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Atheists Promote 'Good Without God' Message in Big Apple

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Then yes.[/b]

My question was "Why should I do it?" not "Should I do it?"

But the whole reason altruism exists as a natural instinct is because it was incredibly essential during our evolution. Back before there was wealth and civilization, altruism meant working together in order to achieve a common goal, as well as helping others so that they would help you in return thus increasing your own well-being.[/b]

Ah. Now, what you just said is very interesting.

Altruism is defined as a selfless interest in others' well-being. If I am helping someone out for the purposes of achieving something that *I* want, or on the understanding that they will return the favour somewhere down the line, it's not selfless. Sure, I might be helping someone else, but I'm ultimately doing so to further my own interests, not just for the sake of doing it. That is not altruism.

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My question was "Why should I do it?" not "Should I do it?"[/b]

Because she needs it and you don't, clearly.

Ah. Now, what you just said is very interesting.

Altruism is defined as a selfless interest in others' well-being. If I am helping someone out for the purposes of achieving something that *I* want, or on the understanding that they will return the favour somewhere down the line, it's not selfless. Sure, I might be helping someone else, but I'm ultimately doing so to further my own interests, not just for the sake of doing it. That is not altruism.[/b]

Altruism as an instinct is selfless on a conscious level, but not on a subconscious level. It's a common saying in anthropology that there is no true altruism.

But when we demonstrate altruism, we do not consciously think that the person we reach out to will return the favor down the line, and so our intentions still can be selfless. It's just that we think like that because we evolved that way, because it does come around and help us in the longrun.

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Because she needs it and you don't, clearly.[/b]

So what?

But when we demonstrate altruism, we do not consciously think that the person we reach out to will return the favor down the line, and so our intentions still can be selfless.[/b]

First of all, I think it's a bit presumptuous to think you speak for all of humanity on this. How do you know that these "altruistic" deeds were not performed with the thought of the favour being returned in mind?

Secondly, I don't see how this is relevant anyway. Yeah, maybe some people do give their stuff away without getting or expecting any return benefit. That doesn't explain how the people who do this aren't being stupid. Whether the individual thinks they're being selfless is irrelevant; you're still saying "Altruism is good because it MIGHT ultimately benefit the person being altruistic." In other words, your justification for altruism is a selfish one.

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Because it deprives me of something; to wit, an amount of money equivalent to whatever the medicine costs, and I would rather not be deprived of it.[/b]

Oh ok so you're selfish and it's all about number 1? I think I understand.

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Oh ok so you're selfish and it's all about number 1? I think I understand.[/b]

Pretty much, yeah. Is that it? Are you implying that this is bad? If so, are you going to bother explaining yourself or are you content to leave it at that?

I mean, I'm not saying I don't ever help people out, but it's not altruism when I do that, because I only do it when I expect it to benefit me somehow; maybe because the favour will be returned, or because I'm saving the life of someone I care about, or just because I like the warm fuzzy feeling of someone else's gratitude.

In fact, I don't think anyone is truly altruistic when they help others. I mean, how many of these "altruistic" deeds do you think we'd see if we removed all the rewards that make them selfish? If it didn't (supposedly) bring them closer to God, and it didn't make them feel good inside, and it didn't come with the promise of the favour being returned somewhere down the line, or immediately, or ever, and it didn't further their own goals in any way...why would anyone ever help anyone?

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In fact, I don't think anyone is truly altruistic when they help others. I mean, how many of these "altruistic" deeds do you think we'd see if we removed all the rewards that make them selfish? If it didn't (supposedly) bring them closer to God, and it didn't make them feel good inside, and it didn't come with the promise of the favour being returned somewhere down the line, or immediately, or ever, and it didn't further their own goals in any way...why would anyone ever help anyone?[/b]

Because they see value in the act itself? For example, someone would give the girl some money so that she wouldn't be starving and she would be happier. Take away all the "warm fuzy feelings" and any chance of a return and you still have the fact that that girl won't be going hungry and she will be a little bit happier. Some could simply see the value in that and act for that reason.

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Because they see value in the act itself? For example, someone would give the girl some money so that she wouldn't be starving and she would be happier. Take away all the "warm fuzy feelings" and any chance of a return and you still have the fact that that girl won't be going hungry and she will be a little bit happier. Some could simply see the value in that and act for that reason.[/b]

I'm filing personal satisfaction under "warm fuzzies" here.

Also, what value? Seriously. Look at my hypothetical. Sick person needs medicine. Why should I buy it? This should be an easy question to answer if altruism is so obviously good and selfishness is so obviously bad.

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Also, what value? Seriously. Look at my hypothetical. Sick person needs medicine. Why should I buy it? This should be an easy question to answer if altruism is so obviously good and selfishness is so obviously bad.[/b]

I think it's time to agree to disagree. No one is really "good" in the sence that they are going to help someone everytime they see they are dieing in a third world country. Christian, Athiest or whatever. It just proves that no one is good, not one of us.

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It just proves that no one is good, not one of us.[/b]

No. It doesn't. Because you and the other advocates have yet to prove that altruism is actually a good thing, or that selfishness is bad.

And again, if you actually think selfishness is wrong, I have to express again how odd it is that you just casually accept that you're an immoral person and don't even bother trying to change it. Are you only prepared to be moral insofar as it's convenient for you? Where's your integrity? If I actually thought it was right to sacrifice everything but the bare minimum of what I need to live, you bet your britches that I'd be doing exactly that.

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I don't think that anyone should be saying that anyone is going to burn in hell. We are all sinners and shouldn't be judging others based on their sins when we sin ourselves.

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So what?[/b]

If a dead girl is less important to an individual than a little bit of luxury, there's really no chance in persuading them.

First of all, I think it's a bit presumptuous to think you speak for all of humanity on this. How do you know that these "altruistic" deeds were not performed with the thought of the favour being returned in mind?[/b]

If the deeds were performed with the conscious thought of the favor being returned, then it isn't altruism.

Secondly, I don't see how this is relevant anyway. Yeah, maybe some people do give their stuff away without getting or expecting any return benefit. That doesn't explain how the people who do this aren't being stupid. Whether the individual thinks they're being selfless is irrelevant; you're still saying "Altruism is good because it MIGHT ultimately benefit the person being altruistic." In other words, your justification for altruism is a selfish one.[/b]

It's selfish on an evolutionary level, not an individual level. We've developed altruism as an evolutionary positive trait that benefits humanity as a whole. It helps others, and it helps the altruistic individual, leading to success for the whole species.

But does your average person dropping off a bag of clothes at the GoodWill think about that? No. The underlying evolutionary selfishness of altruism does not occur to us in the mind. It was developed for selfish reasons, but now that it's part of who we are, it is no longer selfish.

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I'm filing personal satisfaction under "warm fuzzies" here.[/b]

Umm actually I was too. Thats why I purposefully left it out when I said no returns. You don't get anything at all from this, the only person who is going to benefit is the little girl.

Also, what value? Seriously. Look at my hypothetical. Sick person needs medicine. Why should I buy it? This should be an easy question to answer if altruism is so obviously good and selfishness is so obviously bad.[/b]

Uh saving the girls life? Perhaps you don't see any value in that but surely you can see how some people would, can't you?

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If a dead girl is less important to an individual than a little bit of luxury, there's really no chance in persuading them.[/b]

Well, you've admitted to being selfish yourself, and yet you seem OK with believing that you should pay for the medicine. What am I missing, exactly?

Why should I concern myself over the death of a complete stranger?

But does your average person dropping off a bag of clothes at the GoodWill think about that? No.[/b]

Think this through for a second. I'm asking why selfless interest in the well being of others is a good thing. You're saying "Because it will come back to reward you," thereby making the interest not selfless at all. So you've explained why selfish interest in the well being of others is a good thing. The fact that some people do such things without realising why they are good is not relevant; if it's only "good" because it will come back to reward them, then at its core, the virtue of what you're talking about is derived from the selfish gain it provides. Therefore, by definition, is it not altruism.

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Well, you've admitted to being selfish yourself, and yet you seem OK with believing that you should pay for the medicine. What am I missing, exactly?

Why should I concern myself over the death of a complete stranger?[/b]

Being selfish myself doesn't mean that I don't accept and recognize what would be the right thing.

And if I was made completely aware of a specific individual dying that could live with my help and only with my help, I'd do it regardless of whether I knew them. That's why they have those sponsor a child programs.

Think this through for a second. I'm asking why selfless interest in the well being of others is a good thing. You're saying "Because it will come back to reward you," thereby making the interest not selfless at all. So you've explained why selfish interest in the well being of others is a good thing. The fact that some people do such things without realising why they are good is not relevant; if it's only "good" because it will come back to reward them, then at its core, the virtue of what you're talking about is derived from the selfish gain it provides. Therefore, by definition, is it not altruism.[/b]

Which was what I said before about there being no true altruism. But you have to realize the difference between what biology instilled in us millions of years ago and the conscious effect it has on us today. A very very long time ago, man's distant ancestors developed altruism because it benefited the species in a way that you would call selfish. Now although it was developed for selfish reasons, that doesn't mean we're selfish when we do it. We are not subconsciously thinking that it will benefit us in the end, our genes already made that decision for us way in the past. We're simply left with the ability and desire to do it.

Does that make sense?

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Two words: Total Depravity[/b]

Oh noes! There are non-believers who are just as confident in their lack of belief in any god as you are in your own god.

Oh the horror.

Why is this news? :rolleyes:

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Oh noes! There are non-believers who are just as confident in their lack of belief in any god as you are in your own god.

Oh the horror.

Why is this news? :rolleyes:[/b]

No, but a city-wide campaign of atheists publicly rubbing it in everyone's face is.

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No, but a city-wide campaign of atheists publicly rubbing it in everyone's face is.[/b]

"The United Coalition of Reason says the New York ad campaign is intended to reach out to nontheists and let them know that they are not alone. At the same time, the organization wants to break stereotypes and let the public know that atheists are good people too."

I don't see where the "rubbing it in everyone's face" part comes in. Extending comfort to like-minded people and trying to get rid of stereotyping is bad...how?

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And again, if you actually think selfishness is wrong, I have to express again how odd it is that you just casually accept that you're an immoral person and don't even bother trying to change it. Are you only prepared to be moral insofar as it's convenient for you? Where's your integrity? If I actually thought it was right to sacrifice everything but the bare minimum of what I need to live, you bet your britches that I'd be doing exactly that.[/b]

I will continue to be "immoral" and do my best to continue bettering myself. Sometimes I'll help someone because I believe it's right, while other times I may pass someone by. Giving whenever possible is the best solution and I do agree with that, however I can admit that I am not always the best giver and it's something I need to work on. We have things in our life we all must work on of course. So I'm happy that the majority of posters on this forum can admit that they are not doing as well giving as they should even with the condemning attitude you hold Secundus.

My statement still stands. No one is "good" not one of us. But we can always look to better ourselves and help as many people as possible.

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No, but a city-wide campaign of atheists publicly rubbing it in everyone's face is.[/b]

I remember you being much more reasonable than that Reincarnate. Though, perhaps I'm confusing you with someone else?

Either way, many Christians tell people on a daily basis that they're going to burn in hell for eternity and yet because they're displaying a message that there are more atheists out there than onesful, they're rubbing it in everyone's face? What is it they're even rubbing in people's faces other than that they exist?

Also Deeper and God-Sent need to troll harder. Their self righteousness isn't showing enough already.

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And if I was made completely aware of a specific individual dying that could live with my help and only with my help, I'd do it regardless of whether I knew them. That's why they have those sponsor a child programs.[/b]

Why only specific individuals? How come it only matters that you're letting people die when you know who they are?

We are not subconsciously thinking that it will benefit us in the end[/b]

Even if we aren't, that is not relevant. The point is that you're saying altruism is good because of the selfish benefit that it provides to the altruist; so in fact, what you're saying is that selfish benefit is good, not that there's anything inherently good about the act of giving in and of itself.

So I'm happy that the majority of posters on this forum can admit that they are not doing as well giving as they should even with the condemning attitude you hold Secundus.[/b]

If you only hold to your principles when it suits you then condemnation is precisely what you deserve. Until you stop making feeble excuses and start living up to your responsibilities, you're just a hypocrite, and your vaunted "morals" mean nothing. For all your talk of selflessness, you and everyone else are ultimately concerned with yourselves first and foremost.

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"The United Coalition of Reason says the New York ad campaign is intended to reach out to nontheists and let them know that they are not alone. At the same time, the organization wants to break stereotypes and let the public know that atheists are good people too."

I don't see where the "rubbing it in everyone's face" part comes in. Extending comfort to like-minded people and trying to get rid of stereotyping is bad...how?[/b]

Ah yes, those nontheists living in New York city (you know, known for being exclusively religious and all that) need reassurance that they aren't alone.

An advertisement campaign saying "we're good without God" (which can also be interpreted as "no God please, we're fine") is not necessary. Even if New York was some kind of evangelical powerhouse where atheists faced ridicule on a daily basis, advertisements on the streets wouldn't change anyone's mind.

sebÃss, is this really necessary? If you didn't have billboards telling you that you're a nice guy, would you be living in depression thinking nobody likes you?

Funny you should mention that, because the campaign was started as a respond to evangelical Christians publicly rubbing their beliefs on everyone's face.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_Bus_C...nitial_proposal[/b]

Surely you understand the difference between telling someone there is no God and telling someone there is a God, don't you?

Telling people God exists doesn't offend anyone. Telling people God exists doesn't contradict anything essential in an atheist's life (that is assuming atheists prefer not to be defined by their atheism, but would rather be defined by their actual personality). Religious individuals on the other hand base their entire livelihood around their beliefs, and a billboard telling them God doesn't exist is therefore an assault on everything they hold dear to them.

I remember you being much more reasonable than that Reincarnate. Though, perhaps I'm confusing you with someone else?

Either way, many Christians tell people on a daily basis that they're going to burn in hell for eternity and yet because they're displaying a message that there are more atheists out there than onesful, they're rubbing it in everyone's face? What is it they're even rubbing in people's faces other than that they exist?

Also Deeper and God-Sent need to troll harder. Their self righteousness isn't showing enough already.[/b]

I have actually only seen one Christian in my lifetime tell anyone to their face that they're going to hell, and it was one of those nutcases that goes around to different college campuses with a giant "turn or burn" sign.

Now, why do atheists need to send a message that ther are "more atheists out there than onseself?" (that's not the message, actually).

Why only specific individuals? How come it only matters that you're letting people die when you know who they are?[/b]

Because you can't connect with nonspecific individuals whose existence you aren't aware of. Also, trying to help a ton of people at once doesn't help, because your contribution will be spread too thin for it to do anything for anyone.

Even if we aren't, that is not relevant. The point is that you're saying altruism is good because of the selfish benefit that it provides to the altruist; so in fact, what you're saying is that selfish benefit is good, not that there's anything inherently good about the act of giving in and of itself.[/b]

The fact that it helps the altruist isn't the only thing that makes it good, I never said that. I simply said that is why the trait evolved.

It also benefits those who it helps, and by helping two people at once, it's good for the species.

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