I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity."  Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."

A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of  "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?

Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.

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After all of this debate, I think the answer is simple - we're all human with the ability to think and discuss the material world around us.  At this point in time, we have no evidence of thoughts, ideas, writings, or discussions on moral behavior coming from any source other than humans.  This certainly doesn't change just because someone way back when thought up an imaginary, magical being.  To specifically address your question, we all use labels and some of these labels are less objective than others.  In our view, even if you're a theist, there is no god deciding these things for you - so guess what your use of terms like good and evil is just as fuzzy and easily manipulated.

My take on  this is simple because I'm a simple person..things that harm or destroy Nature (depending on the amount of destruction) is harmful, bad, evil.  And by the same token the inverse is true. IMO..

  It's not really a matter of deciding.  If something damages humans, individually or as a whole, it's not out of the ordinary to call it bad.  All you have to do is look at the statistics to see what "good" and "bad" are in that aspect.  People who spread misinformation would be considered, by most, to be detrimental to humans as a society.

  For example, the creation stories of religions have been proven untrue by the fact of evolution.  Those who oppose the "theory" of evolution do so because they don't understand how evolution really works and refuse the mountain of evidence available to help ANYONE understand it.  They don't understand that a scientific theory is an idea that has been repeatedly and thoroughly tested, observed, and measured.  "Theory" is a term, in science, reserved for those ideas that are "fact".  They could, however, be falsified with one proper piece of evidence.  That has yet to happen in the case of evolution.  The gaps in the fossil records these days are minimal.  We have tons of DNA evidence explaining far more than just our genetic history.  We have observational evidence as well.  There is no question that the scientific model of evolution is correct and is not likely to ever be proven false.

  That being said, couldn't it be called "bad" to insist that something other than evolution is fact?  Creation myths are not "alternate theories".  They're barely hypotheses in scientific terms.  That is just one tiny bit of evidence Atheists have for determining that religion is "bad" and why logical reasoning is considered "good".  There are LOTS of other reasons that support this idea as well.  Spreading lies as truths is not generally considered a "good" thing.

Morality was NOT a product of religion of any kind.  It stems from our survival instincts, most likely.

  Back to the point of proper definitions, an Atheist is nothing more than someone who doesn't BELIEVE a god exists.  This is pretty much a black or white issue.  You kinda have to believe one way or the other.  Even people "on the fence", when probed about it, would probably pick one side or the other.  "Thoroughly atheist" kinda says that there's something more to it than that.  There really isn't.  An agnostic atheist will say that they don't believe there is a god, but, with proper evidence, they could be converted.  You don't see this same attitude with most believers.  The evidence is there, but most of those believers choose to ignore it, say it doesn't exist, or say it was acquired with faulty methods, and refuse to be converted.

The Word of God (or Allah) is the most commonly touted objective moral system: supposedly as perfect as God himself. It’s easy to understand the allure of an objective moral system. It offers a simple way to resolve complex issues. And it makes it easy to judge others with the comfortable self-righteousness of certainty. But we pay a price when others morally cop-out. Conflict. These people tend to relinquish critical thinking and to indulge in judgmentalism — a potent combination that leads to, and reinforces, fundamentalism. And when they feel the backlash of our objections, they perceive it as persecution. It’s the perfect recipe for simple-mindedness and denial — and unnecessary conflict. If you doubt that, turn on CNN and within half an hour you’ll see confirmation of this unnecessary conflict spawned from simple-minded denial.

That’s what religious thinking does. And the main mechanism for that is the false belief in an objective morality. But it’s not just religious thinking: it’s any kind of dogmatic zealotry based on certainty of one’s personal moral system. Vegetarian/vegan zealots and pro-life fanatics leap to mind as do other extreme left or right political wingnuts. Be wary of the certainty of moral absolutists: it indicates totalitarians in sheep’s clothing.

@Atheist Exile - I couldn't agree more.  Accepting dogmatic concepts without any acceptance of criticism and without any sort of concrete foundation coupled with the self-righteous attitude that people get that allows them to believe they can force that dogma on others is a very dangerous mixture.  I don't have any problem at all with vegans or vegetarians as long as they don't try to force their beliefs on me.  Don't want to eat meat?  Cool, more for me.  Don't think abortion is moral?  Don't have one.  Don't think it's "right" that people marry someone of the same sex?  Fine, don't marry someone of the same sex.  But that doesn't give the right to force those opinions on other people.  As long as that is understood, we can all live in harmony. 

My problem begins with someone trying to shove those opinions down other people's throats.  That is one of the things that I try to stress when I am discussing issues on boards like this: I don't care what you believe as long as you don't try to force it on other people.  Every religion that I have ever studied (and there have been several, even outside of the abrahamic superstitions) contain a foundation of delusion.  But if you want to believe, that's fine.  Just don't try to legislate it onto other people.  You want to believe the earth is 6000 years old, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary?  Cool.  But keep that out of my public school system.  That system is meant to teach science, not fairy tales; that is what your church is for.

I think the reason that xians are trying to push getting their nonsense into public schools and legislated into the public legal system is that they are feeling the implosion of their delusional superstition.  Young people are running from churches in droves and that is making the religiots scared and frustrated.  I suppose that is only to be expected.  But it is certainly a good sign for humanity and civilization.  :)

 "Don't think it's "right" that people marry someone of the same sex?  Fine, don't marry someone of the same sex.  But that doesn't give the right to force those opinions on other people"

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Who's forcing Who?  So the people who got married,say fifty years ago, now must accept that their union, is no longer valid as just btw the man and woman?  And of course the gays didn't force their opinion on them..

So, you're saying that gays are not allowing heterosexual marriages?

So you have a problem with them trying to be recognized like heterosexuals?

nope not a problem..i just ask why the need?

You're right.

Also, why did we need to free the slaves? Why the need to give "niggers" (as you called them so eloquently) equal rights?

see you don't go deep enough..free them?   why did you need to enslave them?  We got equal rights? How do you know it was eloquent?

don't know what the gays would or wouldn't allow because gays are seeking to be recognized like the heteros..couldn't tell what they'd do if it were reversed..

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