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#51 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:
@thekillerklok said:

I don't go around stabbing people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Raping people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Stealing because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't Lie and cheat because Women might attack me with a shovel.

You get one life to live don't waste it.

So, as long as it benefits you do it? In which case, if you could get away with said things, would that be fine?

No, because it wouldn't benefit me if everyone else were doing it too. In fact it would make life very complicated and dangerous, therefore it's more beneficial as a whole if no one participated in such acts.

Not really. If a few do it who are skilled then those few can enjoy themselves. As a whole it is a terrible idea, but without supernatural influences we are not a whole, and thus individually it's a fantastic idea.

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#52 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

So apparently there are a lot of atheists on comicvine.

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#53 Edited by Thekillerklok (10096 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:
@thekillerklok said:

I don't go around stabbing people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Raping people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Stealing because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't Lie and cheat because Women might attack me with a shovel.

You get one life to live don't waste it.

So, as long as it benefits you do it? In which case, if you could get away with said things, would that be fine?

Depends entirely on the scenario and setting.

  • If someone was trying to Stab me I would shoot them... Because I like living.
  • I am not big into the whole rape thing and I don't see the benifits, isn't a long term relationship more fufilling? if not just find other desperate people on craigslist? much less effort and I don't need to feel powerful. #notmyfetish
  • What exactly am I suppose to steal that I couldn't just buy? and if it's something valuable enough that I can't simply just buy it wouldn't it likely be troublesome to steal? (If I was starving I would steal to survive. Because I like living.)
  • And have you ever been hit with a shovel? I have... It hurts... like really bad.
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#54 Edited by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@thekillerklok said:

I don't go around stabbing people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Raping people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Stealing because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't Lie and cheat because Women might attack me with a shovel.

You get one life to live don't waste it.

So, as long as it benefits you do it? In which case, if you could get away with said things, would that be fine?

No, because it wouldn't benefit me if everyone else were doing it too. In fact it would make life very complicated and dangerous, therefore it's more beneficial as a whole if no one participated in such acts.

Not really. If a few do it who are skilled then those few can enjoy themselves. As a whole it is a terrible idea, but without supernatural influences we are not a whole, and thus individually it's a fantastic idea.

How so? It comes down to one simple question. Do I want to be in direct competition with everyone around me? The answer... No...

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#55 Posted by MysticMedivh (32250 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm getting the impression that the OP is baffled that people can be perfectly moral without have to believe in some sort of deity or magic story.

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#56 Posted by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@lukespeedblitz said:

How would a moral compass evolve?

Theoretically it is whatever gets that creature at the top of the chain, so if kindness were to be reciprocated then manipulation comes next, appearing to be kind only so you can drain them dry and get a new source. Which would suggest psychopaths and sociopaths are actually more evolved then the rest of us.

Unless of course, that type of behavior is considered unacceptable and puts you in danger of being lynched/imprisoned/executed.

But it doesn't in actuality. Plenty of psychopaths are very successful in business since they don't feel the guilt of letting a useless employee go, or of running out another company, etc. But they can also hide that they don't care, and are often fairly intelligent in these matters.

If that form of high functioning psychopathy were to become the norm, then they would lose all advantages they had, and the species as a whole would be even worse off due to no one being helping each other or being able to trust each other.

There's no such thing as more evolved/less evolved. Things evolve in different ways and adapt to specific conditions. You basically described a parasitic life-form. Parasites are not "more evolved" than the hosts, because they still rely on the hosts to survive.

False. Because a psychopath is indeed more evolved (if morality is not an issue) because they do get to pray on others, and if other humans who are social are gone, then so be it. After all humans are quite capable of surviving independently, just not reproducing independently. Of course then they wouldn't be the most evolved, and a new cycle would begin, possibly restarting the process.

Not technically, evolution is supposed to be adapting to a certain situation. So in this present situation, a psychopath really is more evolved if morality doesn't exist. Likewise, a parasite really would be more evolved if the circumstances dictated that they were so.

Yea, humans can live independently. When they aren't in direct competition with every other human living "independently".

No, a psychopath isn't more evolved. Being some super business tycoon is not necessary for survival, and therefore psychopathy does not give advantages for every situation.

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#57 Posted by Just_Banter (12418 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: The probability of success means literally nothing in the basis of what you're asking. Sure, it can be more successful in a business environment, but it would be a massive detriment in the environment we evolved from, that being cavemen and early hunter/gatherer based civilisation.

Either way, if everyone was a psychopath who only did things that benefitted themselves, society would collapse in on itself.

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#58 Edited by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

I am pretty sure even most psychopaths understand how hard life would be if everyone else were also psychopaths.

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#59 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:
@thekillerklok said:

I don't go around stabbing people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Raping people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Stealing because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't Lie and cheat because Women might attack me with a shovel.

You get one life to live don't waste it.

So, as long as it benefits you do it? In which case, if you could get away with said things, would that be fine?

Depends entirely on the scenario and setting.

  • If someone was trying to Stab me I would shoot them... Because I like living.
  • I am not big into the whole rape thing and I don't see the benifits, isn't a long term relationship more fufilling? if not just find other desperate people on craigslist? much less effort and I don't need to feel powerful. #notmyfetish
  • What exactly am I suppose to steal that I couldn't just buy? and if it's something valuable enough that I can't simply just buy it wouldn't it likely be troublesome to steal? (If I was starving I would steal to survive. Because I like living.)
  • And have you ever been hit with a shovel? I have... It hurts... like really bad.

•Gun free zones. A clever psychopath might be able to arrange that.

•That kinda disgusted me too. However it is more convenient for some people and far more pleasurable. That is not a topic I enjoy discussing but I do understand it.

•Some people enjoy the act of theft actually, or crime in and of itself. Plus if you're good enough you could probably make significant money off of it. You just have to be clever.

•Only if you get caught will that happen. But...I'm actually not sure I've been hit with a shovel. Been gut punched by my sister though.

@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@thekillerklok said:

I don't go around stabbing people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Raping people because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't go around Stealing because that is stupid and wouldn't benefit me.

I don't Lie and cheat because Women might attack me with a shovel.

You get one life to live don't waste it.

So, as long as it benefits you do it? In which case, if you could get away with said things, would that be fine?

No, because it wouldn't benefit me if everyone else were doing it too. In fact it would make life very complicated and dangerous, therefore it's more beneficial as a whole if no one participated in such acts.

Not really. If a few do it who are skilled then those few can enjoy themselves. As a whole it is a terrible idea, but without supernatural influences we are not a whole, and thus individually it's a fantastic idea.

How so? It comes down to one simple question. Do I want to be in direct competition with everyone around me? The answer... No...

Now you're narrowing it down to your own emotions. I actually enjoy competition, usually. And for a person with ASPD they probably really wouldn't care, they might even enjoy it as well. They are the shark and everyone else is just another meal.

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#60 Edited by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually enjoy competition, usually.

No, you enjoy simulated competition. Like bear wrestling with it's siblings. It's not real competition unless life or death is on the line, and even if you are some crazy adrenaline junky, you would still crave breaks in which you could wind down.

They are the shark and everyone else is just another meal.

Yes. Exactly. They like being THE shark. Being THE shark loses it's meaning when everyone else is a shark too.

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#61 Edited by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm getting the impression that the OP is baffled that people can be perfectly moral without have to believe in some sort of deity or magic story.

I'm getting the impression you are either offended or baffled by a scenario in which an individual wouldn't understand a person caring about morality unless there is a purpose to their life which involves said morality.

@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:
@admirallogic said:
@lukespeedblitz said:

How would a moral compass evolve?

Theoretically it is whatever gets that creature at the top of the chain, so if kindness were to be reciprocated then manipulation comes next, appearing to be kind only so you can drain them dry and get a new source. Which would suggest psychopaths and sociopaths are actually more evolved then the rest of us.

Unless of course, that type of behavior is considered unacceptable and puts you in danger of being lynched/imprisoned/executed.

But it doesn't in actuality. Plenty of psychopaths are very successful in business since they don't feel the guilt of letting a useless employee go, or of running out another company, etc. But they can also hide that they don't care, and are often fairly intelligent in these matters.

If that form of high functioning psychopathy were to become the norm, then they would lose all advantages they had, and the species as a whole would be even worse off due to no one being helping each other or being able to trust each other.

There's no such thing as more evolved/less evolved. Things evolve in different ways and adapt to specific conditions. You basically described a parasitic life-form. Parasites are not "more evolved" than the hosts, because they still rely on the hosts to survive.

False. Because a psychopath is indeed more evolved (if morality is not an issue) because they do get to pray on others, and if other humans who are social are gone, then so be it. After all humans are quite capable of surviving independently, just not reproducing independently. Of course then they wouldn't be the most evolved, and a new cycle would begin, possibly restarting the process.

Not technically, evolution is supposed to be adapting to a certain situation. So in this present situation, a psychopath really is more evolved if morality doesn't exist. Likewise, a parasite really would be more evolved if the circumstances dictated that they were so.

Yea, humans can live independently. When they aren't in direct competition with every other human living "independently".

No, a psychopath isn't more evolved. Being some super business tycoon is not necessary for survival, and therefore psychopathy does not give advantages for every situation.

But even having brains at our level doesn't give advantages for every situation. You're trying to say I make psychopaths some super powered beings. When in reality what I'm saying is psychopaths are the intellectual equivalence to humans of our time. They manipulate everyone else to get what they want like humanity can manipulate the other creatures and plants.

@admirallogic: The probability of success means literally nothing in the basis of what you're asking. Sure, it can be more successful in a business environment, but it would be a massive detriment in the environment we evolved from, that being cavemen and early hunter/gatherer based civilisation.

Either way, if everyone was a psychopath who only did things that benefitted themselves, society would collapse in on itself.

You're also making the assumption that everyone is a psychopath. However that's not how evolution is supposed to work. If everything was a human we wouldn't have a perfect system either now would we? But right now, in these circumstances, without morality, then a psychopath is indeed more evolved.

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#62 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

I am pretty sure even most psychopaths understand how hard life would be if everyone else were also psychopaths.

And humans understand the need to have things that are not human. You are not using things of equivalence.

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#63 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually enjoy competition, usually.

No, you enjoy simulated competition. Like bear wrestling with it's siblings. It's not real competition unless life or death is on the line, and even if you are some crazy adrenaline junky, you would still crave breaks in which you could wind down.

They are the shark and everyone else is just another meal.

Yes. Exactly. They like being THE shark. Being THE shark loses it's meaning when everyone else is a shark too.

Adrenaline is most often related to physical activity, I prefer intellectual stimulation. A psychopath just tries to get on top. Also, those breaks are called sleep and vacation away from humans.

Right, and being human loses if everyone else is human to. And again you use that same comparison that has already been shown to not be what I meant.

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#64 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

I kinda need to go to sleep soon.

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#65 Posted by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic:

right now, in these circumstances, without morality, then a psychopath is indeed more evolved.

No, that's obviously not true, because other people are doing perfectly fine without being psychopaths. If you aren't evolved enough for an environment, you die out. If they both exist and thrive at the same time, then they are equally evolved. Different things evolve in different ways to suit different situations.

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#66 Posted by Just_Banter (12418 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic:

You're also making the assumption that everyone is a psychopath.

No? What? That's literally the opposite of what I've been saying. Psychopathy is a mental disorder, which means it's not natural. Of course only a minority of people have it. Were you reading my previous posts? I said that if everyone was a psychopath, not that everyone is one.

But right now, in these circumstances, without morality, then a psychopath is indeed more evolved.

More evolved in what way? In business, sure. As a doctor? No. As a therapist? No. As a cop? No. As anything that actually involves empathy and dealing with others, and isn't about pure black and white decisions based on money? No. People with ASPD have a niche in society, sure, and they know how to exploit it, sure, but that doesn't mean that they're more 'evolved' then everyone else. That's a terrible way of looking at the situation.

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#67 Posted by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@zetsumoto said:

I actually enjoy competition, usually.

No, you enjoy simulated competition. Like bear wrestling with it's siblings. It's not real competition unless life or death is on the line, and even if you are some crazy adrenaline junky, you would still crave breaks in which you could wind down.

They are the shark and everyone else is just another meal.

Yes. Exactly. They like being THE shark. Being THE shark loses it's meaning when everyone else is a shark too.

Adrenaline is most often related to physical activity, I prefer intellectual stimulation. A psychopath just tries to get on top. Also, those breaks are called sleep and vacation away from humans.

Right, and being human loses if everyone else is human to. And again you use that same comparison that has already been shown to not be what I meant.

No it's not. Tons of adrenaline junkies get addicted to high stakes gambling, and other non-physically strenuous activities.

You have a very flawed way of defining what's "more evolved".

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#68 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@zetsumoto:

Right, and psychopaths are evolved to thrive in these situations. As a sort of pyarmid: Psychopathic humans need social humans, social humans need animals and plants to eat, animals need plants or other animals, plants need sunlight and soil, so on so forth.

Your theory about applying that everywhere is failed. A normal human doesn't need a psychopath, but a normal plant doesn't really need a human either. Thus, the most evolved being relies on others, but is not necessarily relied upon by what they prey on. It's how much they can thrive, not how many of them there are.

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#69 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic:

You're also making the assumption that everyone is a psychopath.

No? What? That's literally the opposite of what I've been saying. Psychopathy is a mental disorder, which means it's not natural. Of course only a minority of people have it. Were you reading my previous posts? I said that if everyone was a psychopath, not that everyone is one.

But right now, in these circumstances, without morality, then a psychopath is indeed more evolved.

More evolved in what way? In business, sure. As a doctor? No. As a therapist? No. As a cop? No. As anything that actually involves empathy and dealing with others, and isn't about pure black and white decisions based on money? No. People with ASPD have a niche in society, sure, and they know how to exploit it, sure, but that doesn't mean that they're more 'evolved' then everyone else. That's a terrible way of looking at the situation.

I think you misinterpreted what I said there.

Actually they could do well as a doctor, therapist, or a cop. A doctor requires plenty of mental capabilities, and a clever one could exploit his patients for the maximum amount of money while appearing to be the kindest person in the world. Same with a therapist. As for a cop, mehh, that's not a great job unless you get a good rank, but once you get up there it becomes very business like, meaning yes, a psychopath would thrive once again.

Us humans with emotions for other people make it to easy for our judgment of them to be clouded, a psychopath could locate another deciever and not care that it was someone who, had it been one of us, may have been good friends with them.

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#70 Posted by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: Banter already covered why everything you just said is extremely flawed.

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#71 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:
@zetsumoto said:

I actually enjoy competition, usually.

No, you enjoy simulated competition. Like bear wrestling with it's siblings. It's not real competition unless life or death is on the line, and even if you are some crazy adrenaline junky, you would still crave breaks in which you could wind down.

They are the shark and everyone else is just another meal.

Yes. Exactly. They like being THE shark. Being THE shark loses it's meaning when everyone else is a shark too.

Adrenaline is most often related to physical activity, I prefer intellectual stimulation. A psychopath just tries to get on top. Also, those breaks are called sleep and vacation away from humans.

Right, and being human loses if everyone else is human to. And again you use that same comparison that has already been shown to not be what I meant.

No it's not. Tons of adrenaline junkies get addicted to high stakes gambling, and other non-physically strenuous activities.

You have a very flawed way of defining what's "more evolved".

Gambling is a very different form of intellectual stimulation. That's typically one used by fools who don't care or want to get something more continuous and trustworthy to go on.

Evolved is whatever thrives best right? So if something thrives best by doing things that most would find wrong, but does it witout caring and being injured by such things, then it is more evolved. Like I said, without morality, the most evolved species is always just the one that thrives the best in its present situation.

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#72 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: Banter already covered why everything you just said is extremely flawed.

It failed to properly negate them actually. He went over it, but he did not negate their truth.

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#73 Edited by MyLittleFascist (31818 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic:

Gambling is a very different form of intellectual stimulation.

That's funny, because you are talking about psychopaths being business men. Running a business is a gamble. Pretty much everything is a gamble when it comes down to it. Gambling doesn't mean leaving things to complete chance. There are tons of forms of gambling that require intellect to succeed at.

The issue with everything you are saying is that you have no strict definition for "thriving". Just because they are good at a life style that you personally crave, doesn't mean they are thriving better than people who simply don't crave that lifestyle.

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#74 Posted by Pokeysteve (12025 posts) - - Show Bio

It's unbelievably hypocritical for someone religious to be questioning morals. I don't recall any Atheists burning people alive. Go read about the dark ages for 15 minutes and come back here.

Morals have nothing to do with religion. It's what kind of person do you want to be. How empathetic are you. Everyone does good or bad things because they choose to. Dennis Rader was very active in his church. Google him.

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#75 Edited by BruceRogers (17618 posts) - - Show Bio

I am an Atheist and I do not need the promise of an eternal paradise or fear of eternal pain to do good. Religion did not invent the concept of morality.

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#76 Posted by TinyFord (467 posts) - - Show Bio

@zetsumoto: i agree it's based on your own reasoning, but more than half of the world's religions don't believe this and this needs to be taken into consideration when we state something like "it comes down to our reasoning that we choose whether or not to believe". More than 50% of the world religions don't believe we choose they believe you are chosen and therefore believe, not the other way around. Just a though.

But I'm with you on that

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#77 Posted by Storcks (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Morality is ofcourse not god-given. And there are no such things as objective morals or Objective Morality as a whole. To explain this you just have to look at what morality is: your own inner feelings about what is right and what is wrong. This can not be objective, because values are so personal and and subjective. If there is no way for there to be objective morals, there can not be a objective moral overlord. Certainly if that objective moral overlord, wipes his ass with those morals when they apply to him. If objective morality is a thing than it absolutely must apply to God, the moral overlord. If God want to convince us that his way is best than live the part. Yahweh, the father didn't really care that much about his own morality, he much more so than Jesus, the son was a tyrannical overlord with low morals.

The bible is a book with many a passage filled with morality and law. No Christian on earth reads the bible as a whole and does everything as the bible tells them to do it. They all cherry-pick. Some just adhere to the New Testament and sermon on the mound. Some are really into the gay-hating parts of the book. But none of them take the whole bible and follow it to the letter. You would be mad to do that because it is rife with contradictions. So you pick out the parts you like and can adhere to. You cherry-pick. But with what set of morals do you cherry pick? Not the god-given ones, because what we know of god is from the book you are now cherry-picking from. They must be a extra-biblical set of morals. A set of morals that are of another source than god. They are a much more Darwinian thing. Why is killing bad, because we all like to live. A society that kills itself literally doesn't live long. Why is thievery bad? We all like to keep our stuff. So if morals are not biblical, but a more evolutionary thing, there is no reason atheists would not have morals. And in reality you see places like Japan and Western Europe, where there are a lot more atheists, are not rife with crime, in the contrary they are more peaceful than mostly christian countries.

None of those Darwinian morals have anything to do with the afterlife. They pay-off in the here and now. those who do good to other will be rewarded in the here and now. No need for fictional places of reward and punishment, that only distracts from what is really important: life in the present.

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#78 Posted by Elijah_C_Washington (4618 posts) - - Show Bio

America, tbh.

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#79 Edited by IceDemonKing (10009 posts) - - Show Bio

For atheists I am their moral compass.

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#80 Posted by NightSky86 (191 posts) - - Show Bio

Our Lord and saviour Sam Harris has answered this

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#81 Edited by i_like_swords (26271 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: I think a lot of atheists take a pitstop at nihilism as far as morality is concerned, but I think there is something more.

Three books helped me form a different approach to understanding morality: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, and Republic by Plato.

The first I read was the first two chapters of The Selfish Gene. While pursuing the idea that all things evolve purely on the basis that their individual genes are selfish and want to succeed, Dawkins made a really interesting point which I interpreted in my own way (not sure if many others have, my friend didn't). He makes the point that no matter how unlikely something is, eventually, it has to happen. He drew the analogy of how, in one human lifetime, it's incredibly unlikely we will ever win the lottery putting on one ticket a week. But by putting a ticket on a week for hundreds or thousands or millions of human life times, eventually you have to win, and eventually you will win a lot. We consider a lot of things "unlikely" or "impossible" relative to our own lives, but the universe is much bigger than that.

Before reading this, I already agreed with the idea that there is no "beginning" or "end" as we know it. The universe is timeless and infinite. So what followed then, was that because we live in a timeless, infinite universe, all things that can happen, will happen eventually. And that's inevitable. Because the universe has unlimited time and matter, our existence is like playing the lottery. Our earth and our lives happening the way they did had a one in a million trillion chance of happening, but eventually we had to happen. All of us were inevitable. That means, in theory, anything I can imagine can happen. It makes me feel quite a bit more optimistic about things.

Next I read The War of Art. Pressfield spends a lot of time talking about "resistance" and another entity he calls the "muse", in other words, "God" or the unconscious mind. He characterises resistance as that part of your mind that resists doing things which are ultimately beneficial and productive, by preying on your pains, weaknesses, fears and temptations. He characterises the muse as the part of you which knows it should be doing things that are creative, productive, beneficial and long-term gratifying. You could also call this your intuition.

Now, he makes the interesting point that we don't really know why we do the things we do. You can break things down to a chemical reaction on a molecular level, atomic, sub-atomic, quantum etc. But it goes on and on until we run out of microscopes to measure micro phenomena. And likewise, we can't see the grander implications of our own universe and existence - everything the human being has perceived right now, may just be a dust mote in the wind of the rest of existence. We may be the crust in between a giants toenail, ready to be destroyed if he jumps out of his chair too fast.

But, what we do know is this: there is something that makes us do things. Gives us ideas. Gives us emotions. Gives us the drive to take action. To care. To build. To create, and so on. Something gets us out of the bed in the morning. And you will also find that if you are in the middle of any creative endeavour, our brain has some kind of internal filing and organisational system. You will write a story, or essay, for example, and then when you stop writing, your brain/intuition will automatically start suggesting that something could have been written differently, or needs to be taken out, or this could be added in. We usually call it "talking to ourselves."

We don't know what this is. We don't know why we have life in the first place, let alone the capabilities that come with it. But something is fueling it. Some call it god, or an aspect of god, or one particular minor god, some call it the universe, or the unconscious, or your intuition, etc. The point is, it seems like there is some unifying, invisible, infinite force that makes the gears spin. Pressfield makes the argument that it is our duty to honour this invisible force by undertaking worthwhile endeavours regardless of how much resistance we feel from pain, fear and inconvenience.

Republic raises an interesting point to all of this when he discusses morality. Specifically, the characters discuss what "Justice" means. What it means to be just, or unjust, and if it is better to live a life of justness or injustice. Socrates argues that, regardless of the circumstances, it is always more beneficial for the individual to live a just life than to live an unjust one. That means, even if the unjust man has wealth, great fame and reputation, a loving family, is able to ascend to the greatest afterlife via paying great amounts of tribute to the gods over his lifetime, is in great mental and physical health, and so on, it is still more beneficial to live like a just man. Even if the just man has the opposite of all these things: no money, poor health, a terrible reputation, no family, no afterlife, and so on.

In order to demonstrate his point, he very cleverly began theorising his own Republic, on the premise that everyone who lives in this city is going to act justly. And I've not finished the book yet, but, it seems that by demonstrating out how perfect a utopia he has created through making sure everyone who lives in this city acts justly, he has demonstrated that on both an individual and societal level, you can only be in a positive frame of body, mind and soul while you living justly. You can only cooperate with your fellow man, create great things and so on, when you are behaving justly.

There's a lot more to it than that. They also discuss the idea that justice depends on the frame of reference for those involved (justice to one man may be injustice to another, at any given time), and that you can behave justly and in an unjust way simultaneously. E.g, a group of bandits want to perform an injustice by staging an armed robbery, but, in order to cooperate with each other, make a plan, and split the loot, they need to act justly among one another. If they treated each other in an unjust way, backstabbed each other and refused to cooperate, their plan would fall apart. The unjust man lacks the potential of the just man for this reason.

And one of the most important points Socrates made was that justice can be seen as any one tool, or any one person, doing the one thing they are best at doing, as best as they can, and only that thing. The suited tool for the suited purpose. A butter knife to spread butter, a writer to write, a brick layer to lay bricks, a leader to lead, a fighter to fight, and so on. He notes that it would be an injustice if a tool was used to carry out a task it was not made for, e.g an artist trying to lay bricks may make a shoddy wall which is poor in defending a city, or if your soldiers brought spoons into battle, it would be an injustice because those tools will not adequately defend their families.

So... I combine the notion that my existence is inevitable, and that there is an invisible, unknowable force which drives my actions every day with the philosophy that there is something I am best suited to be doing, and that it is justice for me to be doing this thing, and you have my moral philosophy. Treating others poorly, inflicting unnecessary harm, stagnating in areas of my life where I should be advancing, and so on, I view as injustices not only to myself, but to the people around me and the universe at large. If I hurt someone, I ultimately hurt myself.

I think human beings are unique in that we can critically question the idea of our own existence; a lion doesn't need to be asked to hunt for food for it's family, and then lick it's own butt. It just does so because it knows it should. This is the same with virtually every other living thing on the planet. But our brains are so advanced, so capable of critical and abstract thought that we can actually trip ourselves up from making progress. I think in the world we live in now, with economics, politics, modern education, law etc, all being driving forces in how we shape our morality and understanding of our lives, many of us have become disillusioned with what really matters in life; which is to say, whatever your intuition tells you should matter to you. We stopped listening to that underlying, invisible power source that drives us all, and instead got carried away in our minds by the ideas of everyone else. In closing, I think your moral compass and your purpose of life - and there is one for everyone - should stem from your own intuition, not from the ideas of others. And if everyone followed their own intuition, we would live in a more just world.

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#82 Posted by Emperor339 (2488 posts) - - Show Bio

Morality is a lot more complex than worrying about eternal consequences for oneself.

I'm sure religion plays a part in how a lot of people act, but just like that there are many reasons that I would want to do good.
Though I hate philosophy, so I'm not interested in going into detail.

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#83 Edited by dshipp17 (5607 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic said:

Note: Yes I know some people will say this belongs in the religion thread but this is a specific question and something I'd prefer to actually know I got answered for me then debated over a couple months with twelve different people. I also know that atheist is simply someone who doesn't believe in a God, while what I'm referring to is someone who doesn't believe in a life after death situation which is much broader of a term.

So here's the conundrum:

There have been multiple times where I have run across people who are atheists in the religion thread and in other sites who have essentially said "If someone has to fear eternal damnantion to do good things they aren't really good." or the other common one "Why should you have to get the promise of heaven to do good works."

Now, to memory, all these people didn't believe in an afterlife or a soul. Essentially completely in disbelief of the supernatural. So if I put myself in the shoes of someone with those belief's I come up with this scenario: If there is no God, no Hell, and no Heaven, or even any form of life after I die, what is the point of having any form of moral compass? I can do whatever I want as long as it benefits me more then it harms me throughout my life, since after I die I won't have to worry about anything.

There is also the fact that with these same belief that there is no afterlife, suicide is an extremely appealing option for people of high stress levels and depression. Heck I'd have probably done it as a child if I wasn't Catholic, either that or someone else would have died. The other possibility was that I'd do as I mentioned in the scenario which is simply do whatever I found convenient, if that meant manipulating people into doing what I want then that's what would happen. Fortunately it didn't, but it was a plausible scenario.

I simply do not understand where a moral compass is if an individual does not believe in an afterlife of one form or another. So for any in that situation please enlighten me to your reasoning. And even if you aren't in that same situation, if you think you figured out their reasoning, please tell me anyway. Could be useful for an extra view.

"If there is no God, no Hell, and no Heaven, or even any form of life after I die, what is the point of having any form of moral compass? I can do whatever I want as long as it benefits me more then it harms me throughout my life, since after I die I won't have to worry about anything."

If someone is doing good, but professing to be an atheist, professing to be atheist has got to only be for outward appearances or a pretense; or, if not, either you're dealing with a coward; or, the person isn't really moral, at all, they're just extremely analytical and strategic (e.g. balance risk versus reward very well; they have to follow the law; while they may not murder someone, that doesn't mean that they wouldn't cheat or scam someone, as one example; or, they wouldn't have someone murdered; or, they wouldn't murder, if they knew they could get away with it; and, for atheists, this probably does happen, because, they got away with the murder; it was a situation where no one is the wiser; or, cheated and scammed someone, as either no one is the wiser or the law protects them). I believe the fields where you could have someone who would truly believe these things would be people like supervisors, managers, business owners, lawyers, and judges, as they're put into positions where they can become accustomed to becoming truly callous towards their fellow human kind (e.g. it's a matter of routinely firing lots of people, knowing the impact that it will have on their lives, or, refusing to hire someone who hasn't worked in a very long time, not caring that it could bring the person relief; and for lawyers and judges, being able to help bring about the relief, but being anxious to refuse it, or, sentencing thousands of people to death throughout a career, and feeling the same as someone else who just put in a hard days work doing something like preventing contaminated food from entering the United States food supply for decades; and, to feel that a very closed loved one deserves some type of an exception either demonstrates absolute selfishness or a very strong pretense in being a professed atheist, by one of these groups of people). Once you come to really know supervisors, lawyers, and judges, you could indeed conclude that it's a possibility, due to the sheer callous nature of some of these types of people, except, of course, if an exception needs to be made for one of their loved ones or themselves (e.g. sure, there could be a case where one of these would have no hesitation, when it came to a family member too, but, that can be distinguished from an actual loved one; one case of an actual loved one might involve a spouse, one case might involve a very loyal (business or legal) partner, one could involve a pet, or one might involve themselves and having the unusual situation of someone refusing medical treatment, at a desperate time, but, one is a loved one of sorts for this person). And, than, after this, this certain mindset could be passed down to a child.

I mean, come on, it's like an ingrained human instinct to believe in God and an afterlife, or believe or hope that these things exist, but just on a much smaller scale than say someone like Pastors and regular church attendees. And, I believe that in most cases, it's kind of a matter of trade (e.g. either you believe the Bible and accept that aliens and Star Trek (or Wars) are not a possibility, or the Bible has to disappear, because the possibility of aliens and Star Wars is much more thrilling; I believe this is the case, when it comes to youth).

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#84 Posted by Greysentinel365 (6358 posts) - - Show Bio

I base my morality on practicality.

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#85 Posted by SeaGod (4745 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: you have opened my eyes to the wonders of religion. No longer will I live my immoral lifestyle. I shall convert to your amazing true religion right after I go stone my ex to death since she has been with multiple men. Just as our supreme leader God ordered. Thank you for opening my eyes to this incredible world.

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#86 Posted by Wispymatt (1592 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say that it is because if there is no afterlife then all that matters is now then you don't want it to end prematurely because you made a decision that got you thrown in jail or angered people who would kill you.

I do not like stating my beliefs whether it is Atheist or Christian this is just what I have heard as a reason behind their moral compass.

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#87 Edited by Dextersinister1 (1257 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pokeysteve said:

It's unbelievably hypocritical for someone religious to be questioning morals. I don't recall any Atheists burning people alive. Go read about the dark ages for 15 minutes and come back here.

Morals have nothing to do with religion. It's what kind of person do you want to be. How empathetic are you. Everyone does good or bad things because they choose to. Dennis Rader was very active in his church. Google him.

This is poor grade atheist logic.

"we never did those bad things in an era when things where a lot worse and we didn't really exist therefore atheists = good, religion = bad"

45 million killed by Mao which was a philosophy of following the state.

You have made the mistake of assuming that people need religion to do things in the name of a belief.

Atheists often display defensive or aggressive behavior that has nothing to with logic but tribal group think. Same as feminists, Republicans or democrats or any other political group.

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#88 Posted by GuildSeal (270 posts) - - Show Bio

Knowing what it feels like to be in pain, is one of the reasons we're kind to others.

Religion doesn't make anyone 'good' or anyone 'bad' per say.

You can argue it encourages bad behaviour (sexism, homophobia etc), but if someone is bad, that's down to the individual.

What I do find interesting however, is that no one has ever killed someone in the name of Atheism. I don't mean someone who killed who happened to be an Atheist, I mean someone claiming they killed for Atheism. You can't say the same about religion.

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#89 Posted by Benjamin_Poindexter (971 posts) - - Show Bio

The entire prison population in the United States contains less than 0.07% Atheists. Guess what the rest of the prison population is made up of.

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#90 Posted by Erik_Soong (1560 posts) - - Show Bio
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#91 Edited by i_like_swords (26271 posts) - - Show Bio

@guildseal said:

What I do find interesting however, is that no one has ever killed someone in the name of Atheism. I don't mean someone who killed who happened to be an Atheist, I mean someone claiming they killed for Atheism. You can't say the same about religion.

Well, atheism is simply the disbelief of there being a god. People usually do things motivated by their beliefs, not to demonstrate how little they believe something. An atheist can murder in the name of a belief that isn't religious and it'd be exactly the same thing.

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#92 Edited by BeaconofStrength (12489 posts) - - Show Bio

morals dont exist, tho

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#93 Posted by Emperordmb (1987 posts) - - Show Bio

Moral relativism and moral nihilism are both disgusting and I wouldn't be a moral relativist or nihilist even if I were an atheist.

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#94 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic:

Gambling is a very different form of intellectual stimulation.

That's funny, because you are talking about psychopaths being business men. Running a business is a gamble. Pretty much everything is a gamble when it comes down to it. Gambling doesn't mean leaving things to complete chance. There are tons of forms of gambling that require intellect to succeed at.

The issue with everything you are saying is that you have no strict definition for "thriving". Just because they are good at a life style that you personally crave, doesn't mean they are thriving better than people who simply don't crave that lifestyle.

Not in real life. A business has a much more predictable form of variables. Chance is essentially non existent, it is merely variables you haven't, for whatever reason, accounted for. Gambling has so many forms you'd have to break it down into its different types to decide how much was actually left to "chance" (unaccounted variables) thus making it a too much of a risk or hardly a risk at all, or you could cheat and control far more variables.

@seagod said:

@admirallogic: you have opened my eyes to the wonders of religion. No longer will I live my immoral lifestyle. I shall convert to your amazing true religion right after I go stone my ex to death since she has been with multiple men. Just as our supreme leader God ordered. Thank you for opening my eyes to this incredible world.

You know sarcasm is probably the saddest form of an argument I've run into, and my whole family uses it on a regular basis, just not usually in a debate. It's utilized in an attempt to demean an opponent or target and decrease everyone else's respect for them. It is a weapon used either by people to lazy to think up a real argument, or who are trying to manipulate the emotions of their target or those of others to create a bias against them. Either way, it is a poor choice for an actual debate.

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#95 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: I think a lot of atheists take a pitstop at nihilism as far as morality is concerned, but I think there is something more.

Three books helped me form a different approach to understanding morality: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, and Republic by Plato.

The first I read was the first two chapters of The Selfish Gene. While pursuing the idea that all things evolve purely on the basis that their individual genes are selfish and want to succeed, Dawkins made a really interesting point which I interpreted in my own way (not sure if many others have, my friend didn't). He makes the point that no matter how unlikely something is, eventually, it has to happen. He drew the analogy of how, in one human lifetime, it's incredibly unlikely we will ever win the lottery putting on one ticket a week. But by putting a ticket on a week for hundreds or thousands or millions of human life times, eventually you have to win, and eventually you will win a lot. We consider a lot of things "unlikely" or "impossible" relative to our own lives, but the universe is much bigger than that.

Before reading this, I already agreed with the idea that there is no "beginning" or "end" as we know it. The universe is timeless and infinite. So what followed then, was that because we live in a timeless, infinite universe, all things that can happen, will happen eventually. And that's inevitable. Because the universe has unlimited time and matter, our existence is like playing the lottery. Our earth and our lives happening the way they did had a one in a million trillion chance of happening, but eventually we had to happen. All of us were inevitable. That means, in theory, anything I can imagine can happen. It makes me feel quite a bit more optimistic about things.

Next I read The War of Art. Pressfield spends a lot of time talking about "resistance" and another entity he calls the "muse", in other words, "God" or the unconscious mind. He characterises resistance as that part of your mind that resists doing things which are ultimately beneficial and productive, by preying on your pains, weaknesses, fears and temptations. He characterises the muse as the part of you which knows it should be doing things that are creative, productive, beneficial and long-term gratifying. You could also call this your intuition.

Now, he makes the interesting point that we don't really know why we do the things we do. You can break things down to a chemical reaction on a molecular level, atomic, sub-atomic, quantum etc. But it goes on and on until we run out of microscopes to measure micro phenomena. And likewise, we can't see the grander implications of our own universe and existence - everything the human being has perceived right now, may just be a dust mote in the wind of the rest of existence. We may be the crust in between a giants toenail, ready to be destroyed if he jumps out of his chair too fast.

But, what we do know is this: there is something that makes us do things. Gives us ideas. Gives us emotions. Gives us the drive to take action. To care. To build. To create, and so on. Something gets us out of the bed in the morning. And you will also find that if you are in the middle of any creative endeavour, our brain has some kind of internal filing and organisational system. You will write a story, or essay, for example, and then when you stop writing, your brain/intuition will automatically start suggesting that something could have been written differently, or needs to be taken out, or this could be added in. We usually call it "talking to ourselves."

We don't know what this is. We don't know why we have life in the first place, let alone the capabilities that come with it. But something is fueling it. Some call it god, or an aspect of god, or one particular minor god, some call it the universe, or the unconscious, or your intuition, etc. The point is, it seems like there is some unifying, invisible, infinite force that makes the gears spin. Pressfield makes the argument that it is our duty to honour this invisible force by undertaking worthwhile endeavours regardless of how much resistance we feel from pain, fear and inconvenience.

Republic raises an interesting point to all of this when he discusses morality. Specifically, the characters discuss what "Justice" means. What it means to be just, or unjust, and if it is better to live a life of justness or injustice. Socrates argues that, regardless of the circumstances, it is always more beneficial for the individual to live a just life than to live an unjust one. That means, even if the unjust man has wealth, great fame and reputation, a loving family, is able to ascend to the greatest afterlife via paying great amounts of tribute to the gods over his lifetime, is in great mental and physical health, and so on, it is still more beneficial to live like a just man. Even if the just man has the opposite of all these things: no money, poor health, a terrible reputation, no family, no afterlife, and so on.

In order to demonstrate his point, he very cleverly began theorising his own Republic, on the premise that everyone who lives in this city is going to act justly. And I've not finished the book yet, but, it seems that by demonstrating out how perfect a utopia he has created through making sure everyone who lives in this city acts justly, he has demonstrated that on both an individual and societal level, you can only be in a positive frame of body, mind and soul while you living justly. You can only cooperate with your fellow man, create great things and so on, when you are behaving justly.

There's a lot more to it than that. They also discuss the idea that justice depends on the frame of reference for those involved (justice to one man may be injustice to another, at any given time), and that you can behave justly and in an unjust way simultaneously. E.g, a group of bandits want to perform an injustice by staging an armed robbery, but, in order to cooperate with each other, make a plan, and split the loot, they need to act justly among one another. If they treated each other in an unjust way, backstabbed each other and refused to cooperate, their plan would fall apart. The unjust man lacks the potential of the just man for this reason.

And one of the most important points Socrates made was that justice can be seen as any one tool, or any one person, doing the one thing they are best at doing, as best as they can, and only that thing. The suited tool for the suited purpose. A butter knife to spread butter, a writer to write, a brick layer to lay bricks, a leader to lead, a fighter to fight, and so on. He notes that it would be an injustice if a tool was used to carry out a task it was not made for, e.g an artist trying to lay bricks may make a shoddy wall which is poor in defending a city, or if your soldiers brought spoons into battle, it would be an injustice because those tools will not adequately defend their families.

So... I combine the notion that my existence is inevitable, and that there is an invisible, unknowable force which drives my actions every day with the philosophy that there is something I am best suited to be doing, and that it is justice for me to be doing this thing, and you have my moral philosophy. Treating others poorly, inflicting unnecessary harm, stagnating in areas of my life where I should be advancing, and so on, I view as injustices not only to myself, but to the people around me and the universe at large. If I hurt someone, I ultimately hurt myself.

I think human beings are unique in that we can critically question the idea of our own existence; a lion doesn't need to be asked to hunt for food for it's family, and then lick it's own butt. It just does so because it knows it should. This is the same with virtually every other living thing on the planet. But our brains are so advanced, so capable of critical and abstract thought that we can actually trip ourselves up from making progress. I think in the world we live in now, with economics, politics, modern education, law etc, all being driving forces in how we shape our morality and understanding of our lives, many of us have become disillusioned with what really matters in life; which is to say, whatever your intuition tells you should matter to you. We stopped listening to that underlying, invisible power source that drives us all, and instead got carried away in our minds by the ideas of everyone else. In closing, I think your moral compass and your purpose of life - and there is one for everyone - should stem from your own intuition, not from the ideas of others. And if everyone followed their own intuition, we would live in a more just world.

Thank you. This was probably the best answer to my question yet, it actually gave me pretty good insight into the matter.

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#96 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@dshipp17 said:

"If there is no God, no Hell, and no Heaven, or even any form of life after I die, what is the point of having any form of moral compass? I can do whatever I want as long as it benefits me more then it harms me throughout my life, since after I die I won't have to worry about anything."

If someone is doing good, but professing to be an atheist, professing to be atheist has got to only be for outward appearances or a pretense; or, if not, either you're dealing with a coward; or, the person isn't really moral, at all, they're just extremely analytical and strategic (e.g. balance risk versus reward very well; they have to follow the law; while they may not murder someone, that doesn't mean that they wouldn't cheat or scam someone, as one example; or, they wouldn't have someone murdered; or, they wouldn't murder, if they knew they could get away with it; and, for atheists, this probably does happen, because, they got away with the murder; it was a situation where no one is the wiser; or, cheated and scammed someone, as either no one is the wiser or the law protects them). I believe the fields where you could have someone who would truly believe these things would be people like supervisors, managers, business owners, lawyers, and judges, as they're put into positions where they can become accustomed to becoming truly callous towards their fellow human kind (e.g. it's a matter of routinely firing lots of people, knowing the impact that it will have on their lives, or, refusing to hire someone who hasn't worked in a very long time, not caring that it could bring the person relief; and for lawyers and judges, being able to help bring about the relief, but being anxious to refuse it, or, sentencing thousands of people to death throughout a career, and feeling the same as someone else who just put in a hard days work doing something like preventing contaminated food from entering the United States food supply for decades; and, to feel that a very closed loved one deserves some type of an exception either demonstrates absolute selfishness or a very strong pretense in being a professed atheist, by one of these groups of people). Once you come to really know supervisors, lawyers, and judges, you could indeed conclude that it's a possibility, due to the sheer callous nature of some of these types of people, except, of course, if an exception needs to be made for one of their loved ones or themselves (e.g. sure, there could be a case where one of these would have no hesitation, when it came to a family member too, but, that can be distinguished from an actual loved one; one case of an actual loved one might involve a spouse, one case might involve a very loyal (business or legal) partner, one could involve a pet, or one might involve themselves and having the unusual situation of someone refusing medical treatment, at a desperate time, but, one is a loved one of sorts for this person). And, than, after this, this certain mindset could be passed down to a child.

I mean, come on, it's like an ingrained human instinct to believe in God and an afterlife, or believe or hope that these things exist, but just on a much smaller scale than say someone like Pastors and regular church attendees. And, I believe that in most cases, it's kind of a matter of trade (e.g. either you believe the Bible and accept that aliens and Star Trek (or Wars) are not a possibility, or the Bible has to disappear, because the possibility of aliens and Star Wars is much more thrilling; I believe this is the case, when it comes to youth).

That was a little bit confusing to read. I'm gonna try and repeat what I think I got so just correct me if I misinterpreted, which I very well may have:

It sounds like you're saying we believe in morality, God, and an afterlife, because it is convenient for us as a species, furthering our cooperation with one another and thus making us, as a species, survive very well. But, that the option of preferring to believe in things like star trek and star wars, where there are aliens of at least equal intelligence, and science that is significantly ahead of our own, is something a lot of people nowadays would choose, because it seems more thrilling.

Now I probably also missed a significant amount of what you said to be honest. Maybe I'm tired or maybe I just couldn't understand your train of thought, maybe both. So please fill me in on that matter so I can understand a bit better.

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#97 Edited by SeaGod (4745 posts) - - Show Bio

@admirallogic: [Sarcasm?] [I would never do something like that. I am a true believer now.]

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#98 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

The entire prison population in the United States contains less than 0.07% Atheists. Guess what the rest of the prison population is made up of.

Athiests also happen to be a significantly small amount of the population you know. It's also not about who's in prison, they don't catch everyone, and not every evil act is a crime. Just because someone has no morals doesn't mean they will break the law, it's a matter of convenience and benefits for them. Also, atheists are less likely to do charitable acts, and more likely to commit suicide (Like in one of my scenario's) then a theist.

I'm also going to point out that not every religion is good or has a good moral compass even, just that they actually have one.

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#99 Posted by AdmiralLogic (4131 posts) - - Show Bio

@seagod said:

@admirallogic: [Sarcasm?] [I would never do something like that. I am a true believer now.]

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It is unfortunate you can't think up anything better then attempts at witty comments. Are you going to try and actually debate or should I stop bothering to respond?

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#100 Posted by ARMIV2 (10074 posts) - - Show Bio

Morals are self-defined. Every single person has a moral compass that they recognize. This is developed from growing up, learning, experiencing, and understanding the world around us.