Author Topic: The moral compasses of atheists and believers  (Read 541 times)

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2021, 09:14:22 AM »
Discussing this topic (morality, ethics, terrorism, and the like)is difficult, if not impossible, because so much depends upon how one defines those words.  For example, what is a terrorist?  I think that that word is so dependent upon one's concept.  I think the word is almost impossible to define, for it is so fluid and dependent upon one's view of the world.  So, in a discussion it is almost a useless word.  Same for cult.  What is a cult?  It's like beauty, totally in the eye of the beholder.  I view The Catholic Church as a cult.  So is the Southern Baptist Church.  Or any other religion or sect.  In my personal viewpoint, all organized religions are cults, and terrorists, and immoral, and purveyors of authoritianism, selectively  blind to many facts, uses belief/faith instead of critical thinking.  Religion is the scourge of the world.  If I wanted to have a fruitful discussion about any of this, especially with a theist, one must agree upon what these words mean.  Otherwise all that happens is that we talk past each other.   
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2021, 11:31:09 AM »
Consequentialism and deontology aren't differentiated by rationality. An example is lying: A deontologist would say lying is always wrong where a consequentialist would say lying is wrong if it results in negative consequences. Christians ideally tend to be deontologists because they have a list of commandments.

Oh, you misunderstand me. I don't think anyone is lying at all. You are talking about something completely different. I'm saying, when people make any kind of judgement, they automatically make a judgement in relation to themselves or any kind of position they are in.

It doesn't matter how many lists of commandments Christians, or members of other organised religions have. It has no hold whatsoever on how people behave or act in the real world.

What's more, commandments actually almost endorse religous people to treat other people out of their group differently. Religons openly order to kill or enslave anyone out of the norms. This is a common form of behaviour among religious people.

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You are correct the result will depend on how the question is phrased. I doubt the researchers would say "do you agree with protecting vulnerable populations." A better question would be, "Should the US government accept political refugees, acknowledging that some claiming to be refugees will be terrorists?"

Yeah but then considering the solid examples they gave, i.ie. 'liberty vs oppression' doesn't have many different choices in description. A survey needs to be brief, clear and on spot. You need to use the speicifc terms mostly.

[I know it is completely different, but when you apply for an American tourist visa, they actually ask you that question for word for word in written form. "Are you a terrorist?" Most people find this funny, but I personally think it is very clever.]
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2021, 11:40:18 AM »
Discussing this topic (morality, ethics, terrorism, and the like)is difficult, if not impossible, because so much depends upon how one defines those words.  For example, what is a terrorist?  I think that that word is so dependent upon one's concept.  I think the word is almost impossible to define, for it is so fluid and dependent upon one's view of the world.  So, in a discussion it is almost a useless word.  Same for cult.  What is a cult?  It's like beauty, totally in the eye of the beholder.  I view The Catholic Church as a cult.  So is the Southern Baptist Church.  Or any other religion or sect.  In my personal viewpoint, all organized religions are cults, and terrorists, and immoral, and purveyors of authoritianism, selectively  blind to many facts, uses belief/faith instead of critical thinking.  Religion is the scourge of the world.  If I wanted to have a fruitful discussion about any of this, especially with a theist, one must agree upon what these words mean.  Otherwise all that happens is that we talk past each other.

No, it is not. It's not in the eye of the beholder. Terrorism is killing random innocent people to pursue a political, or ideological or a religious agenda, so to scare others and disrupt the order of daily life in a given region. Terrere means to scare in Latin, I think.

You might be thinking this way because bombs are not going on off around you where you live. When you live in a region where the bombs are randomly going on and off, the daily life changes dramatically. From social life to economy.  Its NOT like shootings. It's not like qanon. I hope you'll never know that.



"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2021, 12:20:16 PM »
Overall that study sounds pretty authoritarian and traditional, almost theist and that is annoying me to no end because it is pretending to be 'objective'. Theist, atheist...It's sterilised as if the society is divided in between believers and nonbelievers. It's not. 

What is the scope of 'going against authority'? What does that mean? Questioning, critical thinking, protest, right to assembly; freedom of speech...these are all under protection of the authority in developed socities. What are the standards for an atheist, thei,st or a christian or a muslim to go against the authority? In state of California? In Texas? In Utah or New York?

"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2021, 01:01:02 PM »
No, it is not. It's not in the eye of the beholder. Terrorism is killing random innocent people to pursue a political, or ideological or a religious agenda, so to scare others and disrupt the order of daily life in a given region. Terrere means to scare in Latin, I think.

You might be thinking this way because bombs are not going on off around you where you live. When you live in a region where the bombs are randomly going on and off, the daily life changes dramatically. From social life to economy.  Its NOT like shootings. It's not like qanon. I hope you'll never know that.
Shoe, I am not saying that terrorism does not exist; it has existed for all time.  The point I was trying to make is that what I label as a terrorist act could be labeled freedom fighter by somebody else.  And terrorist acts are not always labeled or regarded as such---for example, the 'rebel yell' of the confederate soldier was meant to terrorize the Yanks.  And it also served the propose of building moral and confidence of the southern soldier.  And the Zulu practice of beating their shields with their swords and spears and wailing at the enemy served the same two purposes.  For the Saudis who ran the planes into the twin towers, it was an act of war; we regard it as an act of terrorism.  One needs to define what one means by a terrorist act.

I would imagine the fire bombing of Dresden in WWII was considered by the Allies as an act of war; the people who lived in that city would label it terrorism.  And I agree that I hope I never experience random bombs going off in my neighborhood.  But in your neighborhood, whoever sets those bombs off would not label that act as an act of terrorism.  But from your point of view it clearly is.  The term 'terrorism' is so nebulas, that declaring something like the 'war on terrorism' is meaningless, except to companies or agencies that profit from doing so. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2021, 01:45:11 PM »
Shoe, I am not saying that terrorism does not exist; it has existed for all time.

I don't think you are. I have just pointed out there is a common, established methodology of terrorism which is killing the ordinary, innocent people going about their own business in every day life. That's the point and the goal. You go out with your kid to make a grocery shopping and somebody blows it up. It doesn't matter what the victims in that shopping mall believe.

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The point I was trying to make is that what I label as a terrorist act could be labeled freedom fighter by somebody else.


Agreed. However, I insist that that angle will look reasonable, when you live in some place when you are not under that threat.

Recently, I often keep finding myself talking about FEAR and how easy is to create it with violence and how instantly and easily that changes human behaviour dramatically.

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And terrorist acts are not always labeled or regarded as such---for example, the 'rebel yell' of the confederate soldier was meant to terrorize the Yanks.  And it also served the propose of building moral and confidence of the southern soldier.  And the Zulu practice of beating their shields with their swords and spears and wailing at the enemy served the same two purposes.  For the Saudis who ran the planes into the twin towers, it was an act of war; we regard it as an act of terrorism.  One needs to define what one means by a terrorist act.

I would imagine the fire bombing of Dresden in WWII was considered by the Allies as an act of war; the people who lived in that city would label it terrorism. 

Any daily example of a traditonal attack in American society? I don't think so.

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And I agree that I hope I never experience random bombs going off in my neighborhood.  But in your neighborhood, whoever sets those bombs off would not label that act as an act of terrorism.  But from your point of view it clearly is.  The term 'terrorism' is so nebulas, that declaring something like the 'war on terrorism' is meaningless, except to companies or agencies that profit from doing so.

Yeah, that is the thing with terrorists and terrorism. They believe they are doing the right thing. It doesn't change anything. If you are killing civilians going about their daily business to threaten a state to push your agenda, for anything, freedom, power...etc. You are actually declaring that nothing is important for you but killing. Days of IRA is over. Actually, it was an isolated event. With all due respect you are late.

Are we talking about American invasion of Afghanistan and Irak? Nobody has ever thought that was a 'war against terrorism', Mike. Please.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 01:51:45 PM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Online Hydra009

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2021, 03:29:41 PM »
Consequentialism and deontology aren't differentiated by rationality. An example is lying: A deontologist would say lying is always wrong where a consequentialist would say lying is wrong if it results in negative consequences. Christians ideally tend to be deontologists because they have a list of commandments.
Which is crazy because there are always exceptions that pose problems for such rigid absolutism.  For example, the classic scenario of gestapo knocking at your door asking if you know the whereabouts of any jews.  For someone who believes that lying is always wrong, that's quite the conundrum!  But for a consequentialist, it's easy - you're weighing telling a lie versus the lives of other people.

In consequentialism, you tailor your moral code to work towards the well-being of people because people's well-being is the end goal.

In deontology, you decide your moral code arbitrarily and it might work out for people's well-being or it might not.  (Yikes)  And if you believe god handed it down, then the slightest error in that moral code gets handed down from generation to generation, through a lot of changing circumstances, and the end result is something extremely maladaptive, a lot of needless human misery.

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2021, 04:33:43 PM »
Moral is usually imposed on people by the society surrounding them. They think they internalize the values they have by themselves, but they often acquired the values under the influence of the society.

Atheist or theist, no matter wherever you are on the religion/belief spectrum, in case you are among the average people commonly found on the street in any given society, you are one of them except if you are a marginal one who choose to stand out from the crowd.

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2021, 03:57:40 AM »
People do not just lie according to conqeuences, they lie because they are homo sapient. Yeah, it sounds like a silly, dismissing tautology, but unfortunately that's how we've evolved. We are almost 'programmed' not to think 'objectively', not to think beyond our personal circle. Even when we look at something horrible, our first reaction, our positive empathy relies on an unconsciously felt "thank fuck, that wasn't me or one of my loved ones or thanks it didn't happen where I live." It works pretty much like comedy in that sense in its origin.

While discussing about a huge concept like moral judgement, asnwering questions and thinking about the very subject in any aspects, we are alienated from it's conditions completely. Like I am trying to do right now. Pulling it to a higher concept. Otherwise it is impossible to think and make an inquiry about it. But then when people are in a real life situation, their reactions are almost like a reflex. Be it watching a video in social media or living something out there in the real world.

Thinking is a very taxing activity and it's uncomfortable, it even hurts. When we think we are thinking about something, or better trying to think 'objectively' about something, we are only thinking 'idealistically' most of the time which is far from reality. Hence the first age of philosophical thinking as we know in human history. Ancient philosophers of Greece were not seen as philosophers or thinkers of their time. They were called philosophers after Abrahamic religions kicked in. They were pushed to some 'secular' plane in contrast. They were Olympians, regraded as even higher than prophets. Just the culture, the conditions didn't create religions as we know. They had 2 main lines of thinking trying to explain the physical words and determine the best way how a human a being -in this case a man- should live.

The thing is all of these concepts are religious concepts in origin. they are derived from concepts that were created in fields of medicine, law and religion. Add to that that all humanities, social sciences are inherently linguistic, you have this big mess in application. In a simple sense, 'A'theism. 'Non'-belief. It's a huge mess. All this turmoil and decline in social sicences since 1980s should serve for something in the end. We are actually witnessing a big historical crisis. Considering the last one took around 250 years or so -starting before the two main scientific revolutions- yeah it will take a lot of time before we have actual secular plane of thinking.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2021, 04:03:04 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: The moral compasses of atheists and believers
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2021, 06:20:32 AM »
The birth of religious morality and traditon is about securing the resources; human, food, water...etc. When these poeple define themselves as 'theists' and declare or believe in that their [moral] judgement is based on their believer vision or faith they are actually refring to something that doesn't exist today in this age.

How could have religious morality been born? I have no idea...let's caricaturise it. Before agriculture, you punish everyone who enters the place where you get the best driable nuts, roots and muhrooms with a violent, ritual death penalty in front of everyone and declare the garden 'sacred' because you can't make every individual in the clan sit down and understand that if they randomly comsume the resource, it will put the whole community's life in danger.

It's like trying to teach a 2 year old toddler that he shouldn't walk up to the log burner and touch it because he will get burnt and it will hurt very badly. You cannot 'explain' that to him. You make silly sounds imittaing burning and feeling pain for example. And take every caution so he wouldn't go near the logburner. And highly likley, at some point he will go and burn himself anyway. Well ancient people are not 2 year old toddlers of course, they just don't have systematic knowledge and so they created traditions and religions as precautions. That's why it is immoral and selfish to eat the nuts by yourself, and endanger your clan, not because it is against 'universal' morality'. Because it has practical real lfie consequences. And nonbeliver or believer alike, people will come to the same conclusion.

There is no tradition or some religious rule that wasn't born out of some neccesity of survival for some time and consequences. Most of them look moronic, violent, genocidal to us today because we don't need them anymore. We don't need to store the nuts and ration them if you will. Then why don't/didn't people abandon all of them them? Well, they did. But then for the remining bullshit, it is easier today to live with them as if they do work compared to the time they were invented and worked. Because there are no real life conseuqences for them. It's just political bullshit.   

OK, go back. Let's say it is a fantasy world, and we can actually make the whole clan sit down and understand. "Dude, don't go to that place and pick the nuts, OK? Because we need to pick them in a certain time, and store and then ration them in winter. Otherwise we are all gonna die. No, way around it. Don't fuck it up." And they got the point.

The thing is, we can be sure they will do it -did it- many times over anyway. That's the thing -especially- with the sapient lot. And they won't just do it for 'selfish' reasons either. They will think, there should be a better way around this system, better for me, and better for the clan while it is actually again about themselves, the self. But then, thank fuck they had done it, forced it again and over again, because otherwise we would have still been murmuring 'don't pick up the nuts' in a catatonic state. But it is about the self isn't it? This piece of shit sapients are highly likley the most self centered, agressive human species ever evolved and they adapted so successfully, their reflection and projection of the self desire to the mass scale has become their only categories. Was that the only way to survive? Probably? Maybe? I have no idea. We probably have killed every other human species, ate them and breeded over with the rest.

So that's the root of religous morality. A person living in a moderate society with some sort standards, law and some social order today, cannot have 'religous morality'. He certainly can believe he does, voice it, but in practice in real life, it is very limited. If he goes out and defends the original religous rules and 'laws' or try to act on and apply them, he'd get arrested.

Anti-vaccinators. We keep naming them along with religious groups. Are they really overwhelmingly religous? I doubt that. If they are acting according to the scripture, is there anything against vaccination in any part of Christianity? What is it? How did this thing start? They are stupid and ignornat...is that all? Yes they are stupid and ignorant. But then vacccination is not mandatory in the US, and those people have born into a society with a ridiculous understanding of freedom which is constantly advertised by the culture, the state...etc, along with a ridiculously inflated sense of American identity that is not compatible with professional standards of modern society. The rest is pushing the piece into that large circle whole, everythig fits in it...any kind of conspiracies...etc Bottom line, it is not that they believe in some religious or moral principle in the first place, they just do not believe anything bad will happen as a result. It's much simple. Because frankly, bad things happen to people in other countries.

Remember the 'gay wedding cake' conflict? Supreme court ruled for the baker and tons of people (dem, repubs, believer/nonbeliever) agreed that it made sense because he should be able to decide who to sell in a democratic country with religious freedom. It is not. It's idiotic. It was the most antidemocratic thing to do for the society.

Basically, the 'clerics' told one member of the 'clan' that he can pick the 'nuts' whenever he wants because there are so many nut trees anyway, and gave a licence to everyone who wants to do the same thing. There isn't enough amount of 'nut trees' in the world to support this idiotic principle without undermining any democratic system. Does it have anything to do with religion or freedom? No, it is a political judgement. There are 320 million people in the country and 'vritually' there are no real life consequences of this, while there is a need of some balancing propaganda after legalising gay marriage, it is pretty much nothing but feeding the other side a bit with 'there there'. 

"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari