Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Research on Atheists and Morality

According to a study by Dr. Marc Hauser of Harvard, people with no religion know right from wrong just as well as regular worshipers.

Yawn...  Is anyone really surprised by this? 

Unfortunately, I have to assume yes, otherwise it wouldn't be news.  It's not enough for atheists to be upstanding citizens in everyday life; studies are needed to show we can be good people.  We have to defend ourselves actively, and its frustrating and unfair.  Why not study whether black people are equally capable of acting morally as whites, or if Jews are as good as Christians?  Why isn't the converse being studied?  Are religious people as capable of making moral judgments as atheists?

This is a reminder to me that my position as an atheist means that I'm suspect in the eyes of many people, right off the bat.  It's easy to shrug it off and say that people who believe atheists can't be good without god are ignorant, but those ignorant people affect most of us in one way or another.  It effected us enough to require a scientific study to show that we are equally capable of moral behavior as religious people. 

I'd like to hope that a study like this will change things for the better, but I know that's unlikely.

1 comment:

  1. This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 2/10/2010, at The Unreligious Right