Matt Dillahunty: The Superiority of Secular Morality

Posted in the Atheism Forum

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#1 Apr 22, 2013
I think this deserves a thread.

First? Listen to the following (it's video, but you don't really need to watch--listening is good enough).

(thanks to Night Serf for finding this)

http://youtu.be/cq2C7fyVTA4

The top comment:
Drake Santiago wrote:
3 weeks ago

Religious people do not get their morality from an objective source, because if they did:

1. Believers in the same religion would not disagree with each other concerning moral propositions.

2. Believers would not pick and choose which beliefs in their holy books they would follow and which ones they would discard - which ALL OF THEM DO. The fact that they are selective in choosing what moral teachings to subscribe to shows that they are using a source of morality OUTSIDE their scriptures.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#2 Apr 22, 2013
From the video:

@14:30ish "You can build a secular moral system from very very simple beginnings. You can begin with things like: Life is preferable to death. Pleasure is preferable to pain. Health is generally preferable to sickness."

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#3 Apr 22, 2013
From the video:

"It doesn't matter where they came from, we hang on to them becuase they've proved to be useful and true."

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#4 Apr 22, 2013
From the video:

"We evaluate the consequences of our actions with respect to certain specific goals. That's how we determine right and wrong. It's not as simple as 'I don't like that--that's wrong!' It's a lot more complex than that. But it's not so complex, that we're stuck. "

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#5 Apr 22, 2013
"There's a lot of objection by religionists have lodged against secular morals. One of them is 'without god you have no objective standards'. umm-I completely disagree. The truth about human interaction? Isn't contingent on any single mind."

Dillahunty explains what he means by objective standards: more than one person experiences a similar result, that result is objective. One person only? The result is subjective.(I've paraphrased a bit here)

"Let me get to the second objection [from theists]'well without god, it's all relative. You have no absolutes! You say this is right, and he says this is wrong! How do you resolve that?' Hello! Your >god< solution doesn't solve that either! You're pretending to have solutions to problems that you don't have. Religion has >>no<< viable solution to this problem."

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#6 Apr 22, 2013
"The only place where you can possibly find solutions to this problem, is in secular moral systems. Every religion disagress with every other religion. And within religions you've got denominations that disagree, and withint denominations you've got churches that disagree. And within >churches< you've got >people< that disagree."

"Why do I care what your god has to say? You need to make a demonstration that there is some good reason to listen to that authority. And how do you do that? YOu do that by evaluating the consequences of actions and goals. You consider the effect of things on human beings and you use reason and evidence."

"The power of a secular moral system is that it is data driven. It is able to correct itself. We can begin with foundational principles and if we find out that any of them are wrong... we can change it."

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#7 Apr 22, 2013
This video is good too-- it's kind of an introspective on his style:

" http://youtu.be/ZFqYI_qYyeU" ;
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#8 Apr 23, 2013
I like Matt D, but not his style and he seems rather too focused on religion/atheism for my personal tastes. I don't disagree with Matt but find him a bit boring after a while.

I prefer people like Prof Dawkins who tends to focus more on specific harm done by religion, such as segregating children in education (in the UK), Saudi text-books (in UK) and ID/Creationism.

Another good presenter is Prof Brian Cox, a son of bankers (Oldham, England), who has an engaging manner and a talent for entertaining more attractive to some audiences put-off by Matt's choice of focus for debate,(and perhaps a little by the inevitable bad language)...
http://humanism.org.uk/about/our-people/disti...
Prof Cox naturally focuses on science and learning, much more attractive to people in general.

Comedians are often leading role-models in the UK & Eire. Paul Merton, Dara O'Briain, Angus Deayton, Stephen Fry and Shappi Khorsandi to name just a few.

But keep up the good work Matt Dillahunty. Very entertaining in his own way.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9 Apr 23, 2013
Fans of Matt D might like Pat Condell too..
&li st=UUWOkEnBl5TO4SCLfSlosjgg &index=8
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#10 Apr 23, 2013
I hope these 2:55 mins with the new British Humanist Association President will be rewarding..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video...

http://humanism.org.uk/about/our-people/disti...

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#11 Apr 23, 2013
Questions that are rarely talked about with regard to atheism are often simple ones: "What now?" "Once we've rejected religion as untrue, how do we live our lives?" "Are there any general principles that atheists as a group tend to follow?" "Can we develop ways to support each other as we try to live rational lives in an irrational culture?"

The problem is that these questions need a certain degree of privacy from theistic apologists. For some reason, the few atheist only settings I've found tend to focus on questions that we've already answered rather than on finding ways to more forward.

Maybe, for one "brief, shining moment," this thread can work on developing a consistent moral code that is independent of the religions we all reject. If so, we'd better be quick about it. The trolls will be on the attack before we know it.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#12 Apr 23, 2013
NightSerf wrote:
Questions that are rarely talked about with regard to atheism are often simple ones: "What now?" "Once we've rejected religion as untrue, how do we live our lives?" "Are there any general principles that atheists as a group tend to follow?" "Can we develop ways to support each other as we try to live rational lives in an irrational culture?"
If we are ever to move-on from religion/atheism, we should stop seeing people in those terms - especially ourselves.
NightSerf wrote:
The problem is that these questions need a certain degree of privacy from theistic apologists. For some reason, the few atheist only settings I've found tend to focus on questions that we've already answered rather than on finding ways to more forward.
Maybe, for one "brief, shining moment," this thread can work on developing a consistent moral code that is independent of the religions we all reject. If so, we'd better be quick about it. The trolls will be on the attack before we know it.
Lol! Too true. That's why you might use your influence as a Topix Editor to create a Humanist/Skeptic/Rationalist or 'Humanist and Ethical' forum?

I feel I've long moved-on from religion/ religious faith/ atheism/ secularism and I'm waiting for you-lot!:-) Religion is old-hat.

I think we're already serving a purpose by providing a presence on this forum where religionists and non-believers can express their views. I feel sure that most observers and contributors will find the non-believers most convincing and reasonable.

And we have already agreed (haven't we?) that we can have humanist, ethical and philosophical titles and articles to discuss on Topix's 'Atheism' Forum here.

The fact is that what we, the regular non-believer-contributors, have in common is criticisms of religious faith. We seldom strike-up meaningful and engaging conversations amongst ourselves and the best ones seem to be spontaneous. This is like saying,'lets have a conversation'. Where does one start?

Perhaps we could share what we do for our local association(s)? My problem is that I have no local Humanist group. I have to go to central Glasgow to join-in their charity work and it is proving too far. I achieve too little to justify the petrol and time. I'm better staying at home and giving the money to charity. And I get no sense of community there either as they only meet ten times a year (less than once a month) and I can't get to every meeting.

The Glasgow Skeptics are the most entertaining at the moment. They have some excellent speakers. Unfortunately, they only seem to do audio broadcasts now and one cannot see the speakers...
http://glasgowskeptics.com/videos

(I hope Bob doesn't feel that we've hijacked his thread)
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#13 Apr 23, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/glasgowskeptics
Oh, some here have speakers visible.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#14 Apr 23, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>If we are ever to move-on from religion/atheism, we should stop seeing people in those terms - especially ourselves.
<quoted text>Lol! Too true. That's why you might use your influence as a Topix Editor to create a Humanist/Skeptic/Rationalist or 'Humanist and Ethical' forum?
I feel I've long moved-on from religion/ religious faith/ atheism/ secularism and I'm waiting for you-lot!:-) Religion is old-hat.
I think we're already serving a purpose by providing a presence on this forum where religionists and non-believers can express their views. I feel sure that most observers and contributors will find the non-believers most convincing and reasonable.
And we have already agreed (haven't we?) that we can have humanist, ethical and philosophical titles and articles to discuss on Topix's 'Atheism' Forum here.
The fact is that what we, the regular non-believer-contributors, have in common is criticisms of religious faith. We seldom strike-up meaningful and engaging conversations amongst ourselves and the best ones seem to be spontaneous. This is like saying,'lets have a conversation'. Where does one start?
Perhaps we could share what we do for our local association(s)? My problem is that I have no local Humanist group. I have to go to central Glasgow to join-in their charity work and it is proving too far. I achieve too little to justify the petrol and time. I'm better staying at home and giving the money to charity. And I get no sense of community there either as they only meet ten times a year (less than once a month) and I can't get to every meeting.
The Glasgow Skeptics are the most entertaining at the moment. They have some excellent speakers. Unfortunately, they only seem to do audio broadcasts now and one cannot see the speakers...
http://glasgowskeptics.com/videos
(I hope Bob doesn't feel that we've hijacked his thread)
I don't really have any more influence tha anyone else. Topix started recruiting editors a few years ago in an attempt to create an elite group of writers who could more the forums to higher levels. They are less ambitious now and have dropped the program altogether. It seems allowing the local forums to descend to the levels of dialogue seen on Springer is more profitable tha is providing forums for serious discussion.

So it goes...

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#15 Apr 23, 2013
EdSed wrote:
(I hope Bob doesn't feel that we've hijacked his thread)
Stars, no! I intended to start a discussion that was apart from the usual same'ole, same'ole back-and-forth treading water we usually get from ... well, let's just stop there.

:)

I am all for Interesting Discussion. Carry on!

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#16 Apr 23, 2013
NightSerf wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't really have any more influence tha anyone else. Topix started recruiting editors a few years ago in an attempt to create an elite group of writers who could more the forums to higher levels. They are less ambitious now and have dropped the program altogether. It seems allowing the local forums to descend to the levels of dialogue seen on Springer is more profitable tha is providing forums for serious discussion.
So it goes...
Well.... as Don Henly penned?
"If Dirt were Dollars? We'd all be in the black!"

:)

The rule of the least common denominator, here.

But nothings stopping us from rising above the ... ehh.. "scum" floating on the surface, is there?

:p

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#17 Apr 23, 2013
Back to the original point: Secular Morals.

I was struck by a very strong point, in the two videos I posted (I'm sorry, Ed, I haven't had time to look at yours-- I will).

That was this:

The classic theist argument that to have morals, we have to have a magical, outside-of-human source for it, is fatally flawed.

The flaw, is that nobody but nobody can follow the whole "outside source" (presuming in this example, the source is a bible, or quoran or book of mormon or similar).

So, there is no choice, but to select from the "source" those codes a given group of folk find most useful.

In short? Without a single exception, >>all<< religious groups' morality is based on purely >>secular<< selections.

The obvious conclusion is this: secular selection of moral values is superior to religious ones.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#18 Apr 24, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
Back to the original point: Secular Morals.
I was struck by a very strong point, in the two videos I posted (I'm sorry, Ed, I haven't had time to look at yours-- I will).
I hope you enjoy them Bob, but please don't feel obliged.

Posting videos can be a bit like recommending books or movies. We all have different tastes.
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
That was this:
The classic theist argument that to have morals, we have to have a magical, outside-of-human source for it, is fatally flawed.
The flaw, is that nobody but nobody can follow the whole "outside source" (presuming in this example, the source is a bible, or quoran or book of mormon or similar).
So, there is no choice, but to select from the "source" those codes a given group of folk find most useful.
In short? Without a single exception, >>all<< religious groups' morality is based on purely >>secular<< selections.
The obvious conclusion is this: secular selection of moral values is superior to religious ones.
The simple fact is that religion is irrelevant to both morality and science and I think it should be kept out of politics, legal & justice systems, & education too.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#19 Apr 24, 2013
A friend commented to me the other day, "what's all this about God coming back? He wasn't nailed to a boomerang!"

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#20 Apr 24, 2013
EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>I hope you enjoy them Bob, but please don't feel obliged.
Posting videos can be a bit like recommending books or movies. We all have different tastes.
<quoted text>The simple fact is that religion is irrelevant to both morality and science and I think it should be kept out of politics, legal & justice systems, & education too.
For me? The biggest argument >>against<< permitting religion to also be in government is this:

In purely secular systems of behavior, it is possible to reach an agreement as to what to do, in a particular situation, by discussion. More to the point, by compromise among those involved in the decision-making.

And since it can be demonstrated that no single human is always right, all of the time, this process forces us to compromise-- which in turn makes the decision spread out among a variety of people's choices, and not just one.

I think that makes for superior decisions--especially when it's not obvious or clear-cut (as in, let's choose to not murder other folk).

That's one.

Part two goes like this: in secular systems, since decisions are made by people, it is always possible to argue against the decision, especially in light of new findings, new information, new treatments, etc.

However, all religion is 100% based on "special authority". That is, based on some "holy" book, or on some "holy" person who has "special privileged information".

In short? All religion is based on the idea of "god said so".

It is not possible to argue against "god said so" apart from "no he didn't".

There can be >>no<< compromise with "god said". All you can do, is create a schism and start a different religion ....

And that? The fact that religion cannot compromise?

That is the #1 reason why it must be left out of government-- you cannot change it, with reasonable argument. The best you can do, is hope the "special authority" dies off, and the replacement is more reasonable. Or that the religion dies off, or is replaced by one less dogmatic.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Atheism Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Islam for peace, or violence? 11 min Uncle Sam 32
Our world came from nothing? 16 min Uncle Sam 1,036
Atheism requires as much faith as religion? (Jul '09) 43 min Thinking 229,996
Atheism to Defeat Religion by 2038 (Apr '12) 7 hr Chiclets 22,987
Adam Atheoi - the god of 'humanity' 18 hr Thinking 90
Man center of the universe. 18 hr Thinking 87
Razer and Ben Affleck take on the atheists Oct 17 Thinking 6

Atheism People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE