I've come to the conclusion that we have to appeal to people's pride and self-love. It's silly to try and pretend that humans are these perfect noble ideal creatures. We're not, and that's how it is. If we provide good objectives and a good framework then good will be done in the right way much of the time.
I think Humanity wins Simon, if only the majority of us, for whatever reasons, remain more humane than the rest.
The majority of who? Atheists?
We humans, Simon.
I think altruism is compatible with being imperfect. I wouldn't say anyone is always motivated by altruism, just that sometimes someone acts out of pure altruism.
I agree that our motivations in our social (ie. moral) behaviour are usually a mixture of "selfishness" and "altruism".
I think that our "pat answer", our motivation to be good, will have to be a collection of answers, all more or less connected(?), and none the worse for that.
"Listening" to you guys talk is very amusing to me. I came here looking for reasons for atheism but instead I just find reasons against it.
Why would anyone wish, as you say, for human beings to be nobler than they are? Where would the idea of nobility even come from? For a Christian, that's easy: we were created for nobility. For an atheist: we weren't created at all, we evolved through factors of random chance acted on my natural selection.
Nobility has nothing to do with it! Nobility makes no sense, you shouldn't even be talking about it. I don't understand. As a biologist, I think I understand natural selection and evolution theory quite well. For human beings to be longing for nobility goes directly against the idea of natural selection. It is counter productive!!