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

phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Mon Sep 12 13:58:06 BST 2011

On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:33:30AM -0700, Mitch Miller wrote:

> What I'm asking is, how did you determine those things are "good?"  Is
> there anything in atheism which compels that belief?  Can one be a

No there isn't.  All atheism is is the lack of belief in God or gods.
It's not a complete philosophy of life.

Atheists often have some other materialist philosophy that has positive
ethical ideas.  Epicureanism, secular humanism, Objectivism, others.

> "good" atheist and believe that one should steal, kill, and do
> whatever else one wants to, to get what one wants? 

Sure.  But not a good Epicurean, secular humanist, or Objectivist.

> not because I was able to derive them myself.  I don't see anything in
> human history which tells me human beings are able to derive what is
> good from their own reason, starting from square one.  My experience

You can't derive anything from pure reason, not even math.  You need
somewhere to start.  For ethics, that's senses of empathy and fairness.
If you have them, that's all you need to give a base for ethics.  If you
don't, religion doesn't seem to do much good, and can be twisted as
justification for atrocity.

> is that people rationalize that whatever they're doing is "good,"
> rather than reasoning out what is "good" and trying to do it.  As I
> said before, we humans are generally pretty awful even WITH religion.
> Without it, all I see is Lord of the Flies.

Whereas we see religion not making much difference.  Sometimes it may
make bad people do good or at least non-bad things, but sometimes it
convinces good people to do bad things.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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