Atheism and morality
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25-05-2015, 12:25 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(24-05-2015 04:42 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I try to use the golden rule and I try to be completely honest all the time. I just don't want to delude myself into believing that some things are "really right" or "really wrong" when the logical part of my mind tells me this is impossible.
Why can't things be really wrong? Why can't it be really wrong to torture babies just for the fun of it? Why is this impossible?

Of course the large majority (apart from the excluded 'bunch of sick fucks' minority) will agree that torturing babies is wrong. But the point is that's a *social* convention. There's nothing inherent in the universe (except you Christees try to pretend that there is) which says that it's wrong, it's just a convention of human behaviour. The fact that nearly all humans would agree that it's wrong in no way implies some kind of higher power "speaking to our hearts" - it just implies evolved social conventions (morals if you will) which ensure that humans individually can get on and fit in with society.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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25-05-2015, 04:16 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(24-05-2015 04:42 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I try to use the golden rule and I try to be completely honest all the time. I just don't want to delude myself into believing that some things are "really right" or "really wrong" when the logical part of my mind tells me this is impossible.
Why can't things be really wrong? Why can't it be really wrong to torture babies just for the fun of it? Why is this impossible?

I have a problem with "God said it, I believe it, that's good enough for me."

But it's not. God's still in this circle of questions. Why is baby torture wrong? You can ask this of an atheist and think you've stumped him/her (I'll be you'll find you haven't). But why can't we ask God? Hey, God, why is baby torture wrong?

There's the douchebag parenting response: "Uh, because I said so, that's why."

Or He can give us a more detailed reasoning, which will be the same reasoning that an atheist will give.

Conveniently, God is invisible and has only talked to certain people, and those people are the ones telling us what God says about morals.

In the end, really, everyone is a humanist. Everyone. Even the religious. Would you serve a God that actually told you to torture babies? No? Why? God said it, better get the waterboarding blanky. But you make the choice among the thousands and thousands of different religious beliefs on which God to serve.
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25-05-2015, 04:53 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 04:16 AM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  Or He can give us a more detailed reasoning, which will be the same reasoning that an atheist will give.

What would this reasoning an atheists would give, for why torturing a baby just for the fun of it is wrong?

Is the wrong aspect of this comparable to factual statement, such as as 2+2=5 is wrong? Is non-factual wrong like wearing a certain blouse with a certain top is wrong?

Or is there some undisclosed sense of wrong, that is neither of these examples and somewhere in the middle?
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25-05-2015, 05:17 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
Torturing babies goes against the preservation of the species instincts, the parental instincts, and conflicts with innate empathy. So, we don't do it.

Unless commanded by god of course Tongue

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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25-05-2015, 05:35 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(24-05-2015 07:18 AM)unfogged Wrote:  From what I've seen, you are far too literal. One a somewhat related note, I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that you aren't a theist of some sort.

Lol, I'm definitely not a theist. Militant agnostic would probably be the best descriptor.

I don't know if there is a God, but I do know that neither do you.
I don't know if there is a purpose to life (other than what we just make up for ourselves), but I do know that neither do you.
I don't know why the universe exists, or even if the "why" is a sensible question to ask about the universe's existence, and neither do you.
I don't know if there is any meaning to life (other than what we just make up for ourselves), and neither do you.
I don't know if there are any values that we should have.....

I don't claim that these things can't be known, just that nobody knows them.

What really bothers me the most is when people claim to know something that I know they don't know. Religious people do this ALL THE TIME, I see some atheists do this sometimes.
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25-05-2015, 06:10 AM (This post was last modified: 25-05-2015 06:25 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 05:17 AM)Dom Wrote:  Torturing babies goes against the preservation of the species instincts, the parental instincts, and conflicts with innate empathy. So, we don't do it.

Unless commanded by god of course Tongue

Caution: This post is mostly rhetorical and not directed towards anyone, and I'm only quoting dom's post for context.

Some people torture babies, others don't.

Some people play golf, others don't.

The question is "should" we torture babies? This question by itself has no right or wrong answer. We must add more conditions like..... If we want to live in a happy and peaceful society, then should we torture babies? Of course then we have to go about deciding what a happy and peaceful society is, which is a little bit different for everyone. Perhaps some people don't want to live in a happy and peaceful society, is it wrong to not want that? Human overpopulation is likely to cause extreme violence and suffering in the future. If torturing and killing babies slows down the rate of population growth, then could someone see that as a good thing? Some vegetarians claim that it's unjustified to kill and eat animals, but what is their justification in eating plants? If human life is sacred, why not other animals and plants lives as well?

How about slavery? If it's not ok to have humans for slaves, why is it ok to have horses for slaves? Would it be ok to have chimps for slaves? What about chimp/human hybrids? Is it ok to do testing on chimps? What about humans? What about chimp/human hybrids? Why is it ok to squash a mosquito, but not an entire nation of people?

I think that we should quit using the word "morals" and start calling it what it is...."preferences".
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25-05-2015, 06:15 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 06:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I think that we should quit using the word "morals" and start calling it what it is...."preferences".

I prefer to call it morals Rolleyes

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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25-05-2015, 06:21 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 06:15 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(25-05-2015 06:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I think that we should quit using the word "morals" and start calling it what it is...."preferences".

I prefer to call it morals Rolleyes
Well I moral to call it preferences. . .


wait what?
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25-05-2015, 06:31 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I've noticed that many atheists believe in an absolute morality.


Care to substantiate that, cause I've yet to even meet one. The closest I've yet seen is Sam Harris, Matt Dillahunty, or Richard Carrier; and they all advocate for a subjective secular morality that is capable of objectivity (i.e. once you've agreed upon a criteria or scale, things can be graded as better or worse against it).


(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  That is, that some things are "really right" and others are "really wrong" regardless of any particular human's opinion.


Given enough context, almost anything can be seen as morally right or wrong. If you think that any one thing is "always" right or wrong, you either haven't thought about it enough or lack imagination. That's not to say that everything can be justified within what we would consider reasonable or typical human experience, only that your typical theist spouting about absolute morality often cannot imagine themselves out of a wet paper bag.


(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'm curious to hear from members here about this.


Really? Your opening statements give the impression that you're wildly out of touch with anything to do with atheism.



(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Obviously, morality is a very simple problem for theists.....God decides what is moral for them, but I want to hear from atheists who feel that there is a rightness and wrongness (good and evil) property of our actions.


It's only that easy for people who abdicate their moral thinking to others, and when it comes to theists it's called 'divine command theory' and it is defended by hacks like William Lane Craig. But not every theist fits this mold.


(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I believe that we all just make up our own set of morals, and that nothing in the universe except humans, really cares if you save the world, or destroy an entire nation of people.


Many things affect the molding of our ethics, including our genetics, brain chemistry, knowledge, empathy, culture, history, and numerous other factors. Ultimately the universe is indifferent to our actions, but other creatures on this planet are not; and so long as your actions have an effect on others, they carry with them moral significance.


(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  It's not that I don't want to be moral, quite the contrary, I try to use the golden rule and I try to be completely honest all the time.


A good time to lie: Living in 1940's France and the Nazis come knocking at your door looking for Jews, who you are currently hiding up in your attic.


(23-05-2015 04:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I just don't want to delude myself into believing that some things are "really right" or "really wrong" when the logical part of my mind tells me this is impossible.

Thoughts?


Being dishonest is neither moral or immoral, but rather it's morality is colored by its context. Lying for personal gain at the expense of others is fraud, and if done purely out of greed many would consider it to be immoral. However, much like the aforementioned Jewish smuggling, there are plenty of circumstances where lying your ass off is the most moral thing you can do in a given situation.

Context always matters.

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25-05-2015, 07:00 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 06:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I think that we should quit using the word "morals" and start calling it what it is...."preferences".

I don't disagree that morals and preferences overlap; I would probably draw a distinction at the point where others are affected by the choice. What flavor icecream I like or what style clothes I wear is a preference. When my actions involve others then my "preferences" can be designated moral, immoral, or amoral.

The problem I see is that to even begin determining what is moral the first step is to agree on the goals. If people agree that maximizing personal autonomy, security, and opportunity across the board is a good goal then they will have a different set of morals than somebody with other goals.

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