From: micah glasser (email@example.com)
Date: Fri May 12 2006 - 22:49:10 MDT
I believe that "traditional morality" is a part of memetic evolution. Groups
of human beings who are in competition for resources organize their activity
in a more or less efficient manner relative to their respective competitors.
Naturally if an individual in one of these socio-cultural groups refuses to
abide by the code of organization (morality/law/religiouspractice) then the
group will find some way to enforce their will. As time progresses and
cultures evolve through a sequence of cultural replication, extinction, and
mutation, more and more efficient systems of human organization and activity
are realized. So all artifice (including morality) is a part of memetic
natural selection. As such morality must evolve along with man. Asking what
is "moral" and what is ultimately "good" is the most radical of
philosophical questions which may not be answerable.
I act morally because it is in my nature to do so - I am a human being
living in 21st century western civilization and I find myself naturally
sharing the same memetic programming as most others in this civilization.
Also, because of that memetic programing and the genetic gift of rationality
I am able to identify myself with the human species and act toward the
rational goal of preserving my species.
In the end, however, the course of the evolution of the cosmos as been
predetermined. You may be free to choose one action as better than another
but you are not free to choose why you think the telos of that action is
On 5/12/06, David Picon Alvarez <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: <email@example.com>
> > Crockners Rules
> Nice to know. Same apply to me.
> > I've been lurking for a while, and the one thing that has really struck
> > that whilst a (largely commendable) near worship of rationality exists
> > SL4 list, this has a huge blindspot. Everyone cleaves nearly
> > to wider societies superstitious moralism.
> I think you are mistaken. There's quite a variety of opinions on the
> of ethics and morality on the list, from those who believe there is an
> objective morality, to those who, like you, believe that there's nothing
> > 1. Compassion, gene driven animal emotion - evolved to further
> > between people - thus increasing chances of survival.
> Check. Note though that increasing chances of survival is not teleological
> as much as consequential. Id est, compassion and the like appear, to the
> right extent and in the right forms, to have survival value. Perhaps you
> should consider that for a bit.
> > 2. Social conformity - again a gene driven animal instinct.
> Partly gene-driven, probably. Social comformity might also derive from
> culture or reasoned stances.
> > 3. Societal brainwashing.
> I'm not sure I see a disjunction between categories 2 and 3.
> > Morality is completely artificial. Right and Wrong either do not exist,
> > don't matter other than in the qualia that they cause the person who
> > he is acting wrongly/rightly - depending on your exact definition of
> You're assuming qualia matter. That's an interesting yet controversial
> Also completely artificial is an improperly phrased criticism, even if I
> think I know what you mean. Mathematics is, or might be anyway, completely
> artificial. The sciences are completely artificial. Language is completely
> artificial. I'd say these things matter. Artificial is not a signifier of
> worth. More importantly, as you point out above, morality has pretty clear
> genetic bases, which are not artificial (unless evolution is an
> > It could be argued that in some cases, acting morally benefits he/she
> > so due to reciprocity - but this is only in some cases and this course
> > action could be entirely derived from self-interest by moral nihilists.
> How so? A moral nihilist does not believe that any action is preferrable
> any other action in terms of moral content. Why would a moral nihilist
> for cooperative constructive behaviour that benefits individuals?
> Self-interest is as artificial (far more) than evolved morality.
> > Obviously, the first 2 points are a part of us - so suspending ones
> > concerning morality in everyday life may well lead to a happier more
> > fulfilling human life. However, once radical transhuman technologies
> > this will no-longer be nescissarilly true.
> It depends on what ways people choose to self-modify. I would argue that
> some form of ethos is going to have to be kept, unless we want to have
> serious trouble in the mid term. It would probably be a lot cleaner in
> of referential transparency and such than evolved morality, though.
> > As such, when considering/planning posthumanity we should reject
> > morality and embrace moral nihilism. This is as the potential gain of
> > posthumanity (and acting entirely rationally when planning/considering
> it - to
> > ensure the best outcome) far outweighs the positive qualia felt by being
> > compassionate when considering posthumanity.
> This is the imo most misguided part of your post. You've just used a
> Aren't you shooting yourself in the foot?
> Also, I don't clearly see why moral nihilism is a necessary condition for
> post-humanity. (And playing the nihilist's advocate, why we should care
> about the gains (gains? stop the value judgements right there!) of
-- I swear upon the alter of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson
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