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Saturday, January 10, 2004

Comments

Ben

Having read Den Beste and you, I find I have to somewhat disagree with Steven's assertion that morality cannot be explained in a realistic fashion. What is needed is an understanding of memetic evolution.

Morality are ideas, specifically ideas about what is "good" behavior, or choices of actions. Ideas have consequences, and those consequences impact our lives and happiness. Morality attempts to construct a system of rules (which again are ideas) governing behavior, the purpose of which to improve our lives and happiness.

Moral systems that succeed better than alternatives, tend to thrive, garner adherents etc. Moral systems that do not promote the lives and happiness of its believers tend to die out, or become marginalized and rare.

Now, I know you will say that religion is the source of morality, and in a way you are right, as well as wrong. No matter what the high priest or God himself says, those rules that get laid down have to operate in the real world. If they don't, the believer either changes the idea, the rules, or dies out, (or joins some other belief structure). So, despite the fact that you are right that moral systems come to us via religion, it is still the real world interactions and feedback on the decision loop that govern whether the moral system, as well as the religion, survives, or whithers and dies.

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