How annoying. Dr Lou is here trying to tell us he'd have no problem beating someone to death - with a hammer - because they wore... funny shoes? Firstly, you cannot state something like that without ever having done it. Personally, I believe that anyone who ever has, or has seriously contemplated it, would not be making spurious comments in a forum about it. Strange how it usually comes from powerless geeks who spend most of their lives in a room on a computer. Compensating for that lack, perhaps? there is a huge gap between the thought of an act and actually carrying it out - talk to a few Vietnam vets and find out how big that gap is, and in that situation it was not only condoned but encouraged. Look at their eyes when they're talking about it. That is when you'll see the discrepancy between words and actual reactions. No, Dr Lou. You think you might find it easy. Now let's see you get out there and do it. Until then, I'll just smile at you. And try to remember that no matter how many horror or war movies you've seen with the best special effects available, there is nothing... nothing... which will prepare you for the sight of a human skull smashed with the brains splashed all over your hand, or which can prepare you for your reaction to it. Yes, you might get used to it in time. Yes, you might learn detachment. But do not sit there and type in how you'd find it "easy" to kill a human, with a hammer, because they wore funny shoes. You merely look stupid. As for this : Laughable. Always amusing to see housebound geeks who have rarely stepped outside their homes, let alone been anywhere outside their comfortable little western towns or countries, saying such a state would "benefit them most". Westerners in general would disappear from the face of the planet in short order should such a state of affairs come about - you'd go down to south east asians who've been carrying AK's since they were 8 years old. Middle easterners with ideas of immortality running through their minds and few thoughts of self-preservation. Rig workers with the muscle power to stand you on your head and break your silly necks should you even think of trying to shape up to them. Somalians with absolutely no compunctions in dragging downed enemies naked behind a jeep until they no longer have skin. Afraid not. The best you could do is say you think you could learn that kind of detachment should such a situation arise, and should you survive long enough to learn it. And then, then, hope you never come up against anyone far bigger than you who wants that deer you've just spent the last week trying to figure out how to kill. A state of nature favours both the biggest and the smartest. The smartest, though, had better be pretty damn smart and pretty damn elusive, because if they're not, then one day they'll find themselves cornered by someone far bigger, not necessarily smart at all, with a tree branch they'll use for clubbing your silly heads in because they want something you've got. JPS : I would say there certainly is a rational basis for morality. Looking at it quite simply, morality gives a rational being the best chance of both himself and his offspring of survival, provided that morality is generally accepted by the majority. There is your rationalisation. You'll find most of them, like our examples above, will do so from within the comfortable confines of that moral society though, and never step outside those confines to prove their rejection of them. Plant them in the middle of Cambodia during the 70's and 80's and see which of them relish the opportunity and which run screaming home. Actually, we wouldn't need to plant them. Simply tell them where this "natural state" exists and see which of them voluntarily go there.