Tag Archives | Morality

The Neuroscience of Adam Smith’s ‘Theories of Morality’

Adam Smith“Adam Smith contended that moral sentiments like egalitarianism derived from a ‘fellow-feeling’ that would increase with our level of sympathy for others, predicting not merely aversion to inequity, but also our propensity to engage in egalitarian behaviors,” the researchers wrote. Via ScienceDaily:

The part of the brain we use when engaging in egalitarian behavior may also be linked to a larger sense of morality, researchers have found. Their conclusions, which offer scientific support for Adam Smith’s theories of morality, are based on experimental research published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, coming seven months after the start of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which has been aimed at addressing income inequality, was conducted by researchers from: New York University’s Wilf Family Department of Politics; the University of Toronto; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Is Evil a Derivative of Good?

DualityJeremy John writes at the Good Men Project:

I constantly meet people wherein we eventually have the following exchange:

(them) “Oh, you’re a Christian, doesn’t that make you judgmental?”

(me) “Any value system causes a person to believe that some things are right and others wrong.”

(them) “No, not mine. I don’t believe in Universal Truths. To do so would be judgmental. That is, I judge only those that believe in something. The ultimate wrong is to attempt to convince another of your own point of view. By the way, WTF, how are you a Christian? Hello, Crusades?!?!”

By this point I always feel thoroughly annoyed but I am glued to this same intellectual train wreck, as always, unable to look away.

In order to confront the great injustices of this world, we must first root ourselves in satyagraha, or, truth firmness. That is, in order to move outwards to change the world we must first know what we ourselves believe. Know thyself, as Socrates famously did not say.

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YouPorn: Up To 1 Million Adult Chat Users’ Email Addresses And Passwords Exposed

Rick Santorum?Oh there is guaranteed to be some fun from this.  Can you say “Caligula”?

I recommend a deep dive into the list of these names for top-level donors and operatives in the Santorum, and Romney camps, as well as that of embattled Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

You’re invited to have a go at any Dems, too, but I’d be dubious about the payoff.  Since they’re all professed perverts and homosexuals, I can’t imagine getting much mileage over that lot downloading some pics from a foot fetish site.

Nothing brings out the kink like a vigorous dose of self-righteous Puritan denial, however, so I expect quite a few high level Repubs showing up as a clients of “Trannytown.com”.  From the Huffington Post’s Timothy Stenovec:

Unsecured login information for a chat feature on YouPorn, one of the most popular pornography sites on the Internet, has revealed the email addresses and passwords for some of its users, the Associated Press reports.

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Are We Ready For A Morality Pill?

o_wX8Mjxq8zORZf4TIn the New York Times, Peter Singer and Agata Sagan say it’s only a matter of time before we pinpoint chemicals in the brain that produce empathetic behavior. Will religion be rendered obsolete? And, when we develop an ethical-behavior-boosting pill, will it be recommended (or mandatory) that everyone take it?

If continuing brain research does in fact show biochemical differences between the brains of those who help others and the brains of those who do not, could this lead to a “morality pill” — a drug that makes us more likely to help? Given the many other studies linking biochemical conditions to mood and behavior, and the proliferation of drugs to modify them that have followed, the idea is not far-fetched. If so, would people choose to take it? Could criminals be given the option, as an alternative to prison, of a drug-releasing implant that would make them less likely to harm others?

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If You Are Poor, It’s Because God Hates Your Guts

God & Money[Site editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

The history of Christianity is like a treasure chest for anyone who is fond of contradictions. The Gospels bicker with each other by relating similar tales in very different ways. But even more obviously, Christianity has often so dramatically departed from the words attributed to Jesus as to make you wonder how these glaring contradictions can be justified. Jesus tells you to “Love your enemies” and “Turn the other cheek”? So let’s show how much we love Jesus by waging crusades, inquisitions, witch-hunts, and brutal campaigns of repression against anyone who doesn’t love Him as much as we do. Jesus’s pacifism has drowned in the hyper-violence that has characterized much of Christian history.

But—we may object—most Christians alive today seem to have lost the bloodthirsty enthusiasm of their ancestors, and are no longer inclined to exterminate non-Christians.… Read the rest

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Orgies for Jesus

Orgy[Site editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

What if Christian theology dismissed the virgin birth and other miracles as fairy tales? What if your pastor/priest told you to flush the Ten Commandments down the toilet and instead live life to the fullest? What if Sunday service at your local church consisted in a juicy orgy? All of this could have happened had Carpocrates had his way.

Carpo … who? The lead character in our story was the leader of a second century Christian community based in the Greek islands. Back in those days, early Christians couldn’t agree on just about anything. Official Christian doctrine hadn’t been fully established yet, so an extremely wide range of opinions and teachings fell under the label of “Christianity.” The only thing they had in common was that they all thought Jesus was a cool guy.… Read the rest

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How To Start A Dance Kult

BreakdanceLet’s start with what God is: the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

The confusion about the nature of God starts with the idea God is separate from Existence. Also, there seems to be a tendency to treat the Father as God itself and the Son & Holy Spirit as a part of, but not equal to the Father. From these simple misunderstandings comes the logical paradoxes we’re all familiar with.

So here’s where we begin to clear things up. God is the single thing, but there are three aspects that make up the totality of God. Here’s the analogy: we take a piece of cheese. The cheese is one thing; however, there are aspects to the cheese that make up the whole thing: we have the shape, color & taste of the cheese. So where does the cheese end and its aspects begin? Well obviously that’s an impossible question.

So now the issue is defining the Father, Son & Holy Spirit aspects and how they together define God.… Read the rest

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Atheism, Christian Theism, and Rape

What Does God Need With A Starship?

Michael Martin makes a few good points regarding the claim that without religion there is no basis for morality:

Is Theistic Morality Necessarily Objectivist?:

Let us assume for the moment that the Biblical position on rape is clear: God condemns rape. But why? One possibility is that He condemns rape because it is wrong. Why is it wrong? It might be supposed that God has various reasons for thinking rape is wrong: it violates the victim’s rights, it traumatizes the victim, it undermines the fabric of society, and so on. All of these are bad making properties. However, if these reasons provide objective grounds for God thinking that rape is wrong, then they provide objective grounds for others as well. Moreover, these reasons would hold even if God did not exist. For example, rape would still traumatize the victim and rape would still undermine the fabric of society even. Thus, on this assumption, In this case, atheists could provide objective ground for condemning rape–the same grounds used by God.

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An Undifferentiated Mass of Human Dignity

Supernova

Occupy: Social Supernova?

It’s an anti-capitalism thing. No, it’s an anti-war thing. No, it’s a civil rights thing.  No, it’s a desert topping. No, it’s a floor wax.

Ever since the Occupy movement began garnering mainstream media attention there has been an energetic, maybe even desperate, debate to define the significance of thousands of people from all over the nation spontaneously gathering in America’s large urban centers, decrying the rapacious criminality of the establishment — all sans identifiable figureheads or fixed policy programs.

Yes, from the start it was clear that, in its broadest outlines at least, this thing was a passionate rebuke to parasitic Wall Street types.  Whatever that may mean in actual practice, it’s definitely not a formulation consistent with laissez-faire economics a la the Koch brothers’ Tea Party. So not surprising that most right wing analyses approached the topic with a dismissive laziness. They’ve crafted fear into a formidable electoral weapon and are well familiar with the coward’s first law of dealing with Truly Scary Things:  avoid real contact.… Read the rest

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