While this post was worded very well, I get the feeling you don’t understand the atheist point of view fully, yet. Just because we (on average) believe there is no absolute reality to “right” or “wrong” does not mean that we deny all such feelings as illogical, in a Vulcan sense.
Right and wrong, while a social construct based on the need for society to interact with each other without fear, is more of an expression of a feeling, than a codification of an absolute thing.
When an atheist says there is no right or wrong, it does not mean that he/she ignores ethics, but rather that there is no platonic ideal to pull the definition from, in the same way that a triangle is just a description of a concept, rather than a “mirror” of a perfect object that exists somewhere.
It may perhaps come as a surprise that I quite wholeheartedly agree with Kae. An atheistic worldview removes the possibility of a platonic ideal to ‘pull the definition’ of morality from. Obviously, a system of ethical standards must be arrived at by society in order that society to function but these standards are, in essence, arbitrary.
There are a few questions I would ask, however. Firstly, where is it that these ‘feelings’ which this ethical standard attempts to express come from? Are they all driven merely by an instinct for self-preservation?
Also, if it were determined that, say, entirely eliminating the population of a particular country would improve the standard of life of the rest of the world and enable them to live happier more fear-free lives, would you consider this morally excusable?
The above may not be the best example. No doubt I’ll think of the perfect example in a few hours. Nevertheless, my point is that I can fully understand that there are atheists who have considered their viewpoint rationally and come to the obvious conclusions (no moral absolutes, etc.) and have interpreted their ‘moral feelings’ as products of their upbringing or the society about them or whatever and while they operate according to these feelings they are willing to admit that were somebody else to have opposite feelings they could not complain. However, my argument is that if society got together and decided it was in everybody’s best interests to kill your mother you would feel that this was inherently wrong, seeing as she’s never done anybody any harm and is so loving toward her children and bakes wonderful apple pies. I think there will be a certain point for everybody where they will not be able to live in accordance with their conclusions.
Another point is that I don’t feel that the idea of an ethical standard via a social contract is very useful in many circumstances. For instance, were the people of the US in full support of their government’s blatantly imperialistic campaign (they’re not of course) and the Irish people were fully opposed to such a campaign (we are, on the whole, I suppose). Would we have the right to tell the US that they are wrong? By whose standard should they be judged? Their own would permit them to rule the world with impunity, whereas ours would grant that right to nobody. Surely, then, we would have to keep our mouths shut and say nothing unless the US directly threatened our interests. Indeed, George W. Bush and his cronies believe that they are fully in the moral right, I am sure. What right have we to tell them otherwise?
I don’t think this post is very well worded, I seem to have lost the ability to argue coherently. Still, I hope my point is received.