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Author Topic:   Problems with being an Atheist (or Evolutionist)
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 22 of 276 (538073)
12-03-2009 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Stile
12-03-2009 8:55 AM


Re: Should Atheists Logically be Evil?
Hi Stile
So, no, there is nothing at all to suggest that atheists should somehow logically be evil. It doesn't make any sense.
I agree 100% with your points and the above conclusion.
I don't know if I've missed the flow of the preceding argument that was on a different thread, but I would always add the following points in these arguments about good and evil:
- Humans are social species that benefit from cooperting with each other. (We are not unique in this respect: individuals in many if not most other species also benefit from cooperating with each other.) In my opinion, in humans this beneficial cooperation is the foundation of moral behaviour, and the concept of good and evil.
- If you accept the Theory of Evolution, there is little doubt that individuals that cooperate well together will be more likely to survive and produce similar offspring. Hence, we have formed an instinctive empathy for others. It's why we feel sad if we see others in trouble. This may seem a little strange in the global village that we live in today, where we may feel sad for someone we don't even know, but the instinct was formed in a time when we lived in small communities where we would be closely related to most of the people we ever met.
- At a more objective level, we can also make a rational decision to be helpful to others. Societies that are the most peaceful and egalitarian, and which treat individuals with respect, tend to be the most prosperous.
What goes around comes around. The Golden Rule, etc. And there shouldn't be any evolutionary pressure on us to lose our empathy even in the modern world. The consequences of being unselfish are generally still advantageous.
So, apart from the fact that there is no logical reason for atheists to automatically be evil, there IS a logical reason for most people, whatever their creed, to be good.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 8:55 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 11:13 AM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has replied
 Message 38 by Statman, posted 12-06-2009 1:15 AM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 24 of 276 (538079)
12-03-2009 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Stile
12-03-2009 11:13 AM


Re: Instinct vs. Intellectual
Some interesting points. I'm not sure I agree with everything you say about honour, etc. Bit busy now, so I'll sleep on it and get back to you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 11:13 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 12:14 PM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 26 of 276 (538083)
12-03-2009 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Stile
12-03-2009 12:14 PM


Re: Take your time
A reasoned, well thought-out reply is always much more appreciated than a quick off-the-cuff reaction.
I'm beginning to learn that!
(Still sleeping on it.)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 12:14 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 44 of 276 (538441)
12-07-2009 4:53 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Statman
12-06-2009 1:15 AM


Re: Should Atheists Logically be Evil?
I'm new here and have only read a dozen or two posts but yours makes the most sense. I fully agree that cooperation is the basis of morality. Some think this is solely a competitive world and society. They grossly underestimate the enormous value of cooperation.
Thanks for your comments. It's a fascinating subject: the fine line that exists between individual competitiveness and social cooperation. It's also incredibly complex. I'd like to start reading up on this topic. I've been thinking about it a lot the last few days in order to answer Stile's point about "honour". I'm not quite there yet!

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 Message 38 by Statman, posted 12-06-2009 1:15 AM Statman has not replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 60 of 276 (538701)
12-09-2009 9:35 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by Dr Adequate
12-08-2009 8:17 AM


Re: Should Atheists Logically be Evil?
The female preying mantis eats her mate during sex. Do we think her wicked for doing so?
I once knew a girl like that. And I thought she was very very bad.
Who am I kidding?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-08-2009 8:17 AM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 61 of 276 (538704)
12-09-2009 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Stile
12-03-2009 11:13 AM


Re: Instinct vs. Intellectual
And, in the same vein, it must be because we think it's right rather than knowing it's right. If we know it's right, then it's a simplistic, easy, objective answer. Honour only exists if we are left in the objective "absolute dark" where we can only think it's right.
Honour exists in following the hope that Good triumphs over Evil. If this somehow becomes an objective fact, then we remove the hope and therefore we remove the honour.
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you on this point. To be honest I still haven't settled my mind on the issue, so like you I'm talking out loud to some extent. I just thought I'd at least let you have my initital thoughts.
"Honour" is an interesting concept. I think that a person can only be "honourable" if others are aware of them and their actions. Otherwise there would be nothing to honour. If a person is considered honourable it means that others hold them in high esteem. That implies that a person who deliberately acts in what they think is an honourable manner is hoping to receive appreciation from others. So anyone who sets out to be a person of honour is in fact looking to enhance their social status. I.E. They are doing it for themselves. That makes honourable a paradoxical term: most of us instinctively think of an honourable act as being an unselfish one, whereas the person in question is usually acting at least in part for their own benefit by seeking the approval of others (or at least the potential approval of others if they were ever to notice the action).
Does that make any sense?
That would imply that the person who makes the most objective and unselfish decisions would have to act purely on what they think is the right decision, completely regardless of what anyone else would think.
I'm finding it impossible, though, to think of what a "right" decision is, if it is not one that would at least potentially receive the approval of others.
This brings me back to my earlier point that morality is all about how we cooperate with each other - for mutual benefit. A truly objective moral decision doesn't seem possible to me. So you may well be right that only subjective decisions can be honourable, although I think we may be coming at it from different angles.
I'll ponder it some more!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 12-03-2009 11:13 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 88 by Stile, posted 12-22-2009 8:25 PM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has replied

  
Jumped Up Chimpanzee
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 572
From: UK
Joined: 10-22-2009


Message 89 of 276 (540280)
12-23-2009 9:36 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Stile
12-22-2009 8:25 PM


Re: Honour in the unknowable
I'll ponder it some more!
Please do. I enjoy these conversations. I'm always on the look-out for learning anything that may be "better" or "more good" than what I currently believe to be honourable/good/moral.
And I'll ponder it some more...
I hope to have this whole issue of morality/honour/good/bad completely tied up very soon - may not be before Christmas though!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Stile, posted 12-22-2009 8:25 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
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