Exactly; that's what is said by the two articles I linked. :)

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Robert Wiblin,

Here's my submission on your offer--

"Utilitarianism twice fails" ( http://tinyurl.com/bfcm89e )

It should convince you that you are practicing moral realism despite denying it.

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Untrue.  There are theories of the mind, put forth by Kurzweil, Hall, Hawkins,  and many others.  Also, there are scientific theories of morality as well, that accurately explain human social reality.

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[ We evolved a general faculty of reason - the ability to think about, say, just-in-time production wasn't advantageous in the Ancestral Enviroment, but I do have that ability. Similarly, the moral intuitionist (who is a realist) argues, our faculty of reason allows us to access moral truths, even though they were not advantageous in the AE.]I disagree to some extent.  The precursors of the moral truths, at their current high level of comprehension, were useful in the ancestral environment, or empaths wouldn't be here now.  Mirror neurons are an advantage, and increase benevolent outcomes, in civilized society.

[A similar argument is to ask how we can know mathematical truths - but I think this fails, because mathematical truths do feature in our best scientific theories, whereas moral ones do not.]Incorrect.  The very best scientific theory, the one that is likely to save your life, is intensely interested in a scientific view of morality.  Look at the wealth generated by the industrial revolution: the reason you are alive (most likely).  --Partly a consequence of moral theories, and increasingly more mathematic and more moral (as in Spooner => Ayn Rand => and Eliezer Yudkowsky => Future philosophers who are more correct).

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Read Henry David Thoreau's "On Civil Disobedience" and get back to us.  Watch Philip Zimbardo's video "The Psychology of Evil'  Read about Kosckiusko's pact with Jefferson.

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["The number of ethicists with a public profile could be counted on one hand." Is this an important data point for you?

It is wrong. The normal label for ethicist is "religious leader" and there are huge numbers of prominent examples all over the world--almost certainly more than the total of all prominent non religious philosophers together. ]Yes, but those religious "leaders" are not people who took ethics seriously enough to learn anything scientific and significant about it.  Also, their beliefs and teachings are generally demonstrably false or irrational.

[Apart from that, your argument appears to undercut itself. If moral realism is false (there is no objective morality) then there is no particular reason to worry about morality as a concept.]This actually isn't true.  The democide figures posted at R. J. Rummel's website are true.  That's just one reason.  Even if you're a sociopath, there's reason for concern: people who behave as sociopaths are sometimes held accountable.  Moral guidelines are thus exceptionally important to sociopaths.[Just focus on worrying about what will get you in trouble in your society and what won't.]Holding yourself to the standard of a degraded totalitarian state is demonstrably unintelligent. As is holding yourself to the bigotries and conformist blindspots of an otherwise educated society.  In the North, before slavery ended, there were factions that turned in Fugitive Slaves, and factions that didn't.  Sometimes, people got shot over this kind of thing."I was just following orders." was similarly not deemed to be a valid defense for several once-socially-successful nazis.  If you lack a moral compass, and your entire theory is "go along to get along" then it makes a lot of sense for the first person to find this out to pre-emptively kill you, if situations get tense.Do you think things will get tense with the government having spent the next two generations into debt before they were born?Just curious.

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" Another interpretation is to consider the laws of physics as objective moral rules.

Because they are self-enforcing.

Whatever physically happens, should happen.

Anyone who disagrees with the physical universe is objectively wrong.


This is stupid, and defeats the entire reason for a moral rule.  A moral rule would be a special case of reasoning and logic that makes the human universe more intelligent than baseline physical existence.  Just like a mathematical recognition of patterns in nature makes nature more comprehensible.

This would already be a lowering of the conception of "morality" than what everyone intuitively accepts.  With stupidity being defined as "unwitting self-destruction."  It would be unwitting, and ignorant, because moral rules that can be utilized to escape destruction by other men (sociopaths and their directed conformist agents) already exist.

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The non-aggression principle is a universal moral rule.  It works. Non-sociopaths (empaths and, to a lesser degree, conformists) tend to automatically follow it.  Systems built on this comprehension act in a non-sociopathic manner, prohibiting "mala in se" (theft, assault, murder).  Christians call a crude formation of this rule "the golden rule."

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Bad example.  You should have chosen "mala in se" (a crime with a victim) to illustrate the concept.  When someone is hurt, mirror neurons fire in the empath's brain, making them register a lesser but distinct pain and sense of conflict.  This doesn't happen in the sociopath brain.  If everyone's a sociopath, or even directed by sociopaths, society looks like Nazi Germany -chaos.

There is an order to society that includes sociopaths.  Optimal societies positively incentivize sociopaths and mitigate their damage, using jury trials as a means of limiting government. 

Because we no longer do this in the USA (we have jury trials, just not proper, random ones --the randomness is defeated by the sociopath-favoring institution of improper "voir dire"), our system is more and more sociopathic and less protective of property rights and diversity every day.  Evidence: 2.4 million people in prison, with 60% of them there for victimless crimes.  Several wars of aggression.  The loss of the constitutionally-guaranteed right to self-defense.  The arbitrary shortening of life by the FDA which doesn't suggest, it commands.

Universal tax and debt enslavement, the loss of all future wealth, if the fiat currency system is retained.

Empaths have baseline, reflexive "caring" about moral rules. This is what pre-neuroscience cultures called "conscience."

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Incorrect.  That person might be a sociopath, who ignores, and is evolutionarily wired to ignore, objective moral rules.  You follow these rules because, even if you see a little girl whom you could easily overpower and kill wearing a piece of gold, you don't kill her and take the gold.  The sociopath does, if the thinks he can get away with it.  Hence, the construction of jury trials, to eliminate the influence of sociopaths on society.  99.9% of people agreeing with a law results in a conviction for murder, and still, there are serial murderers -but they are held in check, more and more. 

But what happens when you get rid of proper jury trials?  The serial killers go free.  ...Just ask John Douglas.  This is why he opposes, from a position of practical knowledge, victimless crime laws (crimes without "injury"+"intent to injure").  (He also morally opposes them.)

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You're assuming he's not a sociopath.  Not a safe assumption.

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If you're a smart sociopath, you have no reason to care about or follow moral rules, other than fear of retaliation for having misidentified your capacity to avoid blending in with empaths and conformists (who, together, are in the majority that will imprison or kill you, if they can discover you and isolate you from your power base).  ...Likely if you're Ted Bundy, less likely if you're Paul Warburg.

This is why sociopaths seek power offices in government and industry -not only are the unable to care beyond the implications of not caring, they also have experienced social awkwardness of their not caring.  This is also why governments collapse and the power of offices keeps expanding, and hastening the cycle that ends in collapse.  The constitution is instantiated, the sociopaths claim control of education until they can stop the constitutoin from being repeatedly instantiated, and they ignore or pardon each others' sociopathic abuse of "the little people."  Evolution pushes the tribe/village fighters toward power positions, once the tribe/village no longer needs to be defended.  Luckily, as soon as the technologists stop believing the leaders of men are like they are, there's a technology and sociology solution in sight.

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Guaging people's beliefs based on the vast majority of their actions (not their words) indicates a universal moral standard, in societies capable of producing technology.  Certain behavior is considered sociopathic -extend that analysis to all situations, even if the person is wearing a special hat or a badge.

Non-sociopaths don't decide, while walking down the street to punch someone who appears weaker than themselves in the face, and take their wallet.  Generally, it's a smaller set of people in society who do this sort of thing.  With most people, even if you're fairly defenseless, you're safe.

But sociopaths have a way of getting such conformists to call sociopaths to judge any demographic that can be clearly separated from the majority.

Ie: Conformists can be easily tricked into supporting systems that target people unlike themselves.  (Of course, everyone is diverse, and the "unlike themselves" category keeps expanding, until it includes Pastor Martin Niemoller in a category previously reserved for Jews.)

Us brazen nonconformists can see and comprehend this, and it also fits with a true picture of reality: There is a baseline "morality" of the empath, produced by the guidance of mirror neurons.  Without this pain, there wouldn't be that slight pressure over millions of years toward progress.  There would never have been the institution of the Jury.

Even so, the jury keeps getting taken away.  The sociopaths are good at it.  They're good at forming networks that forgive the abuse of power. 

We can't let them keep getting away with it.  But we also shouldn't kill them (unless it's clear self-defense, and 12 other possible empaths and sociopaths held to empath standards would agree), because then we become so similar to them that we lose the benefits of being different from them, and they blend in with us.

This is why the great defender of jury trials, John Lilburne, pleaded for the Levellers to spare King Charles' life.  They didn't listen to him, and beheaded him.  Lilburne was a true empath, a true intellectual.  He knew that a disgraced sociopathic rule who no longer had power was a better example than a dead king: after all, wouldn't future tyrants do whatever was possible to then escape judgment if they had screwed up?

Ultimately, the urge to punish must be checked.  Getting non-office-seekers involved is a rational way to accomplish that.  It works.  It works for a reason that can be logically-examined and tested.

Let's work to restore jury trials to the USA.  That would be rational.  I'm not going to show you the math here.  I expect if you love math, you'll do it yourself.

Suffice to say, there will be people who have nonintuitive misconceptions of the math here.  Suffice to say, there will be sociopaths who don't like the idea of justice here.  There's a great body of work out there, read it.  Social order and market predictability depend on it.

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I have thought about this a lot.  A roomful of people watch "Schindler's List" or "Uprising" or "Escape From Sobibor."  They gasp at the nazis shooting innocent people in the heads as the kneel before open graves.  They cry when they see children murdered on the screen.  Then they spend a total of maybe an hour or so trying to figure out what policies allow "mass murder by government," less time than they spent watching those movies.  They then come to demonstrably stupid conclusions. They study no history, they come to no rational conclusion about what kinds of systems are incompatible with democide.

But there's a worse problem than ignorance and apathy.  Most people know that the evil of totalitarianism tends to manipulate the public.  There's a large indication that the Germans who followed Hitler, and the Soviets who followed Stalin were no better genetically than the people of the good 'ol USA! People everywhere are the same level of "uninformed, by default."

So, yes, most people (certainly, a majority) go through life as unwitting accomplices to evil.

But how then, can markets produce such good results?  Shouldn't all markets decay into theft and murder? 

No, say some libertarians.  Emergence is benevolent order!  Emergence is a consequence of voluntary interaction.  Those murderous systems are a result of centralized interaction.  (But what of when the systems are collapsed, and you have an otherwise industrious and productive weaver like Franz Stangl telling Gitta Sereny "I wasn't anti-semitic, it was all just about theft.  ...Nobody had nothing." as well as saying "My knees grew weak when I was shoving women and children into the ovens.")

He wasn't 100% a sociopath.  He was on the sociopathic spectrum.  But he was 100% a conformist who didn't question the highest hierarchical level of goals in the system. ...And pure sociopaths provided those goals.

Most people are approximately as good as the system they are governed by.  Because most people are now governed by bad systems, they behave as bad people.  Neutral conformist people vote "guilty" in nonviolent drug cases, and even though they don't have to, they thereby vote for evil.  Neutral conformist people torture the prisoners in Abu Ghraib, even though they don't have to, by voting for evil. Nobody forces them to mindlessly accept what their parents taught them about "the right political party" from two worthless choices.

A few people are preoccupied with doing what's right.  They are a tiny minority.  We call these people "heroes."  They behave heroically, though the system threatens them, and their friends and neighbors laugh at them. 

Here are some such people:

Marcy Brooks -threatened by a judge and told to convict a tax protestor who clearly had no "intent to injure" and where no "injured party" could be produced by his noncompliance.  Yet, she stood up against her fellow jurors and the judge, and was a holdout "not guilty" vote.  She was trained her whole life to conform, but she didn't conform.  She was a schoolteacher. HEROIC.

Julian Heicklen -A successful college chemistry professor risked his freedom and was imprisoned for handing out jury rights pamphlets, protesting the fact that the USA now imprisons over 2.4 million people, 60% of whom are imprisoned for first-time victimless crimes.  He was arrested and pumped full of dangerous psychiatric drugs because "He must be crazy for protesting the system." (just like "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" --So much for the free society envisioned by dreamers like Thomas Szasz and Billy Corgan!)  Held without habeas corbus, against his will, to intimidate him, in a concrete cage.  Repeatedly arrested, never deterred.  HEROIC.

Joseph M. Darby, a soldier, saw the torturing at Abu Ghraib, and decided it was intolerable, and blew the whistle on it.  He turned in his fellow soldiers for violating the inalienable rights of prisoners, against the Geneva Convention's law.  He turned them in for committing the crime of torture, and lowering the standards of America, in spite of severe social repercussions, and retalation from his chain of command.  HEROIC.

Chelsea Manning showed the American public that American long-range guns shot a group of journalists to death.  They were targeted and murdered specifically. He showed us what a war incentivized and chosen by the aggressor looks like.  He's in prison now, but he's still a HERO because he followed his own standards, and his own conscience.

What makes these and hundreds of other examples happen?

Education. Nonconformity. More Education.  A willingness to throw away false values, false authority, false "truths," and bad standards.

Philip Zimbardo talks more about this in  his famous youtube speech "The Psychology of Evil."  His solution is that we train ourselves to act against the crowd, when our moral compass dictates that we do so.  That we practice acting against the crowd's expectations, when our minds and consciences (our mirror neurons) tell us to.  When we see someone being hurt for no good reason, and there is an authority figure telling us "It's OK, they're a silly pothead, they deserve it."  (Our conscience bothers us the same way we'd react if we were told "It's OK, they're a Jew.")

Another part of the answer is to institutionalize a place where we cannot be punished for being heroes.  In Western Civilization, that place is the jury box.  Now, there are no longer free and random jury trials.  But jury verdicts still stand on their own.  Don't try to get eliminated from jury duty.  If you believe in a moral duty of any kind, you have a duty to get seated on the jury, and, if it's a case involving a "malum prohibitum," vote "NOT GUILTY."

And you can combine the jury box with the ballot box and the soap box.  You can vote Libertarian (the only political party that recognizes and respects the historical and moral right of juries to nullify bad laws based on conscientious objection).  You can inform your family and the public about jury nullification of law, and "voir dire."  Do everything you can to prevent the dire escalation to the cartridge box, but be prepared for it, if and when heroism has no other option.  Don't listen to the people who want to shame you for being skilled and prepared for the worst.  (When the Nazis were invading the surrounding countries, they avoided Switzerland, because Switzerland had a heroic policy: individuals don't need to wait for orders to shoot invading soldiers, and all Swiss must be within arm's reach of a battle rifle.  The Swiss didn't care what policies less civilized counties adopted: they did things their way, according to their own consciences, respecting the individual above the group.)

This post is already long enough, but suffice to say learning about proper jury trials is only as far away as "Fully Informed Jury Association" and "International Society for Individual Liberty" and google. Also excellent is Lysander Spooner's work "An Essay on the Trial By Jury" and "A Defense for Fugitive Slaves" (free online).  So is the book "Send in The Waco Killers" by Vin Suprynowicz, and "Let's Get Free: A Hip-hop Theory of Justice" by Paul Butler.

Don't back down.  Be an American.  America is an idea, not a geography.Be a leveller, not King Charles I.  Be a part of the underground railroad, not a snitch.  Be true to yourself, and you'll never be wrong.  Pick the right side, and listen to your conscience.

And if you're a biological sociopath, understand that force and fraud are prohibited among decent people.  Do your best to comprehend that rule, and adhere to that comprehension. 

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 Indeed - considering the large number of philosophers who have connected morality and evolution without endorsing anti-realism, we need a better reason than the author's say-so to suppose there is no such connection.

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You're correct.

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