Moral Naturalists

Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Most people think it is a gift from God, who revealed His laws and elevates us with His love. A smaller number think that we figure the rules out for ourselves, using our capacity to reason and choosing a philosophical system to live by.

Moral naturalists, on the other hand, believe that we have moral sentiments that have emerged from a long history of relationships. To learn about morality, you don’t rely upon revelation or metaphysics; you observe people as they live.

All emphasis mine. Via Op-Ed Columnist – The Moral Naturalists – NYTimes.com.

I have to say I am highly sympathetic to that view. So was Adam Smith, as noted by the guys as Cafe Hayek:

It’s worth noting that Adam Smith arrived at the same conclusion 251 years ago. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), this brilliant scholar – who, in 1776, published an even more influential book – wrote that “Our continual observations upon the conduct of others insensibly lead us to form to ourselves certain general rules concerning what is fit and proper either to be done or to be avoided.”

Just as workable economic arrangements are not, and cannot be, designed and imposed by a higher power, so too, Smith explained, workable morality itself is the product not of any grand design but of the everyday actions, reactions, observations, and practical assessments of ordinary people going about their daily business.

Via The Origins of Moral Sentiments.

Systems and Stories

Curiously the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ is used to talk about systems and stories, but the ‘reasons’ are in opposite temporal directions. In system thought it means everything is necessitated somehow by the previous state of the system, in story thought it means every occurrence will have future social significance if it does not already.

via Systems and stories « Meteuphoric.

Muslim Threat Results In Censorship

Via http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/south-park-episode-is-altered-after-muslim-groups-warning/?hp we have this:

An episode of “South Park” that continued a story line involving the Prophet Muhammad was shown Wednesday night on Comedy Central with audio bleeps and image blocks reading “CENSORED” after a Muslim group warned the show’s creators that they could face violence for depicting that holy Islamic prophet. Revolution Muslim, a group based in New York, wrote on its Web site that the “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker “will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh” for an episode shown last week in which a character said to be the Prophet Muhammad was seen wearing a bear costume. Mr. Van Gogh was slain in Amsterdam in 2004 after making a film that discussed the abuse of Muslim women in some Islamic societies.

On Thursday morning, a spokesman for Comedy Central confirmed that the network had added more bleeps to the episode than were in the cut delivered by South Park Studios, and that it was not giving permission for the episode to run on the studio’s Web site.

So we are now at the point where an organization based in New York can issue veiled threats against cartoonists, and the authors’ publishers will censor their work.

Censor this, assholes:

Muhammed Head-Bomb

Update: See also http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2010/04/22/muslims_threate.html and http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/04/comedy-central-cowers-in-face-of-murder.html.

Update 2: Instapundit says: “Obviously, Christians — and Sarah Palin fans, and lovers of My Mother The Car — should take heed of this incentive system our modern media is creating. Don’t want things you treasure satirized? Just issue a “prediction” and — voila! Meanwhile, note how entirely real radical Muslim threats and violence are treated as just part of the weather — something you have to adapt to — while nonexistent Tea Party violence is an existential threat to the Republic.”

Intelligent Design: An Islamic Designer?

Creationism is growing in the Muslim world, from Turkey to Pakistan to Indonesia, international academics said last month as they gathered here to discuss the topic.

But, they said, young-Earth creationists, who believe God created the universe, Earth and life just a few thousand years ago, are rare, if not nonexistent.

One reason is that although the Koran, the holy text of Islam, says the universe was created in six days, the next line adds that a day, in this instance, is metaphorical: “a thousand years of your reckoning.”

via Creationism, Without a Young Earth, Emerges in the Islamic World – NYTimes.com.

So, ID folks, what disprovable hypothesis might tell us if Allah is the Designer or not?