This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

scot5's Profile

scot5's Avatar Joined over 3 years ago
Gender: Male

Latest Discussions Started by scot5

More Discussions by scot5

Latest Comments by scot5

Go to: Care in Atheist Terminology

scot5's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by scot5

Comment 34 by Layla

Are you actually suggesting that atheists ought not to be making moral judgements?

Not exactly. Every society, and indeed every person, will have rules regarding conduct. These rules form morality. And therefore this means that atheists must make moral judgments on this basis.

But when we talk about good and bad in a moral sense there is danger of creating the perception that there are moral absolutes and so we should be careful. Clearly we do need language to describe moral behavior and so I wouldn’t go so far as to question the use of good and bad.

However when we get to the word evil, we move to a level of description that really is tied up with supernatural conceptions of good and bad because it is almost always used to describe something that’s absolutely bad every time and everywhere. And even if we still find it difficult to avoid this type of moral baggage in practice, this type of thinking has no place in atheism (of the western kind) because we know that our own moral sense has no more inate weight than, say, our dislike of eating green vegetables for example. In this light of thinking, traditional concepts of "evil" become absurd.

Are you actually suggesting that atheists ought not to be making moral judgements? It's as if all the religious straw atheists have come to life and are posting on this thread.

I think you are confusing what I am saying with the argument that atheists don’t have moral opinions etc – an argument which is of course a strawman. But as explained, this is not what I am saying.

Mon, 15 Nov 2010 20:48:21 UTC | #547947

Go to: Care in Atheist Terminology

scot5's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by scot5

Layla

Whenever we talk about things as being bad in a moral sense we are usually falling into a form of religious thinking. Using the word evil just reinforces this because of its extra force and more explicit link with the supernatural in the popular imagination.

I know its difficult to rid oneself of making old fashioned moral judgements - but just consider the fact that most people would not talk of a lion or a dog performing an evil act. So, its time we stopped talking about it with respect to humans.

Mon, 15 Nov 2010 00:34:04 UTC | #547543

Go to: Care in Atheist Terminology

scot5's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by scot5

Layla

I would agree with you on many religious words and phrases such as for example saying "Heavens sake". Using this implies nothing really, but describing things as evil does imply a type of religious mentality.

Sun, 14 Nov 2010 23:57:04 UTC | #547524

Go to: Care in Atheist Terminology

scot5's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by scot5

We could also get rid of the word evil.

Sun, 14 Nov 2010 23:18:56 UTC | #547508

Go to: Being Raised Religionless

scot5's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by scot5

My upbringing wasnt religious either. I guess I was even luckier than you because I wasnt loaded with ideas that loyalty and the like were virtues. I take a more naturalistic view of things.

Sat, 13 Nov 2010 00:22:54 UTC | #546598

More Comments by scot5