JL writes (as did others): How come in this article of yours, you never mentioned Ayn Rand? She was an atheist and a modern philospher who had written about her strong moral convictions in the context of rational self-interest.
Two reasons. 1) I have a 750 word limit. 2) Ayn Rand’s objectivism is outside the mainstream of atheist thought. I respect her work – was a big fan of it in high school – but I think her line of thinking primarily applies to the elite who are capable of accepting Socrates’ virtuous knowledge. It’s beyond the vast majority, and therefore neither useful for them nor directly relevant to the subject of the article.
There is a Prisoner’s Dilemma case for an amoral embrace of the Golden Rule. But as a one-time amoral proto-elitist, I don’t believe the vast majority are capable of seeing this, let alone pursuing it. I know I wouldn’t have, being cut more in the Nietschean mode.