Moral compass - atheists vs theists

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by James R, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Warning: The posting below makes reference to what is considered to be A Dangerous Idea. It is so dangerous, it can (conceivably) doom you - and your future descendants - to an existence of suffering simply by reading it.

    Keep reading at your own peril.

    Have you ever heard of the Legend that is Roko's Basilisk?'s_basilisk

    I've been fascinated with the idea since I first learned if it. I am transfixed by the concept of an idea so dangerous that just hearing about it can (in theory) endanger your future and even your descendants' futures.

    Now that you're up-to-speed on the idea (and, incidentally, doomed), I'll draw the connection to this thread. (Or some other thread as determined by James R : Not sure which of your threads to piggyback on.)

    I did not make the connection between the Basilisk and God until I started reading even deeper into it and came across this re-interpretation, at the link above:

    "Quite a lot of this article will make more sense if you mentally replace the words "artificial intelligence" with the word "God", and "acausal trade" with "prayer"."

    In other words, Roko's Basilisk makes a functional stand-in for a God for the purposes of an atheist. An atheist, granting the premises of the Roko's Basilisk conjecture, have a personal (self-serving) imperative to do as Pascal urges: throw as much of their resources at bringing a sentient AI into existence as they can manage.

    Some further reading:

    "Discussion of Roko's basilisk was banned on LessWrong for several years because Yudkowsky had stated that it caused some readers to have a nervous breakdown."'s_wager#:~:text=Pascal's wager

    "Pascal's Wager: Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though (the Christian) God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)"

    "Newcomb's Problem:
    Box A is transparent and contains a thousand dollars.
    Box B is opaque, and contains either a million dollars, or nothing.
    You can take both boxes, or take only box B.
    And the twist is that Omega has put a million dollars in box B iff Omega has predicted that you will take only box B."
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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  3. Dennis Tate Valued Senior Member

    I'm Canadian and I feel that one of the most ethical acts of this past century was pulled off
    largely by Israelis who identified as Atheist, Agnostic or Skeptic. The most religious Israelis had a tendency to
    NOT support Operation Moses and Operation Solomon but Israeli Skeptics had a huge tendency to enthusiastically be in support
    for bringing the Ethiopian Falasha Jews to Israel.

    White Jewish people...... thinking of Black Jewish people... as being truly "Jewish" and being willing to support Operation Moses and Operation Solomon
    is in my opinion... .one of the most important accomplishments by anybody.... anywhere.... in this past century or so!
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  5. Holly-May Leslie Registered Member

    The only morals that are required for society to function properly out of that list are fairness and caring, or alternatively authority and caring in my view. I also believe that morals are only required in order for society to function properly. Sanctity is pointless, because if the people who would be offended by the unclean action never find out about it, then it can't hurt them through it's so called uncleanliness. Also, loyalty would probably be pointless in most cases because if the person doesn't find out about the disloyal action, then it can't affect them. I said in most cases. The disloyal action might affect them in some cases. If said disloyal action doesn't negatively impact anyone then it is fine though.

    I would say that the value of authority trumps the value of fairness because it is better for people to just not break the rules that say that they can't hurt one another than to break those rules and be punished for it. However, realistically, some people are going to break the rules, and in most cases, that probably wont matter. In the cases where they break the rules that say they can't hurt one another it might matter though. Therefore, I advocate a mixture of fairness, in the form of justice, caring, in the form of I don't know what yet, and authority of a libertarian kind to create utopia.
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    The ol' why did I drown

    I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter but you refused all three

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  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    which principles win the battle?

    You forgot stupidity. Stupidity is / would be the winner

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  9. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

    Care - Seems appropriate in group settings
    Justice - Needed in groups
    Authority - Too often abused in position
    Loyalty - To what or whom? 1&2 I might agree. Beyond care and justice is dangerous
    Sanctity - If in terms of discipline and self development maybe. It's personal in any case.

    I'm not an atheist

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