or less) moral than atheists.

    Kind regards,
    Bernard.

    P.S : I apologize for my poor grammar and structure in this comment! :P
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        May 27 2013: Thank you! :)
        Glad someone managed to read it!
        If you don't mind me asking, is your source of morality the Bible?
        Regards,
        Bernard.
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        May 29 2013: Don if you don't mind me saying. I couldn't notice the irony in you saying "These alone are worth a thumb", considering no "thumb up" has been given.
        Kind regards,
        Bernard.
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          May 30 2013: Bernard,
          How do you like the irony of the answer above?

          "Where did I get my studies of Right and Reason"

          He wrote it in his blog!!! Unfortunately, he referenced you (used your name) in his personal blog, which is not very good moral practice.
      • thumb
        May 30 2013: Don I was reading your blog (http://innjustice.blogspot.co.uk/), and I would request that with if you wish to use my name you should ask for permission to do so!
        However I would ask you to change it to just "Bernard", not "Bernard White".
        Thanks
    • May 28 2013: Dear Mr. White,
      I am happy to be able to response, to your offered explanation.
      I agree it is best, that each person, uses his own mind to find, what his/hers "Moral-Principle" Sources are.
      When found...? He/she can examine each case, then study, and then offer a reasoned opinion.
      He/She may also refer to other cases which compare. This involves more study !
      Opinions may be good ones with good reasons; or maybe not opined!

      Next question is where did he get his Moral-info from? Imagination? Best Guess!
      Hopefully from the best teacher and not just the boy/girl, next door or the newspaper. May be Father/Mother. They must come from somewhere? How much time did he study and practice.
      Lawyers practice for a long time!

      Some people used the best people in their tribe to teach what they know.
      Then each tradesman made a book of best lessons. Now many tribes have many books.

      Now....... Best lawyers/scholars make study of all books.
      Then...... Each lawyers/scholars prepares his "evidence"
      Best selling book today? Old Books of Evidence.

      Why do Atheist call buyers "Crazy."?
      What Books did you use Mr. White?

      I wish you pleasant thinking
      Erhard
      • thumb
        May 28 2013: All the books (and links) are in the reply. They are all my souces.
        I guess I just try to keep learning (and having my idea's challenged) to hopefully to a "moral conclusion".
        • thumb
          May 29 2013: You have lots of good ideas Bernard, and I love to participate with you in your explorations of so many things here on TED:>)
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      May 29 2013: Bernard,
      For what it's worth, I believe you offer good information regarding your thoughts, feelings and beliefs on the topic question. I don't know why TED allows Mr. Wesley to continue labeling, accusing, criticizing and preaching as he does, because it seems like a very direct violation of the TED terms of use agreement.
      Hang in there Bernard and continue with your open minded explorations:>)
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        May 29 2013: Once you define what is "right", there is always an objective answer...
        Whether you "know" what that answer is.
        So I agree.
        However science is showing us more and more, that there are objective answers to increase well-being (a position Sam Harris argues). Science is bringing us closer to what makes us feel "moral", and why people commit atrocities!
        While it is important to note defining morality (and knowledge) do prove to be difficult. Considering if knowledge is a ("belief which reflect reality"), than once you have defined morality ("increasing well-being"). There is an objective answer.
        I shall copy a quote I sent to Colleen Steen just now :
        " "I Know" seems to describe a state of affairs which guarantees what is know, guarantees it as a fact. One always forgets the expression, "I thought I knew." " - Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty.
        This is often how I feel about morality...
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        May 29 2013: " it enhanced their personal well being."
        This would be wrong in my view.
        My definition of Good is something which is beneficial.
        My definition of Evil is something which causes harm (physically, mentally, or spiritually).
        I view honour is following the "Golden Rule". However is not necessary to be "honourable".
        I split actions into three parts :
        - Intentions.
        - Means.
        - Consequences.
        Then judge accordingly.
        I have always lived my life by my own moral compass and tried to live an honourable life.
        So according to me own moral code, I am willing to accept I do act evily sometiems.
        I know all about "self justification".
        I have read many books concerning evil and dishonesty. The books included are :
        - The Lucifer Effect.
        - The Better Angles of our nature.
        - The Honest Truth about Dishonesty.
        - Mistakes were made but not by me.
        - The Science of Good and Evil.
        And many more which I won't go into.
        However I admit this fact. That is why (as said) I view I am evil sometimes.
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      May 29 2013: Good point LaMar,

      Bernard did write..."My morality is based upon what I view is right".....and the rest of his statement is..."I always try to improve myself and take all points (and perspectives) into consideration. The source of my morality is myself, I suppose."

      I admire a young person like Bernard for his exploration of different perspectives, and ability to be open to assimilate information:>)
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        May 29 2013: " "I Know" seems to describe a state of affairs which guarantees what is know, guarantees it as a fact. One always forgets the expression, "I thought I knew." " - Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty.
        This is often how I feel about morality...
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          May 29 2013: I agree Bernard. I often say "what we think we know"....or......"what I think I know".

          I think you and I have talked about this before....we often make decisions based on information we have at any given time? When we get new information, we may discover that what we thought we knew, was not fact.....or......it might have been accepted fact BEFORE new information was recognized?
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          May 29 2013: I GOT your point LaMar, which is why I wrote "Good point LaMar".
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          May 29 2013: "Yes Colleen I read his entire statement and people by nature look for other opinions to support their own opinion and reject those that do not. People read books from authors they agree with and they surround themselves with people that have the same opinions."
          Otherwise known as the "Confirmation bias" (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias). Considering (not to be stereotyping) but many of the new atheist only really have the books (from my experience) like :
          - The God Delusion. (By Richard Dawkins).
          - God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. (By Christopher Hitchens).
          - The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (by Sam Harris).
          - Letter to a Christian Nation. (By Sam Harris).
  • May 26 2013: Theodore, thank you

    Poor ole Bernie. He made off with the money big time.
    Had agents around the world selling his ponzi products.
    Some of them, really well known names...

    He confessed, got 250 years to think about his dirty deeds.
    His son didn't confess and they gave him 10 years.
    Plus big fines of course. And the courts got their wheeler-dealer
    Lawyer to settle it all.

    On the other hand, Goldman Sachs paid a bunch of big fines.
    Then their ole CEO got hammered for a "2 year" sentence.
    He made Bernie look like a piker. We are talking about some
    big big bucks. Goldman Sachs has been paying their PR
    people more big bucks to save their hide. 3 years now, Ads,
    Ads, Ads, showing how goody-two-shoes they are.
    Their Jailed CEO got an apology from his judge, who claimed
    he was a good man, and was sorry to have to sentence him.

    Heck of world we live in.
    JPMorgan really slipped through the noose of justice by moving
    their shunken assets around to hide how much they had lost..
    CEO++Dimond's a real smart cookie. His gal almost caused
    him to lose the whole shooting match, but he has survived to
    ---- us all another day.

    Those who lost in the big bang, are gone, broken by the
    sharks. But note how the Today's Investors are coming
    to the slaughter house of Wall Street.

    Sorry, I get started and just cannot stop...
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    May 25 2013: Tibet Altar Yılmaz,
    I disagree with the statement that..."Atheist people have no base for their morality", and I agree with the statement that this argument is often used by religious people.

    As thinking, feeling, intelligent, multi-sensory, multi demensional human beings, we have the ability to sift through information and form our own beliefs, and that is how our morals are formed. We may get this information from a religion if we are born into a religion, or if we study and practice a religion. However, we see many people who claim to be good religious people who are not honestly living what they preach. So, some religious people may know the concept of morality, and are not living what they talk about.

    Many people who do not believe in a god have done extensive study, research and practices of religions, and have made a choice with the information they/we have at this time. Those people (myself included) are just as aware of morals, and often walk our talk, rather than simply preaching it and not living it.

    I believe the source of morality is in ourselves. We can get information from religious teachings, from life experiences, from studying and reaseaching, etc. Ultimately, we are responsible for how we honestly live our lives.
  • May 25 2013: "己所不欲,勿施于人“ it is from Confucius.It means if you don't feel comfortable with something,don't put them on others as well.Once people can treat others as well as ourself.I think it is the deepest source of morality.It doesn't any matter with religious or atheist issue.
  • May 25 2013: The early Jurists worked under the assumption that the English Common Law was given to us by God. I think it is hard to miss certain religious ideas in law. However, there seems to me to be somewhat of a convergence in all religions. As Einstein wrote "religion is not for nothing." If you want to find something like a pedantic believer - talk to some secular humanists.
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      May 29 2013: It is true George, that religions certainly influenced law, perhaps they still do to a certain extent, and therefor, it is hard to miss certain religious ideas in law. Perhaps we are experiencing a change regarding that perception and practice? It seems that people are less willing to be ruled by dogma that sometimes does not make any sense.
      • May 30 2013: If you look at a great deal of modern politics- there is very little to suggest to me "that people are less willing to be ruled by dogma that sometimes does not make any sense." Be fair - isn't that true of both parties in the United States. I hope you don't trust politicans and business leaders more than I do. American economic policy focuses on the wrong numbers. Deming, Juran, and Shewart told us the same thing about manufacturing. It's always like this - One thinks of oltaire making fun of Leibnitz in Candide. ISn't that fun? Thanks Colleen.The secret of Magic is misdirection.
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          May 30 2013: George,
          Politics and morality could probably be another whole discussion!

          I tend to trust people until they give me reason NOT to trust. The representatives of the state I live in for example, have proven themselves to be genuinely working for the people with good ethics and sense of morality. There is no information that shows us otherwise, so I trust them to do their job.....unless I get different information.

          Why do you say "the secret of Magic is misdirection? I don't understand that.
  • May 25 2013: There is no one right way to live. It used to be that bands and tribes decided what was permissable and what was not. Now a central authority that rules millions decides for us.
    • May 25 2013: Brian, Yup, your right.

      I've just been reading about the New Zealand's Commerce Commission.
      Looking for some data to answer another TED debater.

      It is pretty clear. Governments make rules millions follow. Or don't.
      Different Governments, different rules. But a common thread runs throughout.
      They rule. Their Morality becomes; THE Moral Code, according to them.

      Governments have been into Geographic Control during the past 2,000 years or so.
      About the same period we find the written records. But, I would not be surprised
      to see Geography become less a feature for Government, and in the near future.
      With the advent of the internet. We may all find our selves with far different Masters.
      I refer to China having it's own Internet, with the western-world closed out. Their
      Moral Code, may be far different, and effecting us all sooner than we think.
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      May 29 2013: Brian and Frank,
      You bring up an interesting point.....that the leaders of the tribes (government, religions, etc) are the dominant rulers regarding morals.

      It seems like the majority still rules, in some parts of our world anyway? In the US, for example, same sex marriage and abortion are accepted and legalized by governering bodies, even though certain religions still do not accept the practices as "moral".

      It appears that the majority of people and their/our preferences are influencing the moral compass. So while in some respects I agree with both of you, that "central authority...rules millions", and "governments make rules millions follow", there seems to be a change in that paradigm, and people are thinking and feeling for themselves to determine what is moral and what is not?

      I feel that our communication systems are facilitating changes, because isolation is a common factor with abuse and violation of human rights. People in our world are less isolated now, and I think/feel that prevents less violation of human rights, and moral abuse.

      TED is a great example of a forum which brings many issues to the table around the world:>)
  • May 25 2013: I think the idea that morality must be based on a God ruling the universe is absolutely wrong. I believe morality existed long before the development of formal religion and will exist long after all religions shall become obsolete (if ever). The most basic and also the ultimate source of morality is: "preservation"... preservation of health and life, preservation of the establishment, preservation of love and friendship, preservation of agreements and deals, preservation of property...

    Priorities may change, but in the end all moral codes are meant to preserve something. You don't need to believe in any God or be a member of a church in order for you to want to preserve something, and if you value something enough to want to preserve it, then you have a moral code, so your acts will be guided by that moral code.

    Morality only seams subjective when you don't have a clear set of priorities, which is what religion does, give you a well organized set of priorities, so that's why morality based on religion seams so clear and obvious.
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      May 29 2013: Good points George QT, and I agree that a sense of morality probably existed prior to religions, for the reasons you insightfully mention.

      You say..."if you value something enough to want to preserve it, then you have a moral code, so your acts will be guided by that moral code."

      I believe that people can value something enough to want to preserve it, and may have a moral code for themselves. I think the best moral code is when a person has compassion and empathy, and can recognize that their "moral code" is more beneficial when it extends to all people? It seems that lots of people have personal moral codes which they preach about, while they fail to realize that others are entittled to that same moral code.

      I agree that religions may have started with a "clear set of priorities", however, it seems like some religions waver so much that people are losing confidence with religions as effective moral guides. The fact that half the people in the US have changed or completely abandoned religions seems to reinforce the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of religions to be good, consistant moral guides.
      • May 29 2013: Hi Colleen... so that means your higher values are compassion and empathy, thus your moral code is mostly based on those values. People have all sorts of priorities and because of that moral codes for each one of us may be slightly different, however, yes, there ought to be some kind of collective moral code which we all benefit from it by making human interaction more equal and fair.

        Religions of all kinds have consistent moral codes, and they are effective but only if people see their leaders following them strictly. The problem with people shifting or abandoning religions does not lie on the moral codes themselves but in the lack of a moral authority. My mother said she was a believer when she was young, because she saw priests living what they preached, poverty, deprivation, humility, but she lost her faith when she started watching priests driving brand new luxury cars. You cannot be a moral authority if you break (or bend) you own moral code, and that's exactly what religion's leaders are doing, so no wonder why people flee from churches of all kinds.
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          May 29 2013: Yes George, compassion and empathy are important to me, and I cannot imagine how one can share a moral code with others if we do not have compassion/empathy.

          Agree....agree....agree....
          The moral codes as written and encouraged may be consistent, and they are effective ONLY if people see their leaders following them. That is why I abandoned the religion I was born into a long time ago. I saw too much contradiction and hypocracy.
  • May 25 2013: My ethics are grounded on three simple concepts:

    1. empathy
    2. harm (is bad)
    3. the golden rule

    IMO, nothing more is needed.
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      May 29 2013: Barry,
      I LOVE your simplicity! I agree that morals, ethics, living a beneficial life, goes back to some very basic ideas:>)
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    May 31 2013: I think we just like to make things as complicated as we can just to feel smart for thinking it up or understanding it in the 1st place.

    Morality is simple, it's knowledge that in one's present life that time is finite, not matter what you believe it's important to the self you want to live in this section of time.

    You will choose to do as you wish in this time frame, most have a innate ability to want to be kind to others, at least until they feel it's of no importance to their well being, this is where family to remind you all actions flow together in some way and thus morality can be altered upon said experiences.

    It's a combination of Innate wisdom, experiences, family, and personality.
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      May 31 2013: Don, I wrote this today to a young TEDster. But as I proofread and reread it, I thought of YOU!

      My wife was once a young person like you. She was when I met her. And I suspect that you and she share many similar experiences. Even the bad experiences in some way. My wife was like you. My family is like yours. And my child just like you. You live in a beautiful country. You are surrounded by a very special nation. Please be who you are. Always. And believe. It is always who you are to believe.

      You are young. You are beautiful. And you are free. And because you are young, you have a future. Don't waste that gift. I am glad that you know about Pandora and her box. Keep that one closed. Put it away. But keep it safe. That is the story of Pandora and her box. But especially keep that box closed & safe & hidden away from everyone but yourself. And don't be like Pandora and open it. That was her mistake. You are the protector and guardian of that box. So be careful. But be alive. And be free. God gives you that blessing when you are young. And it goes away when you are old. You are strong today in ways that you do not understand; but you will when you are old. So think about that. It can be so hard to be strong, when you feel yourself getting old.

      So please keep yourself well and safe. Be smart, not stupid like so many others. One day when you are old, you will find that box again. And on the day you find it, you will learn something very important about how you have lived your life. For when you find that box again, you will find it open. And that will be a mystery, because you will know that you did not open it yourself. And if you have lived well, and have done all that I say, and all that you know you should -- there will be a treasure there inside that open box.

      You are young. You are beautiful. And you are free. Live well. And find that treasure some day. Remember what an old man tells you today. And be that treasure. Amen

      Don, how did I do?