You guys have been pretty well over this, but I’ll still throw my 2 cents in ( what a shocker )
Why are we talking about rationality? I thought we were talking about morality. Two kettles of fish. More below
So what about lesser degrees? Say, not actively murdering people but refusing to help them specifically because you believe they’re inferior.
I’d give the same answer I did before. This is going to be viewed as immoral and even inhuman behavior, from a moral perspective.
I’m thinking about, for instance, the ethnic nationalist sectors of the alt-right. From an evolutionary perspective, they appear to be motivated by empathy for some subset of genetic relatives to reduce the competition for resources from more distant relations whom they consider inferior.
FWIW, I don’t agree with this kind of reasoning. It seems to seek to force facts into a simplistic evolutionary perspective. I’d say that group identification is part of our particular nature as social animals. For whatever reason, such people seem inordinately possessed of this characteristic of human nature. Jonathan Haidt is a excellent read in this area.
They think doing so is heroically preserving the future of human civilization. I think they’re absolutely wrong, yet all the outside denunications of amorality and pyscopathy seem to have done little to persuade them of the irrationality of their views. From a Biblical perspective, they are necessarily wrong because every human is equally valued as bearing the image of God. From a secular perspective, why are they wrong?
From a humanist perspective, because every human is equally valued.
You can chip around the edges by pointing out false statistics or historical reasons for certain disparities, for instance, but what is the fundamental irrationality, from a secular perspective, about a member of a species wanting to favor preserving members of its own sub-group that could theoretically eventually diverge into a separate species, when that is all that evolution has ever successfully done? (This is actually something I’m fairly concerned about in our post-Christian cultural era, and I would love to hear more compelling responses to the alt-right than I’ve derived thus far…)
You’re focused on this idea of rationality or irrationality, but our morality is far more deeply rooted in the psyche than that. When people do apply rationality to make moral assessments, they don’t use this kind of criteria either, that somehow seeks to mirror the kinds of things done in the evolutionary process. I’m not sure where that idea is coming from. You mentioned Sam Harris, and he has spoken about something that people do do, which is make assessments based on harm and well-being. We possess a strong understanding of how our actions or lack thereof affect others, and in my view an unavoidable corresponding moral responsibility.
Sure, but none of this necessarily impacts on what is generally considered to be morality. Is it immoral for me to help my children more than a random stranger? I think I heard Matt Dillahunty speak recently about the difference between morally virtuous and morally abhorrent behavior. There’s more of a moral imperative not to hurt others than a necessity to help (though this may not be totally in line with Christian ideals?) Pushing a random stranger out of the way to allow my child to pass would be much more of a moral issue, surely.
Christianity at least seems to promote an ideal of valuing your neighbor as much as yourself, on the basis of shared image-bearing, however difficult it is to achieve that in practice.
It’s admirable, but not always a moral imperative, as I’ve said.
I guess humanists promote the same ideal as well, on the basis of empathy / shared consciousness.
Yes. Empathy and humanist ideals in general.
Here’s the thing–no one has to believe or subscribe to Christianity. The truth of it is a matter of belief. So it’s not only a humanist vision that may not be shared. I think we’re in the same boat here ultimately. Also, it’s not evident to me that religious folk necessarily arrive at high moral values.