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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So they would be more significant if they had double or triple? It goes both ways

The answer is perhaps, perhaps not. The economic output of countries is decoupled from population - adding more people will not (necessarily) lead to a stronger economic position. Usually it is the opposite, populous countries tend to be poorer. Some countries manage to get the pieces right and have a high GDP per capita, and those with highest GDP per capita tend to have small populations - of the 20 most populous countries only 3 (US, Japan, Germany) are among those with the 20 highest GDP per capita. Of the remaining 17, 15 have less than 10m inhabitants.

If Japan had a population of only 1000, where would it be as an economic power today?

You mean 25% higher than the Holy See? Probably not, but it's a bit outside of the normal scope of any argument that can be made. It probably wouldn't be one if it had 1000m either, at least not on a per capita basis.

My sole point is that if you turn out to have the wherewithal to be prosperous, having a higher population than a competitor county is an actual advantage.

First, you have a very Buddhist or Existentialist view of the world.

Second, the old saying "everything is relative" is pretty accurate, actually. When it comes to good and evil - and this subject has been covered ad-nauseum here, so please take a moment to do some searching and reading - there are really two versions. There are the societal definitions of Good and Evil, such as don't steal, don't kill each other, don't speed, etc. And of course there are some of those that most of us agree with, such as the don't kill and don't steal ones; and there are those that a subset of society doesn't agree with, such as legalized abortion, states that don't allow GBLT to marry, and so on.

Then there are the personal definitions of Good and Evil. For instance I am very much against proselytizing to others who don't want to hear it. I don't think the Freedom of Press should extend to the Paparazzi who completely invade the privacy of public figures, to the point of almost assaulting them and their families - and their children should be completely off-limits, period. To me, that is most evil. I find it evil that parents are allowed to deny medical treatment for their children based on their religious beliefs, even if it isn't life-threatening (at first). You get the idea.

I hope this explains my stance on this subject. As I said earlier, I know that I and others have expounded on this topic much more thoroughly in previous discussions, so you might want to find and read those previous entries.

And if you're trying to infer that the nonreligious have no leg to stand on when it comes to morality since it comes from within with us, of course you're absolutely wrong. If you look at the sense of morality that comes from religion, you'll find that it actually is a personal choice for them as well - they chose to be religious, therefore they chose the morality to which they adhere, thereby making it a personal set of morals that also come from within.

So, what it really boils down to is that this is a moot point, and we all approach morality in the same way - it's just that some people feel they have the right to impose their brand of morality on the rest of us, while we feel that is deeply evil and wrong.

"Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison." -Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act II Scene II

IMO, this quote says it all.

Humans are the only species on our planet that have the concept of good and evil, and that is only because we are more highly evolved than any other creature (i.e.: we have developed a frontal lobe). There is no such thing as theft, murder, rape, incest, embezzlement, drug abuse, etc., in the animal kingdom. While they may commit these "crimes", they have no names for them and do not consider them anything more than a part of their lives. There is no "High Court of the Lions" where animals can go to prosecute each other, nor do you see them (animals) spending any time worrying about whether or not they should kill each other or take each other's stuff. To them it is just a matter of survival.

Even us humans have found ways to justify murder (war, religion, religious war), so where is the line between good and evil there? Both sides of a war consider themselves "right" no matter how skewed their logic may be, so how can we justify killing each other? Who gets to decide which side is more "right"? Certainly not any GOD, or at least I have never seen or heard about a time in history where God himself has come down from the heavens and made a judgement call on any war. This just never happens. Sure, you could conclude that the winner of any given war had God on their side, but where's the proof of that?

I think that morality is man-made and that we need to spend a lot less time worrying about right and wrong, as each individual is going to have a different interpretation and/or definition of good and evil. There is no perfect way to define either term and no way to make everyone happy in that respect. We just need to let it go.

Unfortunately, we have all these religious groups running around trying to force people to subscribe to their values and morals, and threatening fiery death to those who don't. This just adds to the problem because now you have large clumps of people pitted against each other because of minute details in their definitions of what is right and wrong. SO-NOT-HELPING, PEOPLE! If everyone could just relax a bit and realize that everyone is different, most of our glaring social problems would go away or at least fade significantly. Especially for the gay community, but that's a whole separate issue.

It is, in fact, this dividing of people that initially turned me off of religion.

I am not sure if I have explained this very well, as it is a complex issue with many different aspects and opinions, but I hope I have helped!


I am not sure if I have explained this very well, as it is a complex issue with many different aspects and opinions, but I hope I have helped!

@ Amy - I loved the way you explained it. Great post! What you said about the lions was so funny.


Humans are the only species on our planet that have the concept of good and evil, and that is only because we are more highly evolved than any other creature (i.e.: we have developed a frontal lobe). There is no such thing as theft, murder, rape, incest, embezzlement, drug abuse, etc., in the animal kingdom.

The only thing constant when it comes to good and evil is the WORDS. Beyond that, plenty of disagreement as to definition and application. 

I'm guessing that you dismiss the theft, murder, rape, incest, embezzlement (of a sort), and even drug abuse occurring in the animal kingdom because animals are, comparatively, idiots?

When you declare humans "more evolved," that is sheer speciesism. A creature like a cockroach is at the pinnacle of its evolution. It has existed largely unchanged since 10's of millions of years ahead of even the dinosaurs. You can say they reached an evolutionary dead end if you like, because they aren't as smart as people, but being smart doesn't seem to have much survival value for a species. For individual people from time to time, perhaps, but our species is already circling around the drain. If there were a global thermonuclear exchange tomorrow that wiped mankind off the face of the earth, plenty of "lesser" beings would continue on.

Who's so f***'ing smart now?

Wow, Unseen - sounds like you woke up on the wrong side of the floor --

Just being realistic. To a fault, perhaps.

First, none of this would mean anything to an animal because they lack a frontal lobe. They cannot reason. Are they stupid? I never said that. I was simply trying to convey that we have a frontal lobe and they do not, therefore we do things like reason and make decisions. This reasoning and decision making is where the concepts of good and evil were born.

Second, how do you presume to know that the cockroach, as a species, is at the end of its evolutionary progress? Everything evolves differently; even human evolution has had stops and starts. There is no one at the controls, so who's to say when/if their evolutionary progress is going to start up again. Sure, they may be at the end of their evolutionary path in the world as it is now, but everything changes - including our environment - so who's to say that one day the world won’t change in some way as to allow the cockroach to evolve once again? Maybe even into reasoning beings? Yes, this sounds like sci-fi, but we really don't know what’s going to happen in the future. That sort of thinking is not usually present in the atheist "world".

I don't really want to argue, but I think you misconstrued what I was trying to say a bit. Perhaps you just like to be contrary, I don't know you, so I won't assume anything. I just didn't see any reason for your obvious negative attitude in what I thought was a rational discussion with intelligent people.




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