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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Trevor. Unseen can speak for himself. I don't think he (I certainly don't) thinks other peoples suffering is not real. It is just imagined. 'imagined' might be a poor choice of word, perhaps assumed would be better since it cannot be proven. That is, the only pain we can actually feel is our own, we just imagine or assume others feel it the same way.

Thanks for the clarification John.  It seemed to me to smack of the realist / anti-realist thing which is down those lines, and quite strange.

Assuming others feel pain is even less supportable than imagining others feel pain. It boils down to basing an action on something we merely imagine. I'm not saying that I don't make that leap myself, but I do feel it should prevent anyone from getting on a moral high horse.

Well we disagree then. I would say people who engage in torture of others are prima facie wrong. I have no problem getting on my 'moral high horse' when looking at concentration camps and the like. I certainly would not reserve judgement because I had no proof others felt pain and suffering, and that I could only imagine rather than assume their pain. I guess we are just different.

Oh my, you are making me feel so guilty. The thing with evangelicals and self-declared messiahs is that they just make people roll their eyes. Can't you see here that the pro-vegetarians/vegans are making NO headway? None. People don't reach their conclusions by being browbeaten, guilt-tripped, or annoyed. You are doing it primarily to make yourself feel better. Ponder the ethics of that.

Why not trust people to reach their own decision in moral matters? And if you can't why is that?

Why did the abolitionists not just, "Live and let live."  Or in this case, "Live and let die."  Why?  Because they recognized a grave injustice that their peers seems unwilling, or unable to see.  They were capable of empathy and compassion.  They loved justice.  They wanted to share the benefits of freedom with those who had been denied it.    Slave owners did not give up their privileges, and unfair advantages, without presenting many arguments, both biblical and scientific in favor of slavery.  In fact their arguments are almost identical to those stated here, by those who enjoy their power over " lesser beings".

@Unseen. As Dogly has made an excellent point. Without the persistent voicing of a moral concern, maybe slavery would still be in vogue. I am sure the pro-slavery lobby rolled their eyes too and claimed, without knowledge and in error, that abolitionists were making no headway.

I do trust people to make up,their own minds but they should look at the arguments before doing so. Some vegetarians/vegans are presenting facts and arguments based on ethics of compassion. Those lacking the necessary compassion will never be persuaded.

You think it is a 'leap' to believe non human animals feel pain as we do and on that basis disparage anyone taking a moral view. I believe you have not looked at the evidence showing the similarity of central nervous systems. This may help:


The CNS seems absolutely key to the survival of most species. With it playing such a key role in the survivals of species, with the similarities in behaviour that pain stimulus provokes, how can you maintain it a 'leap' that we are similar. It would surely to a leap to think opposite we're true, that other animals do not feel pain and suffer as we do. Your reasoning and attitude are, I believe, still entrenched in the dominionist view of the world made popular by Christianity.

Sophistry, unseen.

That's easy to say. It's kind of like "whatever."

@Trevor - RE: "What a terrible nonsense filled pickle the world becomes when you try and remove God from it."

Which god would that be, Trevor? I find myself agreeing with Steven Roberts, in that you and I are both atheists - I simply believe in one fewer god than you do.

One thing I never did, when I visited theist sites (even the two that banned me), I never suggested they had ejected their brains. I had more courtesy than that.

pax vobiscum,


You are no doubt right.  It was a cheap shot.  Sorry for that.




I think we can agree on a couple of things.

1) Use of a capital G makes it clear enough for most people that you mean the one and only God. 2) Removing God from the world makes it seem a nonsense-filled-pickle for a lot of people (if not most people).

Yet I'm still satisfied that most people's leap of faith to atheism is reasonably based on the same scientific probabilities that predict that there's no Great Unicorn. Maybe we can still have fun discussing ways to reduce various suffering caused by Nonsense Filled Pickles?



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