Atheism and morality
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26-05-2015, 05:57 AM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2015 06:49 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Atheism and morality
(25-05-2015 09:56 PM)mecanna Wrote:  Well, that's kind of my point. That's why I put "morality" in quotes. I suppose I'm not great at expressing my ideas.

My apologies, I misinterpreted.
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26-05-2015, 06:26 AM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2015 09:14 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 12:55 AM)Stevil Wrote:  If I were looking for a business partner I'd value in them, intelligence, honesty, drive, integrity, confidence, ability to influence, negotiate and sell. Now if my business partner lacks intelligence or lacks honesty I couldn't claim that they are immoral. Just because I value these things in them with regards to my relationship and my goals it doesn't mean that I can assume they accept these as their own goals.

That was some very strong analysis, I agree with your overall assessment besides this one.

When you've actually selected a business partner, looking for something like honesty, you perceive them as being honest. That's he's not going to stab you in the back, or cheat you or something. Your expectations are the goal here, as to what the relationship between you two are going to be. And note that when you seek an honest partner, it's not merely about setting contractual obligations, and penalties for breaking them, because even a dishonest person could sign a contract.

But in you relationship you perceive obligations, that are implicit and explicit, such as an obligation, or at least a trust that the other will be honest, and you yourself would be.

Honesty is a question of character, when you acknowledge or recognize or assume your partner to be a honest man, you're saying something about who the person he is. It should also be noted that you used the term honest, instead of something like a person who is afraid of financial consequences, and legal penalties for breaking his contractual obligations.

Quote:Often we behave in a certain way because we have been conditioned to behave. Like the 5 monkeys experiment http://www.wisdompills.com/2014/05/28/th...a-ladder/. In this way we do things because that is the way it is. Perhaps ultimately we reason it is immoral to behave to the contrary. Immoral to take the banana because it distresses the group. I'm suggesting that without moral beliefs we consciously make decisions not because of tradition or desire to be good but because we can perceive the outcome and assess whether it benefits us personally or not. The banana has value, don't simply deny this value by asserting that only bad monkeys would take action to possess the banana. If you can take that banana and also avoid the backlash of the group attacking you then go for it, why wouldn't you? If you answer "I wouldn't because I'm a good monkey" then I'd have to ask:
Are you fully conscious?
Do you have your eyes open and are you seeking opportunity?
Is a self perception of being "Good" so important that you are consciously willing to trade off personal and family benefits?
Is your personal pride to the detriment of your family's future?

There’s another possibility here too, one in relationship to your desire for an honest business partner. What does honesty mean here? Is it merely a monkey afraid of the beating you’d inflict on him for climbing the ladder?

After the beatings are gone, and no water being doused, the ladder is merely a taboo. One preserved for no reason other than repeating what has become a tradition.

But how about a third option, a monkey who does not take the banana, not ought of fear of being beaten, but our of recognition and concern for the other monkeys who would get doused with cold water. And refusing to climb the ladder for the banana, refusing to be selfish, but of of a selfless concern for others. This is generally what underlies the meaning of good, not the taboo of climbing the ladder, or a fear of beatings.
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26-05-2015, 06:43 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. That is, that some things are "really right" and others are "really wrong" regardless of any particular human's opinion. I'm curious to hear from members here about this. 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. 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. 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. 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?

Yeah, I am not sure where your observation comes from that atheists believe in an absolute morality. I thought we all just didn't believe in a god Consider

You might say that life seems to behave according to some sort of innate need to survive and reproduce as a means of preserving a species which would then have a tendency to remove detrimental behaviors and characters from a population (never entirely removing them in all likelihood but reducing them to a minor component of the population). But even then you'd have to restrict this to organisms that exhibit behaviors, so you couldn't even say "all of life" because plants and most micro-organisms and the cndiarians, etc, don't really have any capacity for thought.

The point being, humans are animals and animals sometimes behave in a positive way towards other living things, and other times don't. As a society, we have developed a series of decidedly NOT absolute laws and rules by which we agree to live for the sake of the preservation of society and its members. Drinking Beverage

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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26-05-2015, 06:51 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:43 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Yeah, I am not sure where your observation comes from that atheists believe in an absolute morality.

1. I didn't say ALL atheists, I'm just surprised at the number of atheists who DO reject moral nihilism.

2. I've cited some sources it you look through the rest of the thread.
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26-05-2015, 06:54 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:51 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(26-05-2015 06:43 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Yeah, I am not sure where your observation comes from that atheists believe in an absolute morality.

1. I didn't say ALL atheists, I'm just surprised at the number of atheists who DO reject moral nihilism.

2. I've cited some sources it you look through the rest of the thread.

If you're surprised, it's because you have an inaccurate view of whatever group you are generalizing.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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26-05-2015, 06:56 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:26 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  That was some very strong analysis, I agree with your overall assessment besides this one.

When you've actually selected a business partner, looking for something like honesty, you perceive them as being honest. That's he's not going to stab you in the back, or cheat you or something. Your expectations are the goal here, as to what the relationship between you two are going to be. And note that when you seek an honest partner, it's not merely about setting contractual obligations, and penalties for breaking them, because even a dishonest person could sign a contract.

But in you relationship you perceive obligations, that are implicit and explicit, such as an obligation, or at least a trust that the other will be honest, and you yourself would be.

Honesty is a question of character, when you acknowledge or recognize or assume your partner to be a honest man, you're saying something about who the person he is. It should also be noted that you used the term honest, instead of something like a person who is afraid of financial consequences, and legal penalties for breaking his contractual obligations.

Saying that someone should value honesty, is like saying that someone should like chocolate ice cream. Unless there is an implied goal, but I still contest that it's the goals that no one agrees on. It's the goals that form our sense of morality, and it makes no sense to say that a person should have one goal vs another.
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26-05-2015, 06:59 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:54 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If you're surprised, it's because you have an inaccurate view of whatever group you are generalizing.

Ok, thanks for that insight. Drinking Beverage
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26-05-2015, 07:01 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:59 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(26-05-2015 06:54 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If you're surprised, it's because you have an inaccurate view of whatever group you are generalizing.

Ok, thanks for that insight. Drinking Beverage

Surely it isn't a surprise that generalizations often don't hold true?

Your discussion doesn't involve atheists, it involves moral absolutists who may or may not be theist.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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26-05-2015, 07:03 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 07:01 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Surely it isn't a surprise that generalizations often don't hold true?

Your discussion doesn't involve atheists, it involves moral absolutists who may or may not be theist.

Great, thanks.
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26-05-2015, 07:09 AM
RE: Atheism and morality
(26-05-2015 06:56 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Saying that someone should value honesty, is like saying that someone should like chocolate ice cream. Unless there is an implied goal, but I still contest that it's the goals that no one agrees on. It's the goals that form our sense of morality, and it makes no sense to say that a person should have one goal vs another.

In regards to his potential business partner there is an implied goal, and honesty is aspect of that goal, though an implicit one, unlike the explicitly contractual obligations of their partnering.

We raise our children to value honesty, and not just in our familial relationship, but in their relationships with other as well, like we want them to value kindness, courage, integrity. As opposed to being cruel, cowardly or dishonest. We don't particularly desire that they like chocolate ice cream. If they grow to be cruel, cowardly, or dishonest, we see them as not living in a way they should, as bad people, like we might say of a bad watch, for not telling time as it ought to.
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