We don’t need God or religion to know right from wrong | Michael Shermer


Science and good and evil, good and bad, right
and wrong, murder, all these things… human moral values. Well, I wrote a book about this, The Moral
Arc. I am what’s called a moral realist: I think
there are real moral values out there to be discovered. Now, not “out there” in the cosmos for
astronomers to discover, I’m talking about in human nature, in human social nature. And I’ll just give you a super simple example
that I can’t believe anybody would disagree with, uh, this. And it begins with Abraham Lincoln’s defense
of why slavery is wrong. And he said simply, “If slavery is not wrong,
nothing is wrong.” And I would agree and go further with a more
recent example, if the Holocaust is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Now, moral relativists or moral philosophers
who are not moral realists, they don’t want to be called relativists—there’s other
positions, but let’s just leave it at there’s other positions then moral realism. Are you seriously going to argue that there’s
some condition in which the Holocaust was okay, that it was acceptable? Now, now, mind you I’m talking about all
of us in this category here talking about this are not thinking that God is the answer,
that there’s some outside deity telling us what’s right and wrong, most of us that
are in science or philosophy already reject that—going all the way back to Plato who
debunked that idea in the first place—which is to say that if murder is really wrong or
the Holocaust is really wrong or slavery is really wrong, why do we need God to tell us
that? I mean if those moral principles are out there
and God is just telling us what it is, then why do we need the middleman? Just tell us the reasons why it’s wrong
and okay. And if it’s just because God said it what
if he didn’t say murder was wrong, would that make it right? No, it would still be wrong. So either way, you don’t need God, so here
we are in our bubble of just us trying to figure out what’s right and wrong. I argue in The Moral Arc that in fact we are
already understanding what is right and wrong through the study of human nature and human
culture and human history by saying there are certain things that are really better
than other things, in the same way, that Kepler discovered planetary orbits are elliptical
and not circular—given that he was doing his calculations correctly and given that
planetary orbits really are elliptical and not circular he could hardly have discovered
anything else. We would eventually discover that democracies
are better than theocracies or dictatorships just in terms of what the people want based
on their survival and flourishing as sentient beings. And that’s my moral foundation: survival
and flourishing of sentient beings. We all want to survive and flourish. It’s in our nature. It’s what evolution designed us to desire. That is our moral foundation, our nature,
that is who we are and what we want. Okay, building from there: ok, so certain
economic systems are really better toward of that than others, you will discover that
if you are a rational being trying to figure out what’s the best way to structure things. Now it’s true that we can’t solve every
moral issue by just running an experiment, but if you think about it every nation with
a different constitution is an experiment. Every state in the United States, 50 different
states have 50 different constitutions. They have 50 different laws about gun control
or abortion—well not quite that but they have different variations on how it’s allowed. But just take anything. So these are 50 different experiments. Every Supreme Court Justice decision is an
experiment. Let’s see what happens now that they’ve
decided this let’s measure the consequences of this. The 19th Amendment of abolishing alcohol,
this was an experiment, a failed experiment. If your goal is to reduce the amount of drinking,
that didn’t work, so the 21st Amendment abolished the 19th Amendment—those are all
experiments. So this is what I’m talking about: That
is this idea that David Hume put forth that “you can’t derive an ought from an is,”
this is a red herring. This is a misdirection. To that I say, Mr. Hume, tear down this wall. Of course, we can breach that wall. Of course, we can discover certain things
about what we ought to do based on the nature of reality. Now here I’m not talking about “because
ants have slavery or chimpanzees have war that we should have slavery and war,” no. I mean: what is the real nature of war, and
how should we reduce it? Understanding it through the scientific study
of war is a way to get to attenuating it. That’s all I mean. And the reason we want to attenuate it is
because it’s bad for sentient beings, it reduces the amount of survival and flourishing. So that’s my argument for moral realism.

100 comments

  1. Is it just me or is he in favour of moral relativism? I mean he mentions how different countries have different constitutions, so clearly they have different morals. If we all knew by learning from history what is right and wrong then we’d all have the same constitutions and laws, right? Yeah, we don’t need God or religion, or maybe we do since we’re all over the place. We’re human, all too human, so we’re not rational. That’s why Trump got elected, why Italy is rooting for fascism and Berlusconi again, why Duterte got elected, why Brexit happened etc. There is no absolute right and wrong we uphold based on a divine mandate. It’s pure tribal self-preservation.

  2. 95% of the people I have known in my life have been religious, and boy, most of them did terrible immoral acts, The athiests or nonreligious were better humans beings.

  3. Michael Shermer is awesome. I couldn't agree more, although I would take a different approach. Instead of attacking the question philosophically I think we have the information available to us in neuroscience. We can have morals just from our brains with the discovery of mirror neurons to validate the idea of empathy. When people challenge this I always wonder if they're literal sociopaths. The majority of us feel bad when we do something bad to someone else. Everyone who has had this experience understands it. I just don't know how you could not understand that, unless you don't have the capacity to understand it yourself.

  4. So if skepticism of religion is righteous, why are anthropogenic climate change skeptics receiving death threats?

  5. people are more likely to use religion and god as a label to hide behind whilst getting away with all manner of stuff and never taking any responsibility for it. it's a smoke-screen. also, the truly religious and spiritual are also likely to not flaunt it because if you have to show off about it, you're obviously getting some sort of pay-off from that. as a rule, people don't like getting fucked over. so if you wouldn't like to get fucked over, don't fuck over someone else. don't need the bible to tell you that. it's simply common sense (when people want to use it).

  6. There is more to religion than distinguishing “right” from “wrong” – the recent trend of interpreting myth as historical fact to be disputed is an anthropocene delusion. The Biblical myth explores human flourishing in much more detail than any materialist text.

  7. 3:58 It's actually the 18th amendment that was the prohibition of alcohol. The 19th was giving women the right to vote.

  8. Then why not make an experiment making the whole world godless and determine whether they will keep their morality intact. Moses saw that the Israelites' morality failed worshipping a golden calf. Do you think humans will succeed? I know it's wrong to makeup the existence of god just to make people behave properly so we resort to logic. On war: we already know they are caused by non-sentient senseless psychopathic leaders who wants to possess the whole world. With that knowledge at hand, do humans act against it? Do they even bother?

  9. A question to atheists: How do you know what is "good" and what is "not good/evil"? Is the concept of good and evil relative to each individual? Or is it absolute? Is there even such a thing as good or evil?

  10. The fundamental nature of human war: simple. One group identifies another group by some difference. That Other group has a resource that the first group wants for their own group. That group fights the Other group for it.
    I don't believe war is ever truly about religion, ideologies, or "doing the right thing." Those are always excuses to make it okay for one group to take what they want from another.

  11. Is revenge right or wrong?
    Is forgiving just or unjust?
    Is the death penalty moral or not?
    Is abortion right or wrong?

    If you ask these questions to atheists they will give different answers, not a universal one. Christianity clearly divides right from wrong, wether you agree with that or not.
    If you want a society where morals are based on science go to Nazi Germany. Social Darwinism was their moral, it let to the Holocaust we all hate.

    Morals without God is either subjectivity or the harsh reality of nature. I choose neither of these 2

  12. Aristotle thought slavery was completely justified and it was a natural process by the indebted and defeated lose their dignity and freedom.

  13. Let me add one more: If what we do to animals is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I think one of the biggest problems of the skeptic community in regards to morals is their inability to address morals in the context of not only humans but all conscious creatures. This makes most of their claims logically inconsistent.

  14. I think morality does come from human nature. It came first from empathy for children which was necessary for survival of the species, and from living in tribes, immoral people were thrown out/exiled. So humans with these moral traits have evolved in a survival of the fittest.

  15. Yes the Red of the Jewish blood line and the bright White of the blood liable socialites. Quack quack horse feathers that. Maw ha ha ha cut up in class quack quack imagine that. Smuck a duck pa toooooooo Horse feather's yes, the Jewish Pegasus intellectually impressive indeed buddy. Quack quack it's a fact Jew duck soup don't ask me how this play's out.

  16. sounds a bit naive…there was no real argument or reflexion in that…just some convictions and assumtions from some guy…i am not convinced 🙂

  17. "If slavery isn't wrong, then nothing is wrong". This is not a defense of why slavery is wrong, because no argument was made. Moreover, it is not evidence of "real" (objective) moral values.

  18. Religious people consistently default to the belief that life has no inherent value… which I find to be disturbing.

  19. Seems like a nice guy, but the argument here is meandering. I'd be interested in reading his book, and knowing my own weakness, I'll probably end up buying it. But the arguments given in this video are unconvincing. The assumption behind his statement that "If slavery (or the Holocaust) was not wrong, then nothing is wrong" is that what's right or wrong is in some way intuitive, or at least "discoverable" by sentient beings. But that statement itself isn't a proof that slavery or the Holocaust was wrong. It's more an assumption that they were wrong – an argument from incredulity. More of a "duh… everybody knows it" type of argument, which isn't convincing. "It's bad to kill people" seems to be the assumption, but here it's rooted in nothing other than "duh… everybody knows it"

    If we are simply higher order beings that evolved from lower order beings for whom such a assumption has no meaning, then morality is not "built in" or even a deep truth to be discovered. Nobody is particularly worried over ant murders, queen bees and worker bees, spiders eating their mates, or any sort of insect holocaust. Why does sentience necessarily add morality? It's not a sufficient cause. The most that could be said for "morality" in this sense is that it's a convenient ruse for ordering people around, but that view really divests the word of its meaning. Political expediency and smooth functioning of society are helped along by having "moral" ideas, but that really changes the definition of what morality has historically meant – an underlying identification of what is fundamentally right and wrong.

    i.e. Playing Monopoly by the written rules makes for a smoother functioning game and a shared understanding of the scoring mechanism, who's ahead and who's behind, etc. But if someone wants to change the rules, who's to stop them? If someone gets ticked off at losing, and throws their pieces and up-ends the game, who's to blame them? There's no "morality" behind it. You either have a nice game or not, but that's political expediency. Not morality. You can lock a person up for not playing according to the rules that everyone has agreed to, but did that person do "wrong"? No. That person simply didn't do "helpful" or "nice".

    Furthermore, his comparison of Kepler and the planetary motions and our "discovery" that democracy is better is a really poor comparison and also doesn't follow logically. Planetary motion is pure science – observation and mathematics and the known laws of the universe. The other, again, is ordering society in productive ways that promote fairness and freedom. Fairness and freedom are not "evolutionary expectations"; one might make a strong case that the march of evolution is anything but fair and free and actually depends upon the absence of a consideration of the fairness and freedom question. The strong survive; the weak get eaten – nobody is stopping to ask whether it's "right" or "wrong". Right or wrong has no place at the table in an evolutionary progression. It's a laudable goal for sentient beings to pursue democracy, fairness, and freedom, but the intellectual basis for doing so necessarily requires an underlying metaphysical basis for morality that demands we move in that direction. It's depends upon philosophy and asks nothing from science. Science can't answer the question and can only supply inputs (data points) for philosophy to consider in rendering a judgment on the larger question.

    If ones assumes a purely materialistic reality, then It is not obvious that what works for bees (queen and slaves) shouldn't be a perfectly acceptable situation for beings that have evolved higher up the food chain. If you happen to be the King or Queen, then good for you.
    "It's good to be the King". If you're a slave, tough luck. If you're a slave because people have weird ideas about the meaning of skin color, then… so what? Again, tough luck. Evolution dealt you a bad hand. After all, bees are higher up the chain from whatever's below them. Aside from a purely pragmatic ordering of things for the sake of productivity, there's no "right" or "wrong" implied here.

  20. This is a ridiculous argument his premise for the Holocaust being wrong is "Are you seriously going argue that the Holocaust is not wrong?". That isnt a reason or premise or principle. There are people who said slavery was ok, good infact in some cases, people such as Socrates.

  21. don' t try to create duality in a non-dual world. Right/wrong is completely a human concept, which has came out of human MIND.

  22. 

    ( 14 )   To Him [alone] is the supplication of truth. And those they call upon besides Him do not respond to them with a thing, except as one who stretches his hands toward water [from afar, calling it] to reach his mouth, but it will not reach it [thus]. And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error [i.e. futility].

    ( 15 )   And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons.

    ( 16 )   Say, "Who is Lord of the heavens and earth?" Say, "Allah." Say, "Have you then taken besides Him allies not possessing [even] for themselves any benefit or any harm?" Say, "Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Or is darkness equivalent to light? Or have they attributed to Allah partners who created like His creation so that the creation [of each] seemed similar to them?" Say, "Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Prevailing."

    (Holly Qur'an)

  23. 26 )   Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.

    ( 27 )   And those who disbelieved say, "Why has a sign not been sent down to him from his Lord?" Say, [O Muhammad], "Indeed, Allah leaves astray whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him] –

    ( 28 )   Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured."

  24. ( 85 )   And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, "The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little."

    (Holly Qur'an)

  25. ( 87 )   Except [We have left it with you] as a mercy from your Lord. Indeed, His favor upon you has ever been great.

    ( 88 )   Say, "If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants."

    ( 89 )   And We have certainly diversified for the people in this Qur'an from every [kind] of example, but most of the people refused [anything] except disbelief.

    (Holly Qur'an)

  26. Playing God: The Loving Psychopath. https://youtu.be/E15IC3YKv8g
    Why Don't Scientists Fear Hell? https://youtu.be/wbrQI0r1B7w

  27. What is moral?
    It is a set of "stories" people tell in order to ensure the welfare of society as a whole. The ultimate goal is to make human develop themselves in an efficient way instead of struggling in a mess.
    Yes, we don't necessarily need god to tell us what is moral, cuz the "stories" have been told since the very beginning of history, and the bible is built based on these "stories".
    However, compared with making people read history to summarize tons of moral "rules", the bible has already summarized moral "principle" for you, it is absolutely a quicker way to bring people together and contribute to social wellbeing.

  28. Believing that there is some sort of a nature to moral, and because of that nature we should build law systems- Is nothing different from a religion. Sure, there is no god, but Buddhism also doesn't have a defined god/s.
    Having a religion means believing in some sort of law, or natural cause, and that we have to act in response to those laws.
    There is no difference in believing that the ten commandments was given by god, and that why we should follow those rules. Or in believing that all humans have natural rights, and that's why we should follow human rights bill.

  29. You may not need either one to differentiate between right & wrong, and that may work for you. But I`ve known the difference my whole life and I'll use both to defend faith, family, and country. Well, the 2nd Amendment too, of course. Hahaha

  30. It's a bit naïve to assume that we have the answers to where morality comes from. Sounds a lot like the "elephant in a dark room" scenario. One feels a rope, another a tree, and the other feels a leather sail. The point being that everyone views the world differently, and when it comes to concepts, like why humans behave the way they do, or why some people believe in a higher power and others don't, we're simply scratching the surface. Never forget that our fundamental understanding of the universe and ourselves comes piecemeal. Bit, by bit, by bit. So anyone who claims they fully understand a concept, and has 100% of the answers, is a fool.

  31. Atheists have killed more people in mass than any other religion. Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba…etc.

  32. The Dark age ……. man kind should have been doomed a long time ago. But yet here we are. Why? What governs our morals? What if the human race has gone askew? Science has pointed out something that most people want to ignore. Yet we still only accept what is popular. Truth is the only thing that will set the perishing from the living.

  33. you dont need god to tell you that killing is wrong because he already told you through the culture you inherited from your father,mother and society(western civilization/christianism) …so why you need him to tell the same thing again?you were already told!Want an example?do you think killing other people for its religious beliefs is right?probably not!but this moral premise pre-exists in human nature?for that to be true other civilizations must have the same moral principles as us right?!because is human nature!Human nature doesn't change from place to place!the thing is…thats not the case,sura At-tawbah 9,5"And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush".this passage from the quran explicits everything,ISIS explicits everything…why another civilization doesn't believe in a moral-premise thats so obvious to us…because moral premises are a by-product of your culture,and for that is completely subjectifiable!!so why do we need not only god,but the right god to tell us that?Becaus religion is the only and most overwhelming culture that can transcend time!wether you like it or not!

  34. I can't believe there even needs to be videos like this. Long before most gods were invented there was morality. And today you only need to look at societies such as Japan to know that they have no need for our Abrahamic desert dogmas.

  35. Religion is poison of the mind. Proof! 81% of evangelicals voted Trump. I’d list their hypocrisy in doing so, but I things to do today 👌.

  36. ( 14 )   And they rejected them, while their [inner] selves were convinced thereof, out of injustice and haughtiness. So see how was the end of the corrupters.

    ( 15 )   And We had certainly given to David and Solomon knowledge, and they said, "Praise [is due] to Allah, who has favored us over many of His believing servants."

    ( 16 )   And Solomon inherited David. He said, "O people, we have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is evident bounty."

    ( 17 )   And gathered for Solomon were his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows.

    ( 18 )   Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said, "O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they perceive not."

    ( 19 )   So [Solomon] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants."

    (Holly Qur'an)

  37. Video about morals and yet the comment section is filled with people (mainly asshole athiest) talking shit about religion, God, and one another. Proves my point, humans are just asshole no matter what

  38. But the One who is behind the wrong is found in Revelation 12:7-12. Also the first murder was when Cane killed Able. Also the reason why many do wrong is because we inherited sin and death from are first parents when they choose to disobey God and took from the fruit of the tree that was in the middle of the garden which God said not to eat from it or you will positively die, and now were proof of that we all get sick, grow old and die. …. Also Gods word foretold in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 "But know this, that in the last days (since 1914) critical times hard to deal with will be here…" Also read Matthew 24:3-14. …. The truth is we do need God. "Revelation 12:12 On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.” " …. "Revelation 12:9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth ; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him." <–This happen in 1914 with the outbreak of World War 1. …. The Devil is even misleading ones into thinking that we don't need God to tell us right from wrong. But if Gods word didn't tell us what was right and wrong then how is One to distinguish right from wrong? …. Also God created all things so he would know what's best for us. …. But soon now the end will come when God will remove the wicked and ungodly people from the earth. Revelation 19:11-21, Zephaniah 1:14-18, Proverbs 10:25, Psalms 37:10, Daniel 2:44, Matthew 24:21-22.

  39. @1:36 Because if everyone listen and lived according to Gods Will, then the World would not be in the mess that it is in today. But Jesus foretold that in the last days of this system (since 1914) that it will be just like it was in Noah's day, Matthew 24:37-39.

  40. Why do we grow old and die? Because it's not evolution, but it's God that said from dust you are and to dust you will return. why did Noah live to be 950 years old and today we only live around 70 to 80 years old? the answer to that it also in the Bible. Evolution is just another tool that the Devil uses to mislead People. "Revelation 12:9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth ; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him."

  41. Mr. Shermer is looking at his own Cultural Traditional Learned Ideas concerning Morality. If he were to study History — that is the History of Thought as presented by Religious Doctrines and Epic Poems and even published Laws, we know that we can divide History between Moral and Pre-Moral. In the West, Persian Zoroastrianism for the first time posited the distinction between Good and Evil (approximately about 3000 years ago), and Confucius did the same for China. Before Morality, there was only Authority, and all of the 'Virtues' were marshal virtues — strength, courage, loyalty, obedience and heroic cleverness — even skillful lying was a Virtue (note the heroic behavior of Jacob son of Isaac — lying, cheating and fighting his way through life, and it was presented as an Ideal). Hinduism — read the ?Bhagavad Gita, it is Pre-Moral. The Greek and the Nordic Epics were Pre-Moral. Even the Pauline Reaction to Moral Teaching of Jesus were a Pre-Moral Reaction to the Moral Revolution — as Paul replaced the Righteousness that Jesus expected with the notion of Salvation from Sin (Free Sin again and a return to no Moral Distinctions ). Also, we should all realize the that Moral Revolution was never fully accepted. that should be obvious! It is clear that some people are simply devoid of a Moral Sense — Every Capitalist, Every Slave Owner, Every General down to every soldier that tosses a grenade through a window so he doesn't have to knock on the door. We are Surrounded with Evil in our Society. It is just silly propaganda to suppose that Morality is Innate when we can see that it is certainly not. It took a Millennium of Moral Monastic and Religious Order Catholicism to Teach the West its Moral and Cultural Perceptions and Appreciations. Innate My Ass! Mr. Shermer needs to read a little bit before he writes.

  42. Regardless of what you call it, there is a problem of not being able to "see the forest for the trees" (and vice versa). As long as mankind is incapable of looking at themselves realistically/objectively/honestly (both individually and collectively), there will be a need for a 3rd party to observe/evaluate us as an "outsider" (unbiased). Humanity has a tendency to be blind to its real nature. Some are blind to the collective nature (the forest), and some are blind to the individual nature (the trees). As long as mankind has existed, we still can't seem to get along with each other, regardless of of who says what. Maybe that's a clue that the "truth" is irrelevant.

  43. This is so funny. Atheists, you don’t have to justify your affection for morality by trying to prove that science can create a moral reality. It is nonsense, and it makes you sound so stupid. It’s not necessary in order to argue that god doesn’t exist. It’s just as silly as religious people trying to use our affection for morality as some sort of evidence of the reality of gods existence. Y’all can be so smug all the time, while making complete fools of yourselves.

  44. The problem is, we are all a part of the same society that has failed miserably in many ways.

    The only way to ensure a flourishing society free of all kinds of woofuckery thiestic mentality is to ensure it's egalitarian, all kinds of lives are valued and equal access to natural resources, that values knowledge to figure out time n space, reason for existance, hows n whys of the universe.

    I don't think anyone who has a loving family, successful life with loads of money to do anything materialistic with an assurance to maintain homeostasis about their existance as long as they want on this planet would worry about God's expectations.

    Am optimistic one-day we will achieve a utopian life, it's taking time because of mass delusion, barely 5-10% of humanity contributing (excluding me, although I want to but yet to figure out how).

    untill then keep mocking all kinds of religious values, God like concepts.

    Peace out, value rationality above all else. Fuck God. Fuck theists. And fuck the whole universe the way it is. 😁

  45. If the Viet Nam War wasn't wrong, nothing is wrong. If capitalism isn't wrong, nothing is wrong. If invading Iraq wasn't wrong, nothing is wrong. If police shootings of Blacks in the US aren't wrong, nothing is wrong. If the US giving arms to Saudi Arabia to starve children in Yemen isn't wrong, nothing is wrong.

  46. Vis a vis religion, I would posit that religion is actually an emergent property of extant "morality". Which is to say that religion does not create morality, it emerges from a pre-existing morality in order to promote and enforce that morality. Or stated another way, religion does not define morality, morality defines religion (at least as far as moral principles are concerned).

    And I think he raises an important point. For all those religious people who claim "how would you know what is moral without God?" Really? If you didn't have your religion, you would go around killing and stealing thinking that it's perfectly ok? If you didn't have your religion you wouldn't know or at least think that maybe its wrong to kill and steal? If the only think that keeps you from going around killing and stealing is your belief in your religion, that seems pretty sick to me.

  47. "War is bad for sentient beings" but makes so much money for the powers that be! 😒
    It feels like we are moving towards higher consciousness as a species though…so we got that going for us, slowly but surely…

  48. Most irrational people get in the way of peace. They either cannot or do not want to reason. They get in the way of survivability and flourishing. Is it right to kill them? Perhaps not. The best we can do is separate ourselves from them and watch them from a distance as they ruin their 'God ruled' world. Watch them crawl back in defeat to science and rational development.

  49. I think the point of believers got lost. It wasn’t to argue that we are moral beings because God gave us certain rules. But just to ask the question, why do we debate about what’s right, and what’s wrong in the first place? Leading to beautiful insights about human nature. I recommend you guys reading about the law of nature from C. S. Lewis’ perspective. Cheers.

  50. Religion is not the cause of morality but a representation of it. You don't necessarily need religion to enforce moral value but it's a very effective system for it. Every cohesive society has a religion for it's people to rally around. It's a great tool to form resilient societies. And people are trying to break it down in a blind attempt to destroy our society. They are blind by their curse of knowledge and can't see the forest for the trees.

  51. When Hume said we can't make an "ought" from an "is", i figured he was basically condemning Deontology or the idea that right and wrong and based off of abstract rules that simply exist to be followed for their won sake with no real deeper explanation; in which case i agree with him.

  52. Your totally right
    I don't need a God
    to tell me anything
    right and wrong
    I knew this when I was born.

  53. People stopped slavery because they knew that it's wrong. Why people didn't lift a finger to stop the Holocaust or other genocides, did they think that it wasn't wrong?
    People are good and bad at the same time and all the time, they are good to the ones they like and bad to the ones they don't like.
    We don't know what's right and what's wrong, we only know who we like and who we don't.

  54. If all humans on earth had for some reason died off except for say 100, and 5 of the humans were children, and 80 of the people left decided it was perfectly ok to torture and kill children, and 15 people said it was morally wrong , would it be morally wrong to torture and kill children? If not why not? Is it majority rules ?

  55. I'd go as far as to say we need to dispose of the concept of god to actually discern right from wrong. Without it you're just accepting divine command. That if someone claiming to be a prophet said that god told him that murder is OK now, then murder would be okay now? No! If you cannot say "no" to that man, you have no morals of your own.

    That submissiveness is what allowed religious tragedies of the past like the crusades and the holocaust to happen. People too scared of higher authorities to speak up and say no.

  56. I already disagree with the guy because I am not a moral realist, but I like the video all the same.

    I am an error theorist, which means I think that morals are like unicorns and werewolves. They're not real, but we have a general understanding of what we're talking about when we bring them up. Even so, all moral claims are inherently wrong because they don't exist. If I say "a defining feature of tigers is that they have stripes," I'm correct, because it's empirically true. But when I say a vampire has fangs, it's false because it's not something that can be proven because vampires do not exist, even though most people would agree that vampires do have fangs. So when I say "killing is wrong" I'm making a false statement, but "killing is good" would be an equally false statement, because all moral claims are false because they don't exist.

    This does not mean we cannot make logical conclusions that promote the well being of individuals and society. If you have a group of people, and you want them to prosper, you need to establish some kind of moral code or law dictating that people cannot kill each other, because the end result of the opposite means you won't have a much of a population at all. This is then how you get into things like social contract theory. Fun stuff.

    See? I don't even need god, religion, or morals to know why I should always choose what is conventionally best option.

  57. Interesting that Shermer uses the US as context for his argument. The US moral framework began on a Biblical foundation. His argument is weaker using the context of some other civilizations.
    The bottom line… human nature has a propensity for evil, rationalizing when convenient or beneficial. It’s also dangerous to base the morality of a particular action by comparing it to other actions. In this context morality is determined based on what you pick to compare it to.

  58. Something that is not material moves a society as a whole and helps it to survive. The priests in the Soviet concentration camps lived in peace. Than the Soviets who shouted long live Stalin.

  59. Before religion there was no right and wrong. All that existed was the primal struggle between the weak and the strong. Before religion … might determined right.

  60. Well, ya do. If we're nothing more than random molecules in space with no meaning or purpose, then you cant tell me that your values are any better than hitlers. Its opinion against opinion. You don't have a right or a wrong if you don't have a standard of what is right and what is wrong to compare it to

  61. I think one of the leading theories in biology about morality is that it is linked to group cooperation. Selfishness and free-riding is the biggest threat to successful group cooperation. Morality has evolved as a way to solve the problem between me vs us. Our different moral emotions makes us suppress selfishness in order to reap the benefit of group cooperation. Jonathan Haidt and Joshua Green has written extensively about this…

  62. The "heart" has been programmed or inclined to love the truth & to live by it. No-one likes to be labelled a thief, rapist etc – why? Bad behavior causes the heart to waver, it's not at peace with itself. Prophets & messengers have been sent to reinforce that which is already built-in our system.

  63. I find Christianity to be interesting because, while it teaches what sin is; & encourages an intense desire to try not to commit sins…..it also teaches that you can do things on Earth, such as murder, rape, lying, etc. & still get to Heaven.

    According to Christianity, its possible that adolf hitler, pol pot, joseph stalin are in Heaven right now.

    Christianity teaches that if a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Personal Lord & Savior & repent of their sins, before they die, they will go to Heaven.

    & for all we know, guys like hitler, pol pot & stahlin could have done those things right before they died.

    If they did, then according to Christianity, they are in Heaven right now.

    & according to Christianity, we are supposed to pray for hitler, & for pol pot, & for stahlin; that GOD shows mercy upon them. We are supposed to hope that they are in Heaven. & we are not supposed to judge them, condemn them to hell, nor hope that they are in hell.

    According to Christianity, GOD doesn't care about what we did in our past, but is only concerned about what we are doing in the present.

    If we repent, GOD forgets what we did anyway.

    A child-molestor can accept Christ & repent. & GOD forgets that he molested kids.

    Its literally like he never wronged any child, in GOD's mind; if he accepts Christ & repents.

    This is hard for me to be ok with. But according to Christianity, its the Love, Mercy & Grace of GOD & we are to follow GOD's way.

    In all actuality, we are to try our best to forgive guys like hitler, & child molesters, murders, thieves, etc.

    Easily said than done.
    How would you react, if you died & went to Heaven & saw adolf hitler there?
    How would you react if in Heaven everyone was rejoicing because hitler accepted Christ & repented just before he died?
    Would you be shocked?
    Would you be upset, dissapointed??….
    Or would you rejoice with them that hitler made it to Heaven?

    I am not saying that hitler made it to Heaven. I hope he did. I am just using him as an example to get people to consider some things that Christianity teaches & claims to be Truth.

  64. Who says what is wrong and right. It’s all subjective to that society and changes over time so without god there is no such thing as objective morality

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