June 25, 2010

Morality: Natural or Supernatural?

In keeping with our discussion of morality from the last post. I just found out that our friend Mariano over at "Atheism is Dead", that is now True Freethinker, debated with an Atheist named Michael Sizer. A smart discussion that may be interesting to you. Grab a cold lemon-aid, and also in my case a dictionary, and enjoy a good conversation.

I thought it was misleading to say that, because the anterior cingulate cortex shows activity, morality must comes from the brain. An indicator of brain activity is merely that. An indicator, not origins. One can make the case that we see, breath, and hear with our brain also, using that analogy. That to me, would be a lazy explanation. The real question is what is the origins of morality, Mariano does a fine job of addressing that question.

I especially 'loved' the, quite clinical Hamilton's rule reasoning, actually the subsequent explanation, as to self sacrifice. That is what is the problem here and, for me, is what centered the debate. Science, clinical and passionless, doesn't suffice. Well played Mariano.

Morality: Natural or Supernatural? I think the answer is clear.

If you are watching this in Youtube. Resist clicking on the little soccer ball in the bottom right corner when you hear something that you do not agree with. You might miss something important.


  1. "One can make the case that we see, breath, and hear with our brain also, using that analogy."

    Yes, you can, and the analogy would be correct. Your eyes transmit the imagery through the optic nerve directly into the visual cortex of your brain. Your ears transmit balance and auditory information directly to your brain as well, via the cochlear nerve. Your breathing is regulated via a portion of your brain stem, which receives information from various sensors all over your body used to monitor C02 concentrations, blood acidity, etc.

    Remove your brain and all three will all but instantly cease, with the possible exception of breathing which has some functionality in the spinal column and might continue on for a short period with the removal of the brain.

    Oddly enough, removing your brain also removes your ability to make moral decisions ... or any decisions at all.

  2. Gaki,

    But it does not work the other way around. Can you see without eyes, using only the brain? You actually do not see through the brain. It is "central" to receive the information to use, but where does the information come from? It is interpreted or indicated in the brain but what actually does the seeing? Where do the morals come from?

  3. Dan,

    "Where do the morals come from?"

    I swear that when you die your mouth will be worn out but your ears will be like brand new because you don't listen.

    I have posted several articles on the evolution of morality and you make a couple snide remarks.

    Use those ears and listen. Learn.

    You want to attribute morality to the "Veil Hypothesis" that I wrote in the comments on the last post.
    That is totally absurd.

    Finally, it is painfully obvious that you don't even understand the concept of "information," but I will give you a hint for your further investigation.

    The word information is derived from Latin informare which means "give form to".

    Information merely a way of communicating ideas, of observed events, and also imagined events.

    It is the job of the student to use reason and logic to parse out the truthiness of the information.

  4. I love the line about morality's evidence seen from brain activity - though that is NOT it's origin.


    I currently run a blog as well at http://chasong.blogspot.com

    I would be honoured to have you come by and comment.



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