Here are my thoughts on part of your post:
UNHINGED FROM OUTCOMES
When ethics are religiously based, they are based on principles that are unhinged from outcomes. The person is insulated from the law, compassion, science, verifiable facts, and experience, depending on the dictates of the religious authorities he or she subscribes to.
RELIGIOSITY: DOESN'T NEED RELIGION
Religiosity is at the core of this, and extends to other, non-religious, areas, such as politically driven behavior, or belief in a treatment. The death of several children from poorly executed rebirthing is a clinical example. The devastation to Russia's economy from adhering to an inaccurate model of evolution that affected their agriculture early in the nineteen hundreds is a political example. The manipulation of inexperienced people by multilevel marketing, with severe financial consequences (Eastern Europe's experience with pyramid schemes being the most extreme) is a business example.
MANIPULATION OF SOCIETY
Today, the media, controlled by concentrated wealthy interests is in the act. Religiosity and propaganda are skillfully blended, resulting in a dramatic, negative effect on the population and the welfare infrastructure, including schools and social programs. To wit, the shift in the polls when the Iraq war was being supported through a concert of methods on television and elsewhere. NBC news artfully influenced the public mood in the opening graphics in a way that changed with each day.
Another important point is that church and state are combined by pretending that a political agenda is not religiously based. For example, laws against sex work are supported by lies that go unchallenged because so many people want to believe in them. However, without a factual basis, only religious values remain. God doesn't like it. Attacking evolution in schools, and cat birding in intelligent design is a blatant example.
CORE SOLUTIONS FOR ANTI-RELIGIOSITY
These phenomena are so pervasive as to be like asking a fish to attack water. I think we must focus on core solutions. For example, teaching rhetoric to all children so that the culture becomes less tolerant of AM radio tactics such as the straw man gambit or the ad homonym attack would make our culture more resistant to manipulation by jingoists, fanatics, and sociopaths. Media studies that honestly examine manipulation of media by political and commercial interests is another. I had a teacher that offered that in high school. It was very meaningful to me.
GREAT TOPICS TO READ ABOUT
Here are some fascinating topics, some with good Wikipedia content:
Doctrinaire thinking, True believer
Bellyfeel, New Speak (from 1984)
Truthiness, from Stephen Colbert (same as bellyfeel)
Cargo cult science, from physicist Richard Feynman
The Sokal affair
WHERE VALUES COME FROM
The implied answer to the question of where atheists get their ethics is that they are based on the outcomes of their behavior, where being constructive is a value. Why be constructive? Social evolution, pride in an evolved social context, good feelings from adhering to reality-based principles, joy of affiliating with people with constructive values...
Once in place, in an evolved culture, they exist because they are protected from evil influences, such as religiosity, sociopathy, disruptions of war, vulnerability to catastrophe, etc.
P.S. Looking forward to meeting more of y'all at the pier with Toan.
| Robert A. Yourell
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What do we as atheists base our ethics on?
What are your ethics? What do you consider "bad" behavior and what do you consider "good" behavior?
Would what is considered an ethical flaw by a religious person be considered the same way by an atheist?
Would behavior applauded by religious people as ethical be considered ethical by you? Why or why not?
Can you find the hidden words?? Take a break and play Seekadoo! Play now!