Welcome to Atheist Discussion, a new community created by former members of The Thinking Atheist forum.

Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 4 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Atheistic Morality
#51

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 02:30 PM)Dom Wrote: I don't really see social services as a moral thing, albeit it does let you feel good about your morals.

Some may be uncomfortable bringing morality into political discourse because it is admittedly easy for factions to get on their high horses and proclaim the immorality of their political opponents. Still, we support this or that policy because we think it's some combination of sub-optimal or outright wrong not to. These inevitably are at least partly moral or at least ethical (applied practical moral) decisions. Is it right for people to not get needed healthcare (or perhaps face massive and bankrupting bills even if they get it) because they lost their job? That question could be recast as "should people not get needed healthcare..." I suppose. But what ought or ought not be is still just a question wrapped around what is essentially an ethical matter.

In terms of just cold pragmatism, if I have good health insurance and there is a decent selection of doctors and hospitals at my disposal, what is to inform me on policy changes that technically I don't need to personally care about? It is empathy, decency, kindness, compassion, ethics ... those squishy things that, if I appeal to them, it's possible someone might assume I'm deriding others as sociopathic, indecent, unkind, uncompassionate, unethical. When in fact I'm appealing to whatever empathy, decency they possess. I'm assuming, in other words, that they are good, or at least have good in them. This is not borrowing from religion's playbook. Religion hijacks the concept, but that's a separate problem.

(08-31-2020, 02:30 PM)Dom Wrote: Paying for social services is the exact same as paying for insurance - social security tax is paying for your retirement and shielding against unemployment and other hickups along the way. Paying a tax for health insurance is obviously the same. That goes for all social services. Paying taxes for social services is the same as an insurance payment. And it can be done cheaper than if it's everyone for themselves. It's just the rational solution.

I don't disagree in general principle, but SS is actual insurance and some here-today-gone-tomorrow program paid for by tax dollars that can be instantly shifted to some other priority is not. If Trump has his way with an indefinite payroll tax holiday, which if enacted is projected to leave SS with no funds to disburse by mid 2022 (coincidentally almost exactly when I'll qualify for full SS retirement) he will be defrauding people of money the government is obligated to pay BACK to them. If on the other hand you enact M4A or a public option or whatever, there is no front-loaded prepayment for that specific thing. There probably would be new taxes enacted to pay for it, and we'd try to enshrine a new "entitlement" in the social contract, but in theory those can be confiscated for other purposes or canceled without obligation to anyone. Other than, you know, a moral obligation that some of us would assert, along the lines of "health care is a basic human right". Or "we're angry that you've taken away our health care" and anger implies that you feel you've been wronged, which is, again, a moral judgment.

(08-31-2020, 02:30 PM)Dom Wrote: Even paying into funds you will never benefit from personally, is to your advantage as it stabilizes society and insures that you don't have to live through "interesting times". 

I don't see morals involved in such considerations, albeit there is the benefit of good morals also.
I did my best to make the point that looking at indirect and delayed personal benefits is still part of the functioning of human empathy which is part of the input into our sense of right and wrong. If we see that something is in our rational self interest (even if delayed) then we can see how it is in the rational self interest of others / of society.

You can certainly limit how you frame and discuss policy decisions so that you don't overtly make moral or ethical appeals or discuss (in)equality. I don't think that makes those factors go away or absolve us of the need to honestly wrestle with them though. In fact it makes them harder to wrestle with.

We are just trying to answer the question, what will lead us to, and sustain us in, the civil society most of us want for ourselves? We should not fear these questions or consider them off limits just because some people defend some dogma or ideology (religious or not) around them. You can hold a moral position for defensible and discussable and good faith reasons.

Those discussions should be happening. That they aren't happening so much, is one of the ways we give ourselves permission to be sanguine about things that should be alarming us and motivating us to action on the basis that it's WRONG for people to be suffering and in want. It's one of the reasons we sit in large part idly by while our institutions burn and the ecosphere collapses. We find it too easy to rationalize that these things will work themselves out over time ... time we don't have, yet think we do, because the human suffering resulting from bad policy doesn't immediately touch us so that we connect the dots for ourselves. And this comes from turning away from moral questions ... in my view.

Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting anyone here doesn't care or isn't a good person. I turn away from horrible scenes of human suffering every day myself. You can only take so much. But you have to force your eyes to remain at least somewhat open.

There is room for disagreement on moral questions. Some of my fellow progressives see voting for Biden as morally wrong, for example. I do not go that far. Most progressives don't. They say, vote your conscience (there's that moral element again) but don't automatically trust politicians (not even, e.g., Sanders) and keep fighting for what you believe to be both needed AND right.
The following 1 user Likes mordant's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#52

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote: I don't think any decision, political or otherwise, is completely a moral decision nor completely devoid of moral considerations. Morality may have to be in place before it can be in the mix, and in that sense is "upstream" of politics. But I think it's a mistake to psychologically divorce the two to the degree you seem to be arguing.

I think it's a mistake as well, but there are certainly many folks who do so, for instance Christians who reject social services policies even though 1) their Saviour commands them to help the least among us and 2) they claim to have deep care for the poor.

One reason I'm not a Libertarian any more is precisely because my morals and my politics were suffering major dissonance. But not everyone makes the same value-judgments that you or I do, and it's fair game to point that out. My moral sensibilities definitely inform my politics nowadays, and in some cases (e.g. my opposition to the death penalty in most cases) define them.

I think maybe you thought I was speaking of my own views, but I wasn't. I'm sorry I didn't make that clearer from the outset.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 1 user Likes Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • mordant
Reply
#53

Atheistic Morality
(08-31-2020, 02:30 PM)Dom Wrote:
(08-31-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote:
(08-31-2020, 05:22 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Morality is upstream of politics. We humans generally choose our politics based on our personal outlooks. In that mix is included things like "am I willing to pay X in taxes in order to support the Y I think is right?"

We tend to select the politics which promises best to deliver what we think is right; that i, until we get into a position of power, in which case all bets are off ... we're tricky like that.

Political decisions have a moral dimension, so I think we are both right. It is an optional input to political decisions.

You are correct that the question "am I willing to pay x to support y" is in play, but one possible calculus is:

"This does not personally benefit me but I am willing to be taxed so that society is inclusive of and humane toward [poor / disabled / sick / minority / disadvantaged / old / whatever] people". (Over against "I got mine, let them eat cake"). That is primarily a moral stance, or at least a compassionate stance. Of course another calculus that leads to the same result is, "some day I might be poor / disabled / sick / disadvantaged in some way, and I'm most certainly going to be old; and what goes around tends to come around. So I will support it in case I DO need it in the future." In other words because I want a civil society that will not forsake me when I have "nothing" to "contribute" anymore. This last is still fine, as it's how empathy works: our mirror neurons allow us to imagine our future selves and have compassion for our future self, which then transfers to others in the present who are already in that situation. Because we can imagine how we would feel, we can imagine how others DO feel. And we therefore have a rational basis for self sacrifices that don't have any immediate percentage for us personally. It's an advanced form of meta-thinking that we can and should cultivate. And there's those words again, "can" and "should", which means some kind of moral (if abstract) or ethical (if concrete) thinking is going on.

I don't think any decision, political or otherwise, is completely a moral decision nor completely devoid of moral considerations. Morality may have to be in place before it can be in the mix, and in that sense is "upstream" of politics. But I think it's a mistake to psychologically divorce the two to the degree you seem to be arguing.


I don't really see social services as a moral thing, albeit it does let you feel good about your morals. Paying for social services is the exact same as paying for insurance - social security tax is paying for your retirement and shielding against unemployment and other hickups along the way. Paying a tax for health insurance is obviously the same. That goes for all social services. Paying taxes for social services is the same as an insurance payment. And it can be done cheaper than if it's everyone for themselves. It's just the rational solution.

Even paying into funds you will never benefit from personally, is to your advantage as it stabilizes society and insures that you don't have to live through "interesting times". 

I don't see morals involved in such considerations, albeit there is the benefit of good morals also.

Health care? The death penalty? Supporting an expansive/aggressive foreign policy? I think these three issues have significant moral dimensions without bringing too many returns to the individual voter.

Say, for instance, our 2003 invasion of Iraq carried a minute if not nonexistent threat to our social fabric here, but certainly had a moral dimension (of not wanting my tax dollars spent to kill innocent folks and break a country).

Or supporting universal health care. Uninsured people here aren't likely to be the cause of a mass revolt, civil unrest, or other results that affect a voter. Yet many still support it. I think many support it on mainly a moral basis, and I say "good". It's about goddamned time.

I believe that codified law -- which is also a political issue -- is largely a matter of a society agreeing to generally-shared moral precepts, and devolving the peer-pressure element of enforcing good behavior in a society to government organs, as we empower them to enact punishments in the name of we the people.

I certainly think that morality impinges upon law, policy, and governance, in different measure depending on the issue at hand, but all the same, morality is a dimension in the decision-process of many people -- including, occasionally, politicians who have discovered morality, lol.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 2 users Like Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • Szuchow, mordant
Reply
#54

Atheistic Morality
(08-30-2020, 02:58 PM)Alan V Wrote: There have been quite a few heated political discussions in this forum, which is to be expected in a year with a big U.S. election.  However, one issue which has puzzled me again and again is how certain atheists "lay down the law" with moral arguments without explaining, exactly, what is the basis of their strong moral position on certain issues.

I would assume most of us atheists understand the world is naturalistic rather than idealistic, that morality is derived from human interests and not some higher power, and that human interests vary between communities rather than being absolute in themselves.  How, then, can atheists take such strong moral stands?  Do they think that politics is somehow independent of political philosophy and ethics?  Are they merely conditioned to certain slogans, like the people they so often oppose?

How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?

Personally, I have come to accept that those of us who have been atheistic for a long time sort of gravitate towards a deeper understanding and application of the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have come to accept that this ethic is inherent in all of us at the most basic level, but with atheists not being predisposed to beliefs we tend more to seek the factual truth on certain matters as opposed to merely accepting something as being true on its face value.

In short, we seem to have more respect for what the truth most likely is according to the evidence as opposed to what someone predisposed to religious beliefs believes it to be.

The Ethic of Reciprocity instills upon us the origin of morality. From that very basic inherent characteristic we understand that we are to do no harm, and that includes not to mislead anyone with falsehoods. Due to that, we search for the truth and accept that truth even if we don't like it.

Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system. 

And the majority of us here do not merely believe that Donald Trump is a con artist and a criminal, but rather we have come to accept it as truth based upon the factual evidence. It has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing propaganda either. We see it, we check it out, and we have arrived at a logical, reasonable, and factually supported position.

And we can arrive at that conclusion with our integrity intact.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
The following 1 user Likes Free's post:
  • mordant
Reply
#55

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 03:38 AM)Free Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 02:58 PM)Alan V Wrote: There have been quite a few heated political discussions in this forum, which is to be expected in a year with a big U.S. election.  However, one issue which has puzzled me again and again is how certain atheists "lay down the law" with moral arguments without explaining, exactly, what is the basis of their strong moral position on certain issues.

I would assume most of us atheists understand the world is naturalistic rather than idealistic, that morality is derived from human interests and not some higher power, and that human interests vary between communities rather than being absolute in themselves.  How, then, can atheists take such strong moral stands?  Do they think that politics is somehow independent of political philosophy and ethics?  Are they merely conditioned to certain slogans, like the people they so often oppose?

How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?

Personally, I have come to accept that those of us who have been atheistic for a long time sort of gravitate towards a deeper understanding and application of the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have come to accept that this ethic is inherent in all of us at the most basic level, but with atheists not being predisposed to beliefs we tend more to seek the factual truth on certain matters as opposed to merely accepting something as being true on its face value.

In short, we seem to have more respect for what the truth most likely is according to the evidence as opposed to what someone predisposed to religious beliefs believes it to be.

The Ethic of Reciprocity instills upon us the origin of morality. From that very basic inherent characteristic we understand that we are to do no harm, and that includes not to mislead anyone with falsehoods. Due to that, we search for the truth and accept that truth even if we don't like it.

Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system. 

And the majority of us here do not merely believe that Donald Trump is a con artist and a criminal, but rather we have come to accept it as truth based upon the factual evidence. It has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing propaganda either. We see it, we check it out, and we have arrived at a logical, reasonable, and factually supported position.

And we can arrive at that conclusion with our integrity intact.

Noble as your outlook is, I think this forum isn't a representative sample of atheists. For the twenty or so of us who gather here to discuss, how many millions are there?
Freedom isn't free.
The following 5 users Like Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • Bcat, GenesisNemesis, M.Linoge, mordant, LastPoet
Reply
#56

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 05:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:38 AM)Free Wrote: Personally, I have come to accept that those of us who have been atheistic for a long time sort of gravitate towards a deeper understanding and application of the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have come to accept that this ethic is inherent in all of us at the most basic level, but with atheists not being predisposed to beliefs we tend more to seek the factual truth on certain matters as opposed to merely accepting something as being true on its face value.

In short, we seem to have more respect for what the truth most likely is according to the evidence as opposed to what someone predisposed to religious beliefs believes it to be.

The Ethic of Reciprocity instills upon us the origin of morality. From that very basic inherent characteristic we understand that we are to do no harm, and that includes not to mislead anyone with falsehoods. Due to that, we search for the truth and accept that truth even if we don't like it.

Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system. 

And the majority of us here do not merely believe that Donald Trump is a con artist and a criminal, but rather we have come to accept it as truth based upon the factual evidence. It has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing propaganda either. We see it, we check it out, and we have arrived at a logical, reasonable, and factually supported position.

And we can arrive at that conclusion with our integrity intact.

Noble as your outlook is, I think this forum isn't a representative sample of atheists. For the twenty or so of us who gather here to discuss, how many millions are there?

My wife never had any significant exposure to religion; her mother was nominally Unitarian, but it barely counts. All that served was to give my wife a distaste for starchy dresses on Sunday. At any rate ... she's an atheist but would never have used that label because it's all she's ever known. Religion simply doesn't compute. So if she were not curious (and a trained journalist) she would not be examining the facts, Sherlock Holmes-like, relentlessly closing in on the Facts of the Case. She would probably not be thinking much about how supportable her take on things was. Like most people, she'd just assume she's right, because it feels right.

Which is, I'm convinced, the default human condition. Things like curiosity, objectivity, rationality and empathy all have to be cultivated, and some people do so more than others.

Atheists who visit forums can't possibly be representative of atheists overall.

Still, overall, I do think it reasonable to assume they are more self aware and objective than theists. Just probably not as much as we'd like to think.
The following 3 users Like mordant's post:
  • Free, Thumpalumpacus, Mark
Reply
#57

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 03:38 AM)Free Wrote: Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system.

I have always said it comes down to one's epistemology. The objections I evolved to my faith of origin that led me out of it were not transactional ("god has failed me") but intellectual ("god doesn't explain or predict anything"). It is not that I was defrauded of some imagined birthright of god's largesse; it is that I don't like surprises.

The failed epistemology of religious faith is not only nearly always wrong, but nearly always 180 degrees wrong. The more useful (though still imperfect) epistemology of reason and science allows us to be more objective.

So you are correct: religious faith is an impediment and a mental handicap.
The following 1 user Likes mordant's post:
  • Free
Reply
#58

Atheistic Morality
Atheists tend to beat the pants off everyone but the Joos in religious knowledge. While the example of Mensa retards is worth bearing in mind, it suggests that atheists as a whole are quite thoughtful.
[Image: giant%20meteor%202020.jpg]
Reply
#59

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 05:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:38 AM)Free Wrote:
(08-30-2020, 02:58 PM)Alan V Wrote: There have been quite a few heated political discussions in this forum, which is to be expected in a year with a big U.S. election.  However, one issue which has puzzled me again and again is how certain atheists "lay down the law" with moral arguments without explaining, exactly, what is the basis of their strong moral position on certain issues.

I would assume most of us atheists understand the world is naturalistic rather than idealistic, that morality is derived from human interests and not some higher power, and that human interests vary between communities rather than being absolute in themselves.  How, then, can atheists take such strong moral stands?  Do they think that politics is somehow independent of political philosophy and ethics?  Are they merely conditioned to certain slogans, like the people they so often oppose?

How do we justify the authoritarian tone of so many of our political discussions?

Personally, I have come to accept that those of us who have been atheistic for a long time sort of gravitate towards a deeper understanding and application of the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have come to accept that this ethic is inherent in all of us at the most basic level, but with atheists not being predisposed to beliefs we tend more to seek the factual truth on certain matters as opposed to merely accepting something as being true on its face value.

In short, we seem to have more respect for what the truth most likely is according to the evidence as opposed to what someone predisposed to religious beliefs believes it to be.

The Ethic of Reciprocity instills upon us the origin of morality. From that very basic inherent characteristic we understand that we are to do no harm, and that includes not to mislead anyone with falsehoods. Due to that, we search for the truth and accept that truth even if we don't like it.

Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system. 

And the majority of us here do not merely believe that Donald Trump is a con artist and a criminal, but rather we have come to accept it as truth based upon the factual evidence. It has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing propaganda either. We see it, we check it out, and we have arrived at a logical, reasonable, and factually supported position.

And we can arrive at that conclusion with our integrity intact.

Noble as your outlook is, I think this forum isn't a representative sample of atheists. For the twenty or so of us who gather here to discuss, how many millions are there?

I think there's considerably more than 20 here, as we have seen some come and go, and others who pop in infrequently. I also tend to look at the members of this forum as representing the vast number of members of our previous forum and I came to the same conclusion on that forum as well.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
The following 1 user Likes Free's post:
  • SYZ
Reply
#60

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 02:16 PM)Free Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 05:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:38 AM)Free Wrote: Personally, I have come to accept that those of us who have been atheistic for a long time sort of gravitate towards a deeper understanding and application of the Ethic of Reciprocity. I have come to accept that this ethic is inherent in all of us at the most basic level, but with atheists not being predisposed to beliefs we tend more to seek the factual truth on certain matters as opposed to merely accepting something as being true on its face value.

In short, we seem to have more respect for what the truth most likely is according to the evidence as opposed to what someone predisposed to religious beliefs believes it to be.

The Ethic of Reciprocity instills upon us the origin of morality. From that very basic inherent characteristic we understand that we are to do no harm, and that includes not to mislead anyone with falsehoods. Due to that, we search for the truth and accept that truth even if we don't like it.

Therefore, when it comes to politics I can say with confidence that the vast majority of atheists on this forum are fact checkers who have become trained to see details that a religious/non atheistic person has not been mentally trained to see due to the impediment of their belief system. 

And the majority of us here do not merely believe that Donald Trump is a con artist and a criminal, but rather we have come to accept it as truth based upon the factual evidence. It has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing propaganda either. We see it, we check it out, and we have arrived at a logical, reasonable, and factually supported position.

And we can arrive at that conclusion with our integrity intact.

Noble as your outlook is, I think this forum isn't a representative sample of atheists. For the twenty or so of us who gather here to discuss, how many millions are there?

I think there's considerably more than 20 here, as we have seen some come and go, and others who pop in infrequently. I also tend to look at the members of this forum as representing the vast number of members of our previous forum and I came to the same conclusion on that forum as well.

You and I disagree, then. Firstly, there are only around twenty or so who post here with any sort of regularity. The only conclusion we can draw about lurkers is that they are shy. There are around ten million American atheists, according to several polls including Pew. There's no way either one of these forums can be taken as representative.

There are smart atheists and stupid atheists, rational atheists and woo-ey atheists, activist atheists and uninvolved atheists. There are black, brown, and white atheists, liberal and conservative atheists. Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.
Freedom isn't free.
Reply
#61

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 03:51 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 02:16 PM)Free Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 05:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Noble as your outlook is, I think this forum isn't a representative sample of atheists. For the twenty or so of us who gather here to discuss, how many millions are there?

I think there's considerably more than 20 here, as we have seen some come and go, and others who pop in infrequently. I also tend to look at the members of this forum as representing the vast number of members of our previous forum and I came to the same conclusion on that forum as well.

You and I disagree, then. Firstly, there are only around twenty or so who post here with any sort of regularity.  The only conclusion we can draw about lurkers is that they are shy. There are around ten million American atheists, according to several polls including Pew. There's no way either one of these forums can be taken as representative.

There are smart atheists and stupid atheists, rational atheists and woo-ey atheists, activist atheists and uninvolved atheists. There are black, brown, and white atheists, liberal and conservative atheists. Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.

Yes, but I am talking about my experience with atheists since the dawn of the internet. I can't speak for your experience, only my own.

And after 25 years online I have been exposed to tens of thousands of atheists online. This experience is what supports my opinion. I realize my experience or opinion provides no evidence to you, and it shouldn't.

However, I draw from that experience to support my view, and thereby see the same characteristics in most atheists here, including you.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
Reply
#62

Atheistic Morality
I do not know if atheist do have a better moral compass. Time ago there was a famous statistic that atheist are less represented in jail population compared to religious and some people used this to demonstrate that atheist are "morally superior" to religious persons. To me, that I know a couple of things in statistics and how to infer from data I can say it is equally probable that atheist are just smarter and do crimes better thus are less caught.
It also in my opinion we must distinguish among different religions. For a catholic it is easy since when they do a "sin" (that can be a crime) then they just confess and say a couple of prayers and everything is OK again, for other religions it may not be so easy.
So it is a complex question with no easy answer. I tend more to say that the "moral compass" improves with education, despite being religious or not and atheis very often do have a higher degree of education than religious persons
Reply
#63

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 04:28 PM)Free Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:51 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 02:16 PM)Free Wrote: I think there's considerably more than 20 here, as we have seen some come and go, and others who pop in infrequently. I also tend to look at the members of this forum as representing the vast number of members of our previous forum and I came to the same conclusion on that forum as well.

You and I disagree, then. Firstly, there are only around twenty or so who post here with any sort of regularity.  The only conclusion we can draw about lurkers is that they are shy. There are around ten million American atheists, according to several polls including Pew. There's no way either one of these forums can be taken as representative.

There are smart atheists and stupid atheists, rational atheists and woo-ey atheists, activist atheists and uninvolved atheists. There are black, brown, and white atheists, liberal and conservative atheists. Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.

Yes, but I am talking about my experience with atheists since the dawn of the internet. I can't speak for your experience, only my own.

And after 25 years online I have been exposed to tens of thousands of atheists online. This experience is what supports my opinion. I realize my experience or opinion provides no evidence to you, and it shouldn't.

However, I draw from that experience to support my view, and thereby see the same characteristics in most atheists here, including you.

I too speak from experience going back to AOL's heyday (anyone here remember the GodisaMyth and EvolutionisaFact chatrooms, with WWDD, DrMnemo, LissingMynx, and ToniVanGothere, among others? lol, those were the days). All the sorts of atheists I've listed I've seen online as well as in real life.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 1 user Likes Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • Free
Reply
#64

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 03:51 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: There are [...] Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.

I have to disagree with these two suggested example mate.

"An atheist Gnostic is someone who does not believe in gods, and who thinks that we can know that gods do not exist. A fairly unusual position, they might think they have found proof of the non-existence of gods, or might have been persuaded by life experiences."

"An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. This might mean that they don’t believe in gods because they haven’t seen any evidence that supports their existence."

In my opinion, the term "atheist" requires no adjectival qualifiers or intensifiers—as we don't say
a woman is nearly pregnant, a painting is really unique, the bloke is almost homosexual, or it's a very
excellent Cabernet... or we shouldn't!  These words—pregnant etc—are known as "absolute" adjectives,
as is the word "atheist".

You're either an atheist or you're not, in other words.  In my 60 years of being an atheist, I've never
used or accepted the use of any qualifier as being warranted.  And I'm sick of "weak", "militant", "new"
or "strong" [sorry Richard ] atheists (not my terms) trying to pretend to be not what they are, often
for political and/or social reasons.  In actuality, they're agnostics—sitting on the fence, too unknowledgeable
or too afraid to take a step either way.  

—You simply cannot be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time.       End of story.

Def:  Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or
unknowable, or the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify
either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist".

—I know that God or gods don't exist in the same way that I know leprechauns don't exist.

Plus I haz cookies!     Big Grin
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
The following 2 users Like SYZ's post:
  • brunumb, Inkubus
Reply
#65

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 05:10 PM)SYZ Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:51 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: There are [...] Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.

I have to disagree with these two suggested example mate.

"An atheist Gnostic is someone who does not believe in gods, and who thinks that we can know that gods do not exist. A fairly unusual position, they might think they have found proof of the non-existence of gods, or might have been persuaded by life experiences."

"An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. This might mean that they don’t believe in gods because they haven’t seen any evidence that supports their existence."

In my opinion, the term "atheist" requires no adjectival qualifiers or intensifiers—as we don't say
a woman is nearly pregnant, a painting is really unique, the bloke is almost homosexual, or it's a very
excellent Cabernet... or we shouldn't!  These words—pregnant etc—are known as "absolute" adjectives,
as is the word "atheist".

You're either an atheist or you're not, in other words.  In my 60 years of being an atheist, I've never
used or accepted the use of any qualifier as being warranted.  And I'm sick of "weak", "militant", "new"
or "strong" [sorry Richard ] atheists (not my terms) trying to pretend to be not what they are, often
for political and/or social reasons.  In actuality, they're agnostics—sitting on the fence, too unknowledgeable
or too afraid to take a step either way.  

—You simply cannot be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time.       End of story.

Def:  Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or
unknowable, or the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify
either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist".

—I know that God or gods don't exist in the same way that I know leprechauns don't exist.

Plus I haz cookies!     Big Grin

I have no certain knowledge that no god exists. I certainly don't believe any does. "Gnostic/agnostic" refers to knowledge-state, while "theist/atheist" refers to belief-state. When you commingle the two states, you end up with people whose beliefs are "knowledge", and I think we can agree that looking around at theists the world over, that isn't a confusion we want to introduce.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 1 user Likes Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • Bcat
Reply
#66

Atheistic Morality
Atheist I am, forgot how many years I've been. It simply means I don't believe on gods. Morality or ethics are inscribed onto me by humanism. Second to that, I am Lusitanii, forever. My fellow human will always get respect even if that means my undoing. Call me a fool, its just what I Am.
The following 1 user Likes LastPoet's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#67

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 05:15 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 05:10 PM)SYZ Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 03:51 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: There are [...] Gnostic atheists and agnostic atheists.

I have to disagree with these two suggested example mate.

"An atheist Gnostic is someone who does not believe in gods, and who thinks that we can know that gods do not exist. A fairly unusual position, they might think they have found proof of the non-existence of gods, or might have been persuaded by life experiences."

"An atheist agnostic is someone who does not believe in gods and also thinks that the existence of gods cannot be known. This might mean that they don’t believe in gods because they haven’t seen any evidence that supports their existence."

In my opinion, the term "atheist" requires no adjectival qualifiers or intensifiers—as we don't say
a woman is nearly pregnant, a painting is really unique, the bloke is almost homosexual, or it's a very
excellent Cabernet... or we shouldn't!  These words—pregnant etc—are known as "absolute" adjectives,
as is the word "atheist".

You're either an atheist or you're not, in other words.  In my 60 years of being an atheist, I've never
used or accepted the use of any qualifier as being warranted.  And I'm sick of "weak", "militant", "new"
or "strong" [sorry Richard ] atheists (not my terms) trying to pretend to be not what they are, often
for political and/or social reasons.  In actuality, they're agnostics—sitting on the fence, too unknowledgeable
or too afraid to take a step either way.  

—You simply cannot be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time.       End of story.

Def:  Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or
unknowable, or the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify
either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist".

—I know that God or gods don't exist in the same way that I know leprechauns don't exist.

Plus I haz cookies!     Big Grin

I have no certain knowledge that no god exists. I certainly don't believe any does. "Gnostic/agnostic" refers to knowledge-state, while "theist/atheist" refers to belief-state. When you commingle the two states, you end up with people whose beliefs are "knowledge", and I think we can agree that looking around at theists the world over, that isn't a confusion we want to introduce.

Someone mentioned on the old forum that agnostic atheist was the most defensible position. As an atheist, they hold no belief in the existence of any deities however, they note that such things cannot be studied and therefore, are unknowable (agnostic).
The following 2 users Like Bcat's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus, mordant
Reply
#68

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 07:01 PM)Bcat Wrote: Someone mentioned on the old forum that agnostic atheist was the most defensible position. As an atheist, they hold no belief in the existence of any deities however, they note that such things cannot be studied and therefore, are unknowable (agnostic).

Exactly. While I'm comfortable entirely disregarding the possibility of any god(s), I cannot say I know, because what I know is different from what I believe.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 1 user Likes Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • Bcat
Reply
#69

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 07:19 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-01-2020, 07:01 PM)Bcat Wrote: Someone mentioned on the old forum that agnostic atheist was the most defensible position. As an atheist, they hold no belief in the existence of any deities however, they note that such things cannot be studied and therefore, are unknowable (agnostic).

Exactly. While I'm comfortable entirely disregarding the possibility of any god(s), I cannot say I know, because what I know is different from what I believe.

If pressed (I don't like labels of any kind), I would classify myself as an agnostic atheist.  I don't believe in any of the deities put forth by any of the various cultures/religions of the world.  However, this type of being cannot be studied and so, to argue its existence/nonexistence is futile as both parties will be talking in circles.  I much rather operate in hard scientific facts, things that can be studied and allow that to display the true nature of the world/universe/reality in which we live.
The following 1 user Likes Bcat's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#70

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 05:10 PM)SYZ Wrote: You're either an atheist or you're not, in other words. 


Since being an atheist means not believing the claim that gods exist, then atheists can be sorted by what they think "god" refers to at the very least.  Some don't think it is a well enough defined term about which it is possible to assert anything.  Others naively assume it refers to whatever was intended by the asshole thumping the bible in the church in which they grew up.  Others think a dictionary can settle the quandary.  But just as believers can't define my atheism, so atheists don't get to define their god.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
The following 1 user Likes Mark's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#71

Atheistic Morality
(09-01-2020, 04:34 PM)Ausländer Wrote: It also in my opinion we must distinguish among different religions. For a catholic it is easy since when they do a "sin" (that can be a crime) then they just confess and say a couple of prayers and everything is OK again, for other religions it may not be so easy.

Dealing with guilt is no less simple for many Protestants. Indeed ... "there's no guilt like Catholic guilt" so I'd suggest that evangelicals for example are far better than Catholics at walking away from / ignoring guilt -- real or imagined.

When I was an evangelical and I did something regarded as sinful I reflexively confessed my sin to god and felt instant and unconditional absolution. It didn't require an intermediary (visiting a confession booth), it just required a desire to repent. The word "repent" simply means "to change one's mind" (about whether a thing is wrong in this case). I was taught to literally wipe guilt away by changing my mind about whether something was okay or not, and promising (generally just to god) not to do it in the future (in fairness to myself, such promises could be taken to the bank, but I know for a fact that's not universally true with everyone).

Without even the minimal accountability of the confession booth, and with a completely frictionless and convenient process like that, repentance became almost a trivial activity, and by association, guilt became completely avoidable / cancellable / no big deal. For a long time I found it offensive if I apologized to someone and they didn't feel I demonstrated sufficient contrition -- until I came to understand that it's not personal, it's just that most people are conditioned to expect to see some actual groveling. Man, I had it easy for a long time there!

ETA: I should hasten to point out this isn't universally true of all fundamentalists. The more authoritarian ones, those in the Holiness tradition (e.g. Pentecostals) and so forth, or just people with certain emotional vulnerabilities can have some really serious and crippling problems with chronic, unresolved guilt. But the particular combination of the sect I was part of and my personality and upbringing rendered me mostly impervious to guilt.
Reply
#72

Atheistic Morality
To circle back around to the OP on this thread ... the consensus seems to be that some people either don't see or aren't comfortable acknowledging a connection between public policy and morality -- and some are.

Part of the discomfort seems to be that morality is in a category in the minds of some as something that, like religion generally, should not even be part of polite discourse, to the extent that you take a stand that this or that is right or wrong. That morality can only be deployed as a shaming or otherizing tactic, which is how the religious generally handle themselves.

While I personally don't see how you can attain that level of compartmentalization without just disguising moral or ethical considerations behind other labels or indirections, and I don't think morality itself is the portentous subject that the religious try to make of it ... I can understand the aversion, and why sometimes an effort to appeal to the better angels of someone's nature can imply the judgement that the person HAS no better angels or has them bound and gagged in a corner somewhere.

It's just that I don't know how to advocate for or against certain things while maintaining the pretense that my position isn't informed by moral concerns. I can't accept arguments in favor of slavery, for example, without mentioning that it is some combination of wrong, sociopathic or cruel for society to either endorse it or to accept it as regrettable pragmatic necessities for the moment. This may mean we have to face our shadow on these topics ... but we can't move to a better place if we don't, either.

Of course to, for example, find our current healthcare system humane and sufficient is a lot less obvious a harm, particularly if it's all you're familiar with, and of course I tread lighter when pointing out the human suffering caused by the system, as in fact I would if I were pointing out the harms of slavery to a southerner if it was still 1840. But in either case you can't escape that it does not provide for people's legitimate needs, which causes preventable suffering, and at some point, you have to be indifferent to, disbelieving of, or accepting of that suffering to continue to support that system. And unavoidably that's ... wrong. Not because god says so, or I say so, but because we stand accused by human empathy or else are found wanting of it.

It is also societal morality that provides a sense of urgency we need to motivate us to stretch ourselves in our goals and endeavors to really make the world a better place. Real positive change and improvement is never easy or convenient, and if we don't feel the suffering of injustice or find it unacceptable in a visceral and not merely abstract way, we will not get off our butts and do something about it. We will either be blind to those aspects of reality or will be vulnerable to the facile rationalizations that tell us it's really just the way of the world or not that urgent or even all that bad.

For this reason I'm not unafraid to bring the moral dimension -- judiciously, kindly, but clearly -- into the realm of political discourse. It seems inevitable that this will be experienced by some as raining on some personal parade or other, but I don't see a way to avoid it. If something is harmful or beneficial, and I can support the harm or benefit I allege, then the only way for me to intelligently discuss it is to not avoid the central reason why some things should change, and now rather than later -- why a present state of affairs is acceptable or unacceptable.

i can certainly be as wrong as anyone can be in all the dimensions of public discourse, including the moral aspects. And others can argue for different conclusions, same as me. But to remove the question of "is this right" from our deliberations strikes me as a way to impoverish the conversation.

So for example, is it right for people to be forced to forego needed healthcare because they can't afford it? I don't think so. That's not the only reason for universal healthcare for all ... but it's a powerful one in its favor.. No one claims it is easy or cheap to have M4A, but a huge motivator to overcome those difficulties and to put cost objections in a proper and reasonable perspective is the moral dimension. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if denuding the debate space of our obligation to care about such important questions is just a way of allowing us to turn away from an urgent human need and accept the status quo. If this offends some people's carefully cultivated virtuous self image, well ... maybe it should.
Reply
#73

Atheistic Morality
I just don't "believe" things. I either know them, or I assume them to be. Believing seems to imply being sure without knowing.
[Image: color%5D%5Bcolor=#333333%5D%5Bsize=small%5D%5Bfont=T...ans-Serif%5D]
The following 1 user Likes Dom's post:
  • Free
Reply
#74

Atheistic Morality
(09-02-2020, 12:46 AM)Dom Wrote: I just don't "believe" things. I either know them, or I assume them to be. Believing seems to imply being sure without knowing.
Although, it is not a mere question of either knowing or not knowing. We have incomplete and tentative knowledge of many things and yet have to make decisions about how to proceed or we'd be paralyzed waiting for certitude that would never come.

It may be that religion has poisoned the well with the usage of the word "belief" but it's my view that there's nothing wrong with belief that's reasonably supportable rather than merely asserted without a requirement of some sort of evidence or logical argument or that's supported primarily by wishful thinking.

Ultimately everything is on a continuum of probability and an awful lot of life functions quite well with fairly significant levels of uncertainty. So belief cannot really be a dirty word or avoided concept to us, either.
The following 1 user Likes mordant's post:
  • Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#75

Atheistic Morality
(09-02-2020, 12:46 AM)Dom Wrote: I just don't "believe" things. I either know them, or I assume them to be. Believing seems to imply being sure without knowing.

Precisely.

And like me you would have solid reasoning to assume them to be true. It goes beyond mere belief and is elevated to a wholly evidence-based supported position. Of course there's still a chance it could be wrong, but we accept it as being true until proven otherwise.

Perfectly reasonable and honorable position to hold.
Welcome to the Atheist Forums on AtheistDiscussion.org
The following 2 users Like Free's post:
  • mordant, Inkubus
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)