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The Atheist Syndrome

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posted on Aug, 16 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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Originally posted by passenger
To Melatonin: In Re Your last response.

Your last post was very welcome. That’s the kind of stuff I was hoping for! A lot to chew on though and unfortunately I have to catch a flight. Therefore, I can’t make a detailed response to the explanations given. But it will give me time to ponder. Hopefully, this post will still be going in a week or so.


Okie doke.


Now, from an Atheists viewpoint: What’s so wrong here? Junior had needs and a method to fulfill them. He did so. He got his reward. His motivations and internal drives were met. Does that make it right? What’s the ultimate result? Is there anything like an ultimate winner or a loser? Why shouldn’t Junior have done it? He gets to live the life he wants with no fear of repercussions. He has no guilt and no punishment awaits. So why not? What’s the ultimate difference? How could you convince him to act differently than he did?


This is my point of view, I don't speak for atheism - more on that below.

I very much doubt I could convince him to not have murdered his father. Junior sounds rather psychopathic.

What he did was wrong, in mine and I think the majority of people's minds. He killed another person with no real justification. Of course, as a rather psychopathic individual, he won't see much wrong with his actions, that's sort of characteristic of this type of personlity. From a social point of view, society is best off with such people removed. Indeed, as a personality disorder, the likelihood of successful treatment would be minimal.

But, as you said, a perfect crime and with no capability of remorse (with their emotional dysfunction), this psychopath will live to cheat another day. I'm sure he will continue on such a pathway and might well find himself behind bars. However, saying that, many top business-people possess fairly psychopathic personalities, so such traits can be expressed in ways that society considers rather acceptable.

In this case, you could consider this dude a winner, and his father the loser. However, by taking such risky anti-social actions, it might well be him who eventually loses and finds all his so important drives and motivations rather restricted. Considering that estimates are that 75%ish of those in prison are psychopaths/ASD, the short-term thrills might in time be restricted to bumming in the showers.

I'm all for personal freedom and major lulz harvesting, but this should be weighed against harm to others. And so the actions of this dude would be considered wrong.

From an evolutionary point of view, this type of behaviour has been deemed that of a 'cheater'. In a society of 'suckers', cheaters always win. A society of cheaters would be rather uncooperative, brutish, and fragmented - a dystopia. And so the most effective approach is that of the 'grudger'. I'm one of those, so I'm hoping for more reciprocation, otherwise you dance alone


I'm waiting to be enlightened with the most rational approach - True nihilism? Anarchy?


I would greatly appreciate you both responding with answers. I believe it may give me some insight as to where you are coming from. As of the present, I’m not quite understanding the whole philosophy of Atheism.


I'm sure you would, wouldn't want to get in the way of your needs...

Atheism = non-belief in deities, so not really a philosophy, perhaps a philosophical position on one specific claim. Almost all else does not necessarily follow. Thus, an atheist could be a moral nihilist, a moral realist, and moral relativist etc etc.. And I think that is important for you to understand.

So don't take my position as reflective of atheism in general. It is my own, and not a requirement of my atheism.

[edit on 16-8-2008 by melatonin]




posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 09:34 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin
However, saying that, many top business-people possess fairly psychopathic personalities, so such traits can be expressed in ways that society considers rather acceptable.. but this should be weighed against harm to others…From an evolutionary point of view, this type of behaviour has been deemed that of a 'cheater'. In a society of 'suckers', cheaters always win. A society of cheaters would be rather uncooperative, brutish, and fragmented - a dystopia.


Your last post was excellent, I thought. Thanks for the insights. Much of what you said I whole-heartedly agree with. But still the issue of defending morality and ultimate worth of action remains.

I’d like to explore this by examining some of the comments you made regarding society. What you said , from the perspective of our society and culture is true. It does not necessarily stand true for all societies.
Take ancient Rome for example. In that society, slavery, rape, genocide, torture and other actions were considered beneficial to the status of Rome when performed upon other competing societies and cultures. These actions were glorified and rewarded when done according to the Roman‘s standards of justification.
But how can one look at them now and condemn them in any manner from an Atheistic viewpoint? If genocide was acceptable to Romans and their society benefited from it, on what standard can you now condemn genocide? If for Rome slavery was a good; how could you disparage it now? And if there is no external morality that is superior to any given societies definition of it, then don’t you have to accept either view as morally equivalent? Doesn’t that mean, as an Atheist, one would have to say that it benefited that society so ergo it’s ultimately “good“? And further, if actions were once “good” how can they now be redefined as “bad”? Without an objective standard things must be taken subjectively. And when taken subjectively they are always debatable. So you end up with a pattern of behaviors that you cannot oppose with any more validity than you can defend them. With that stance there must be no right or wrong. There cannot be. That seems to be insanity by definition.



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by passenger
I’d like to explore this by examining some of the comments you made regarding society. What you said , from the perspective of our society and culture is true. It does not necessarily stand true for all societies.


Last call for passenger - what is the best option?

Anarchy? Nihilism?


But how can one look at them now and condemn them in any manner from an Atheistic viewpoint? If genocide was acceptable to Romans and their society benefited from it, on what standard can you now condemn genocide? If for Rome slavery was a good; how could you disparage it now? And if there is no external morality that is superior to any given societies definition of it, then don’t you have to accept either view as morally equivalent? Doesn’t that mean, as an Atheist, one would have to say that it benefited that society so ergo it’s ultimately “good“? And further, if actions were once “good” how can they now be redefined as “bad”? Without an objective standard things must be taken subjectively. And when taken subjectively they are always debatable. So you end up with a pattern of behaviors that you cannot oppose with any more validity than you can defend them. With that stance there must be no right or wrong. There cannot be. That seems to be insanity by definition.


Nah, the issue here is that if the romans decided that they could rape, murder, and pillage outgroups, with an inconsistency between the morals they applied to the in-group and out-group, the 'insanity' is all theirs.

You see, the same moral issues apply to theistic-based morality. In one conception we have a god who will justify genocide, rape, and pillage - a sort of psychopathic madman. But then supposedly morphs into some form of divine 'Ghandi'. It appears quite arbitrary, and has been well-exposed by the Euthypro dilemma.

There is no obvious 'objective' standard. Theistic or atheistic. However, as stated earlier, there maybe some form of more 'objective' evolutionary sourced morals (I'm not too sure, tbh). And there are people who defend the position of atheistic or secular moral objectivism. Indeed, Kantian ethics can be viewed as such, and would view acting on some religious duty not a true ethical act.

Again, last call for passenger...

[edit on 8-9-2008 by melatonin]



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin
Last call for passenger - what is the best option?

Anarchy? Nihilism?


You’ve got me pinned to wall with that one - I’ll admit. That’s why I haven’t responded. It’s not that I’m ignoring your question, it’s just that every time I think I have a grasp of an answer it slips away.

I understand that pure anarchy and pure nihilism might be fun for a weekend, but Monday brings one hell of a societal hangover. I do accept the fact that the laws that restrain me from clobbering some slob over the head with a brick also provide a protection for myself from suffering the same fate. I cannot, however, believe that most people would simply accept a rational and humanist viewpoint as a standard for good behavior - if they thought they could get away with it.

As I also don’t believe that there is some old, bearded guy who prescribes an ultimate etiquette book for all, I suppose I have to look for a more secular moral authority. But, by definition, that authority must be very temporal and very finite. Therefore, I have the problem of wholly committing myself to it. I suppose I do it grudgingly, but that doesn’t make me feel like I approve of it. Is that what makes one a “grudger” as you tentatively described yourself?



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 08:17 PM
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Originally posted by passenger
I cannot, however, believe that most people would simply accept a rational and humanist viewpoint as a standard for good behavior - if they thought they could get away with it.


Heh, thing is, even with non-rationalist 'divine' rules, people still commit immoral acts.

I agree that some people might need simple ABCs. Books like the bible can provide them, but so can something like the UN's declaration of human rights, and so can other secular philosophies. But are they truly objective (for example, are their morals written into the fabric of the universe)? That is, can morals be derived apart from mind? I don't think they can be.

But, as I said, I can easily see one way that they could be, but the evidence is less than clear.

The difference between the secular and theistic is that secular ethics are affected by the reality of their outcomes. Thus, suggesting that contraception is bad because, in some Monty Pythonesque divine rule, 'every sperm is sacred' when such a rule leads to suffering through sexually transmitted diseases and unsupportable family sizes is at odds with reality.


As I also don’t believe that there is some old, bearded guy who prescribes an ultimate etiquette book for all, I suppose I have to look for a more secular moral authority. But, by definition, that authority must be very temporal and very finite. Therefore, I have the problem of wholly committing myself to it. I suppose I do it grudgingly, but that doesn’t make me feel like I approve of it. Is that what makes one a “grudger” as you tentatively described yourself?


Morals all appear temporal and finite really - my morals will die with me. They can't really be separated from their organic source. The UN's declaration might last for thousands, millions or billions of years - it might change over time. People with the white bearded type guy just convince themselves they are infinite, heh - even though they appeared a few thousand years back and have changed over time.

The grudger idea is predominately focusing on behaviour in social situations. Thus, reciprocation and exchange of favours - you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours (a grudger). A sucker will give even when cheated. A grudger will beat yo ass or exclude a cheater.

Cheaters essentially say 'You scratch my back, I'll ride on yours'. A sucker strategy will eventually lose out to cheaters. And so grudgers are an evolutionary stable strategy that keep cheaters under some control.

So, in sum, you think atheistic and thesitic morality is insane, and you just follow laws because of potential punishment. Thus, you don't have what you would consider a rational and/or superior alternative.

Okie doke.

[edit on 8-9-2008 by melatonin]



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 08:31 AM
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Originally posted by DickieDee
John Koster's "The Atheist Syndrome" is a book which espouses the view that Atheists are mentally ill."Rabid Atheists fit a certain psychological profile" is the claim of this theory so called the Atheist Syndrome. The Atheist is attacked more openly than any other religion.


So someone returns the favor at last. How long have theists being atacked as mentaly ill. At least since Sigmund Freud with his pseudoscientific psychoanalishj.



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