In the ongoing AJ vs ID discussion thread, major tangential debates have developed. One of these is on the IS-OUGHT gap, and it is worth headlining due to its pivotal worldviews importance (and yes, this is a philosophy issue). Let us start with Seversky, highlighting his key contention — which is commonly asserted:
Sev, 261: >>Origenes @ 258
Origines, 262 (to EA but relevant): >>Eric Anderson @259
KF, 263: >>Seversky, if you have been keeping track that is not what is at stake. The issue is, we are patently inescapably morally governed, as for instance you implied by trying to correct and by expecting us to have a sense of duty to the truth and the right. Either that speaks truly or mindedness collapses into grand delusion. As, if such is a delusional perception in an actually utterly amoral world then delusion is at the heart of attempts to reason and be responsible — as Rosenberg implies but tries to put a rosy picture on. Absurd. So, we need to ask, what sort of world must we be in for such moral government not to be rooted in grand delusion. This points to world-roots that cannot be infinite regress or a chicken-egg loop. Finitely remote, necessary being root. As, were there ever utter non-being (which can have no causal powers) such would forever obtain. The premise that, on pain of grand delusion and absurdity, we are responsibly and rationally significantly free and morally governed, self-moved creatures then leads to the world root being a necessary being that is at the same time inextricably the root of moral government. Where, if we are not self-moved initiating causal agents, we have no true freedom to draw a LOGICAL, meaningful inference from grounds and/or evidence to the consequent or a warranted conclusion, we would be trapped in a delusion of rationality while actually being the GIGO-limited playthings of our computational substrates and their blind, mechanically driven and/or stochastic cause effect chains. We must be free and self-moved to be rational or responsible. Is and ought are not IS–> OUGHT, but instead that they are inherently inextricably entangled and utterly fused at the world-root. There is one serious candidate (if you doubt, kindly provide a coherent alternative: _____ ) i.e. the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.>>
The immediate context for this is also well worth excerpting as a part of the spark for onward discussion:
HP, 256: >>The [subjective moralists] I have read . . . don’t say that “moral values and obligations are totally subjective.”, they claim that the individual values are subjective. A small distinction I realize, but an important one. And, I apologize in advance for not phrasing this as well as I would like.
My own personal belief is that our system of morality is a combination of objective and subjective. The most obvious objective aspect of our morality system is that the existance of this system appears to be universal amongst humans. Even psychopaths and sociopaths have a morality system. They just happen to be very different than that of the majority of the population. Of the other values (not killing, lying, stealing…) some may be objective and others subjective. Frankly, I don’t know. And I don’t really care. But the one thing that makes logical sense is that if there are objective morals, they are not independent of subjectivity. They are either strengthened by our experiences or they are weakened. Thus explaining the variations that we see in their application amongst different cultures.>>
hammaspeikko: The ones I have read, which I admit are limited, are more nuanced than that. They don’t say that “moral values and obligations are totally subjective.”, they claim that the individual values are subjective. A small distinction I realize, but an important one.
I have never heard about such a moral system. Individual values are subjective and non-individual values are not? Can you provide some more info?
The matter seems very simple to me: because fermions and bosons are completely indifferent about morality, it is not possible to ground morality for atheists/materialists.
Here is atheistic philosopher Alex Rosenberg:
Scientism can’t avoid nihilism. We need to make the best of it….
First, nihilism can’t condemn Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or those who fomented the Armenian genocide or the Rwandan one. If there is no such thing as “morally forbidden,” then what Mohamed Atta did on September 11, 2001, was not morally forbidden. Of course, it was not permitted either. But still, don’t we want to have grounds to condemn these monsters? Nihilism seems to cut that ground out from under us. …
To avoid these outcomes, people have been searching for scientifically respectable justification of morality for least a century and a half. The trouble is that over the same 150 years or so, the reasons for nihilism have continued to mount. Both the failure to find an ethics that everyone can agree on and the scientific explanation of the origin and persistence of moral norms have made nihilism more and more plausible while remaining just as unappetizing.
[A. Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide To Reality’, ch. 5]>>
EA, 259: >>Origenes:
So, how then do we come to be morally governed, and what does this imply about us and the world? END