Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Morals

  1. Mar 27, 2004 #1
    I'm doing a persuasive speech on stem cell research for my English class. I am defending stem cell research; I'm for it.
    But some people aren't, and of course, I have had to address that in my speech. But the main argument (against stem cell research) is that it is immoral.
    It is not moral, many say. But what exactly is moral? The philosophical nature of moral is a great mystery to me; I am accustomed to the idea, it is a social role that I have grown to respect. But it bothers me that I cannot directly define it, in a philosophical way rather than the dictionary definition. The dictionary definitions for the record are as follows:

    "Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
    Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
    Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
    Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
    Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
    Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.

    n.
    The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event.
    A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim.
    morals Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong: a person of loose morals; a decline in the public morals. "

    -www.dictionary.com-

    Can anyone lend a post? :smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2004 #2
    "Morals" is simply what the majority of people within a certain culture or subculture agree (to a great degree, if not unanimously) is the standard of behavior to judge others upon.

    As a rule of thumb, if it is seen as positive for that particular community, it is morally "good", if it is seen as a negative thing it is "bad".

    Personally I think it is all bull****.

    I agree with Ayn Rand (paraphrased because I can't find the exact quote right now):
    "Living life by anyone's morals but your own is living an immoral life."
     
  4. Mar 27, 2004 #3
    I agree with you in some ways. It was immoral to believe the earth was not the center of the universe, but now it is as normal an idea as the idea of morals is.

    But in other ways, morals are important. In many cases, they can promote honor. Even then, they too need criticism. they are after all human creations, and human creations are not perfect. People act like you can't change morals just because.

    None the less, morals are important to humans, socially.
     
  5. Mar 27, 2004 #4
    That falls into the same trap.
    Who defines what honor is?
     
  6. Mar 27, 2004 #5
    Morals are a set of rules to determine and govern the way we should treat other humans. In other words in this dualistic world, to decide what is good or evil. We humans make the rules. We also define what the rules mean to suite the moment. Our set of morals change over time. We as individuals and group set our own meanings to what morality is to us. There is no fixed set of rules in this dualistic world. Although it appears, at least to me, that we strive to move in the direction of making our moral decisions more good, it is only a perception of the individual or group. The human reason behind having morals, is that every human is equal and special in its own way, that life is sacred. There are 1,000 words we could attach to what morality is, and then we would have to explain them first, before we could even come close, to explaining what morality is. Its a difficult task if not impossible.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
  7. Mar 27, 2004 #6
    Why does morality only apply to our actions towards humans?
     
  8. Mar 27, 2004 #7

    Kerrie

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    i think morals are more of an individual set of guidelines that one should set for themself, stem cell research has to do more with ethics...ethics i believe is more of what is "politically correct" within the social environment. a few years ago i took a class in college about the morals and ethics of medicine, and this gave me a good basis of the difference...
     
  9. Mar 27, 2004 #8
    So would you say stem cell research is politically correct? On what basis is something politically correct? After all, isn't politics heavily influenced by morals?

    BTW, thanks for specifying the difference. It is a great embelishment to my knowledege (and I'm sure of others' as well).
     
  10. Mar 27, 2004 #9

    Kerrie

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    when i put "politically correct" in quotes, i meant to infer that ethics is what is socially acceptable over what is an individual decision of what is correct...
     
  11. Mar 27, 2004 #10
    I strongly believe Dissident Dan has a good point here. You see Rader, the semantical error in your aforementioned statement arises when you say "...the way we treat other humans...". If that were the case, the idea of potching animals as being immoral would be non-existent. In fact, I do believe vegeterians are vegetarians on the basis that murdering animals for food is an immoral practice?
     
  12. Mar 28, 2004 #11
    A human moral code contains many things that can be applied only to humans. How would you apply "thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife to a goat"? That is not to say that the hunmans should not have a moral code towards all things that are not human.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
  13. Mar 28, 2004 #12
    moral and ethics

    Kerrie, It might not be a bad idea to define the difference between morals and ethics. Sometimes they overlap. Since you have some good experience.
    Your statement is highly debatable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
  14. Mar 28, 2004 #13
    no error

    There is no semantical error, my post, was well thought out. Poaching animals is against the law. Its morally wrong only if it is part of your moral standards. The poacher does not think so, but he know its against the law. A vegetarian could use your reasoning as a basis for there decision or any number of others. For example maybe the vegetarian knows that his or her blood type is type A and meat is better for Type O than Type A for good health..

    Can we get back to the subject: stem cell research

    The reason why there is a hot debate on this, is becasue there is two groups of people, that have different opinions when a human is a human.

    A= conception
    B= whatever there moral standards dictate for the moment.

    It comes down to the question, do we have morals to be morally more good? or just set them up for our own self interest for the moment?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
  15. Mar 28, 2004 #14

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That is not an argument, you should ask why is it immoral? You can in the same right say that nót developing stem cell research is immoral. Immoral just means something goes against your beliefs of what is right.

    Is it immoral to sacrifice a few day old fertilized egg or is it immoral to not exploit a technical advancement that could have a major impact on medicine?
     
  16. Mar 28, 2004 #15
    within the context of the original question: religious zealots will always claim that something is immoral, if they feel their beliefs threatened.

    the scientists, who see the benefits, with a more liberal inclination will call it moral.

    when does consciousness enter a body/fetus?

    peace,
     
  17. Mar 28, 2004 #16

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Hah! If you mean self-awareness, then around three years old. How far do YOUR memories go back?
     
  18. Mar 28, 2004 #17
    good question. I guess when there is some sort of nervous system, which I believe begins to develop say when the fetus is a few months old.

    Stem cell research only takes stem cells from a zygote only a few days old, when its just a bunch of cells going through meiosis.
     
  19. Mar 28, 2004 #18

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Is it immoral to amputate a limb? Maybe far-fetched, but there is a similarity.
     
  20. Mar 28, 2004 #19
    Incorrect. You said "...how we treat other humans..." which explicitly indicates morals are rules as to "how we treat other humans". That is all you said, and nothing about how we treat things not human. I'll restate your sentence in its entirety:

    This sentece explicitly state that morals are for ONLY humans.

    yet, as in your post to Dissident Dan....

    You expand your definition for things not human.

    No, I don't suppose the poacher thinks its immoral. As you said, "We as individuals and group set our own meanings to what morality is to us.". I concur. But, before I can go further in addressing whether or not poaching is illegal because it is immoral, I'd like to see Kerrie's specification concerning the differences of ethics and morals.
     
  21. Mar 28, 2004 #20
    morality of stem cell research

    SquareItSalamander, your thread deals with morality of stem cell reseach, this concerns humans. There is a human moral code to discuss. If you want to.

    When i said morals are a set of rules to determine and govern the way we should treat other humans, i was referring to human moral code, my focus was on that only. My intention was not to mislead you. Yes there is and are moral codes for animals, let Dissident Dan discuss that on the other thread "should we eat meat"

    Can we get back to the subject: stem cell research

    The reason why there is a hot debate on this, is becasue there is two groups of people, that have different opinions when a human is a human.

    A= conception
    B= whatever there moral standards dictate for the moment.

    It comes down to the question, do we have morals to be morally more good? or just set them up for our own self interest for the moment?

    Since you say you will ague in favor of stem cell research, what is your view?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Morals
  1. Morality and perception (Replies: 42)

  2. Problem of Morality (Replies: 16)

  3. The mutual moral (Replies: 3)

  4. Maintaining morals (Replies: 3)

Loading...