Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Group 1: Singer & Hauser

Fantastic essay. No frills, no appeals to emotion, no hand waving. Just the assertion of what should be by now a blindingly obvious truth: morality is not derived from religion, it precedes it.

We all have access to the same naturally accumulated set of basic moral tendencies, by virtue of our shared hominid ancestry. Religion served a purpose by codifying (some of) these tendencies, and serving as a means to "explain" why we act the way we do. But as far as explanations go, religions suck. They are birthed in ignorance and are sustained by fear. Time to get a clue and stop being afraid of the dark, people.


  1. Singer and Hauser's channeling of John Stuart Mill's "On Nature" brought about an interesting point: "everything we do is an interference with nature, and obviously much of that interference is highly desirable."

    In this sense, human morality is the antithesis of the wild kingdom's tooth-and-nail naturality.

  2. ...in a further sense...we are gods. I loved this essay, but I must say that I'm really looking forward to our next reading...simply because I've heard the argument against the Divine Command Theory fifty bajillion times, and it very rarely brings much new to the table. This had the idea that either we are natural or unnatural and, in either case, our morality exists separate from God. That was comforting to me. No matter the significance of humanity in the universe, our ethical backgrounds are intrinsically implemented. Yay! :D