Morals, Christianity, Atheism
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23-11-2014, 09:15 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 09:06 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(23-11-2014 08:59 AM)Machias Wrote:  Right, and that force is evolution. Empathy has positive survival value for a social species, so the genes for that survive.

And all the other aspects that evolution shaped for our nature, such as hatred, violence, apathy, a mind cultivated to be attracted to delusions, and self-deceptions had no survival value?

Evolution provided all of that, although you misunderstand why the human mind is prone to delusion/self-deception. We have various mind gadgets that benefit survival, such as assigning agenticity or intentionality, forming ideas/hypotheses about cause and effect, recognizing patterns, and constructing patterns from scant data. These gadgets aren't perfect and they can mis-fire. However, the false positive of seeing danger when it isn't there is generally less fatal than not seeing it when it is.

Quote:And more importantly, is all that is required for us to recognize our moral obligation, to look inward, to contemplate our own nature, that we can see the underlying reality of the obligations and duties of being human, placed there by millions of years of random mutations and natural selection?

No, that's merely the basis. We use our intellect to build upon that.
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23-11-2014, 09:43 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 09:15 AM)Machias Wrote:  No, that's merely the basis. We use our intellect to build upon that.

So evolution is not merely the basis for our sentiment, but the very existence of the moral obligations that underly certain sentiments, such as empathy. It's not just the basis for why a mother cares for her child (is), but the basis for why she has a moral obligation to do so (ought), why there is some sort of moral laws within her very being, which she is obligated to heed.

We use our intellect to build upon this, in the sense of how to best act upon these obligations, to achieve better results. Like a mother using her intellect to find the best means of caring for her child, of buying the best baby food and following the most effective hygiene practices. The intellect is not the source, or the creator of moral obligations, the source is evolution. The intellect just serves as a tool, as the means to effectively follow through on these underlying obligations.

Would this be a fair summary of your views?
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23-11-2014, 12:46 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 08:21 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  This is possibly true, but the real question is, is it negative consequences that create obligations. Or are negative consequences just an aspect of breaking an obligation, but not the cause of the obligation itself.
There are many who have beliefs that such and such is wrong, then when they do such and such they feel guilt and remorse (negative consequence). So a belief can indeed create negative consequences and a perception of obligation.


Catholic church for example are great at creating guilt in their flock.
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23-11-2014, 03:10 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
If religion were needed for morality, then every atheist would be on a crime spree everywhere they went. This, of course, is not the case, so that whole "religion is essential for morals" crap is shot to shit right there.

Atheism and morals are completely separate ideas. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, period. Saying that somebody cannot have morals without belief in deities is no less ridiculous than saying that somebody cannot have morals without belief in fairies. The only difference between atheism and religion when it comes to morals is that religion offers people an escape hatch for committing immoral actions:

"Murder is wrong, but these people are heathens and savages because they don't share my religious beliefs, so they deserve to be exterminated."

More people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other reason throughout history, so religious people really need to cut the bullshit already.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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23-11-2014, 03:33 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 09:43 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(23-11-2014 09:15 AM)Machias Wrote:  No, that's merely the basis. We use our intellect to build upon that.

So evolution is not merely the basis for our sentiment, but the very existence of the moral obligations that underly certain sentiments, such as empathy. It's not just the basis for why a mother cares for her child (is), but the basis for why she has a moral obligation to do so (ought), why there is some sort of moral laws within her very being, which she is obligated to heed.

We use our intellect to build upon this, in the sense of how to best act upon these obligations, to achieve better results. Like a mother using her intellect to find the best means of caring for her child, of buying the best baby food and following the most effective hygiene practices. The intellect is not the source, or the creator of moral obligations, the source is evolution. The intellect just serves as a tool, as the means to effectively follow through on these underlying obligations.

Would this be a fair summary of your views?

No, it would not. That is a very bizarre interpretation of what I said. I said nothing at all about 'obligations'.

Humans are social animals with evolved instincts and intelligence. Our moral systems are based on our evolved sense of empathy and fairness - we use our intellects in creating formal systems that are largely based on those.

Obligation is created by community, by society.
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23-11-2014, 06:26 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 03:10 PM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  If religion were needed for morality, then every atheist would be on a crime spree everywhere they went. This, of course, is not the case, so that whole "religion is essential for morals" crap is shot to shit right there.
I don't quite agree with this.

A person doesn't have to be moral to be law abiding.
All that is required is an awareness of the law, a desire to avoid a criminal record/sentence and the tools and means and opportunities to live a sufficiently acceptable life within the bounds of the presiding laws.

Even if you remove the government and laws all you need is a sufficient understanding of the consequences of your actions. e.g. you steal and murder then others see you as a threat and they seek to remove this threat (a.k.a. you). Ultimately you get together and agree on a healthy compromise i.e. no one steals, no one murders and you form some kind of enforcement and governing body.

Some people might liken this to morality "it is wrong to steal", I would liken this to social practicality "I don't want my stuff stolen, I don't want to have to guard my stuff so I agree to support rules such that no-one in my society is allowed to steal stuff". A practical compromise rather than a belief in wrongness or wrong doing.


Religion tends to go beyond the purpose of law. Religious organisations tend to create guilt and self doubt in people (e.g. humans are sinful an unworthy of god's perfectness) and then use that to create a dependency relationship for the people onto this organisation. This way the organisations make heaps of money, their flock don't have the confidence to call it as a con job and instead keep coming back, keep giving money, keep asking for forgiveness (for being an imperfect human). The morality sold by many religious organisations is merely a tool to subjugate the flock into an abusive dependent (for the flock) and lucrative (for the organisation) relationship.
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23-11-2014, 06:34 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 06:26 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-11-2014 03:10 PM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  If religion were needed for morality, then every atheist would be on a crime spree everywhere they went. This, of course, is not the case, so that whole "religion is essential for morals" crap is shot to shit right there.
I don't quite agree with this.

A person doesn't have to be moral to be law abiding.
All that is required is an awareness of the law, a desire to avoid a criminal record/sentence and the tools and means and opportunities to live a sufficiently acceptable life within the bounds of the presiding laws.

Even if you remove the government and laws all you need is a sufficient understanding of the consequences of your actions. e.g. you steal and murder then others see you as a threat and they seek to remove this threat (a.k.a. you). Ultimately you get together and agree on a healthy compromise i.e. no one steals, no one murders and you form some kind of enforcement and governing body.

Some people might liken this to morality "it is wrong to steal", I would liken this to social practicality "I don't want my stuff stolen, I don't want to have to guard my stuff so I agree to support rules such that no-one in my society is allowed to steal stuff". A practical compromise rather than a belief in wrongness or wrong doing.


Religion tends to go beyond the purpose of law. Religious organisations tend to create guilt and self doubt in people (e.g. humans are sinful an unworthy of god's perfectness) and then use that to create a dependency relationship for the people onto this organisation. This way the organisations make heaps of money, their flock don't have the confidence to call it as a con job and instead keep coming back, keep giving money, keep asking for forgiveness (for being an imperfect human). The morality sold by many religious organisations is merely a tool to subjugate the flock into an abusive dependent (for the flock) and lucrative (for the organisation) relationship.

His comment doesn't say a person has to be moral to be law abiding... so I'm not sure why you point out against it.

It says, if you think a person who doesn't believe in God CANNOT be moral.. they will commit immoral acts. Then you follow it to the conclusion of some laws, not all of course, are based on moral beliefs. So an person incapable of morality in that essence would be likely to be breaking those laws.

His statement is a bit flawed though because religious people would say it's the influence of religion being implemented in our society that the atheist already knows of morality whether he accepts God or not.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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23-11-2014, 07:10 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 06:34 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  His comment doesn't say a person has to be moral to be law abiding... so I'm not sure why you point out against it.

It says, if you think a person who doesn't believe in God CANNOT be moral.. they will commit immoral acts. Then you follow it to the conclusion of some laws, not all of course, are based on moral beliefs. So an person incapable of morality in that essence would be likely to be breaking those laws.
Hmmm,
"If religion were needed for morality, then every atheist would be on a crime spree everywhere they went."

this is my understanding of the statement.

1. Group X does not have A
2. Everyone must have B or must do C
3. Not everyone in Group X does C
C: therefore A isn't a requirement of B

Where A = religion, B = morality, Group X = atheist, C = crime spree

So he/she is saying that since not all atheists do C then at least some of them have B despite not having A
Therefore A isn't a requirement of B.

Quote: So an person incapable of morality in that essence would be likely to be breaking those laws.
A person incapable of morality is amoral rather than immoral.
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23-11-2014, 07:55 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(23-11-2014 06:34 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  His comment doesn't say a person has to be moral to be law abiding... so I'm not sure why you point out against it.

It says, if you think a person who doesn't believe in God CANNOT be moral.. they will commit immoral acts. Then you follow it to the conclusion of some laws, not all of course, are based on moral beliefs. So an person incapable of morality in that essence would be likely to be breaking those laws.

Yes, thank you for clarifying that.

(23-11-2014 06:34 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  His statement is a bit flawed though because religious people would say it's the influence of religion being implemented in our society that the atheist already knows of morality whether he accepts God or not.

It's flawed to them, but their defense against my argument would not hold up for the reason that modern man has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, and organized religion is a very new concept in our history on this planet. I think it would be quite ridiculous to say that man has always believed that he got his morality from deities.

If they are fundies and believe that the Earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years in age, and that the entire universe (including all the living things in it) was created in less than a week...well, we already know that scientific evidence shows that such a claim is quite ridiculous. Yeah, if their argument had evidence, then they could claim that a deity gave man morals, but with what we have learned about the universe and our history, we know that this claim is insane.

If they are not fundies, and they accept that the Earth is over 4 billion years in age, and that modern man has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, then their argument is still ridiculous, because it would mean that man must have believed in deities (especially THEIR particular deity/deities) since day one in order to survive.

Besides, we know animals have morals too, and they sure as hell don't worship deities, so again, the argument is ridiculous. How do they explain that? By claiming that man needs to believe in a higher power to have morals, but animals do not? That's just plain stupid.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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23-11-2014, 11:30 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
So has he demonstrated or proven anything yet? I stopped reading his garbage out of pure boredom, but I'm kinda curious.

It is held that valour is the chiefest virtue and most dignifies the haver.
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