2 of 5
2
A Moral Conundrum
Posted: 27 March 2012 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  348
Joined  2006-11-27

I hardly think I’m capable of managing the planet, but I’m very interested in trying to do a better job.  Speaking for myself, trying to gain the most functional understanding of the amazing intricacies of existence, and doing what little I can to improve the quality of life, which I think hinges on security for all creatures and awareness for those of with greater intellectual capabilities, enhances the beauty I am part of.  I make no pretense of possessing all the answers, (unlike religious pundits).

And we will as a species, in all likelihood, go extinct.  All the knowledge we can glean from the fossil record, and everything we can guess at in the future points to this probability.  But this likelihood in no way diminishes the value of this experience of existence for me. 

I don’t think religion can claim to be especially good at developing practical technologies.  There is a long and continuing history of innovators and intellectuals being harassed,  pilloried, tortured and executed by the representatives of religion.  I dare say we have running water in spite of religion, not because of it.  By the way, your reference to 6000 thousand years only reinforces my convictions about religion teaching people to think badly.

You infer from my statement that because I am not tolerant of the promotion of religion I am opposed to free speech.  That’s just not true.  One of the best methods for exposing the weakness and illogic of religious belief is through open and rigorous debate.  Your outlook, and those of people who believe as you do, revealed and thoroughly examined, does far more to undermine the validity of religious theory than anything I can say.

And “crusade”?  Religion owns that word. What do you think the word means?  Science and skepticism inherently can not launch crusades.  Something people who adhere to a religious mindset seem unable to understand is that doubt and evaluation are essential to science and skepticism.  It’s very hard to embark on a “crusade” and get a mass of people to go and slaughter other people if anyone can raise the question, “Wait a minute, just why are we doing this?”, and everyone else understands it is a moral duty to examine that question.  Not really a religious way to handle dissent.

I really have no idea if you’re “bad now”.  I don’t think it’s easy to define people with simplistic terms, (good, bad, evil, etc.), in any way that aids in understanding or communicating with them.  But I do think that the ideas you express are faulty and detrimental to the full expansion of the best of our emotional and intellectual capabilities.  And, I don’t claim to know what the future holds for any of us, so because I don’t know I’m going to proceed on my way to the future enjoying the caring, kindness and gentleness bestowed upon me by others, and cultivating the generosity which allows me to reciprocate, all the time being captivated and stimulated by this amazing existence I find myself to be a part of.

 Signature 

If we’re not laughing, they’re winning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 March 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29
Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM
George - 26 March 2012 05:37 AM

Our mind can also create art, calculate and estimate, it can love and hate. Neither gravity nor electromagnetism can do either of those things. The reason why we can care for each other is because it makes biological sense.

So does genocide.

It surely makes more sense than genocide being a product of a universe designed by a loving and omnipotent God.

Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM

Gravity and electromagnetism are a force and we are animals designed by the process of natural selection. This is obviously the reason why we care for others: we have evolved a sense of carying for those who are like us, because those who are like us, are partly us. They share our genes. The reason why we care more about our kids, for example, is because they share a half of their genome with us and will make more copies of those genes once they reach adulthood. You, then, care a little less about your niece and even less about a kid next door.

So, there is no such thing as love. There is only biological impulse, like second degree murder?

Sure there is love. Again, it makes a perfect sense to see why evolution could design some animals capable of loving and murdering. (If you’d like me to explain why evolution would do such a thing, let me know.) And again, it makes no sense at all for God to allow murder to exist.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 March 2012 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM
FreeInKy - 26 March 2012 08:17 AM

This is just a slightly more sophisticated version of the “if there is no god, then why be good” argument. And it is just a morally repugnant.

And the basis of morality is…?

See, this is great example of how religionists don’t get it. Who says there has to be a universal basis of morality? No one. We each get to work out our own morality, and that’s just fine. But specifically, I am saying your notion of being good just for god is morally repugnant because it turns human volition into nothing more than an extension of an imaginary deity. That “offends my soul,” as Walt Whitman would say.

Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM

We care for one another because we are compassionate beings, because one generally reaps as one sows (one of the bits of actual wisdom in the bible), and because there is evidence that evolution favors group altruism. 

Then evolution must have a smart mind behind it, because the superman clone birthed from slave child-bearers is what an atheistic universe should produce.

That’s just silly. But I’m glad you brought up the notion of what an “atheistic universe should produce” because that very logic is one of the main reasons I rejected the god of the christians. Because the kind, loving god postulated by them would not prduce the kind of universe we find ourselves in. In fact, what we see around us is explained perfectly by the theories of cosmic and biological origins currently in favor. One of the best examples of this is the totally gratuitous level of suffering and bloodshed that must take place in the animal kingdom just to keep the food chain going. I see no loving and caring father there, just a battle for the propagation of DNA. Another good example is the very inefficient “design” of the human eye. If you imagine that it was planned out on a drawing board by an omnipotent deity, then it’s a hell of a bad design. But if you recoignize that it evolved slowly over time from parts that were originally used for other purposes and from random mutations, then it is incredible in its adapatbility.

Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM

I don’t need a sky daddy to make me want to do the right thing. I want to do the right thing.

Great. So what? You want to do the right thing. I don’t. In an atheistic universe who is right? You or me? Let me guess: You. And now we’re back to the superman clone and his billion-woman harem of slave child bearers.

Nope. Neither of us is right or wrong because you define it one way and I define it another. Again, morality is not about making a universal set of do’s and don’ts for all to abide by. Governments create laws to maintain order, ensure the survival of society, and to secure the rights of individuals. Beyond that, morality is what you want it to be.

The thing I really find sad about your statement is when you say you don’t want to do good. Why do the Jesus people do this to themselves? The urge to do good, to care for and protect kin and clan, is wired into being human. It is not the result of some imaginary deity. You and I both want to be good. We often fall short. We let selfish motives ahead of altruistic ones. But at the end of the day, what we do or don’t do is our own choice. Neither gods nor devils can take the credit or blame. It’s just us.

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 March 2012 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM
domokato - 26 March 2012 10:59 AM

Just because everything can be reduced to physical phenomena does not mean that nothing matters. It just means that what matters is subjective, but it usually based on what aids in survival and reproduction. In the case of caring for others, it tends to be based on genetic closeness, since the survival of those genetically similar to you means the survival of literally a part of you. Of course, we don’t need to think about these things in order to care - it is built into our brains/emotions/instincts by evolution.

Thank God Evolution did that for us, huh?

I guess. But you’re looking at it from our current perspective. If we evolved to be a more violent species I’m sure we would be thanking God for our strength rather than our compassion.

It’s funny in an apocalyptic kind of way, the more Dawkins I read, the more Evolution looks a lot like a conscious entity.

How so?

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 March 2012 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM
advocatus - 26 March 2012 07:11 AM

I’m not following you, Egor.  You say it’s POSSIBLE to care about others without believing in God, but it doesn’t MAKE SENSE to?  You seem to be linking the whole thing to some belief in the afterlife.  Like nothing matters unless we get to talk about it in Heaven later.  That’s your own religious bias talking.  We atheists don’t even think about an afterlife most of the time.  The here and now is all that matters.  Looking at it that way, caring about one another is the only thing that DOES make sense.

Nice Hallmark card, but it doesn’t wash. If atheism is true, it is better to be the best sociopath you can be. Not the kind that can’t control their impulse to drive 200 mph in a residential neighborhood, but the kind that can coldly calculate what is in their best interests and eliminate anything or anyone that opposes that.

Hm, we’ve been over this. We could have just continued this conversation in the other thread. Atheism does not imply amorality.

You think I’m being facetious don’t you? I’m not.

I believe you believe every word you’re saying.

You just won’t explore the implications of atheism.

Just because we don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we’re “not thinking”. Out of everyone, skeptics are probably the ones who are most aware of their own cognitive biases and logical fallacies, and the most willing to question our own beliefs. But that means we also have higher standards for evidence and thus more strongly held evidence-based beliefs. You can make all the moral arguments you want, but facts are what we ultimately care about and the facts are stacked against God.

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 March 2012 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Egor, if God told you to murder your son (or your mother), would you do it?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07
Egor - 26 March 2012 02:42 AM

You don’t have to believe in God to care about others, but there has to be a God for caring about others to make sense.

If our consciousness simply arises from the physical matter of our brain, if it has no hope of continuation after death, if there is no God it reaches out to, then it is no different from gravity, or electromagnetism; and that being the case it deserves no consideration. That being the case, caring is futile.

If God exists and if He wants us to care for one another, then the act of caring for each other moves us individually closer to God. If our consciousness survives death, then the acts we do that move us closer to God are important now and in the hereafter. Caring, in that case makes sense.

I saw this at the Reason Rally. It applies here if Egor wants to listen…

LINK

 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  983
Joined  2005-01-14
Egor - 27 March 2012 12:51 AM

Nice Hallmark card, but it doesn’t wash. If atheism is true, it is better to be the best sociopath you can be. Not the kind that can’t control their impulse to drive 200 mph in a residential neighborhood, but the kind that can coldly calculate what is in their best interests and eliminate anything or anyone that opposes that. Also, to impregnate as many women as possible. And women should have as many babies from as many different fathers as possible. In fact, it would be best to enslave women to be artificially impregnated with your own ovums.  In fact, genocide/genetic engineering is the only way to go. Eventually, the clones of the strongest person left standing will be all that populate the earth.

Where do you even get this stuff?  You’re not making a lick of sense!  You only projectiong some fantasy of what you THINK atheists SHOULD believe!

You think I’m being facetious don’t you? I’m not. You just won’t explore the implications of atheism.

The problem isn’t mine, it’s yours.  You’re just being morally blind.  Willfully so, I expect.

Think of it this way… if you’re right and God is the only thing that matters, then YOUR life is meaningless too because you’re basically nothing more than God’s pet.  And if God is really infinite like you say he is, the entire history of mankind has no more meaning than a fish swimming in somebody’s aquarium.

[ Edited: 28 March 2012 07:27 AM by Advocatus ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  983
Joined  2005-01-14

If it was so much “better” to be the kind of anarchist that Egor describes, then why does evolution consistently go with cooperative social groups?  Even that most proverbial of loner animals, the common housecat, will form social groups given half the chance.  I just don’t know where he gets these ideas from!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
advocatus - 28 March 2012 10:22 AM

If it was so much “better” to be the kind of anarchist that Egor describes, then why does evolution consistently go with cooperative social groups?  Even that most proverbial of loner animals, the common housecat, will form social groups given half the chance.  I just don’t know where he gets these ideas from!

It’s the prevailing view among Christians. I heard it for years. The godless atheists and their evolution—everything about it is evil and ultimately leads only to greed and selfishness. All good, loving, caring desires come from god, without whom we are all rotten to the core.

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15433
Joined  2006-02-14
FreeInKy - 28 March 2012 11:45 AM

All good, loving, caring desires come from god, without whom we are all rotten to the core.

All Things Dull and Ugly ...

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29
FreeInKy - 28 March 2012 11:45 AM
advocatus - 28 March 2012 10:22 AM

If it was so much “better” to be the kind of anarchist that Egor describes, then why does evolution consistently go with cooperative social groups?  Even that most proverbial of loner animals, the common housecat, will form social groups given half the chance.  I just don’t know where he gets these ideas from!

It’s the prevailing view among Christians. I heard it for years. The godless atheists and their evolution—everything about it is evil and ultimately leads only to greed and selfishness. All good, loving, caring desires come from god, without whom we are all rotten to the core.

They have obviously a huge problem, though, explaining why morally good God would create suffering. I guess they will always use the “free will” explanation when it comes to us, but I still would like to hear from a theist about God’s thinking behind the wasps who paralyze caterpillars by a sting, lay their eggs inside them, and after the eggs hatch, have the young ones chew their way out.

Why would God do that, Egor? Do wasps also have free will or is God a sadist?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
dougsmith - 28 March 2012 12:00 PM
FreeInKy - 28 March 2012 11:45 AM

All good, loving, caring desires come from god, without whom we are all rotten to the core.

All Things Dull and Ugly ...

Awesome!  LOL

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15433
Joined  2006-02-14
George - 28 March 2012 12:01 PM

They have obviously a huge problem, though, explaining why morally good God would create suffering. I guess they will always use the “free will” explanation when it comes to us, but I still would like to hear from a theist about God’s thinking behind the wasps who paralyze caterpillars by a sting, lay their eggs inside them, and after the eggs hatch, have the young ones chew their way out.

Why would God do that, Egor? Do wasps also have free will or is God a sadist?

Also “free will” (even if it made any sense, which it doesn’t) won’t explain so-called “natural evils” such as viruses, tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2012 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Yeah, good point.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 5
2