I'd like to argue that all ethics are insane, despite how it might confirm the opinion of the religious that atheists are immoral. It just seems so many contradictions arise when analysing common morality.

Examples such as the infamous "When does a human come into being?" question prove my point that our morals ought to be revised or thrown out. Regarding haploid cells, many 16 year old boys could be commiting mass murder and a woman's monthly cycle could be reason for holding a funeral. Zygotes are widely regarded as the point which the human comes into developement, but no indication why this stage is more important than the haploids that created it. In developement of the body, fetus and infant lack cognitive ability which we characterize as human. Fetus' in the early stage even lack a nervous system. So defining potential to become as human is incorrect as there is no clear criteria for when to stop. Intellect is incorrect because infant and fetus lack intellect exept in the meager animalistic sense.

Soul, defined as the material embodiement of conciousness that remains after death, is a concept that hasn't materialized in scientific or philosophical evidence so any rational atheist cannot even consider it.

So we cannot define when the human begins, its still favourable to work together. Right? Game theory mathematically analyzes such behavior versus selfishness. In a situation where all agents in the "game" are selfish or all are helpful to one another, the game collapses immediately for the selfish ones (a classic example of pure anarchy), while the helpful sustain one another and are overall better off. Such a situation is far too idealistic given that some people are "moral" and some are "immoral" and some can be both given the situation. The flexible ones are best off, as well as immoral ones surrounded by moral sheep that are tooken advantage of. Working together is not nessasarily the best option and game theory alone cannot justify mindless empathy for others.

To add. An interesting effect shown by simulations is the behavior of segregation (individuals being empathetic to their particular group but violent to outsiders) actually being an effective strategy for success. This would explain religion and mob mentality.

Thats all i got for now, probably should develop my ideas a bit more. Now commence calling me an idiot and tearing my ideas to pieces.

Tags: empathy, evil, game, good, theory

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As for periods, yes, I was wondering about that too. How far can people go to claim a life exists? If we take an absolute stance on the matter like pro lifeists do, then, yes, a woman's period means the death of a potential human being. I think the one reason we did not bother about it is simply that it's quite inconvinient. I can however see that coming with some crazy people supporting this idea.
I work hard to identify the different "truths" I'm presented with since often they're heavily disguised.

a) There are irrefutable truths that relate to the physical world - the speed of light or the amount of salt in a burger.

b) There are the "truths" that exist entirely in our heads - the prettiness of a colour or merits of McDonalds over Burger King.

Purveyors of (b) will often want to disguise them as (a) in order to justify their position.

I would put much of morality/ethics into the second category while the Pope would put them into the first.

I believe that we as a species have innate fundamental tendencies that we broadly call morality - unprovoked killing within the tribe is discouraged pretty universally, eating pork is more contentious.

But I'd agree that the academic topics of morality and ethics are highly subjective and probably destined to remain so because they lack an irrefutable foundation.

Communities/society seem to cohere around a common morality or ethical stance - that's not to say "it's the truth", only that it's how they avoid internal conflict.
I think that I missed your point somewhere.

"When does a human come into being?" is not a moral or ethical question.

Your question must be placed in it's correct context. If two people are just sitting around contemplating when life or humanity really begins, it is a conjectural question. If one is deciding whether to abort, you actually have a different question, now you are asking whether you are a)taking a life or b)merely terminating a biological process that has not yet resulted in a life.

If you believe that humanity occurs at conception, that would present an ethical problem for someone contemplating abortion, it begins to sound like murder. If you believe that the unborn are not yet human, abortion becomes less ethically difficult. Most people decide based on personal convenience.

Let us be clear on this, no ethical person would allow an unwanted pregnancy to occur. Ethical people do not just let shit happen and only then start asking ethical questions. Your question is pretty much akin to getting drunk and spending the mortgage money and then trying to decide on the smart way to proceed. Smart people don't get drunk and spend the mortgage money, you are a dummy and there is no smart way for you.

I would also disagree with any attempt to apply any type of group dynamics to principles of ethical conduct. Ethics has never been about "winning."

BTW - you are an idiot, but we love you.
"Let us be clear on this, no ethical person would allow an unwanted pregnancy to occur."

What about rape? Also i agree with you, but this doesn't make unwanted pregnancies go away, and people have to deal with them in one way, or another.
kanesoban -

I must admit that ethical people can be raped, and it is also true that birth control is not 100% effective. Therefore, I am forced to modify my statement to, "no ethical person would willingly allow an unwanted pregnancy to occur."

My point remains that most of those who are faced with the option of abortion, are fully responsible for the pregnancy occurring. Therefore, for most, the time to act ethically has passed and now they must choose between two ethically questionable choices; to bring an unwanted child into the world or to terminate it's potential existence.

Avoiding the pregnancy is ethically superior.
As atheists, I'm sure we can all agree that there is no Absolute Truth for us to base our ethics on. So I guess in that way you are correct in saying that all ethics are insane. However, just because we can't base them on absolute truths doesn't mean that they are irrelevant. We can set arbitrary priorities and standards and base a system off of that, but that doesn't mean that those standards and priorities are relevant to everyone within a given society. I contest that the best way to deal with this is by having as much democracy as possible.

As for how we live our personal lives that's up to you. Hopefully, your like Socrates and derive pleasure from acting in a manner that you consider moral and rational.

Then again, some people are simple self centered.

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