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Author Topic: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism  (Read 4605 times)

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Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #125 on: August 01, 2014, 07:05:34 PM »
The entire conflict revolves around the fact that this is a matter of religious privilege. Religious displays frequently violate the law? No problem unless someone sues, and then the plaintiff is viewed as a troublemaker. Atheist displays stick to the letter of the law? They garner protests and often vandalism.

Why should anyone respect that, exactly? Why shouldn't they push, through entirely legal methods in keeping with the values of a modern pluralistic society, to end this blatant double-standard? The struggle isn't offensive - its necessity in a society that claims to be better than this is.

Minor technical point here: The bolded portion is incorrect. A theory, in science, is not something which is unproven - it is a model of reality that fits all known data and has predictive power. Evolution is a theory, in the same sense that heliocentricism, gravity, plate tectonics, and quantum mechanics are theories. I don't mean to come down on you, but the continued spread of this misunderstanding is a powerful weapon in the creationist arsenal.

I'm lucky to be able to straddle the debates. But I get frustrated with both sides around Christmas.

Here's a bit of perspective, what you are calling religious privilege in many small towns is also a matter of tradition. Ie: the "our mother of please don't fail me now Baptists" always put up a manger in the park for the past five generations. There are also other factors in it than religious groups stupidly wagging their dicks around.

This actually happened to a small town in nearby Maine, they were sued by an advocacy group over a ten commandments stone that had been around for 200 years, the legal fees, settlement, and machinery required for removal of the stone ate up the town budget for the next year. Quite literally shutting down all services except selectman, town school, and treasurer. No repairs for fire department gear. Much smaller 4th of july parade, no public fireworks. No roads being repaved. Graveyard didn't get mowed. The list goes on.
As you can expect that same town is now the most hardcore religious towns in that area.

I'm not saying there's a problem with having the debate but going in with a bulldozer in the name of righteousness has caused a lot of trouble through all of human history, I'm in favor of taking the dozer keys away from everyone.

There is one of the major problems with the whole evolution debate, the definition of "theory" in science, and the definition of "theory" to those without formal scientific training, are different.

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #126 on: August 01, 2014, 07:08:45 PM »
There is one of the major problems with the whole evolution debate, the definition of "theory" in science, and the definition of "theory" to those without formal scientific training, are different.

So, pretty much everyone who advocates for Creationism.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #127 on: August 01, 2014, 08:03:49 PM »
So, pretty much everyone who advocates for Creationism.
Pretty much.

Also you aren't arguing science as you might expect.
You are arguing about mankind's position in the order of the world.

What's more to them you are on the side of, in the most polite way of saying, "Mankind is nothing but a happy accident, nothing about you is special, you are not important."
Of course most people don't mean to say that, but that's how it comes across if you don't do your research on the people.

Offline vtboy

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #128 on: August 01, 2014, 09:06:06 PM »
Quote from: Ironwolf
You are arguing about mankind's position in the order of the world.

What's more to them you are on the side of, in the most polite way of saying, "Mankind is nothing but a happy accident, nothing about you is special, you are not important."
Of course most people don't mean to say that, but that's how it comes across if you don't do your research on the people.

The greatest achievement of science has been the dethroning of mankind. There is nothing very special about us, our world, our solar system, or our galaxy. Even the universe may be only one of many and its most fundamental attributes the products of chance. There is something very liberating in our utter insignificance once one embraces it. We are weightless.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 09:09:00 PM by vtboy »

Offline Sethala

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #129 on: August 01, 2014, 09:17:57 PM »
The greatest achievement of science has been the dethroning of mankind. There is nothing very special about us, our world, our solar system, or our galaxy. Even the universe may be only one of many and its most fundamental attributes the products of chance. There is something very liberating in our utter insignificance once one embraces it. We are weightless.

Furthermore, just because our lives may not have any significance to the cosmos as a whole, that doesn't mean our existence is meaningless to other people.  We have no intrinsic meaning or purpose built into our lives, but that only means we're free to assign whatever purpose we feel is worthy to ourselves.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #130 on: August 01, 2014, 09:49:11 PM »
The greatest achievement of science has been the dethroning of mankind. There is nothing very special about us, our world, our solar system, or our galaxy. Even the universe may be only one of many and its most fundamental attributes the products of chance. There is something very liberating in our utter insignificance once one embraces it. We are weightless.

You call it liberation... I call it a slow poison.

There have been many psychological studies on the impact of the feeling of being small and helpless. In the majority of cases the feeling of worthlessness leads to emotional instability, depression, and eventual suicide. I've seen stage one and two set in and had to prevent stage three in my friends. I've watched my mother turn to drink and destroy herself due to the feeling of worthlessness.

There's a reason Nihilists never really took off in ancient Greece and were often stoned then thrown out of settlements. it also did nothing to help their cause of "Everything is Meaningless" that they too always committed suicide eventually.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #131 on: August 01, 2014, 09:51:45 PM »
Furthermore, just because our lives may not have any significance to the cosmos as a whole, that doesn't mean our existence is meaningless to other people.  We have no intrinsic meaning or purpose built into our lives, but that only means we're free to assign whatever purpose we feel is worthy to ourselves.

See that's a less destructive and more developed way to think of it and eventually arrive at a life affirming belief.
The biggest problem is how many people would die at the thought of their own insignificance, and that their lives will never hold any meaning, and everything they accomplish is worthless?

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #132 on: August 01, 2014, 10:17:08 PM »
Please don't assume my position. Just because I am pro science doesn't mean I consider life to be a 'happy accident'. Or did you mean that that is how Creationists view people of my opinion? Apologies if I misheard, I was just now taken from a very uneasy sleep by fighting neighbors and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet >.<

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #133 on: August 01, 2014, 10:55:15 PM »
Please don't assume my position. Just because I am pro science doesn't mean I consider life to be a 'happy accident'. Or did you mean that that is how Creationists view people of my opinion? Apologies if I misheard, I was just now taken from a very uneasy sleep by fighting neighbors and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet >.<

Nah man that's how many creationists see your side of the argument. If you can convince them evolution is valid theory without threatening their idea of mankind's place in existence they'd be far more open to it rather than reacting with outrage at the mere word of evolution.

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #134 on: August 01, 2014, 11:05:30 PM »
Ah, I understand. The old 'The most logical response to Atheism is suicide'.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #135 on: August 01, 2014, 11:15:53 PM »
Ah, I understand. The old 'The most logical response to Atheism is suicide'.
Not atheism (There is no god), but when mixed with Nihilisim (nothing matters) it creates one hell of a psychological clusterfuck. One I've seen devastate people and lead to suicides.

EDIT: I should amend this.

Most people rely on "God loves you, people love you, therefore you matter." in the face of the grindingly emotionless work in the modern era, the kind that leaves you feeling like a purposeless cog no matter how hard you work.
If you take god (via atheism) and people (via Nihilism) out of the equation it causes a lot of emotional problems that often do lead to suicides.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 11:22:39 PM by Ironwolf85 »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #136 on: August 01, 2014, 11:22:23 PM »
 
Pretty much.

Also you aren't arguing science as you might expect.
You are arguing about mankind's position in the order of the world.

What's more to them you are on the side of, in the most polite way of saying, "Mankind is nothing but a happy accident, nothing about you is special, you are not important."
Of course most people don't mean to say that, but that's how it comes across if you don't do your research on the people.
The key that is missing from this, in my experience, is "You are a happy accident. You are no more important to the universe than any other person, and they are no more important or special than you." This is not "worthlessness" unless you've already decided that humanity is worthless as a whole.

EDIT: Wrong quote.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 11:24:59 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #137 on: August 01, 2014, 11:23:45 PM »
Yes, I've seen this happen in real life to a friend of mine who started learning about space. The fact the universe would either suffer heat death or eventually crunch into a tight ball to expand into a new universe had him feeling that all human accomplishment was worthless, as it would eventually disappear.

Offline Sethala

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #138 on: August 01, 2014, 11:31:32 PM »
Here's a bit of perspective, what you are calling religious privilege in many small towns is also a matter of tradition. Ie: the "our mother of please don't fail me now Baptists" always put up a manger in the park for the past five generations. There are also other factors in it than religious groups stupidly wagging their dicks around.

Tradition doesn't matter if it's something illegal - and any sort of state-sponsored endorsement of religion is illegal according to the Constitution.  Granted, as I said before, if it's not actually sponsored by the state and is open to everyone able to meet some reasonable requirements (e.g. nothing vulgar, and I'd be fine if it required some celebration of the holidays for a Christmastime display, as there's plenty of secular ways to celebrate it), it wouldn't be considered as sponsored by the state - at least it shouldn't, in my mind.

Quote
This actually happened to a small town in nearby Maine, they were sued by an advocacy group over a ten commandments stone that had been around for 200 years, the legal fees, settlement, and machinery required for removal of the stone ate up the town budget for the next year. Quite literally shutting down all services except selectman, town school, and treasurer. No repairs for fire department gear. Much smaller 4th of july parade, no public fireworks. No roads being repaved. Graveyard didn't get mowed. The list goes on.
As you can expect that same town is now the most hardcore religious towns in that area.

I'm not saying there's a problem with having the debate but going in with a bulldozer in the name of righteousness has caused a lot of trouble through all of human history, I'm in favor of taking the dozer keys away from everyone.

The problem with that is, you've still got a governmental branch blatantly breaking the law, and dismissing all religions except their own.  (And if you'd like to argue that the commandments matter to anyone other than Christians, I'd love to hear your justification for it.)  That being said, I think bankrupting a city in the process of moving the monument is on the extreme edge, and it makes me wonder just how much the city fought to keep it there and if simply agreeing to remove it would have saved them money.  (As an aside, a quick Google search didn't give me any information on that city, so if you could point me to something a bit more specific I'd love to follow up on it.)  It's a bit hard to judge, since the monument really does need to at least get moved off of city property, no matter what kind of excuse people give for keeping it.

Offline Sethala

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #139 on: August 01, 2014, 11:34:30 PM »
Not atheism (There is no god), but when mixed with Nihilisim (nothing matters) it creates one hell of a psychological clusterfuck. One I've seen devastate people and lead to suicides.

EDIT: I should amend this.

Most people rely on "God loves you, people love you, therefore you matter." in the face of the grindingly emotionless work in the modern era, the kind that leaves you feeling like a purposeless cog no matter how hard you work.
If you take god (via atheism) and people (via Nihilism) out of the equation it causes a lot of emotional problems that often do lead to suicides.

"People love you, therefore you matter" is enough of a reason for me.  No need to pretend there's an omnipotent deity that loves me as well.

That being said, the comfort of something beyond this life can be a powerful placebo for people.  Just so long as they don't turn that into a reason to harm others.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #140 on: August 02, 2014, 12:02:47 AM »
Yes, I've seen this happen in real life to a friend of mine who started learning about space. The fact the universe would either suffer heat death or eventually crunch into a tight ball to expand into a new universe had him feeling that all human accomplishment was worthless, as it would eventually disappear.

Now compound that with a rough life... and you see where it often leads down a very dark, and sometime violent, path?

The same power of self worth that counters that depressive darkness is what, at the core, you are arguing against. Not idiocy, but on a deeper level you are attacking that shield of self worth, and if you break that, It'll be fatal to some of them. So you also have that deep instinct for psychological survival.

That's why there's been like 0% headway on the issue among older folks no matter how hard you debate them. In younger Christians the idea doesn't attack their sense of self worth, and thus is a non-issue except when their elders drag them into it.

@Sethala
I'm not arguing for keeping the stone, I'm arguing for being a little more gentle around such issues as they play out. They could've offered to help pay to move the stone to a more appropriate location. It eventually wound up on the lawn of a nearby church. Instead the Council for Secular Humanism swatted a fly with a shotgun in the late 90's. I'm sure they did this more as a matter of routine than out of spite, might explain why nobody in the media turned it into a big battleground story. But a small town still spent a year on minimum budget and somebody's car broke an axel somewhere on those roads because they couldn't repair the roads that year and so on and so on.
Butterfly effect and all that... I just wanted people to keep that in mind.

Also the commandments are precious to Jews and Muslims too, but they didn't carve them on a stone in the front lawn back when the town was three farming shacks in the woods.

Second post: Exactly, it takes a combo of the two to cause the kind of devastation I've seen. It's far easier to get the gun out of their mouth with god loves you than over the course of several weeks of intervention and expensive family therapy.

EDIT: (Cuz you gotta be careful how you say what you say in a conversation like this.) the therapy would do a lot more for the guy over time, but if you need to break up the equation quickly a little faith goes a long way. That and Therapy costs money, money that a lot of people don't have. >.<
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 12:06:37 AM by Ironwolf85 »

Offline BeeJayTopic starter

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #141 on: August 02, 2014, 12:27:47 AM »
What is the "atheist community"?

I've long been an atheist, but have never been invited to an atheist social, picnic or rally. If there are atheist neighborhoods, I have no idea where they are. I've also yet to be asked to contribute money or time to anything identified as an atheist movement or cause.

Even if there is an atheist community, why on earth should it apologize for some obviously deranged individual whose acts it has never urged or endorsed?

There is an atheist community. There are atheist groups all over the country, and a lot of those groups connect to each other via email and various online forums. Of course local communities have groups fighting for atheist interest in the community. That last example was what I was referring to in my post.

Offline BeeJayTopic starter

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #142 on: August 02, 2014, 12:44:48 AM »
Now compound that with a rough life... and you see where it often leads down a very dark, and sometime violent, path?

The same power of self worth that counters that depressive darkness is what, at the core, you are arguing against. Not idiocy, but on a deeper level you are attacking that shield of self worth, and if you break that, It'll be fatal to some of them. So you also have that deep instinct for psychological survival.

That's why there's been like 0% headway on the issue among older folks no matter how hard you debate them. In younger Christians the idea doesn't attack their sense of self worth, and thus is a non-issue except when their elders drag them into it.

@Sethala
I'm not arguing for keeping the stone, I'm arguing for being a little more gentle around such issues as they play out. They could've offered to help pay to move the stone to a more appropriate location. It eventually wound up on the lawn of a nearby church. Instead the Council for Secular Humanism swatted a fly with a shotgun in the late 90's. I'm sure they did this more as a matter of routine than out of spite, might explain why nobody in the media turned it into a big battleground story. But a small town still spent a year on minimum budget and somebody's car broke an axel somewhere on those roads because they couldn't repair the roads that year and so on and so on.
Butterfly effect and all that... I just wanted people to keep that in mind.

Also the commandments are precious to Jews and Muslims too, but they didn't carve them on a stone in the front lawn back when the town was three farming shacks in the woods.

Second post: Exactly, it takes a combo of the two to cause the kind of devastation I've seen. It's far easier to get the gun out of their mouth with god loves you than over the course of several weeks of intervention and expensive family therapy.

EDIT: (Cuz you gotta be careful how you say what you say in a conversation like this.) the therapy would do a lot more for the guy over time, but if you need to break up the equation quickly a little faith goes a long way. That and Therapy costs money, money that a lot of people don't have. >.<

I think if the zeitgeist changed to fit what we know about science, there wouldn't be any problems like that. I think people, given the opportunity, will instead marvel at the expansiveness of the universe and the complicated mess of quantum mechanics. I don't think people need the god crutch. It's false, and believing false things is bad for you. I think anyone here can agree that, generally, believing true things is beneficial and believing false things is harmful.

And when it comes to the battles between religious citizens and non-theist interest groups over church-state separation, it is actually a fight. If one group cedes any ground in debates or legal battles, the other side can leverage that into a tangible advantage. That means that neither side can be soft on the other. It's sad, and a waste of resources, but it is unavoidable as long as religious people want to violate the constitution at the expense of non-theists.

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #143 on: August 02, 2014, 12:54:19 AM »
There is an atheist community. There are atheist groups all over the country, and a lot of those groups connect to each other via email and various online forums. Of course local communities have groups fighting for atheist interest in the community. That last example was what I was referring to in my post.

Whether or not the population of Atheists can be considered a community in the same sense that a recognized and organized group, like a Church, is still hotly debated, but yes, there are many groups that identify themselves as Atheists. The only issue is that people like to use the term 'Atheist Community' to imply that it has a leadership or a ruling body, basically as a way to lump all Atheists together and then oppose any individual with a strawman of their actual position. For instance, dismissing my opinion by referring to Richard Dawkins, as if he were my leader.

This is why most Atheists don't like to refer to themselves as a community. It's a lot like how scientists really like to be clear on what a 'theory' is, they're just too used to the incorrect version used like a weapon against them.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #144 on: August 02, 2014, 01:14:45 AM »
Not atheism (There is no god), but when mixed with Nihilisim (nothing matters) it creates one hell of a psychological clusterfuck. One I've seen devastate people and lead to suicides.

EDIT: I should amend this.

Most people rely on "God loves you, people love you, therefore you matter." in the face of the grindingly emotionless work in the modern era, the kind that leaves you feeling like a purposeless cog no matter how hard you work.
If you take god (via atheism) and people (via Nihilism) out of the equation it causes a lot of emotional problems that often do lead to suicides.

I think this is a very Christian type of view on self worth and our place in the universe. Not everyone requires the lofty promises ( like immortality and divine purpose) offered by religions in general in order to have self esteem and to excel in life. Christianity makes man the center of the universe and the object of god's desire. Funny that men wrote their religion this way isn't it? Something smells kinda fishy here.

When I was a Catholic, I viewed life much differently than I do now. I was more willing to forgo the things that really matter in life in exchange for some promised reward in the afterlife. You see this sort of behaviour too with the Kamikazes, Heavan's Gate cultists,  Jim Jones' posse and others. While such beliefs can make a person a better soldier or more content with a boring, menial existence, I don't think its necessarily better than a lack of religious/spiritual belief. When you don't believe in a god, you get your self worth and jollies from other sources.

There are plenty of non-religious people out there who are not committing suicide because they feel all clusterfucked without the wine of religion.

Offline consortium11

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #145 on: August 02, 2014, 06:30:47 AM »
I’m just not going to respond to these points. Sorry for ducking this stuff, but my only intention with that video was to make my point a bit more clear. I知 just not interested in defending Matt痴 lecture as its own piece, because I didn稚 write it. Part 2/6 contained the very basics of the argument, which lays the groundwork for my points. Most of your criticisms seem to be about the definitions of words and presentation, which of course it would take hours to go into all of the definitions of each concept mentioned in the lecture. I think you池e right, that time constraints got in the way of a fuller exposition of points. If you池e interested, email Matt Dillahunty at tv@atheist-community.org. I知 sure he would be better at rebutting your points.

No offence taken; I made those points to illustrate why I didn't find the video particularly helpful as opposed to starting up a new chain of inquiry.

It strikes me that Mr Dillahunty is probably someone not particularly schooled in academic/philosophical ethics which is understandable considering his hobby/job. I imagine that the majority of the time ethics come up for him they arise in debates with primarily Christians who are equally as unschooled in that school of thought. His insights may be useful in such occasions but unfortunately they are largely unsatisfying when the deeper questions are asked.

This point is a little unnecessary. I haven稚 crunched the numbers on who uses what definition, but I can assume that enough people use it to be useful to this discussion. If you disagree, feel free to explain why, but the semantics don稚 really further the discussion in this case.

I don't think it's semantics at all. The argument is why secular ethics is better than non-secular ethics. Introducing a definition of "good" within that would therefore require it to be pretty much the universal definition of "good" for secular ethics or we return to the previous issue that we're debating one strand of secular ethics against a strand of non-secular ethics. And considering the vast amount of secular thought that holds a very different view of what the good is (from virtue ethicists from Plato onwards to deontologists such as Kant to other consequentialists and utilitarians who suggest that individual pleasure (with differing definitions of quite what pleasure meant) is the measure of "good" to objectivists like Rand I don't one can claim that the definition you offer is a majority, let alone consensus, viewpoint.

I never claimed that secular morality is defined by consequentialism. Consequentialism is just the most obvious way to apply morality when there are not outside mandates. I am aware that there is potential for secular societies to have inside mandates, and thus consequentialism isn稚 always practiced, but non-secular systems are required to have them. That means, by simple deduction, that secular societies will less often have mandates and more often follow consequentialism. This makes it easy for the connection between secular systems and consequentialism to be made.

Quick bit of trivia. The first record of consequentialism being used as a term can be found in G. E. M. Anscombe's influential 1958 essay "Modern Moral Philosophy". The reason I bring this up is that through that essay Anscombe produces a powerful argument as to why consequentialist and utilitarian approaches aren't a natural fit within secular ethics and instead virtue theory is a more logical approach. The entire essay is well worth a read but the bottom of page four till the end of page 12 are the key points with why consequentialist and utilitarian approaches aren't seemingly a natural fit to secular ethics; Anscombe writes clearly and entertainingly and as such puts her words far better than I could.

I want to make it clear that I am not an advocate for consequentialism. I think it is useful in real life, but I don稚 claim it to be any kind of perfect system. This point is a bit of a defeater for consequentialism as you have laid it down. The simple answer is that in the real world, that is to say outside of theoretical ethics, this sort of problem wouldn稚 happen as stated. If a system fails in society, it is modified so that it won稚 fail. If you threw out the whole system when one part failed, we wouldn稚 have any kind of system. Just tweak the system until this error doesn稚 happen, so put in an 訴f-then clause to specifically halt the issue. 的f we are presented with a utility monster, a limit of X will be placed on them. This argument seems to ignore common sense. If something doesn稚 work properly, you don稚 always just throw it away. Sometimes you just fix it.

But earlier you suggested that secular ethics was based on logic and empirical evidence. It is entirely logical to feed the utility monster and likewise all the empirical evidence suggests one should feed the utility monster. In truth that's basically the point of the monster. Any approach that bases itself around maximising utility for a group will either be consumed by one or both of the "happy" or "sad" monsters or have to follow another method of measuring utility that carries its own negative consequences.

You suggest "common sense"... but in this case common sense runs against the empirical evidence and logic. Once you insert common sense into the mix it is no longer a system based on logic or evidence and instead one based on prejudices. Moreover the fact that you see something wrong with a society that feeds a utility monster is prima facie evidence that consequentialism isn't a system you agree with (which I also note you agree above) because under a consequentialist or utilitarian system there is nothing wrong with feeding the monster (in fact, it is good to do so and wrong not to). And if we accept that it is wrong to feed the monster we have to consider why it is wrong to do so... and that brings out outside of consequentialism to either deontology or virtue ethics.

I致e never seen the point of this argument. Maybe I知 just ignorant, but here痴 my rebuttal. We decide what we ought to do. That痴 it. If I decide that a) the best way to keep someone from being on fire is to douse them with water, b) that being on fire is painful, and c) people should not be on fire as often as possible with some exceptions, I can then make the claim that if someone is on fire, I ought to douse them with water until they aren稚 on fire anymore. If most people agree with me for long enough, we have a standard of morality as it pertains to people being on fire. That is how we get from is to ought. Just because there isn稚 a rigid system for doing so, doesn稚 mean it can稚 be done, evidenced by the fact that it is done every day. And before you claim that I am a moral relativist, I would like to say that what a culture decides is a good standard of ethics doesn稚 make them right. If we combine our abilities to create a moral standard and modified consequentialism, we don稚 have to think female circumcision is 創either right nor wrong.

But, similar to my point above, you earlier suggested that secular ethics was based on logic. And logic is a cruel mistress. There is no logical way to get from an "is" to an "ought". The fact that you suggest we can is prima facie evidence that you don't believe that the system is logical because, however hard one tries, one cannot get from an "is" to an "ought" using logic.

Let痴 assume that this argument is true. So what? Maybe good does mean something other than 礎eneficial  Nothing follows.  However, if this argument is supporting the idea that 澱ecause good can稚 = its own definition, then good must equal God then I can just respond plugging in 礎enefiting people and society with 賎od  thus:

Premise 1: If God is (analytically equivalent to) good, then the question "Is it true that God is good?" is meaningless.
Premise 2: The question "Is it true that God is good?" is not meaningless (i.e. it is an open question).
Conclusion: God is not (analytically equivalent to) good.

Does that argument satisfy any kind of claim? No, of course it doesn稚. It just argues fallaciously that if you define a word, it cannot equal its own definition. Please let me know if I am missing something here.

Again, the logic point above. The open question argument has logical strength in rendering definitions of good meaningless. To avoid or disagree with it is to allow something other than logic to influence ones thinking.

The reason I brought up the objections and the point they make is relatively simple. All three are based on logic and/or empirical evidence and in each case your response avoids them using something other than logic and/or empirical evidence. That's not saying your objections are incorrect in and of themselves... but Mathim responded to one of my points by noting that secular ethics are based on "logical and empirical studies" and are thus superior which you in turn appeared to agree with. Your answers to these objections are not based on logical and empirical studies (which offer no answer to the utility monster or is-ought) which indicates there is something more than logical and empirical studies involved and that whatever this "something" is, it trumps logical and empirical studies (or the utility monster and is-ought would have primacy over the objections). Thus suggesting that secular morality is systematically superior because it relies on logical and empirical studies when you also have to argue that there is something which trumps logical and empirical studies within secular ethics seems to me to be a strange and something bizarre answer.

If they aren稚 relevant to the discussion, why bring them up in the first place?

Because you raised the Epicurus’ dilemma and I thought it would be rude to dismiss it without noting that I'm aware of it and aware of the common counter points.

I never said that you forwarded the view, but that those who do need to prove these truths before they can make the argument for them. You was used in the general sense. I should have used 双ne  My apologies. And on your second point here: I don稚 see your point. Dillahunty is claiming that the existence of a god痴 views don稚 matter. He doesn稚 address the claimed 訴nherent nature of God that imposes-but-somehow-doesn稚-impose morality on the universe point you made. I did. We don稚 know what Matt would say to that. But one does need to prove those inherent values of the universe before one can make a case for them.

As previously, I'm not arguing for the systematic strength of divine command theory; if the debate had merely been whether secular ethics (or even just a branch of secular ethics) was stronger than divine command theory I'd have likely agreed with you. I brought it up merely to note that not all branches of non-secular ethics follow divine command theory and thus while criticisms of divine command theory may be valid they do not extend to all non-secular ethics.

Moreover, and while I know that you disagree with this point below, a secular moral realist and a non-secular moral realist both agree that that there are moral facts out there and it is up to us to discover them. If both discover these moral facts and both agree the moral facts to be the same, does it matter what the source of those moral facts is? The secular moral realist will still have found the moral facts even if they were created by God and the non-secular moral realist will still have found the facts even if God didn't exist (or in some way did exist but had nothing to do with the moral facts). The strength of the position is not dependent on the existence of God.

You didn稚 make a counter-claim here. What痴 the use of this paragraph?

Your criticism appeared to be that non-secular ethics which followed the approach described would still be taking their morality from an outside source and not working it out on their own. But that criticism (if it is a criticism) can equally apply to secular moral realists or natural law followers who likewise accept that moral facts exist mind-independently. It's not a criticism of secular or non-secular ethics, it's a criticism of moral realism... and moral realism is not tied to either secular or non-secular ethics.

What痴 your point here? I can’t seem to find it, sincerely.

Your criticism of non-secular ethics appeared to be that even if God exists the holy books that form the basis for their ethical theory (or at least a divine command theory approach) were written by men in the bronze and iron age. And if God doesn't exist that point becomes even stronger. But that can self-evidently only apply to non-secular ethics based on religions which have holy books which were written in the bronze/iron age. It may be a criticism of Christian, Islamic or Judaist ethics but it has no strength against a non-secular ethical theory that has no holy books and was not developed in the iron or bronze age.

I知 sure there are the kind of secular moral realists you claim there are. I think those guys are wrong. Morals don稚 exist without minds.

This is a pretty huge claim and one that threatens to drag us even further away from the key topic (and somewhat strangely it's actually normally an inversion of this debate, with secular theoriests arguing they can be moral realists and non-secular theorists arguing they can't). What I would note is that there are a large number of very plausible arguments for moral realism within the atheist/secular community and one of key debates within secular vs non-secular ethics has been whether secular and athiest thought can offer a moral realist approach. I'd recommend the work of Michael Martin who I suggest is the leading proponent of secular moral realism (and has also produced some very strong counters to the "God's nature is moral" counter-argument I noted above) as well as Roderick Firth, Richard Boyd, Peter Railton and David Brink, notably Firth's Ideal Observer Theory (noting that while Firth was a Quaker, he himself set out that his theory was entirely secular).

To escape the issue of having to delve deep into each of those theories I'll instead say that there is a strong and persuasive school of thought that holds that secular ethics can be aligned with moral realism. To argue that such approaches are incorrect while debating whether secular or non-secular ethics is superior strikes me as a "no true Scotsman" approach.

I don稚 agree that you can稚 answer with a normative answer. What else is there? We use ethics in the world because there isn稚 anywhere else to use them. Theories don稚 matter except as tools for arriving at normative answers. They aren稚 useful for anything else, because as far as we know, nothing functions outside of the physical world. All the ethical theories I have read try to nail ethics down to complete right and wrong, and that isn稚 possible in the real world, so why care about it? Use the information in a metaethical quandry, but don稚 let it rule your ethical systems without heavy modifications in order to make it fit to reality. There are not categorical imperatives, because ethics aren稚 set in stone. There aren稚 definitive right and wrong outcomes, only general consensus to what the standard should be, and then application of the standard.

Because without a metaethical moral foundation, normative moral theories and statements become useless.

Let us say that everyone agrees a single normative theory, everyone agrees how we work out what is "good/right" and "bad/wrong" and everyone even agrees exactly how this applies when used in real life. Thus in every situation everyone is happy (and agrees) with what is moral and immoral, right and wrong, good and bad.

But what is some are noncognitivists who think that when we say something is wrong all we're actually doing is say we disapprove of it in the same way we may disapprove of a certain TV show or sports team? Or error theorists who hold that there are no moral features to the world and that every attempt to make a moral judgement is incorrect, however sincere or effective the normative theory? Or the pre-mentioned moral realists who hold that there are moral facts... but then may differ as to whether these facts are reducible to non-ethical things or whether they are non-reducible and a priori. Or ethical subjectivists who hold that while moral statements may be true, they are only true because of the attitudes and conventions of people. I could go on with all the differing branches of meta-ethics and all the different approaches taken.

How does a normative theory stand up when no-one agrees on the very foundations of it or what it actually means? How does it operate when one person views it conclusion that X is wrong as offering a moral statement with force behind it and another as no different to a similar argument saying that one doesn't like vanilla icecream? When one person thinks that the conclusion is universal and applies to every one at every time at every place while another thinks it is specific to these people at this time in this place?

Without a metaphysical groundwork and agreement any normative theory is simply a thought exercise in the same way that a metaphysical theory without a normative theory is. Both are required for a theory to have any strength outside of ivory tower debates.

There aren稚 moral facts to apply 澱ecause I say so to. I used a practical example of something that does rely on 澱ecause I said so  which is law, after claiming that, generally, secular moral systems don稚 rely on 澱ecause I said so  I never claimed that jurisprudence and ethics are the same. It wasn稚 a comparison of those two ideas, just an exposition of a place that our society uses 澱ecause I said so 

I simply gave an example in society of 澱ecause I said so  I never equivicated law and ethics, only used law as an example of a place society uses 澱ecause I said so that wasn稚 moral judgments.

Whether law uses a "because I say so approach" is an interesting, albeit different, question. Command theory holds that it is, with laws gaining legitimacy because a sovereign said so but even within legal positivism that's largely been discounted by the work of H.L.A Hart. And one can also touch on natural law theories (used in a different context to natural law within ethics) or Dworkin's "law as integrity" approach.

Again however, the argument you take appears to be one for why a secular theory is superior to a non-secular one as opposed to secular theories as a whole being superior. You have already stated that you disagree with moral realism, secular or non-secular, and thus if a secular ethical system based upon moral realism appeared the basis of its strength towards you would be "because I say so". Yet it is undoubtedly a secular system.

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #146 on: August 02, 2014, 09:36:47 AM »
I think this is a very Christian type of view on self worth and our place in the universe. Not everyone requires the lofty promises ( like immortality and divine purpose) offered by religions in general in order to have self esteem and to excel in life. Christianity makes man the center of the universe and the object of god's desire. Funny that men wrote their religion this way isn't it? Something smells kinda fishy here.

When I was a Catholic, I viewed life much differently than I do now. I was more willing to forgo the things that really matter in life in exchange for some promised reward in the afterlife. You see this sort of behaviour too with the Kamikazes, Heavan's Gate cultists,  Jim Jones' posse and others. While such beliefs can make a person a better soldier or more content with a boring, menial existence, I don't think its necessarily better than a lack of religious/spiritual belief. When you don't believe in a god, you get your self worth and jollies from other sources.

There are plenty of non-religious people out there who are not committing suicide because they feel all clusterfucked without the wine of religion.

"Wine of religion" "Opiate of the masses"
It's like heathen and infidel for anti-theists atheists in that it usually proceeds lynching and book burnings. you practically handed me a stick to whoop ya in a forum debate and paint you as a fanatic.
Don't worry I'm not going to use it ;)

I never said non-religious or even casually religious folks are auto-doomed or whatever. If you read higher up you can see that it was meant as part of another debate.

My point was the reason elderly creationists push back so hard and have had 0% progress is because instead of debating scientific fact you are fighting against one of the foundations of their self worth, (Divinity of mankind) and they fight so hard because for many of the ones I've talked to it would cause a destructive psychological domino effect.

Younger Christians grew up knowing about evolution and do not see it as some big threat to their self worth or even the divinity of mankind in part because the guy leading the charge against evolution isn't Billy Graham (who had the charisma and strength of will pretty much single handedly built conservative Christian churches into something like a political organization, which in turn is now the religious wing of the republican party today.) but one of his stupidest protégés Pat Robertson. Robertson is far out of touch with younger Christians, primarily focusing on making money and swaying votes.

Offline Sabby

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #147 on: August 02, 2014, 09:42:07 AM »
It's like heathen and infidel for anti-theists atheists in that it usually proceeds lynching and book burnings. you practically handed me a stick to whoop ya in a forum debate and paint you as a fanatic.

Do you have sources on Atheists burning libraries down?

Offline vtboy

Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #148 on: August 02, 2014, 09:54:28 AM »
You call it liberation... I call it a slow poison.

There have been many psychological studies on the impact of the feeling of being small and helpless. In the majority of cases the feeling of worthlessness leads to emotional instability, depression, and eventual suicide. I've seen stage one and two set in and had to prevent stage three in my friends. I've watched my mother turn to drink and destroy herself due to the feeling of worthlessness.

There's a reason Nihilists never really took off in ancient Greece and were often stoned then thrown out of settlements. it also did nothing to help their cause of "Everything is Meaningless" that they too always committed suicide eventually.

I'm not sure I understand your point.

Are you suggesting that atheism or, more broadly, the recognition that there is no transcendent purpose to the world causes emotional instability, depression and eventual suicide?

The causes of despair tend to be complicated and varied. I suspect it springs less frequently from preoccupation over man's unfavored place in creation than from such more mundane matters as social isolation, economic failure, physical illness, self disappointment, and the like. In any event, it does not seem to me that cosmologists, astrophysicists, and evolutionary biologists who have expressed profound doubt over man's cosmic significance are a less contented or well-adjusted lot than the faithful. Nor have I personally ever found belief in god or cosmic purpose a necessary prop to my will to live and to do.

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Re: What Are Your Impressions of Atheism
« Reply #149 on: August 02, 2014, 10:05:59 AM »
Do you have sources on Atheists burning libraries down?
Okay sabby here's a quick bit.

Russian Revolution, and most communist revolutions outside latin America. Churches were and still are, attacked by secular communists. The most famous one was Russia where they put the entire Canonical Library of Moscow to the torch.
The other being the purging and burning of all religious texts in Mao Zedong's "cultural revolution" ya know, the one that had children beating their parents?

Of course the French revolution before those targeted nobility and clergy alike as "Tools of the oppressor" a library's worth of church historic documents were burned leaving mothholes in French history today.

I don't need to say much about the anarchists of the late 19th century and early 20th do I? Those guys bombed and burned any symbols of authority including religious stuff.



@Vt If you read on that was not my point, but it was part of a larger debate. I'm not going to go on another debate tangent.
I explained later on that when you combine Atheisim (there is no god) and Nihilism (nothing matters) it is a recipe for depression and often violence against one's self and those around them.