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In response to Fake Morality
Comment author: Caledonian2 09 November 2007 01:34:02AM 1 point [-]

There's really no downside to letting people use the bathroom more often. It doesn't harm me at all if my neighbor decides to violate the stricture.

If the punishment for murder is removed, or the belief that murder will be punished ceases to be generally retained, then it is entirely likely that my neighbor may wish to murder *me*, and that decision has lots of consequences that concern me greatly.

People who believe that societal indoctrination is necessary to get people to accept certain principles, and that religion is an essential part of that indoctrination, will object to the removal of the threat of god-punishment. Without that threat, they believe societal habit alone won't be enough to keep them safe.

They may be right - when societal controls are relaxed, people act pretty nastily towards each other. Primates are nasty beings.

In response to comment by Caledonian2 on Fake Morality
Comment author: ochopelotas 30 November 2011 07:42:58PM 0 points [-]

God punishment isn't needed, just punishment is. It's simply that God-punishment is more difficult to challenge in the courts.

In response to Fake Morality
Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 08 November 2007 11:06:24PM 13 points [-]

If you think there is a God, you should only regard Its speech about morality as direct evidence (that is, bring your own opinions into correspondence) if you have reason to believe that Its utility function or other moral criteria resemble your own and that It is being honest with you. Natural selection has some goddish properties (such as being our creator), but we don't say regard the outputs of evolutions as evidence because we don't regard inclusive fitness as a good validator of moral arguments. In other words, some particular process being labeled "God" doesn't suddenly create a free ride with respect to moral advice, any more than Suicide Rock.

Comment author: ochopelotas 30 November 2011 07:40:30PM 0 points [-]

True but on the other hand, we're left with moral relativism as you yourself pointed out in your babyeaters parable. The only reasonable thing we can say about morals wrt to any posited God is that morals given by a God are an absolute guideline as defined by a "higher authority".

The systems of laws we have evolved as guidelines today in western countries are not bad in terms of maximization of benefits for most of the population, but they are subject to corruption by free-riders and those who seek to change the rules for their own benefit even if others lose.

Any case, good post.

Comment author: kilobug 16 November 2011 04:47:22PM 3 points [-]

I don't think you got the main point of babyeaters : they don't eat their babies (or let them die) because they don't know how to do otherwise (by lacking the technological skill, or because of suboptimal economy), because they consider it to be the most ethical thing to do.

No sane human will tell you that killing children or letting starve is an ethical thing to do. Some will tell you it's an horrible thing that must be prevented and give to charity to avoid it, some will tell you it's sad but we can't do much. Some may even tell you it's sad but required due to our current technological level. But none will tell you it's a good thing, and that we shouldn't prevent it if we had a sure way to do it. No sane human would actually oppose an alien race offering to save from death all starving human children.

Comment author: ochopelotas 30 November 2011 07:30:39PM -1 points [-]

Agreed