I’d like to focus on a small part of the dispute, as it nicely summarizes the New Atheist’s ability to deal with atheism’s morality problem.
Coyne provides the following quote from Robbins:
Nietzsche’s atheism is far from exultant—he is not crowing about the death of God, much as he despises Christianity. He understands how much has been lost, how much there is to lose.
. . . Nietzsche realized that the Enlightenment project to reconstruct morality from rational principles simply retained the character of Christian ethics without providing the foundational authority if the latter. Dispensing with his fantasy of the Übermensch, we are left with his dark diagnosis. To paraphrase the Scottish philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, our moral vocabulary has lost the contexts from which its significance derived, and no amount of Dawkins-style hand-waving about altruistic genes will make the problem go away. (Indeed, the ridiculous belief that our genes determine everything about human behavior and culture is a symptom of this very problem.)
. . . The point is not that a coherent morality requires theism, but that the moral language taken for granted by liberal modernity is a fragmented ruin: It rejects metaphysics but exists only because of prior metaphysical commitments.
That analysis is spot on. So how does Coyne respond? E1b
Caturday, one supposes.
Note to Coyne: Relax and adopt another rescue kitty. The Kitty Angel smiles on those of us who do that. You will be happier and enjoy better health. [Truth in advertising: Tom, Dick, and Harry, feline rescues, sponsored this paragraph.]
Follow UD News at Twitter!
Search Uncommon Descent for similar topics, under the Donate button.