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Chavez

"I don't trust nobody who don't love Jesus"

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I'll keep trotting it out until somebody explains to me why in the world an atheist wouldn't attempt to exploit "opportunities" that they thought they could get away with without "worldly" punishment.

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Are we talking about illegalities or merely something like, say, lot fees or selling whole life insurance?

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Economically, Pascal's Wager is a good game-theoretic strategy where the person chooses not to play a weakly-dominated strategy.

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Economics and ethics are not the same thing.

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I'll ask again, what motivation does an atheist have to "do good just for the sake of doing good"?

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The Golden Rule (which I realize is in the Bible but it's the most bedrock ethical principle out there) or maybe just simple human empathy.

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The Golden Rule (which I realize is in the Bible but it's the most bedrock ethical principle out there) or maybe just simple human empathy.

 

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As Paul McCartney said, "And in the end... the love you take is equal to the love that you make."

 

Same principle as the Golden Rule, but it's a lot cooler than the bible. You don't have to be religious to believe in Abbey Road.

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Economics and ethics are not the same thing.

 

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I am arguing (er... discussing) in this thread from the point of view of an economist.

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What is the motivation of any behavior?  A rational person would look at the costs and benefits of any action and then choose the path where the net expected benefits are highest.

 

(And the sanctioning doesn't have to be a fear of an angry god's wrath, it could be that the person wants to do good because they want to please their god)

 

I'll ask again, what motivation does an atheist have to "do good just for the sake of doing good"?

 

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god's wrath= judgement (i thought of it as both sides of the fence).

 

motivation will vary from person to person.

 

let's take an economic exchange.........

 

the range i could see is:

if i don't act "good" consequences could be anything from not doing future business to having to pay restitution, to going to jail.

 

if i act "good," i can have future dealings with this other person/corporation (whatever). with "honorable" transactions, can gain new business via word of mouth, etc. some people just feel good for acting good(respect for universal principles). and a couple of others: social consciousness, welfare for others.

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As Paul McCartney said, "And in the end... the love you take is equal to the love that you make."

 

Same principle as the Golden Rule, but it's a lot cooler than the bible.  You don't have to be religious to believe in Abbey Road.

 

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So I see I'm not really on ignore. :D

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I'll keep trotting it out until somebody explains to me why in the world an atheist wouldn't attempt to exploit "opportunities" that they thought they could get away with without "worldly" punishment.

 

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I'll ask again, what motivation does an atheist have to "do good just for the sake of doing good"?

 

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are you asking this in the context where you're deciding whether to enter into a deal with another person, and all you know about that person is he's an atheist? or are you actually saying that it's impossible for an atheist to be considered ethical?

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As Paul McCartney said, "And in the end... the love you take is equal to the love that you make."

 

Same principle as the Golden Rule, but it's a lot cooler than the bible.  You don't have to be religious to believe in Abbey Road.

 

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and my question is: why would an atheist believe in the Golden Rule?

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I am arguing (er... discussing) in this thread from the point of view of an economist.

 

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While Pascal's Wager may be able to be applied in an economic sense, in this case we are discussing ethics, which is a whole 'nother ballgame. Leave yer John Maynard Keynes biography at the office on this one.

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and my question is: why would an atheist believe in the Golden Rule?

 

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Why wouldn't one?

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or are you actually saying that it's impossible for an atheist to be considered ethical?

 

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no, I'm not saying that at all

 

But I do have a hard time figuring out why an atheist would behave in an ethical fashion if they could get away with acting unethically. (And I have a hard time figuring it out because for years I have been asking this question and no one has ever satisfactorily answered it. Saying that people feel good when they act good doesn't explain why they might feel good about acting good.)

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and my question is: why would an atheist believe in the Golden Rule?

 

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Because it's not biblical, and it doesn't require a belief in God?

 

I believe in it because I perceive it happening in my life.

 

I don't perceive a magical invisible man bellowing commandments from the sky in my life.

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Why wouldn't one?

 

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because it is very likely that a person can make himself better off in this world by not following it

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because it is very likely that a person can make himself better off in this world by not following it

 

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As many a purported Christian has proven. :D

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As many a purported Christian has proven.  :D

 

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that seriously is exactly my point

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Wow, there's a veritable Murderer's Row typing away right now (Furd, Atomic, Ursa...with wiegie, whomper, and billay on deck)

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because it is very likely that a person can make himself better off in this world by not following it

 

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Conscience, empathy, and guilt are not religious concepts.

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Okay, so usually I am not one to be caught watching that tv show "trading spouses" but I did catch one episode where one woman was so closed minded because of religion. One family (D'AMICO-FLISHER FAMILY) was very laid back, peace loving, and fairly hippiesh. They were very accepting and loving people. The other family (PERRIN FAMILY) was the religious crazy family. It wasn't so much the family that was crazy,it was the mom. She went crazy living with the laid back household. She went so far as to demonize the gargoyle statues in the backyard. Crazy.

 

To make the story short, I don't understand why the religious fanatics are so closed minded about not conforming into their religon. It seems a lot of the worlds problems stem from religious differences.

 

Since I didn't want to type all that much about what else went on in the episode the links follow:

Trading Spouses episode 201

Trading Spouses episode 202

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and my question is: why would an atheist believe in the Golden Rule?

 

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Because belief in the Golden Rule is totally divorced from religion. I know you are coming at this from a logical economics viewpoint, but that fails to take account of emotion and the logical irrationality that is built into human beings.

 

Perhaps an atheist is likely to be a Golden Rule believer because the atheist believes that the cause of human progress would be accelerated by the demise of organized religion and the conversion of more people to the doctrine of humanistic cooperation in the here and now, which is really what the Golden Rule is all about.

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because it is very likely that a person can make himself better off in this world by not following it

 

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But that presupposes that all people are at core selfish and this is demonstrably untrue. Logically, perhaps they should be, but they're not.

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Methinks that there is not much of a correlation between a belief in a supernatural being and behavior.

 

I bet you that if I went to down the road to Jackon Prison and axed the "residents" about their beliefs, you would not find a significant difference in the number of atheists than in the population as a whole.

 

Why do people "do the right thing?" I'm not sure, but I am pretty confident that, for the overwhelming number of people, that it doesn't have much to do with fear of an afterlife.

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But that presupposes that all people are at core selfish and this is demonstrably untrue.  Logically, perhaps they should be, but they're not.

 

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Economics as a discipline does indeed have as its first assumption that people are self-interested and that they will choose the actions that give themselves the most utility (happiness)--and guess what, economic models based on this assumption work better than any other models of human behavior.

 

(note that "self-interested" is not quite the same as selfish, but the terms aren't completely dissimiliar)

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god's wrath= judgement (i thought of it as both sides of the fence).

 

motivation will vary from person to person. 

 

let's take an economic exchange.........

 

the range i could see is:

if i don't act "good" consequences could be anything from not doing future business to having to pay restitution, to going to jail.

 

if i act "good," i can have future dealings with this other person/corporation (whatever). with "honorable" transactions, can gain new business via word of mouth, etc.  some people just feel good for acting good(respect for universal principles). and a couple of others:  social consciousness, welfare for others.

 

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this doesn't answer my question of what motivation does an atheist have to "do good just for the sake of doing good"?

 

you have to explain why atheists might feel good about acting good, or why they might have a social consciousness or be concerned about others' welfare

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