Joined: Jan. 2006
I do appologize for feeding the troll. I missed a few of the more moronic posts (a very short y-axis) early on so I didn't get the level of obliviocy being demonstrated.
**following edited because something happened in the course of c&P from MSword**
No doubt this kind of testing will slowly close the door on the idea of the unique "Moral Law" as propounded by Collins.
Here is an article about an actual scientist figuring out what "Moral Law" might actually be.
http://article at americanscientist.org Very interesting.
|Widely known for his studies of animal cognition (see "What Do Animals Think About Numbers?" in the March-April 2000 American Scientist), Hauser has long been intrigued by the nature of human moral judgment (interested readers can take his Web-based Moral Sense Test). He says the human sense of right and wrong, which evolved over millions of years, precedes our conscious judgments and emotions, providing a hidden engine of moral intuition that's shared by people around the world. "Our moral instincts are immune to the explicitly articulated commandments handed down by religions and governments," he writes. "Sometimes our moral intuitions will converge with those that culture spells out, and sometimes they will diverge." In Moral Minds (Ecco) Hauser draws ideas from the social and natural sciences, philosophy and the law to support his own findings for an unconscious moral instinct...|
You've studied the differences between human and animal minds. Do you believe that other species have moral instincts? What I believe we can say at present is that animals have some of the key components that enter into our moral faculty. That is, they have some of the building blocks that make moral judgments possible in humans. What is missing, with the strong caveat that no one has really looked, is evidence that animals make moral judgments of others, assigning functional labels such as "right," "wrong," "good," "bad" and so on to either actions or individuals.
In many ways, our understanding of animals is not even ripe for the picking, because almost all of the work that is relevant to morality entails studies of what animals do as opposed to how they judge what others do. Thus, we have beautiful accounts of how animals behave during cooperation and competition, including observations of how individuals respond to personal transgression, such as taking food in the presence of a more dominant animal. But what is missing are observations and experiments that systematically address what counts as a transgression or expectation for helping or harming, when the observer is not directly involved. In the same way that we can judge an act as gratuitously violent even when it doesn't concern us directly, we want to understand how animals perceive violations of social norms, including what they expect and what they consider anomalous.
These caveats aside, we are beginning to understand some of the relevant building blocks that are not specific to morality but play a key role. For example, in work on tamarin monkeys and chimpanzees, there is evidence that individuals distinguish between intentional and accidental actions. This is important because it shows, contrary to many prior claims, that animals are attending to more than the consequences. If animals lacked this capacity, then they wouldn't even be in the running for consideration as moral agents. Further, animals seem to distinguish between animate and inanimate objects, which, again, is not a specifically moral distinction but is critically involved in moral judgments. Gratuitously smacking a candy machine may be perceived as odd but has no moral weight; gratuitously smacking a baby is not only odd but morally wrong!
Moral sense test Kinda fun if your interested. I'd read the article first though.
(from the talkreason page)
|If altruism is an inborn impulse, the Moral Law is apparently weak and easily overruled by selfish instincts... The Moral Law as quoted by Collins is a highly selective list of injunctions and denunciations. For example, on one page of the Old Testament high moral principles of peace, justice, and respect for people and property are promulgated, and on the next page raping, killing, and pillaging people who are not one's "neighbors" are endorsed ... So Collins fails where it should be most easy to prove the Moral Law: religious texts.|
The second problem is that actual behaviour in humans never counts against the existence of the Moral Law, which makes the Moral Law practically irrefutable.
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far
The Daily Wingnut