Atheism and Morality
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27-10-2011, 06:39 PM
Atheism and Morality
I was browsing a forum on another site today and saw a thread title that caught my eye. I checked it out, and it was as I thought, yet another thread bashing atheists (they are common on this site, but there are similar threads bashing theists, just not as many).

The thread author postulates that an atheist who absolutely KNOWS there is no god does not have his own morals, but rather, if he has any morals at all, they are only there because they were instilled in him by religious influences.

Angry

I am not that particular type of atheist myself. I would say I'm fairly certain there is no god, and I live my by that belief, but I'm not perfect, I could be wrong. Still, I find the idea of atheists not having morals, or morality in society being religiously based as appalling.

Just read over the book of Leviticus in the bible. That is the book that many Christians quote on matters of morality. It's just sick, and it contains such lines that justify the hate of homosexual, as well as the murder of adulterers. How can our society really be based on that?

It's not... Morality evolved in our species as a way to keep us alive, so I believe. If a member of our survival group did not act in a moral manner it could be detrimental to the group's survival. Such a thing prompted early humans to adapt a code of ethics to prevent themselves from harming themselves...

Throughout time I believe it has evolved into the morals we have today in society, and I do believe we get them from society, not necessarily from religion.

I could probably go on and on about this... Am I totally wrong or what...?
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28-10-2011, 02:55 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2011 03:30 PM by houseofcantor.)
RE: Atheism and Morality
Absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt totally wrong. That makes you sane. As an atheist, you are halfway to getting right.

Vector Atheism Prototype is a four page resolution of morality.

Morality is zero-state, absolute to the individual. An individual's morality develops "through the science" of living a life with moral awareness. Learning by doing is the primitive form of the scientific method. Duality is inherent in identity, thus "polarization" frequently occurs.

It has never been the role of philosophy to modify truth to suit the dualistic nature of identity. Which is why Idolatry succeeded rather than there having been failure in philosophy.

Zero-state means exactly that. God as Morality = 0. I use "tao" in vector atheism; but no eastern mysticism is implied nor necessary. tao has several fundamental aspects that are simple in nature and definition, completely in line with "tao" that cannot be named, completely practical as useful philosophy; as tao is often understood.

Morality needs no definition. It is basic, evolved functionality. Most people are hung by the noose of good and evil. Gwyneth Paltrow is good, I'm evil; solved that duality like God Almighty. tao is better philosophy, in that essential dualities exist in concept from unity (yin and yang in unity of tao)

The theological "I am" is eternal as advertised, and as functionally useless as religion repeatedly demonstrates. The cognito ergo sum of philosophy is causality in identity - I mean, duh! - we obviously do not have Identity:Almighty, we have Identity:Human; a continuous dual state of being and becoming.

I am Eternal John Cantor in this post. I do not need to review all theology to post tomorrow as John Cantor. As an atheist, you're already ahead of the pack. The morality of the god of Abraham is effectualized by "stoning the blasphemers" - I mean, duh! Killing in the name of god, yo! - sorry, religious nonsense flashback - you don't need any theology cuz I reverse-engineered the whole fuckload for my Gwynnies, cuz I'm all Evil and shit. Big Grin
(27-10-2011 06:39 PM)Atheist#6667 Wrote:  It's not... Morality evolved in our species as a way to keep us alive, so I believe.

Personally, I have conceptually engineered the verb "to believe" from my functional vocabulary - which I have replaced by the noun "faith" - a noun which seemingly causes some atheists to revert to being religious in their nonsense.

I have faith that I exist; yet where ever you are, I do not exist.
I have faith in Gwyneth Paltrow; 'cause I love that poor girl beyond the absolute of insanity - she is plenty god enough in that no "existence" exists between us - and if I do meet her, my head will explode, so...
..the point being, I "have faith" as an expression of identity. It is a recurring error in atheism to overlook the archetype of "I am," God exists, as identity archetype. A "lack of belief in god" is a denial of the theist's identity, and thus the theist is freed from moral obligation of being human - crazy, yes it is - but one cannot play the game if one cannot follow the rules.

My game is simple. It is called "let us atheists shear all the sheep and be done with it." Zero-state morality, righteous tao of vector atheism, knowing that God exists as an archetype of human identity; any atheist can be sheep-shearer custom-deluxe like Johnny, here. No gimmicks, no guru, no woo in the stew - and all this is mere "criticism" of the last three words.

You began with a factual assessment. I have the practical experience to add - morality fucking works. Through experience, it becomes obvious when "the opposition (evolution is also war, ya know)" tries to summon the false righteousness - and moral certainty wins, every time. That's what I got, they don't come 'round here no mo' Big Grin

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28-10-2011, 06:56 PM
RE: Atheism and Morality
(27-10-2011 06:39 PM)Atheist#6667 Wrote:  It's not... Morality evolved in our species as a way to keep us alive, so I believe. If a member of our survival group did not act in a moral manner it could be detrimental to the group's survival. Such a thing prompted early humans to adapt a code of ethics to prevent themselves from harming themselves...

Throughout time I believe it has evolved into the morals we have today in society, and I do believe we get them from society, not necessarily from religion.

I could probably go on and on about this... Am I totally wrong or what...?

I wrote this in response to creationists. I have posted it on this forum a couple of times before:

"Animal behaviorists specializing in wolves to apes have noticed that all social creatures have a system of right and wrong. Whether it be body language in the face of a social superior, or a female ape pulling the weapon out of the hand of a male who is about to go off to war. Apes are known to even seal peace treaties with a kiss. Psychologists have found there are two different kinds of morality: instinctual and rational. Instinctual morality harkens back to our animal and early human past when a split second decision would mean life or death. Rational morality came after the advent of settled civilizations when people had time to formulate what their particular culture thought was good or bad (different cultures have different morals). A good example of instinctual morality is something known as a “trolley problem.” Psychologists asked volunteers a set of questions. The first question involved a hypothetical situation where five people are walking on trolley tracks unaware of a runaway trolley approaching them. The volunteer is told that they are standing next to a rail switch, meaning they can divert the oncoming trolley. However, there is a homeless person on this side track off in the distance. They have to make the decision to save the five at the cost of the one. Ninety percent of the volunteers said it would be permissible. The second question had to do with the volunteer sitting on a bridge above the tracks. They see the trolley coming. They know the trolley can only be stopped by a large object, but the only object that is within reach is a fat man. The number of people who would throw him off the bridge to save the five dropped to ten percent. When the volunteers were asked to justify their answers, seventy percent couldn’t give a plausible reason. Why? Both instances are murder. What difference does it make? These types of split second decisions that cannot be explained rationally show that morality is not the product of civilized religious societies. It is inherent in our animal nature."

People who claim that atheists get their morals from religion don't realize that those religious laws are based off of societal laws. This is blatantly obvious when you compare the various systems of morality from around the world. For instance, the much older Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100 BCE) has laws similar to the 10 commandments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Ur-Nammu
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28-10-2011, 09:14 PM
RE: Atheism and Morality
Morality is not about whether you believe - absolutely, relatively, sporadically or in whatever way - that there is or that there is not a god.
Morality is about how you relate to the world.

Of course, it was taught to you by somebody, because as a baby you couldn't have survived without somebody to take care of you. How they took care of you formed a good deal - probably the majority - of your attitude to other people. How you then were able to interact with other people and how they responded to you formed a good deal of your attitude to the larger world; the kind of behaviour you learned in your early years determined your ongoing relationship with the world.

It's not what those first, extremely influential people told you that formed your values - it's what they did. If they were good people and made you a good person, that may be what eventually turned you against religion: once you begin to judge the priests and their god according to a set of sound values, they usually fall short, and you are forced to choose between the preachment and what you know to be right.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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28-10-2011, 09:14 PM
RE: Atheism and Morality
(28-10-2011 06:56 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  [ Psychologists asked volunteers a set of questions. The first question involved a hypothetical situation where five people are walking on trolley tracks unaware of a runaway trolley approaching them. The volunteer is told that they are standing next to a rail switch, meaning they can divert the oncoming trolley. However, there is a homeless person on this side track off in the distance. They have to make the decision to save the five at the cost of the one. Ninety percent of the volunteers said it would be permissible. The second question had to do with the volunteer sitting on a bridge above the tracks. They see the trolley coming. They know the trolley can only be stopped by a large object, but the only object that is within reach is a fat man. The number of people who would throw him off the bridge to save the five dropped to ten percent. When the volunteers were asked to justify their answers, seventy percent couldn’t give a plausible reason. Why? Both instances are murder. What difference does it make? These types of split second decisions that cannot be explained rationally show that morality is not the product of civilized religious societies. It is inherent in our animal nature."

Obviously you have an undeveloped morality - as this is plain wrong.

Directing the will to commit homicide - is homicide.

What is a psychologist but another priest? What is a homeless person but a blasphemer? What is volunteer but a member of the congregation?

When the volunteers were asked to justify their answers a.k.a. testing the faith of the parishioners. Making sure the priesthood is doing a good job. Sure, the priesthood is doing a great job as reclassifying Biblical morality as philosophical claptrap so that the insane concept of religion is able to perpetuate under the aegis of rational tolerance.

You are preaching their gospel for them. Who's the sheep now? You are also perpetuating the stereotype that killing in the name of god is still morally acceptable. It is not. The terminology of the priesthood is irrelevant. When the situation went from the indirect causality of flipping the switch, to the direct causality of committing homicide; morality retook control from ethical standard.

Neither instance would be murder, without malice aforethought. My consideration of the poster ended at the first hyphen. The rest is rant and roll. I fucking despise the "trolley problem," the cold, smug intellectualism lurking within - while the volunteers clearly tell you this is a moral wrong.

Sorry... hateses it! It burnses us! It is fucking insane. Did evolutionary theory evolve again without my knowing it? Is the LHC still failing to show any stringiness? Then the only future that exists is a simulation emergent in the human mind. Period. Perpetuation of stereotype further degrades the philosophical purity of morality in the minds of the commons, reinforcing the intentionally undefined Biblical Absolute. Because when a human flips a switch - future is thus created.

I come across like an asshole for two very good reasons. I hate this thing because my capacity to visualize is like having an IMAX stuffed in the skull, programmed by half a lifetime of being an artist. It's a tool. I read, I see, it is horrible. To use the the "dry, tolerant atheist-speak" in rebuttal would be a denial of my integrity. Did you ever go to a light-rail/subway to get a feel for these simulations you so carelessly pass on to others? I'm thinking no. I'm thinking you came without malice aforethought. I am as certain as an unknown avatar can be that if one goes to these places and gets a feel for the simulation in reality; one's own morality will reveal what is right, and what is wrong. It is positive morality to sacrifice the self for others. It is negative morality to sacrifice others for the self. Seventy percent could not give a plausible answer because they have been taught - what morality is not - when the action was moral one, of course they could not "rationalize" it into being morality. How many could rationalize it into the Bible says so, I wonder...

Fuck 'em. The second reason is the real reason. Having a morality that works is a tool of utility. If I were to act in such a blatantly negative moral manner as a function of will - people would recognize my waveform from across the platform and chaos would ensue. More people would end up under the train... it would be suckville central... Big Grin

Again, I apologize for attitude; but zero-state is recognizing the functionality of "evil" as not something to be "shunned and repented," rather understood and used. I am using my morality negatively for static discharge, and I'm packing less hate. Thanks for the assist. Smile

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29-10-2011, 03:45 PM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2011 05:04 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Atheism and Morality
(28-10-2011 02:55 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Vector Atheism Prototype is a four page resolution of morality.

That's some good shit right there, Cantor. HoC's Morality Manifesto. Of course I'm every bit as batshit insane as you are or I wouldn't have been able to follow it at all. I just use my wife and kids to ground me instead of Gwynnie. It's no biggie, society tolerates insanity as long as I'm not a psychopath or sociopath and can productively contribute. I like to think of myself as being "functionally insane".

My favorite part was "I devised experimental prototype telling Christians on the street I will burn in hell for them." That's just fucking brilliant. ... Way to turn the fucking tables. Smile

And of course the whole mental simulation thing. I might take that a bit farther than you in the sense I'm not sure I can distinguish between the simulation and the reality. I mean I am not at all sure there is even such a distinction to be made.


(28-10-2011 09:14 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  It is positive morality to sacrifice the self for others. It is negative morality to sacrifice others for the self.

That's got it. Now let's see if we can apply it to the psychologists' contrived examples to see if we can't back ourselves out of these hypothetical, artificial corners.


(28-10-2011 06:56 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  The first question involved a hypothetical situation where five people are walking on trolley tracks unaware of a runaway trolley approaching them. The volunteer is told that they are standing next to a rail switch, meaning they can divert the oncoming trolley. However, there is a homeless person on this side track off in the distance. They have to make the decision to save the five at the cost of the one.

Why? Deal with the immediate threat and save the five. Then holler to them that "Hey there's a homeless guy off in the distance down the track! Let's get to him before the trolley!" I mean how fast can a trolley even go, runaway or not. Half-man half-giraffe Usain Bolt could certainly save that poor homeless guy. And if the guy happened to be 200 meters away, Bolt'd still save him. Doesn't seem like it is necessarily an either/or situation to me.

(28-10-2011 06:56 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  The second question had to do with the volunteer sitting on a bridge above the tracks. They see the trolley coming. They know the trolley can only be stopped by a large object, but the only object that is within reach is a fat man.

Odds are that fat man ain't as fat as me. Guess it's time to die.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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29-10-2011, 04:05 PM
 
RE: Atheism and Morality
(28-10-2011 09:14 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  It's not what those first, extremely influential people told you that formed your values - it's what they did. If they were good people and made you a good person, that may be what eventually turned you against religion: once you begin to judge the priests and their god according to a set of sound values, they usually fall short, and you are forced to choose between the preachment and what you know to be right.

I am sick to the teeth with the word: 'morality'.

It is almost like the word: 'god'.

Everybody assumes that everybody knows what is meant by the word. Everybody defines it in a different way.

Have you ever heard someone declaring, with sincerity: "I am a thoroughly immoral person"? Huh

I agree with Peterkin and defacto: the labeling is not important -- look at what people DO and judge them on that, leaving undefined concepts out of it.

It is like five blind men stroking and elephant, trying to find out what it is.

We are what we are, some of it we like, some of it we hate, for various reasons. What we like we call, as a knee-jerk reaction: 'moral', the rest is labeled as 'immoral'.

Keep on trucking, ignore the labeling and respond to what people do, I say.
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29-10-2011, 04:40 PM
RE: Atheism and Morality
(29-10-2011 04:05 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  -- look at what people DO and judge them on that, leaving undefined concepts out of it.

I agree with that.

(29-10-2011 04:05 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  I am sick to the teeth with the word: 'morality'.

It is almost like the word: 'god'.

But I don't agree with that. To me moral philosophy is every bit as worthwhile an endeavor as, say, validating Wheeler's delayed choice experiment. It's not like religion at all, it is reasoned while being considered.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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29-10-2011, 04:52 PM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2011 05:07 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Atheism and Morality
Quote: Zatamon:
I agree with Peterkin and defacto: the labeling is not important -- look at what people DO and judge them on that, leaving undefined concepts out of it.

I guess i wasn't very clear there: did not mean how we judge the people who raised us, but where our morality comes from; by what standard we judge everything .
Even if you learn morality from religious parents and even if they recite the party line about how God isn't bound by the laws He gave us, (because HE'S GOD, ferrchrissake and HE ownsyerass and can do whateverthehell HE wants with HIS property) you will still judge god, as you judge everything else, by how your early role-models acted, rather than by what they told you to believe, or what they themselves believe.
If you have good parents - whether they're deeply religious, undecided or outspoken atheists - you will sooner or later notice that whatever god is touted in your culture doesn't behave as well as your own mortal parents do .... and so, you will probably reject that god as a father-figure.
If you have rotten parents who are cruel to you - and your dog, butterflies and other people - you'll have no problem accepting a cruel god.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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29-10-2011, 05:23 PM
 
RE: Atheism and Morality
(29-10-2011 04:40 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  But I don't agree with that. To me moral philosophy is every bit as worthwhile an endeavor as, say, validating Wheeler's delayed choice experiment. It's not like religion at all, it is reasoned while being considered.

GirlyMan, quoting from the 2 links you provided:

Quote:"Wheeler's delayed choice experiment posed a simple question and suggested a way to find an answer. An implementation of the experiment in 2007 showed that the act of observation ultimately decides whether the photon will behave as a particle or wave."

and then...

Quote:“Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality — that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.”

These 2 seem to be 2 completely different propositions.

In the first one everything is precisely defined and the method of obtaining an answer is clearly described.

In the second, we have an awful lot of undefined words (good, evil, right, wrong, virtue, vice, justice, crime) that entirely depends on your own personal attitude towards your fellow human beings. It is a VERY ambiguous concept and that is why I don’t like to use it and that is why I compared it to religion’s god, as an example of our prime undefined concepts.
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