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Atheist Morality

The purpose of this group is to discuss morality from all points of view: biological, evolutionary, philosophical. Specific moral questions are also encouraged: if you have a moral question for us atheists, feel free to post it here.

Website: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/atheistmorality
Location: A Planet Near and Dear
Members: 210
Latest Activity: Jun 29

Where did morality come from?

We atheists are pretty tired of hearing that without religion, there would be no morality. It is offensive to us atheists, since this implies we cannot possibly be moral, or if we are in fact, moral, it is because we were raised in a culture in which morality was initially acquired, and still perpetuated, by religion.

 

While it is indeed possible that some people may need religion in order to be moral, this is a scary thought: their morality has not been reasoned or felt in their gut, it was ordered from above.

 

Human beings have had moral laws and codes for thousands and thousands of years before religion was ever invented, at least in an organized form.  Human beings around the globe, from many religious backgrounds, have pretty much the same basic set of rules, starting with the Golden Rule. Why? Because our moral sense comes from the evolution of our brains and the need to live as a social species, avoiding conflict and increasing cooperation.  Our moral sense is based on our emotions: it feels good to help others, and it feels bad to harm others.

 

The scientific study of human nature has naturally lead to the scientific study of human morality. A good start if you're new to this fascinating and important subject is The New Science of Morality, from Edge.org.

  

ONGOING DISCUSSIONS
The Video Thread
The Reading List
The Moral Repository
Exercises in Moral Dilemmas


ONLINE TESTS

These are academic tests designed to probe our moral sense, moral cognition, and what drives our moral decisions and judgments. They are fun, they will tell you a lot about yourself, and you'll be helping researchers add to their current data.

YourMorals.org (Jonathan Haidt's group and collaborators)
The Moral Sense Test (Joshua Greene-Harvard University)

 

Discussion Forum

IF YOU WANT TO BE AN ENLIGHTENED MORAL ATHEIST, LET NOAM CHOMSKY BE YOUR INSPIRATION - NOT RICHARD DAWKINS

Started by Richard W. Symonds. Last reply by H3xx Sep 8, 2013. 27 Replies

Noam Chomsky's atheist morality makes more sense to me than the atheist non-sense of 'Richard Dawkins & his Merrie Men'  …Continue

no such thing as altruism?

Started by Wassabi. Last reply by Brian Daurelle Sep 7, 2013. 33 Replies

I recently read an article about altruism (not In English or I'd link), which stated there is actually no such thing.While humans do not have ability to relay tangible things to each other by means…Continue

Violating morals! what do you think?!

Started by Hope. Last reply by Hope Nov 27, 2011. 13 Replies

A sexual revolution in the Middle East... Cool but, Islamists dont like that!Anther updates from the religion of peace! what do you think?!This time it's about a teenager atheist girl who needs to…Continue

Tags: do, you, think?!, what, morals!

The Immorality of Prayers

Started by Jacob LeMaster. Last reply by fester60613 Mar 2, 2011. 10 Replies

Here is an example that was very personal to me..My grandmother was very ill due to a bad blood transfusion after giving birth to my uncle around 40 years ago..   Being in the bible belt the most…Continue

Tags: health, Prayer, Morality

So What About Quasi Realism?

Started by Albert Bakker. Last reply by Albert Bakker Feb 24, 2011. 18 Replies

In making a first small foray into Quasi Realism, I would like first to go back here to the very basics.Lets for a moment forget about the correct chronological order and the whole network of nested…Continue

Moral Contextualism

Started by Jaume. Last reply by A Former Member Feb 22, 2011. 37 Replies

Ow. It's not that easy to present an in-depth analysis or synthesis of Moral Contextualism (MC for short), when it is a fairly recent development of moral philosophy, and the relevant online…Continue

Tags: Adriana is a tyrant, contextualism, epistemology, morality, Moral Contextualism

Questions to Video Gamers

Started by T A A. Last reply by T A A Feb 22, 2011. 94 Replies

Nearly all my life, video gaming has been an attractive pastime. My grandparents bought that ridiculous "ping" (probably wrong name) game for the old B/W television set in their living room and all…Continue

Use of Force Against those Threatening Violence

Started by Ryan E. Hoffman. Last reply by No name Feb 21, 2011. 22 Replies

This whole Operation Rescue thing done by Rachel Maddow, in addition to the Justifiable Homicide in South Dakota for killing people that would do harm to a fetus aka Abortion Doctors... it's really…Continue

Tags: islam, terrorism, abortion, politics, force

No afterlife, no morals?

Started by John Garbutt. Last reply by T A A Feb 1, 2011. 3 Replies

Alright, so first of all I'm taking Theology & Religious Studies at university.  A lot of people find this pretty strange for an atheist, but I'm fascinated by mythology, by superstition and by…Continue

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You need to be a member of Atheist Morality to add comments!

Comment by Chadia on January 13, 2011 at 5:39pm

hey, guys, great group!

I read a post in a topic quoting atheïst don't have 'morality' or 'immorality'.  My question: Is this true?  I childabuse for instance not called immoral?  If not, how do we explain or call crimes like that?

Comment by Richard W. Symonds on January 12, 2011 at 3:48pm

Adriana, this guy on Media Lens thinks all this talk of oxytocin is "depressing" :

 

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1294845841.html

Comment by Richard W. Symonds on January 4, 2011 at 4:00pm
"Both Christians and Atheists can take these new scientific findings, one accepting that these rules were created by God, while the other can avoid such conclusions by observing how these rules would have arisen via Evolutionary processes" - Marc Hauser "Moral Minds"
Comment by Michael Sizer-Watt on December 31, 2010 at 11:09am
I figured it didn't warrant a discussion in here, because it's not really about morality itself, but due the injustice against GLBTs, I wanted to point out www.itgetsbetter.org   It has some touching moments in some of the videos.  On that note, anyone who can watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-awVQkTeVE and still hate really worries me deep down.
Comment by Brian Stewart on December 31, 2010 at 5:56am

Here are some of my thoughts on this: 

What is morality? It's essentially a code of values that seek to guide man's (generic) choices while ethics deals with the process of discovering and defining
such a code. The standards/norms for the definition of the principles
underlying ethics has been one of the most debated issues in philosophy for
centuries...does society decide and if these are evil, is it 'good' because
society has decided it is in the 'interest of society'? Mystics held sway and
used 'the will of God' as the standard and the validation of their ethics. By
implication, both these false standards deny three things, viz:

reason, man's mind and reality.
The ultimate 'value' is life and only living
entities can have goals, make choices and seek to add or destroy value.
However, trees and the amoeba etc don't have the capacity to consciously change
their basic functions although when their environments change and become life
threatening they (given time) adapt to these changes in most cases: their
single purpose remains however to ensure the survival of the species.

Man however has a mind and can take decisions and
is conscious of this: it is this consciousness which is man's fundamental and most
important tool for survival, but man has no automatic code to survive like the
trees; his senses do not tell him what goals he should pursue; he has to
discover these through trial and error.

Because man has the capacity to make choices
(indeed it is his/her undeniable responsibility), he can choose not to think;
to evade reality but he cannot avoid the consequences of his actions/choices.
 
So what are the values he should base his choices
upon?

First and foremost it must be based on 'life'
itself or that which is required to sustain it and ensure his survival. If he
chooses to rob, murder, enslave, and loot others to survive his survival is
made possible only by his victims, and he is essentially a parasite and simply
functions at a sub-human level. This not sustainable and will lead to
destruction, not because of a god's punishment but due to the unsustainability
of his actions in the long term.

A man without morals implies that he has given up
the ethical standard against which his actions are measured; he has chosen to
evade his responsibility but he cannot evade the consequences of his actions.
 
Long answer to a short question: Hope it helps!

Comment by Don on December 29, 2010 at 7:58pm
Hm.  I would say that empathy may be the underlying motivation--or maybe the inspiration--but the "primary prerequisite" is a legal system that will serve to impose a semblance of empathy on the disinclined.
Comment by Miss Montoya on December 23, 2010 at 10:09pm
So Cal Atheist here... Want to help me run for State Senate in January 2011...? It is a special election in the LA area.
Comment by Adrian on December 14, 2010 at 3:13pm

Yep, I think it's absolutely appropriate on TA. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Comment by Michael Sizer-Watt on December 14, 2010 at 3:08pm

Sorry Adriana, I hesitated to make the comment in the first place, because I knew it would be a bit annoying, and not really serve too much good.  I didn't mean to start up an unnecessary debate over wording.  sorry.

Comment by Adrian on December 14, 2010 at 2:43pm

Maybe nontheist, or religion-free, morality would be clearer, but then this is Think Atheist, so........

 

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