• Wayfarer
    16.7k
    Secular humanism is unavoidably conditioned by underlying prejudices, such as the idea that life is a consequence of blind physical laws. I've read a lot of the literature and it doesn't move me, although it has its place in civil society.
  • Bradskii
    72
    Secular humanism is unavoidably conditioned by underlying prejudices, such as the idea that life is a consequence of blind physical laws.Wayfarer

    How we got here has no impact whatsoever on determining a sense of morality from a secular viewpoint. And 'prejudices'? A position not based on reason? I think not.

    And in any case, the very fact that the term is secular humanism should make it clear that we are discounting any divine imprimatur on moral positions. And if we are not here by divine fiat, then how else did we get here other than a consequence of disinterested physical laws?

    You've two options for morality. Religiously based - hence we were created for a purpose. Or secular. In which case we weren't.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    You've two options for morality. Religiously based - hence we were created for a purpose. Or secular. In which case we weren't.Bradskii

    My case stands.
  • Bradskii
    72
    My case stands.Wayfarer

    'Cept the prejudice bit. Otherwise we agree. Yay for blind physical laws!
  • T Clark
    10.7k
    And yes, it's just a description.Bradskii

    Doesn't seem like you and I disagree much. Things don't have to follow a scientific law, it just so happens they do.
  • Vera Mont
    837
    General question:
    When people talk about "the jungle" and how horrible animals are to one another, they usually cite predators and prey - an then compare that behaviour to humans treating other humans as prey.
    In fact, social animals never treat their own species the way humans do. They may fight over mates and territory; they may kill the offspring of a rival male, but they could never have invented the rack or the electric chair. Human law, religious or secular, has never, until the last couple of centuries, shown much regard for other species - not to the harvesting of food animals, the living conditions of draft animals or fairness in the pursuit of game animals (concepts entirely foreign to a hyena, though hyenas are not paragons of predator virtue).
    I don't see how human law can be compared favourably with natural law.
  • magritte
    505
    I don't see how human law can be compared favourably with natural law.Vera Mont

    Although I don't think you can demonstrate either a universal natural law of animal behavior nor that the laws in your country are the same as in mine, I agree with the gist of your point about people being morally worse than many other social animals when it comes to the treatment of their own kind. One major factor making for the difference is the shift from a fight for survival in animals to competition for higher social standing for people. We are competing for power, money, or prestige in the eyes of other people.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    Can any animals be described as morally worse, or morally better?
  • Vera Mont
    837
    It wasn't a question of better or worse morals; it was a question of unequal comparison. When people compare the Law of the Jungle unfavourably to the Rule of Law, they are comparing how animals treat other species with how we treat our own species. Apples/watermelons.

    So, if you count up the ways a lion can be cruel - to other lions in its own pride, to other lions of competing prides, to other species of predator, to the species on which it preys and to other species that have no significance to him - then you should compare that to the ways in which a human can be cruel to members of his clan, members of his nation, humans in other nations, predators of other species, other species it uses for food, work and entertainment, and other species that have no direct significance to him.

    One major factor making for the difference is the shift from a fight for survival in animals to competition for higher social standing for people.magritte

    You think it's easy becoming top meerkat in a mob or alpha wolf in a pack?
  • magritte
    505
    Can any animals be described as morally worse, or morally better?Wayfarer

    Yes, according to my personal decree of morality, subject to revision but absolute for each judgment of course. Like the baseball umpire's call of balls and strikes. Pigeons that roost on the head of the Teddy Roosevelt statue, and gulls and starlings that aim for pedestrians in a mall have low morals, but male sparrows that throw chicks out of the nest of a competing sparrow are despicable.

    You think it's easy becoming top meerkat in a mob or alpha wolf in a pack?Vera Mont

    I suppose not. Can it be more hopeless than the millions of bank and insurance company clerks working years for a promotion to assistant supervisory manager?
  • Vera Mont
    837
    Can it be more hopeless than the millions of bank and insurance company clerks working years for a promotion to assistant supervisory manager?magritte

    Oh, no. It's far more hopeful and fruitful. Every member of the mob knows exactly how well she's doing in comparison to her sisters and which one is most likely to take over when the matriarch dies. The alpha male will then be her choice among the dominant males. No lies, no illusions; no fake carrots.
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