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User:Bootmii/Conservapedia:Blatant plagiarism/Morality

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  • Catholic Encyclopedia article on Morality - cited, but with no indication it's being quoted
  • Morality and Political Order, weblog post by Thomas Brewton - this post is not cited or linked to, but another weblog post by the same author is (supposedly) quoted
  • Morality, Justice and Judicial Moralism by Kelly L. Ross - this page isn't cited, but another by the same author is, copied along with the rest of the material from this source. Note: A link and a wholly insufficient citation was added on May 28th, following the initial posting of this examination. Following email from yr hmbl editor, the wording was changed to indicate that the material was, in fact, copied.
  • Buddhist Morality by C. George Boeree - linked to but quote not acknowledged; also included (with no link) in References section.
  • Imitating God: The Basis of Jewish Morality by Joseph B. Soloveichik - this page isn't cited; the link that is cited for the relevant paragraphs doesn't work. It may have been intended to accurately point to the quoted material. Even if so, no indication was given that the material was a quote; also included (with no link) in References section.

The following changes have been made in the CP article for this presentation:

  • The long quote supposedly from Brewton's weblog post Moral Models from Mainstream Media has been broken up into the apparently-intended original paragraphs (it actually is not from that weblog post).
  • The Paramita list in the Buddist(sic) Morality section has been formatted as a list rather than one long line
  • An image copied from Republican Voices has been removed

The quote from Hobhouse is cited to an excerpt from his Liberalism, but the quote does not appear on the cited page. It does appear, exactly as quoted, in the Catholic Encyclopedia article.

The long Brewton quote isn't from the cited weblog post, it's from a different one by the same author. And somewhat ironically, it's been edited in a few important ways, including at least one which puts words into Brewton's mouth. Even when acknowledging its copying, Conservapedia has problems.


CP entry as of 1 April 2007

Other Pages on the Web

It is necessary at the outset to distinguish between morality and ethics, terms not seldom employed synonymously. Morality is antecedent to ethics: it denotes those concrete activities of which ethics is the science. It may be defined as human conduct in so far as it is freely subordinated to the ideal of what is right and fitting.

It is necessary at the outset of this article to distinguish between morality and ethics, terms not seldom employed synonymously. Morality is antecedent to ethics: it denotes those concrete activities of which ethics is the science. It may be defined as human conduct in so far as it is freely subordinated to the ideal of what is right and fitting.

This ideal governing our free actions is common to the human race. Though there is wide divergence as to theories of ethics [[1]] , there is a fundamental agreement among men regarding the general lines of conduct desirable in public and private life. L. T. Hobhouse has well said:

This ideal governing our free actions is common to the race. Though there is wide divergence as to theories of ethics, there is a fundamental agreement among men regarding the general lines of conduct desirable in public and private life. Thus Mr. Hobhouse has well said:

"The comparative study of ethics, which is apt in its earlier stages to impress the student with a bewildering sense of the diversity of moral judgments, ends rather by impressing them with a more fundamental and far-reaching uniformity. Through the greatest extent of time and space over which we have records, we find a recurrence of the common features of ordinary morality, which to my mind at least is not less impressive than the variations which also appear". [2]

"The comparative study of ethics, which is apt in its earlier stages to impress the student with a bewildering sense of the diversity of moral judgments, ends rather by impressing them with a more fundamental and far-reaching uniformity. Through the greatest extent of time and space over which we have records, we find a recurrence of the common features of ordinary morality, which to my mind at least is not less impressive than the variations which also appear" (Morals in Evolution, I, i, n. 11).
Thomas E. Brewton wrote in Moral Models from Mainstream Media

"Many secular writers and scholars say a clear and decent moral philosophy may be and has been developed without recourse to mysticism, as religion is. There is no way to prove, objectively, that any religion is truer than any other. On the other hand, basing a moral philosophy on duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” can produce, and has produced, a set of principles for living a just and proper life that does not require a belief in a deity or other prop outside of recognition of human fellowship.

Reader Brooks A. Mick, M.D., responded to Moral Models from Mainstream Media with the following observation:

Howdy, Thomas,

I beg to differ. A clear and decent moral philosophy may be and has been developed without recourse to mysticism, as religion is. There is no way to prove, objectively, that any religion is truer than any other. Would you conclude that the Islamic terrorists, whose acts are based on their moral views based on their INTERPRETATION of their religion, are behaving morally?

On the other hand, basing a moral philosophy on duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” can produce, and has produced, a set of principles for living a just and proper life that does not require a belief in a deity or other prop outside of recognition of human fellowship.

My reply:

It should be noted that the western world's first examples of philosophy, in the Greek city states, did in fact arise out of their religious beliefs. Both Plato and Aristotle acknowledged a single Divine source as the origin of the cosmos and, ipso facto, the origin of being or existence itself. Plato specifically believed in the immortality of the human soul, not as a matter of mysticism, but as developed in philosophical logic. This appears most clearly in his dialog, the "Phaedo," [[3]] in which Socrates's sorrowful friends visit him in prison, just as he is about to drink the hemlock poison. He comforts them with the certainty that his soul is about to pass over into a new realm.

With regard to his assertion that, "A clear and decent moral philosophy may be and has been developed without recourse to mysticism, as religion is," it should be noted that the western world's first examples of philosophy, in the Greek city states, did in fact arise out of their religious beliefs. Both Plato and Aristotle acknowledged a single Divine source as the origin of the cosmos and, ipso facto, the origin of being or existence itself.

Plato specifically believed in the immortality of the human soul, not as a matter of mysticism, but as developed in philosophical logic. This appears most clearly in his dialog, the "Phaedo," in which Socrates's sorrowful friends visit him in prison, just as he is about to drink the hemlock poison. He comforts them with the certainty that his soul is about to pass over into a new realm.

One of the charges upon which he was condemned to death by the Athenian Assembly was leading the youth astray from the many, syncretistic gods brought into cosmopolitan Athens via the city's vast foreign trade. Plato, using the voice of Socrates, argued that there is only a single Divinity, and that Divinity is the source of moral understanding.

One of the charges upon which he was condemned to death by the Athenian Assembly was leading the youth astray from the many, syncretistic gods brought into cosmopolitan Athens via the city’s vast foreign trade. Plato, using the voice of Socrates, argued that there is only a single Divinity, and that Divinity is the source of moral understanding.

The whole of Plato's "Republic" is aimed at the concept that a just society must begin with this moral understanding and rest upon the morality of its rulers. Roughly 400 years earlier the Old Testament prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah had repeatedly admonished the people of both kingdoms of Israel with the same message.

The whole of Plato’s “Republic” is aimed at the concept that a just society must begin with this moral understanding and rest upon the morality of its rulers. Roughly 400 years earlier the Old Testament prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah had repeatedly admonished the people of both kingdoms of Israel with the same message.

Secularists start with the assumption that concepts such as duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” already exist as the foundation blocks for constructing a set of moral principles that will be independent of a belief in a deity. But, where did they come from? Again, in historical fact, those basic concepts – duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” – all arose under political regimes rooted in religious beliefs. It was in those codes that the earliest known statements of such basic principles occurred.

Observe that Dr. Mick starts with the assumption that concepts such as duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” already exist as the foundation blocks for constructing a set of moral principles that will be independent of a belief in a deity. But, where did they come from?

Again, in historical fact, those basic concepts – duty, loyalty, and “women and children first” – all arose under political regimes rooted in religious beliefs. It was in those codes that the earliest known statements of such basic principles occurred.

Every code of law in the western world, such as Hammurabi's Code [[4]] from around 1770 BC, has predicated the official state god as its source of legitimacy. Around 1500 BC, Moses in the same way transmitted the Ten Commandments from God to the Israelite people. In every case the formulaic structure is the same. The ruler or spiritual leader rules by the power and grace of God, and the ruler's law code is always seen as bringing God's moral justice to his people. Why should this be uniformly the case? Eric Voegelin and Friedrich Hayek provide an understanding.

Every code of law in the western world, such as Hammurabi's code from around 1770 BC, has predicated the official state god as its source of legitimacy. Around 1500 BC, Moses in the same way transmitted the Ten Commandments from God to the Israelite people.

In every case the formulaic structure is the same. The ruler or spiritual leader rules by the power and grace of God, and the ruler's law code is always seen as bringing God's moral justice to his people. Why should this be uniformly the case?

Eric Voegelin and Friedrich Hayek provide an understanding.

Eric Voegelin, covers this question in magisterial fashion in "Israel and Revelation," one of the five volumes in his "Order and History." Dr. Voegelin notes that religion and morality are not "things" or "objects" that a single person, or a committee of intellectuals, sat down and conjured up during a conference meeting. He found it necessary to make this reality clear, in distinction to the modern-day, liberal-socialist view that societies and their political structure are simply "on the spot" creations of the minds of morally relativistic human intellectuals.

My college mentor, Eric Voegelin, covers this question in magisterial fashion in "Israel and Revelation," one of the five volumes in his "Order and History." Dr. Voegelin notes that religion and morality are not "things" or "objects" that a single person, or a committee of intellectuals, sat down and conjured up during a conference meeting. He found it necessary to make this reality clear, in distinction to the modern-day, liberal-socialist view that societies and their political structure are simply "on the spot" creations of the minds of morally relativistic human intellectuals.

That misconception, for example, is the root of the disastrous savagery produced by the French Revolutionary intellectuals' "ideas" about a perfect socialistic government. As present-day French intellectual André Maurois observed in his "A History of France," the French intellectuals, unlike their English and American contemporaries, had never had so much as five minutes actual experience in self-government. In contrast, the English and their American political heirs had struggled for centuries to hammer out their unwritten constitution governing the rights and privileges of individuals under law, against the crown. Those political understandings were bound up in their religious understandings of the duty of sovereigns and subjects to God. No English king, or Continental sovereign, could claim legitimacy without the blessings of the Christian church.

That misconception, for example, is the root of the disastrous savagery produced by the French Revolutionary intellectuals' "ideas" about a perfect socialistic government. As present-day French intellectual André Maurois observed in his "A History of France," the French intellectuals, unlike their English and American contemporaries, had never had so much as five minutes actual experience in self-government. In contrast, the English and their American political heirs had struggled for centuries to hammer out their unwritten constitution governing the rights and privileges of individuals under law, against the crown. Those political understandings were bound up in their religious understandings of the duty of sovereigns and subjects to God. No English king, or Continental sovereign, could claim legitimacy without the blessings of the Christian church.

That is why Europe's first secular and imperialist ruler Napoleon ostentatiously snatched the crown from the hands of the the bishop and placed it himself upon his head at the coronation ceremony. Symbolically, this represented liberals' hubristic presumption that they alone are the rulers of the universe and that they need no help from God, socialistic, individual hubris that presumes to the capacity to make up its own rules of morality is a prescription for anarchic demise."[5][[6]]

That, by the way, is why Europe's first secular and imperialist ruler Napoleon ostentatiously snatched the crown from the hands of the the bishop and placed it himself upon his head at the coronation ceremony. Symbolically, this represented liberals' hubristic presumption that they alone are the rulers of the universe and that they need no help from God.

Perhaps they should have taken a second look. As I stated in the introduction to this essay, socialistic, individual hubris that presumes to the capacity to make up its own rules of morality is a prescription for anarchic demise.



Morality and the Law[edit]


Morality can be distinguished from law or from justice according to the way in which the latter is publicly enforced and sanctioned through the power of the state, while the former is regarded as a private matter where wrongs are to the moral discredit of a person but not such as to allow legal recourse for those wronged. Complaints are often made about the absence of such a distinction, that virtue or morality cannot be or ought not be legislated, or about its presence, that the decline of private morality calls for a public and legal remedy. The distinction is real enough, and its presence reveals another boundary between polynomic domains of value.

Morality can be distinguished from law or from justice according to the way in which the latter is publicly enforced and sanctioned through the power of the state, while the former is regarded as a private matter where wrongs are to the moral discredit of a person but not such as to allow legal recourse for those wronged. Complaints are often made about the absence of such a distinction, that virtue or morality cannot be or ought not be legislated, or about its presence, that the decline of private morality calls for a public and legal remedy. The distinction is real enough, and its presence reveals another boundary between polynomic domains of value.


The ultimate moral evaluation of an action concerns the intention. Many actions innocent in themselves may be immoral because of the motive. That motive may be difficult for other persons to know. It may even be impossible for others to know: thus the emphasis (as in the example cited by Jesus of adultery committed in the heart -- Matthew 5:27) is that morality is morality even if wrongs are known only to the agent (and to God). The moral sanction of religion, therefore, is a much different matter than the moral sanction of law. The right of privacy (and the right against self-incrimination, where a judicial wrong has been committed and the state must prove culpable motive) protects the individual's self-knowledge of motive from the law and the state. Individuals are properly at legal liberty to pursue actions that are not judicial wrongs for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons; and the morality of those actions is a private, personal matter, or a matter of interpersonal judgment on a level of "mere" morality.

The ultimate moral evaluation of an action concerns the intention. Many actions innocent in themselves may be immoral because of the motive. That motive may be difficult for other persons to know. It may even be impossible for others to know: thus the emphasis (as in the example cited by Jesus of adultery committed in the heart -- Matthew 5:27) is that morality is morality even if wrongs are known only to the agent (and to God). The moral sanction of religion, therefore, is a much different matter than the moral sanction of law. The right of privacy (and the right against self-incrimination, where a judicial wrong has been committed and the state must prove culpable motive) protects the individual's self-knowledge of motive from the law and the state. Individuals are properly at legal liberty to pursue actions that are not judicial wrongs for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons; and the morality of those actions is a private, personal matter, or a matter of interpersonal judgment on a level of "mere" morality.

The absence of a distinction between morality and justice is a kind of moralism. The principle that all moral wrongs should be legally sanctioned as judicial wrongs, erasing the distinction between morality and justice, may be called judicial moralism. Usually this means generalizing the morality of intention into the morality of action rather than the opposite, which would simply evaluate actions as right or wrong, without qualifying the judgment by any consideration of motive or intention: although this does happen in tort law it is called "strict liability," and some legal scholars, including Richard Epstein [[7]], believe all torts should be interpreted according to strict liability. However, strict liability would also make things much easier for prosecutors in criminal cases, and it is now becoming common for laws to be passed that ignore motives and intentions (the mens rea). Thus, "money laundering" laws, which require reporting to the government the transfers of certain amounts of cash or bearer financial instruments, although supposedly written to catch drug dealers and their agents, are typically enforced against innocent people who are either ignorant of such an obscure law or who do not believe their financial privacy in the course of innocent transactions is any of the government's business. But it doesn't matter how innocent the money or the motives are. This trend in criminal law is, of course, tyranny and injustice.

The absence of a distinction between morality and justice is a kind of moralism. The principle that all moral wrongs should be legally sanctioned as judicial wrongs, erasing the distinction between morality and justice, may be called judicial moralism. Usually this means generalizing the morality of intention into the morality of action rather than the opposite, which would simply evaluate actions as right or wrong, without qualifying the judgment by any consideration of motive or intention: although this does happen -- in tort law it is called "strict liability," and some legal scholars, including Richard Epstein, believe all torts should be interpreted according to strict liability. However, strict liability would also make things much easier for prosecutors in criminal cases, and it is now becoming common for laws to be passed that ignore motives and intentions (the mens rea). Thus, "money laundering" laws, which require reporting to the government the transfers of certain amounts of cash or bearer financial instruments, although supposedly written to catch drug dealers and their agents, are typically enforced against innocent people who are either ignorant of such an obscure law or who do not believe their financial privacy in the course of innocent transactions is any of the government's business. But it doesn't matter how innocent the money or the motives are. This trend in criminal law is, of course, a monstrous and despicable act of tyranny and injustice.


Buddist Morality[edit]


The Pancha Shila, or five moral precepts:

1. Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.

2. Avoid stealing -- taking what is not yours to take.

3. Avoid sexual irresponsibility, which for monks and nuns means celibacy.

4. Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.

5. Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.

The Pancha Shila, or five moral precepts:

1. Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.

2. Avoid stealing -- taking what is not yours to take.

3. Avoid sexual irresponsibility, which for monks and nuns means celibacy.

4. Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.

5. Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.


The Paramita-- The Perfections or Virtues -- noble qualities that all should strive to achieve:

1. Generosity (dana)

2. Moral discipline (shila)

3. Patience and tolerance (kshanti)

4. Energy (virya)

5. Meditation (dhyana)

6. Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (prajña)

7. Skilled methods (upaya)

8. Vow or resolution (pranidhana)

9. The ten powers or special abilities (dashabala)

10. Knowledge (jñana)[8]

The Paramita

The Perfections or Virtues -- noble qualities that we should all strive to achieve. Here are two versions:

1. Generosity (P: dana)

2. Moral discipline (P: sila)

3. Patience and tolerance (P: khanti)

4. Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (P: pañña)

5. Energy (P: viriya)

6. Renunciation (P: nekkhamma)

7. Truthfulness (P: sacca)

8. Determination (P: adhitthana)

9. Loving kindness (P: metta)

10. Equanimity (P: upekkha)

1. Generosity (dana)

2. Moral discipline (shila)

3. Patience and tolerance (kshanti)

4. Energy (virya)

5. Meditation (dhyana)

6. Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (prajña)

7. Skilled methods (upaya)

8. Vow or resolution (pranidhana)

9. The ten powers or special abilities (dashabala)

10. Knowledge (jñana)

Jewish Morality[edit]


The lifestyle of the religious Jew is based on certain underly­ing theological assumptions about God and His role in history. Clearly, the belief that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who revealed His Law to Israel at Mt. Sinai, has profound practical implications for the Jew and for all humanity. That man is accountable to God for his deeds and that he is ex­pected to realize a spiritual purpose in his life transform him from a highly developed animal into a transcendental being. Most certainly, then, Judaism does affirm basic faith principles.

The lifestyle of the religious Jew is based on certain underly­ing theological assumptions about God and His role in history. Clearly, the belief that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who revealed His Law to Israel at Mt. Sinai, has profound practical implications for the Jew and for all humanity. That man is accountable to God for his deeds and that he is ex­pected to realize a spiritual purpose in his life transform him from a highly developed animal into a transcendental being. Most certainly, then, Judaism does affirm basic faith principles.

Unlike many other faiths, however, Judaism does not regard these faith convictions as redemptive in and of themselves. Judaism is a mitzvah-oriented faith which insists that one's re­ligious convictions be translated into virtuous deeds. Without the underpinnings of faith, there can be no motivation or ra­tionale to live a life of religious observance.[9]

Unlike many other faiths, however, Judaism does not regard these faith convictions as redemptive in and of themselves. Judaism is a mitzvah-oriented faith which insists that one's re­ligious convictions be translated into virtuous deeds. Without the underpinnings of faith, there can be no motivation or ra­tionale to live a life of religious observance. We are not content, however, to have faith confessions remain theoretical. Instead, they become moral challenges and exhortations to man. They ex­press themselves through norms of human behavior and are endowed with practical significance, stimulating us either to do or to abstain, to engage or to withdraw. A faith conviction may be theologically or philosophically significant, but what is primary is the moral principle and practice that emerges from it.


Footnotes[edit]

Cathrein, Religion und Moral (Freiburg, 1900); Fox, Religion and Morality (New York, 1899); Devas, Key to the World's Progress (London, 1906); Idem, Studies of Family Life (London, 1886); Balfour, Foundations of Belief (London, 1895), Part I, i; Catholic Truth Society's Lectures on the History of Religions (London, 1910);Laws of Justice, Hammurabi; Moral Models from Mainstream Media. By Thomas E. Brewton; Buddhist Morality, Dr. C. George Boeree; Media: Their Structure and Moral and Public Policy Import, by John M. Phelan; Imitating God-the Basis of Jewish Morality, By Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik; Modern Jewish Morality, A Bibliographical Survey, Greenwood Press; Internet Modern History Sourcebook.


On May 28th, a footnote was added to the "Morality and Law" section heading, reading "This section relies heavily on the Proceedings of the Friesian School, available here.". I don't believe "relies heavily on" as an adequate way of phrasing "is a direct quote from", but it is an improvement.

Following email from your humble editor, the wording for that section was finally changed to "This section copies, with permission, material in the Proceedings of the Friesian School, available here". I believe this does in fact meet the licensing requirements.