I say we are born knowing right from wrong. People KNOW they are doing something wrong, and yet choose to do it anyway.
Our moral compass is a gift from God.
Morals are inborn in my opinion.
I think we're born with a conscience (moral compass), yes.
Morality begins from understanding and differentiating between yes and no...
From Birth we are endowed with such a capacity.
Really excellent and blatant contradiction.
...we may have been born with a moral compass, but it becomes corrupted gradually by the twists of truth that the human ego conjures to satisfy itself.
Ultimate Truth/moral compass can be restored, but the roots of corruption are always present through the corruption of others "watering" those roots. i.e. no one is perfect, it is the human condition and we have to concstantly and consistently desire to look to a higher source of conscience for guidance
Children are ethically immature as are some adults, but they start to show signs of kindness at a very young age.
No. I've never seen a child that, upon discovering a lie might save them a "consequence" would not lie about what they did.
I've never seen a young child that wouldn't sometimes take a toy from a smaller child if they could.
I've never seen a child that wouldn't instinctively strike at a perceived wrong, and often just to get a reaction. They're bored; hit someone and get some excitement.
Children from different countries have much different morals; morals taught by their parents and morals that didn't have to "unteach" a different set first.
So no, we are not born with a Christian set of morals, or any morals at all. They are taught by society (mostly parents and siblings), by expediency (being nice gets nice in return) and by sheer necessity (don't steal or you'll go to jail).
I don't agree.
You don't know what those children are thinking because of their behavior.
I know when I was young, if I did something bad, I knew for a fact it was wrong. It felt wrong.
Truthfully, I doubt that you can remember what you felt, said or thought at the ripe old age of 2 or 3. It doesn't take long, of course, for children to learn what Mom and Dad think is right or wrong and with a little more time and effort it is those right's and wrong's that become the basis of our morality.
One of the biggest objections to the idea of an inborn morality is that different cultures have different morals. People have the morals of the culture they were brought up in, and those morals can vary widely over the world. There are only a handful that are even close to being universal but even then you can find differences of opinion, particularly if you look at cultures of the past, when civilizations were far apart and seldom if ever visited. The ancient Jewish penchant and instructions for the keeping of slaves, for example, or the idea of stoning someone to death for minor offenses against society.
If wilderness can't know what other children are thinking, that means of course that you can't either.
I think we are born with a conscience. This doesn't mean we always follow it. Even children have a sense of right and wrong, but they will still try to get away with things. The same can be said for societies. There may be cultural norms, but that's different from having an inner sense of right or wrong. Also, cultural norms come from a certain way of thinking. In the Philippines we believe in saving face, so if someone asks for something, to save their face we will say "yes," but not do it because we can't. It's considered being polite and thoughtful. In the Western culture this would be confusing and would be seen as being hypocritical. But other Filipinos would understand this norm and either not ask for the impossible, or would ask for it but not immediately believe that "yes" means "yes." In the same way, another polite way of saying "No" would be to say "I'll try," or "maybe." Another Filipino will understand that to mean "no" and will understand that the person is being polite. A westerner would simply take the person at his word. I grew up in the States and Europe, and when I came to live in the Philippines it took me more than 10 years before I finally came to understand this.
Do you understand that you have just claimed that the location of birth determines what morals the baby is born with? That those morals somehow "collect" in the baby from the surrounding earth or air before birth?
What you describe is an outright lie - something quite immoral in my area. But something quite moral and acceptable in yours - it must be coming from the water or something if morals are instilled before birth yet are dependent on geographical location. And morals most certainly are dependent on location and culture.
This is hard to understand, but the cultural ethic of saving face is not an outright lie, because people within the cultural community understand each other and what it means. In other words, it is primarily a matter of motivation rather than linguistics. Westerners are more straightforward so it appears to be an outright lie because if, in your own cultural community you spoke in such manner it would indeed be so. To say "yes" when you mean "no" would be motivated by an intention to lie. In our case, to speak frankly and say "No" may be motivated by a desire to be rude. So intention is more the issue here than linguistics. And a moral compass primarily involves intention.
Have you people actually HAD children?
Just wondering... as you seem to have had children that knew right from wrong with absolutely no parental guidance at all.
I wish I had kids like that. I had/have to teach mine.
People always seem to forget that children are innately evil.
Your children maybe.....but not mine.
Actually, no. Kids of a young age are no more evil than a rock is.
Amoral, yes, until they are taught better, but not immoral or evil.
They are born completely self-centered and self-absorbed. They have truly neutral morality and are pure anarchists. Their needs are all they are concerned with and all bonding until around 3(ish) is based solely on dependency on their caregivers to fill their needs.
They are little sociopaths Not evil, just really really selfish.
Me, too, Melissa. I guess ours are children of the devil - it kind of puts a different face on why those demons kept visiting a few months before the kids were born.
Yes, I have a 22 year old daughter. She has DNA, she has personality qualities that are a mix of mine and the hubby's. She also, as a child had no malice. I recall when she was an infant and she couldn't talk but she was wide awake. I told her I was so sleepy and couldn't carry her or anything. I slept for about two hours, and she didn't bother me. When I woke up, she was still awake, lying in bed, sucking her thumb. She understood sleep and she was aware that we do that when we're tired. And though she usually wanted attention and distraction through toys, etc. when she is awake, she somehow understood that I was tired and she let me sleep. As for how I raised her, I wrote a hub about it but can't link it. At each stage that a child grows, the moral compass is there too, that doesn't mean they won't do wrong. You have to teach them, but when they do wrong they are aware that what they did was wrong.
I feel I am proof we are born with the ability to know right from wrong the moment our brain begins working. I was raised in a house that only did bad things. I had very little to no contact with the outside world yet I always had a "feeling" that what we were doing was wrong. I remember riding in the back seat of the car around 8 or so. We had just got done robbing some closed down store and I was thinking how wrong it was.
Now with that said, I think the idea that MY ability to use MY brain is somehow some magical being's gift for me is crazy.
Sometimes observed negative behavior is as good of a lesson as positive behavior.
I would not be nearly as concerned with equal rights had my father not been a racist. The desire to act differently than one's parents is also a perfectly explainable phenomena and has nothing to do with any innate moral compass. It's rebellion, which is a completely normal developmental stage.
No God needed.
Your, and Melissa's example, are both good indications that by the time a child is old enough to form definite long term memories they are also old enough to at least begin forming morals.
The question, though, is does a very young child, 2 or 3 years old, also have those morals? Experience is raising children says "No" - that children are not born with them. They are formed from environmental interaction as the child ages.
The moral argument is quite neatly solved by studying children who have been deprived of human contact. They become no more than animals. Hence, no innate moral code.
You understand you're creating quite a dilemma, don't you?
Without God to instill those values it is left to humans. Humans that are fallible and can make mistakes and humans that may not have the "right" morals to instill in the first place. Children are then incorrectly taught values that will nearly always remain with them for life, all because the wrong entity put them there. Or because the right entity did not...
Don't you hate that?
Knowledge that the raising of your own children and the responsibility of their moral well-being falls squarely on your shoulders...
Does that mean I have to actually think about the effects of what I'm teaching/showing them too?
No. I have no responsibility for teaching my children. You can't make me have any responsibility at all! I won't, I won't! (stamping feet and turning red faced)
Personally, I hold to the barrel theory of raising children. Enjoy them until the age of 12. At 13, but them in a barrel and fasten then top on, feeding the teen aged "creature" through the bung hole. At 18, decide whether to remove the top and run them off the property or simply drive in the bung.
I love teenagers! It's the stage between 3-5 that drives me buggy.
My daughter hasn't stopped talking in the last year and a half. She even talks in her sleep.
Oh, it's the 2-5's that I like. Of course, I'm grandpa now and send them home most nights - that could possibly be a part of that enjoyment. My grandson, now 5, has a speech impediment and it's only the past few months that he can really make himself understood. The result is non-stop talking and I love peering into that little mind and seeing what's going on in there.
I do remember the teen years with my two, though. Not sure I want to repeat that.
That may explain behavior, but not a moral code. Neither does that explain any DNA that they inherited from their parents. But just as their DNA is there, so, too is the moral code. They followed the behavior of animals because that's what they knew. But the potential of their innate personality and their ability to appreciate their innate moral code still is there.
No, it really isn't. Those who have been completely isolated from any living thing have become feral... even when there were no animals to model. But even if they model behavior from animals, it just proves that they learn their morals from their environment.
They have no moral code. They have no personality other than the personality that we could attribute to a wild animal.
Please research the topic.
The above is a response to Melissa Barrett and her citing examples of children raised by animals. I have read about The Wild Boy of Aveyron and know that there were other stories of children left in the woods. Usually these children were mentally ill and so they ended up there. The Wild Boy of Aveyron was also deemed mentallly ill. His education formed the foundation of the Montessori method of teaching.
Well, how good that Melissa Barrett responded to it.
You read a wonderful fictionalized book then, not the actual psychological paper. You read about one case, where the boy was lost at a late age, after exposure to humans... I believe.
In addition, of course he was diagnosed as mentally ill. Was he went he went into the woods? Hmm...
And you also didn't read my posts... human beings exposed to no animal or human contact turn into animals.
Not just ones "raised by animals".. Indicating that without socialization we all revert to animal state.
Here's a link to The Wild boy of Aveyron. http://haberdasher.hubpages.com/hub/The … f-Aveyron.
I would be delighted to read any links you send me.
You can read there at the end how the book and the movie were both fictionalized.
Yes, I see the book is fictional but based on a true story. This doesn't totally invalidate the story because there were scientific notes taken on the case which can be referred to. What I would like to ask from you are links that show that human beings exposed to no animal or human contact become animals. This is the first time I'd heard of it.
Start here... Specifically children who have been found in houses suffering from extreme neglect... they exhibit the same symptoms as children "found in the wild".
There have also been experiments (mad-scientist type experiments) where children have been purposely withheld from human interaction just to see what happens.
Here is one link of feral by neglect:
Here is another:
http://www.tampabay.com/features/humani … dow/750838
I wish I could remember the name of the text I studied in college, it also had some great examples.
Pay close attention to footnotes by Aroles... "Victor" may have not been truly animal feral... or even feral at all... he had evidence of human abuse, including a scar around his neck that likely indicates an attempt on his life.
These links seem to approach your claim, but conclusions don't agree with it.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-a … 43001.html
http://psychology.about.com/od/historyo … /genie.htm
The first is completely unrelated... It's isolation from society in general, not from human contact. They had plenty of human contact.
Genie is feral and she is included my examples to you. Her case wasn't as extreme because there was some interaction just insufficient. It is likely that she was cared for as an infant, not well, but exposed to enough human interaction to develop somewhat.
The point is, these children have no moral compass. Even had Victor been genuine... of which there are some doubts... he proves the case that children are molded by their environment not by innate moral compass.
By the notes themselves (if you accept them to be accurate) Victor was eventually somewhat "domesticated" but never showed anything remotely resembling a human moral code.
I think "feral" is an inappropriate word to describe these children. They are abused children, and for this reason when they were discovered, they exhibited "feral" behavior. But the behavior described pertains to potty training, inability to speak, interact, etc. A lot of these children suffered from malnutrition, and their isolation led to psychological disorders. Their inability to communicate was a result of their isolation. It isn't feral behavior, it is response to trauma.
Wild animals behave according to instinct and are not raised in isolation unless they are in zoos. Still, they eat and behave in mannerisms that enable them to continue to live in zoos. They become less "feral". I was told by a zookeeper of a small alligator that was able to leave his pond because of a storm and the rising of waters. When the alligator saw the zoookeeper, he went back to his pond. That is not feral behavior.
Feral behvior is natural to wild animals. An abused child does not become feral, she is abused. if you look at the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEnkY2iaKis and see the whole series, Genie's experience is compared to that of Victor, the wild boy of Aveyron. He was likely described as wild because he followed the behavior of animals. But he was also mentally ill. Conditions such as you describe have more to do with extended abuse than with something becoming its essential substance or whatever because it has been stripped down to having absolutely no interaction with other people, the idea seeming to be that they become "feral" when in truth, they weren;t stripped down to their essence, they were abused.
The use of the term "feral" probably is applied to describe behavior, but it's inaccurate to say they become wild animals because they were isolated and abused.
Their behavior is animalistic. It is exactly how humans behave when they are removed from an environment without learning socialized behavior and have never learned any "human" skills.
They are what we are at base level as unsocialized primates...
It's partially speech and conversation, but it's more about primal instinctive behavior. In our primal and instinctive state, we have no moral code.
I can't remember which one of the feral children that was killed trying to rape a women, but I seriously doubt you could call him immoral. He was responding to biological instincts and attempting to mate. There have been others who attacked there caretakers, biting and hitting them. This is also not immoral behavior, it's protection instinct.
Using words like mentally ill is meaningless. Mental illness is a comparative term... the fact that feral children would be considered mentally ill by psychological standards is like saying water is wet. Saying they are developmentally delayed is the same situation.
Isolation from other animals (as in your zoo scenario) still produces the same animal with the same behaviors-for the most part- because there isn't a complex developmental sequence in animals, especially with non-mammals. A baby alligator is essentially an adult alligator in everything but size. They may become use to the presence of humans (domestication) but that isn't developmental that's adaptive.
In the case of domesticated animals, that behavior IS largely learned from parent animal to offspring in mammals but it is a very very tenuous thing. That's why every dog is only about one generation of self-sufficiency away from wolf behavior. Cat's are a bit closer to feral and can revert in the same generation.
However we are having an argument that much greater minds than ours have had for literally centuries without any satisfactory conclusion. I seriously doubt if any epiphanies are going to occur... we are just going to rehash the same arguments, with less aptitude, and reach our own separate conclusions.
That is so interesting peeples, thanks for sharing that story... I think it is one that will stick with me for a long time.
It's funny how moral compasses all point in different directions. If they are from God then he needs to improve his manufacturing process.
I tend to think everyone's moral compass is like the compass from Pirates of the Caribbean. They point toward exactly what it is we want the most. It's completely up to us to figure out whether to follow the straight course to just that thing, or to figure out how and when to veer so that our final destination is what has done the most good for the most people and has shown us the right and proper lessons that we are to have taught our children.
I agree about children. They are pure and untainted and it is everyone's moral duty to guide them, not through our own mini-me attitudes, but towards someone who can prosper in society, contribute and not do anything too bad. Something like that.
For those who aren't children - it's mostly decided anyway.
When one group declares that the greatest good you can do is strap on a load of explosives and suicide in a group of heathens it does make you wonder, doesn't it?
No, you learn it. Or perhaps you seek it. Let us say Tarzan who lives in the forest alone with animals, then he can form those set of values in relation to animals.
in my humble opinion, we are NOT born with a moral compass. we are born, by virtue of nothing more than being human, with a higher functioning brain.
that means that we get to use tools like "logic" and "reason"... we have a higher thought proscess, we can ponder our existance rather than just our lunch. so from the time we are born and take our first breath, we are employing our higher functioning, rappidly growing brain to LEARN.
we learn what works and what doesnt. the same as a sea otter learns what size rock to pick up and use as a tool to open a clam... but humans, being social creatures, spend the bulk of our first years learning social skills,... we learn how to behave,... what works (gets a positive response) and what doesnt (gets a negative response)
i dont think that a moral compass exists, let alone is born in each of us as if by magic,... the magic is nothing more than the cosmic luck of being born with a higher brain that can use tools like logic and reason to solve social problems.
example, children who are born with certain mental deficets are sometimes very slow in learning social skills required to assimilate in society,.. they act out longer, it takes them longer to learn how to think outside thier own desires,... actions and consequences,... and its doubly hard for thier parents to teach them thses things.
It is developed, learned plus shared and not innate.
No, we are not born with it. It has to be developed and shaped by our environment. Some people never develop because of the environment in which they grow up. David, after he'd sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed, said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51 : 5). He knew that what he was doing it was wrong, but he did it anyway. We are no different.
I believe that the fact that David knew what he planned to do was wrong, but did it anyway is proof of a moral compass. A moral compass is an understanding of right and wrong. It doesn't control our actions. Later, David repented and that response was also part of his moral compass. David is a great example in the Bible of a man who did a lot of bad things, including killing a man. He was a normal human being who sins, but he always repented eventually. This didn't mean he didn't suffer consequences for his sins. He was forgiven, but there was so much infighting among his children because he wasn't perfect.
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