Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
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19-08-2012, 10:56 AM
Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
I've been really struggling with some moral issues the last couple of days and could use some advice. In the past I was pretty confident in my morality.To me being a moral person was simply treating my fellow human beings with love and kindness but now I'm starting to doubt that previous belief. I've started questioning if that really makes sense. Why should I help my fellow human beings yet ignore all the other inhabitants of the earth? Human society dominates nature and negatively impacts it. We've destroyed numerous eco systems and have driven numerous species to extinction. We slaughter billions of animals every year directly for meat and we kill nearly as many indirectly for other products i.e. wood, agriculture, oil.
I've been asking myself what the point of helping my fellow human beings is if we are just a plague on this earth? Me being an atheist compounds this problem. I have no absolute moral truth to fall back on and calm my worries. Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past? How did you put your mind at ease?
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19-08-2012, 11:03 AM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  ... [1] Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past?
[2] How did you put your mind at ease?

1) I have.
2) I haven't.

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19-08-2012, 11:08 AM
Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
How are humans a plague on the earth? Seems like a strange statement to make when all we are is a product of natural selection.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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19-08-2012, 11:14 AM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  I've been asking myself what the point of helping my fellow human beings is if we are just a plague on this earth? Me being an atheist compounds this problem. I have no absolute moral truth to fall back on and calm my worries.
Generally, helping other humans contributes to the survival of our species, whereas hurting them does not. I don't see how the fact that we, as in "we as humans", destroy our own habitat changes anything at that. That being said, an absolute moral truth doesn't exist either way, whether you're a theist, an agnostic or an atheist. Morals are subject to change, even within religious communities.

(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past?
Yes.

(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  How did you put your mind at ease?
See above. Doing good deeds is your part of helping the human race to survive.

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19-08-2012, 11:20 AM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  Why should I help my fellow human beings yet ignore all the other inhabitants of the earth?

You're confusing morality (species-confined) with extra-species morality. The 2 are different... and not just to humans. If you're making the move from omnivore to vegan, don't expect a universally-warm reception here as it has nothing to do with atheism, nor morality. There are vegans here, but I'm an omnivore... nom nom nom...

Just a heads-up for you. Dodgy
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19-08-2012, 12:30 PM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  I've been really struggling with some moral issues the last couple of days and could use some advice. In the past I was pretty confident in my morality.To me being a moral person was simply treating my fellow human beings with love and kindness but now I'm starting to doubt that previous belief. I've started questioning if that really makes sense. Why should I help my fellow human beings yet ignore all the other inhabitants of the earth?

Why can't you do both?

(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  Human society dominates nature and negatively impacts it. We've destroyed numerous eco systems and have driven numerous species to extinction. We slaughter billions of animals every year directly for meat and we kill nearly as many indirectly for other products i.e. wood, agriculture, oil.

All species will consume their environment if they can, including driving others to extinction. Humans aren't unique in this regard.

(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  I've been asking myself what the point of helping my fellow human beings is if we are just a plague on this earth? Me being an atheist compounds this problem. I have no absolute moral truth to fall back on and calm my worries. Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past? How did you put your mind at ease?

If you were a theist you'd believe that God put all the animals here for us, so consuming them would really have no moral question. You'd be falling back on an immoral principle, not a moral one, and any support you got from it would be false. The atheist morality is more demanding and complex. It's not immoral to survive, and you have to live on the earth and eat to survive, so I don't see the plague idea. Everyone has to decide what mixture of animals and plants to eat and base it on their own judgement. Personally, I reject the idea that animals deserve more protection than plants, so I eat more animals.
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19-08-2012, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 19-08-2012 02:06 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  How did you put your mind at ease?

Ativan. Ativan works wonders. Klonapin, if you're really hard up. Or maybe a rum and coke.
If you really think we're gonna fall for theists coming here with the moral argument that poorly disguised, think again.
There is no absolute moral value. Even theists say you can kill people, under certain circumstances. Therefore there is no absolute moral law, and everything is relative.
Morality arose, (evolved) as is better for survival to cooperate than not.
TTFN

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19-08-2012, 02:04 PM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
Hey Bucky,
I think it's a reasonable question. The planet is going to become unsustainable if human population growth continues as is it and more as we learn to extend our lives.

The solution is simple. We, from now on, only eat christian's babies thus killing the god-virus and maintaining population levels simultaneously.

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19-08-2012, 02:45 PM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  I have no absolute moral truth to fall back on and calm my worries. Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past? How did you put your mind at ease?

Personally, I think this is very beautiful. I think those of us who freely admit to not know the absolute truth stumble upon this issue in some form or another. I think it is safe to say that there is some sort of sacredness of living things (although I hesitate to use this term to describe it). If we do not believe that this is the case, there is no point on going any further on our inquiry.

As nonbelievers, perhaps the most common objection to our morality is relativism. The religious practitioner is bound to say, "If you have your own beliefs and someone else has their own beliefs, who is right?" I'm sure you have heard this before. But, it is very important to note that if our morality is bound by reason, it creates a pretty eloquent and conceivable ethical system. Of course, the definition of reason must be described in the best detail, ensuring that a certain act either abides within the rules of reason, or outside reason's boundaries. Being a philosophy student, combating relativism is something that I hope to address once I get settled in Tongue

If you are curious about the non-relative aspects of practical reason, Aristotle's works are brilliant (If reason can be defined perfectly, without any subjective additions to its definition, it has the possibility to be non-relativistic.) Check out this essay by Martha Nussbaum: Non-Relative Virtues.

I hope this helps.

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19-08-2012, 03:28 PM
RE: Need advice on the morality of humans and nature.
(19-08-2012 10:56 AM)MACGRUBER7693 Wrote:  I've been really struggling with some moral issues the last couple of days and could use some advice. In the past I was pretty confident in my morality.To me being a moral person was simply treating my fellow human beings with love and kindness but now I'm starting to doubt that previous belief. I've started questioning if that really makes sense. Why should I help my fellow human beings yet ignore all the other inhabitants of the earth? Human society dominates nature and negatively impacts it. We've destroyed numerous eco systems and have driven numerous species to extinction. We slaughter billions of animals every year directly for meat and we kill nearly as many indirectly for other products i.e. wood, agriculture, oil.
I've been asking myself what the point of helping my fellow human beings is if we are just a plague on this earth? Me being an atheist compounds this problem. I have no absolute moral truth to fall back on and calm my worries. Has anyone struggled with questions like this in the past? How did you put your mind at ease?

We slaughter billions of animals every year directly for meat and we kill nearly as many indirectly for other products i.e. wood, agriculture, oil. So? Become a vegetarian, recycle, buy local and insist on organic and chemical free as much as possible, bike or walk more -to work if possible- use public transport. Stop looking for excuses to not do any of the above.

And ... what's this "we" shit, white man? You are part of "we". If you feel responsible, do something. Where've you been? You may be the drop in the bucket that "we've" been waiting for. You might tip the scale and help erase "our" eco footprint. DON'T WORRY... "we'll" wait for you. Wink

There may be no absolute moral truth, but there is most certainly a mindset of sensible ethics which frankly, if you do not uphold, you belittle and diminish your fellow human beings, and the natural selection that got your species to survive thus far.

Simply treating your fellow human beings with love and kindness isn't good enough? Since when? Why would anyone question the ethical sensibility of human kindness and love? It's a no brainer. Shy

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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