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The UK is in moral decline

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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para handy
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#21 Post by para handy » August 24th, 2008, 7:23 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

thomas0123 wrote:Bit late to this thread just like to say that I am surprised that you are surprised that young people relate morality to religion and that the more moral you are the more religious. I am a social worker working with young offenders. The majority have been brought up with parents living on state hand outs and they have no sense of community and no family structure outside their parent(s) and siblings (no extended family). They look at other cultures living next to them but completely separate (I work in northern England so I am talking of Muslims and Sheiks) they see working families with a strong extended family group and the only thing which they see as different is faith.
Now I don’t think a strong faith automatically gives you a strong sense of morality but the young a poorly educated youth I work with see just the obvious.
Thanks for that, t0123. That does make sense if you are talking about young offenders from poor families. I should think it's less true of educated, middle-class young people but I don't know.

What are Sheiks?

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Parapraxis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#22 Post by Parapraxis » August 25th, 2008, 10:05 am

I think he means Sikhs.
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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gcb01
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#23 Post by gcb01 » August 25th, 2008, 11:19 am

jaywhat wrote:What is the connection between 'moral decline' (whatever that is) and preferring one's own company, or not taking in alcohol, or not doing everything with the neighbours, or not joining groups or not liking barbecues, or not being in any way sociable. Is all that immoral?
Are people who live like that not more likely to walk by rather than lend a hand where someone else needs help? It's not a rhetorical question - I don't know the answer.
Regards

Campbell

ishift_co_uk
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Joined: August 30th, 2008, 12:27 am

Re: The UK is in moral decline

#24 Post by ishift_co_uk » August 30th, 2008, 1:43 am

Hi everyone,

This is my first time on this website and my first post. Thought this was an interesting topic so here is my two pennies worth:

Is it that the UK is in Moral decline? Or is the percieved Moral decline a 'teething sympton' as I like to call it of the raising of consciousness of a society as a whole as it moves by its own gravity towards a secular and more 'Humanistic' state. (Obviously I am only talking about the UK here as some places, notably the US appear (oddly) to be moving in an opposite direction (though I think that politcal motives may be at play). But for the sake of briefness lets continue).

I have a theory that many people (especially the young and/or the less educated persons) are in near full awareness of their negative actions and apparent moral decline contrary the Zeitgeist of UK society. I'm assuming here that those of us who stay within the borders of common good morality are still the majority.

To argue my case further I refer to another interesting question raised by a founder a Stoke-On-Trent Humanist group: http://www.stokehumanists.co.uk/forum/v ... hp?f=4&t=5
with Blind-Faith and the Holy Spirit. It seems to be the only argument left to the believer, their last bastion. Overcome that and we overcome all of their arguments. But it's often the case that Blind-Faith & the "feeling" of the Holy Spirit remain unassailable aspects of the religious experience. Does anyone have any idea how we as non-believers can overcome this?
I'll come to my answer of this second question shortly, but in the meantime here is the rest of my theory continued:

Could it be that the void left in ones mind by the removal of 'religous Morals' in our society is not being replaced by the new 'Humanistic Morals' that should be present themselves and that somehow common good morality is being lost somewhere along the way?

To clarify; It is easy to understand how a childs mind or that of a less-educated person might through their own reasoning determine that either; God does not exist or that the likelihood of the existence of a God is so small that to follow a moral standard provided through religion would not only be a waste of time but a genuine insult to their intelligence and Humanity.
It is harder in my opinion to imagine that said persons would often have the ability through their own reasoning and intelligence to provide themselves with a new set of moral standards (Humanistic morals) by which to live by.
I think that many people lack the understanding and therefore the full appreciation of the Natural Universe and our part in it as evolving Humans.
As a result of this removal of moral standards and the uninspiring reality they are left with they take the apparent easy option of 'I believe my peers when they say there is no God, this idea is backed up by anyone of common sense and intelligence that I know. Right then, show me the drugs and rock'n'roll, who cares about anyone else, I'm alright Jack.'.

Coming back to the second question raised. I think that as Humanists, in order to overcome this we should appeal to have 'Humanism Studies' and 'History of Humanism' introduced as optional subjects into all Secondary Schools in the UK. I believe that through sign marking the path to Humanism and the appreciation of Humanity and our place and future in the Universe we can reintroduce a set of good moral values that are being lost in todays society. I also believe that if Humanism is popularised by education that religion will, naturally and eventually virtually disappear from common society.



Provide me a Scarecrow and I'll keep the Vultures at bay. Take it away and I'll be having a teaparty in the field with them.

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coledavis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#25 Post by coledavis » August 30th, 2008, 8:06 am

I think people should learn the history of religion. That should put them off the stuff.
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Hot Thought
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#26 Post by Hot Thought » September 3rd, 2008, 8:38 pm

ishift_co_uk wrote:Hi everyone,

This is my first time on this website and my first post. Thought this was an interesting topic so here is my two pennies worth:

Is it that the UK is in Moral decline? Or is the percieved Moral decline a 'teething sympton' as I like to call it of the raising of consciousness of a society as a whole as it moves by its own gravity towards a secular and more 'Humanistic' state. (Obviously I am only talking about the UK here as some places, notably the US appear (oddly) to be moving in an opposite direction (though I think that politcal motives may be at play). But for the sake of briefness lets continue).

I have a theory that many people (especially the young and/or the less educated persons) are in near full awareness of their negative actions and apparent moral decline contrary the Zeitgeist of UK society. I'm assuming here that those of us who stay within the borders of common good morality are still the majority.

To argue my case further I refer to another interesting question raised by a founder a Stoke-On-Trent Humanist group: http://www.stokehumanists.co.uk/forum/v ... hp?f=4&t=5
with Blind-Faith and the Holy Spirit. It seems to be the only argument left to the believer, their last bastion. Overcome that and we overcome all of their arguments. But it's often the case that Blind-Faith & the "feeling" of the Holy Spirit remain unassailable aspects of the religious experience. Does anyone have any idea how we as non-believers can overcome this?
I'll come to my answer of this second question shortly, but in the meantime here is the rest of my theory continued:

Could it be that the void left in ones mind by the removal of 'religous Morals' in our society is not being replaced by the new 'Humanistic Morals' that should be present themselves and that somehow common good morality is being lost somewhere along the way?

To clarify; It is easy to understand how a childs mind or that of a less-educated person might through their own reasoning determine that either; God does not exist or that the likelihood of the existence of a God is so small that to follow a moral standard provided through religion would not only be a waste of time but a genuine insult to their intelligence and Humanity.
It is harder in my opinion to imagine that said persons would often have the ability through their own reasoning and intelligence to provide themselves with a new set of moral standards (Humanistic morals) by which to live by.
I think that many people lack the understanding and therefore the full appreciation of the Natural Universe and our part in it as evolving Humans.
As a result of this removal of moral standards and the uninspiring reality they are left with they take the apparent easy option of 'I believe my peers when they say there is no God, this idea is backed up by anyone of common sense and intelligence that I know. Right then, show me the drugs and rock'n'roll, who cares about anyone else, I'm alright Jack.'.

Coming back to the second question raised. I think that as Humanists, in order to overcome this we should appeal to have 'Humanism Studies' and 'History of Humanism' introduced as optional subjects into all Secondary Schools in the UK. I believe that through sign marking the path to Humanism and the appreciation of Humanity and our place and future in the Universe we can reintroduce a set of good moral values that are being lost in todays society. I also believe that if Humanism is popularised by education that religion will, naturally and eventually virtually disappear from common society.



Provide me a Scarecrow and I'll keep the Vultures at bay. Take it away and I'll be having a teaparty in the field with them.
Very nice post ishift - I am not so sure that religion will disappear but I do concur with much of what you say. :D

MedMae
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#27 Post by MedMae » October 20th, 2008, 10:56 am

A couple of thoughts to consider.

Why should online communities be considered lesser than physical/local communities? Several people have mention the decline in local communities but no one has mentioned anything about he increase in online comunities which are often global. Why should a local community be considered more important that a global community?

Should we be teaching "moral philosphy" in schools? Teaching children about the origns and purpose of morals.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

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Paolo
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#28 Post by Paolo » October 21st, 2008, 8:51 am

Given the subjective nature of morality and its lack of any system of measurement, how can moral "decline" be assessed against moral "change"?

As the composition of the population and the society we live in changes, morals adapt to fit. I doubt that the proportion of stabbings is any greater now than it was in Victorian England or earlier, in fact it could be substantially lower than it was historically, but there is a lack of reportage and comparable statistics. It doesn't help that laws change, so a "knife crime" now can simply be carrying a penknife with a blade over 3" long, rather than using a knife in a threatening or harmful way.

Ethics are increasing over time, with the establishment of new legislation to support an increasingly ethical society. Of course, this provides a comparison point for morality, which is not controlled by legislation and is all about individual implementation. It is hard for morality to keep up with ethical change, since ethics tend to grow through the actions of interested parties, whereas morality has a broad and all inclusive remit. As a result, sections of society can be thrown into a negative moral shadow due to greater ethical considerations in an area that has not been deemed important by that particular section of society.

In short, I think that as ethics increase, morality appears to decrease, simply due to a disparity in what is expected compared to what most people think and do.

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coledavis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#29 Post by coledavis » October 21st, 2008, 9:10 am

It is interesting that people tend to compare the present with Victorian England. As Victorian times were characterised by deregulated capitalism, laissez-faire rampant, extreme behaviour was inevitable. That does not, I think, bear comparison if the point is to show - as I think is intended - that all societies have a particular level of violence and that we just know more about it because of our media. How do we compare with the UK of the 1950s, or 1960s or 1970s? We had media then too. I think then a different set of conclusions are likely to be arrived at...
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Paolo
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#30 Post by Paolo » October 21st, 2008, 4:45 pm

I expect the Victorians are generally cited in discussions about morality and ethics because so many modern ethical movements have their roots in Victorian society and there is a wealth of contemporary literature (much of it explicitly examining social conditions) available for this period. The 20th Century relied less on "literature" and more on media to address ethical issues, making them more accessible at the time, but rather more difficult to review without extensive research now. I for one am more familiar with the social commentary of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, et&c. than I am with the radio, TV or newspaper articles of 1940, 50, 60, 70 or even 80.

I would point out that although we have had the media for a fair while now, the 21st Century has the internet as well as more TV channels, radio stations, national newspapers and magazines than any other time in history, so the demand for "news" has increased at an incredible rate. Not only are events more likely to be reported, they are reported in such a way that it is hard to miss the reports since they are in every format and will continue for days, weeks, months and even years (think Maddie...). The 70's are no match for modern reportage density and desperation...

My final point is that what would once be restricted to local news can now become national very quickly. As a result "trends" can be identified and seized upon by a cynical press as method of increasing sales, despite flimsy reporting of the facts and the dangers associated with scaremongering. For example, a few kids are always being knifed by other kids somewhere, it's the nature of young men to be violent (as an example, I remember a news report from 1993 where 3 teenagers were knifed in one week in a small town near where I lived). The difference is that now the isolated cases are chased up by reporters and suddenly it becomes a new crime "epidemic", when really it is just a case of greater reportage. Teenagers read the reports, get scared and start carrying knives for protection, genuinely increasing the likelihood of stabbings and requiring national campaigns highlighting the dangers of carrying a knife. If only there was a way for the public to access facts without relying on the cynical and manipulative press.

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coledavis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#31 Post by coledavis » October 21st, 2008, 4:51 pm

Well although I see your point, the last few decades shouldn't be seen as information blackouts. Also, it is very limiting to compare our era with just one other. It neither gives us an idea of humanity in the round nor does it inform us of trends.
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Paolo
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#32 Post by Paolo » October 22nd, 2008, 7:53 am

I certainly agree with you there! However, the basic fact remains that there is no effective method of quantifying morality, so it becomes rather redundant to talk about it in terms of decline.

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Alan H
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#33 Post by Alan H » October 22nd, 2008, 11:16 am

Speaking from experience in the intruder alarm industry and sitting on various UK and European committees, I was surprised to find out some years ago that each police force in England and Wales was free to categorise burglaries/attempted burglaries in their own way: what was counted as a burglary in one force might be ignored if he/she didn't actually steal anything, where it would be counted in a different area if they even just attempted to jemmy a door but didn't get in and whether an alarm was set off. This meant that, for example, the figures for intruder alarm false activations varied hugely from force to force, when there was no real reason why they should have been very different. ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) did all get together to come up with common criteria for categorisation and I believe the situation is far better now, but it showed that each force was effectively a separate empire and that statistics from them all couldn't simply be amalgamated reliably into overall statistics. I think the situation in Scotland is better controlled by ACPOS, the Association of Chief Police Officers, Scotland.

On this basis, and on the assumption that this applied to other areas (eg knife crime), I would have to be cautious about reading too much into the crime figures from even five years ago.
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Lifelinking
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#34 Post by Lifelinking » October 22nd, 2008, 8:51 pm

Crime statistics are generally not worth the paper they are printed on. At the very best they can provide a rough guide and have to be used along with a raft of other sources of information. At worst they are downright misleading and used in a quite deliberate and cynical way to manipulate opinion, divert resources and so on. I am always very wary of 'moral entrepreneurs' telling us that we are in moral decline.
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Paolo
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#35 Post by Paolo » October 23rd, 2008, 9:36 am

Damn right Lifelinking.

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Alan H
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#36 Post by Alan H » October 23rd, 2008, 11:02 am

Just heard about this on the BBC News. Am I psychic or what?
********************************************************************************
BBC NEWS | UK | Police miscount serious violence
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7685908.stm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Police miscount serious violence
Police officers
Violent crime in England and Wales has actually increased

The Home Office has admitted that some police forces have been undercounting some of the most serious violent crimes in England and Wales.

Officials said some crimes that should have been classed as grievous bodily harm were recorded as a lesser assault.

As a result, overall violent crime remains down compared with last year - but the official total of most serious violent crime has gone up by 22%.

Policing Minister Vernon Coaker said crime figures could still be trusted.

The overall number of crimes recorded by police in England and Wales fell 6%.

Of 17 forces that contacted the Home Office to indicate that there may be a problem with their figures, 13 were asked to conduct a re-count.

Ministers concede they do not know how long the problem has been going on and the Home Office will not say which police forces have been misclassifying the incidents of grievous bodily harm.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told the BBC all of the crimes in question had been investigated by the police.

She said: "Let's be clear, this isn't crime that wasn't being recorded or wasn't being reported or wasn't being dealt with. It just wasn't being recorded in the category 'most serious violence'.

"So all of this crime has been dealt with.

"It's just that I wanted to focus particularly on most serious violence and therefore we needed to be sure that everybody in terms of categorising it was categorising it in the same way, so that we'd be able to track whether or not all the things that we're putting into place are making a difference."

Ms Smith also said that "one interesting feature" of the statistics being published was that gun crime was also down by 22%.

'Uncomfortable reading'

She added that overall violent crime was down, and "what the statisticians are clear about is that the increases in the most serious forms of violence have actually in terms of numbers been more than counteracted by the decreases in less serious violence."

She added: "We are clear that we are concerned about serious violence, that's why we went back to make sure we were counting it properly in the first place, and more importantly that's why we have taken the action we have done in terms of tackling knives."

Keith Bristow, Association of Chief Police Officers lead for violence and public protection and Chief Constable of Warwickshire, said the impact of changes made to the way in which some crime is recorded will make "uncomfortable reading".

He said: "Apparent increases in some categories of violent crime are strongly influenced by these counting amendments which were introduced by the Home Office in April 2008.

"ACPO supported the amendments to the counting arrangements as these changes will improve our understanding of neighbourhoods affected by crime.

"Some categories of crime have historically suffered from under reporting by the public, such as sexual assault and domestic abuse. The Police Service continues to actively encourage the public to report these types of offences.

"While the statistics published today show that crime continues to fall year-on-year the public is rightly concerned about aspects of violent crime and disorder."

[Retrieved: Thu Oct 23 2008 11:00:51 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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