Atheist Defends Human Rights

I am very much against violations of human rights. While not at the extreme of Islamic countries, in this country, the moral high ground isn’t Christianity any more. Secular morality, ethics and values have evolved to be more humanistic than evangelical Christian values, ethics and morals.

Why? Show me that human rights exist and are a real thing. You have the burden of proof on this one.

Human rights exist in the age, culture, morals, ethics, laws of the society in which we live in. Human rights evolve and are not absolute. By living in a society, a tribe, even a family, human rights are constantly changing with the situations people experience. I can prove the existence of human rights by measuring the impact human rights violations has on people, society, and culture. I am sure that you and I wouldn’t agree on every nuisance of everything claimed to be a human rights violations really qualifies as a human rights violation but I am sure that there are human rights violations all sensible people would agree on. So those human rights which seems to have evolved from human empathy are real. Additional human rights can and are created all the time. Western society is now so evolved and adapted to life in a technological world that telling a child that the Genesis story is a true and factual story can be construed by some as human rights violations or some sort of psychological child abuse. Although my view of human rights is different from yours, there is a large area of agreement of what both of us would consider real human rights.

How does one violate something that does not exist? How do you measure something that does not exist?

Prove to me that human rights exist from your framework, where there is not God, science determine truth, and reason is not valid.

Sounds like human rights are just a myth, like you think everything in religion is. Why not get rid of this notion, like all other superstitious beliefs? It sounds like rights are just a nice bed time story you tell yourself to feel good at night.

So what right do you have to go into someone elses culture, someone elses country, and tell them that their concept of human rights is wrong? What makes your personal guess at what rights are as normative?

To be clear, I agree that Muslim in another Country murdering an atheist blogger is wrong, just as it is wrong if Christians do this, or if this is done to Christians or Muslims. However, they have a sense of ethics that is different than ours, and feel that allowing atheism to be freely promoted is child abuse, and dangerous to society. What gives you the right to go into their culture and tell them they are wrong?

I can make a case from my starting point for why we can and should find that deplorable, even though it is in another culture. What is your case? Just the fact that you do not like it?

True. You, however, have no grounding for human rights. It is a total non-sequitor from your position, a ghost in the machine. Give up the ghost, right?

What is to say that human rights are nothing more than a hold over of all the superstitious belief you are opposed to? It certainly sounds like a myth. I cannot see it. I cannot touch it or feel it. I have no evidence that it exists. Sounds like a fairy tale.

1 Like

There’s a perfect place for this discussion that I open earlier on Biologos. That is: Moral foundations - Objective, Subjective & etc: The forever topic

I’ve request that the comments in the thread be permanently unlocked. The goal for that thread: Attempt to achieve what no other philosopher or great thinker has yet managed in the history of recorded time. Create a demonstrably valid, universal, moral foundation (Objective or subjective versions accepted!)

1 Like

Laws are written, constitutions are adopted. Courts are formed to prosecute human rights violations. Human rights are as real as the society that they are in. God didn’t write the US Constitution, a real godless document, that is the cornerstone of American society, people did only after society, culture and human rights evolved to create it.

The US Constitution would make no sense to the writers of Genesis.

I certainly do have grounding for my personal view of human rights. It is firmly anchored by my own reasoning, and supported by the societal and cultural norms that I grew up in and live in now. No ghosts at all.

I see, so you are have given up on any sense of human rights other than what we negotiate between each other.

So you have no right to be upset about “human rights violations” in another culture that works differently than yours. Such violations are just a myth. They have the right to define human rights differnelty than you.

The right is call freedom of thought. I have the right to thought, to reasoning, to determine what is right and what is wrong. I have the right to speak out and be heard. When enough voices are heard, laws change, society changes, progress is made. That is the real story of human history.

You do not have the right to impose your idiosyncratic beliefs on others from a different culture. Such an assertion is colonialism at its worst. Is that really what you are arguing for here?

Human rights are universal. That girl in Pakistan being shot in the face because she was going to school against the Taliban is the same as the little black girl in Selma Alabama going to a force segregation school in the 1960’s while Baptist Ministers objected. Humans have the evolved ability to know what is right and what is wrong. No God needed for morality, ethics and values.

Now you are just contradicting yourself…

If human rights are constructed, they are not universal. If humans construct them different ways in different places, they are not universal. You seem to be arguing for colonialism, that your personal view of rights trumps everyone elses. I’m not comfortable with white people arguing for colonialism.

I don’t have the right to impose anything on anyone. I do have the right to speak out. If that offends anyone’s traditions, values and cultural norms, so be it. I think circumcision is no longer a medically needed procedure to do on a male child. Some countries have outlawed the practice. Some Jews are infuriated with this. I am of the mind set that parents are best positioned to make that decision on their own without government involvement. What do you think?

I think you have the God given right, and the Constitutional right to say what ever incoherent thing you want to. You have no right to think anyone should take incoherent pronouncements seriously.

Shouting louder will just get the volume turned off on your mic. If you want to convince poeple, you might have to try Reason. If that is not really feasible for you, we might have to take a break again for a bit.

No the complete opposite. I am very much for the way laws, cultural norms are done in the secular American society right now. Can we improve on it - yes. But don’t throw away the process made the past 200 years. And certainly don’t the Church back in charge like they were in the Dark Ages

So you are an Americanist? Very interesting. What gives America the rights to impose its values on a country in the middle east then? You are committing hard to this colonialism theory, aren’t you?

As amazing as you think American ethics, do not forget it led to dark people being enslaved and segregated. It was a nice cleverly negotiated rule too! 3/5ths compromise. Jim Crow laws. As much as you might be impressed with American ethics, I’m not sure slavery is right just because our founding fathers held slaves.

The name of this thread is misleading. No such activity has actually occurred.

1 Like

And if its not clear, I do not want this either. I think the Church does just fine when it does not have political power. That might even be when it is at its best.

1 Like

My goal here is to expose to this paradox.

All of us (except perhaps sociopaths) come to a moral foundation that we cannot demonstrate with science. This moral foundation is important too, in the same way that human rights are important. Scientific methods however cannot not bring us to human rights, or really any moral foundation. The fact that we cannot scientifically demonstrate these things does not mean that they do not in fact exist. The fact that we construct our understanding of them does not demonstrate that injustice is merely an illusion.

So, here, we demonstrate that there are things (like human rights) that are simultaneously (1) real, (2) important, and (3) beyond science. Even if a scientific account of the world is correct, it cannot be the whole story. Attack everything that is not “scientific” is a self-negating nihilism.

It is easy to play the skeptic game against other people, but what goes around comes around. Blanket skepticism can be totally nihilistic. Self-negating absurdity. It is incoherent, and not usually worth engaging, though I admit you’ve made it fun here.

If you cannot withstand the epistemology you use against others, @Patrick, it is a clear sign you need to find a new epistemology. At the very least, find a way to not to contradict yourself, without descending into denial of human rights. If affirming “nothing,” as you put it, means refusal to affirm human rights, then at least you are consistent, but also darkly frightening too.

I, for one, am glad that even you, a fundo-militant atheist, cannot help but affirms human rights, even though it is comically incoherent with your point of view. I’m glad we can agree on human rights. You are right, there is common ground. The incoherence, however, is the epicycle, the crack, the indicator, the loose string on the sweater. There is more to this world than you know. Pull that thread, let it unravel, and see what you find.


For sure. Science isn’t the only thing it’s beyond. Furthermore, no one’s been able to demonstrate it doesn’t just rest on turtles all the way down. :grinning:

1 Like