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Quote# 89223

[discussing the Global Atheist Convention]

I like the part about basing laws on rational thought and evidence. It echoes a sentiment that is a driving force in the atheist community right now, namely the idea that society must develop a set of moral values that is not rooted in any kind of supernatural belief system. I think it could end up being a really good thing that the leaders of modern atheism are coming together to discuss this, because this is an idea that needs a lot more exploration.

The New Atheists and their brethren in the secular humanist movement like to advocate for a godless value system where acceptance and goodwill toward others are prized, where people are free to be kind and loving out of the goodness of their hearts, and not because some man in the sky tells them to do so. While I appreciate the sentiment behind wanting to add more peace and love to the world, I just don’t think this works. And I can’t help but wonder if that might become clear to others as well at one of these atheist conventions.

The group of GAC attendees will undoubtedly contain a lot of intelligent, free thinking types, and so I’d imagine that it will only be a matter of time before folks start questioning the assumptions behind these ideas. For example: Yes, you can defend a peace- and love-based moral code from a purely atheistic point of view. You can point to the fact that more humans survive when we live in harmony together, that we may have an “altruistic gene” that makes us want to do nice things for others, etc. But who’s to say that harmony and survival for the greatest number of people should be our highest goals? You could just as easily advocate for a values system in which the survival of the fittest is the highest aim, and the weak are considered worthless and expendable. It sounds revolting, and it is. But it’s also perfectly defensible from an atheistic point of view.

I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves, thus ushering in a glorious age where only the most superior genes remain in the gene pool. Everyone in the crowd will gasp and fidget uncomfortably…and then realize that they cannot argue against it without stepping outside of their own atheist-materialist worldview. They’ll find themselves tempted to appeal to the transcendent to make their case, wanting to have blind faith in the fact that love should be prized above all else, believing that self-sacrifice is always better than selfishness, regardless of what the latest scientific studies say.

I hope that these events really will provide a forum for questioning assumptions and asking tough questions as much as they claim they will. Because when they do, the nearby churches will be flooded with post-convention crowds.

Jennifer Fulwiler, National Catholic Register 50 Comments [8/28/2012 3:55:49 AM]
Fundie Index: 33
WTF?! || meh
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"I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves"

And the rest of us would tell that person to go fuck himself. That's the difference between us, atheists don't march in lock step just because someone on stage tells us to do something. We also don't need an imaginary bully in the sky to shake his fist at us in order to be moral.

And by the way, the fact that you are only 'moral' because you are being threatened with eternal punishment is not actual morality, it's forced coercion.

8/28/2012 10:39:56 AM

Shockna

"You could just as easily advocate for a values system in which the survival of the fittest is the highest aim, and the weak are considered worthless and expendable. It sounds revolting, and it is. But it’s also perfectly defensible from an atheistic point of view. "

No, it isn't.

Because that society eventually cannibalizes itself, leading to loss for everybody, including the "strong".

"I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves, thus ushering in a glorious age where only the most superior genes remain in the gene pool."

Genetics doesn't work that way. This is based on the fallacy that the "strong" have superior genes, which they often don't. They're usually just the beneficiaries of an accident of birth.

These anti-atheist arguments aren't quite the silver bullet you're thinking they are.

8/28/2012 10:48:08 AM

Oh My Dog!

Ah... another "Atheists have no moral compass and therefore will eventually start killing people." This is rather ironic as you worship a god that is quite bloodthirsty.




8/28/2012 11:16:46 AM

Swede

You were doing fairly well in the beginning, but then you went off into lala-land with Social Darwinism, which has nothing to do with atheism.

You should question the assumption of all ideas, really. Intelligence and free-thought will probably reach the conclusion that it's most favorable for everyone that everyone help each other, and that actions that harms others are outlawed.

Survival of the fittest means survival of the most adaptable, not the strongest.
There have been groups that have exterminated the weak, almost all of them have been religious or leader-worshiping in nature. Death penalty is a kind of extermination of the weak and undesirable.

No blind faith is needed to realize that love and empathy is better than egoism and hatred. For the species, self-sacrifice will always be better than selfishness, and all scientific studies say the same.

Which is more peace-loving; non-religious Sweden or forced-religious Iran?

8/28/2012 11:42:27 AM

John

While I appreciate the sentiment behind wanting to add more peace and love to the world, I just don’t think this works.

But it doesn't work with religious people, either. In the US, over 85% report believing in God. Do you seriously think all the rotten people in the country are concentrated among the other 15%? There are a lot more atheists in the Northeast than the South, yet the South has an almost 50% higher crime rate.

Jesus really only gave mankind four orders in the entire of the Gospels: love God, love your neighbor, give your stuff to the poor and get baptized. Of those, only the second and the third are "moral values"; and there's no evidence that people are any better at following them when they have a "man in the sky" watching them.

8/28/2012 12:33:38 PM

Horsefeathers

"But who’s to say that harmony and survival for the greatest number of people should be our highest goals? You could just as easily advocate for a values system in which the survival of the fittest is the highest aim, and the weak are considered worthless and expendable. It sounds revolting, and it is. But it’s also perfectly defensible from an atheistic point of view."

You were doing so well up to this point that I was wondering why you were quoted here. Now I know.

"I imagine that one day someone will get on the stage at one of these conferences, and propose a new moral code in which the the strong exterminate the weak and take all their possessions for themselves, thus ushering in a glorious age where only the most superior genes remain in the gene pool."

Why would you imagine such a thing?

"Everyone in the crowd will gasp and fidget uncomfortably…and then realize that they cannot argue against it without stepping outside of their own atheist-materialist worldview."

I could probably come up with a dozen arguments against that off the top of my head in about five minutes.

Here's one now: The Golden Rule.

"They’ll find themselves tempted to appeal to the transcendent to make their case, wanting to have blind faith in the fact that love should be prized above all else, believing that self-sacrifice is always better than selfishness, regardless of what the latest scientific studies say."

Has anyone ever told you that you talk a lot without actually saying anything?

"I hope that these events really will provide a forum for questioning assumptions and asking tough questions as much as they claim they will. Because when they do, the nearby churches will be flooded with post-convention crowds."

You've been reading too much Christian fiction (aside from the Bible). Atheists aren't going to suddenly fall to their knees and praise Jesus on the spot for trivial reasons.

8/28/2012 12:45:28 PM

nazani14

Nope. Churches are not going to be flooded with crowds ever again.

8/28/2012 1:10:14 PM

NonProphet

It started out reasonable with the first paragraph.

The descent into WTFery was so quick, however, Ms. Fulwiler nearly burned up on re-entry.

8/28/2012 1:20:02 PM

freako104

Bawwwing and wishful thinking.

8/28/2012 1:28:34 PM

Wehpudicabok

Meh'd, because being wrong doesn't make you fundie, and disagreeing with someone's morality doesn't make you hateful.

Much of this actually is accurate, and well put. The main problem is this:

"...and then realize that they cannot argue against it without stepping outside of their own atheist-materialist worldview."

I imagine that as a theist, you appeal to divine authority for moral guidance on such a regular basis that it becomes difficult to imagine any other basis, but they do exist. The fact that secular morality has no concrete, fixed basis isn't a weakness, it's a strength. It allows for discussion of topics like this without dogma.

Someone may, indeed, propose a moral system that rejects altruism as a virtue. In fact, someone already has. But you seem to think that just because you would argue against this using God, that must be the only way to go. That's not true. You can argue your form of secular ethics, and I can argue mine. We can contribute to the discourse and arrive at some form of societal consensus. God makes no difference.

Again, a difference of opinion does not a fundie make. And guys, some on the left have historically advocated policies similar to what the OP is describing. We learned from our mistake.

8/28/2012 4:58:04 PM

Old Viking

She imagines all this nonsense, then gets her panties in a wad over what she's imagined.

8/28/2012 5:09:05 PM

UHM

Ehm, guys if this is "fundie", than we could count every second American as fundie. No, not there, but only one good book away from getting sane:

Peter Kroptokin - Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution


8/28/2012 5:11:36 PM



we have that now ,in the structure of some societies.

atheists as atheists do not have a value system as such. Thay take values from the society in which they live.

8/28/2012 9:39:13 PM

moose

Jennifer, do you really think atheist will do all those things? Have you forgotten about your religion burning witches at the stake?

And for the political crowd...conflating Ayn Rand with the RNC. I have noticed that socialist understand objectivism about as well as xians understand evolution.
A couple of Rands quotes:
“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others”
Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future."
Boy howdy have I probably started a firestorm....

8/28/2012 10:38:39 PM

Argle Bargle

"Atheists are amoral bastards" combined with conversion fantasies.

Same old, same old.

8/29/2012 8:48:10 AM

Beeblebrox

You could just as easily advocate for a values system in which the survival of the most righteous is the highest aim, and the unbelievers are considered worthless and expendable. It sounds revolting, and it is. But it’s also perfectly defensible from an Christian point of view.

8/29/2012 10:06:52 AM

Shockna

"And for the political crowd...conflating Ayn Rand with the RNC. I have noticed that socialist understand objectivism about as well as xians understand evolution.
A couple of Rands quotes:
'A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
'Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future.'"

You know, we can play the quote game too.

"There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil."

The RNC seems to have fallen pretty much into lockstep with this one.

"They (Native Americans) didn't have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their 'right' to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent."

Never mind human rights violations; they weren't capitalists, clearly they deserved it.

"The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it's the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are."

So screw any of you peaceniks who don't think we should be bombing brown people!

Ayn Rand was a free market fundamentalist; I imagine if she were still alive, she'd have a few featured quotes here.

8/29/2012 3:04:13 PM

thelastcenturion

Stupid by the.day... it is nite the fittest, who.survive, but those most reactive to change.

you know.I
what i would do if all of a sudden there were strong individual predators roaming around? find about 30 other weaklings to arm. that way we can raid their camp and take all their supplies for ourselves. smart, no? taking care of the group like that?

8/29/2012 5:10:09 PM



Isn't Christianity about survival of the fittest and strongest in faith who then live forever in the afterlife in bliss while the less fit are tortured forever in Hell?


8/29/2012 10:53:45 PM

myheadhurts

Does this mean I can have a funny hat, a country to myself, and a seat of gold? What do you mean atheists don't do that? Well what massive organization steals enough from the poor to get that kind of arse kissing?

8/30/2012 1:31:28 AM

Dyz

"The group of GAC attendees will undoubtedly contain a lot of intelligent, free thinking types, and so I’d imagine that it will only be a matter of time before folks start questioning the assumptions behind these ideas."

People smarter than you will most likely not think like you and therefore reach conclusions you cannot begin to imagine.

8/30/2012 3:56:18 AM

Musiphonix

You started so good, and ended so poorly. I think just misguided, rather than completely hopeless.

8/30/2012 5:25:58 PM



The National Catholic Register defends pedophiles. Too bad God didn't mention not to rape children in the Bible, eh? How else are they supposed to know it's wrong?

9/1/2012 2:41:58 PM

anothga

Something like that would never happen.

6/21/2013 10:19:40 PM

Tempus

Ironically, the overwhelming majority of Social Darwinists in the United States today call themselves conservative Christians.

6/22/2013 3:56:05 AM
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