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Rwy in Sight
23rd Mar 2008, 22:27
During a very short domestic flight last week I was sat next to a Jehovah's witness. She spent the last part of the flight and the taxi-in to discuss her religion and (remembering the old PPRuNe thread) I turned the conversation to morality issues. So the question that popped up was what is the definition of morality -if you help some one in a difficult position is it always morale?
If you are nice to someone you don't like at all, is it morale?


What does the collective mind of PPRuNe think?

tony draper
23rd Mar 2008, 22:42
No, it's just being civilised.:)

PLovett
24th Mar 2008, 00:40
While you improve their morale, the question remains, is it moral?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
24th Mar 2008, 01:04
Do you improve their morale by giving them more ale?

BlueWolf
24th Mar 2008, 02:32
Morality appears to centre around people being persuaded, or disuaded, from doing or not doing certain things, on the basis that someone else has chosen to suppose that their imaginary friend in the sky will either approve or disapprove of the said certain things.

Insane, in my opinion, but that's humanity for you.

Personally I think ethics are far more valuable and important than morals. And ale. Definitely ale.

Caboclo
24th Mar 2008, 04:15
I gotta disagree with Blue Wolf. I think morality is an individual thing, not related to persuading others to your point of view. A simplistic definition of morality could be "ethics applied for religious reasons".

Brian Abraham
24th Mar 2008, 06:11
Morality has nowt to do with religion (the worlds biggest scam invented thus far) or any big fella up there. The definition I like is "A set of customs of a given society, class, or social group which regulate personal and social relationships and prescribe modes of behaviour to facilitate the group's existance or ensure its survival." With the malfeasance we see today in corporate and government bodies, and the me me generation of today where nobody knows his/her neighbour, perhaps we may be on the slippery slope of our continued existance and survival. A happy note to end on. ;) And :ok: to the ale.

Rwy in Sight
24th Mar 2008, 06:16
Thanks for all the responses.

TD, what are the differences between being civilized and being polite.

But my question remains, if I help someone (not because I really do it for them) but because I like to appear nice or distract attention from something else, is it morale or ethical for that matter?


Rwy in Sight

ssg
24th Mar 2008, 07:32
Your being nice for social reasons, to keep the peace...suffering idiots, fools, and morons with the patience of Solomon...it shows you have character, discipline and restraint, when what you should do moraly, ethicaly, and civily is just choke the crap out of these people, as they keep us from evolving as a race.

Cap'n Arrr
24th Mar 2008, 09:50
Morality is simply an individuals idea of what is right and wrong. Religions offer a guide to morality. So do governments, societies, other groups and everything else.

BDiONU
24th Mar 2008, 10:14
Morality, ethics etc have developed in humans over time to enable them to live as pack animals. Bad pack behaviour like stealing, murder etc. will mean that the others in the pack will not trust you, you'll be ostracised and probably be unable to survive alone or will at least be very lonely.

There have been experiments conducted (such as Jean Piaget and very young children playing marbles) which show that these behaviours are inherited, not learned.
Its very unfortunate that religion has hijacked these natural traits and pronounced them not only theirs BUT have included a carrot and stick system with them. If you're good you go to heaven, if you're bad you go to hell.

Those infected with religion will tell you that the bible is their moral code book and guidance. However the bible is full of horrible acts and recommendations. It also contains some very kind and good acts and rules. Most christians don't follow the former any more, but continue to follow the latter. How do they chose? What do they use to “cherry pick” the bible in this way? It's not something in the bible, it's something in the reader. As this moral sense exists in us and allows us to pick the good bits of the bible from the bad, what do they need the bible for? Think about it.

I would commend readers The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. We are genuinely altruistic because our genes are “selfish”. A gene that causes its carriers to be genuinely altruistic will have a reproductive advantage if its carriers live in groups of largely related individuals. By risking its life for the group because of the genuine altruism given to it by the gene, one carrier of that gene will increase the reproductive chances of other carriers of the same gene. (The selfish gene explanation also works for groups where the same non-relatives regularly interact and can engage in “reciprocal altruism”.)
Evolution has given us what Dawkins calls a “lust to be good”, much in the way it has given us a lust to have sex. Does this mean that altruism only makes sense if it’s for relatives? Only in the sense that sex only “make sense” when it’s done for procreation, or that love only “make sense” if it’s being used to solidify a pair-bond for the 20 or so years needed to help the survival of offspring.

BD

Captain Speedbird
24th Mar 2008, 13:01
Alister Crowley suggested 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law'. It will never catch on, because if you do what you wilt, others will kick your backside. Morals and laws. We push the boundaries to suit the circumstance. Morality and hypocrisy are inseparable, look at the NY state guv'nor for example.

Ken Wells
24th Mar 2008, 13:50
Two Jehovah witnesses rang my door bell the other day as I was cooking breakfast.
I invited them in a asked them to sit down while I finished cooking.

"would you like a cup of tea" I asked

"yes " they said

"I'm making some toast, would you like some"

"Yes, thank you" they replied.

I sat down and placed a tray on the coffee table .

"Right" I said "help yourself and tell me all about it"


They looked at each other rather nervously and quite bemused.

Silence!

Then one piped up, "not really sure what to say, we've never got this far before!!!":ugh:

bnt
24th Mar 2008, 14:27
For the purposes of discussions with the religious, I think BlueWolf has it right. I draw a distinction between rules that have been "handed down" without explanation ("morals"), and guidelines that are understood and agreed with your peers ("ethics"). I know those aren't the dictionary definitions - but dictionaries can be out-of-date.

For example, doctors have a code of ethics, rules decided by doctors, for doctors. Some aspects may have the appearance of morality, but the key difference is that doctors chose to follow those ethics with their eyes open: they were not handed down to them with instructions to "do as I say, or else". While e.g. a medical student may not have any say in the rules, that doesn't make them morals:
- they are voluntary, the price of admission in to a community as a "doctor";
- they are fully understandable, their usefulness can be explained to anyone;
- a sensible student understands that s/he is a student i.e. has chosen to learn from others with more knowledge, experience, and (hopefully) wisdom;
- a student's position is temporary, since that student has the potential of becoming a senior doctor who sits on an ethics committee, for example. (Eventually.)

I think part of the confusion comes from the way some Ethical guidelines are handed down as Morals. For example, one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Kill"... so when an atheist says "I don't believe that the Commandments were handed down from God - in fact, I don't believe in your God at all"... does that mean the atheist has nothing against killing? Or, what does that say about those Bronze Age people, who needed ethical guidelines such as "don't kill" to be handed down from "above", instead of figuring it out for themselves? You can see similar things happening with:
- "don't eat pork" - which was good public health advice, before we learned how to handle pork safely;
- the "ritual ablutions" performed in Islam and Hinduism: we now call that "personal hygiene", and we do it by choice. :}

Ozzy
24th Mar 2008, 14:55
Would it be moral to give a blood transfusion to a Jehovah witness?:hmm::rolleyes::suspect:

Ozzy

isi3000
24th Mar 2008, 15:58
They must get up at the crack of dawn! I'd rather not talk about morality at 7 in the morning in my PJs...:}

BlueWolf
24th Mar 2008, 22:51
bnt raises a good point. I think morals have more to do with which things are done, ethics are more to do with how they are done.

Consider the death penalty; applied in many jurisdictions for crimes which outrage the public morality (be it religious or not), murder, rape, paedophilia, etc.

The moral code in such jurisdictions has no compunction against taking the life of another person; yet only in those places where ethical behaviour is valued, is it considered necessary to carry out the execution in as humane a manner as possible.

Thus we have some nations which execute by quick clean hanging, with the neck broken instantly, and others where execution is slow and barbarous, such as by lethal injection, electrocution, public stoning, slow hanging, and so forth.

con-pilot
24th Mar 2008, 23:14
Thus we have some nations which execute by quick clean hanging, with the neck broken instantly, and others where execution is slow and barbarous, such as by lethal injection, electrocution, public stoning, slow hanging, and so forth.

None of which is as quick and painless than a large caliber bullet in the back of the head. I duly give credit for this idea to Mr. Draper. :ok:

BlueWolf
24th Mar 2008, 23:25
None of which is as quick and painless than a large caliber bullet in the back of the head

Aye, but then you can't flog their corneas for transplantation. Even the Chinese are moving away from the aforementioned method, which was their preferred one. One suspects a connection :suspect:

Lot to be said for a nice, clean (relatively speaking), surgical beheadin', perhaps with a hydraulic guilotine, complete with heated blade to cauterise the body-side of the cut (for cleanliness and preservation of transplant tissues), whilst leaving the head-side open, to allow for rapid egress of blood, consciousness, and life.

Just a thought. :E

airship
24th Mar 2008, 23:38
Morality and what it means:

Politicians: What they can get away with.
The rest of us: Sounds good. What is morality? Oi! Someone just fecked me up the arse...?!

con-pilot
24th Mar 2008, 23:39
One suspects a connection

Oh no, no, no. When I'm in China all I do is eat the food and watch FOX News.




(And never take a poo except in my hotel room. :ooh:)

Lot to be said for a nice, clean (relatively speaking), surgical beheadin', perhaps with a hydraulic guilotine, complete with heated blade to cauterise the body-side of the cut (for cleanliness and preservation of transplant tissues), whilst leaving the head-side open, to allow for rapid egress of blood, consciousness, and life.

Only problem with that is it that there is a very good chance that the person beheaded retains consciousness for up to ten to fifteen seconds after the act of the beheading. :eek:

tony draper
24th Mar 2008, 23:51
Prog on the Telly a while back that sought out scientifically the most painless method of execution,the method arrived at as being the most humane was anoxia,the customer feels intoxicated euphoric falls asleep then croaks very swifltly,no damage to recyclable organs.
Not much of a deterrent effect though.
:)

Keef
25th Mar 2008, 00:14
I would commend readers The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

I would also recommend reading that book - in full - to see what a shouty, preachy person Dawkins is. He's very fond of quoting learned people (too often, the learned person being quoted is himself). Read some of his later works for an even clearer insight - particularly his "The God Delusion" - a flawed set of arguments based on a singular lack of research into theology, philosophy, literature, and history. There are serious errors in Dawkins' assumptions about what religions actually believe or say - but that belongs in a different thread.

I'll go with Cap'n Arrr's definition of morality. Religion doesn't have to enter into it, although for people with religious faith, that is likely to affect their moral standards. I would argue that a valid religious faith should (in general) result in higher rather than lower moral standards, but I know plenty of atheists who have the highest moral standards. Generalisation has its own risks.

I'm polite to Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm happy to discuss things with them, but they don't call round very often.

Bern Oulli
25th Mar 2008, 12:59
TD, that was Michael Portillo who did that prog, and very thought provoking it was.

Forkandles
25th Mar 2008, 13:34
.....Only problem with that is it that there is a very good chance that the person beheaded retains consciousness for up to ten to fifteen seconds after the act of the beheading. :eek:

And the problem is?

If you're bad enough to warrant the removal of your head, then I reckon being able to witness the drop into the basket an upside to the whole affair!