Friday, September 14, 2007

Morality, materialist, money

Jeez, this morning I listened to the Francis Collins interview on POI and I cannot believe that this person does serious research, the arguments are so, well, I hate to say it, dumb.
I've had this idea floating in my head for a while now and was looking for a way to write it down. 
It is about morality and wealth, the argument made by Collins (and MANY religious) that without god humans would/should/have to just be selfish and not care about fellow humans (Collins admits that family or people in the immediate circle can be explained, but towards strangers he just cannot phantom it).
Hitchens has been putting forward the blood donation as a good counter argument but there is more.  Often we (atheists) will argue that there are also laws that hold back people (to which the believers counter that those laws are there because of their holy book ... and so on)
Who in the world could really not care about his fellow humans?  Who really could just go on a rampage and actually not care about the law?  Or just live the complete selfish life and do whatever their heart desires?
There is an answer to this, the super rich that's who!
And what do we see, lets look at the richest of them all Bill Gates (who is positively defined as at least an agnostic but from the things I've read I think he's actually an atheist).
There is no doubt that he could do whatever he wants, with that kind of wealth he could buy the privilege of murdering somebody if he really wanted to, I'm sure he could buy a position on the firing squad in some country, or even take the position of the executioner in Texas.  Plus he could be extremely selfish and keep all his money and ensure many generations of his family would not need to worry about money.  No one could or would be able to do anything against him.
But what does he do?
He is one of the biggest philanthropists ever, he gives billions for projects in Africa, he has no criminal record and is generally defined as a good person (if you're not an Apple or Linux fanboy)
No god needed, no belief needed.
It is such an easy to answer argument, a human brains have evolved give us a sense of pleasure when we help others even unknown or unseen others just knowing that we are helping another human being sets in motion certain brain chemicals and makes us happy (it is like a drug), we can artificially simulate it now and even exploit it (advertising uses it).
It makes sense if you don't have religious blinders on, it is what has made us (for the moment) the "fittest".

(I don't have much time now so can't elaborate too much but I think my basic point is clear)

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