Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Larger Evolutionary Based Morality

I am a little hesitant to post secular articles that are half-truths. It can act as an anchor to pull someone closer to the truth but it works both ways. It can frame reality as less than it really is but in that frame it still holds truth. I believe that it is important to understand where the other viewpoint is coming from. The following article actually puts morality into a bigger context for some atheist, and this is a good thing, although it is still an incomplete context.

Here is one quote from the article:

OK, so there are two psychological systems, one about fairness/justice, and one about care and protection of the vulnerable. And if you look at the many books on the evolution of morality, most of them focus exclusively on those two systems, with long discussions of Robert Trivers' reciprocal altruism (to explain fairness) and of kin altruism and/or attachment theory to explain why we don't like to see suffering and often care for people who are not our children.

But if you try to apply this two-foundation morality to the rest of the world, you either fail or you become Procrustes. Most traditional societies care about a lot more than harm/care and fairness/justice. Why do so many societies care deeply and morally about menstruation, food taboos, sexuality, and respect for elders and the Gods? You can't just dismiss this stuff as social convention. If you want to describe human morality, rather than the morality of educated Western academics, you've got to include the Durkheimian view that morality is in large part about binding people together. (Jonathan Haidt, MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF RELIGION)

The article also has some criticism of Dawkins that is interesting and the author himself is an atheist.

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