Free State Project Forum
271578 Posts in 22293 Topics by 36766 Members / Latest Member: horsesandjesus
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
December 20, 2014, 11:38:45 pm

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search

Join the FSP

POSTING GUIDELINES and ADVICE FOR NEW MEMBERS

NOTICE: The forum will be down for maintenance beginning at 7PM (NH time) this evening. It should be up again by 9PM. Please forgive the inconvenience and feel free to e-mail arick@freestateproject.org if you have any questions or support requests.

+  Free State Project Forum
|-+  Politics and Philosophy
| |-+  Religion & Liberty (Moderator: thewaka)
| | |-+  Atheist do-gooders
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3]  Go Down Print
Author Topic: Atheist do-gooders  (Read 12120 times)
jgmaynard
FSP Shadow Advertising
FSP Participant
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2288


WWW

Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2005, 08:44:49 pm »

I usually avoid these philosophical discussions, but sometimes people just do good things.....

It doesn't matter what you believe, sometimes you just want to help.

I've been an atheist since I was a small child, and yet I once saved my nephew from getting hit by a car. The car was coming at him, and I ran out in the street to push him out of the way, despite coming closer to getting hit than he did.

There was no thought, no pondering on an afterlife, nothing to be gained for me, I just ran out in the street and pushed him out of the way. Simple as that.

JM
Logged

The Light of Alexandria By James Maynard

A history of the first 1,000 years of science, and how it changed the ancient world, and our world today.



http://www.lightofalexandria.com
Blitz
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 19




Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2005, 06:08:48 am »

I am an atheist.  I am going to have to agree with varrin’s original statement.  I do not claim to be a do-gooder though. 

Posted by varrin:
“1:  The suicide bomber elects to risk (in fact intends to end) his own life to destroy some object(s) or people.  This brings a higher perceived net benefit than other options (including living or mere suicide) in that it brings the promise of great reward after death.”

“Now, I can recognize (measure) reasons for many good things.  However, I can't comprehend how an atheist would do:

1:  Something that brings no expected emotional, physical or mental benefit in this lifetime, and
2:  Something that sacrifices better expected emotional, physical or mental benefits”


Now you know why I will never be a suicide bomber. 

That said, I can’t think of many activities, like being a suicide bomber, that wouldn’t be able to be rationalized.  The “expected emotional, physical or mental benefit,” or some economic benefit or possibly other benefit that is in the best interest of the do-gooder is far more common than the lack of it. 
Logged
LeRuineur6
FSP Participant
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1634


Act decisively. Without reserve!


WWW

Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2005, 06:57:39 pm »

All good deeds can be seen as selfish from some perspective.  Mirror neurons make you feel good when you see someone else that feels good, they make you hurt when you witness someone's pain.  Making someone smile makes you happy.  Seeing someone in danger can make you spring into action to help, even at the risk of your own life.

Thus, the entire "selfish/selfless" debate is irrelevant because you cannot read someone's mind and determine the prerequisites to their good deeds, and you cannot apply any absolutes to everyone.  IMO, there are more purposes, reasons, excuses, feelings, hopes, dreams, and different types of love.  It is too much for any human being to understand.  Trying to simplify the mental decision making process into one classification (selfish) is a pointless act of futility.

You can talk about good deeds all day long, and the source of your purpose for doing them.  Or you can focus your energy and just go and DO good deeds.

On Thursday, I volunteered to help put up a new fence, do landscaping work, plant trees and shrubs, and more at a teen center in Exeter.  My justification is that it helps replace the need for government funding and services with private volunteer efforts and charitable funds.  I don't really sit around debating whether it's selfish or not because t's not really that important, IMO.
Logged

Please donate $5 to $10 per month to the Liberty Scholarship Fund!
"Noncooperation is intended to pave the way to real, honorable, and voluntary cooperation based on mutual respect and trust." -Gandhi
Rocketman
First 1000
FSP Participant
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 525

Statism Sucks




Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2005, 02:28:46 pm »

I hate to say this, my friend Rocket, but you make more sense in your writing than in listening to you Grin! I get it (well, a little better than before). Very modestly, these are very necessary words. More Christians should have this out look. But as you stated, it should come natural and not from fear of damnation (or prison as you poignantly put)!

Hey Kentucky, and welcome to the forums.  I didn't imagine anybody who knew the muslim and the preacher would ever be reading my post!

I've always made a hell of a lot more sense on paper, buddy... no secret.   Wink

Quote
Applying this consideration to selfishness vs. altruism, our desire "to live well" requires us to find the mean between these two extremes.

Rocket-

What is the mean between freedom and equality as it relates to the fact that this project seems to attract people mostly holding extreme selfishness and extreme freedom views whereas reality appears to be much more complex and will require a nuanced approach to build a majority political party in NH after getting off the bus?

Hey Thomas Paine, pleasure to discuss this topic with one of my favorite thinkers.  TP, back from the dead, would surely join the FSP. Wink

I don't think we need to be concerned about building "a majority political party" in NH.  I'm in the LP, and I'll support the LP when I get to NH, but party politics is only one small part of my liberty-activist equation.  I think with the success of the FSP, the LP could possibly achieve a plurality (not a majority) in NH, but that would be a result of FSP success, not a prerequisite for it.  There are many methods of advancing freedom, an array of which are already being tried by free state pioneers and other liberty acivists.  Each FSP participant will have his or her own ideas and priorities, but new movers will naturally be attracted to methods which appear to be achieving results.  Ghandi didn't build a majority political party, and neither did Paine or Franklin.

And besides, whether anybody directly intends this or not, one of the FSP's effects will be a reduction in the importance of political factions.  Simply remove pork from government and dramatically reduce taxes; there will then be much less to squabble over, i.e. much less stolen money for factions to wrestle over.  If we can just make the prizes smaller, fewer would be enticed to play the big government game.

Quote
Can rational people (individuals or groups) hold opposing views at the same time and articulate a unifying vision of "living well"?

I've never heard a unifying vision of "living well" that was not based in liberty.  Rational people who love liberty but hold opposing views should be able to avoid conflict on the essential ideas.  We all have our own ways of understanding how our mutant government makes people's lives worse.  Like a big pile of turds, big government looks a little different depending on your point of view, but you know it stinks unless you are a turd.

It shouldn't be that damn hard to demonstrate that individuals and society would flourish, in all ways, if government could be reduced to its small handful of legitimate functions.  As long as we're unified against the idea of tyranny, we're unified enough for the Rocketman.

As for the mean between freedom and equality, that might be a topic for another thread, but I've made no secret of encouraging people to think altruistically as well as egoistically.  The FSP will fail for sure if the people who move are not good neighbors.

You can talk about good deeds all day long, and the source of your purpose for doing them. Or you can focus your energy and just go and DO good deeds.

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, Mike, but some of us are so hopelessly abstract that we can only fall in love with ideas.  8)  If our love and appreciation of liberty inspires us to effect change, we need to spread those ideas so our motives can be understood, accepted, and hopefully shared!  Altruism at gunpoint is deplorable, but I'm all for persuading people to help their neighbors, in addition to doing it myself. 

Also, talk and action are not mutually exclusive.  All talk and no action is bad, but all action and no talk would also be bad.  Conversations like these are what's most conspicuously absent from government "education," to such an extent that most Americans today are inexplicably unwilling and/or unable to productively discuss anything important.

There is nothing more uncool in the 21st Century United States than questing for wisdom, understanding, and truth, and that's what I ultimately want to see change... more so than any single detail.  Unless I'm way off, a primary purpose of uniting nontheistic do-gooders would be to promote good deeds, or at least demonstrate the multifarious benefits of helping others.  I know well enough to avoid holier-than-thou moralism, but there truly is a philosophical justification for non-coerced neighbor-helping, and I want to help spread it around to all the atheist Scrooges.  If I'm not convincing, I will respect their right to remain stubbornly selfish.  Grin

##############################################################

I can wait a bit longer for Varrin's next post, but hopefully it won't be too long.   Grin
Logged

5/13/06: I'M HOME!!!!!!!!!  #401!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BWRIGHT
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9




Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2005, 12:19:26 pm »

I wanted to catch up with this thread because I said I would in my recent chronicle: http://www.freestateproject.org/community/moved/wright/week10.php

But also because I want to make a brief contribution then soon start another thread for the "free community of reason" I envision developing up here. 

Just on the concept of morality not requiring the God concept, has anyone read the book by UofTexas professor, Tara Smith, called Viable Values?  This is more or less a third-generation Randian effort, quite good, making it clear morality is a necessity of life. 
Logged

Brian
 Cool

The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.
The second is to look things in the face
and know them for what they are.

--Marcus Aurelius
Rocketman
First 1000
FSP Participant
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 525

Statism Sucks




Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2005, 02:09:47 pm »

BWRIGHT,

Glad you joined the forums, man.  Haven't read Tara Smith, but sounds like it would be up my alley.  I will soon have time to read the things I want, like, after I quit my silly job.

I miss Varrin.   :'(
Logged

5/13/06: I'M HOME!!!!!!!!!  #401!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Morey
FSP Participant
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 269

just another ancap


WWW

Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2005, 09:02:11 pm »

Varrin, I came across this quote today.  Thought you might appreciate it.

   "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." --Albert Einstein
Logged

sandm000
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 258


Brian




Ignore
Re: Atheist do-gooders
« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2006, 01:40:16 pm »

a) one which will result in x amount of good for yourself, but may harm others.
b) one which will result in x amount of good for yourself, and will have no effect on others.
c) one which will result in x amount of good for yourself, and will also benefit others.

If "pure egoism" is your only motivation, you'd have to say all three are equally desirable actions.  If "pure altruism" is your only motivation, you would only choose action c.  In reality, we would all choose both b and c, and most of us would have to weigh the specific variables before choosing a.  What I'm trying to prove is that we all, regardless of our official ethical (or religious) self-designations, always-already balance egoistic and altruistic motives in the making of many decisions.

case c cannot be called altruism, because it is mutually beneficial see def. 2
so you need further cases:

d)no effect on you, may harm others
e)no effect on you, and will have no effect on others
f)no effect on you, and will benefit others
g)may harm you, may harm others
h)may harm you, and will have no effect on others
i)may harm you, and will benefit others

So as you can see, case c is actually mutualism, whereas cases f and i can truly be labeled as altruistic. (Not that I'm trying to argue about your main point, which I perceive to be attaining a balance between individual concerns and group well being)
Logged

A government is not legitimate merely because it exists. 
-Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

The government's War on Poverty has transformed poverty from a short-term misfortune into a career choice.-Harry Browne

We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work.-Milton Friedman
Pages: 1 2 [3]  Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!