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If you have an opinion on the way people should behave, isn't it based at least partially in dogma? For instance, the principle, "everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Every word in that phrase has to be defined, and there really isn't scientific evidence to prove the "rightness" of the statement. Are moral and ethical principles subject to rigorous scientific method?

Tig3r 3 Dec 27

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morality and ethics are the creation of human imagination. These are not even discoveries but mere social construct created for a social order by humans. I feel it can not be subjected to scientific method.

The rule of thumb is... if it's found in all locations and across all times, it's most likely an adaptive trait. It's not stuff we just think up. It's an emergent quality of human nature, wherever humans are found. It has already been deeply subjected to scientific study.

@skado Thank you for your reply. Religion and gods also falls under the said rule. Is it an adaptive trait? The modern human came from one place. Thats somewhere in east africa. Around 70000 years ago its started migrating to various parts of the world. The only difference sapiens had over other human species was the heightened cognitive ability. The ability to think not only what was existing but also what was non existent like, religion, gods, rumours, social constructs. This ability brought the group together. That could be the reason why other human species lost in the race and subsequently became extinct. Morality , ethics, culture, traditions all were such social constucts. With regards to the scientific study, I believe it will be more of a cognitive analysis. Please do correct me if I m wrong.

@skado I agree with you. Morality is not just a creation of human imagination. Dawkins explains that in ‘The God Delusion’, so if anyone wanted to read up on it, you can find it there. Also, for the proof that we are most likely born with a primitive version of morals, read ‘Just Babies’ by Paul Bloom.

@KarolinaMakuch thanks for the reply. Paul Bloom says that some morals are innate due to biological evolution. Richard Dawkins was also talking about the biological evolution and altruistic genes. He advocates one need not believe in God to be moral. One may also look into a book by Yuval Noah Hariri - Sapien - a brief history of humankind. It tells you about evolution of humans.

Thanks @KarolinaMakuch

Yes, I think the general tendency to believe in gods is either a direct adaptation itself or an indirect result of adaptations that were originally made for other purposes, then modified. Like fear of spiders, etc. @Srijith


My karma ran over my dogma.

skado Level 8 Dec 28, 2017

yeah, beat me to it.


no one has real rights or we wouldn't have police


ethics are for the propagation of the species and morals are social constructs for the repression of natural tendencies[ meant to give power to men with silly hats]

Then I wish some people without erhics would not reproduce.


As for the "rightness" of it you clearly have a point in that did not stop institutionalized slavery. I imagine that in the minds of the slave owners the absence of scientific evidence to prove the "rightness" of it made it okay... Hmm! A very slippery slope leading to ethical relativism....


I look at it this way. I want to continue to live, I want to be free, and I want to be happy. That is what I want for myself and I think others should have the right to want that for themselves. I do not want anyone or government to kill me because of my beliefs or non beliefs -i.e. Some Muslim countries-. I want to be free and not in chain- my ancestors were imported from Africa and enslaved-. I want lo laugh and be happy- some religious cult that oppresses their members and tell them what to like and do.


I define dogma as an enshrined body of ideological beliefs; which is considered beyond challenge by the 😛riests" and true believers" in that ideology. Frequently, as in the case of religion, that dogma forms the basis for a total system ideology which purports to include and explain everything.

As to the other part of your question, morality and ethics make a subjective choice to form the core of the moral or ethical system. Actions and decisions can be judged objectively as to how well the consequences of those support the core choice. As an example, I believe that the support of human dignity and respect for all and the promotion of human and environmental well-being are the core of my moral code. My actions and decisions can and should be judged as to how well they support the attainment of those goals.


Morality may be a human construct, but it is not an arbitrary construct. Morality is part of our evolution. As the number of humans on the planet increase our need for moral systems becomes more important and vice versa. It is easy to speak of the corruption we see in our political systems and confuse them with our moral systems, but that's because we have morals that exceed what our political systems are providing. I believe our moral principles are being rigorously tested and refined in an iterative design process, which is a bit different than scientific methods. I believe that as we arrive at more principles, those principles can be subjected to scientific methods and scrutiny for verification and testing, but I think they are evolving daily.


Grand statements are based on dogma, however some are seen as good and others as bad.


The Fumbling Fathers!


No. The better the education, the more options you have. If you have a limited understanding of political philosophy then your likely to only choose the paths you know.


Yes, you're right. By the strictest definition, there is always some "dogma" involved. let's just say that, like anything else, some dogma is better than others.

godef Level 7 Dec 28, 2017

I think it all starts with things like a person not wanting to be poked with a sharp stick. Once you develope some logic about this you decide that to avoid being poked by a sharp stick you should not poke others with a sharp stick. Pass that on and in time we have an ethics system that might be called a form of dogma.


Thank you everyone for the thoughtful comments. They suggest that atheists, myself included, do believe in some things or conditions, intangible, not scientifically testable, but real. So, what "creates" them? How do we know they are appropriate? Why do so many people who believe in God or gods behave selfishly? I still think there is some mechanism incorporated in the human psyche that we might be able to measure someday. If so, what do we do with human specimens lack that essential element that makes "community" possible?

Tig3r Level 3 Dec 28, 2017

By the way, I didn't capitalize god, the app "corrected" me.


I don't know about scientific method. Are people healthier if they are feeling secure about health care-chances yes. Hopefully they have been using their health care and taken care of themselves. My ex-husband didn't go to the doctor until he turned 65. Since then he is confined to a hospital bed with prostate cancer, had a tumor removed from his spine, lymphademia, degenerative disk disease, diabetes, heart disease, lost his teeth and has been in diapers fort the last 3 years. People should take care of themselves. You can't be alive, have the ability to move and be happy if you don't have your health.


Is it right for a tiger to have stripes? Stripes to a tiger is a natural inborn trait. Who can say that is wrong? A desire to stay alive, to be free and to pursue happiness are natural inborn traits. Upon what grounds could you say those desires are wrong? I don't know if these things can be subjected to scientific investigation. But our founding fathers had the idea that a nation founded on respect for these inborn desires would work well. They seem to have been right. Is that dogma? I'll have to go to the dictionary for the answer to that.

Maybe all that is true. But how can some people think those things are "right" for themselves, but not necessarily for others?

I think it is because of what I call egotism. My definition of ego; "The self regarded as acting independent of causes and conditions" This view of what a person is, sets people against each other, rather than in harmony with each other, like they would naturally be without such an idea.

That is my short answer. Hope it helps. I should probably write a book on this.


I get so shat with progressives who are prepared to tolerate anything, as long as they agree with it.

@SKDeitch -- That was going to be my question. You beat me to it.

@TommyMeador it's the intolerance of what they do not agree with that bothers me.

The statement " I am tolerant and accepting of other cultures" for example while being outraged at genital mutilation.

I am all for tolerance, and against genital mutilation myself, but I do note the hyporocracy.

Or another more personal example, in AUS we recently have an overwhelming plebicite, at great public expense to determine that by and large Aussies didn't give two hoots about who marries whom as long as both are consenting adults.

As a test, I posted in various places the comment "About time the poofs got a bloody break" (in living history homosexual acts of love were illegal in some states, and locally it was fairly recently that the "moral panic" defense was removed for men who killed other men who tried to hit on them.

The mildest response I received was a polite request as to why I choose to use the "P" word, which after my references to 1984 newspeak and some commentary on how I had observed that these techniques being effective, I none the less stood with Voltaire when he said something along the lines of "I disagree with what you are saying but will defend to the death your right to say it" and observing that while my statement contained one of the proscribed words in the new left's theology, it was none the less a clearly supportive statement.

It was explained to me they adhered to the belief that only intolerance is intolerable.

Which made me want to enlist them in my program of eliminating cannibalism, by eating anyone who practiced it.

I believe the standard trope on the paradox of tolerance is along the lines of "if we tolerate natzi's we'll all end up goose stepping"

If you can't see the logical flaws in that one, I'll expand further.


Well, let's say based on dogmatic information that we observe to lead to positive social outcomes, but not necessarily having a formal establishment or a causal chain.

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