Skepchick Quickies, 2.15


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. The ethical as believers article is very interesting. It says they have the same moral code that rolls out across religions. I want to know more about what that is and how it plays out.

    And a good follow up would be are people who are religious more likely to follow their moral judgements? Because knowing what is right and wrong is not the same as doing it.

  2. The first time someone challenged my lack of faith with “but without the threat of hell, what keeps you from doing evil?” I was confused. Despite having grown up religious, I never behaved morally because I was afraid of eternal damnation- I did it because of a basic understanding of right and wrong and a general empathy for others. I was surprised to learn there were people who did good because of a fear of retribution in the next life- it made me feel even better about my choice to leave religion.

  3. Man, I take issue with the athiest/churchgoer ethical study.

    Because some of the least ethical people I’ve ever met are churchgoers, and they hide behind their piety while stabbing people in the back, being abusive to their kids, cheating on their spouses, lying and stealing. Doesn’t that level of hypocrisy merit some sort of bonus points?

  4. To me, it seems a lot of churchgoers use religion and their god as a way to rationalize their behavior, whether good or bad.

    And this study, did they look into the homophobia and misogyny that is so rampant in the religious? I find neither “ethical” and yet it is hugely prevalent. The religious use their god and their sacred texts as a way to rationalize homophobia and misogyny.

  5. I call shenanigans. That piece of reserch about atheists being as ethical as churchgoers flatly contradicts the Bible!

    Psalm 14:1:

    The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.

    If it is contrary to scripture, it is therefore false. It’s obviously some ideologically motivated drivel thinly disguised as “science” some bunch of atheistic, Darwinistic, devil-worshipping, puppy-eating, baby-kicking, book-reading, surprise-buttsecksing, elitistly egalitarian libruls cooked up to push their seekrit gayvolutionist agenda. You want proof that they’re wicked? Just take a look at this article. They’re making up phony “scientific research” to support their talking points! How unethical is that?

    Oh, and accusations of fallacies and circular reasoning? Tools of the devil, I tell ya.


  6. So what does @Steve: win for getting the color of Barbie’s laptop correct?
    [Edit:] Crap. The link won’t work. But it goes back to the Quickies in January when Steve uses his psychic powers to discover the future color of Computer Engineer® Barbie’s® laptop.

  7. I’m so glad that the nurse was acquitted, but I still feel so bad for her. Whistleblowers doing the right thing never see an end to their suffering for it, unfortunately. She’ll be shunned and mistreated for a very long time, which is sad.

    As for the sea urchin, I wonder how the creationists will use this version of an eye to “prove” god-design…

    And I’m not surprised about the ethics thing, since my agnostic/atheist friends, family, and I don’t regularly go around screaming epithets at people, spitting on them, or wishing them death, like so many so-called Christian anti-choice and anti-gay demonstrators do.

  8. The nurses trial quick verdict implies that anyone outside of the ‘old boys network’ in that town would be suspicious of the sheriff’s motivations. I hope someone like the FBI investigates what is going on down there. I wonder how deep it goes.

  9. as far as morality, as well as belief in some sort of deity, it seems to me it’s becoming more apparent that there is a genetic basis as well as an environmental factor in both of them. i think it will be interesting to see how it pans out as far as how much of either of these traits are environmental or genetically influenced. i think it will also be interesting to see how these two interact within the brain. is church helpful for individuals who are predisposed to being unethical? how helpful? more helpful, than, say a good role model? and are people who are predisposed to being more ethical drawn to religion for some reason or are they turned off from it because they don’t need it to be a good person? i think most (if not all) of the anecdotal evidence is in on these topics but what i am looking forward to is the neuroscience behind these aspects.

  10. was anyone else a little disheartened to see that the “girls’ vote” technically went to news anchor barbie? I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that news anchors are on tv and everyone knows what they do but most Barbie age girls probably don’t know what a computer engineer does. Maybe Barbie can change that?

  11. I think that the morality issue really extends beyond just religion. It’s based largely on the myth that people behave based on rationally-assess consequences to themselves. The entire concept of punishment is based on this attitude, but punishment, or threat of it, is not nearly as effective as we expect it to be.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that the people who buy into the idea that religion is necessary for morality are also often strong proponents of the death penalty and other “tough on crime” policies. However, people simply aren’t particularly rational. The reality is that most people aren’t murderers. If you ask an average person why they’ve never murdered anyone, it’s unlikely that you will hear anyone say that it’s only because they’re afraid of Hell or capital punishment. People simply don’t work that way. If you do meet someone who admits that they would be perfectly willing to commit murder it only the threat of Hell/death were removed, I suggest you avoid that person like the plague.

    The sad thing is that most people realize that they wouldn’t murder even if they could get away with it, but they just never make that connection to morality. You can give a million different explanations, but when it comes down to it, most people instinctively have an aversion to murder, cheating, and dishonesty. Punishment certainly plays a role, but it’s not the primary factor for anyone except possibly sociopaths.

  12. Hello all:

    I have read this website for two years now, and have decided to create an account.

    My comments are as follows:

    That article on atheists and morality, makes sense. As I have been telling my Mom for a while now, “Atheists can have morals.”

    The news regarding Barbie being a computer engineer…is intriguing. Having played with Barbies before, I am eager to buy five of them. Two for myself and the other three to give to my young cousins.

    I did not care for the other articles.


  13. @loudlyquiet: Exactly. There’s a huge difference between moral “thinking” and moral “behavior.” Many studies in this area have concluded that very few of us follow our own moral judgments with matching behavior. That is, we often make moral judgments based on internal moral standards, but when it comes to behavior, all bets are off. This is why so many people are hypocritical with respect to morality.

    So just because you claim to be a “moral person” because you believe in moral absolutes from the gods doesn’t mean that you will act more in accord with those beliefs than an atheist. We all feel Cognitive Dissonance when we go against our internal moral guides, it’s just that religious people have a different way of reducing their dissonance than the non-religious.

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