Hi All,

We had a discussion many moons ago about atheists and morality and a lot has happened since then. I reached some new conclusions (which I'll withhold for now so I don't poison the water) and at least one other poster here has some new ideas about it.

So, I was wondering what the prevailing opinion is out there on this topic. Do you believe that atheists can be "moral"? Is it impossible for an atheist to be truly moral? Is "morality" something to which adherents have a valid claim? The infamous Dawkins and Harris had a discussion at Oxford about this about a year or so ago that was very good and I would also be interested in what anyone thinks of what was discussed there.

Thanks and all are welcome.

- kk

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Hmmm --

"No, it isn't - kk"

Arch - where did I say that? - kk

In your message to me.

Are you really sure about that, Arch? I see that you and Kir are not on each other's friends lists, and you don't seem to have had a comment on your page since October. I don't know of any other way that you could be messaged, apart from e-mail.

You ARE aware that we all have TA emails, aren't you, Simon? That's how most of my friends communicate with me.

You, on the other hand, lost that privilege after your earlier comment: "Arch - give it a rest, frankly you're being a total asshole."

If he wanted to tell me something he would just say it, because he has balls. 

"you and Kir are not on each other's friends lists"

"That's how most of my friends communicate with me."

Why, Arch? 

RE: "If he wanted to tell me something he would just say it, because he has balls."

Again, Hmmmm --

Why, what, Simon?

Why is it that, "That's how most of my friends communicate with me."? - because, astonishingly, we like to talk to each other.

Why is it that, "you and Kir are not on each other's friends lists"? - YOU're the one who said that that was the case, frankly I hadn't noticed.

Regarding objectivity, the way I see it is that it is possible to identify a small list of moral values which all homo sapiens within 3 standard deviations would agree with.  However, moral values are "high level" manifestations of the basic underlying principle, and that's probably why there is so much room for disagreement.  Many moral values which people hold would only be shared by a fraction of the human race, which is why they are not called objective values.  It is definitely true that not all values are completely based on my underlying principle.  That in itself doesn't invalidate those values. 

Hey - wait ... three s.d. s or 4? Or 2? Shouldn't it be an even number? Anyway, I'm seeing your point here as well as from some other things you showed me. There is something nicely realistic about this -  as opposed to the hypothetical hyperbola I sometimes get wrapped up in.

- kk

OK I'm still talking.  I feel that high-level values are not the way to go.  Those are a job for someone else.  They just don't apply to everyone and every situation.  Mine does.  Whatever you're doing, you can bring in this idea and its simple formula of application and within 30 seconds know, at least, what you should not do, and that in itself is a very worthwhile thing to know.  To know what you should do requires some skill and experience and we don't always have that. 

We can talk about making objectivity til we're blue in the face - but the average person isn't going to be convinced by clever arguments like that.  They need a principle and a formula which are quick, simple and correct to apply in every situation no matter what. 

Now, correctness is what needs to be identified satisfactorily.  Being quick and simple and general gives the formula its effectiveness. 


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