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Do atheists REALLY have no moral backbone?

Debate Information

I've been in this Discord server called, "POLITICS" and I've seen the religious, theistic, specifically, Christians who assert that, since atheists commit apostasy (disaffiliation) from religion (usually monotheistic religions or religions with a supreme, ultimate deity), they have no moral backbone (moral philosophy). 

It seems a little outlandish, after all, there are atheists who are nice and good (like literally any other person) so what's the deal?

One, religion isn't the father of ethics and the father of ethics doesn't need to be religion. The real identity of the father of ethics is simple; evolution.
There are Christians who say a thing about the "Judeo-Christian" values. It's been said a few times and this will hopefully be the last. Simply put, the "Judeo-Christian" values state that all of the present-day moral values we have originate from the emergence of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity. 

What are the implications?

Religion isn't the father of ethics, let alone Judaism and/or Christianity. Why? Before the emergence of Judaism or Christianity, were there seriously no morals to speak of? Morals don't pop out of anywhere. In fact, ethics date back farther than religion and mankind himself. There have been studies conducted showing basic altruism in chimpanzees. The experiment had chimpanzees have tokens that either favor themselves or a partner for a treat. (Proposers are the chimpanzees making decisions.)

In the chimpanzee version of this game,9 we limited the offers to two possibilities. Proposers could either make an equitable offer that rewarded both chimpanzees equally, or a selfish offer favoring the Proposer him/herself. We found that in 72% of trials Proposers made equitable offers, a percentage very similar to humans that make equitable offers (76%).7 Is this fair behavior? We believe so. For some reason the Proposers were motivated to achieve the same outcome as the one called “fair” in humans.

Basic altruism was present. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656016/) Why? This type of behavior, which would otherwise be able to be called ethical, is beneficial for a social species by preserving the group. You aren't going to see ethics in a fish nor a bear because those animals never had the capacity and most likely won't need to since they aren't social. This shows how religion isn't the father of ethics but rather basic social evolution. And this isn't even specific to Judaism or Christianity, religions like Islam also say this as well which is just wrong.

Once the Theist realizes this, they'll ask "Well, what is your moral backbone, still?". Before we move on, atheism isn't directly tied to ethics because we demonstrated religion isn't the "father" of ethics. Disaffiliation of a system not affiliated with another system doesn't mean we lack the latter system. Atheists may or may not have a different outlook on ethical philosophy and for me personally, it's an ethical/moral system/principles or philosophy that is fair, justified, and can really only benefit people as a collective and/or not limited to individuals as a social group (sorry for the lengthy description). This includes but not limited to Egalitarianism, Humanism, and Consequentialism. 



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  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    You are seeing this in a very one sided way. Look at it from a theistic point of view. If God created existence as we know it, he created morality and what is wrong/right. If He is supreme that means everything is below him, including ethics and morals.
    TreeMan
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -   edited May 4
    @JeffreyBlankenship First, we haven't even ascertained God existed in the first place. Second, we have evidence to conclude ethics originated in a natural way and is an evolved trait that can converge in social species. (read up)
    TreeManSkepticalOnePlaffelvohfen
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3.I did read. We are not chimps...
    TreeMan
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship Never said we were. What I DID say was that ethical and moral values had evolutionary worth and our most prominent example of this is through primates.
    TreeManPlaffelvohfen
  • AlofRIAlofRI 1390 Pts   -  
    My Atheistic morals are societal, not religious. Too many religions have different morals, but, societies are fairly consistent at least by continent. As far as a backbone is concerned, I can painfully guarantee I have one!  :frowning:
    Plaffelvohfen
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @AlofRI Yes. I agree. Morals come from society and the citizens that live with it.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • SwolliwSwolliw 807 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship
    Look at it from a theistic point of view. If God created existence as we know it, he created morality and what is wrong/right. 

    Is that not what one would call a non sequitur? How can you possibly deduce the "creation" of morality?

  • SwolliwSwolliw 807 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3
    It is a sad reflection on civilized society that religious groups have somehow taken to claim copyright over morals and what is right or wrong. How can they be so arrogant as to declare that standards set thousands of years ago (when civilization was primitive and barbaric) apply to modern, decent society?
    Keal303NXQ3Plaffelvohfen
  • JoeKerrJoeKerr 56 Pts   -  
    What you say is correct. Christians claim the moral high ground, saying that their god created morality and what is right and what is wrong.
    The same god that the bible records as having committed mass murder, genocide, infanticide, and condoned slavery. This god seems to have all the morals of an alley cat! @Swolliw
    PlaffelvohfenAlofRI
  • SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 946 Pts   -  
    You are seeing this in a very one sided way. Look at it from a theistic point of view. If God created existence as we know it, he created morality and what is wrong/right. If He is supreme that means everything is below him, including ethics and morals.
    I think you’re using blinders in your reasoning there. If a creator is responsible for anything, then he/she is responsible for everything - everything good AND bad. So you couldn’t say god is responsible for morality without including god is responsible for immorality. 

    Besides that, if we’re talking about the Abrahamic god, he and his actions (as described in the Bible) aren’t all that moral.... 
    Plaffelvohfen
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. Yes but thats not clear proof, furthering my point that there is no certain proof oh where morals came from.
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship Morals appeared during the beginning of our arrival. Primitive groups of modern humans would've been able to naturally think out basic altruism such as empathy, compassion, and fairness as it's been seen in our primate cousins. We would've converged on the same principles simply because we were social. 
    SkepticalOnePlaffelvohfen
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. Ok so whats the point of morals? Even if this is through evolution, why should we be "kind" or "unselfish"?
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship It helped preserve the group and so from that point, we evolved new morals to adapt to modern society. Physical problems became psychological ones. Morals are supposed to be for humans, by humans helping them survive as a collective. "Kill everything without hesitation or discrimination." would lead to extinction as a moral principle. "Don't kill." would alleviate a lot of dangers and "Help your fellow humans." is helpful because of philosophical egoism.
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. What about the more "light" morals. Such as don't lie or cuss or even stealing?
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship It really doesn't matter. Those things will almost always have a negative outcome such as social repercussions or your own dignity being violated by yourself. 
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. So your claim is they don't matter, correct?
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. Why do we feel this loss of dignity
  • Keal303NXQ3Keal303NXQ3 54 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship No, you got it wrong. I said "It doesn't matter" because you're implying these practices are somehow less immoral. If it's immoral, try not to do it at the very least. There are some exceptions, but in general this would be considered immoral.
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @Keal303NXQ3. Ok so the big question is, what is the point in being moral?
  • SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 946 Pts   -  
    JeffreyBlankenship said:
    @Keal303NXQ3. Ok so the big question is, what is the point in being moral?
    Thats been answered, buddy:

    @JeffreyBlankenship It helped preserve the group and so from that point, we evolved new morals to adapt to modern society. Physical problems became psychological ones. Morals are supposed to be for humans, by humans helping them survive as a collective. "Kill everything without hesitation or discrimination." would lead to extinction as a moral principle. "Don't kill." would alleviate a lot of dangers and "Help your fellow humans." is helpful because of philosophical egoism.
    Basically, morality helps perpetuate our social species...
    Plaffelvohfen
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @SkepticalOne. Yes but smaller issues such as lying, being honest doesn't advance our species. 
    Plaffelvohfen
  • SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 946 Pts   -  
    @SkepticalOne. Yes but smaller issues such as lying, being honest doesn't advance our species. 
    Sure it does. If members of a social species can't trust other members to be more or less honest, it undermines the social substrate of the species.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 2506 Pts   -  
    @JeffreyBlankenship
    @SkepticalOne. Yes but smaller issues such as lying, being honest doesn't advance our species
    It definitely does... Making good decisions rely on accurate information, if you were lied to about X, you have false information on which to base your decisions regarding X...  
    Dee
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • JeffreyBlankenshipJeffreyBlankenship 190 Pts   -  
    @SkepticalOne. So what's the point of loving one another?
  • SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 946 Pts   -  
    @SkepticalOne. So what's the point of loving one another?
    I just noticed the language suggests some type of intent. Just to circumvent any confusion, I don't think there is 'a point' in that regard. That being said, it seems to me love (and emotion in general) is generally beneficial to species cohesion and, by extension, individual survival.

    Keep in mind, I am not an evolutionary biologist/psychologist and this is opinion built on a lowly layman's understanding. :-)
    Plaffelvohfen
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