HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!



Quote: I chose the title The Righteous Mind to convey the sense that human nature is not just intrinsically moral, it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental.

This is an extremely good point.  It is proof that religions that make rules we could do without or live without are bad.  They are about passive aggressive judgement.  Examples are the rule that you must attend Mass on feasts such as the Immaculate Conception or that you must have communion at least once a year.

Quote: My approach starts with Durkheim, who said: “What is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces man to … regulate his actions by something other than … his own egoism.”As a sociologist, Durkheim focused on social facts—things that exist outside of any individual mind—which constrain the egoism of individuals. Examples of such social facts include religions, families, laws, and the shared networks of meaning that I have called moral matrices.

What is religion doing first in the list?  Most religion is very individualistic - eg Protestants gathering together but agreeing on little in relation to faith matters.  Hinduism or Buddhism do not insist on community involvement.  Plus a religion that is only about bringing people together is not a religion at all but a social club.

Quote: He found that people make up their minds to condemn what you do rather quickly. It is when they are challenged as to why they condemn that they start coming up with post hoc harms that your action has done. 

This shows how vital it is to get rid of religion for it has religious based morals.  It creates moral issues to worry about that do not exist.  To the human being, there is no wrong in failing to attend public worship on a Sunday.  But there is if you are a Catholic. The more rules the more you are at risk of meaning to do wrong and the more you are likely to hurt others for you will think you may as well for you broke the religion's rules and became sinful anyway.  Doing evil or doing perceived evil, which still makes you evil, leads to more evil.  Sunday worship It shows that those who preach love the sinner and hate the sin are liars.  If you love the sinner you will not be accusing and then trying to justify but you will put the horse before the cart.

We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment.

This is another proof that religion has to be inherently passive aggressive.  And people spread the religion not out of love but to reinforce their prejudices and to get others to be as bad as themselves.  Only a miracle can stop us being that manipulative and religion promises moral and spiritual miracles but does not deliver.  That in itself is passive aggressive too.

Quote: Psychologists used to assume that infant minds were blank slates. The world babies enter is “one great blooming, buzzing confusion,” as William James put it, and they spend the next few years trying to make sense of it all. But when developmental psychologists invented ways to look into infant minds, they found a great deal of writing already on that slate.

No wonder religion desperately seeks power over children.  It knows that if the person had a real choice they would probably not be in their religion.

Quote: The first principle of moral psychology is Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. In support of this principle, I reviewed six areas of experimental research demonstrating that: Brains evaluate instantly and constantly (as Wundt and Zajonc said). Social and political judgments depend heavily on quick intuitive flashes (as Todorov and work with the IAT have shown). Our bodily states sometimes influence our moral judgments. Bad smells and tastes can make people more judgmental (as can anything that makes people think about purity and cleanliness). Psychopaths reason but don’t feel (and are severely deficient morally). Babies feel but don’t reason (and have the beginnings of morality). Affective reactions are in the right place at the right time in the brain (as shown by Damasio, Greene, and a wave of more recent studies). Putting all six together gives us a pretty clear portrait of the rider and the elephant, and the roles they play in our righteous minds. The elephant (automatic processes) is where most of the action is in moral psychology. Reasoning matters, of course, particularly between people, and particularly when reasons trigger new intuitions. Elephants rule, but they are neither dumb nor despotic. Intuitions can be shaped by reasoning, especially when reasons are embedded in a friendly conversation or an emotionally compelling novel, movie, or news story.

He is not saying intuitions should come first but only that they do.  This confirms how passive aggressive human moralising is.  He says he is persuaded that rationalists want power and to decide for people considered less rational than themselves. He states that moral philosophers are no better or worse than any other kind of person.  It is not true that rationalists wanted personal power.  A mathematician does not want personal power.  He wants to empower people by giving them information that passes some times - ie avoids contradicting itself.

Quote: When we see or hear about the things other people do, the elephant begins to lean immediately. The rider, who is always trying to anticipate the elephant’s next move, begins looking around for a way to support such a move. When my wife reprimanded me for leaving dirty dishes on the counter, I honestly believed that I was innocent. I sent my reasoning forth to defend me and it came back with an effective legal brief in just three seconds.

The point is we can use reason to justify ourselves for morality is usually a grey area.  We take advantage of that greyness to reason ourselves into thinking we are innocent when we are not.  And he wants to believe he is innocent for he thinks that is the way to get his wife to believe it.  Its about manipulating her not just himself.

Quote: He cites the harm principle of John Stuart Mill had put forth in 1859: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

The ethic of autonomy is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, autonomous individuals with wants, needs, and preferences. People should be free to satisfy these wants, needs, and preferences as they see fit, and so societies develop moral concepts such as rights, liberty, and justice, which allow people to coexist peacefully without interfering too much in each other’s projects. This is the dominant ethic in individualistic societies. You find it in the writings of utilitarians such as John Stuart Mill and Peter Singer11 (who value justice and rights only to the extent that they increase human welfare), and you find it in the writings of deontologists such as Kant and Kohlberg (who prize justice and rights even in cases where doing so may reduce overall welfare). But as soon as you step outside of Western secular society, you hear people talking in two additional moral languages. The ethic of community is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, members of larger entities such as families, teams, armies, companies, tribes, and nations. These larger entities are more than the sum of the people who compose them; they are real, they matter, and they must be

The ethic of divinity is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, temporary vessels within which a divine soul has been implanted.12 People are not just animals with an extra serving of consciousness; they are children of God and should behave accordingly. The body is a temple, not a playground. Even if it does no harm and violates nobody’s rights when a man has sex with a chicken carcass, he still shouldn’t do it because it degrades him, dishonors his creator, and violates the sacred order of the universe. Many societies therefore develop moral concepts such as sanctity and sin, purity and pollution, elevation and degradation. In such societies, the personal liberty of secular Western nations looks like libertinism, hedonism, and a celebration of humanity’s baser instincts.13 I first read about Shweder’s three ethics i

Quote: When an artist submerges a crucifix in a jar of his own urine, or smears elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, do these works belong in art museums?Can the artist simply tell religious Christians, “If you don’t want to see it, don’t go to the museum”? Or does the mere existence of such works make the world dirtier, more profane, and more degraded?

Morality is so rich and complex, so multifaceted and internally contradictory. Pl

we believe that moral monism—the attempt to ground all of morality on a single principle—leads to societies that are unsatisfying to most people and at high risk of becoming inhumane because they ignore so many other moral principles.3

Moral judgment is a kind of perception, and moral science should begin with a careful study of the moral taste receptors. You can’t possibly deduce the list of five taste receptors by pure reasoning, nor should you search for it in scripture. There’s nothing transcendental about them. You’ve got to examine tongues. Hume got it right. When he died in 1776, he and other sentimentalists10 had laid a superb foundation for “moral science,” one that has, in my view, been largely vindicated by modern research

The second principle of moral psychology is: There’s more to morality than harm and fairness. In this chapter I began to say exactly what more there is: Morality is like taste in many ways—an analogy made long ago by Hume and Mencius. Deontology and utilitarianism are “one-receptor” moralities that are likely to appeal most strongly to people who are high on systemizing and low on empathizing. Hume’s pluralist, sentimentalist, and naturalist approach to ethics is more promising than utilitarianism or deontology for modern moral psychology. As a first step in resuming Hume’s project, we should try to identify the taste receptors of the righteous mind. Modularity can help us think about innate receptors, and how they produce a variety of initial perceptions that get developed in culturally variable ways. Five good candidates for being taste receptors of the righteous mind are care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity.

The Koran commands Muslims to kill apostates, and Allah himself promises that he “shall certainly roast them at a Fire; as often as their skins are wholly burned, We shall give them in exchange other skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Surely God is All-mighty, All-wise.”25

If we had no sense of disgust, I believe we would also have no sense of the sacred. 
nature. I tried to make (and justify) five such guesses: The Care/harm foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children. It makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need; it makes us despise cruelty and want to care for those who are suffering. The Fairness/cheating foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of reaping the rewards of cooperation without getting exploited. It makes us sensitive to indications that another person is likely to be a good (or bad) partner for collaboration and reciprocal altruism. It makes us want to shun or punish cheaters. The Loyalty/betrayal foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions. It makes us sensitive to signs that another person is (or is not) a team player. It makes us trust and reward such people, and it makes us want to hurt, ostracize, or even kill those who betray us or our group. The Authority/subversion foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forging relationships that will benefit us within social hierarchies. It makes us sensitive to signs of rank or status, and to signs that other people are (or are not) behaving properly, given their position. The Sanctity/degradation foundation evolved initially in response to the adaptive challenge of the omnivore’s dilemma, and then to the broader challenge of living in a world of pathogens and parasites. It includes the behavioral immune system, which can make us wary of a diverse array of symbolic objects and threats. It makes it possible for people to invest objects with irrational and extreme values—both positive and negative—which are important for binding groups together. I showed how the two ends of the political spectrum rely upon each foundation in different ways, or to different degrees. It appears that the left relies primarily on the Care and Fairness foundations, whereas the right uses all five. If this is true, then is the morality of the left like the food served in The True Taste restaurant? Does left-wing morality activate just one or two taste receptors, wher
ome religions are better than others at hijacking the human mind, burrowing in deeply, and then getting themselves transmitted to the next generation of host minds

Dennett proposes that religions survive because, like those parasites, they make their hosts do things that are bad for themselves (e.g., suicide bombing) but good for the parasite (e.g., Islam).

Creating gods who can see everything, and who hate cheaters and oath breakers, turns out to be a good way to reduce cheating and oath breaking.

Why doesn’t sacrifice strengthen secular communes? Sosis argues that rituals, laws, and other constraints work best when they are sacralized. He quotes the anthropologist Roy Rappaport: “To invest social conventions with sanctity is to hide their arbitrariness in a cloak of seeming necessity.”32 But when secular organizations demand sacrifice, every member has a right to ask for a cost-benefit analysis, and many refuse to do things that don’t make logical sense. In other words, the very ritual practices that the New Atheists dismiss as costly, inefficient, and irrational turn out to be a solution to one of the hardest problems humans face: cooperation without kinship. Irrational beliefs can sometimes help the group function more rationally, particularly when those beliefs rest upon the Sanctity foundation.33 Sacredness binds people together, and then blinds them to the arbitrariness of the practice.

The ingenious religious solution to this problem of social engineering was to place a small temple at every fork in the irrigation system. The god in each such temple united all the subaks that were downstream from it into a community that worshipped that god, thereby helping the subaks to resolve their disputes more amicably. This arrangement minimized the cheating and deception that would otherwise flourish in a zero-sum division of water. The system made it possible for thousands of farmers, spread over hundreds of square kilometers, to cooperate without the need for central government, inspectors, and courts. The system worked so efficiently that the Dutch—who were expert hydrologists themselves—could find little to improve.

On surveys, religious people routinely claimed to give more money to charity, and they expressed more altruistic values. But when social psychologists brought people into the lab and gave them the chance to actually help strangers, religious believers rarely acted any better than did nonbelievers.51

Quote: Deuteronomy 22:9–11. Mary Douglas (1966) argues that the need to keep categories pure is the most important principle behind the kosher laws. I disagree, and think that disgust plays a much more powerful role; see Rozin, Haidt, and McCauley 2008.

Some philosophers note the difference that in the bridge story you are using the victim as a means to an end, whereas in the switch story the victim is not a means to an end; his death is just an unfortunate side effect. Greene and others have therefore tested alternative versions, such as the case where the switch only saves lives because it diverts the trolley onto a side loop where one man is standing. In that case the victim is still being used as a means to an end; if he were to step off the track, the trolley would continue on the loop, back onto the main track, and would kill the five people. In these cases, subjects tend to give responses in between the original switch and footbridge versions.

Quote: Racism, genocide, and suicide bombing are all manifestations of groupishness. They are not things that people do in order to outcompete their local peers; they are things people do to help their groups outcompete other groups.


Blackmore is a meme theorist who originally shared Dawkins’s view that religions were memes that spread like viruses. But after seeing the evidence that religious people are happier, more generous, and more fertile, she recanted. See Blackmore 2010.

What has happiness got to do with proving religion is not a virus?  A virus in your computer that makes you laugh is still a virus.

. I agree with Harris 2010 in his choice of utilitarianism, but with two big differences: (1) I endorse it only for public policy, as I do not think individuals are obligated to produce the greatest total benefit, and (2) Harris claims to be a monist. He says that what is right is whatever maximizes the happiness of conscious creatures, and he believes that happiness can be measured with objective techniques, such as an fMRI scanner. I disagree. I am a pluralist, not a monist. I follow Shweder (1991; Shweder and Haidt 1993) and Berlin 2001 in believing that there are multiple and sometimes conflicting goods and values, and there is no simple arithmeticical way of ranking societies along a single dimension. There is no way to eliminate the need for philosophical reflection about what makes a good society. 70. I am endorsing here a version of utilitarianism known as “rule utilitarianism,” which says that we should aim to create the system and rules that will, in the long run, produce the greatest total good. This is in contrast to “act utilitarianism,” which says that we should aim to maximize utility in each case, with each act.

People do not cooperate well in large groups when they perceive that many others are free riding.

You’re nearly done reading a book on morality, and I have not yet given you a definition of morality. There’s a reason for that. The definition I’m about to give you would have made little sense back in chapter 1. It would not have meshed with your intuitions about morality, so I thought it best to wait. Now, after eleven chapters in which I’ve challenged rationalism (in Part I), broadened the moral domain (in Part II), and said that groupishness was a key innovation that took us beyond selfishness and into civilization (Part III), I think we’re ready. Not surprisingly, my approach starts with Durkheim, who said: “What is moral is everything that is a source of solidarity, everything that forces man to … regulate his actions by something other than … his own egoism.”65 As a sociologist, Durkheim focused on social facts—things that exist outside of any individual mind—which constrain the egoism of individuals. Examples of such social facts include religions, families, laws, and the shared networks of meaning that I have called moral matrices. Because I’m a psychologist, I’m going to insist that we include inside-the-mind stuff too, such as the moral emotions, the inner lawyer (or press secretary), the six moral foundations, the hive switch, and all the other evolved psychological mechanisms I’ve described in this book. My definition puts these two sets of puzzle pieces together to define moral systems: Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interest and make cooperative societies possible.66 I’ll just make two points about this definition now, and then we’ll use it in the final chapter to examine some of the major political ideologies in Western society. First, this is a functionalist definition. I define morality by what it does, rather than by specifying what content counts as moral. Turiel, in contrast, defined morality as being about “justice, rights, and welfare.”67 But any effort to define morality by des