New Post: Pragmatic Ethics

In my continuing series on an atheistic ethical system, I have added a new essay concerning Pragmatic Ethics. In many ways this is a culmination of a series of essays exploring the middle ground between absolute morality and moral relativism. I expect there will be at least one further essay in the series, but that one will be more of an application example of Pragmatic Ethics (to the case study of abortion) rather than a development of new ideas.

As always, I welcome any feedback, positive, negative, or neutral. Thank you for reading!

The Pages, They Are A-Changin’

It’s a busy day today, including a website redesign and two new (short) essays.

The website redesign is a result of me noticing that I by now have a lot of pages, and the page menu to the left was quite disorganized. I therefore have grouped the various essays I have written into themes, and only the top theme pages are listed in the main menu to the right. I would love some feedback on whether this approach works, or if there is a better way to handle it.

For the last two years I have participated in National Ask an Atheist Day, an opportunity for secular people to invite questions about any topic that people might be curious about. Both years I have received some exceptional questions. This year, I have adapted some of my responses into short essays that I think will be of general interest. They are:

As always, I welcome any and all comments, questions, and suggestions.

That said, I am somewhat disappointed that my last essay received nary a comment, particularly since it was deliberately provocative. I very much would like some feedback on the argument, so I am once again going to link to it here. It is I Don’t Believe in Heaven, and Neither do You.

New Essay (Social Evolution: The Origins of Ethics)

While I am not making this a New Years resolution, I am planning to post more frequently this year than I did over the last couple of months. Today, I am continuing my exploration of ethics by posting an essay concerning social evolution. This is part of an ongoing series that explores ethics from an atheistic perspective. In this essay I develop some thought experiments concerning killing others and explore the implications of various possible rules for when one should kill as a case study in how ethics develop at a societal level.

Moreso than many of my other essays, I expect that readers of mine who are atheists will likely find no new ideas here. I plead patience from such readers, because the clear bafflement of theists who try to understand how an atheist could have ethics at all demands that these obvious-to-us ideas be explicitly stated.

As always, I welcome all comments, suggestions, questions, and challenges about these ideas. Thank you for reading!

New Essay (Origins of the Ethical Imperative)

It has been a long time since my last essay. Real life end-of-year obligations are part of the explanation. Another part is that my planned next topic was a comprehensive essay on the development of a workable atheistic ethical system, and that was turning into a behemoth of an essay. I was struggling constantly with balancing comprehensiveness against tl;dr. Frankly, writing it for public consumption was intimidating me.

So, I’ve decided to break it down into multiple posts, each tackling a portion of the argument. This is therefore going to be a series of posts that together make a larger argument, the first of which I posted back in October (dealing with morality vs. ethics and the failure of divine absolute morality). Today I have posted the second essay in the series, dealing with the origins of an atheistic imperative for behaving ethically. Once complete, this series of posts will constitute not only a description of how atheists (at least some of us) view ethics, but also a rebuttal to the moral arguments for the existence of God.

As always, I am posting these essays in an effort to spawn dialog. In order for me to improve, or ultimately reject, my positions, I need to have them challenged. I therefore welcome any comments, questions, and critiques.

Reader suggestion

One of my readers suggested that
this article, a discussion of a recent Pew study on attitudes toward religion, might be good fodder for my blog. I agree wholeheartedly… there is a lot that can be discussed here. I suspect that much if the distrust of atheists comes from a lack of understanding of where atheists might possibly get morals or ethics. This reader suggestion came close on the heels of the following image making it across my Facebook feed:

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