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Old 12-18-2005, 06:14 PM   #1
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progress--??

This was inspired by some posts I saw in another thread. We've had great technological improvements over the past two centuries and have more sophisticated gadgets than we've ever had. Has this been accompanied with any moral progress, that is to say, improvement in the moral climate? I'm not saying it has or it hasn't, I just want to see a discussion about the controversy over the relationship of technological progress with moral progress. Some say yes, and some say no. What do you think? I'm actually torn on this issue. Yes, in some ways we've progressed, as in the battle on racism. African Americans no longer have to sit on the back of buses or give up their seats for whites. But racism persists in some other aspects of our culture, we still have shocking poverty, I don't like it that millions of people in my country don't have health insurance, I have a few other complaints about current morality. Opinions, please!
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Old 12-18-2005, 06:17 PM   #2
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No, humanity has not progressed on the moral front (nor has it gone backwards), we get some things better and some things can be worse, and the lingering threat of re-primitivised man is ever present.
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Old 12-18-2005, 06:26 PM   #3
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No, humanity has not progressed on the moral front (nor has it gone backwards), we get some things better and some things can be worse, and the lingering threat of re-primitivised man is ever present.
How would you define "reprimitised man"?
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Old 12-18-2005, 06:28 PM   #4
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When ethnic tensions and racism break down into mob violence and genocide.
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Old 12-18-2005, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
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When ethnic tensions and racism break down into mob violence and genocide.
that happens far too often
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Old 12-18-2005, 07:12 PM   #6
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I agree, as long as we have the odious practice of genocide happening anywhere we can't claim we've made any progress morally.
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Old 12-18-2005, 10:48 PM   #7
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Humanity has certainly progressed on the moral front over the last 200 years, but with absolutely no thanks to the Religious Right. They opposed everything from the end of slavery to women's suffrage to desegregation, and it was often up to the Religious Left and secularists to set the trend. I often figure the correct path to righteousness is the exact opposite stance of the Religious Right. If they oppose it loudly, then it must be good.

But, really, we may not have solved all the problems. We still have racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism (amongst other things), but we are, at least, actively working to end it. That's a huge step forward compared to 200 years ago when all three existed rampantly and with little to no opposition.

And, as for genocide, don't think for a minute that Hitler was the one who invented it. It existed far before him (with examples of genocide even existing in the Old Testament); but again, while we still see some examples of it like with Darfur, the huge step forward is that not only can we identify it, but we actively work to stop it and prosecute those responsible.

I think anyone who believes that the present time is especially evil is wrong, just as I believe that anyone who thinks that the future is all downhill from here is wrong too. I'm hoping that 200 years from now, this time will seem barbaric in comparison to their present. Civilization is a work in progress.

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Old 12-19-2005, 07:27 AM   #8
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I think that it is misleading to call the reactionaries throughout history the religious right. Then dividing remaining opinion as religious left and secularists is almost to only have left and centrists remaining. The right is set out as the retrograde force upon humanity that is the seed for slavery, anti-semitism and fascism while the religious left and secularists are stand up for truth and global justice. The entire left-right political religious argument is far too simplistic to back much furthur than the 1950's, abolitionists were Christians - what exactly made them left wing Christians. It is just so blinkered, without context of prevailing religious attitudes or the political ideologies of some great men throughout history who led the charge for individual rights but who's philosophies have inspired right wing political movements. The right-left divide politically is based on the role of government and economy. The right-left religious divide seems to be bigotry, heartlessness and hypocricy verus social justics, compassion and "true" adherence to the alleged teachings of Jesus.

The world being a better place than it was than other points in history does not mean that there has been a specific moral improvement in humanity. Here we value human life more today because we are so detatched from death, it is not a daily occurance.

I do not believe that we should lay stake to moral superiority over our forbears. That can be a very dangerous fallacy, human beings are always going to be capable of tremendous malice and the tools of technology means those ends can be even more disasterous. They also temper what leaders are willing to do.

We do not actively seek to stop bloodshed, we sit on the sidelines either passively observing or actively benefiting.

Humanity in the year 3000 will have just as many murderous impulses, power hungry politicians and pathologically hating individuals as any other time or place. I am not looking forward to a utopia, life will go on.
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