Freakin awesome.
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Re: are morals a choice or not?

here is the thread with my input including quote from commonground's forums. Which i have been banned from.
Amanda wrote:
If morality isn't a choice, why is it that there are people who live moral lives and people who live immoral lives? And I'm not talking about the Christian idea of sexual immorality here. I mean the small percentage of the population that chooses to murder, or rape, or cannibalize people.

If it's not a choice, what is it? And why do we punish it?

interesting that you should mention this (i did read further down the page but didn't see any direct responses to this, sorry if i missed them!

Before i start i should have a little disclaimer... I have a weird thought process, and as such, my words will twist and turn. generally, if i have enough energy, they will converge to a point. So bear with me, if you please Smile

The answer to your first question, "why is it that there are people who ... live immoral lives" is actually fairly well researched. in almost all cases there is a distinct mental illness of some sort. how or why this was triggered is the real problem, and even considering that it is a malady of the person's brain, when brought up in court, many times they are proven to know right from wrong at the time of the commission of the crime. If you know something is wrong and you do it anyhow, you're still held accountable even if you couldn't control your actions. However there are times when people don't know right from wrong (and believe me, i know the lines blur hourly on that account)... and what you have to then determine is whether or not the disease, malady, or illness was the underlying motivating factor in the commission of the crime.

For example, take active pederasty. There is a statistical correlation between people who have been a victim of this act and then become perpetrators. Well, not to go into huge amounts of detail as to why this is true or whatever; allow me to say that I blame society in general, and religion in specific when it comes to this specific instance of "moral wrongness". At a young age we're taught to obey authority figures, generally speaking, everyone older than us. Except the guys in vans with promises of candy. Here's the catch...
Contrary to the belief that rapists are hiding in the bushes or in the shadows of the parking garage, almost two-thirds of all rapes were committed by someone who is known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger — 38% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28% were an intimate and 7% were another relative.
from which i hereby cite as an authoritative source on the subject of sexual abuse.
Ok so let's think... what specific topics are taboo to children? Their genitals and other secondary sex characteristics. parents tell children not to touch down there, &c. Especially not to let anyone TOUCH down there! What an adult responsibility to put on a child! So now this poor kid has had an act of sexual abuse forced upon them, and they're thinking they FAILED their authority figures of the highest sphere - their parents. So they don't say anything about their uncle or neighbor or dad abusing them. Or specifically they don't say anything because it is Dad or grandpa.

The real kicker is that no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary (and by anyone i mean survivors of abuse or rape) it leaves a severe, severe impact on the developmental processes of the brain. It causes all sorts of things depending on many factors - including age(at first contact), duration of abuse, WHO abused them, how many, and so on and so forth. The interesting thing is how this manifests itself in males and females. In females, generally speaking, survivors are more likely to have VICTIM written across their forheads. Thus you hear of women that have been raped more than once. This is caused by the "predatory instinct" of the rapist. Where do you think he picked up how to spot the "victim" on the forehead? Because that label was on HIS very own forehead. And so it goes. and goes. and goes. This section should have more evidence of this particular phenomenon, but as this is already getting very long, i'll leave the definitive research to you, the dear reader.

There are ways to fix this problem, including severe invasions of children's privacy, such as periodic pelvic region exams by licensed pediatricians or other physicians, to much less intrusive things such as school counselors who are not overworked and overloaded with students - with more training to recognize and alert other authorities to the possibility of such actions.

This goes much deeper as well, in circumstances where the abuser is the father, and the mother and father are still together, generally there's other characteristics of the mom that label her as a so called "enabler" for the father. Which means up to and including dismissing all "nonsense talk about your father touching you" this is caused by the mother being raised in either a verbally or physically abusive home environment, OR one where alcholism and drug use were rampant. Co-dependency is a real problem.

I've just barely scratched the surface of all the intricate problems that our society has presented us with in repressing sexual expression, making sexual expression taboo, and promoting ever obedience to authority figures. Don't forget, also, that most people that are deigned Psychopaths, schizotypal, and all other "possibly to probably violent" mental disorders generally have a history of either really really atrocious abuse, severe neglect, abandonment issues, amongst many other important developmental variables.

I guess the whole point is this: Morality may or may not be a choice, but if it isn't a choice, it still resides as a function of the human brain to interpret the messages. If previous transgressions against the development of a youth's brain screw the signals up... How can we hold them accountable by the same standards as everyone else? IE should they go to prison or a mental hospital?

If i need to, i can cite sources for all of this, i'm just very very lazy. I apologize. But i assure you i try not to just take stuff i hear at face value.

now, evidently, my comment (which i've bolded and italicized) was misconstrued as "religious people are more likely to sexually abuse their children" Which wasn't even close to what i was saying:

Techskeptic said:

Welcome Genewitch! I hope you come bak often as it seems you have quite a bit to offer.

There is a lot there, but something stuck out at me...

"I blame society in general, and religion in specific"

Why? I of course agree that we no longer need religion, and that it comes with its bad parts, but it also comes with good parts...or at least good people who are relgious. In fact pick you religion, I'm pretty sure the overhwelming majority of those folks in that religion are generally decent people.

Most of your post is about how abuse leads to abuse. And of course this is well known. But if religion were gone, wouldn't this still be the case?

Wouldn't we still have an authority structure within communities and families? A structure like this can lead to abuse of power quite easily. religion or not.

I think religion is not a needed mechanism in our society anymore, but Im not sure how it is responsible for greivous acts such as you describe. Im guessing that those acts, in exactly the same ratio would happen without religion.Unlike you this is conjecture on my part. I can't back that up as there are not large communities of atheists in which we can study the abuse rate.

Just like you can't blame atheism for Mao and Hitler, I'm not sure you can blame religion for the Zodiac Killer or Kazynski (sorry i cant think of a serial rapist).

What do you think?
To which i shortly replied:
oh, in context i meant "sex is taboo because of religion" religion propagates the myth that sex isn't "clean" or "good". Genitals are bad, sex is dirty, wait till marriage, etc. all that gets ingrained in kid's heads. There's a lot more to it than just that, but that's something i'll have to work on in my blog. Smile

There you have it. Unless i posted another comment in another thread that was somehow offensive... i think i posted something about lying and why people do it. (or specifically, why i do it)... but i can't imagine that would have something to do with it. I sent a message to techskeptic, hoping he can shine some light on it for me :-)

a more clear definition of "religious screwups"

on the common ground page i made a reference along the lines of "i blame religion for this"... taken out of context, it may seem that i'm anti-religious. the context was that of "sex as taboo" as it pertains to underage reporting of sexual abuse. Oh, i should note, i got banned from the forums. I'm still trying to figure out why, I'll copy and paste what i wrote for preservation in the next entry.

To qualify my statement, here are some links

Yeah, i was talking about the whole idea that "sex is bad" isn't something rational adults came up with. i'll say that "safe sex" with "a single, monogamous, long-ish term partner" isn't bad at all. I have no desire to get married merely to gain the perk of having sex for the first time on my wedding night.

Abstinence education is probably one of the main reasons that HPV is affecting nearly 50% of all women under the age of (insert researched age here... it's under 50, that's for sure), and generally, 30-odd percent of the US population. saying "abstain from sex till marriage" when marriage is a religious festival (mostly... the legal benefits are... arguable; that's why civil unions were invented!) implies that sex is a no no. it goes on and on. My beef with religion in this country is it's desire to control people of all religions, or lack thereof. HR 847 being a prime example. I could care less about christmas, in all honesty; but congress decided it was important. How about looking into the SUNDOWN CLAUSE of the US PATRIOT act, instead of SANTA CLAUS.

Am i being more clear, now?
re: This Letter, supposedly coined by Dr. Emanuel Tavay, a Pole during the Nazi internment of people in the region (and also in a concentration camp), author of "passport to life".

I have this to say:
Hitler, according to encyclopedia articles, initiated the "Final Solution" against the jews because he believed that they were causing all of the world's wars. Nevermind the fact that hitler was trying to landsnatch at the time and that tends to piss people off in the countries they are invading.

So his premise was: "This ethnic group/religious group is causing a lot of trouble, and they must be annihilated"

That was Hitler in 1941.

Now if you re-read the article linked above, and realize that the doctor who wrote it WAS a Pole in the holocaust who suffered for several years in a German prison because of the "Final solution", who watched his father die at the hands of Amon Goeth (the anti-hero of Schindler's List); I think you'll begin to see he's not speaking of Islam or Muslims. He's speaking OF US, in the United States.

There's a lot of anti-Islamic propaganda floating around, and most of it is being spouted off in Britain right now, because the Muslims who have emigrated there are trying to assimilate into that culture and it's causing a lot of issues.

It is wrong to say that all of a "set of people" is a certain way. You can't say that "all blacks are lazy" and that "all whites are trailer trash" or that "all Jews are good with money". You can not do that as a rational human adult.

All of this racial and religious tension is only being propagated by the opposing religious factions in the world. Namely Christian Vs Muslim.

What about we Americans that are peaceful and do not want to wage this war? we're in the majority. More than 60% according to polls do not want to be waging war in the Middle East. Or China. Or Africa.

There's a spin on his letter, and I have yet to find documented evidence that he wrote the letter in its entirety. It seems as though at least 2 people participated in writing it (note how it says 'this email' when the letter itself is presented as a letter for a newspaper or journal of some sort).

These, I believe, are very dangerous waters our country finds itself playing in.

As a side note, Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq by several Marine platoons and battalions. My roommate was telling me about all the stuff they found.. missiles, chemical delivery systems, rockets, stuff like that. Here's the kicker, all of the confiscated equipment from the Iraqi area bore the same three letters: "U S A". Now how'd Saddam get his hands on all those weapons? And why hasn't CNN et al told us of THOSE weapon caches? Why do those newsworthy tidbits get pushed back to the history books while we run around calling everyone that's Muslim an "evil-doer"?

We're the peaceful Germans during the Nazi takeover! WTF?