Viewing nature as a signaling network shows its advantage with this question.
Instead of asking where our moral sense comes from, we ask instead what makes for a good signaling network?
The answer is “good organization.”
By “good,” I mean efficient, well-made, good use of resources, easy to maintain, rational, etc.
You are a signaling network.
A well-organized you will probably tend to be morally pretty good and wanting to get better at it, depending on your conditions.
Of course some people view “morality” as whatever is in their best interests. And that is a type of moral thinking. When it is found out, though, most other people, very reasonably, do not like it.
If we view nature as the evolution of signals and signaling networks rather than as the evolution of matter, we will see that changes in signal organization are fundamental to the evolutionary process.
In this sense, it is the most ordinary thing in the world that you, a complex signaling system that is conscious, would consciously seek good organization and/or want to adapt your organizing principles, both objective and subjective, to conditions that impact you.
Conditions that impact you are signals being perceived by the signaling network you think of as yourself.
Your adaptations, both small and large, will encompass many moral considerations and choices.
Morality can be viewed as a kind of organization. The networks that make up your being must organize their relations with the world around them and other sentient beings. We make many moral decisions when we do this. These decisions are an integral part of how we are organized.
Last night I heard a drunk swearing at his friend from the street. “You fucking bastard…” etc. Not well-organized, but still he was yelling a local version of morality and this was fundamental to his networks and behavior.
first posted MARCH 4, 2017
UPDATE 11/09/22: The above shows that what we scientifically think of today as evolution does not contradict what might be called spiritual evolution, or Buddhist evolution that happens in three ways combined: through 1) morality/ethics; 2) concentration/mindfulness; and 3) wisdom/understanding. Karma is the path of our mind as it wends through its various and numerous realities, sometimes tending toward goodness or the Tathagata, sometimes tending away. By consciously contemplating our signaling networks and describing them to ourselves and close friends we can make our signals clearer and more ethical and thus become wiser, have better understanding. The act of doing this is a kind of concentration or mindfulness. It really doesn’t matter what your religion is, including atheism or even oblivionism, honestly analyzing your signaling will change you probably for the better. ABN