4. Atheist historian Richard Carrier on how to improve moral systems

Herein I am continuing a consideration of Atheist and historian Richard Carrier’s statements about morality: you can find this whole series here (once it is all posted).

Richard Carrier then lists “three reasons to develop and adhere to improved moral systems” which are:
“(1) their desire to live in safer, more cooperative societies”: of course, this assumed that this is that which they desire but sure, why not?

Herein I am continuing a consideration of Atheist and historian Richard Carrier’s statements about morality: you can find this whole series here (once it is all posted).

Richard Carrier then lists “three reasons to develop and adhere to improved moral systems” which are:
“(1) their desire to live in safer, more cooperative societies”: of course, this assumed that this is that which they desire but sure, why not?
“(2) their need to live in and thus maintain safer, more cooperative societies”: this simply moves from “desire” to action “maintain.”
“(3) due to the psychology of sentient, social animals, they will live more satisfied and fulfilled lives, the more they become in their actions and character the kind of person they admire, and not the kind of person they loathe”: this is an interesting window into his premise, which is ultimately selfish motivations.

This is not simply something I read into it but something about which Carrier is quite open—given certain attempted qualifiyers—as he elucidates:

…the only reason any moral facts can ever be true, is that following those directives will maximize the chances of our own personal satisfaction—with ourselves and our lives and the world that we thus, by our own behavior, help create. That sounds selfish.
But that confuses “selfishness” (the absence of generosity and concern for others) with “self-interest” (which in fact warrants generosity and concern for others). In fact all moral systems are based on self interest. Literally, all of them. Including every Christian moral system ever conceived. It’s always only ever true, because in some way adhering to the designated commandments will ultimately make things turn out better for us, in some way or other.

Did you catch the ethos and how he is desperate to conform to it?
Firstly, I will note that “the absence of generosity and concern for others” is not selfishness but a byproduct of it: selfishness is the overabundance of concern for oneself above others.

In any case, why does he not simply say, “Yup, the premise is selfishness: so what?!?!” Because “God so love the world that He gave” and so Carrier must argue around the ethos. Ethics are not about self but about doing that which we ought even in the basement, under a blanket, all alone, in the dark, were no one will see, hear or be affected by our actions. Thus, Carrier decides to, in essence, condemn selfishness and propose self-interest.

As for the comment about Christian “moral” systems being about “ultimately make[ing] things turn out better for us” well, I agree with Carrier that selfishness (when defined in his or my way) is not ideal (actually, he agrees with me since he is begging, borrowing and stealing from my worldview) but there are various reasons for the Christian “moral” systems such as having to goal of pleasing a God whom we love, serving others (whether we love them or consider them our enemies), wanting to ensure we spend eternity with our Earthly loved ones, spending eternity with God, etc. Now, one could say that all of these reasons ultimately break down into selfishness but that would be playing mind reader and also condemning selfishness without a premise—just like Carrier is ultimately doing.

Then, in a my dear diary style statement, Richard Carrier claims that “Only by self delusion and false belief can someone continue to be immoral and not despise themselves as the hollow and cowardly villain they’ve become.”
Did you catch the ethos? He condemns “self delusion and false belief” plus being a “hollow and cowardly villain” and accredits despising oneself if they are such.

So now, let us dig into Carrier’s ultimate starting point, whether he admits it or not (and he essentially does: as we shall see).
Nothing caused nothing (or an eternal something: an uncaused first cause piece of matter) to explode for no reason and made everything without meaning: from nothing, by nothing, to nothing, for nothing.
Life came into being from non-life by accident.
We are temporarily and accidentally existing bio-organism and our thoughts are merely the byproduct of random bio-chemical neural reactions within our accidentally haphazardly evolved brains.
Atheist suffer from various consoling delusions such as subjectively seeking to fill the gap in their objectively meaningless existence with subjective meaning.

On this view, life, the universe and everything is the result of accidents and our thoughts are byproducts of chemistry predetermined by the laws of nature. Moreover, survival seems to be a key component of life and yet, Atheist or evolutionist or Atheist evolutionist has provided a reason for this: besides saying what they always say, which is the only thing they can say, which is that life seeks survival by accident.

Very well then, if the only thing about which accidentally existing nature cares (speaking anthropomorphically) is survival then I can survive by ascertaining empirical truth, sure, but also by being totally deluded and the ol’ question surfaces again: so what?

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For some related info, see my books (on which I am offering a money saving deal:
Pop-Atheist Bible Expositors (featuring Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Barker and Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Reasons for Being an Atheist: A Comprehensive Guide

“atheist

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