Logical & Critical Thinking

with Professor Logic

What is Morality and Where Does Morality Come From?

what-is-morality-and-where-does-morality-come-fromWhere does morality come from? To find the answer we can first examine where people once believed morality came from. We will look at the logic structures of both ancient and modern beliefs concerning morality and try to come to a logical conclusion. We will also try to figure out what morality is or at least make an attempt to describe the highest probability for what morality is composed of.

What is Morality?

Morality is the belief or recognition that certain behaviors are either “good” or “bad”. Some morals are very easy to accept and only the fringes of society might question or reject them. These people on the fringes may be good or bad, the mere act of rejecting a socially accepted moral of the time is in no way an  indicator of the persons goodness.

Morality Context Examples

As an example, few would promote murdering little children, there are however a few humans that would do this with no moral qualms. In this case most people consider this bad and evil. In another time slavery was accepted and helping slaves was “immoral” by societies standards. Now, however, helping slaves is a good and moral act in our modern perception. A different example is patriotism, it is often thought of as a good trait, but there are people that question such blind faith.

Moral Overlap and Contradiction

Some morals are harder to accept because they contradict or overlap with other morals. These types of moral situations are at the heart of the greatest debates of our time. Let us take abortion for example, this is an extremely heated topic and you will find that the morality of women’s rights conflicts with babies rights. In cases like these there are usually logical and compelling arguments on both sides in extremes while major ethical and moral dilemas occur in the “gray areas”.

Where does Morality Come From?

demon-god-what-is-moralityMorality, God, and the Devil

The existence of god is not within the scope of this article but we will touch on some questions and philosophical concepts involving a god and morals.

Many people used to and still do believe that morality comes from a god. Some also believe that only good morals are from god and bad morals are from demons, devils, or a singular satan type character. There are deeper logic structures which will call us to question the function of this belief.

If we get our morals from a god, are they moral because a god says they are or because a god is bound by them? This question is the Euthyphro dilema. If a thing is moral because a god says a thing is moral then this god could say that slavery is moral and it would then be good. If god cannot say this then this god is bound by outside moral laws. This would beg the question, where did these morals come from that are conveyed by god? This also brings into question the scope of human reality and philosophical concepts of time.

Animal Social Orders

morality-exists-in-wolvesFrom what I can best gather through my experience and sense data is that morality is a complex structure to maintain social cohesion and enhance survivability among social creatures. It is present in wolf packs and even among savage reptilian crocodiles. Really most anywhere you find social orders of animals you will find acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. For example it is unacceptable for a small crocodile to take food from a larger one, or it is unacceptable for a subordinate wolf to mate over the Alpha wolf. If these things happen then there will be consequences, the smaller crocodile or subordinate wolf will be physically attacked. As with humans if you steal something other humans will try to give you consequences.

So there could be a divine origin to morality but it would likely be involved with genetics and social structures rather than just external lectures. I think it’s important to just realize that morals are a part of genetics and are more complex in higher order mammal social structures.

My Stance on Morality

From the above discussions I think it is safe to assume that the moralities in human society are inherent and internal within us. What I mean is that the mechanism that creates morality is built into our genetics. Morals are subject to a wide range of applications and extremes and some societal moralities can be created from lies and false beliefs. They are subject to change and most are not absolute. What was once moral, for example slavery, is no longer moral today and thus we move on toward a more civil and moral human society.

Helpful Links on Morality


88 Responses to What is Morality and Where Does Morality Come From?

  1. Grungeflannel1990 says:

    Interesting to note that the basic theory of morals is written by an immoral person.

  2. MaxD says:

    I thought this website was called logical-critical-thinking this just seems like a bunch of crap someone pulled out their butts to degrade any belief in a God. If he had logic he’d know no law controls God because God MADE the law… just by that sentence I read I can already tell he made this up.

    • Osato says:

      I Just feel you read it wrong and got offended and of course he made this up its a theoretical notion from his mind and he was simply Saying God would have to e bound by his goodness in order to make a good law so in turn is God but a concept or is he a being because what I get from this is if he is a being he his bound by his qualities but how can God be bound if he is all powerful and that is what makes me afraid to think the answer to life is made even more complex because if he is but a concept created by man then who gave man this intellect unless God is an infinite loop of logic

  3. Jeff Carlisle says:

       Animals do not use any type of moral judgement to make descisions, they use only instinct, and they need no more than that and learned behavior. The “big dog” disciplines the smaller one, who learns to avoid pain, simple and logical.
       The human animal is the same with an important advantage of logic. We have no less instinct, no less need to use learned behavior, we balance them with logic, or reason.

    • Clement says:

      The use of the terms ‘simple & logical’, alone defies your argument that animals do not use moral judgement. For moral judgement is an intellectual and logical process based in our cognitive functions.
      I think they do.

  4. Owrang Moshtael says:

    Where do I start this article is wrong on so many levels. There is a lack of understanding what morality actually is, the animal examples are just ridicilous. I think God WII NOT (rather than CANNOT) say raping is a good thing.

  5. Sheep_86 says:

    YOU sir are the devil. This is the kind of gibberish that will make you burn in hell. Repent now or burn the eternal abyss. 

  6. SeanL says:

    What the hell is he talking about?! God raping and killing babies? This does not make any logical sense and certainly doesn’t answer the question of where do morals come from.

  7. Paul Tran says:

    The examples of wolves and crocodiles are just silly and totally untrue. In the animal kingdom the leader of the pack is constantly challenged by younger members and unless it can maintain its dominance through brute force & power it will be defeated. There’s no inherent morality in the animal kingdom at all. Just look at homosexuality or incest or matricide etc … that goes on continually in the animal kingdom, are we so base that we begin to compare ourselves with other animals ?

  8. Galabon says:

    Was this written by a five year old?

  9. It would have been for the best to leave the simplified argument about God out of the discussion. It’s a more complicated subject and one best avoided by the anti-theist in other pursuits. It undermines the purpose of your site, to get people to learn and use logical and critical thinking, because minds who are indoctrinated into modern conservative and fundamentalist Christian beliefs will shut down every thing you have to say from that point forward.

    So, is this site about logic and critical thinking or damning religion? Because I know theologians who could, within the rules of sound logic, rip your over-simplified argument to shreds. Better to stick to your site’s primarly purpose and lose that text from this article.

    • josephleon9 says:

      Hey David, thanks for the response and advice. I took your critique about the content of the article revised the section about religion. I think you are right when you said that the existence of a deity is not within the scope of this article.

      I tried to remove the topic on divinity as an origin of morals. Instead I pose the idea that regardless of divine origin or not, that morals are still linked to genetics. The believer or non believer can adjust the reasoning behind this on their own.

      • Ixion Tas says:

        It’s interesting to see a purely descriptive account of morality that doesn’t really advertise itself as such. The thrust of your article seems to be not “what is morality and where does [it] come from,” but what *descriptively* the “moral” codes of conduct put forth by a society (of humans, or of animals, or of entities in general) are and how they originate. I put “moral” in quotes because in that context, you’re only speaking to the descriptive account, not any normative account (which for me is far more interesting, but that is mere opinion).

        Not that we should ignore the descriptive account of how societies create norms, and not that we should cease to observe these norms in action and draw empirical conclusions from them.

        It seems disingenuous, however, to claim that descriptivism *is* morality, or that morality *can only be* the genetically-arising method of self-preservation or self-interest (a la some strain of internalist contractarianism perhaps). Perhaps your article would be better focused on shoring up your genetic argument, rather than attempting to account for morality as a whole, as (let’s be frank) humanity has spent a very long time searching fruitlessly for a way to answer that question–and it strikes me as arrogance you’re not beholden to to attempt to answer that question in its entirety.

        On the subject of your genetic argument, it is indeed an interesting prospect that our very biology plays a role in shaping what our societies claim is desirable/undesirable (from a utilitarian perspective), in accordance with/in opposition to duty, etc.

        But it’s not an argument, it’s an assertion. You claim your “experience and sense data” has lead you to this conclusion. If it has, please, publish the specifics, for you’d be making a major leap in human descriptive accounts of morals. Better yet, provide actual empirical data (absent your subjective experiences) that actually prove your account, and the world then ought to hail you as a champion of observation.

        The problem, however, lies inherent in the fact that, first, your argument succumbs to the Fallacy of Induction (cf. Hume’s Fallacy, general responses to utilitarianism). Just because you have observed that animals act in certain ways does not mean morality is derived genetically.

        Second, I don’t see any logical syllogism emerging from your argument. You use simple words to great effect, but perhaps the simplicity has gone a bit overboard.

        Third, and most damning, you seem to entirely discount social constructivism/constructionism. Perhaps some preemptive responses or reasons to comparatively prefer your analysis would be apt.

        As a final note, I see that your website attempts to promote critical thinking.

        If that is truly your motivation, I challenge you to stop asserting, stop rationalizing, stop reasoning.

        Don’t say anything is true. That leads us either to agree or disagree, which entrenches us in our beliefs and destroys any possibility of critical thinking.

        Just ask us questions, like Socrates of old, so we ourselves may learn.

        • 66Scorpio says:

          The distinction might be lost on others but it is a similar distinction as between a) describing religion, its beliefs and conventions, its deities and myths, and then tracing a history of those ideas to their genetic or environmental origins and b) discussing religion, gods and myths as factual entities and events.
          There is a certain circularity to both of these arguments that either starts with god or evolution as the source or morality, and then goes from there. Ultimately, there is no basis for either claim despite additional claims that one is more “scientific” than the other. (Science itself is based on an unprovable assumption.)

      • guest says:

        “Morality” and any associated ideal is rooted entirely in the presupposition some higher power determines what is correct for human behavior.


  10. Drock says:

    Animals that steal food from alpha males or larger organisms is a sign of survival instinct, not an indication of predisposed morality. Animals natural instincts are to survive and reproduce. Challenging animals stronger than them could almost be considered suicide. One’s will to survive is stronger than one’s will to stay moral.

    • josephleon9 says:

      You discount the fact that there might be hundreds of times a smaller animals brain computes the urge to steal the food with the consequences of possible retaliation before it eventually tries to take the food. The equation is more complex as the animal’s strength comes closer to the alpha. Look at humanity and all the people constantly assessing what they can take. Think about from the lowly street thief to the full blown dictator.

  11. awsesome face says:

    David Peterson Harvey i agree what with that dude says, other people on this site juse seem like jesus freaks

    • Alpha says:

      something tells me you are some gay faggot who likes to search shit you don’t like and comment shit you dont even understand yourself. I can only imagine you on your porn websites..

  12. iHOPEcatholicsDIE says:

    ya i hate Catholics i hope they fucking burn like niggers and jews, MERICA

    • Alpha says:

      Wow you are so uneducated. I really do hope your parents don’t take away your TV time or putting you in a time out for being a snotty little bitch who thinks life is “unmeaningful” hopefully you dont commit sucide for being gay.

  13. Donnie Smithers says:

    The number of butthurt, closed minded christian comments below is amusing to me. The God argument actually makes a pretty good point as to the logic behind any religion-based morals: They are simply that! Morals believed and conceived by the Mud-People founders of modern religion. Take pre-marital sex for example; No sin is any worse than any other sin, so by religious standards, anyone who “defies” this idea is a sinner who is as frowned upon in the eyes of God as someone who rapes and kills babies. BUT in modern society, who is it that gets ousted and shamed? Is it all of the sluts and horn dogs out there whose sins are equal to that of Child Murderers? Obviously one type of sexual immorality is less frowned upon by the groups which claim equality between all negative acts (disagreeing with this statement admits that something in a religious doctrine is false, thus further negating the relevance of said doctrine). Furthermore, you all realise if there IS in fact a God, that the concepts of Child murder, pre-marital sex, torture, etc. ALL COME FROM HIM. Again disagreeing with this defies logic and makes your beliefs look silly.

    The point I’m trying to make is, the majority of the negative responses below are nothing more than closed minded defenses of religious individuals whose beliefs and “truths” have been questioned by simple human logic (the fact that human logic alone is enough to challenge the existence of God should be proof enough that something’s not right). You CANT talk about morality without talking about God; the two go hand in hand.

    • Toyona says:

      nicely said …i strongly agree with the last point

    • Kevin says:

      simple logic, let’s use some. The Bible does not say premarital sex is worse than rape or murder. All sins are bad, murder would definitely be one of the worse though. What it says about premarital sex is that it’s a sin against yourself. If there is a God, do all these bad things come from him? No, they really don’t. If there is a God that created us with free will, then us choosing to do evil things does not take away from his morality or goodness. That’s like saying kids who are bad and immoral must also have immoral parents who taught them all those immoral things. That’s absurd. I don’t see how disagreeing with that defies logic. I didn’t read the comments below, and based on yours, I won’t read them. I don’t like the lack of logic either, may it be from theists or atheists, but please be a little more respectful. Can we not just argue without trying to make each other look like fools? What are we, like seven?

      • Osato says:

        But God is a supreme and all powerful creator with a choice of what he makes is he not? Human parents cannot choose the outcome of the child…

    • Alpha says:

      Something tells me you are some very educated yet spoiled little snot nosed kid. sorry just HAD TO GET THAT OUT OF MY SYSTEM. well said

  14. Kevin says:

    I wish we could have such a discussion without insulting each other. Anyways. If we get morals from God, is it because a God says they are or because he is bounded by them? While I believe that’s still besides the point, I will try to answer that question, and since you assume a lot in your post, then i will do the same. If there is a God that created us, and is moral and good, then it follows logically that he would want us to be moral and good too. He would therefore gives us moral values that are consistent with his nature, goodness. He cannot tell us to do something that is not moral, that doesn’t mean he is bound by them. Assuming he is a mighty all powerful God, there is nothing stopping him from doing what he wants, He will not do it because he is bound by them per se, but out of goodness, period. But you guys say morality is defined as the well being of conscious creatures a lot. Good argument, but the problem with that is if there really is no God, then these moral values will crumble with the rest of the world and the human race will destroy itself. That’s not very hard to predict, It’s pretty obvious.
    Please respect other people’s right to disagree with you. I personally could careless whether or not someone believes in God. What bothers me is when people think they are geniuses and every believer is an idiot.

    • josephleon9 says:

      Hey Kevin, right you are about the aggressiveness of the article in regards to god as an origin for morality. This may be the truth or it may not and really this shouldn’t even be in the scope of the article. The main point is that morals are present in animals and highly linked to genetics. I rewrote the section on god and will likely continue to revise the article till it better fulfills a logical argument that morals are in the genes. Which is a position that doesn’t discount or promote the existence of a god.

      • guest says:

        “Morality” and any associated ideal is rooted entirely in the presupposition some higher power determines what is correct for human behavior.

        Nature is a state of pure war, with every man against another. Fear of death is the only way to keep the peace, so man is “civilized” by the threat of violence against him for transgressions upon his neighbor.

      • jimmys says:

        In the article you propose that animal behaviour, as in the crocodilles and wolves eating and mating is a “moral” aspect of their genetic makeup. The examples cited are much more closely associated with the genetic makeup of “survival of the fittest”, not morality.

    • Jesus Actionfigure says:

      >> “If there is a God that created us, and is moral and good, then it follows logically that he would want us to be moral and good too.”

      No it doesn’t. Even if you could coherently define “god” (which you can’t), the second part of this claim is a leap, not a logical outcome.

      >> “these moral values will crumble”

      So? Disliking the idea of the non-eternal nature of human opinions doesn’t make them anything other than human opinions.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Is this the SAME God that apparently Curses two of His own children (Adam & Eve) and condemns them (and their children for all Generations) to Death because they were DECEIVED by His greatest Enemy in a Garden that He planted? Did you ever ask yourself why God would allow Pure Evil into His Garden to destroy His children? And that’s Morally GOOD, is it? Would YOU treat your own children like this?

  15. if a moral is temporary then it is opinion— that’s not morality. morals must be permanent and unchanging or they are temporary.

  16. rburton says:

    To those dissatisfied with the author’s account of God’s role in morality:

    The author is putting forward the Euthyphro dilemma: a philosophical tradition older than Christianity itself. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma if you’d like a better understanding of what the author was trying to convey.

    • 66Scorpio says:

      It’s is a silly question if you take into consideration the development of monotheistic theology over the last 2500 years. If, by definiton, God is omnipotent then whatever God says carries the day. Where God or various gods are creatures of the universe themselves, perhaps products of a demiurge and therefore subject to the natural laws of the universe thus created, then those gods would be subject to the same laws and would likely enforce them as such.

  17. yade wirawan says:

    To day, i see almost all human around the world have no morality. At least, just have litle morality. Global warming can proof it. I thought, animals still have moralty. Why ?, because as far as human still kill animal to earn but animals commonly is never thinking to eat humans. Human is the true animal of all animals. It`s to difficult to describe it. Human`s brain ability ( logic ), must use to protect everything weaker than human such as animas or between human each other. Because of it, all criminal must be punished and all kind of animal may not earn the other animal. If a lion want to kill a rabbit, human must punish the suck lion. So, all human must be vegetarian. All lions and all tigers must learn to eat grass. That was the essensial of morality.

  18. Dave Stewart says:

    you use faulty logic with your example of “god saying raping and killing a 2 year old is a good thing…..” That would be like saying I have a ball. Can god make the inside of the ball the outside at the same time it is the inside? No – well then there must not be a god. God made laws and operates within them whether it is “what is the inside or what is the outside or in your example good or bad. You making up insane situations and ascribing them to god and then declaring well then there must be no god is simply faulty logic based on an already false assumption. I’m perfectly fine with you trying to use logic to disprove god but don’t use flawed logic.

  19. Good Topic says:

    If anyone is looking for a educated and logical perspective on the topic of morality in society. i would suggest a reading of C.S. Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man.” This was written in an agnostic viewpoint of society, around the 1930’s, and the future view of children raised in public school with a degraded sense of morality and where we, as a society would end up.

  20. 66Scorpio says:

    Morality cannot be within our genetics. Our genes are chemicals; chemicals do not have morals. Right and wrong themselves have no physical characteristics that can be empirically tested or proven. If good and evil are “real” then they obviously exist outside of the physical universe. Otherwise, they are just illusions created by the chemical reactions between our ears.

    • Veroronnie420 says:

      How do you know that chemicals do not have morals? Have you ever been a chemical? Or, more accurately, at atom…proton, neutron or electron? Have you ever seen the world through their perspective? It is a scientific fact that they react independently within their own little worlds. How do you know what goes on in that world if you are too busy absorbed in your own? The illusion is not morality. The illusion is your “reality.” That’s what current science is saying. Morality is the only thing that is real.

      • Veroronnie420 says:


        • 66Scorpio says:

          According to some, we are all chemical. a collection of atoms, protons etc. which create out total being and existence.
          The scientific fact is that we can’t peer behond Planck’s wall to determine how the outcome of probablistic events at the quantum level are decided or determined or chosen or whatever. The best science available is that we will never know if there is some sort of metadeterminism or if such events are actually “independent”.
          For all intents, the answers to such questions are not found within the physical universe as we conceive it.

    • QuintEssence says:


      You have insufficient information to make claims like that.

      “Right and wrong themselves have no physical characteristics that can be empirically tested or proven”.

      This is categorically wrong in almost every interpretation. We have lived in a social experiment since we expanded our concept of “family or community” from those directly related to us to the nation state. Through this experiment, certain behaviours have been proven to be “bad” or “good”. For the maintenance of social order, laws, rules, directives etc, were invented to limit our behaviour and ensure or at least aim for the good of all. This transition can be explained sufficiently from an evolutionary perspective without the need to invoke entities that “exist outside of the physical universe”.

      It’s one thing to claim that things outside our universe exist. The situation is exacerbated when one claims to know what their intentions or capabilities are.

      you then say that “our genes are chemicals and chemicals do not have morals”.
      Neurochemistry is a fascinating subject area and I implore you to take a dive. We are yet to understand all the nooks and crannies of the working brain and when we do, perhaps we’ll learn something about concepts such as empathy, justice, altruism etc……………but from a biochemical perspective.

      • 66Scorpio says:

        You have things backwards in a number of respects as I point out the claims that other people can’t make based on what is provable.
        It is categorically correct that “right and wrong themselves have no physical characteristics”. Now, you can arbitrarily define what is right or wrong, or you can assign physical characteristics that are deemed to be right or wrong, but you are just making that up, “invented” as you say.
        Behaviours have not been “proven” as good or bad, but simply accepted as such by social convention, based on premises which are themselves unprovable
        Hanging your hat on evolutionary mechanisms is an arbitrary choice without any basis other than your preconceived ideology. It is an assumption that begs the question of whether evolution is is good or bad itself. You are claiming to know intentions or capabilities that are completely unsupportable at their base. Matter does not have “intentions”, nor purpose, nor meaning other than what is assigned to it by the human mind.
        Alternatively, you confuse right and wrong with what we perceive as right and wrong. For a strict materialist, human notions are illusions created by chemical interactions in our brains. The concepts themselves have no substance and do not relate directly to measurable or testable phenomena such as gravity.
        I could study neurochemistry or I could

        • QuintEssence says:

          Part 1 of 2
          Science can’t prove anything. All scientific
          claims are a measure of probability. There is no certainty in science. All we
          can say is that there is significant supporting evidence for or against a
          particular phenomenon. This includes whether something is good or bad. We
          cannot “prove that altruism is good but we certainly have good evidence to
          support and encourage altruistic behaviour.

          “right and wrong have no physical characteristics”. How can we
          discuss them in any useful way if we cannot fit these concepts it into our
          reality. There may be all sorts of things “outside of our physical
          universe” but we need a vernacular that is understandable to us, based on
          our limited physiology and understanding of our universe to make sense of any
          of it.

          Hanging my hat as you say, on evolutionary mechanisms is a result of inductive
          reasoning rather than an arbitrary choice.

          • 66Scorpio says:

            It depends on what you mean by “certainty” I suppose. At the quantum level there are various probablistic functions but on the macro level many things are deemed proven because they work. I post this message and I can be fairly certain it will be posted because the science underlying email and such is proven to work.
            Whether something is good or bad is not in the same class as questions of physical phenomena. You can go all the way back to Hume’s Law. We are coming up on three centuries of no one working around it. Some Objectivists claim to have solved it, but few people take them seriously. In short, normative prescriptions can not be derived from empirical observations.
            There is no “evidence” that altruism is good. There is an ad populum argument, which is of course logically fallacious. It is generally accepted that altruism is good although some argue that it is not (those pesky Objectivists again) and many argue that taken to extreme, altruism is a self-destructive vice rather than a virtue.
            In evaluating morality – right and wrong, good and evil – one must choose axioms and then reason from those axioms. “Arbitrary” is a bit of a harsh term. However, you have to concede that evolutionary genetics as the basis of morality is the starting point of your reasoning, not a reasoned conclusion. Or at least you have to concede that your conclusion is not scientific but rather ideological.
            As a scientific hypothesis, it is sound as long as you keep the distinction between methodology and ontology that is embedded in science itself. Assuming that evolution – a natural phenomenon – is the basis of morality for the purposes of scientific inquiry is one thing. It is quite another to assert that evolution is – in fact – the basis of morality. The latter is a metaphysical proposition that both Godel and Hume (again, this time with his Problem of Induction) would take issue with.
            Just because something can explain a given phenomenon does not mean that it is THE explanation or that the explanation can be applied to all other phenomena. Assuming that morality is evolutionary and then conducting an inquiry to that effect is just setting yourself up by asking questions that presume an answer.
            There was the Supreme Court justice who said that he can’t define obscenity but he knows it when he sees it. Morality is similar. My point still stands that right and wrong have no physical characteristics that one can measure. The best that you can suggest is a popularity contest of what is right or wrong. I defy you to invent an experiment – even in theory – that can directly measure the rightness of some action or thought. My other point still stands that matter itself has no morals. To be sure, that proposition has some holes in it, but the converse, that matter itself has morals, is completely unsupportable. The idea that there is some transition point where matter can have morals hinges on consciousness and that is a completely new can of worms.
            The idea that morality comes from outside the physical universe is not nearly as radical as you might think. Godel would understand it. Theists- perhaps 75% to 95% or more of all Humanity – get it. If “good evidence” that altruism is good is simply the considered opinon of a few billion people then atheism and evolution are abject failures by that measure.
            The idea that morality is “other worldly” doesn’t completely disassociate it from the physical world. If anything, it is a check on the hubris of ideologues who spout “The Truth”. We can make certain inferences but it is the human condition that we can never be certain about moralistic conclusions, if one sticks to logical principles. Flying planes into buildings in the name of God is just as dysfunctional as starving 30 million people in the name of some “scientific” principle.
            I have my own axioms based on quaint notions like Humans are not robots and that we “matter”. You simply don’t have the philosophy to explain the latter other than in terms that simply don’t matter.

          • QuintEssence says:

            Ok, I initially thought that we were diametrically opposed on this issue. I suppose I just needed to understand your perspective better.

  21. saj says:

    Sorry but this article makes no real sense. Why do we have to understand what God’s morals are? If he gave us a set of morals then why does he have to be bound by them? If I created a piece of Artificial Intelligence and gave it rules to abide by then that is that, it will never understand me and my complexity Your rational is strange and your line of questioning is even more peculiar.

    • Osato says:

      Read my reply above

    • schoza says:

      The same way we will never understand the complexity of what is beyond the known universe.

    • Veroronnie420 says:

      How do you know that your piece of A.I. would never under you and your complexity? Maybe on its own, it wouldn’t, but what if you programmed it to come to a point where they would understand your complexity after they’ve downloaded a few emotions into their systems? Might it not then understand? What if God wanted us to understand him/her/it for whatever reason (Let’s just say that reason is because he/she/it is God and God really does love us and wants us all to be happy, for arguments sake). Wouldn’t it be possible that God could then upload whatever feelings or thoughts we needed to experience so that we may understand a bit more what the “truth” is. Maybe that’s what God wants and maybe the only way we can get to that “truth ” (when I say “the truth” I mean the truth of everything) logically is by understanding what God’s morals are.

  22. SOlomon says:

    Very good. just finished reading and its a great piece

  23. Dartanion says:

    The question is really nature vs nurture is it not? Are we born with an innate set of morals that is inherrant with being human or do we learn what is right and wrong entirely from external influences? Obviously the answer to this question is entirely subective and dependant upon the beliefs with which you were brought up. However, this in itself is quite and ironic concept; if you were brought up being taught you had a sense of morality from birth then is that not an external influence in your ‘nurture’ dictating what morality is? But of course, the counter argument being that if a hard wired set of morals existed, you were always going to have a sense of morality regardless of external teaching; as I said, it’s entirely subective and you can’t disprove religion.

    However, I personally believe srongly that a sense of morality is founded in the society in which we grew up. Morality is obviously a sense of right and wrong; however what is right and wrong is decided upon by the general acceptances of a population. Whether religious or not, a group of say 20 people from the same culture can stand next to one another and assess an action and decide if it was immoral or moral as a majority. Afterall, 12 people are asked to do it as members of a jury every day and a majority of 10 must be established for conviction in the U.K. However, I believe that if you took 20 people from say America and another 20 from an African nomadic tribe, you’d find entirely different verdicts in some cases presented to them. As an analogy, just as there is a gun culture in America and not one in the U.K, I believe the senses of morality change with the society.

    Having expressed where morality’s orgins lie, it must be asked, what actually is it? A previous comment talked of humanity’s advantage in having reason, I entirely agree. We are set apart to be a dominant race through our ability for inginuity and logial thought process. I think that morality is founded upon reason; the ability to assess a situation and decide whether or not it is right or wrong based on -as has been previously mentioned – what we have previously been taught in our lives.

    There are two sides to the human psyche; the side of rationality and reason and the more bestial, instinctive side of our animalistic and needs desires. The rationality is dominant throughout most of our lives. Rationality and reason are what allows us to have the structure of a progressive society that we do and have done in the past and is also the subsequent basis for our sense of morality. Our sense of morality is in my mind, entirely based upon the values of the society in which we grew.

  24. angel barrera says:

    thank you i’ve been debating with my friend that thinks atheists have no morals because they don’t believe in “GOD” that they have no book to tell them what is right or wrong but it a mental and sociological its just whats right or wrong now i can tell him what i have been saying this whole time.

    • josephleon9 says:

      Thanks for the compliments. Your friend is downright wrong about atheists not having morals. If atheists had no morals they would kill and steal anything they wanted on a whim. Atheists obviously do not do this so they have morals without belief.

      I would argue to your friend that regardless of divine origin or not that morals are in the genetics. Even if morals are in the genetics this wouldn’t discount the existence of a god but it also wouldn’t promote the existence of a god.

      It’s important that your friend realize that argument of morals and where they come from isn’t contingent on the argument of a god existing. I would also be gentle with your friend and try and instill logic principles into the argument rather than a god’s existence.

      • rob says:

        Atheists like Dawkins clearly state that rape is a evolutionary ‘rational’ act to do. For a man to be genetically driven to rape women and impregnate them is rational and doing ‘the best’ thing for his genes. A woman who lives with a ‘provider’ type man but gets herself pregnant by a tough ‘bad boy’ is also doing ‘the best’ thing for her genes. The social morals saying these things are wrong are mistaken. The only way to stop rape etc. is to have a powerful police presence.

        If Dawkins states the above, it means their morals are fluid and can be played around with as long as one does not get caught.

        • Nick F says:

          If Christian morality is true, then morals are even MORE fluid. Morals are whatever God commands, and he can change his commands whenever he wants (since he’s all powerful).

        • Lesley Taylor says:

          I think morality is a fluid thing as well. Rape may be biologically advantageous, as slavery may be advantageous from a practical point of view. But as soon as you start to view others as yourself, and take into account their preferences, then a new level is reached. If your main concern is well-being and suffering, (like Sam Harris) then your tolerance of moral/ethnic relativism is scant.

  25. Iain says:

    “What I mean is that the mechanism that creates morality is built into our genetics. ” …. there is no genetic or scientific evidence for this! If its your belief, then its your religion. IMO there is no way of getting to the heart of this issue without religion. *gets off his soapbox*

  26. Jim Hart says:

    For the moral God considerations, morality is His character; the bounds are not external but rather a character trait.

    • Nick F says:

      What does “morality is His character” mean? Also, can you give an argument for the claim that morality is His character?

  27. Amanda says:

    “I will praise thee;for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.” Woodpeckers were made with special beaks that just happen to be perfect for their survival and evolution happened to throw in some cartilage to absorb the shock of continually hitting trees. The woodpeckers tongue just evolved into the perfect tongue for catching bugs and sticking it way down into the hole it makes in the tree and just happens to have a glue like substance on his tongue that allows the bugs to stick. He just happens to be perfectly designed for survival. And the bombardier beetle just evolved without ever self destructing, even though he has chemicals in his body that are explosive, he just made it through the evolutionary process(did he skip steps, how’d it happen?) I urge you to open your eyes to the world around you, God has left his fingerprints all over this earth, His hand can be traced from the beautiful galaxies above us to the majestic mountains, the singing of a cardinal and the clapping of a trees leaves all shout that there is a God and he has made you for a purpose… That if thou shalt confess with
    thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in
    thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
    Do you love reason, logic or truth? Then take a look at these videos:



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  33. Seth Murray says:

    If someone is going to write an article pretending to cover “what morality is and where it comes from,” it would behoove him to actually familiarize himself with key texts in moral philosophy before doing so. This article failed to even clearly articulate what morality is, and then went on to present a grossly oversimplified caricature against which he could present his own personal pet theory.

    There is a rich history of moral thought with records going back at least 2400 years. Anyone interested in learning about what morality/ethics really is, its sources, and what it has meant to human beings throughout history, will find an excellent beginning by reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, as well as some of Socrates’ dialogs and Plato’s writings. Though anything written after that has basically been footnotes/commentary, moving forward, there are excellent treatments by medieval philosophers Boethius, Aquinas and others. And into the modern and contemporary eras we have Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, Rawls, Mill, etc. All have slightly (or radically) different views. All are worth considering. Familiarization with any would have been a great improvement on the above article.

  34. Spectator says:

    I think one’s morality and standards comes from a mixture of experiences and society. Judeo Christianity has profoundly influenced Western societie’s morals and standards for the last two thousands years.

  35. Michael Arriola says:

    I really wish it was an easy task answering correctly this zinger of a question. But, I think Philosopher, Humanist Dostoyezski said it best “If God does not exist, then anything goes”. If our genetic code is the mechanism wherin lies the answer to where basic moral instincts(Decalogue) are born, then thats all it is; The MECHANISM! Problem is, is that mechanisms DONT CREATE! an assembly just puts the design in motion. RIGHT? Then, who, or what(?) was the designer………back to the drawing board!

    My take is that moral standards do change. Agreed. But GOD’S laws are quite opposite to being arbitrary as you presuppose in your article. They are patterned after nature-Immutability. Therefore, the moral mandates you mentioned are eternal verities that do not, at least not in our time and space continuum.

    Mike Arriola
    Antioch, Ca

    Would love to hear a response

    • Nick F says:

      What are God’s laws, how are they patterned after nature, and how do you know?

      If you answer those questions, I might be able to offer a criticism of your views.

  36. happy riches says:

    I am looking for my moral gene, because I want to change it. I hate this gene, because it causes me to believe that if I do things to other people they might do things back to me. Whatever those things might be is a question of conjecture.

    Since I am going to die, anyway, I have decided to become my own judge and jury and have decided that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and too bad for those who do not like it.

  37. I’m not sure that I understand the premise. If you say that “it is safe to assume that the moralities in human society are inherent and internal within us” are you saying that we are born with them or that we are taught them? The slavery example would seem to indicate that they can change and there for must be learned?

  38. joelorio says:

    Morals can only come from an objective source. There can be only one moral law giver. For if there is no moral law giver there I s no moral law. If there is no moral law thereisno good. If there is no good there can be no evil. Therefore,if objective morals exist only if God exists; and moral laws exist, therefore,God exists.

  39. Jason says:

    Morality is simple. It is the difference between causing or alleviating suffering. Sadly, too many humans are unaware of this yet, so we are still a childish race.

  40. degree7 says:

    Of all things, why would you include an article about a Palestinian stabbing Israeli settlers as an example for immoral behavior? Is this some sort of Zionist funded website?

  41. Edwin T. Margallo says:

    In Psychology, we discussed Instinctive drive or ID. When a small crocodile eats the food of a big crocodile, the little one is going to be attacked. When a wolf mates with alpha, it is going to be attacked. What compelled the superior ones to attack them? What we learn in Psychology is, without reflection, it snaps at the little one because he needs the food for him to survive. Same thing with the case of the wolf, It is going to be attacked because the superior one has to ensure the continuity of his kind. This idea is deeply embedded in Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. Only the superior ones will survive as we evolve. So, are morality and ID one and the same? If a man steals because he is very very hungry, he has done it with certainty that he did it so he can continue living. What compelled him to do so is his ID. However, man can steal other things not necessarily to fulfill his basic survival needs. If he steal a piano so he can play it, it can no longer be in the realm of ID. Its a case of morality being put aside in favor of his whim. Therefore, ID is for lower animals while morality and ID are for human who is also an animal.

  42. Jason J. Shaw says:

    When I speak of morality coming from a focus on species survival, I find a great modern example of this to be that of drunk driving. The more people are aware of the harm that occurs due to the act, the stronger the laws and negative outlook on the act become.

    This is basically the mechanism that creates morality. Of course, it is not always utilized effectively or honestly, but even in those cases it is due to someone’s outlook on stronger survival.

  43. Casandra says:

    I understand people conforming to their own moral codes in their everyday lives and as a Christian I cant and others cant say that agnostics and atheists have no reason to be moral. I mean maybe they just want to live within a pleasant society or live by principles such as the golden rule. It’s such a weak argument for Christians to say “well why do you need to live by morals if you don’t believe in life after death anyway”. but a question I do ask you atheists and agnostics is how do you explain objective morality? For example, you are standing in line and I cut in front of you. You don’t need to be taught that what I did was wrong. You automatically know that things like that are wrong as if you are born with it, without any teachings at all we know right from wrong before we are taught all these other things.