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Evolution Professor: There is No True Morality

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In his New Republic piecefrom this week Paul Bloom makes the point that evolution explains morality. Evolution co-founder Alfred Wallace was wrong about morality and wrong about God. And similar sentiment today, such as from Francis Collins, is equally flawed. The research is in and human morality is not a divine gift but rather is best explained by secular accounts. “It would be big news indeed,” writes the Yale Psychology Professor, “if it turned out that the enactment of the Moral Law didn’t involve the brain, but exists in a special spiritual realm. But, of course, this isn’t the case.” It is true that humans have an enhanced morality but it is the product of evolution’s natural selection and of culture. And of course culture itself is ultimately a product of evolution. As Bloom reminds us, evolution is beyond question. For while design makes for a powerful argument, Darwin changed everything with his mechanistic account for complexity:  Read more

wallstreeter43 @ 11 makes this point:
There is no true objective justification of morality in a world where we are just molecules in motion...
With the mapping of the human genome, people began to wonder how humanity would be affected by this discovery. Medicine to treat illnesses targeted to your genome? Finding (and potentially eliminating) genes responsible for behaviors? However, research attempting to link specific genes to human behavior has been unsuccessful. For instance, in Psychology Today, a report on efforts to find genetic causes for depression states: “Epidemiologic data on the major mental illnesses make it clear that they can’t be reduced to purely genetic causes.” The report gives an example: “Americans born before 1905 had a 1 percent rate of depression by age 75. Among Americans born a half century later, 6 percent become depressed by age 24!” It thus concludes that only external or social factors can bring about such dramatic changes in such a short time. While genes may play a role in shaping our personalities, there clearly are other influences. A major factor is our environment, which has undergone radical changes in modern times. Concerning what today’s youth are exposed to in popular entertainment, the book Boys Will Be Boys observes that it is unlikely that children will develop sound moral principles when they “grow up watching tens of thousands of hours of TV shows and films in which people are assaulted, shot, stabbed, disemboweled, chopped up, skinned, or dismembered, when children grow up listening to music which glorifies rape, suicide, drugs, alcohol, and bigotry.” Also, in the book Exploding the Gene Myth, by Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald, there's a quote y R. C. Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon J. Kamin: “We cannot think of any significant human social behavior that is built into our genes in such a way that it cannot be shaped by social conditions.” Barb
#11 WS43 This has been gone over here time and time again. First let's be clear you are talking about the justification of morals not what causes us to have particular moral views. Your view is that if there is no objective moral law then there is no justification for one view as opposed to another. That's plain hogwash. It is perfectly possible to have reasoned views on a subjective issue. I have a small response on my web site which I refer people to when it comes up (saves typing it out each time) Mark Frank
Exactly Barbara, these morality relativists are great at saying there is no objective morality on paper, but as soon as this happens to them, their true selves and true beliefs come out of the closet . They really don't believe half the garage they spout , it's just hard for them to give up that ego In their worldview butchering a billions people is no more objectively right or wrong then me watching my favorite oldies movie on a Saturday evening. Their actions speak much louder then their words. wallstreeter43
Mark that is just plain hogwash. The is no justification for morality in an atheistic/materialistic world because there is no true morality in that worldview. In that worldview objective morality just doesn't exist. You can have 2 twins , one that believes that killing a billion people to stop overpopulation because in his worldview human beings are just pieces of meat with neurons, flesh, bones and blood. The other twin is an at whist also but for some reason has co passion and believes that the those billion people should be spared. Both give what they believe are logical arguments for what they believe, but both are operating out of moral relativity, which isn't true morality at all. Who is right? Heck if I know, and heck if you know. There is no right or wrong in that worldview . Both were brought up the same way with the same genes but both made different choices . As I said before there is no true objective justification of morality in a world where we are just molecules in motion, nothing more. Just subjective opinions. wallstreeter43
#5 TSErik
Strange, Mark. In our previous discussions you never delineated between moral cause, and justification.
I can't remember my specific discussions with you but I have raised this point many times. I even wrote a little piece about it on my website: http://www.markfrank.me.uk/home/writing/Threequestionsofmetaethics.doc?attredirects=0&d=1 although I am not very happy with it and plan to rewrite it. Even if I had not raised it before would that make it less valid? Mark Frank
Objective morality exists whether Paul Bloom wants to admit it or not. Proof? Steal something from him; cheat him, lie to him, and then ask him (when he angrily confronts you) why he believes that any of these things is inherently wrong. Morals describe how people ought to behave, not how they actually behave. The Bible speaks of having the faculty of conscience; however, it also notes that our consciences can "accuse" us (when we feel guilt about doing something we know is wrong) or "excuse" us (when we delude ourselves into thinking that something isn't wrong when it really is). Barb
Supplemental notes:
Photocount distribution of photons emitted from three sites of a human body - 2006 Excerpt: Signals from three representative sites of low, intermediate and high intensities are selected for further analysis. Fluctuations in these signals are measured by the probabilities of detecting different numbers of photons in a bin. The probabilities have non-classical features and are well described by the signal in a quantum squeezed state of photons. Measurements with bins of three sizes yield same values of three parameters of the squeezed state. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16520060 Strange! Humans Glow in Visible Light - Charles Q. Choi - July 22, 2009 Schematic illustration of experimental setup that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities that vary during the day. B is one fo the test subjects. The other images show the weak emissions of visible light during totally dark conditions. The chart corresponds to the images and shows how the emissions varied during the day. The last image (I) is an infrared image of the subject showing heat emissions. http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/006/481/original/090722-body-glow-02.jpg?1296086873 http://www.livescience.com/7799-strange-humans-glow-visible-light.html Exodus 34:29-30: "Moses didn't realize as he came back down the mountain with the tablets that his face glowed from being in the presence of God. Because of this radiance upon his face, Aaron and the people of Israel were afraid to come near him." ’2nd face’ on Shroud points to supernatural origin – April 2010 Excerpt: The researchers, in other words, found a “doubly superficial” face image on both the front and back sides such that “if a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle.” The shroud, therefore, they concluded, was not created by paint soaking through the linen or by a photographic image printing through to the reverse side, because the front and back facial images are not identical and the center fibers show no image creation whatsoever. Fanti and Maggiolo concluded the shroud image was created by a “corona discharge,” understood as a radiant burst of light and energy that scorched the body image of the crucified man on the topmost fibers of the shroud’s front and back sides, without producing any image on the centermost of its linen fibers. “Imagine slicing a human hair lengthwise, from end to end, into 100 long thin slices; each slice one-tenth the width of a single red blood cell,” writes Daniel Porter, editor of ShroudStory.com. “The images on the Shroud of Turin, at their thickest, are this thin.” Fanti and Maggiolo found the faint image of the face on the reverse side of the shroud contained the same 3-D information contained in the face and body image of the crucified man seen on the shroud’s front side. http://www.wnd.com/2010/04/146689/ Matthew 17:1-2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values - Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio - 2008 Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the 'quantum' is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril. http://cab.unime.it/journals/index.php/AAPP/article/view/C1A0802004/271 Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural - December 2011 Excerpt: "The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin," they said. And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: "This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-say-turin-shroud-is-supernatural-6279512.html The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://vimeo.com/34084462 Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Verse and Music:
Philippians 2: 5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Metallica - Nothing Else Matters [Official Music Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj75Arhq5ho
As to this quote from Paul Bloom:
“It would be big news indeed,” writes the Yale Psychology Professor, “if it turned out that the enactment of the Moral Law didn't involve the brain, but exists in a special spiritual realm. But, of course, this isn't the case.”
I agree that it would be 'big news', REALLY BIG NEWS, if the moral law existed in a 'spiritual realm. But exactly how does Professor Bloom conclude that objective morality does not exist in a spiritual realm. Exactly what experiments did he perform to conclude that morality 'emerged' from some material basis? As you pointed out Dr. Hunter, Darwinists cannot even account for the origin of a single protein much less a single neuron of the brain. And despite Dr. Bloom's unsupported assumption that morality is merely an illusion that magically emerged from material, I have done a bit of research and have found, as shocking as it may be to a materialist such as Professor Bloom, that morality does indeed exist in what may be properly termed a 'spiritual realm':
Objective Morality: Is It A Tangible Part Of Reality? Excerpt: the following study, completely contrary to what atheists/materialists would presuppose beforehand, shows that morality is embedded on a much deeper ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, quantum level of the universe (and humans). Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared. http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/views/TimeFlies.html As well, the following experiment, from Princeton, is very interesting in that it was found that ‘perturbed randomness’ precedes a worldwide ‘moral crisis’: Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007 Mass Consciousness: Perturbed Randomness Before First Plane Struck on 911 – July 29 2012 Excerpt: The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened – but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.,, Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers. ‘It’s Earth-shattering stuff,’ says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the ‘black box’ phenomenon. http://www.network54.com/Forum/594658/thread/1343585136/1343657830/Mass+Consciousness-+Perturbed+Randomness++Before+First+Plane+Struck+on+911 Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research - Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena - publications http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BhgtPC364n2iAwrO4jhyfW1SOZT6qwoEFrA2J7PNnHk/edit
There is simply no coherent explanation that a materialist/atheist can give as to why morally troubling situations are detected prior to our becoming fully aware of them or before they even happen. The materialist/atheist simply has no beyond space and time cause to appeal to to explain why the phenomena should happen! Whereas as a Theist, especially as a Christian Theist who believes that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay for our sins, I would fully expect that morality, especially since I hold morality to be ‘objective’, would have such a deep, ‘spooky’, beyond space and time, effect since, of course, I hold that God, who is morally perfect, upholds the universe in its continued existence and I also hold that we have ‘transcendent souls’, created by God, in His image, that are able to sense and interact with the perfect objective morality of God. That a transcendent, beyond space and time, component is now found within humans is noted here:
Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA - Elisabeth Rieper - short video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/ Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff - video (notes in description) http://vimeo.com/29895068
Folks, little more than yet another lab coat clad lap around the direct implications of a priori ideological materialism, that render it inherently amoral and radically relativist. Boiled down, unless a worldview has a foundational IS that can bear the weight of OUGHT, it inherently cannot found objective morality and runs into trouble with things like how it is self-evidently wrong, immoral, wicked and evil to kidnap, torture, rape and murder a child. (The evo mat advocates will spin, sing, dance and spew squid-ink rhetorical clouds to escape behind but cannot straightforwardly address something like that -- as we saw only a few weeks ago, right here at UD.) Meanwhile, ENV's Egnor reports on Coyne et al misrepresenting Libet's neurological signs of the self vetoing impulses to act. KF kairosfocus
Strange, Mark. In our previous discussions you never delineated between moral cause, and justification. TSErik
#2 OldArmy94
I would like to ask the good professor a simple question–if I woke-up this morning with a homicidal desire, and I carried it out by murdering Paul Bloom, then finished off the main course by raping his wife, would he have a moral ground to object to my actions?
This comment comes round about every two weeks. You are confusing the cause of moral behaviour (which is what Bloom was discussing) with its justification. The two are closely related but not the same. To give an analogy. You can justify your belief that the sun will rise tomorrow on many grounds - past experience, understanding of cosmology, authoritative sources. But it is a different question to ask what makes you into the kind of animal that accepts those justifications - which may be your education, genes etc. What it is that makes you into that kind of animal does affect the validity of the justifications. Mark Frank
Any time I am confronted with these types of arguments against morality or moral truths, I think of a powerful short film: Cruel Logic TSErik
I would like to ask the good professor a simple question--if I woke-up this morning with a homicidal desire, and I carried it out by murdering Paul Bloom, then finished off the main course by raping his wife, would he have a moral ground to object to my actions? It would seem to me that my desire is just as hardwired by the hand of evolution as his desire to conduct research and write about his findings. His entire life's work would have no more meaning or relevance than my moment of murderous passion, and while he may feel a visceral disgust and anger at the thought, he truly has no right or standing to object. OldArmy94
I took a look at Bloom's personal home page, and he is quite the self-assured intellectual, apparently. As Dr. Hunter pointed out in his commentary, people like Paul Bloom are amusing in their hypocrisy. They pontificate, voice outrage and huff and puff until they are blue in the face, all the while failing to recognize that their entire body of work is meaningless drivel. They are walking, talking self-contradictions wrapped in a tangled mess of worthless words. It actually is more sad than amusing, though, for instead of using his God-given abilities to think, he espouses nonsense in a scholarly manner and wastes the incredible talents he possesses. OldArmy94

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