September 2014

Ethics: the code of good conduct for an individual or group [Merriam-Webster Thesaurus]

Someone posted this graphic on FaceBook:







If you can post that in all seriousness looking for an answer you might not understand, I’ll try to explain because I don’t believe that of you.
–  To start with, it is not your belief that offends us, although that’s what some of the less studied among us might aim a response against. They miss their proper target because of that, the same as you miss your proper target in that graphic. Your beliefs, and mine, are nobody’s business but our own until or unless they lead to errors with damaging consequences at another’s expense.
–  So, what would be a proper target? Look at the graphic and what it says: It purports to be about belief but it takes aim at people and condescends to name at what they feel offended. I cannot speak for all atheists because we are very diverse, but I can offer my understanding of the rules of argument.
–  To start with, you named only atheists in your barb. You left out billions of others who do not share your belief in the god named God, many of whom pose a real threat against Christians around the world. To aim an erroneous argumentative statement at a person or group gets interpreted as inflammatory, and is known as the ad hominem fallacy because, like pointing a pistol and pulling its trigger, it invites a response in kind, pitting person against person. In other words, it is fallacious because it decoys a discussion away from the proposed topic with an illicit claim about offended atheists. Such behavior is designed to invoke offense.
–   To see that, look at it in reverse and pretend an atheist had aimed a similar claim at you and it seemed to appear everywhere: “I’m not offended that Christians demand to put their idols everywhere, although I wish they’d obey the law while doing so. So, why are Christians offended when I believe they are doing it all wrong?
–  In other words, your actions exposed you to a mirror of themselves. That is true no matter who makes such a post. Furthermore, that you failed to separate people from ideas introduced conflation into the mix, a common flaw observable on both sides in most debates. People are people and found in many configurations that cannot change. Ideas can be changed, cast off, corrected, so are what must be attacked, not people.
–  Ethics seldom gets a mention in rightwing critiques about atheists. Ethics does not depend on culture, religion, mores nor law to recognize right and wrong or good and bad unless contrived to appear so. In many views expressed by atheists, morality is viewed as a contrived religious concern, or as a close eight-letter synonym. Many dictionaries pose morality as the social arm of ethics. Because gods and superstitions about a supernatural do not exist in secular, evidence-dependent views, and that it’s true that religion cannot or will not own their onus to provide unimpeachable evidence, it seems like a legitimate conclusion.

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