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Offlinemrfreedom
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Registered: 11/22/01
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Do Basic Human Morals Exist
    #639795 - 05/22/02 12:45 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

The choice of my arguments stems around "cultural arrogance". I have used EXTREME topics to make a point about UNDERLYING MORAL PREMISES.
I DID NOT choose these topics to cause a rift or to engage in an "i'm right; you're wrong" debate. I am not saying that I am not wrong or that my logic is not erroneous. But, it would be nice if the topics themselves were only used as debate tools. I said it would be nice, but I do know where I am posting this so I make room for that occasion.
What am I talking about?
Read on.

Yes, basic human morals do exist. Condemnation of cultures outside of "yours"(meaning, anybody elses), is "cultural arrogance"; more precisely, cultural IGNORANCE. It is when we are practicing "cultural ignorance" that we fail to look beyond the, cultural differences, and, using our own culture, thrust upon others the mantle of immorality. The nature of the act cannot be said to be immoral, if we have not taken into consideration, the cultural differences involved; especialy when we have not examined the act in light of cultural differences.

A simple example: Has anybody visited Japan? How about those bathrooms? This is an expcert from a young japanese woman:

"In Japan, we have two bathrooms in the common house, the place you use the bathroom ("toire"), and the place you take a baths or showers ("ofuro"). These two are in separate rooms. The "Toire" room is usually very small, with only the toilet and the sink you wash your hands in. "Ofuro" usually has bathtub (deeper and smaller than Western style bathtub), and the space that you wash your body.
The Japanese toilet is usually "squat" style, but more and more houses tend to have Western-style toilet. Even if the house is old and has a squat style toilet, there are ways to have construction done to let you have a Western-style toilet instead of the Japanese style. If construction is done, we Japanese buyers no longer suffer from sore legs because of squatting for extended periods of time, or leg pains when we have leg problems
In Japan, not only the bathrooms at home are different, but Japanese public restrooms have differences from American ones. Even though many toilets in Japanese homes today have adopted the Western-style toilet, Japanese-style toilets seem more common in public restrooms. Since Japanese people are used to squatting, they do not want to touch the same toilet as other people. Also, Japanese public bathrooms usually do not supply bathroom tissue or paper towels, people usually bring some small tissues and a handkerchief. If you forgot to prepare, do not worry, there is usually a tissue vending machine in front of the bathroom. As for handkerchief, many men and some women just let their hands dry by shaking them which is what the Japanese call "Shizen Kansoo"(natural dry).

You can read the rest here:

http://www.geocities.com/miyuki4911/frame1.html

But I hardly think that how one uses a bathroom relays a "basic human moral", but it does speak to the, less thought of, cultural differences. So, if you have a Japanese guest, don't be "culturaly arrogant", if you know that that bathroom was out of toilet paper; she just came prepared.

How about a HARD and complicated example, of the underlying basic human morals, that all cultures share; it's hard to find them, because we fail to look deeply at the problem. We, mostly westerners, fail to look beyond our initial outrage, shock and disgust, to find the basic premise that underlies the action that shocked us.

Lets consider this argument:
Infantacide is a moraly repugnant, reprehensible act, that should not be condoned under ANY circumstances. Further, that while abortion is legal and cases arise where one may have to choose between the mother and the unborn, once the baby is born, it is morally wrong to kill it. Those cultures that persist in infantacide CANNOT make a case for moral justification, and there is no UNDERLYING, basic human moral premise.

I will include my counter argument at the end of my case scenarios.

For the sake of argument, in a very narrow definition, and excluding the relevance of a religous or personal value, lets consider that, for WESTERNERS, EARLY TERM abortion is a moral act. Understandably, there are those for which abortion is never going to be a moral act. I am sure that there are a few extremists (this is not a negative term; simply descriptive when compared to the median), given the option of dying pregnant or aborting and living, would, happily, choose to die. Insofar as the supreme court has ruled abortionis , at the very least, legal AND that women do have abortions(I live in the US, so my argument is from an obviously western view point); I am more inclined to judge the morality on the circumstances involved.

My argument will contend that, since I am a man, I will never have to make this choice. As such, and being a firm believer in liberty without the interference of the "MORAL majority", I can only conclude that what a woman does with her life and body must be between her, her circumstances, her family and her God.

Let's consider some simplistic scenarios and see if we can postulate the underlying basic moral premise.

(in some cases, I have PURPOSELY chosen extreme scenarios where the act COULD be moral to some basic religious doctorines)

Scenario one:
Doc: Mrs. Smith, you don't have the flu; you're pregnant.
MS: How can that be? I'm 47 years old.
Doc: Mrs. Smith, your age is not the deciding factor as to whether a woman MIGHT become pregnant. You are sexualy active and you have viable eggs.
MS: Well, I guess another suprise is in order for my husband.
Doc: But, your age does increase the odds of some birth defects and that is what I would like to talk to you about. Mrs. Smith, the sonogram and blood tests revealed some abnormalities, I would like to do an amniocentesis.

The amnio reveals, coupled with a later sonogram, severe spinal defects and downs syndrome; Mrs. Smith chooses surgical abortion.

Scenario two:(incestuous rape)
Doc: Mrs. Smith, you don't have the flu: you're pregnant.
MS: I see; what are my options, for abortion.
Doc: You are only at day 32 so your options would include RU-486, herbal abortion or surgical abortion.

Mrs. Smith, decides that an herbal abortion would be the safest for her.

Scenario three:(Gaucher's disease)
Doc: Mrs. Smith; you're pregnant.
MS: I know, I tested myself.
Doc: Mrs. Smith, we did some tests. I am afraid that your baby has type 2 Gaucher's disease.
MS: Can I carry it to full term?
Doc: While you probably can, the prognosis of life expectancy, for a baby born with type2 is less than 2 years.
MS: What are my options for abortion?
Doc: It is to late for a chemical option, I would suggest a surgical abortion.

After getting a second opinion, Mrs. Smith chooses to end her pregnancy.

Now, lets examine some scenarios where the culture engages in "infantacide".
(again, I must caution you, I am writing from a western view, I have no direct experiences to draw upon for these particular scenarios; just some research and pondering)

Scenario four:
The oldest woman in the village is with child, her husbands, contrive to get her the necessary herbs to end her pregnancy, but there is a drought and there are no herbs to be found. So, the pregnancy goes full term. When labor commences the village healer goes with the woman; to aid her in giving birth. The labor is very long, and the woman is near death when the infant finaly emerges. Upon seeing the baby, the healer, notices severe deformitys in the infants spine and distinct facial anomilys that she has seen before. Before the mother can regain conciousness, the healer, takes the infant outside, smashs it's head with a stone and buries it; telling the women later that the infant was born dead.

Scenario five:(incestuous rape)
A young woman comes to the village healer and confesses that she is with child. The village healer tells the woman's parents that, the woman suffers from an illness, the illness can be treated, but requires the young woman to journey weeks away to find the right herbs. The young woman travels to a village far away from hers, and lives with a relative of the healer. The pregnancy is without difficulty and the birth is easy. Two days into her journey back home, the young woman leaves the infant to the whims of nature, and arrives healthy and without the infant.

Scenario six:(galactosemia)
A new bride comes to the village healer, she is pregnant, and wishes counsel. The healer asks which of her husbands is the father. The woman answers that she is not sure, but doubts it could be her second husband, she uses herbs when she is with him; as the healer recommended. The pregnancy is normal, the labor not terribly difficult. After the infant is born, the healer puts the infant on the mothers breast, the mother hurriedly examines the infant. Noticing a distinct birth mark, the woman sighs, hands the infant back to the healer, saying, this is my second husbands child . The healer takes the infant outside, smashs its head with a rock and buries it.

We have six scenarios in which abortion or infantaside is the end result. What is the underlying basic moral premise? Yes, I have left out, "critical, need to know, information". I will now give you that information so that the scenario's, first having been read without that information, can now be looked at with a thought to our cultural bias. By, removing our cultural bias, the underlying moral premise can be determined.

Let's use the facts at hand. (scenario)One, the typical tests have ascertained that the child would be badly crippled and lack the capacity to ever live on it's own. As well, the child, having downs syndrome, would most likely be mentaly retarded. The life the child would lead would be that of an automaton, no response to reality, no ability to comprehend the world around it and many surgerys for it's spinal abnormalitys would result in complete paralysis. The womans decision to abort would seem to make sense. Her decision would be to prevent needless suffering, as well as, assuming here, use of resources. Who is to say that her family can afford the care to keep the child alive and healthy?

Now, compare the cultural differences in scenario four and see if we can find the underlying moral premise. The, basic cultural differnces, in these two scenario's is, of course, one of technology. Had the village healer had access to amniocentesis, the infant could have been aborted very early in the pregnancy. Take that lack of technology further. Can a village so lacking in technology ever be able to meet the needs of this infant? The village most certainly cannot hope to repair the spinal deformities, the child will most likely die from infections from open areas on it's back.

The underlying moral premise, in these cases are the same: the child would not survive for long; the childe would die a slow painful death; should it survive, it's life would be without meaning; the child would suffer greatly in both cases; hence: abortion is a moral act to prevent suffering, infantacide is a moral act to prevent suffering.

The cultural differences are what make this a dillema for westerners. We have access to technologies that allow early detection of severe birth defects; others don't. We also have technologies that allow for surgical abortion, whereby, we can ensure the mother survives if a chemical or herbal abortion is incomplete.

Let's compare scenario two and five. I left out the critical component, namely, that both women were victims of incestuous rape by their fathers. In the first case, the case was a huge media bonanza, her name was plastered all over the front pages as well as her whole life. Along with the very probable genetic problems that can come from this type of coupling, there is also the matter of her phsychological health. She knows that this is a child that she will never love, the child will, one day, find out about it's conception; what then? For her own life, she aborts the pregnancy.

We can now look at the fifth scenario in light of this new information. Of course this scenario parallels the second. The difference, again being, the lack of thechnology to end the pregnancy early. Further, in this culture, the rape victim is the one to blame; she didn't fight hard enough. if she gets pregnant, she and the child are killed by the village. She chose her life over her babys.

The underlying moral premise is that, a pregnancy, not chosen, or the result of rape is acceptable to end.

The last scenario's, three and six, are a bit difficult to ascertain the cause for. I chose to specify a genetic disease that is incurable and can readily be screened for in our culture. In the second one, I left out what knowledge the healer and mother had that led them to their decision. In scenario three, the child would live, but, for only 2 years. The choice for abortion is again used.
In scenario six, the second husband has a prominant birth mark, the child also has this birth mark. The knowledge possesed by the healer and passed on to the mother, was that if, the mother and second husband had a child, the child would die because it had an illness that could not be healed. The mother and the second husband being carriers of (something) that, in combination, always manifests itself in children born from this coupling.

The underlying moral premise is that the child will suffer greatly and then die; there is nothing to do to prevent this.

I can already here your arguments: "So what, abortion is legal, I don't like it but it is legal so it can be said to be moral; maybe. But, killing another human being, even to end it's suffering or to protect anothers life cannot be a moral action".

If this was your first thought then you completely forgot to look beyond your cultural arrogance. Considering the lack of technology, how can the second set of women get safe abortions? Don't they have the right to live? By what underlying moral premise can we defend the position that the second set of women acted in an moral way?

The underlying moral premise is this:

If abortion is a moral action, in a particular scenario, then it follows that infantacide, in that same scenario, is moral. The lack of sophisticated technology is a cultural bias. Not to be harsh, but if you can't end the pregnancy, then the only option is to bear the child and then kill it.

It is just a matter of degree, or a matter of a few months really, that determines whether we consider an act, in this case abortion vs. infantacide, moral or immoral.



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Offlinemoongoddess
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #639835 - 05/22/02 03:07 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

human morals are not brought on by god or fate although i do believe in fate/destiny you make yourself into the kind of person you want to be anyone aggree?

Fate does exist but you are your own person!
Fate does exist but you still shape the human being that you are!
Fate runs everything!




Votes accepted from (12/31/69 07:00 PM) to (No end specified)
View the results of this poll



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Anonymous

Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #639947 - 05/22/02 06:57 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

If abortion is a moral action, in a particular scenario, then it follows that infantacide, in that same scenario, is moral. The lack of sophisticated technology is a cultural bias. Not to be harsh, but if you can't end the pregnancy, then the only option is to bear the child and then kill it.

I reluctantly agree with your conclusion, with one exception. In scenario 5, "the young woman leaves the infant to the whims of nature." This is somewhat like what the Spartans would do with infants that they thought may be unfit to live. By leaving a child to the elements, this may provide some moral 'wiggle room' where an individual is (technically) not killing the child. This may also serve to assuage their guilt (though I fail to see a real difference because of the intent).


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: moongoddess]
    #639968 - 05/22/02 07:16 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

human morals are not brought on by god or fate
I agree with this first part.


Your poll is a false dilemma... I've modified it a bit.

How about this:
Fate does exist but you still shape the human being that you are!
(I really don't understand this -Sclorch)
Fate runs everything!
Fate does not exist-
determinism is not a viable option for a free-thinking individual like yourself.





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View the results of this poll



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Offlinemrfreedom
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: ]
    #640478 - 05/22/02 01:38 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I agree, the reluctance to take a life can be a prime motivator for how we act, even in considering a moral action.

The scenario's I put together to quite some time. I know that I started writing the post in answer to an argument on another site at about 9:30pm and, as you can plainly see, I didn't post until 4:45am. I tried, as best as my limited skills allow, to limit any logical errors while allowing that there can be some rebuttal.
I have tried to make this point before using, less well developed, scenario's. I think I hope to achieve a point at which we can discuss basic human morals using this model for a discussion basis. It is complex, I know, I wrote it. But the results lend themselves to argument/discussion as well as contradictory scenario's that could establish the basic human moral, in this case, is decidely immoral. I have no wish to present that argument; I'll leave it to someone with a brighter mind than mine.

BTW; what is with the polls? I'm not saying don't post them, I have learned my lesson in this matter; do what you like. It just seemed that they have nothing to do with basic human morals, they have to do with fate; and that is most definitely NOT the topic.

Was I obtuse? Did I fail to give adequate explanation as to the topic? Seriously, I have done this before. I write something without understanding the post from the broad spectrum of the board I am posting it on. Did I err again in the basic premise I was trying to show?


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Anonymous

Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #640541 - 05/22/02 02:40 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

BTW; what is with the polls? ...It just seemed that they have nothing to do with basic human morals, they have to do with fate; and that is most definitely NOT the topic.
I felt it was a veering quite a bit off topic myself. Perhaps it has something to do with mushroom use affecting people's perceptions.


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Offlinejono
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #640665 - 05/22/02 05:15 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

"The underlying moral premise, in these cases are the same: the child would not survive for long; the childe would die a slow painful death; should it survive, it's life would be without meaning; the child would suffer greatly in both cases; hence: abortion is a moral act to prevent suffering, infantacide is a moral act to prevent suffering."

If the underlying moral premise is to prevent suffering, then you must also agree with euthanasia. But what all these cases do assume, is that the unborn child is less morally considerable than the human adult. That is, the unborn foetus is not a human being! This presents serious issues in how we value human life. What if the unborn child, is a human person, with the same moral considerability as a human adult, then its killing is being advocated simply on the basis that it is deformed, or will suffer. We certainly do not kill human adults on that basis! (this is the conservative position, that I dont advocate, but am simply suggesting, in light of the argument.) If you want the above argument to be valid then you have to include (with reasons) that the unborn child is less morally considerable than a human adult (or the mother), and give reasons. Michael Tooley ('Abortion and Infaniticide" Philosophy and Public Affairs Vol 2, 1972) does so on the basis that a unborn human child while being humanoid in form, is not a Person- in that it deserves less moral considerability because it is not self-concious or aware of itself through time. I think this is a valid argument that satisfies our intuitions.

"The underlying moral premise is that, a pregnancy, not chosen, or the result of rape is acceptable to end."

Another underlying premise again left out, is that the child is less deserving of moral considerability than the human adult. Another philosopher, Judith Jarvis Thomson ("A Defense of Abortio" Philsophy and Public Affairs Vol 1 1971) on this very case uses an interesting analogy of the "violinist". Consider this example, you wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconcious violinist. A famous unconcious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the society of music lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinists circulatory system was pluged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hosptial now tells you "Look we're sorry that the society of music lovers did this to you without your consent - we would never have permitted it had we known. But still it has been done, and if you unplugg the violinist he will be killed, but he will be recovered from this ailment in 9 months, and you can unplugg him then and he will live."
Do you think that it would be morally right to unplugg the violinist? Would you personally unplugg the violinist? I know it would be a very very difficult decision to make.


"If abortion is a moral action, in a particular scenario, then it follows that infantacide, in that same scenario, is moral. The lack of sophisticated technology is a cultural bias. Not to be harsh, but if you can't end the pregnancy, then the only option is to bear the child and then kill it.
It is just a matter of degree, or a matter of a few months really, that determines whether we consider an act, in this case abortion vs. infantacide, moral or immoral."

The above argument is not exactly correct. It does not necessarily follow that if abortion is a moral action, that infanticide is a moral action. What the argument to do with abortion comes down to is one disintction; Whether or not a human foetus is a human person deserving of the same moral considerability as a human adult. If it is a human person, at what point does it attain this status (ie how many days into the pregnancy, from the moment of conception, whatever). It seems like it attains the status of human person intuitively in the 3rd trimester, and at that point it is wrong to kill it. So before that period it is morally permissable to kill it, without committing infanticide.

-Just a thought

Cheers,
Jono.


--------------------
Our problem results from acting like cowboys on a limitless frontier when in truth we inhabit a living spaceship with a finely balanced life-support system." David C. Korton


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #641030 - 05/22/02 10:57 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

It just seemed that they have nothing to do with basic human morals, they have to do with fate; and that is most definitely NOT the topic.

Actually... fate has alot to do with morals. I was nipping a possible tangential argument in the bud. If we are bound by fate, morals are essentially meaningless- if we cannot do (or choose to do) anything differently than what we are actually doing (ie. fate), then morals (which imply the ability to choose) mean nothing. Sorry if this was not explained... I wasn't replying to the thread's original topic per se, just some stray comment (whose author didn't recognize the assumption of free will implied by the word 'moral').

As for the actual discussion... I don't (yet?) have a solid moral calculus, I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and do what feels (what I intuit) right.


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Offlinejono
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: Sclorch]
    #641057 - 05/22/02 11:50 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Sclorch, im inclined to disagree.
Fate has to do with responsibility, but not necessarily morality.
As far as fate is concerned, the reason we hold people responsible for their actions is the famous "ought implies can / could have done otherwise" distinction. That is, if someone carried out an action that we dissapprove of, we hold them accountable because we believe that they could have done otherwise. In this case fate could definitely rule out being held responsible for an action.

Morality on the other hand, if defined in an objective sense (that is a fact about the world), could still exist alongside fatalism. That is someone could murder a man (which is an objectively morally wrong action), and thus have committed an immoral act. The fact that he was fated to do the action, and unable to do otherwise could negate responsibility for his actions, but not detract from the fact that what he did was wrong.

Cheers,
Jono.


--------------------
Our problem results from acting like cowboys on a limitless frontier when in truth we inhabit a living spaceship with a finely balanced life-support system." David C. Korton


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Invisibleraytrace
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: ]
    #641192 - 05/23/02 04:25 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Actually, the Spartans were throwing over a cliff the male infants that had disabilities or were generally unfit for the army (!).

I think some basic human morals do exist, but that does not imply that in any case there is an absolute moral right or wrong, at least it cannot be easily identified. I certainly don't believe that what the majority believes to be moral is actually moral.

The examples brought forth by mrfreedom where indeed very interesting and while I tend to agree, I would definitely had some very hard time to actually kill a baby. The ?whims of nature? option shouldn?t really be there, better to decide and take responsibility.


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Anonymous

Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: raytrace]
    #641293 - 05/23/02 06:58 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Actually, the Spartans were throwing over a cliff the male infants that had disabilities or were generally unfit for the army (!).
Damn, I just read my version the other day on the internet. See how stories change with retellings, I guess that explains the accuracy of the Bible.


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Offlinemrfreedom
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: jono]
    #641342 - 05/23/02 07:59 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Sorry, I tried to post this last night and the board wasn't available.
Well, polls are like politicians, who are like assholes; everyone should have one and wipe the shit off of it once and a while.

Point, counter point arguments wear me out, but that seems to be the flavor of most debtes these days, so I will continue in that strain. This is NOT a shot at anyone that uses this method; just that I find point by point argument, mostly, lends itself to extraordinarily minute arguments. Those arguments where the basic premises are well understood and accepted. Once you have the basic premises accepted then the point/counter point becomes the most useful in determining the conclusions; and that is where I like to be. Premises, founded on sound reasoning, can often lead to VERY lively debate on conclusionary matters.
Be that as it may; here is my point/counter point, insofar as I understand it.

Jono:
"If the underlying moral premise is to prevent suffering, then you must also agree with euthanasia."

By definition "euthanasia" is: the killing of a human or animal suffering from an incurable disease.
So, yes, infantacide could, certainly, be re-named "euthanasia".

"But what all these cases do assume, is that the unborn child is less morally considerable than the human adult. That is, the unborn foetus is not a human being!"
"If you want the above argument to be valid then you have to include (with reasons) that the unborn child is less morally considerable than a human adult (or the mother), and give reasons. "

Yes these cases ALL assume that the unborn/infant has less value than the mother; this is one of the BASIC PREMISES. I thought I made the basic premises, intuitavely clear, obviously I did a poor job, let's clear it up. DO NOT confuse the BASIC PREMISES with the BASIC HUMAN MORAL that underlies the act of abortion/infantacide. The basic premises are those that make the argument logically valid. If ones basic premises are invalid then the entire argument is invalid ie. 2=2 basic premise, if this premise is logically valid I can conclude that 2+2=4; if 2 is NOT equal to 2 then the conclusion that 2+2=4 HAS to be INVALID.
I stated my basic premise thusly:

"For the sake of argument, in a very narrow definition, and excluding the relevance of a religous or personal value, lets consider that, for WESTERNERS, EARLY TERM abortion is a moral act. Understandably, there are those for which abortion is never going to be a moral act. I am sure that there are a few extremists (this is not a negative term; simply descriptive when compared to the median), given the option of dying pregnant or aborting and living, would, happily, choose to die. Insofar as the supreme court has ruled abortions, at the very least, legal AND that women do have abortions(I live in the US, so my argument is from an obviously western view point); I am more inclined to judge the morality on the circumstances involved.

My argument will contend that, since I am a man, I will never have to make this choice. As such, and being a firm believer in liberty without the interference of the "MORAL majority", I can only conclude that what a woman does with her life and body must be between her, her circumstances, her family and her God."

I PURPOSELY stated my premise as being ASSUMED true. If I had not, then I would have been engaging in a different argument; that argument being the morality of abortion. This is NOT my argument, my argument is that underlying human morals exist between all cultures. The reason we don't see these human moral principles is because of cultural differences. Let me be clear, I HAVE NOT PROVEN my BASIC PREMISES.
I have STATED them, I have stated that in this scenario, under these basic premises, that what follows is logically sound. How could one make the case that aboriton and infantacide share an UNDERLYING HUMAN MORAL without that value assumption being true?
There is a case for abortion to be considered immoral, if such were to be true, then my conclusions would be FALSE. But, having engaged in the debate on this very thing, abortion being moral/immoral, I wished to eliminate that argument from consideration.
The debate at hand is underlying human morals; I simply chose this topic for it's level of difficulty.(I would clasify it as a 4; on a 5 scale) If those, involved on either side of the issue can set aside their belief/assumption of THIS example, just think how easy it will be for those people to look at different cultures and see the human morals that might exist between all of us.
So, I don't have to prove my basic premise, because, one; I STATED it as the basic premise to be accepted as true. Two, I had/have no intention of trying to prove such a basic premise in this post, it would take years and it still wouldn't matter if argument was correct or wrong, there are still people that would dismiss it.

"The above argument is not exactly correct. It does not necessarily follow that if abortion is a moral action, that infanticide is a moral action. What the argument to do with abortion comes down to is one disintction; Whether or not a human foetus is a human person deserving of the same moral considerability as a human adult"

Here, you begin to make a point from the argument in your second sentence. My position is that it DOES follow that, IF abortion is moral, then infantacide is moral. The argument is NOT about whether the fetus is a person, the argument is "does it follow, ASSUMING ABORTION IS MORAL, that infantacide is moral" and, if this is the case, what is the underlying human moral?

Jono, I see you're trying, you are just, IN PART, argueing a different argument than I am.
Try this, make an argument for this statement that you made, without changeing my STATED basic premise.
"It does NOT necessarily follow that if abortion is a moral action, that infantacide is a moral action"
This statement, by you , shows that you have the ability to grasp the most minute moral principle that I have tried to show. SO, go with that statement, try to prove that infantacide, even considering cultural differences as an explanation, is not moral.
I await your response.
ps. considering that I have spent much time (years of arguing this subject, in various ways) I expect it will take you a couple of days to reply.


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Offlinemrfreedom
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: Sclorch]
    #641354 - 05/23/02 08:10 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Schlorch and Jono appear to have it correct. Where fate is the measure morality is meaningless. One could take this argument to the extreme and eliminate all laws as faulty in the assumption of free will and morality. Fate doesn't allow for free will so no moral objection can be expressed.

Yes, this is a VERY hard combinations of scenarios to argue with. The acts can ONLY be moral IF abortion is moral. It is also a good structure to explore other areas where culutaral distinctions hide the basic human moral; and that is my intention. Find something that westerners consider moral/immoral, find a cultural example, where the lack of technology covers the morality of the act, then find the ONLY CASE where that ACT can be moral. This leads to, later proofs or substancial lack, of the BASIC PREMISES.
By this method, one can determine when an act CANNOT be moral in ANY CULTURE OR CONTEXT.
I find it kind of fun. Sure beats the hell out of arguing whether God exists or if the "invisible man" is just a childrens fable.


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #641396 - 05/23/02 08:56 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Find something that westerners consider moral/immoral, find a cultural example, where the lack of technology covers the morality of the act,

I think understanding where the locus of selection (this is only slightly abstract in relation to this topic) is in different cultures (I would say less civilized, but... maybe slightly primitive cultures) would help out in these matters. When an extra mouth doesn't come with an extra pair of working hands, it is a burden that makes life harder for the individual's family (at least). In our culture, it would be like owning a car that can't take you anywhere (the car doesn't fill its role), but you still have to feed it gas and oil. Nobody in our culture would even think about keeping (or maintaining) a vehicle that is beyond repair but costs the same as a regular car that does work like it is supposed to.

Basically, our morals wouldn't apply to a more primitive culture, because the role of people is not the same in both cultures.


--------------------
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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #641424 - 05/23/02 09:18 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

a little physiology into the mix...
the implantation of the fertilized egg/blastula into the uterine wall to develop into embryo/fetus/baby is a rather chancey business at best...
gametal fusion
implantation
proper development
hormone symphony to prevent expulsion (natural abortion = miscarriage) (it takes a lot of convincing to stop mama's body from kicking out this lump of "other" ASAP...)
and then the full nine month ride from tiny lump of protoplasm to miniature human being safely squeezed down the ol' vaginal canal...
~
if one views life to begin at conception (~ = fertilization) then the number one abortionist is nature (or god, if you go that route) since the majority of fertilized eggs don't make it past the first couple hurdles...
~!
then there are some contemporary cultures in which female infants are routinely abandoned to the wilds...
~
compare earthly competitive rituals to those of martian culture (see heinlein's _red planet_ & the related opus _stranger in a strange land_, with dribbles of commentary & deleted text to be found in _grumbling from the grave_ )
~
"but aren't you worried about playing god?"
"i am god; and so is the chump i eliminated..."
~
cosby's dad: "i brought you into this world, & i can take you right out of it; and then make another one just like you..."
~
but isn't the temptation to kill the li'l bastids strongest when they are in their teenaged years, anyway? that's what i have generally found to be true... fwiw... ymmv...


--------------------
old enough to know better
not old enough to care


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OfflineChikhai
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #641489 - 05/23/02 10:15 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I'm wondering what exactly the term "moral" means to you. Is a "moral" act an act that makes one feel ok, safe, secure, powerful, happy? Does an "immoral" act cause a person to feel remorseful, angry, or anxious? While one see's an act as being immoral, another see's it as nothing but moral.

There are an infinite amount of scenarios to get across what I'm saying, but the jist of it is no one can decide what is immoral or moral for another, we can only decide for ourselves. We all have our own private little worlds, and each little world has it's own set of rules which we create. My rules are not your rules, even if we share a good majority of them.

To decide for others whether something is a "moral" or "immoral" act is to press your own book of law onto anothers world. I do believe, however, that humans are presented with a basic "list" of what is right and wrong, however this "list" can be rewritten or removed any time throughout a persons life.

I'm not saying not to have an opinion, because opinions are what help shape our worlds. What I am saying is people (generally speaking, not everyone does this) need to stop thinking that what they think about a certain action is the say all end all on it. Your choice is yours, mine is mine. I will not judge you for what you decide to do simply because everyone has their reasons. Even if I don't understand or like them...

I'm bad at explaining myself, so if this isn't making sense let me know where the holes are and I'll fill them in



--------------------
"I see!" said the blind man to his deaf wife.


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Offlinemrfreedom
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: Chikhai]
    #641705 - 05/23/02 12:34 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Moral, damn, that is a good question. I don't want to get into a free for all about what and what does not constitute moral. So, I will answer that question as it, STRICTLY relates to my question of underlying human morals. An act can be cosiderably moral and yet lead to feeling of hurt, anxiety, confusion, self hatred, remoresful or angry. Acting in a moral way cannot prevent nor control ones feelings. Consider the act of self defense, I know that there are those who would rather die than lift a hand to defend themselves, I am just makeing a simple analogy, not trying to prove that self defense is moral. I defend myself, the nature of the force I have to use leads to anothers death, I am NOT going to be jumping up and down patting myself on the back. I presume that I will have all kinds of mixed feelings about what I did, yet, the act is/was moral.
In this context, moral, is defined as a RIGHT ACTION, or a WRONG ACTION.
To try to define it further would lead us astray, I think.

Now, to your point.
"To decide for others whether something is a "moral" or "immoral" act is to press your own book of law onto anothers world"

Yes, this act would be wrong, immoral even. To make others, by law of force, to conform to your beliefs is something so long taken for granted in this country, that it no longer exists. For instance, can I share my shrooms with a cop? Hell, no; he would arrest me on the spot, not for MY beliefs, but for beliefs legislated by others to ensure I act in accordance with their beliefs.

"I'm not saying not to have an opinion, because opinions are what help shape our worlds. What I am saying is people (generally speaking, not everyone does this) need to stop thinking that what they think about a certain action is the say all end all on it. Your choice is yours, mine is mine. I will not judge you for what you decide to do simply because everyone has their reasons. "

Opinions don't shape the world, or shouldn't, an opinion needs no justification, an opinion needs no MORALS to have it. Morals on the other hand, need justification, they need to be well understood to have any effect on a person; in short, we cannot SUBSTITUTE opinions for moral beliefs, nor can we substitute a religion for a moral belief. Again, a moral act is right or wrong, and one, hopefuly can substantiate a moral belief; one cannot substantieate a religious belief.
My whole point in this excercise was to get people to STOP thinking about why a certain action was IMMORAL and consider it in the light of WHY IS IT MORAL; under what circumstances can this act me considered a moral one?
Everyone does have their "REASON'S"; that's the problem. A reason is NOT a moral, a REASON does not give one license to act in an immoral way; JEFFERY DAHMAR had his REASONS for eating people, I doubt that his reasons could be justifiable.
Do, judge people, you don't have to be harsh about it but you certainly have the right to judge, for yourself, if an action is moral. Further, it is your responsibility to do so, if we abdicate this responsibility then we say to those without morals, that it is ok for you to do what you like because you have your reasons; granted, you and your reasons are going to be a lightning rod in a few years, but, you DID have your reasons.
I WANT you to judge MORALS not people, let's be clear, I don't subscribe to organized religion, when I am judged by people that do have strong religious beliefs, they are judging ME and not my morals. I could be a saint by the book of rules that they have, but if I don't bow down, in their church I might add, then I am a heathen. Simply put, judge the ACTIONS of an individual, do so in the CONTEXT of their culture; what you will find is that we all share, fundamental, human morals.


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Offlinemrfreedom
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: Sclorch]
    #641722 - 05/23/02 12:43 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

No Schlorch, it may be a tiny bit abstract, but it is entirely on topic.
Take heed, I AM NOT ARGUING CULTURAL RELATIVSM.
I assure you, any culture that purports to have sex with animals or small childeren, culture be damned, it is, decidedly, IMMORAL.
I AM saying, look BEYOND the simplicity of the act, JUST AS YOU HAVE, and understand the dillema of the cultural phenomena that makes the act look, on the surface, immoral. I like the car analogy, it is very good at pointing out, the reverse cultural bias. How WESTERNERS would view a car as opposed to other societys greater use of human labor.

I like this post, questions are good, to the point, and noone has accused me of being the, rat bastard, devil worshipping nut bag that I am.

I sure would like to see some bright individual write another post outlineing another fundamental human moral though.


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Offlinejono
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: mrfreedom]
    #642647 - 05/24/02 04:25 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Mr Freedom, I am sorry for missing the point of your article the first time around. It was poor on my behalf to have read it so quickly as to have missed those premises that you assumed.

"I AM NOT ARGUING CULTURAL RELATIVISM"
I do find your argument interesting, but I fail to see how it is not simply Moral Cultural Relativism, disguised with the shroud of "Cultural arrogance" that you are advocating.

"Condemnation of Cultures outside of yours is Cultural Ignorance"
That is cultural relativism. Such a broad claim means basically that the act of any other culture is uncondemable by me or any individual from a different culture. On this account I am unable to understand how you can claim in a later post
" I assure you, any culture that purports to have sex with animals or small childeren, culture be damned, it is, decidedly, IMMORAL."

At one time you contend that the morality of an action is relative to what a specific culture possess (in this case their technology), but at the next say that a culture that engages in sex with animals is decidedly immoral.
What would you say to this case; I am exploring an isolated area of South America, and come across a tribe that has previously never encountered westners of any kind. I further discover that this culture, as part of its primitive religion, approves of men having sex with monkeys and sees no problems with this. By your account, at one minute I would be being "Culturally Ignorant" If I said that the action of this culture is immoral, because I as a Westener consider it immoral. So by your account, if that is what that culture does because it HAS to (as part of its religion, or be condemmed by the forest spirits), then it is morally permissable. At the next breath you say that it is not.
"I AM saying, look BEYOND the simplicity of the act, JUST AS YOU HAVE, and understand the dillema of the cultural phenomena that makes the act look, on the surface, immoral"
My case does look beyond the simplicity of the act, and understands the dillema of the cultural phenomena. Yet your reasoning contends that is immoral from ANY point of view.
Basically at one breath you argue a form of cultural relativism (or adopt a moral subjectivist position) and at the next advocate moral objectivity (that an act can be immoral independant of anyones values)
Im sure you have good reasons for this, And again I may have missed the point, but I leave it to you to make the point clearer, or provide me with those reasons.
I would like to make clear that I am not making a judgement about any of these particular moral views, but simply pointing out that your argument obviously adopts them.

"The nature of the act cannot be said to be immoral, if we have not taken into consideration, the cultural differences involved; especialy when we have not examined the act in light of cultural differences."
This is cultural relativism. I lack the time to go into sufficient detail, but I will give you a number of sources you can read on the matter to make that discovery for yourself.

Benedict, Ruth. "A Defense of Moral of Moral Relativism" from Vice & Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics: Sommers & Sommers Harcourt Brace College Publishers

Midgley, Mary. "Trying Out One's New Sword" From Vice & Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics: Sommers & SOmmers Harcourt Brace College Publishers

(Probably the best source, and most readily available to you is the following)
Williams, Bernard "Interlude: Relativism" from Morality An Introduction to Ethics Cambridge University Publishers


When describing the Westners act of abortion you state "for WESTERNERS early term abortion is a moral act". This is a claim about the moral justifiability of abortion, pre-birth and by this statement it is implicit that infanticide for westners is a morally rephrensible act.
To argue that a similar act by another culture is permissable because of the lack of technology on their behalf, is to argue that a moral action to them is relative to "what" that society possess. Cultural Relativism extends from a cultures values, and these values are influenced by what that culture possess (albeit lack of technology or whatever).

"I assure you, any culture that purports to have sex with animals or small childeren, culture be damned, it is, decidedly, IMMORAL."

By this statement you are assume an objective moral reality. You are assume that an act can be morally rephrensible as a FACT about the world. I dont understand how you can have this view in one minute, and then contend a culturally relative view in the next.


Chikhai said "I'm not saying not to have an opinion, because opinions are what help shape our worlds. What I am saying is people (generally speaking, not everyone does this) need to stop thinking that what they think about a certain action is the say all end all on it. Your choice is yours, mine is mine. I will not judge you for what you decide to do simply because everyone has their reasons. Even if I don't understand or like them..."
I like that an AGREE totally! I like argument because it helps to explore ideas and makes you look at why we think and feel the way we do about various matters. What I dont like is when people take arguments as a personal attack.

Cheers,
Jono.


--------------------
Our problem results from acting like cowboys on a limitless frontier when in truth we inhabit a living spaceship with a finely balanced life-support system." David C. Korton


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Do Basic Human Morals Exist [Re: jono]
    #643030 - 05/24/02 10:12 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

jono-
Your post is the reason I posted this (see above):

I don't (yet?) have a solid moral calculus, I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and do what feels (what I intuit) right.

I think that true absolutes do not exist. Hence I lack a solid moral code. It's all sort of wishy-washy for me. Every time a solid stance is adopted, it just as easily can be ripped apart... if your stance is based on uncertainty, then this thrashing will never happen. It's like that whole thing about the true zen being the unspoken zen. It is intangible and unspeakable because it is uncertain. Language and communication is, in principle, a barrier to the absolute truth. We'll never know it for sure. We'll never be able to speak it for sure. We only have our narrow little perception from which we experience these fleeting glimpses of certainty. That's all I'll ever claim to have. The only proof I have that this is how it is is my own experiential pudding.

Not that this makes any sense...


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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