How is atheist morality not Social Darwinism?

Page 1 of 6 [ 76 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,190
Location: USA

08 Aug 2014, 12:53 pm

Some Christians argue that atheist philosophy reduces human morality to survival-of-the-fittest, so I wonder what philosophy do atheists appeal to when arguing against "Social Darwinism"?

Background:
Social Darwinism: Policies should be implemented that see the superior survive, and the weak perish.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism

Arguments in favor:

a. "Malthusian catastrophe": Population will outgrow food supply, therefore we cannot afford to expend extra resources on helping the weak. [see source 1]

b. Francis Galton: welfare and asylums exist because too many "inferior" humans are allowed to breed. [source 2].

c. Individualism - interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group [see source 3]

d. Nietzsche "will to power" / Sith philosphy (fiction in Star Wars) - it is the natural order for humans to seek power over others. Believing otherwise is lieing to oneself "enslaving the mind", which what is meant in the Sith philosophy as "my chains are broken" - to be free from the lies. [see source 4 , 5]

e. "Males require competition" theory - is is seen in other animals, male humans require competition to be fulfilled. [source 2]

f. Racial - without citation e.g., NAZI

g. "Might is Right" / "Might Makes Right" philosophy [source 6, 7]

Arguments against:

a. Religion - help thy fellow man

b. "The Golden Rule" [see source 8] - One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

c. Jedi (fiction) - all existence is valued [see source 9]

d. Self-entitlement( "sense of entitlement"): I am entitled to other people's stuff. [see source 10]

e. Egalitarianism - favoring equality for all people [source 11]

f. Collectivism - interdependence of humans [source 12]

The atheist argues that reason tells us that there is no GOD. Yet, how does the atheist reason that morality is more than survival-of the-fittest per the charge of Christians ?

sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individualism
4. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Code_of_the_Sith
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_to_power
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_is_Right
7. ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_makes_right
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
9. http://www.jedichurch.org/webapps/site/ ... uestid=467
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entitlement
11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egalitarianism
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivism



Humanaut
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2014
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,390
Location: Norway

08 Aug 2014, 1:14 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
How is atheist morality not Social Darwinism?

What do you mean by "atheist morality"?

Ethics is a branch of philosophy.



LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,190
Location: USA

08 Aug 2014, 1:50 pm

Humanaut wrote:
LoveNotHate wrote:
How is atheist morality not Social Darwinism?

What do you mean by "atheist morality"?

Ethics is a branch of philosophy.


The space for the title is short, so you should not draw conclusions from the title.

I am asking, what philosophy do atheists appeal to for their moral principals when arguing against Social Darwinism? It happens a lot here, but I never see the philosophy stated. And more interestingly, is the philosophy based in reason, or just personal belief ?



Humanaut
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2014
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,390
Location: Norway

08 Aug 2014, 2:12 pm

Ethics is a vast field. Some general information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics



Kurgan
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Apr 2012
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,388
Location: Scandinavia

08 Aug 2014, 2:35 pm

Friedrich Nietzsche is a very misunderstood (and misquoted) philosopher. He wasn't a social darwinist, nor was he a radical opponent of religion. His writings have been ruined by both pseudointellectuals from the new atheism movement and the nazis.


_________________
“He who controls the spice controls the universe.”


trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

08 Aug 2014, 3:16 pm

This has nothing to do with atheism. Social Darwinism is when people misunderstand evolution and want to bring an "every man for himself" mentality into society.
Just because someone recognizes the cruelty of nature and natural selection does mean that they endorse it as a model for society. There is a difference between ought and is. Just because atheists who know about evolution realize that sometimes the slower deer gets caught by the lion does not mean that they want it to be true. They simply acknowledge it as fact. Sometimes reality is not about what we want.



RushKing
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,297
Location: Minnesota, United States

09 Aug 2014, 1:06 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgyKnnSuuRw[/youtube]



luanqibazao
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 754
Location: Last booth, Akston's Diner

09 Aug 2014, 1:37 am

Like "isolationism," "Social Darwinism" is both a pejorative and a straw man. I don't know of anyone who actually propounds that "the weak" should be left to starve and die. Well, maybe Nazis, but you may have a hard time finding an avowed Nazi who wants to debate.

Many ethical theories have been devised which do not depend upon the edicts of a deity. You'll get more responses if you bring up one of them rather than attacking something that does not exist.



LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,190
Location: USA

09 Aug 2014, 2:39 am

luanqibazao wrote:
You'll get more responses if you bring up one of them rather than attacking something that does not exist.


I did not attack anything.

So far, no one seems to answer the original question: Some Christians argue that atheist philosophy reduces human morality to survival-of-the-fittest, so I wonder what philosophy do atheists appeal to when arguing against "Social Darwinism"?

luanqibazao wrote:
Like "isolationism," "Social Darwinism" is both a pejorative and a straw man


The "straw man" is in your denial that some WP members are atheists arguing against Social Darwinism. They must appeal to some philosophy to make such arguments.

Atheists likely believe in Darwinism as the nature of human evolution (strong survived, weak perished), so not sure why it all of sudden it has become offensive. It appears to represent the beliefs of many atheists about the nature of humans.

luanqibazao wrote:
I don't know of anyone who actually propounds that "the weak" should be left to starve and die. Well, maybe Nazis, but you may have a hard time finding an avowed Nazi who wants to debate.

Many ethical theories have been devised which do not depend upon the edicts of a deity.


It would seem the Christians are correct in their assertion that atheists have no basis to argue for moral principals, because to do so would put some objective purpose on humans. Once an atheist puts an objective purpose on humans, then humans are not mere randomly evolved creatures - they are creatures with purpose.

And if an atheist just makes up a philosophy like "The Golden Rule" that has no basis, just personal belief, then that is akin to believing in "made up" GOD's morality, and would seem to make the atheist a hypocrite. As the atheist may argue that believing in GOD morality is foolish yet, also believes in some made up morality.



luanqibazao
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 754
Location: Last booth, Akston's Diner

09 Aug 2014, 3:43 am

LoveNotHate wrote:
So far, no one seems to answer the original question: Some Christians argue that atheist philosophy reduces human morality to survival-of-the-fittest,


Some Christians are confused. There is no such thing as a single "atheist philosophy," rather, there are many non-theistic philosophies.

Quote:
so I wonder what philosophy do atheists appeal to when arguing against "Social Darwinism"?


Whichever one they subscribe to, of course. Epicureans, Marxists, Pragmatists, Objectivists and so on will have very different answers to any philosophical question. However, nobody actually has to argue against "Social Darwinism" because it does not exist.

Got to get to bed. More anon.



trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 Aug 2014, 4:16 am

I really don't see any connection between atheism and social Darwinism. Also, in the link to the individualism page on wiki there is no mention of any kind of Darwinism at all. Individualism is the opposite of social Darwinism: individualism is not just about your own rights as an individual, but also respecting the right of others to be individuals. The most infamous supporters of social Darwinism were the Nazis, who were collectivists (Volk before individual) and certainly not individualis. Most Nazis were also either Catholics or Protestants (just because most Germans were).
Quite a few atheists are probably collectivists too (I'm thinking of the far left Socialist Parties).
I don't know any atheists personally who advocate social Darwinism.



trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 Aug 2014, 4:21 am

LoveNotHate wrote:
It would seem the Christians are correct in their assertion that atheists have no basis to argue for moral principals, because to do so would put some objective purpose on humans. Once an atheist puts an objective purpose on humans, then humans are not mere randomly evolved creatures - they are creatures with purpose.


Most atheist believe in subjective morality, not objective morality. So they simply have no objective morality because they don't believe it exists.



LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,190
Location: USA

09 Aug 2014, 4:43 am

luanqibazao wrote:
Some Christians are confused. There is no such thing as a single "atheist philosophy," rather, there are many non-theistic philosophies.


First, I didn't know this, so thanks for making me research it, however, it appears non-theism is not the same as atheism, as this wikipedia page points out "Buddhism" is non-theistic, yet, believes in a GOD, so presumably would not atheist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontheistic_religions

However, your point is understood, and I agree many "made up" atheists morality philosophies may exist (e.g., "The Golden Rule", "Self-entitlement", "Egalitarianism") I mentioned this in the original post. However, the question if not fully answered, as I elaborated on in my second question in the original post.

The atheist argues that reason tells us that there is no GOD. Yet, how does the atheist reason that morality is more than survival-of the-fittest per the charge of Christians ? The above mentioned philosophies provide no basis, other than a made up personal belief - much the same in believing in a "made up" GOD morality.

luanqibazao wrote:
However, nobody actually has to argue against "Social Darwinism" because [b]it does not exist[/b].


And yet, doing a search on WP, I see it is mentioned hundreds of times on WP in arguments. Particularly, in the context of political policies exist to diminish people on welfare (which is one of the arguments in favor I listed originally).



LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,190
Location: USA

09 Aug 2014, 5:02 am

trollcatman wrote:
Most atheist believe in subjective morality, not objective morality. So they simply have no objective morality because they don't believe it exists.


Thanks.

Can you elaborate on how reason leads an atheist to conclude that there is no GOD, and yet can reason really lead one to conclude subjective morality ? This is the part I am missing.

Thank you.



khaoz
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Apr 2013
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,940

09 Aug 2014, 5:19 am

I don't think it is Atheists who practice the "survival of the fittest" philosophy. I think that is right wing Christians who believe in"I got mine, screw you." This idea that Atheists are amoral is becoming tedious You cannot attribute morality to a specific group of people based on ideological beliefs only. Human beings are individualistic. Some people behave as if they have no sense of morality, other human beings do not. It has nothing to do with believing in God or not. I see a lot of "believers" who behave as if they have no concept of morality at all. I think morality itself is a subjective term. I think capital punishment, for instance, is just as immoral as outright murder. I believe that publicly shaming human beings in order to get them to conform is extremely immoral, yet many Christians think public shaming is a perfectly acceptable method of behavior modification