Atheism has no morals

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TheExAtheist's picture
Atheism has no morals

Despite atheists claiming you can have morality without religion, I will simply point out the ironic logical inconsistencies in asserting such a claim

Morality, just like heaven is a religious concept. It's like an atheist trying to prove angels exist but God doesn't. Angels are creations of God after all.

More intelligent atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche realized this.
Source: "The Twilight of Idols" (1889) Nietzsche

Morality i.e good/bad (or right/wrong ; justice/injustice) are defined by God. By definition what good is what God says it is, and vice versa.

Obedience to God's commandments is what is defined as good and disobedience to his commands is defined as bad. The logic is that simple

Now when atheists try to separate morality from God they also need to come up with a logical reason. They get their reasoning from classical liberalism, or a variation of John Stuart Mill's harm principle

Source: "On Liberty" (1859) John Stuart Mill &

This reasoning can be explained as such:

"Happiness and pleasure should be maximized"

"Do what ever you want as long as you don't harm anyone"

Or as the US Declaration of Independence says

"The pursuit of happiness"

The simple refutation to atheism is that atheism itself causes harm and unhappiness

I'm sure you've all seen these mountains of scientific papers on how atheism harms human health, I don't need to show you all of em do I, but here's a example


Wearing hijabs is proven to benefit a woman's mental health, promote body sensitivity, reduce sexual objectification/harassment

Yet atheism in France try to ban hijab, directly harming women. You see the inconsistency.


And that's it, the argument is over, I win again. It's just that easy to refute and debunk atheism. It can be done in minutes.

Even PhD atheist philosophers like Dr. Lars Gule admit this, in this video here, that under atheism's illogical attempt at creating a secular version of morality, they can logically permit bestiality, or in this case sex with pet dogs (of course in Islam that's a death sentence, in atheism it's a human right to have sex with your pet dog)



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CyberLN's picture
Samuel, the title of your

Samuel, the title of your post is, “Atheism has no morals”

Well, I think you are completely correct! Atheism hasn’t a bloody thing! Atheism is simply the rejection of god claims.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Seems that Devon, David H and

Seems that Devon, David H and Sammy Hyde and seek all came out the same sock drawer where they reached identical conclusions using identical phraseology.

Amazing innit? .

algebe's picture
@Old man...Amazing innit?

@Old man...Amazing innit?

Coincidence, divine inspiration, or perhaps yet another demonstration of Christian morality...

Tin-Man's picture
Re: OP - Atheism has no

Re: OP - Atheism has no morals

...*astonished look*.... Are you fucking kidding me?!? Seriously??? All this time I have been on this site, and none of you bozos ever bothered to mention this to me?... *shaking head in utter disappointment*... Well, ain't that just fabulous?!? All the time I have spent on here simply wasted!... *heavy sigh*... Looks like I now have a ton of catching up to do. After all, had I known atheism meant not having any morals, then I would have been out robbing, stealing, cheating, and being a total scumbag the past several months. But did any of you godless heathens bother telling ME about this?.... NOOOoooooooo.... You just wanted to run around out there and keep all the fun to yourselves! Don't bother to help a brother out! You bunch of selfish bastards. But, then, I suppose I should simply expect such things from a group of immoral atheist slime.

Thank you so very much, Mr. Hyde, for finally revealing the truth to me. Obviously couldn't count on any of these other turds to let me know. I guess they are too worried about protecting their precious Atheist World View. But - hey - now that I finally know atheism has no morals, I ain't gonna waste any time in taking full advantage of it. Nope, I've already wasted too much time as it is. First thing in the morning I'm heading downtown to catch up on some overdue fun. Gonna start off with simple things, though, and then work my way up the ladder. I think I'll start with stealing the money out of the jar of a blind beggar. I've always wanted to do that... *briskly rubbing hands together with excited anticipation*...

David Killens's picture
Samuel Hyde what is your

Samuel Hyde what is your opinion on owning another human being, which is slavery.

For the sake of equal treatment, I will state that as an atheist I am opposed to slavery. I also consider slavery immoral.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey, Jekyll and Hyde! If you

Hey, Jekyll and Hyde! If you are going to edit your OP, it is a courtesy to make a note of it to let others know what was changed. That first attached pic was laughable enough. However, your current pic borders on breaking rule number 8. Just so you know, I tend to get a bit cranky when narrow-minded brain-dead bigoted losers start slinging the type of bullshit you seem to be promoting. I am being nice right now. You might want to keep it that way. Just sayin'....

boomer47's picture
I think he means that

I think he means that atheists ALSO have no morals. Probably because he has as failed to grasp the meaning of the word atheist.

The level of wilful ignorance is so egregious that I truly don't know where to begin . Perhaps with Greek philosophers (?)

Nah, there are people here far more talented at evisceration of the wilfully ignorant who pass by from time to time.

Probably irrelevant, my impression is that our new little friend/ village idiot/chew toy is a fly by troll. Or a semi literate adolescent .

algebe's picture
@Samuel Hyde: in atheism it

@Samuel Hyde: in atheism it's a human right to have sex with your pet dog

I can just imagine you and your fellow religious loons obsessing enviously about all the fun we atheists are having humping our spaniels and dachshunds. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but the reality is that most atheists only have sex with apes.

There was a young man from Dundee
Who buggered an ape in a tree.
The offspring was horrid
All chin and no forehead
Three balls, and a purple goatee.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Algebee

@ Algebee

That sounds just like a description of Australia's Minister for Deportations...umm...sorry, "Home Affairs"

Cognostic's picture
I knew that man from Dundee

I knew that man from Dundee
Who shagged an ape in a tree.
They named him Allah
He fucked a koala
And Muhammad came to be.

Cognostic's picture
@Samuel Hyde: I have not

@Samuel Hyde: I have not read your post yet, however, so far, we are in complete agreement. "Atheism does in fact, have no morality." There is absolutely nothing moral or immoral about the lack of belief in God or gods. Morality is a complete non-issue when it comes to atheism. It's a sad fact that we can not say the same about the immorality of RELIGION. Please demonstrate even one immoral act or belief that not believing in a god generates.

"Morality, just like heaven is a religious concept."
An extremely bigoted and narrow minded point of view. All cultures, religious or not, have a sense of morality. Troops of apes and monkeys engage in moral behaviors. We can trace the evolution of human moral behavior. And when we look at our old religions with their blood sacrifices , religions like yours, we can see clear movement from the immoral practices of human sacrifice to animal sacrifice and on to symbolic sacrifice. Finally we reach a state of no longer sacrificing anything. HEY! That's atheism! Perhaps their is some morality in not believing in Gods. Atheists do not engage in blood sacrifice or related rituals. Isn't that moral behavior? (Well, actually we are just not engaging in the behavior and that is not moral until some people speak out against it. So, actually, being anti-theist would be moral in this case.)

THE REST OF YOUR ASSERTIONS ARE JUST TOO STUPID TO ADDRESS. I suggest that if you want to debate something, you avoid the shotgun approach. If you want to debate "A TOPIC" just keep your idiotic assertion to "ONE PER POST."

Calilasseia's picture
Apparently this individual is

Apparently this individual is totally unaware, that there now exists an abundant scientific literature, covering the evolutionary and biological basis for [1] our capacity for ethical thought, and [2] our motivation to act thereupon.

Time to reprise this ...

All morality is a human invention. The only evidence we have, of creatures producing an abstract concept of ethics and devising conceptual frameworks within an intellectual field of endeavour devoted to these, centres upon humans. We have evidence that humans have written treatises on ethics - everything from Urukagina's laws and Hammurabi's laws through to, for example, the works of Immanuel Kant. We have NO evidence that any other entity has produced treatises on ethics or formulated ethical ideas. Any statement that an invisible magic man is responsible for our ethical constructs is mere blind assertion, not least because the postulate that this invisible magic man even exists is a blind assertion. As a direct consequence, the observational evidence supports the notion that morality is a human invention.

Oh, and one of the more interesting developments from neuroscience that supernaturalists have apparently missed out on is this. Humans (and indeed other primates) possess a part of the brain known as the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex. It has been demonstrated experimentally, courtesy of cases of brain injury to this region, that this part of the brain is the very part of the brain responsible for our capacity to engage in ethical decision making. When that part of the brain is damaged, ethical decision making is manifestly impaired. In other words, we have an organic and biological basis for our capacity to act as moral beings. An interesting and relevant paper is this one:

Characterisation Of Empathy Deficits Following Prefrontal Brain Damage: The Role Of The Right Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex by S.G. Shamay-Tsoory, R. Tomer B.D. Berger and J. Aharon-Peretz, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15: 324-337 (2003)

Here's the abstract:

Impaired empathic response has been described in patients following brain injury, suggesting that empathy may be a fundamental aspect of the social behavior disturbed by brain damage. However, the neuroanatomical basis of impaired empathy has not been studied in detail. The empathic response of patients with localized lesions in the prefrontal cortex (n = 25) was compared to responses of patients with posterior (n = 17) and healthy control subjects (n = 19). To examine the cognitive processes that underlie the empathic ability, the relationships between empathy scores and the performance on tasks that assess processes of cognitive flexibility, affect recognition, and theory of mind (TOM) were also examined. Patients with prefrontal lesions, particularly when their damage included the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, were significantly impaired in empathy as compared to patients with posterior lesions and healthy controls. However, among patients with posterior lesions, those with damage to the right hemisphere were impaired, whereas those with left posterior lesions displayed empathy levels similar to healthy controls. Seven of nine patients with the most profound empathy deficit had a right ventromedial lesion. A differential pattern regarding the relationships between empathy and cognitive performance was also found: Whereas among patients with dorsolateral prefrontal damage empathy was related to cognitive flexibility but not to TOM and affect recognition, empathy scores in patients with ventromedial lesions were related to TOM but not to cognitive flexibility. Our findings suggest that prefrontal structures play an important part in a network mediating the empathic response and specifically that the right ventromedial cortex has a unique role in integrating cognition and affect to produce the empathic response.

Another apposite paper is this one:

The Role Of The Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex In Abstract State-Based Inference During Decision Making In Humans by Alan N. Hampton, Peter Bossaerts and John. P. O'Doherty, The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(32):, 8360-8367 (9th August 2006) (full paper downloadable from here)

Here's the abstract:

Many real-life decision-making problems incorporate higher-order structure, involving interdependencies between different stimuli, actions, and subsequent rewards. It is not known whether brain regions implicated in decision making, such as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), use a stored model of the task structure to guide choice (model-based decision making) or merely learn action or state values without assuming higher-order structure as in standard reinforcement learning. To discriminate between these possibilities, we scanned human subjects with functional magnetic resonance imaging while they performed a simple decision-making task with higher-order structure, probabilistic reversal learning. We found that neural activity in a key decision-making region, the vmPFC, was more consistent with a computational model that exploits higher-order structure than with simple reinforcement learning. These results suggest that brain regions, such as the vmPFC, use an abstract model of task structure to guide behavioral choice, computations that may underlie the human capacity for complex social interactions and abstract strategizing.

Another apposite paper is this one:

Characterisation Of The Decision-Making Deficit Of Patients With Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Lesions by Antione Bechara, Daniel Tranel and Hanna Damasio, Brain, 123: 2189-2202 (2000)

and also this one:

Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activation Is Critical For Preference Judgements by Martin P. Paulus and Lawrence R. Frank, NeuroReport, 14(10): 1311-1315 (28th March 2003)

However, the one I'd really like to concentrate upon from here on is this one:

Impairment Of Social And Moral Behaviour Related To Early Damage In Human Prefrontal Cortex by Steven W. Anderson, Antoine Bechara, Hanna Damasio, Daniel Tranel and Antonio R. Damasio, Nature Neuroscience, 2(11): 1032-1037 (November 1999)

Here's what the Anderson et al paper says:

The long-term consequences of early prefrontal cortex lesions occurring before 16 months were investigated in two adults. As is the case when such damage occurs in adulthood, the two early-onset patients had severely impaired social behavior despite normal basic cognitive abilities, and showed insensitivity to future consequences of decisions, defective autonomic responses to punishment contingencies and failure to respond to behavioral interventions. Unlike adult-onset patients, however, the two patients had defective social and moral reasoning, suggesting that the acquisition of complex social conventions and moral rules had been impaired. Thus early-onset prefrontal damage resulted in a syndrome resembling psychopathy.

Indeed, further research in this area has established an interesting fact: if the pre-frontal cortex is damaged in childhood, before a child has begun to learn basic ethical precepts, that child becomes a sociopathic adult, incapable of responding to any impulse other than instant gratification of wants and desires, regardless of the cost to that person or others affected by said behaviour. If the damage occurs in adulthood, the behaviour is still antisocial, but is accompanied by feelings of guilt because ethical precepts have already been learned, and knowledge of this affects the individual adversely in terms of guilt feelings after the fact. Plus, when subjected to testing in a clinical environment, adults with pre-frontal cortex damage can give appropriate responses to questions about appropriate behaviour in social settings, but are unable to act upon this knowledge, and continue to be driven by immediate gratification, even when they know that this behaviour is self-defeating. The pre-frontal cortex has also been implicated as the origin of fear memories in normal individuals, as of 2006 (courtesy of researchers at the University of Toronto). Modern data with respect to this relies upon functional MRI scanning, which can track brain activity in real time, and those brain imaging systems have found a startling correlation between reduced activity, reduced volume and reduced interconnections with other brain subsystems, and individuals falling into the following categories:

[1] Sufferers of unipolar depression;

[2] Persons subjected to repeated high-intensity stress (e.g., battlefield shock cases);

[3] Incarcerated criminals;

[4] Diagnosed sociopaths;

[5] Drug addicts;

[6] Suicide victims (survivors of suicide attempts have been imaged via fMRI: successful suicide victims have had the pre-frontal cortex directly measured by dissection).

Therefore there is a biological basis for ethical behaviour in humans, and work on the great apes is being performed in anticipation of finding corollary brain activity related to socialisation and the establishment of behavioural 'norms' within great ape social groupings.

The pre-frontal cortex is regarded as being implicated in the presence of empathy not just in humans, but on other mammals too, though this work is in its infancy and detailed, robust findings have yet to be published. However, given what has been verified empirically in cases of pre-frontal cortex injury, scientists anticipate that empathy will also be found to be correlated with healthy functioning of the pre-frontal cortex.

Additionally, I have since found that pre-frontal cortex damage is implicated in schizophrenia, courtesy of this page from the Society for Neuroscience. Again, it refers to brain imaging studies, this time in humans and other primates.

A letter to Nature is also apposite here (link), viz:

The psychological and neurobiological processes underlying moral judgement have been the focus of many recent empirical studies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Of central interest is whether emotions play a causal role in moral judgement, and, in parallel, how emotion-related areas of the brain contribute to moral judgement. Here we show that six patients with focal bilateral damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), a brain region necessary for the normal generation of emotions and, in particular, social emotions [12, 13, 14], produce an abnormally 'utilitarian' pattern of judgements on moral dilemmas that pit compelling considerations of aggregate welfare against highly emotionally aversive behaviours (for example, having to sacrifice one person's life to save a number of other lives) [7, 8]. In contrast, the VMPC patients' judgements were normal in other classes of moral dilemmas. These findings indicate that, for a selective set of moral dilemmas, the VMPC is critical for normal judgements of right and wrong. The findings support a necessary role for emotion in the generation of those judgements.

Indeed the pre-frontal cortex appears to be involved in a surprising amount of decision making. This page on depression covers this in some detail.

This page also reports a study from the British Journal of Psychiatry, which notes structural differences in the pre-frontal cortex that are observed between socially well-adjusted individuals and pathological liars, and a parallel reversal of those differences in persons with autistic spectrum conditions (who have been observed for many years as possessing a considerably reduced capacity to lie and fabricate - there are numerous peer reviewed studies with respect to this, from researchers such as Professor Uta Frith and Dr Simon Baron-Cohen).

A peer reviewed paper that can be accessed that discusses several of these findings in detail is this one, in which the connection between pre-frontal cortex damage and increased pursuit of immediate gratification is experimentally verified. This article from the American Journal of Psychiatry also covers the relation between pre-frontal cortex damage and schizophrenia.

So, the evidence the basis for morality is organic, and has precious little to do with any invisible magic men. In the case of humans, our accelerated brain evolution (courtesy of ASPM and FOXP2, two genes critical to the development of a large cerebral cortex and language capability, papers on which I have presented elsewhere) has also led to an expansion of the size of the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex, and the forging of connections between that brain region and the cerebral cortex proper, facilitating the coupling of our empathic capabilities, which are also seen in other primates. The following scientific papers, authored or co-authored by primate researcher Frans de Waal, are apposite here:

Empathy: Its Ultimate And Proximate Bases by Stephanie D. Preston and Frans de Waal, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 25: 1-20 (2001)

Mechanisms Of Social Reciprocity In Three Primate Species: Symmetrical Relationship Characteristics Or Cognition? by Frans B. M. de Waal and Lesleigh M. Luttrell, Ethology and Sociobiology, 9(2-4): 101-118 (1988)

Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay by Sarah F. Brosnan & Frans B. M. de Waal, Nature, 425: 297-299 (18th September 2003)

Primates—A Natural Heritage Of Conflict Resolution by Frans B. M. de Waal, Science, 289: 586-590 (28th July 2000)

Reconciliation And Consolation Among Chimpanzees by Frans B. M. de Waal and Angeline van Roosmalen, Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology, 5(1): 55-66 (March 1979)

I'll now set about covering these papers in some detail. First,

Empathy: Its Ultimate And Proximate Bases by Stephanie D. Preston and Frans de Waal, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 25: 1-20 (2001). The full paper is downloadable from here. Here is the abstract, with appropriate sections highlighted in bold:

There is disagreement in the literature about the exact nature of the phenomenon of empathy. There are emotional, cognitive, and conditioning views, applying in varying degrees across species. An adequate description of the ultimate and proximate mechanism can integrate these views. Proximately, the perception of an object's state activates the subject's corresponding representations, which in turn activate somatic and autonomic responses. This mechanism supports basic behaviors (e.g., alarm, social facilitation, vicariousness of emotions, mother-infant responsiveness, and the modeling of competitors and predators) that are crucial for the reproductive success of animals living in groups. The Perception-Action Model (PAM), together with an understanding of how representations change with experience, can explain the major empirical effects in the literature (similarity, familiarity, past experience, explicit teaching, and salience). It can also predict a variety of empathy disorders. The interaction between the PAM and prefrontal functioning can also explain different levels of empathy across species and age groups. This view can advance our evolutionary understanding of empathy beyond inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism and can explain different levels of empathy across individuals, species, stages of development, and situations.

So already we have a paper that discusses evolutionary explanations for altruism. Let's take a further look at this, shall we?

In an experiment with rhesus monkeys, subjects were trained to pull two chains that delivered different amounts of food. The experimenters then altered the situation so that pulling the chain with the larger reward caused a monkey in sight of the subject to be shocked. After the subjects witnessed the shock of the conspecific, two-thirds preferred the nonshock chain even though it resulted in half as many rewards. Of the remaining third, one stopped pulling the chains altogether for 5 days and another for 12 days after witnessing the shock of the object. These monkeys were literally starving themselves to prevent the shock to the conspecific. Starvation was induced more by visual than auditory cues, was more likely in animals that had experienced shock themselves, and was enhanced by familiarity with the shocked individual (Masserman et al. 1964).

So we have hard experimental evidence that rhesus macaques will suffer privation rather than see fellow members of their species endure pain. Which means that these organisms possess empathy for each other that is directly observable, and reflects the sort of empathic responses that used to be thought to be exclusive to humans.

Continuing, the authors write:

These examples, all from empirical reports, show that individuals of many species are distressed by the distress of a conspecific and will act to terminate the object’s distress, even incurring risk to themselves. Humans and other animals exhibit the same robust effects of familiarity, past experience, and cue salience (Table 1), and parallels exist between the development of empathy in young humans and the phylogenetic emergence of empathy (de Waal 1996; Hoffman 1990, respectively). These facts suggest that empathy is a phylogenetically continuous phenomenon, as suggested by Charles Darwin more than a century ago (1871/1982).

So the notion that empathy, and as a consequence, altruistic behaviour, is a natural consequence of evolutionary processes can be traced in the scientific literature all the way back to Darwin. Which means tht an evolutionary explanation for altruism is anything but a recent development.

The paper concludes with:

The complex social world of primates requires the central nervous system to perceive the facial expressions, body postures, gestures, and voices of conspecifics accurately and quickly in order to generate a response (Brothers 1990; Byrne & Whiten 1988). Parsimoniously, the same nervous system link between perception and action that helps us to navigate the physical environment helps us navigate the social environment. The perception-action link allows for facile motor skill acquisition as well as facile social interaction, as we perceive external conditions and incorporate them into our current plan of action. In this way, the proximate model is intricately linked with the ultimate model. While natural selection acts on phenotypes, these phenotypes reflect the underlying physiology. Thus, the general design of the nervous system, created through millions of years of evolution, should be considered a factor in the evolution of emotional processes like empathy and overt behaviors like helping. In this way, the proximate and ultimate levels of analysis are intimately related.

So, the authors conclude that in order to act in an altruistic manner, what is needed is:

[1] An ability to relate perceptions to actions within an internal mental model of some sort (and the model in question doesn't have to be anywhere near as intricate as ours);

[2] An ability to relate responses of other organisms of the same species to a given external action, to our own likely actions to those same external actions (in short, "putting oneself in the shoes of the other");

[3] An ability to make judgements, with respect to future actions to take, that maximise shared benefit and minimise shared suffering.

Since the papers on the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex and human brain development mediated by ASPM cover the development of the relevant hardware required for this, it should not be surprising to conclude, as a result of observing empirically that rhesus macaques possess the necessary hardware to act in this manner, that our own hardware supporting this behaviour arises from the familiar process of common descent with modification, and indeed, the ASPM papers provide evidence with respect to the modifications that took place in our lineage.

Next, we have this:

Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay by Sarah F. Brosnan & Frans B. M. de Waal, Nature, 425: 297-299 (18th September 2003). The abstract reads as follows:

During the evolution of cooperation it may have become critical for individuals to compare their own efforts and pay-offs with those of others. Negative reactions may occur when expectations are violated. One theory proposes that aversion to inequity can explain human cooperation within the bounds of the rational choice model [1], and may in fact be more inclusive than previous explanations [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Although there exists substantial cultural variation in its particulars, this 'sense of fairness' is probably a human universal [9, 10] that has been shown to prevail in a wide variety of circumstances [11, 12, 13]. However, we are not the only cooperative animals [14], hence inequity aversion may not be uniquely human. Many highly cooperative nonhuman species seem guided by a set of expectations about the outcome of cooperation and the division of resources [15, 16]. Here we demonstrate that a nonhuman primate, the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella), responds negatively to unequal reward distribution in exchanges with a human experimenter. Monkeys refused to participate if they witnessed a conspecific obtain a more attractive reward for equal effort, an effect amplified if the partner received such a reward without any effort at all. These reactions support an early evolutionary origin of inequity aversion.

Oh dear, that evidence that evolution can produce such behaviour is starting to pile up. So, even capuchin monkeys possess what might be termed "a sense of fair play". Sadly, I don't have access to the full paper, but I suspect it will make very interesting reading for those who do have full access.

Let's see another paper, shall we? Namely:

Reconciliation And Consolation Among Chimpanzees by Frans B. M. de Waal and Angeline van Roosmalen, Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology, 5(1): 55-66 (March 1979). Abstract quoted yet again below:

Summary 1. After agonistic interactions among chimpanzees, former opponents often come into non-violent body contact. The present paper gives a quantitative description of such contacts among the chimpanzees of a large semi-free-living colony at the Arnhem Zoo, in order to establish whether these post-conflict contacts are of a specific nature.

2. Our data indicate that former opponents preferentially make body contact with each other rather than with third partners. They tend to contact each other shortly after the conflict and show special behaviour patterns during these first contacts. Data on contacts of the aggressed party with third animals indicate that such contacts are characterized by the same special behaviour patterns as first interopponent contacts. These patterns are: 'kiss', 'embrace', 'hold-out-hand', 'submissive vocalization' and 'touch'.

3. Such interactions apparently serve an important socially homeostatic function and we termed them 'reconciliation' (i.e. contact between former opponents) and 'consolation' (i.e. contact of the aggressed party with a third animal). According to our data, 'kissing' is characteristic of reconciliation and 'embracing' of consolation.

This was a paper that performed a quantitative analysis of the requisite behaviours back in 1979. And which, moreover, contains what appears to be a direct empirical observation of chimpanzees acting socially to mitigate the results of violent conflict, and seek to minimise the occurrences thereof amongst their number. Which once again demonstrates that we are not unique in this vein by any stretch of the imagination.

Let's see what else is in the literature shall we?

Mechanisms Of Social Reciprocity In Three Primate Species: Symmetrical Relationship Characteristics Or Cognition? by Frans B. M. de Waal and Lesleigh M. Luttrell, Ethology and Sociobiology, 9(2-4): 101-118 (1988). Again, here's the abstract:

Agonistic intervention behavior was observed in 23 chimpanzees, 50-60 rhesus monkeys, and 25 stumptail monkeys. Reciprocity correlations of interventions were determined while removing the effects of matrilineal kinship, proximity relations, and same-sex combination. It was considered likely that if significant reciprocity persisted, it was based on cognitive mechanisms. All 3 species exhibited significant reciprocity with regard to beneficial interventions, even after controlling for symmetrical traits. Harmful interventions were reciprocal among chimpanzees only. Both macaque species showed significantly inversed reciprocity in harmful interventions. Macaques rarely intervened against higher-ranking group members.

Next, we have:

Primates—A Natural Heritage Of Conflict Resolution by Frans B. M. de Waal, Science, 289: 586-590 (28th July 2000) (full paper downloadable from here). Once again ...

The traditional notion of aggression as an antisocial instinct is being replaced by a framework that considers it a tool of competition and negotiation. When survival depends on mutual assistance, the expression of aggression is constrained by the need to maintain beneficial relationships. Moreover, evolution has produced ways of countering its disruptive consequences. For example, chimpanzees kiss and embrace after fights, and other nonhuman primates engage in similar “reconciliations.” Theoretical developments in this field carry implications for human aggression research. From families to high schools, aggressive conflict is subject to the same constraints known of cooperative animal societies. It is only when social relationships are valued that one can expect the full complement of natural checks and balances.

Well, I think that more or less wraps that up, don't you?

Basic empathy for others of our species, and to a varying extent, individuals of other species as well, is an integral part of us as human beings, and it has its origins in our primate social ancestry. Indeed, examples of that ancestry coming to the fore in other modern primates are well documented - the gorilla Binti Jua, who, in her zoo enclosure, rescued a three year old boy who fell into it, carried him to a place of safety, and guarded him from the other gorillas, until the zookeepers could carry the boy to a waiting ambulance. You can read more about this here, here and here. Presumably, Binti Jua knows nothing about an invisible magic man, and certainly not the invisible magic man that numerous supernaturalists contend is supposedly "necessary" for altruistic or ethical behaviour. That last link I just provided, incidentally, highlights the fact that scientists are increasingly aware of the presence of behaviours in other species that can be classified as 'ethical', and indeed, much of the primate research of Frans de Waal and others has brought this into sharp relief in recent years, as I documented above.

Incidentally, one of the papers above also cites the instance of Binti Jua (described briefly on page 19 of the paper, with a reference to an earlier paper describing the incident more comprehensively).

I think that should deal effectively with the "you need my magic man to be moral" canard, don't you?

LostLocke's picture
Adragonism (ie, the lack of

Adragonism (ie, the lack of belief in the existence of dragons) also has no morals. Why aren't you complaining to them also that they are immoral people?

Tin-Man's picture
@LostLocke Re: "Adragonism

@LostLocke Re: "Adragonism (ie, the lack of belief in the existence of dragons) also has no morals."

...*rolling eyes*.... Oh, great. Here we go again. Ugh! Why are you dragonists ALWAYS trying to use that same old tired claim that we adragonists have no morals? Sure, I know a few adragonists who are absolutely horrible people. But their being douchebags has nothing to do with their lack of belief in dragons. Just so happens I also know a couple of dragonists who have very questionable morals. Should I now believe ALL dragonists are bad people? Granted, I do get a good little chuckle at how misguided and naive some of you dragon believers often behave. Otherwise, it is no skin off my nose if a person wants to believe in dragons. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Just don't try pushing your dragon beliefs on me or others, and we can all get along just fine.

That being said, I have to admit I do enjoy the dragonist sacrifice story where the Supreme Dragon is slain to save all of humanity. Some of the annual reenactment plays that are performed every Spring Equinox can be really badass! Especially in the dragon churches that have green-screen and CGI capabilities. Spectacular! Unlike other sacrifice stories I've heard, that Supreme Dragon does NOT go down without a fight.... *chuckle*... Gotta have a bit of respect for that, at least.

Sheldon's picture
@Samuel Hyde

@Samuel Hyde

You either can reason what is moral or you can't, if you can then you don't need the opinion of a deity, if you can't then the opinion of a deity will be useless to you anyway.

Please demonstrate some objective evidence for the existence of any deity.

xenoview's picture

Atheism doesn't have any morals to it. Humans can have morals without religion.

Grinseed's picture
@ Samuel Hyde

@ Samuel Hydedespite

My atheism just defines me as someone who rejects theist claims to the existence of their specified god. Nothing more.
Neither my atheism or agnosticism has any bearing on my distaste for beastiality.

As a humanist, my sense and practice of morality, like my choices in literature, politics and sexual proclivities, is a purely personal matter and frees me from the supposed 'objective or absolute' definitions declared by gods and theists and even the suggestions of other atheists or other humanists.

Personally I derive, 'reason' as you put it from a far wider range of secular writers than just Mill. Humanism has a rich and detailed history of expression and includes authors such as Confucius, Mencius, Thucydides, Epicurus, Cicero, Seneca, Aurelius, Spinoza, Bentham, Hume, Darwin, Remsberg, W.K. Clifford, D'Holbach, Ayer, Grayling, Bronowski, Chapman Cohen, Victor Stenger, Ingersoll and that's just what's on my nearest bookcase. They all express the need for minimum harm through considerate and intelligent regard for others. Its the universal 'do unto others' maxim I am sure you are familiar with which has its beginnings long before the Abrahamic religions.
The above list should also include Nietzsche (not on my bookcase) but I think you have just been quote mining. What you have provided as his quote re morality would be his explanation for the theist view and not his own philosophy. I haven't read a lot of his works but I know he claimed to be an atheist (I recall reading a translation of a letter to his sister explaining why.)

I am somewhat underwhelmed by your 'refutation' where after comparing the humanist creed for living life responsibly and with minimum harm to others with the Declaration of Independence phrase 'the pursuit of happiness' you suddenly equate atheism with harm and unhappiness. You are suggesting religion doesn't harm or create unhappiness? It would be a stupendously stupid claim.

I have seen the great and lasting harm religion and its enforcement has had on the lives and personal relationships of otherwise blameless people. It has been tragically evident following the selfless religious expression of Islamic fundamentalists in 9/11, and the Bali Bombings that followed. I have studied the stories and met with the victims of enforced family separations of the Koori people by the various established churches in Australia. The child abuse, the papal denial of condom use in Africa, the numerous self-appointed theist prophets who led their deluded followers to their god through mass suicide. I have never seen anything like these atrocities or any other, done in the name of humanism or atheism.

I don't care what Muslim women wear. I believe they should be free to wear what they like but with the single exception of removing headwear to establish identity for legal purposes. But I have my doubts that after growing up with life long religious indoctrination they have the real freedom to make a bone-fide decision. Beyond a call for modest attire, I don't recall the Q'ran even insisting on full-body coverings. That is an enforced cultural misinterpretation of the text. And the sexual harassment these women suffer would be more an issue of the lack of morality, common decency and self-control of Muslim men.

The argument has been running forever and will never be over. You have won nothing and refuted nothing. You have only engaged in hubristic claims, misinterpretations of cherrypicked quotes and self-congratulatory self-affirmations.
I suggest you stick with your religion but leave the proselytizing to other more intelligent and reasonable believers. Your ignorant and convoluted arguments are a bad advertisement for theism.

edited for spelling and orphans.

David Killens's picture
Meh, the OP is just a sock

Meh, the OP is just a sock puppet who made one opening comment in this thread, then made a post in another thread to support that OP (whom I strongly suspect is the same person).

The patterns of behavior, the content, and the fact they quickly appeared, made just two posts each, then just a quickly slunk away points strongly to a sock puppet.

I have zero respect for such children. But although I disagree on almost every point with Nogba, I have high respect for this gentleman who seemed to be very honest, stuck around for a few days, and made sincere replies to questions.

Grinseed's picture
@ David

@ David

Even sock puppets have value for honing arguments, in the absence of legitimate posters. I agree its a shame that the majority of theist posters who zip through here lack the honesty, integrity and therefore relative staying power of Nogba.

Vex_Man's picture
> Atheism has no morals

> Atheism has no morals

If you were really a rational person, you could say atheists have no morals because atheism is neither a religion nor a philosophy.

> Despite atheists claiming you can have morality without religion, I will simply point out the ironic logical inconsistencies in asserting such a claim

Theistic religions especially Christianity and Islam have killed more than 375 million people for the name of jihad. Second, atheism is without/no god. Atheism is not 'without religion'. Jainism is an atheistic religion and Jains follow a doctrine of utter non-violence. They do not even kill an insect or a worm.

> Morality, just like heaven is a religious concept. It's like an atheist trying to prove angels exist but God doesn't. Angels are creations of God after all.

Angels and God/(s) are creation of your mind. You take hallucination drugs to alter the reality.

> More intelligent atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche realized this.

Nietzsche was an anti-religious, not an atheist. In fact, he wrote a book named 'anti-christ' which means who 'opposed (not absence) the doctrine of Christianity'.-

> Morality i.e good/bad (or right/wrong ; justice/injustice) are defined by God. By definition what good is what God says it is, and vice versa.

Oh so you really think morality is derived from God. Christian and Islamic God command their followers to kill disbelievers and homosexuals, to do polygamy, to mutilate genitals, to burn witches, to kill strangers, to kill interfaith couples, to kill animals on Eid. If these acts are said to be moral, then atheism should be considered as immoral.
13 islamic countries where atheism is banned-

Surah no 8 verses numbers 15 and 16 recommend Muslims to fight against disbelievers and whoever comes back from fight, will be tortured by the Allah-

O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight]. And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah, and his refuge is Hell - and wretched is the destination.

Even though, Muslims will kill their own men (Muslims), if anyone of them breaks sabbath (Surah 2 verse 165)

And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, "Be apes, despised."

The Koran orders Muslims to kill those wives who do sex with their gay husbands (Surah 7 verses no 80–84)

And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds? Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people." But the answer of his people was only that they said, "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure." So We saved him and his family, except for his wife; she was of those who remained [with the evildoers].

> Now when atheists try to separate morality from God they also need to come up with a logical reason. They get their reasoning from classical liberalism, or a variation of John Stuart Mill's harm principle

John Stuart Mill lived around 200 years ago. You are debating this topic in 2020. It is not 1806. The logic is very simple- you follow your God's commandment because they have been told by your God, not because they are really moral. On the other hand, we do not follow any commandment of any authority (our parents can be exception). We do moral works because it is decided by ethics. An animal kills other animal, yet he saves other species' animals as well. An animal never follows any religion or God. Doesn't it ?

> I'm sure you've all seen these mountains of scientific papers on how atheism harms human health, I don't need to show you all of em do I, but here's a example

Is it even a scientific paper ? Can you give an authenticate link of this paper ? I have statistics how much harm has been done by Christians and Muslims. Muslims have killed 270 million people on the name of their religion This data does not include people who were killed through homophobia though. If you include that part, the statistics will cross 1000 million. Chrsitians also have killed 107 people for the name of their religion.
Alone Pakistani Muslims kill 1 crore animals on Eid each year.

> Wearing hijabs is proven to benefit a woman's mental health, promote body sensitivity, reduce sexual objectification/harassment. Yet atheism in France try to ban hijab, directly harming women. You see the inconsistency.

I am aware of what happened in France i.e. Paris attacks 2015, Magnaville stabbing 2016. The way Muslims are migrating to France, they are making it as a house of criminal activities. Many terrorist Muslims wear hijab so that they can commit crimes by covering their faces. It is not a coincidence that rapes, corruption and organised crimes are increasing in France after this migration.

> And that's it, the argument is over, I win again.

Sadly, you have lost to me aka a true debater. And people counter-argue. This is not a speech where someone can argue only.

> Even PhD atheist philosophers like Dr. Lars Gule admit this, in this video here, that under atheism's illogical attempt at creating a secular version of morality,

Appeal to authority- a PhD philosopher can make distorted version of morality but it proves nothing. A degree is a requirement for jobs, not for knowledge.

> they can logically permit bestiality, or in this case sex with pet dogs (of course in Islam that's a death sentence, in atheism it's a human right to have sex with your pet dog)

Atheism has no pope, no ritual, no founder, no doctrine, no belief. Since you give an example of an atheist, I may also give you an example of a theist- Osama Bin Laden. Everyone knows how he sent a letter before 9/11 to USA. He wrote in his letter that he is going to bomb according to Allah's will. None atheist has killed anyone for the name of atheism though.

Sheldon's picture
Saying atheism has no morals,

Saying atheism has no morals, is like saying not believing in unicorns has no morals.

It's an asinine nonsequitur.

Atheism is the absence or lack of belief in a deity. If that belief was the sole provider of human morality then theists would be demonstrably more moral than atheists in similar circumstances, and they're quite demonstrably not, as any research into prison populations demonstrates.

Proxyhookr's picture


Really. Read your bible. The bible trio has murdered babies (Passover) children(Sent two she bears to kill 42 children for the high crime of making fun of the prophet Elisha for being bald) and committed genocide(Noah story). Also why is it so easy for all religious clergies to rape children and lie about it? No other profession in the world can come close to their number of child rapist. The first treaty Adolph Hitler signed was with the Catholic Church and the first treaty Mussolini signed was also with the Catholic Church. I could go on but you get the point, I hope.

Sheldon's picture
"Atheism has no morals."

"Atheism has no morals."

Correct, but atheists clearly do have morals.

Sheldon's picture
"atheists claiming you can

"atheists claiming you can have morality without religion, I will simply point out the ironic logical inconsistencies in asserting such a claim."

You haven't pointed anything out, merely made an unevidenced assertion. Can you demonstrate any objective evidence for the existence of objective morality?

It's the theistic assertion that subjectively cherry picking archaic superstitious myths represents morality that is irrational. Since morality is the ABILITY to differentiate between right and wrong behaviours. If you blindly follow ancient superstitious texts then this quite demonstrably isn't morality. Even Nazis managed to blindly and unquestioningly follow rules.

Sadly this guy appears to be another drive by, only interested in preaching his own opinion at us, but lacking the integrity to rationally debate that opinion.

T'was ever thus....

Sheldon's picture
"Morality, just like heaven

"Morality, just like heaven is a religious concept."

Another unevidenced assertion, and one that is a demonstrably false. The concept of morality exists outside of superstition's bare assertions, you only have to google humanist or secular ethics to see this.

Sheldon's picture
"good is what God says it is.

"good is what God says it is.."

Then by definition you don't need morality. Do you even know what the word means? Your spiel suggests that you don't. I suggest you go and learn its definition, before making facile unevidenced assertions, that contradict its definition.

Randomhero1982's picture
Atheism is simply the

Atheism is simply the position one has, on a very specific subject in this case the lack of belief in a god and/or gods.

If you are trying to claim that theism is the birthplace of morality, being god given. Then you have to demonstrate that a god actually exists.

I'll allow you to try to demonstrate that, let's hope you do a better job then every other piss poor attempt ever made.

However, I would conceed that morality and theism are entwined by an unbreakable common point.

They are both man made.

Sheldon's picture
"Yet atheism in France try to

"Yet atheism in France try to ban hijab, directly harming women. You see the inconsistency"

Two unevidenced assertions, both demonstrably false as well. The French government is not atheism, that's another execrable nonsequitur you've used to attack a position that doesnt share your theistic position. The French government may be secular, but this is not the same as them being representative of atheism.

Secondly you haven't offered a shred of tangible evidence for your claim this ban will harm women. You don't even bother to detail what the ban entails, and when, let alone how this causes harm. Your hysterical hyperbole is risible, as are your unevidenced assertions.

Hardly surprising given you're clearly trolling.

Sheldon's picture
"More intelligent atheists

"More intelligent atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche realized this."

That's a text book appeal to authority fallacy for a start, so claims about being rational are destroyed right there. Secondly what has the opinion of a single atheist to with atheism, you are conflating apples and oranges, it's either a dishonest attempt to troll, or a woefully lack of understanding. Or both of course.

Nietzsche was driven quite mad by syphilis for a start, but that aside, he could decide the moon was hollow and filled with creme fresh, this doesn't change the meaning of atheism from being a single position on one single belief.

You also have failed to offer a single cogent rational argument, or a shred of objective evidence as to how disbelieving in a deity renders anyone less able to differentiate between right and wrong behaviours?

Theistic beliefs are entirely subjective. They are not supported by any objective evidence. So religious and theistic morals are as subjective as secular morals.

Calilasseia's picture
Indeed, since all that any

Indeed, since all that any mythology fanboy has ever had to offer, at bottom consists of "my mythology says so, therefore it's true", the assertions of mythology fanboys can be safely discarded on the basis that they arise from this risible origin.


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