Basis for Atheist Morality
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12-02-2014, 03:12 PM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2014 03:28 PM by lookingforanswers.)
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
Wow, a lot of responses.

I found it particularly funny to see all the responses assuming a negative implication from my question. I guess I hit a nerve.

However, like I said before, it was just a curiosity question, no implications intended.

(11-02-2014 11:46 PM)morondog Wrote:  Your turn *deist* Wink

What about a God who just creates the universe and then leaves it to its own devices makes you feel that your morals are grounded in anything more solid than mine ?

Well, for me, my personal conception of morality is still one that is objective and woven into creation by the creator. I think that the purpose of morals is to allow humans (or, I suppose any other sort of intelligent creature) to live with others in harmony. Each human is better off when all humans follow the objective moral code. If no one steals, then no one has to suffer from having stuff stolen, and ideally they don't need to be looking over their shoulders in fear of that eventuality.

So, where do we find that moral code? Well, I would say it's woven into creation itself. When I say that people often think I'm talking about rocks, wind, nature, etc, but I think for morals it is something that we learn from watching other humans (who I, obviously, consider to be part of creation) or learning from our own experiences. When we get punched, we learn how much it hurts to be punched. We can study biology to see the long term effects of being punched. We can use our reason to figure out whether the act of punching is immoral in and of itself, or whether it is contextual (eg. was the punch thrown in consensual UFC fight, or was it a father beating his child?).

I view morality as a gift from the creator. It is something that the creator wove into his creation for us to figure out, and it's purpose is to allow us to be successful as a species and improve our quality of life (or the opposite if we are not moral).
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12-02-2014, 03:36 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 10:47 AM)Simon Moon Wrote:  So, is the only thing that keeps you from stealing is your belief in a god? If so, by all means, continue believing.


Morality, in essence is all about the well being of sentient beings.

We all live in the same physical universe, subject to the same physical laws.

From this, it can easily be extrapolated that (in most cases): life is preferable to death, health is preferable to disease, comfort is preferable to pain, freedom is preferable to slavery, etc.

I do not steal from others because I do not want to live in a society where it is likely for others to steal my stuff.

Included in this is a strong evolutionary component, in that our ancestors evolved in small groups (about 100) where cooperation, altruism, kin selection, etc were necessary for survival of the group.

For example, Bonobo chimps (our closest cousins), have a pretty strong set of morals, including: not stealing from other members of their group, sharing food even if it is in short supply, caring for orphaned babies, protecting other members of the group even if it puts one at risk themselves, punishing violent members of the group, and more.

Which god do Bonobos believe in?

There were a couple of responses similar to this. I found it interesting because of how similar it is to the deist way of figuring out morals (ie. looking at the universe and using our intelligence). The difference is the fact that I think those clues were left by a creator and you guys don't.

That leads to another related question. I know one person responded saying that he (she?) believes in the existence of objective morality. So, do the rest of you also believe in objective morality? Some of the answers seemed to imply a belief in objective morals, while others seemed to indicate more of a floating morality (ie. depends on the culture you live in).

Regardless of whether you guys like the source, I also find it interesting to see how universally the Golden Rule is accepted, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
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12-02-2014, 03:46 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 03:12 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  So, where do we find that moral code? Well, I would say it's woven into creation itself. When I say that people often think I'm talking about rocks, wind, nature, etc, but I think for morals it is something that we learn from watching other humans (who I, obviously, consider to be part of creation) or learning from our own experiences. When we get punched, we learn how much it hurts to be punched. We can study biology to see the long term effects of being punched. We can use our reason to figure out whether the act of punching is immoral in and of itself, or whether it is contextual (eg. was the punch thrown in consensual UFC fight, or was it a father beating his child?).

I view morality as a gift from the creator. It is something that the creator wove into his creation for us to figure out, and it's purpose is to allow us to be successful as a species and improve our quality of life (or the opposite if we are not moral).

So why do you need to insert a God source in this when you admit morals come from your experiences, reason, and other humans? Nothing is pre-woven in there if you use your own freaking brain and judgement to decide right and wrong. Sounds like you are on the same page on the rest of us - now just lose that God part that appears to be so difficult to shake. Do you want/need the God source to be there for some reason?

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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12-02-2014, 03:59 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 02:40 PM)toadaly Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 12:49 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Thanks for the reminder Toadaly, I owe you a pint! What would you like? The blood of an infant or rabbi?

I need more details on the vintage of each.

The infant blood is a fine Russian vintage bottled in Chernobyl 1986, it radiates flavour, has a lovely cloudy quality when pulled but settles in to a nice mushroomed head. Don't drink too many though, the fallout is nuclear.

The Rabbi, is a light, thin pale textured beverage, it has a faint middle eatern tinge but was brewed in Auschwitz 1942, this is a classic german recipe and 5.5 million were sold to atheists over the course of WWII. Some say it's a heathens favourite but I find it a bit... well... 'gassy'.

Even I can't believe I just went there! Hahaha Ohmy

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12-02-2014, 04:06 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 03:46 PM)Timber1025 Wrote:  So why do you need to insert a God source in this when you admit morals come from your experiences, reason, and other humans? Nothing is pre-woven in there if you use your own freaking brain and judgement to decide right and wrong. Sounds like you are on the same page on the rest of us - now just lose that God part that appears to be so difficult to shake. Do you want/need the God source to be there for some reason?

I could equally ask why you resist having a creator as part of it.

We are talking about the same tools, but from two different perspectives. I consider the creator to have given us the tools that we need to discover morality (ie. eyes to see, nerves to feel, intelligence with which to reason, etc), but you have a narrower scope, just looking at the tools themselves and not worrying about where they came from.

I asked the question about objective morality because it seems to me that objective morality cannot exist without a creator, so I'd be interested in hearing your take on that. Now, that certainly doesn't mean that atheists cannot be moral, because you are still left with "social contract" morality, in my mind, as an alternative. But, that is a very different basis for morals and leads to different conclusions.
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12-02-2014, 04:16 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 03:59 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  The infant blood is a fine Russian vintage bottled in Chernobyl 1986, it radiates flavour, has a lovely cloudy quality when pulled but settles in to a nice mushroomed head. Don't drink too many though, the fallout is nuclear.

The Rabbi, is a light, thin pale textured beverage, it has a faint middle eatern tinge but was brewed in Auschwitz 1942, this is a classic german recipe and 5.5 million were sold to atheists over the course of WWII. Some say it's a heathens favourite but I find it a bit... well... 'gassy'.

Even I can't believe I just went there! Hahaha Ohmy

Ooooh, the rare radioactive infant blood for sure. Drooling

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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12-02-2014, 04:23 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 04:06 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I could equally ask why you resist having a creator as part of it.

We are talking about the same tools, but from two different perspectives. I consider the creator to have given us the tools that we need to discover morality (ie. eyes to see, nerves to feel, intelligence with which to reason, etc), but you have a narrower scope, just looking at the tools themselves and not worrying about where they came from.

To answer why I resist having a creator part of it - not needed as we both have admitted.

Now please prove to me that a creator has given us the "tools" for morality to be recognized.

There is also no evidence for linking objective morality with a creator. And I am also glad that different conclusions come from my way of getting morals as I would hate to stone my kids to death for misbehaving, owning humans as property, and taking advantage of young virgins girls.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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12-02-2014, 04:25 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 04:16 PM)toadaly Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 03:59 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  The infant blood is a fine Russian vintage bottled in Chernobyl 1986, it radiates flavour, has a lovely cloudy quality when pulled but settles in to a nice mushroomed head. Don't drink too many though, the fallout is nuclear.

The Rabbi, is a light, thin pale textured beverage, it has a faint middle eatern tinge but was brewed in Auschwitz 1942, this is a classic german recipe and 5.5 million were sold to atheists over the course of WWII. Some say it's a heathens favourite but I find it a bit... well... 'gassy'.

Even I can't believe I just went there! Hahaha Ohmy

Ooooh, the rare radioactive infant blood for sure. Drooling

Cool *clink*

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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12-02-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 03:36 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  There were a couple of responses similar to this. I found it interesting because of how similar it is to the deist way of figuring out morals (ie. looking at the universe and using our intelligence). The difference is the fact that I think those clues were left by a creator and you guys don't.

So, let us know by what method we should go about proving that a creator left these clues?

Especially since a clue giving god does not seem to be necessary, considering the morality of bonobos, as I mentioned.

Quote:That leads to another related question. I know one person responded saying that he (she?) believes in the existence of objective morality. So, do the rest of you also believe in objective morality? Some of the answers seemed to imply a belief in objective morals, while others seemed to indicate more of a floating morality (ie. depends on the culture you live in).

I think that morality is objective, in that it is based on the well beings or others.

But this allows for situational morality. Example: a family is starving. Is it moral to steal food for their survival?

This is not the same as subjective morality, because it is still based on the objective morality of the well being of others.

Quote:Regardless of whether you guys like the source, I also find it interesting to see how universally the Golden Rule is accepted, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

There's been a written version of the Golden Rule for probably as long as there has been writing.

The Golden Rule is easily explained through evolution. It's called 'reciprocity'.

Reciprocity is prevalent in other social animals. Frans de Waal has done years of research on this.

Read some of his books:

The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved

Evolved Morality: The Biology and Philosophy of Human Conscience
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12-02-2014, 06:49 PM
RE: Basis for Atheist Morality
(12-02-2014 03:12 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Well, for me, my personal conception of morality is still one that is objective and woven into creation by the creator.
if morality is "objective" why does it change from time to time ? why does it differ in society&culture?

is it just me or does it seem like morality is something subjective rather than objective?
Quote:I could equally ask why you resist having a creator as part of it
because its stupid and unnecessary.

What reason do you have to presume that a God exists?

Wishful thinking is all you have.

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
Wishful thinking is not evidence
Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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