[LMB] Bringing it back to LMB [Was:OT: verging on

Mitch Miller mitchmiller at entertainmenttax.com
Mon Sep 12 01:24:24 BST 2011

From: "Carol Cooper" <carolcooper at shaw.ca>
Subject: Re: To: <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Message-ID: <7FC326C85CA84F0D84E20326ADEDD048 at CarolLaptop>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"

Mitch Miller wrote
> From: "Carol Cooper" carolcooper at shaw.ca
> >Howard Brazee wrote
> >>
> >> One would think that there would be a higher percentage of Christians
> than
> >> atheists who believe in our duty to be stewards of this gift of a
> planet.
> >>
> >Why would one think that?  As an atheist, I believe that our lifetimes on
> >Earth are all that there is, and that what we do while we're here is the
> >only thing that counts.  I don't believe in any 'guiding hand' that will
> >right our screw-ups, or that there's a 'better place' waiting for the
> >virtuous.  If we destroy the natural environment then we've wrecked it
> for
> >mankind - and for animal-kind - for ever.  Why on earth would you think
> an
> >atheist cares less for the planet than a Christian?
> >Carol
> "Ah, yes.  I recall from your file that you are some sort of theist," said
> the Emperor.
> "I am an atheist, myself.  A simple faith, but one which provides me with
> great comfort
> in these last days."
>                 -- Shards of Honor
> Ezar felt free to order mass murder to fulfill his purposes, because he
> believed (and prayed!)
> there was no God to judge him.  If I were an atheist, why on earth would I
> care about the
> environment or anything else but my own aggrandisement and pleasure?

I'm trying to work out if that comment is 'tongue in cheek' or not, because
if not, it's one of the most offensive things I've ever heard.  Do you
seriously think that atheists give no thought to ethics?  Most of the
atheists I know (as opposed to those who don't know what they think and
simply don't go to church) have given much thought to what they do or do not
believe in, and generally have a well-thought out set of ethics and values.
I personally have far more respect for people who behave with decency,
kindness and altruism because they have chosen to do so, rather than those
whose behaviour is governed by fear that they'll be punished if they

But I'm really hoping your comment was just a bad joke......

Neither.  It was a serious question.  I really do not understand how there can be, or
why there should be, ethics if there's nothing other than our lives and ourselves.  I really
do not see many signs in history that people are able to develop and act upon the concepts
of  "good" and "bad" in the absence of an external authority defining those concepts (and little
evidence of that when they do believe in such an authority).

Within a few miles of my home there are tens of thousands of young men (and with increasing
frequency, young women also) who believe in nothing but themselves.  They care for nothing
except themselves, and sometimes their gang.  If they see you are wearing a pair of shoes they
want or driving a car they like, they will beat you viciously or kill you to take them.  Or sometimes
just because they feel like it.  They do not fear punishment because there is little chance they
will be caught, and even if they are, prison is a lark to them.

Perhaps I'm philosophy-disabled, but please believe me that I'm not trying to offend
you, but am really trying to understand you, when I ask you to explain to me 
why, under your view of the world, they should act differently, because I don't see it.

Mitch Miller

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list