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Try and Make Me Believe Atheists Have No Morals

Opening Argument

I believe, as an Atheist, that I have morals that were put into me not by a god, but by the evolution of the human brain. I dare you to convince me otherwise
  1. Do Atheists Have Morals?

    22 votes
    1. Yes
      95.45%
    2. No
        4.55%
«134

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Status: Open Debate


Arguments

  • @mehbeh1  Of course you have morals, God created atheists too. Doesn't matter what Religion you belong to, or imaginary planet you claim to have evolved on, you are a human created in Gods image, by laws that your body is made up of, so morals were built into you. It takes a lot of work to become an evolving ape, 'cause nature itself', every beautifully and wonderfully designed cell in your body is fighting against that, umm, foolish religious belief system.

    God bless you.
    SilverishGoldNovaHankNonCredentiGhosty
  • VaulkVaulk 306 Pts
    edited November 2017
    There's an issue with the idea that Atheism can be correct and that Atheists can possess Morality.  It's not that they can't possess it, it's just that Morality doesn't fit the evolutionary explanation, we'll use the example of "Selflessness".

    The idea that selflessness is an evolutionary result is preposterous.

    This is proven in the following logical deduction:

    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because it's supportive of the continuation of your Species.

    The problem here is that there is a presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about the continuation of my Species?
    A: Because it's what's best for your Species.

    Yet another presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about what's best for my Species?
    A: Because if you don't then your Species could die.

    Yet another presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about whether or not my Species dies?
    A: Because if your species dies, then you will die.

    Problematic result.

    Q: So then if I understand this correctly, I should strive to be selfless because it's what's best for me?

    This reasoning defies the meaning of selflessness and is illogical.
    DrCerealFascismSilverishGoldNovaEvidenceMissDMeanorNonCredentiGhosty
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • As an atheist, I have values that most people refer to as morals. I believe these came from a combination of upbringing, environment, experience & common sense.
    BaconToes
    I don't get a great deal of free time, for this reason there may be long periods between my posts.
    Please don't expect me to respond with insults and memes, I don't have time for it.
    Please don't expect me to respond to Gish-galloping, I don't have time for it.
  • mehbeh1 said:
    I believe, as an Atheist, that I have morals that were put into me not by a god, but by the evolution of the human brain. I dare you to convince me otherwise
    I think it could be argued that if morals were attributed to the evolution of the human brain, we would all have the same (or at least very similar) morals.
    I don't get a great deal of free time, for this reason there may be long periods between my posts.
    Please don't expect me to respond with insults and memes, I don't have time for it.
    Please don't expect me to respond to Gish-galloping, I don't have time for it.
  • @JoePineapples

    I think you're onto something here.  However...Humans do not have the same morals...and Human's don't even have similar morals across this planet.  Vast populations of Humans across the ocean not only maintain Morals that are dissimilar to Western Morals...but they have Morals that are direct contradictions to Western Moral standards.  Morality across the Earth is in no way, shape or form comparable, if it were then I doubt we would have even 5% of the conflict we have today.
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • Vaulk said:
    There's an issue with the idea that Atheism can be correct and that Atheists can possess Morality.  It's not that they can't possess it, it's just that Morality doesn't fit the evolutionary explanation, we'll use the example of "Selflessness".

    The idea that selflessness is an evolutionary result is preposterous.

    This is proven in the following logical deduction:

    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because it's supportive of the continuation of your Species.

    The problem here is that there is a presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about the continuation of my Species?
    A: Because it's what's best for your Species.

    Yet another presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about what's best for my Species?
    A: Because if you don't then your Species could die.

    Yet another presupposition.

    Q: Why should I care about whether or not my Species dies?
    A: Because if your species dies, then you will die.

    Problematic result.

    Q: So then if I understand this correctly, I should strive to be selfless because it's what's best for me?

    This reasoning defies the meaning of selflessness and is illogical.
    I would like to first mention that this post is a red herring; it is hardly relevant to the proposed resolution.
    (If you wish to argue this without it being a logical fallacy, then you should make a post somewhere else.)

    I would like to point out that your entire post here is based off of the weak premise that selflessness was a direct byproduct of the evolutionary creature's self-preservation instinct. "Selflessness" could be inspired by empathy or reason which easily combats your post.

    E.g.,
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it feels good to be selfless.

    E.g. (an interesting illustration of this example would be the character Spock from Star Trek),
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it's more logical to be selfless.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • VaulkVaulk 306 Pts
    edited November 2017
    @DrCereal
    DrCereal said:

    I would like to first mention that this post is a red herring; it is hardly relevant to the proposed resolution.
    (If you wish to argue this without it being a logical fallacy, then you should make a post somewhere else.)

    I would like to point out that your entire post here is based off of the weak premise that selflessness was a direct byproduct of the evolutionary creature's self-preservation instinct. "Selflessness" could be inspired by empathy or reason which easily combats your post.

    E.g.,
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it feels good to be selfless.

    E.g. (an interesting illustration of this example would be the character Spock from Star Trek),
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it's more logical to be selfless.
    So then, if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the Moral "Selflessness" (The higher concern with the needs and wishes of others than your own) could be the result of being concerned with what feels good to one's self?  Do you see the contradiction here?  Logically, selflessness cannot be a derivative of self-gratification.  Now this doesn't mean that Humans cannot pretend selflessness in hopes of achieving their own agenda...but this is exactly as I said it is...pretend.  Selflessness as an idea is not compatible with underlying motives of self-gratification, and that's what morals are, they are ideas, they have no physical properties and exist beyond the natural realm as there is no standard of measurement for morals within the Human psyche.

    Your second example, while fantasy/scifi based is also likely a contradiction of what it means to be selfless.  If one is behaving in a way that is perceived to be selfless but the intent of the person acting selflessly is to behave in the most logical manner then one of two things is true.  Either the perpetrator is being selfless in accordance to my example of self-preservation or they're being selfless for a number of other reasons that contradict what it means to be selfless.

    The truth is that Selflessness does not fit into the evolutionary explanation.  Popular contention is usually that selflessness doesn't truly exist and it's just an attractive idea that Humans insist is real.  But if we're going to all agree that selflessness is a Moral and that it does exist...then it doesn't fit into an evolutionary explanation.  In order to make it fit, you'd have to attempt to change the meaning of Selflessness, much like you did above by insisting that selflessness is about self-gratification but again that's a contradiction to what it means to be selfless and is illogical.
    Evidence
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • DrCerealDrCereal 99 Pts
    edited November 2017
    Vaulk said:
    @DrCereal
    DrCereal said:

    I would like to first mention that this post is a red herring; it is hardly relevant to the proposed resolution.
    (If you wish to argue this without it being a logical fallacy, then you should make a post somewhere else.)

    I would like to point out that your entire post here is based off of the weak premise that selflessness was a direct byproduct of the evolutionary creature's self-preservation instinct. "Selflessness" could be inspired by empathy or reason which easily combats your post.

    E.g.,
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it feels good to be selfless.

    E.g. (an interesting illustration of this example would be the character Spock from Star Trek),
    Q: Why should I be selfless?
    A: Because, occasionally, it's more logical to be selfless.
    So then, if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the Moral "Selflessness" (The higher concern with the needs and wishes of others than your own) could be the result of being concerned with what feels good to one's self?  Do you see the contradiction here?  Logically, selflessness cannot be a derivative of self-gratification.  Now this doesn't mean that Humans cannot pretend selflessness in hopes of achieving their own agenda...but this is exactly as I said it is...pretend.  Selflessness as an idea is not compatible with underlying motives of self-gratification, and that's what morals are, they are ideas, they have no physical properties and exist beyond the natural realm as there is no standard of measurement for morals within the Human psyche.

    Your second example, while fantasy/scifi based is also likely a contradiction of what it means to be selfless.  If one is behaving in a way that is perceived to be selfless but the intent of the person acting selflessly is to behave in the most logical manner then one of two things is true.  Either the perpetrator is being selfless in accordance to my example of self-preservation or they're being selfless for a number of other reasons that contradict what it means to be selfless.

    The truth is that Selflessness does not fit into the evolutionary explanation.  Popular contention is usually that selflessness doesn't truly exist and it's just an attractive idea that Humans insist is real.  But if we're going to all agree that selflessness is a Moral and that it does exist...then it doesn't fit into an evolutionary explanation.  In order to make it fit, you'd have to attempt to change the meaning of Selflessness, much like you did above by insisting that selflessness is about self-gratification but again that's a contradiction to what it means to be selfless and is illogical.
    If you are unwilling to budge on what "selflessness" means, then sadly there is hardly a discussion here. The fantastical definition you have just provided simply does not exist. People are not "selfless" without personal benefit (unless they are attempting to act "logically" [which even acting logically is arguably beneficial to an individual], as I have said).

    "Either the perpetrator is being selfless in accordance to my example of self-preservation or they're being selfless for a number of other reasons that contradict what it means to be selfless."

    This is a false dichotomy. If I were to sacrifice myself to save 10 others, I would be acting in such a way because it is logical to do so. Ten lives are more valuable than one.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @Vaulk

    I don't buy your arguments.

    For one, no-one had made that argument about evolution either in general of the specific beliefs you rely on to try and illustrate your point.

    For two you appear to not only be concentrating on selflessness rather than morality as a whole, e.g. people would say that being charitable is moral and there is nothing to say you can't feel good about being charitable.

    Lastly your entire point appears to rely on trying to cause cognitive dissonance between the fact that someone is trying to help others and that they receive some kind of satisfaction from helping others. Of course this is semantic as if you google for "selfless" you get the definition of 'concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish'. Hence you can receive some satisfaction from doing good and still be selfless as long as your primary concern is others.
  • Religion (or irreligion) doesn't necessarily effect how a person is, morally. That's not how it works
     
  • @DrCereal

    DrCereal said:
    The fantastical definition you have just provided simply does not exist. 
    I'll take that argument to the bank.  Apologies for not providing the reference.

    Selflessness: Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own.
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/selflessness

    I contend that your above statement is in fact incorrect.  I contend that the reference from the oxford dictionary proves empirically that the definition not only does exist but serves as direct opposition to your statement and proves emphatically that you are wrong in your assertion.
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • DrCerealDrCereal 99 Pts
    edited November 2017
    Vaulk said:
    @DrCereal

    DrCereal said:
    The fantastical definition you have just provided simply does not exist. 
    I'll take that argument to the bank.  Apologies for not providing the reference.

    Selflessness: Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own.
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/selflessness

    I contend that your above statement is in fact incorrect.  I contend that the reference from the oxford dictionary proves empirically that the definition not only does exist but serves as direct opposition to your statement and proves emphatically that you are wrong in your assertion.
    "Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own." That isn't the definition you were talking about. You implied multiple times that selflessness implies the complete lack of personal benefit. The definition you have just provided states nothing of the sort.

    I do not at all deny the existence of this definition of "selflessness".

    Also, I would like to point out that your quotation is slightly misleading.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • Is it not said of God's chosen people, and is not said to them by god in the Pentateuch that they can do exactly as they like to other people? They can enslave them, they can take their land, they can take their women, they can destroy all of their young men, they can help themselves to all of their young virgins. They can do what anyone who had no sense of anything but their own rights would be able to do, but in this case with divine permission. Doesn't that make it somewhat more evil? 

    In Iran you're not allowed to sentence a woman who is a virgin to death, even though she may have committed (in the eyes of the mullahs) a capital crime - perhaps by showing her hair or her limbs too often. She can't be sentenced to death, but religious law says she can be raped by the Revolutionary Guards and she's not a virgin anymore - then they can kill her. 

    The mutilation of genitalia of children - who would do that if it wasn't decided that god wanted it?

    The suicide bombing community is entirely faith-based. The genital mutilation community is entirely faith-based. Slavery is mandated by the bible. You keep hearing how many abolitionists were Christians - it's about time that they took a stand against it, having mandated it for so long. So it's not even a tautology to say that there's a relationship between the human impulse to do evil; to be selfish; to be self-centered; to be greedy and a contrast between that and faith.


    Name an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer in the name of faith that couldn't have been by an infidel, and name a wicked action that can only be mandated by faith, and then you'll see how silly the idea that religion is the basis of morality really is. 

    Evidence
  • @DrCereal

    I'm afraid I did not ever imply that selflessness implies the complete lack of personal benefit and I would challenge you to show me where I did.  I did in fact state that if the Intent if your behavior is "Personal gratification" then by definition the act itself is not selfless.  There is no one here that will contend that you CANNOT benefit in any way, shape or form from selfless acts, in fact I'd argue that selflessness is rewarding to say the very least.  But if your INTENT is to gain from your act of selflessness then that defies the meaning of selflessness.  In executing an action, one cannot be concerned MORE with the needs and desires of others if one is intent on acting in accordance with what will benefit one's self.  You've misconstrued my statement to imply that I believe selflessness cannot benefit the perpetrator...when I never said or implied that.  

    Intent is the key here.

    DrCereal said:
    The fantastical definition you have just provided simply does not exist. People are not "selfless" without personal benefit (unless they are attempting to act "logically" [which even acting logically is arguably beneficial to an individual], as I have said).

    Now back to your statement.  I never said that Selflessness must specifically exclude personal benefit and I didn't imply it either.  In fact I'm not sure how you arrived at this conclusion.  I stated clearly that "Selflessness cannot be derived from self-gratification".  This means that the act of selflessness cannot be the result of intended self-gratification otherwise it's not selfless.  If you manage to benefit from it, if you're rewarded with a good feeling, if you're appreciated afterwards...then that's great.  People SHOULD praise selflessness (In my opinion), but that cannot be the driving factor for the act of selflessness otherwise the perpetrator was not truly concerned more with the desires and needs of others but was acting instead on what was in his/her best interest.

    I still contend that the definition I provided does exist and below is the exact definition I provided.

    Vaulk said:
    So then, if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the Moral "Selflessness" (The higher concern with the needs and wishes of others than your own) could be the result of being concerned with what feels good to one's self?  

    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • DrCerealDrCereal 99 Pts
    edited November 2017
    Vaulk said:
    @DrCereal

    I'm afraid I did not ever imply that selflessness implies the complete lack of personal benefit and I would challenge you to show me where I did.  I did in fact state that if the Intent if your behavior is "Personal gratification" then by definition the act itself is not selfless.  There is no one here that will contend that you CANNOT benefit in any way, shape or form from selfless acts, in fact I'd argue that selflessness is rewarding to say the very least.  But if your INTENT is to gain from your act of selflessness then that defies the meaning of selflessness.  In executing an action, one cannot be concerned MORE with the needs and desires of others if one is intent on acting in accordance with what will benefit one's self.  You've misconstrued my statement to imply that I believe selflessness cannot benefit the perpetrator...when I never said or implied that.  

    Intent is the key here.

    DrCereal said:
    The fantastical definition you have just provided simply does not exist. People are not "selfless" without personal benefit (unless they are attempting to act "logically" [which even acting logically is arguably beneficial to an individual], as I have said).

    Now back to your statement.  I never said that Selflessness must specifically exclude personal benefit and I didn't imply it either.  In fact I'm not sure how you arrived at this conclusion.  I stated clearly that "Selflessness cannot be derived from self-gratification".  This means that the act of selflessness cannot be the result of intended self-gratification otherwise it's not selfless.  If you manage to benefit from it, if you're rewarded with a good feeling, if you're appreciated afterwards...then that's great.  People SHOULD praise selflessness (In my opinion), but that cannot be the driving factor for the act of selflessness otherwise the perpetrator was not truly concerned more with the desires and needs of others but was acting instead on what was in his/her best interest.

    I still contend that the definition I provided does exist and below is the exact definition I provided.

    Vaulk said:
    So then, if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the Moral "Selflessness" (The higher concern with the needs and wishes of others than your own) could be the result of being concerned with what feels good to one's self?  

    "I'm afraid I did not ever imply that selflessness implies the complete lack of personal benefit and I would challenge you to show me where I did."

    You said, "Logically, selflessness cannot be a derivative of self-gratification."

    I'm sure you didn't mean what I think (and that I didn't mean what you think), and for that reason, I will no longer respond to anything involved with this issue of "selflessness". I'm currently frustrated with the overwhelming amount of arguments that degrade into arguments relating to semantics. (Wittgenstein described this issue long ago, and we still haven't figured out how to avoid it.)
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • The issue is not do atheists have morals, but whether their materialistic worldview can account for them, which is to ask how they can rationally and objectively justify the existence of a moral code and how they know their personal moral code is the right one.
  • @ViceRegent

    Agreed.  Morality has no physical composition, no chemical or biological makeup and has no assigned standard of measurement. Morals are not physical and are part of the supernatural realm...which exists beyond the understanding of science.  This is case in point as to why Morality cannot be rationalized within the evolutionary theory.  Simply put, we don't understand why or how morals came to be, we can guess but no one has the ability to explain it beyond reasonable doubt.  This of course defies the philosophy of naturalism which is a commonly held viewpoint in western Atheist ideology.
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • @Vaulk

    While a materialist is constrained to deny morality exists, it does not follow that the rest of us do not understand why or how morals came to be.   

  • @ViceRegent

    The point I was making, (While I agree that an understanding of morals can be achieved) is that we cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt why or how morals came to be.  Speculate, theorize, believe, testify!  In the end it cannot be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".


  • Hank said:

    Is it not said of God's chosen people, and is not said to them by god in the Pentateuch that they can do exactly as they like to other people? They can enslave them, they can take their land, they can take their women, they can destroy all of their young men, they can help themselves to all of their young virgins. They can do what anyone who had no sense of anything but their own rights would be able to do, but in this case with divine permission. Doesn't that make it somewhat more evil? 

    In Iran you're not allowed to sentence a woman who is a virgin to death, even though she may have committed (in the eyes of the mullahs) a capital crime - perhaps by showing her hair or her limbs too often. She can't be sentenced to death, but religious law says she can be raped by the Revolutionary Guards and she's not a virgin anymore - then they can kill her. 

    The mutilation of genitalia of children - who would do that if it wasn't decided that god wanted it?

    The suicide bombing community is entirely faith-based. The genital mutilation community is entirely faith-based. Slavery is mandated by the bible. You keep hearing how many abolitionists were Christians - it's about time that they took a stand against it, having mandated it for so long. So it's not even a tautology to say that there's a relationship between the human impulse to do evil; to be selfish; to be self-centered; to be greedy and a contrast between that and faith.


    Name an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer in the name of faith that couldn't have been by an infidel, and name a wicked action that can only be mandated by faith, and then you'll see how silly the idea that religion is the basis of morality really is. 


    I agree @Hank to claim that religion is the basis of morality is laughable. But that's Religion and the Religious interpretation of the Bible.

    Yes, the Bible does justify slavery (and those few other things you said, excluding what Islam claims) because of all the sin in the world. Sin brought us all under slavery, and in the OT God wanted to remind men of this by destroying the Gentile pagan god worshipping Religious nations. But remember that even His own Children of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob were doomed to serve (slavery) and death. O.T. was all to keep His Children in line, to be "good slaves/servants" to hold to Godliness (righteous morality), and to remind the wicked (all wicked, including His Children at that time) of their impending doom.

    Besides the pretense, there are far more immoral deeds committed by Religious-theists than by non-Religious atheists. Only the 'theists' cover it up by claiming Allah, or the Trinity-gods, or any god of their Religion asked them to do the evil. (kind of like you said, only you mistakenly included the Bible which the Religious people use to justify their evil actions.)

    If you understood the Bible outside of the 1,700 years of influence of the Religious interpretation of it, you would understand why God gave those commands/orders to His Children in those O.T. days. Remember what God said, that 'every intent of mans heart is evil'! And don't forget that both good and evil suffer the same fate, .. slow death.
    Hank
  • JoePineapplesJoePineapples 128 Pts
    edited November 2017
    ViceRegent said:
    The issue is not do atheists have morals, but whether their materialistic worldview can account for them, which is to ask how they can rationally and objectively justify the existence of a moral code and how they know their personal moral code is the right one.
    That would rely on the premise that atheist=materialist
    I don't get a great deal of free time, for this reason there may be long periods between my posts.
    Please don't expect me to respond with insults and memes, I don't have time for it.
    Please don't expect me to respond to Gish-galloping, I don't have time for it.
  • Also morality being objective rather than subjective.
  • @Vaulk

    I fully comprehended your point.  And then I disagreed with it.  Now, what you might be saying is that one cannot prove morals beyond a reasonable doubt TO YOU, but this is a trial point as 1) truth is independent of your perception/acceptance of it and 2) you may be the epistemological problem.
  • @JoePineapples

    As atheism provides no justification for the existence of the non-material, all consistent atheists are materialists.  Indeed, one of the ways you know you are dealing with an atheist thinker as opposed to an atheist emoter, is the thinker has fully embraced this aspect of atheist thought.  The super atheist thinker understands that their materialism leads invariably to determinism (i.e., Hawking).
    NonCredenti
  • @Vaulk

    Please tell us how the atheist objectively knows what is moral and what is not?  And why draw the line between theist and non-theist as if they are all the same?  I prefer the line between Christian and pagan.  No question begging.
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