Well, as I created this group I feel morally obligated to make the first post. Hah! See what I just did there? Oh man, I kill me.

Anyway, Wanted to spark some discussions about Morality and Atheism. I've found as I've allowed my atheistic views to shape a bit more of my life and think more on philisophical issues I've found myself becoming a bit more staunch in my morality. I can no longer support the death penalty as it's a release from punishment, not sending a criminal to some "torment in hell". Also I feel that since we've got one life here on this earth any crime/act/ect.. which increases the misery of one of my fellow human beings is even more reprehensible. While history has shown religion and morality to have a rather incestuous relationship, What I've read seems to indicate that often religions seems to spring up in response to a prevailing cultural zeitgeist. Example: The rise of Taoism in China seemd to be a direct response to the rather top-down prevailing Confucist morality. Well I encouage others to post thier thoughts, help me get the discussion going and all that.

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Well, from a physiological view, our morals can easily come from the fact that once humans started having such large brained babies that take for freaking EVER to be come independent and had a hard time surviving alone and therefore became pack animals (packs like wolves, not pack animal like a donkey) are therefore "hardwired" to treat each other in a particular manner. (nice run-on, huh?)Check out this study that explains it a lot better than I can:

I personally think that humans have a natural aversion to hurting each other that can be overcome though environmental input (such as military training or abusive childhoods. Wow, who knew those 2 went together?). Yeah we do have to teach our kids not to hit, but if left to their own devises, they would likely cease hitting due to social repercussions. I know I am a hopeless optimists, but there it is. I really can't see Hobbes' view (like Lord of The Flies) as being valid.
My moral philosophy right now is teetering between different ideas, but I think one concept that fits well with both scientific discovery and atheism is some form of innate morality. I am always fascinated and moved by Hume and he argues for a moral sense that is much like our sense of beauty, something that cannot necessarily be reduced to specifics but can be perceived by beings with empathy. Related is ethical intuitionism that posits that there are specific moral facts but he have developed the ability to intuit them. Of course there's also emotivism that claims that moral judgments are nothing more then our emotional reactions.

I think human morality is very tied to emotion and intuition either way. It seems impossible to me for any person to be an objective observer. They invariably bring in their own experience and personal feelings when making a moral pronouncement.
One can also point to the studies of Chimpanzee social interaction as a basis for our own moral code, the highly communal nature of both Chimpanzee species has lead to many cooperative behaviors within groups. As human society advanced those who took leadership positions were able to exploit these natural family "moral" stances to larger groups. Little wonder that many religious traditions refer to others within the faith as "brother", "Sister", "father".
I think morality is rooted in the evolution. Also there are strong cultural influences that come from human consciousness.
Now consider this, as atheists who wakes up to the moral codes around us, what would our reaction be? In my opinion, since all of the existing morality is based on the idea of a creator God and a heavenly religion, it would be downright unacceptable. Also, to say that we should refrain from hurting a fellow human being is also philosophically absurd. If we know there is only one short life on earth, why would it matter at all to stick to any moral codes?
I think in the first place, there is a collapse of morality for the atheist. No code is inherently explicable. There could be people who might "enjoy" being "good", helping others, refrain from inflicting damage on others, but none of this is justifiable by any means. One could argue that moral codes are respectable as far as the survival of our species is concerned, but why should the individual even care about that?
The reason perhaps, lies in evolution itself. People who start a selfish lifestyle and hurt others, get severely penalized by the evolution in the long run and such behavior will not persist; however, there is still no grounds to consciously advocate morality as the penalty is a very long-term evolutionary one.
As an atheist I am currently putting up with these questions and am wondering if there is anything to morality beyond biological adjustments at the level of our genes and also some personal gratification that might not be universally applicable to everyone (as in getting a kick out of helping people)
Well I'm sure that those with cooperative behavior in their inherent nature will have an advantage for survival and thus behaviors would be dominant. However one can take a more philisophical approach. As an theist, I don't believe in any form of afterlife. Therefore this life on this planet is all there is for me and, by extension, for every other human being on the planet. This simple reality drives my morality, to both maximize my own joy and experience while I'm alive, while doing as little as possible to inhibit the joy and experiences of others. It is a very Epicurean approach, after a night of hard computer-less thinking, I've decided that my proper label could be Epicurean Rationalist.
In truth some of my morality is from Islam, which is the religion I grew up with, but most of it is from society as a whole. Also I have realised I cannot eat a (one that is either haram "fobidden" or halal) sausage, it makes me physically sick to even see one at times, this has nothing to do with morality, it is because of what I had been repeatedly told when I was a child and even still now. That the sausage and pork is pretty much equal to shit. Now even though I know it isn't, I still have a reaction towards it.

When it comes to morals a lot of theists pretty much jump to the conclusion that religion equals morality. WRONG.

A lot of horrific things have been done in the name of religion, and I doubt I need to be specific when it comes to that particular subject.

I see morality as common sense and psychology. Everyone's psychology is different and it affects each person in what we see as their personality. It's hard to get into detail when it comes to personality as there are different psychological theories concerning it.
I do sincerely believe it to be nature as well as nurture when it comes to morals.
Nurture has been shown to have some definite effect on people, I personally think that it's a combination of nature (mental chemical imbalances, genetic predisposition) and nurture (mental and physical abuse) that drive people's moral behavior.

Horrific acts are done by horrible people all the time for myriad reasons, when horrific acts are committed by good people, well, that takes religion.
Two things to keep in mind:

1. Biological evolution is what produced us.
2. We are social creatures.

I'm not going to say anything more, since my thoughts on this subject aren't far beyond murky (yet very intelligible), but I will recommend some media:

First, a couple videos I watched last night:

Second, a couple blogs (I do not agree with everything these guys say, BTW):


http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com (be sure to read the posts introducing his ethical system)



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