Blundered across this in an academic paper, put together by a U.K. professor of philosophy, purporting to be the distilled creed/philosophical arguments for the Dawkins' style New Atheism.
I'm curious what the group thinks of it.
I believe that the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. I believe that no other reality, divine or otherwise, exists. There is no life after death, no meaning to life apart from life, and no events or experiences, individuals or scriptures by which any supra- natural reality can be revealed. The cosmos forms the boundary of our experience. I believe that human life has no meaning apart from itself: that while there is purpose in life, there is no purpose to life. There is no ultimate justice, no final act of grace and no salvation. This is not a providential universe. I believe that not everything is permissible. For while that which increases happiness is not always a good, that which increases misery is always an evil. I believe that by the deployment of human reason and the acquisition of knowledge, by the development of moral law and the cultivation of compassion, the suffering of humanity can be alleviated and the condition of our lives improved. I believe that the path to individual and collective happiness lies in being educated to reality, and in being thus released from the irresponsible and pernicious illusion of religion, for which there is neither evidence nor need.
Try Richard Dawkins' site if you are interested in Richard Dawkins' philosophy. The problem with people paraphrasing, is that the distortions eventually get out of hand as one paraphrasing leads to another. (I don't need to be a smart arse and point fingers, I'm sure that is unnecessary).
In the text you post above, I find the description of the Cosmos as, "all that is" to be a massive understatement. Also, "that which increases misery is always evil" doesn't take in to consideration painful treatments, or vile-tasting medication. Absolutes are rarely perfect descriptions.
I'm wondering if you have seen the Humanist manifesto - that also has some good and not-so-good elements, depending on your perspective.
Some people really feel more comfortable if they have a written set of directives or philosophies that they can adopt as their own definition of how to see their existence. Scriptures, creeds and manifestos offer this to those who require such a focal point.
For me, I simply do not believe in the supernatural. I believe everything has a natural explanation, and I believe we will discover more and more. The only 'manifesto' or 'creed' that I can buy into with no hesitation is the Golden Rule. Treat others as you wish to be treated. However, in order not to have any confusion in interpretation even of that rule, I condense it to, "Be Kind". I do try to adhere to that, but I am by no means perfect at it - or even particularly adept. Work in progress :)
I actually liked the statement "For while that which increases happiness is not always a good, that which increases misery is always an evil." And neither painfull treatments nore vile tasting medicine are given to increase someone's misery, but instead to try and aleviate an even worse misery . If we had a treatment that was not painful and just as good would it not be wrong to make someone undergo the painful treatment? The real bugger about morality is that most of our choices are not between good and bad but between bad and worse.
I agree with the general sentiment of the post. The purpose of Human life is to propagate itself. It may seem bleak to some if we ponder Dawkins “The Selfish Gene” concept. Humans are just one species of millions to have evolved. Our role from DNA’s perspective is to get passed on so Human are basically a species “geared” to pass on DNA so it survives. Of course many Theists suggest that the Earth was created by God for them and the remaining 500 billion plus planets are void of life. I mean they must be so unless God has other teams in play?
The meaning of an individual’s life is different. If we are lucky enough to be able to have our hierarchy of needs met then we can take meaning from whatever we like. We may be very important to the lives of a few people close to us but in the grand scheme of things we are of no significance. I have hopefully another 40 years or so left to live. When I am dead that is it. I think once we recognise our own mortality and come to terms with it then living out our one and only life takes on greater meaning. To be a species that can understand this concept is amazing. We have figured out so much using Science that religion is no longer useful as a tool for finding out the truth. It is only a curtain against reality and a comfort blanket for those who can’t face it.
People can insist that their God is the only true one and that the Atheist position or philosophy is wrong if they so wish. There is no humility in that. To suggest that some supernatural entity created humans in the form we are in is ridiculous, especially when it is only a faith based belief. We know beyond a shadow of doubt that we are an evolved species and related to every other species on the planet. All the EVIDENCE suggests this is the case.
I cannot see how people can accept that they are going to not only get a second life but get one that lasts an eternity. Why? Because they have faith and accept that a God came from the sky in human form, died for them and came back to life to save their souls? Come on folks – where is your evidence for any of this.
I mentioned previously that Morality develops better through open and collective reasoned debate rather than through the unchallenged acceptance of ancient tenets. Is this not obvious?
What makes us different to other evolved DNA based creatures? We have the ability to Reason. The more we use it the more knowledge we discover and the more we can reach new heights as a species. Religion is not part of the Enlightenment of mankind. It is not needed anymore. It has nothing to offer those of us that use reason and knowledge.
There just are no gods. They do not exist. It is that simple.
Seems reasonable as a fairly succinct statement, though I do agree with Strega somewhat; levels of misery are subjective, e.g. taking vile medicine to cure a life threatening condition would probably cheer me up after I had finished grimacing, and I'm sure most doctors would not prescribe it in order to inflict misery intentionally.
I do not think humans are any more special than any other animal on earth, we have developed our intellect, because of a happy chain of coincidences, more than any other animal, but then we tend to waste it by going around believing in imaginary beings and shackling our free thought into believing that we have to please some supernatural entity so we can get good seats in a non-existent dimension. Weird.
So basically I agree with most of what's written, I shorten it to:
Oh, and try and stop the terminally stupid from polluting our minds with inane, religious rubbish.
I believe that the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.
You don't know that. There may be paralel universes in other dimensions. There may have been a universe prior to this one and there might be one after this one.
You overreached a bit with the very first credo.
Actually, that first line of your creed is more in line with theistic beliefs than scientific beliefs.
That's why it says believe. There is currently no evidence (outside of thought experiments.) for the multi-universe theory. As soon as some evidence surfaces however, I'll believe otherwise.
The creed is not mine. I just happened across it in an academic paper. I'm just curious what people here think, because on this topic you know far more than I do.
As a personal favor, I'd ask you not to use the diminutive "Bobby". You can feel free to call me Bob, or Asshole, but Bobby is reserved for personal friends and family who knew me when I was seven. There aren't that many of them left any more, and they are special to me.
I agree with the criticism on the "creed", acknowledging Bob's reply too. Very, very few absolutes are accurate; I hate to think in terms of black/white or all-or-nothing. I was thinking the same type of thing: I don't fit with half of the creed and I feel it's not an Atheist creed at all. It's one person's version of Atheism out of millions. Each one of us can sit down and write their own Creed, and most of them will be different, don't you agree?
That said, I'm putting mine together, mentally, as I'm sure any conscientious new-to-the-lifestance Atheist does. What do I believe that I will not waver on in the foreseeable future? Hmmm..............
-Jeff, Atheist since May 29 2013
I may be mistaken, but when Dawkins used that quote in... I think it was "The God Delusion," he said: "For while that which increases happiness is not always a good, that which increases misery is Almost always an evil." Dawkins is usually very careful about using absolutes, especially when he seems to be one of the primary targets for outspoken theists everywhere.
As a philosopher, I do not claim to know that the cosmos (as we know it) is all that is or ever was, or ever will be. Why, there could be multiple cosmos' --multiple dimensions to the universe that we have not and cannot experience--but it does not mean they do not exist, as science tells us it is possible that they do. However, I will never claim to know there are multiple universes until they are proven to exist. One of the fundamental differences between most Christians today and scientists, is that these Christians claim to know--without evidence.
Once we die, physics tells us the energy that once was us, will change form--but we have no idea what the "form" might be. It might just be dirt, which then changes to something else, which changes to something else, and so on. I do not believe in "supernatural" forces or gods, but I do put great stock in science, which may one day give us the answers we seek.
I think the creed still needs some "tweaking." As Ray mentioned above, absolutist statements are the purview of theists--not generally atheists. As an atheist, I do not claim that the Christian god, or the Hindu god or one of the other 100000 gods of human history do not exist. Provide evidence, and I will change my view.
Creed? We don't need no stinkin' creed. Or was that badges?