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Morality is like a religion
#1
Morality is like a religion
I have come up with a theory here that explains how the moral (personal value judgment) version of good and bad is fake and does not make us and our lives good or bad.  That there is a scientific version of good and bad that humanity and science is unaware of.

It is our incentive that makes things and people of good value and worth to us in the first place.  If we have no incentive to live for anyone or anything, then it would not bother us at all if those things and people were to be taken away from us.  You just wouldn't care.  Therefore, I just don't see how something can be of good value and worth to you without having any incentive to live for it.

Since our pleasant emotions (our reward system) is the only incentive an animal (in this case, a human being) has based upon what Robert Sapolsky has said who is a highly intelligent and famous evolutionary biologist, then it is only our pleasant emotions that can make things and people of good value and worth to us in our lives.  You can search up Robert Sapolsky on http://www.youtube.com and watch his videos.

Our thoughts alone without our pleasant emotions due to depression and/or anhedonia (absence of pleasure) cannot give our lives any good meaning since they are all nothing more than the "thinking" experience of our brains.  They can only experience different thoughts, send pleasure/displeasure signals, and send signals to make us move and express certain tones, acts, and expressions.  But that is it.  They cannot experience any incentives (urges) to live on and pursue our goals and dreams.

Just as how a blind and deaf person cannot give his/herself sight and hearing through his/her thoughts alone, we cannot give our lives any incentive either through our thoughts alone as long as we struggle with depression and/or anhedonia.  Good and bad are senses like sight, hearing, and smell.  They are scientific terms like sight, hearing, and smell.  Our pleasant feelings/emotions are a sense of good meaning in our lives while our unpleasant feelings/emotions are a sense of bad meaning in our lives.

Our thoughts alone can only experience the words and phrases love, joy, happiness, suffering, despair, fear, rage, incentive, etc.  But they cannot actually experience those things since those are scientific terms that have been defined through science as only being our pleasant and unpleasant feelings/emotions and not our thoughts.

Our pleasant feelings/emotions are the scientific version of good and our unpleasant feelings/emotions are the scientific version of bad.  To lament and become frustrated/enraged over losses in your life without your incentive would be your brain fooling itself into thinking it had the incentive to live for those said things and people when it never had it to begin with.  You would be fooling your brain into thinking your life is good and worth living despite your depression and/or anhedonia when it was never true.

I myself struggle with depression and a chronic 24/7 absence of all my pleasant emotions.  This personal experience is what has led me to this theory.  If my theory is wrong, then please prove it wrong.  Otherwise, people would just be believing in the moral version of good and bad like a religion.

In conclusion, morality and the thinking area of our brains alone would not give our lives any good or bad meaning.  It would only be a matter of choices and decisions.  It would only be a matter of avoiding or pursuing certain situations and nothing more.  We wouldn't even refer to the acts of Hitler as being bad.  We would still say that Hitler's life was good since he derived pleasant emotions from harming the Jews.  Morality does not exist.  It would no longer have the terms good and bad for it.  It is all just a matter of how we as human beings socialize and interact and nothing more.  Our pleasant and unpleasant feelings/emotions are a feeling/emotional version of good and bad and not any moral version of good and bad.
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#2
RE: Morality is like a religion
So, are you implying that there is something supernatural about how we derive goodness and badness?

Personally, I give value to my life because I enjoy living. Therefore, I give value to other people's lives if they enjoy living, and give value to others. That is why I don't like what Hitler did. He did not give value to others, therefore I put no value on him.
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#3
RE: Morality is like a religion
Hello there Smile

I'm sorry to hear about your depression. I too am severely depressed. At my worst I have been so numb as to barely feel any emotions except the depression, so I have some idea where you are coming from.

I'm not sure what you mean by morality not existing. We need to be careful exactly what we mean by terms. Of course morality is an abstract concept, and like all abstract concepts, doesn't literally exist. But I don't think that is what you mean.

We can either look at an individual and their personal thoughts about morality, or we can look at humans as a whole. I think when trying to understand the "source" of morality, it's better to focus on humans as a whole. Each individual will find their own rationalisations for their morality, but ultimately they are getting it from a combination of genetics and environment.

As a species, we can observe that people do care about each other. We value the lives of each other. That is morality, at its simplest. So in this way, morality does exist. Why do we care about each other? As you probably know better than me, we evolved as a cooperate species through natural selection. People who cared about others fared better.

So as a species, we have morality. If we look at each individual, they are going to have their own specific different behaviours. This is to be expected.

So then going to the individual level and saying "it makes no sense to have morality because..." is just untrue. We do have morality, in general. The reasons we have it may not be the ones we tell others, or ourselves. Ultimately, we have it because of evolution. Nature and nurture, with nurture echoing nature to a large degree. We raise children by our own values on the whole.

As we're able to think at such a high abstract level, we can start to analyse our own morality, and to question it at a fundamental level. Some people won't have any, such as sociopaths. Some people will have a very twisted or just unusual version compared to the rest of us. This is all to be expected. But there's nothing magic going on, and I'm not at all sure what you mean by it's a religion or it doesn't exist. If morality didn't exist, we wouldn't care about each other. But we do. You may just be using a very different definition which is causing problems here.

No, our lives are not inherently "good" or "bad" because that makes no sense. These are value judgements, and are subjective. We can each say someone else is living a good or bad life, but it depends on our own individual morality to make that judgement. There is no ultimate objective standard. There is also no reason to expect one.
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#4
RE: Morality is like a religion
(August 19, 2015 at 12:52 am)robvalue Wrote: Hello there Smile

I'm sorry to hear about your depression. I too am severely depressed. At my worst I have been so numb as to barely feel any emotions except the depression, so I have some idea where you are coming from.

I'm not sure what you mean by morality not existing. We need to be careful exactly what we mean by terms. Of course morality is an abstract concept, and like all abstract concepts, doesn't literally exist. But I don't think that is what you mean.

We can either look at an individual and their personal thoughts about morality, or we can look at humans as a whole. I think when trying to understand the "source" of morality, it's better to focus on humans as a whole. Each individual will find their own rationalisations for their morality, but ultimately they are getting it from a combination of genetics and environment.

As a species, we can observe that people do care about each other. We value the lives of each other. That is morality, at its simplest. So in this way, morality does exist. Why do we care about each other? As you probably know better than me, we evolved as a cooperate species through natural selection. People who cared about others fared better.

So as a species, we have morality. If we look at each individual, they are going to have their own specific different behaviours. This is to be expected.

So then going to the individual level and saying "it makes no sense to have morality because..." is just untrue. We do have morality, in general. The reasons we have it may not be the ones we tell others, or ourselves. Ultimately, we have it because of evolution. Nature and nurture, with nurture echoing nature to a large degree. We raise children by our own values on the whole.

As we're able to think at such a high abstract level, we can start to analyse our own morality, and to question it at a fundamental level. Some people won't have any, such as sociopaths. Some people will have a very twisted or just unusual version compared to the rest of us. This is all to be expected. But there's nothing magic going on, and I'm not at all sure what you mean by it's a religion or it doesn't exist. If morality didn't exist, we wouldn't care about each other. But we do. You may just be using a very different definition which is causing problems here.

No, our lives are not inherently "good" or "bad" because that makes no sense. These are value judgements, and are subjective. We can each say someone else is living a good or bad life, but it depends on our own individual morality to make that judgement. There is no ultimate objective standard. There is also no reason to expect one.

But morality is not the same as good and bad.  Us interacting, socializing, etc. is not the same as good and bad.  There is the scientific version of good and bad which is the feeling/emotional version of good and bad which would be our pleasant/unpleasant feelings/emotions.
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#5
RE: Morality is like a religion
Scientific version of good and bad?

These are both arbitrary, ultimately. There is no inherent good or bad. I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make, sorry Sad If you define good, bad and morality so that they are not linked, then they are not linked, yeah.

Scientifically, morality is the study of how and why people value each other. There is no doubt that they do, in general. Breaking it down at an individual level is something totally different, and you appear to be conflating the two.
Feel free to send me a private message.
Please visit my website here! It's got lots of information about atheism/theism and support for new atheists.

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#6
RE: Morality is like a religion
(August 19, 2015 at 4:58 am)robvalue Wrote: Scientific version of good and bad?

These are both arbitrary, ultimately. There is no inherent good or bad. I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make, sorry Sad If you define good, bad and morality so that they are not linked, then they are not linked, yeah.

Scientifically, morality is the study of how and why people value each other. There is no doubt that they do, in general. Breaking it down at an individual level is something totally different, and you appear to be conflating the two.

I am just on the quest for truth here and wish to find the answer to my theory.  I wish to understand how a person who has no incentive to live can still have good meaning in his/her life and can still live a good life.
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#7
RE: Morality is like a religion
Well, all I can say is to try and find an incentive. My only incentive to live for the past 8 years has been what it would do to those around me if I killed myself. That's been enough to keep me going. I'm confused about whether this is a personal or scientific question.

Again, "good" is what you make it. To me, good is looking after people and animals, trying to make them happy, well and minimise harm I do to them. I strive for that, even though I'd rather actually be dead. I do the best I can, in the ways I see fit. To some people, "good" is have as much fun as possible and fuck everyone else.
Feel free to send me a private message.
Please visit my website here! It's got lots of information about atheism/theism and support for new atheists.

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#8
RE: Morality is like a religion
(August 19, 2015 at 6:23 am)robvalue Wrote: Well, all I can say is to try and find an incentive. My only incentive to live for the past 8 years has been what it would do to those around me if I killed myself. That's been enough to keep me going. I'm confused about whether this is a personal or scientific question.

Again, "good" is what you make it. To me, good is looking after people and animals, trying to make them happy, well and minimise harm I do to them. I strive for that, even though I'd rather actually be dead. I do the best I can, in the ways I see fit. To some people, "good" is have as much fun as possible and fuck everyone else.

This is a scientific question.  My theory states that there is a scientific (psychological) basis for how things and people are of good value and worth to us (how they give good meaning to our lives).  That psychological basis is not our thinking.  It is not how we personally define good through our thinking.  It is instead our incentive (our pleasant emotions).  Our reward system (pleasant emotions) are the only incentives a human being has based upon what Robert Sapolsky has said as I pointed out earlier.

So based upon that, our pleasant emotions are the only things that can make things, situations, and people of good value and worth to us.  So they would be the scientific version of good.  That is where the moral version of good transfers over to the scientific version of good in being our pleasant emotions.  It's like I said before, if we had no incentive, then it would not bother us at all if things and people that we judged to be good were to be taken away from us.  We just wouldn't care.

So here again, I do not see how something or someone can possibly be defined as having good value and worth to us without our incentive.  Here again, there are people who are bothered by losses even without their incentive (without their pleasant emotions).  But this would only be because they are fooling their brains into thinking they had the incentive when they never had it.
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#9
RE: Morality is like a religion
I'm still very confused by your language I'm afraid. I'm trying very hard to help Smile

It's too much for my brain at the moment. I'll try again later.

Are you saying... people who don't get the normal feedback emotions from their "good/bad" actions can still care about stuff? Or they don't care about stuff?

People without such feedback still have incentives not to behave in certain "bad" ways, because they know they will get arrested. If they literally don't care about anything, not even themselves, then... they don't care about anything. Usually there is at least an instinct of survival, but if that isn't even there then the person is pretty fucked I agree. Like I said, I've wanted to die for ages. It's not that I would feel bad if I did it, I wouldn't, because I'd be dead. But I care more about those around me than myself. If I didn't, then I wouldn't be me, and I'd probably have killed myself already.
Feel free to send me a private message.
Please visit my website here! It's got lots of information about atheism/theism and support for new atheists.

Index of useful threads and discussions
Index of my best videos
Quickstart guide to the forum
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#10
RE: Morality is like a religion
(August 19, 2015 at 6:36 am)robvalue Wrote: I'm still very confused by your language I'm afraid. I'm trying very hard to help Smile

It's too much for my brain at the moment. I'll try again later.

Are you saying... people who don't get the normal feedback emotions from their "good/bad" actions can still care about stuff? Or they don't care about stuff?

People without such feedback still have incentives not to behave in certain "bad" ways, because they know they will get arrested. If they literally don't care about anything, not even themselves, then... they don't care about anything. Usually there is at least an instinct of survival, but if that isn't even there then the person is pretty fucked I agree. Like I said, I've wanted to die for ages. It's not that I would feel bad if I did it, I wouldn't, because I'd be dead. But I care more about those around me than myself. If I didn't, then I wouldn't be me, and I'd probably have killed myself already.

I am still saying that they can have thoughts of care without their pleasant emotions.  But they would only be fooling themselves into thinking they care since they actually don't care.  They don't have the incentive and they are only fooling their brains into thinking they have it.
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