Burn Baby Burn

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 4 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #3042

    David Boots
    Participant

    Theists appear to have an obsession with the morals of atheists. Take for instance this dribble here.

    In that article the author suggests that sans religion there are no boundaries on morality. The author suggests that atheists would have no qualms in burning dead babies to keep warm.

    Obviously the evidence suggests that the various exemptions provided to theistic ideology endorse, condone and conceal the worst moral transgressions imaginable.

    Recently it was discovered that the catholic church in Ireland had stored some 800 babies in a septic tank. The more appropriate word being dumped. The most exact word being hidden.

    The compassionate response from the church has been to promise to put up a plaque. The proper response is a murder investigation.

    Given the sample size of 796 dumped bodies and given that the nunnery in question lost 5 times as many babies to unwed mothers as to those lost by married women at the time; the question is whether a statistician could tell us the likelihood that those babies did not die accidentally.

    Until then, it remains conjecture as to whether nuns took live babies from unwed mothers telling the mothers the babies were adopted out and then killed the babies and later hid the evidence.

    It is then a low bar set for atheists by theists. But when a theist questions an atheists morals what they are really saying is that the atheist doesn’t embrace that religions particular moral ideology. The idea the theist truly wants to communicate is simple:

    • not only must you do what they say you are to do;
    • but you must think what they tell you to think.

    Nevertheless, it is widely believed by theists that atheists are immoral or at least amoral. In order to address this misconception; atheists in my view should be able to clearly and convincingly state their position.

    The challenge then is to produce a neat, simple expression of atheist morality in 25 words or less.

    #3046

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I don’t know about 25 words, and I don’t know if this is definitive.  But

    human morality is an evolutionary response to the need to thrive, survive and reproduce in a harsh environment.  The earliest humans began cooperating and acting as a team, as each individual couldn’t make it on their own.  So we have evolved a set of prosocial instincts that make us want to cooperate, get along and treat each other well.  If  we didn’t have these instincts, no laws could impose order on us.  The best religious morality encodes these prosocial instincts.

    #3048

    David Boots
    Participant

    So morality is a force for social cohesion and co-operation. Does it need to be shared then?

    #3049

    David Boots
    Participant

    You can take a morality quiz at yourmorals.org designed by the university of Virginia. My results are below. Is purity really a moral foundation?

     

    Morality Quiz

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  David Boots.
    #3050

    David Boots
    Participant

    The authors state: The idea behind the scale is that human morality is the result of biological and cultural evolutionary processes that made human beings very sensitive to many different (and often competing) issues.

    Some of these issues are about treating other individuals well (the first two foundations – harm and fairness).

    Other issues are about how to be a good member of a group or supporter of social order and tradition (the last three foundations).

    Haidt and Graham have found that political liberals generally place a higher value on the first two foundations; they are very concerned about issues of harm and fairness (including issues of inequality and exploitation). Political conservatives care about harm and fairness too, but they generally score slightly lower on those scale items. The big difference between liberals and conservatives seems to be that conservatives score slightly higher on the ingroup/loyalty foundation, and much higher on the authority/respect and purity/sanctity foundations.

    #3053

    Davyd R Ondrejko
    Participant

    Probably an antiquated and personal definition of terms here, but I’ve always understood “morals” to be the rules that are imposed on you and “ethics” to be the rules that you impose on yourself.  So by that understanding, I agree that atheists have no morals.  They may, however, have a set of ethics.

    Personally, I have been told, by someone who knew Me very well, that I have no ethics.  I agree with him in full.  Actually his full statement was that I had no ethics, I only had aesthetics.  Again, agreed with in full.

    — Davyd

    #3054

    David Boots
    Participant

    I would take aesthetics over ethics any day.

    From the net “Morality is understanding the distinction between right and wrong and living according to that understanding, and ethics is the philosophy of how that morality guides individual and group behavior. The two are closely related, with morality being the foundation of ethics.”

    Simple then really. Morality is the difference between wrong and what is right. The first moral code of atheism then is surely that you need evidence to make a claim. Or rather, a claim should not be accepted without evidence.

    What is the second moral code?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  David Boots.
    #3057

    Strega
    Moderator

    Understanding the distinction between right and wrong – that in itself demands a cohesive definition structure around the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.  We can possibly define it as ‘harm’ and ‘no harm’ but eventually people’s circumstances will shape that definition and it will diverge between societies.  The term ‘the greater good’ is one bandied about on the net these days, but again, as the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are subjective at best, it’s not very satisfactory.

    Definitions are the bane of modern discourse 🙂

    #3060

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator
    Morality Quiz
    What I notice most is the flat red (conservative) scores vs the blue (liberal) variability… and then the green trend looks like an amplification of the blue trend. (I’ll read the source later when I’m on wifi. I suspect poll bias.)
    for my personal use later… I’ll delete this temporary note:
    #pbTip Quote copies graphic url, on wp server
    #3063

    David Boots
    Participant

    Another definition is ‘Morals are the principles on which one’s judgments of right and wrong are based. Ethics are principles of right conduct.’

    As observed above, this definition is totally subjective. And perhaps this is what scares theists. They can point to a book, a list or ask a priest or a cleric who will tell them what is wrong or right. Or at least lie to them about it.

    But stating the atheistic moral principle no. 1 as ‘no claim should be accepted without evidence’ is totally objective. Moreover it does not as far as I am aware originate in any known religion moral code.

    It seems to me that the ‘foundations’ in the quiz have been contaminated by religion and to it’s detriment. It includes moral concepts that are totally dogma based and excludes moral concepts not often found in theistic ideology.

    For instance ‘purity’ is not a concept that exists outside of any religious based moral code. If I am wrong on this let me know.

    What is striking is that the ‘foundations’ do not measure freedom or equality. Two moral concepts notably lacking in most theist ideologies.

     

    I honestly do not ‘get’ what the purity foundation is.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  David Boots.
    #3064

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I honestly do not ‘get’ what the purity foundation is.

    – it refers to both physical and moral hygiene, which are processed by the same area in the brain.  At first this is a puzzle, but maybe it’s to do with the fact that morality is all about the benefits or harm of social behaviour, and if you’re forced to live and survive alongside someone with bad hygiene habits – stinky feet, poor wiping – it’s anti-social.

    Ultimately, morality is a survival strategy, and dirt or other poisons reduce thriving or chances of survival.

    #3066

    Davis
    Moderator

    The first moral code of atheism then

    Atheism is a lack of belief in God. There is no atheist moral code. Take a random sample of 10 atheists in the world (China, Germany, Canada, Brazil, North Korea, Phillippines, the USA, Denmark, Russia, Vietnam) and you’ll find extremely different moral codes of which none are exceptional to atheists. Their moral codes are far more likely to resemble their own culturally emergent moral codes than some unspoken abstract “atheist” morality. There are hundreds of millions of atheists in Asia who may take very different stances on moral problems than most users here. Just because you lack a belief in God, doesn’t mean you need to develop a moral code along with the rest of the worlds non-believers.

    is surely that you need evidence to make a claim. Or rather, a claim should not be accepted without evidence.

    You cannot use evidence to fully spell out the foundation of a moral code. The foundation is more than specific interpretations of a moral problem solved through the fundamental rules. Whether you develop a utilitarian morality, relativistic one, a modern-western-human-rights based one or a communist-style one…it cannot rely entirely on evidence as all of them without exception rely to some extent on the subjective imposition of a subjective ideology. You can use evidence to analyse a moral problem. For example, whether you bump a person off a plane who is heading to a funeral or a professional tennis player off to a very important match to be watched by millions. If you interprate that through the subjective utilitarian moral system, you can use evidence objectively (like the financial cost of missing a game. You can also subjectively develop a system that inteprets the emotional cost of an event or absence of an event and then objectively classify through evidence the emotional toll of someone missing a funeral, etc. So moral system…cannot be entirely reasoned through evidence. Interpretation of moral problems through a moral system…it can be (depending on the system) or even must be.

    What is the second moral code?

    There is no atheist morality. If you are interested in a moral code which many atheists from Europe and North America believe in (knowingly or unknowingly) I suggest reading about humanism.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  Davis.
    #3085

    David Boots
    Participant

    We can all agree that different people are going to have different morals. And not believing in a god does not prevent one having morals.

    Davis argues that there is no atheist morality; but I disagree, I think it has simply yet to be codified.

    This is why. The very fact an atheist chooses to require evidence to believe in a god means they make a judgment as to what is right and wrong. Requiring evidence to support a claim before accepting that claim is a principle. It is the fundamental proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of non-belief.

    It is a guide by which people judge what is wrong and what is right. An atheist says ‘I will not believe in this proposition without evidence.’ Accordingly it is quite proper to describe this principle as the first moral of atheism.

    Humanism is a great attempt at developing a code but it is bulky and nebulous and impractical. You could read the 8 principles of the Amsterdam declaration for a week and still not be able to answer simple questions put to you by a theist. As a guide to making choices it is virtually useless.

     

     

    #3092

    Arcus
    Participant

    The quiz is based on Haidt’s Moral Foundations: http://moralfoundations.org/

    His model is a development on Scweder’s Ethics, which divided moral concerns into:

    1. Autonomy: Society is made up of individuals and morality should be about freeing them to make their own choices and be free from harm. Haidt divided this into two, care/harm and fairness/reciprocity.

    2. Community: Society is split into institutions such as families, tribes, clans, and nations, and morality is about loyality, respect, duty and so forth. Haidt divided this into loyality, authority and liberty.

    3. Divinity: Your body is merely a vessel for the soul, which belongs to a higher being and must be protected from degradation and disgrace as this would be an insult to the higher being. Haidt called this sanctity.

    While these models are good, they are a bit convoluted and I prefer Fiske’s Relational Models: http://www.rmt.ucla.edu/

    As for my result:

     

     

     

    #3093

    David Boots
    Participant

    Ethics

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  David Boots.
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