10 Replies to “Atheist Philosopher Joel Marks Finally Admits That Without God There Can Be No Morality

  1. 1
    Upright BiPed says:

    “Who, after all, can remain entirely unmoved by the plangent bathos of the atheist moralist’s cri de cœur, “We don’t need God in order to be good”?


  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:


    Some things are obvious truths, and are axiomatic. These things include the existence of free will, the existence of good and evil and absolute moral truths, and the existence of design in the universe and living systems.

    Materialists insist that such axioms are mere illusions.

    I make free choices every day, all day long. I have obligations and responsibilities, but nothing I think is not the result of choice. My life is a never-ending stream of choices. This is axiomatic, and the essence of the human spirit.

    The existence of good and evil and absolute moral truth is also axiomatic, because the opposite is logically self-contradictory. Moral relativism is a truth claim that all truth claims about morality are invalid. Note that moral relativists consistently accuse their challengers of behaving immorally.

    Based on what we now know about the hideously complex and sophisticated technology underlying living systems, and the fine-tuning of the laws of physics for the eventual creation of life, the notion that it is all the result of chance is simply preposterous.

    The really interesting question is, Why would materialists want to convince us that these axiomatic truths are falsehoods?

    I have an answer. Misery loves company. They want to drag the rest of us down into the darkness and despair of their nihilism.

  3. 3
    Laughable says:

    Hi Gil

    Most of the time when athiests or scientists question ‘axiomatic truths’ or ‘common sense’ it is because sometimes things that seem self evident are sometimes not true.

    Some things are counter-intuitive to logic, and historically science has made it’s biggest advances when breaking through myths and ‘common sense ideas’ about how the world works.

    Common sense statements in history would include:
    Man is too heavy to fly.
    Metal is too heavy to fly.
    The earth is stationary.
    The sun revolves around the earth.
    Stars are just holes in the filament.
    What goes up must come down.

    I would go so far as to say most of the work scientists do goes towards proving or disproving ideas that seem like they should be common sense. On a show like Mythbusters common sense only wins about 50% of the time. When a sceptical mind hears a phrase like “this is objectively true” or “it’s common sense” the immediate reaction is “why is it objectively true? Is it actually true in every case?”.

    Occasionally in the past when scientists have attempted to prove a point that is counter-intuitive to common sense and/or church doctrine, the church has been fairly heavy handed in their dealing with the matter (see Galileo). I would put it to you that the reason athiests are antagonistic about objective truths in religion is because of the proven scientific falicies and the historical inaccuracies in the bible. If one bit is incorrect, how can the rest of it be objectively true?

    I would say that it is healthy to ask “is common sense right in this instance?”. Because common sense is just an assumption that things will work out the way you think they will. And you know what happens when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.

    Regarding your comment “Materialists insist that such axioms are mere illusions” – My personal opinions on these axioms are:

    The existence of free will
    If an all knowing and all powerful creator created everything, then he would know everything we would do before he created us. Therefore he created us knowing that we would be sinners, and he would know which sins, when, where, and to whom we would commit them. That is pre-programming, pure and simple, there’s no free will in that.

    One argument I’ve seen is that God has ‘turned off’ his foresight into our future, so that he can’t predict which course of action we would take – but if God is eternal and infinite, then before he ‘switched off’ his knowledge of our future choices, he still would have known the outcomes before that. Further, one would assume that before turning off his ‘foresight’ that he would have thoroughly checked what he was doing by switching it off.

    In a universe without God one could argue that if you could calculate the poisition of every atom and their recation with every other atom you could eventually predict every action and every decision made by man, a deterministic universe. The calculations on that though would be infinitely complex, so even if the universe is deteministic, the only way we can effectively deal with it is to take resonsibility for our on actions.

    To a degree you can blame someone’s actions on their genes and environment or God, but at the end of the day you don’t want an axe murderer walking around the streets using the excuse ‘I don’t have free will, it’s not my fault’. To be a functional society we have to be able to incarcerate those who posit a danger to society. It doesn’t really matter whether free will exists or not, we have to hold people accountable for their actions to have a safe and functioning society.

    Then again, everyone has their own view on free will, whether or not it is an axiom of truth though is definitely debateable.

    The existence of good and evil and absolute moral truths
    There is no such thing as objectively good or evil, it is all subjective. You can see it every day in today’s world, and throughout history. I’ll use two examples, Rape and Murder.

    Rape – One would think that rape is objectively evil. I certainly thing it is evil, one of the very definitions of evil, but there are people that, today, condone rape. Certain muslim countries will not punish rapists, rather, they will punish the rapist’s victim as an adulteror. In Australia there was a muslim cleric who said it was the woman’s fault for being raped if she is wearing revealing clothing, and that the rapist is not at fault.

    Secondly I know that a lot of christians fought against laws about rape inside marriage. I’ve seen arguments from people like Vox Day saying “there is no marital rape”, because by getting married you’ve consented to sex whenever. I’m sorry, but rape is rape even within a marriage.

    Murder – The death penalty, euthanasia, abortion, war. These issues have people arguing passionately on both sides of the fence. It can’t be objective when there is so much disagreement on what is right or good.

    If murder and rape aren’t objectively evil, what could be possibly worse? Torture? Some americans seemed very gung-ho about torturing certain indiviuals over the last few years.

    and the existence of design in the universe and living systems
    I think this point is fairly heavily under debate at the moment.

  4. 4
    Alex73 says:


    If materialism is true, and free will and conciousness are both illusions then there is no real free will and conciousness, there has never been and there will never be.

    How could we, therefore, invent these highly abstract terms? Could we be aware of our existence and debate on the subject of origins without real free will and conciousness? If our free will and conciousness are illusions, can someone please describe what the real things would be?

    I smell a mighty big self contradiction here…

  5. 5
    gpuccio says:

    Gil, Alex:

    Very well said.

    I suppose the original problem with reductionist materialists is: they deny a very big part of reality.

    The subjective experiences we have in our personal consciosness are the first perception we have, and the basis of all our map of reality. The concept itself of an outer reality, and therefore of matter, is simply derived from those subjective experiences.

    That’s why I often say that consciousness is the “fact of all facts”.

    Our culture has convinced us that objective events are truly existing, and that subjective events are in some way non real, or only a consequence of objective events without any true substance.

    That is false and degrading. We have to reaffirm the concept of an “objective subjectivity”: consciousness and its representations do exist, they exist first, they are the things we should be most certyain of (all the rest is derived), and while they are certainly connected to so called “objective events” (including those in our body and brain), there is absolute no good reason to suppose that they are created by them.

    It’s strange how, in our computer era, the concept of an “interface” between cosnciousness and body remains so difficult for materialists. They don’t even take it into consideration. They run away in fear at the slightest smell of “dualism”.

    Well, I am not necessarily a dualist, but just to imitate our adversaries, I propose to adopt a “methodological dualism”. That is, we observe matter and consciousness in different ways, they have different properties, and they certainly interact in both directions. Is that so difficult to accept as a model? It is completely empirical, and does not require any unnecessary assumption.

    So, we should juhjst study and analyze, as objectively as possible:

    a) The properties of matter

    b) The properties of conscious events

    c) The interface between the two.

    Free will, although certainly a difficult topic (as those of us who took part in the long thread about it should know) has always been accepted by most human beings as an inherent part of conscious representations. Not only it has been accepted by most human philosophies, it is de facto implicit in everybody’s daily language and behaviour. So, I do beliueve that we have the duty to include it, even tentatively, in any general map of reality. Let’s call it “methodological free willism” 🙂

    So, reductionist materialism is denying from the start all reasonable assumptions about reality. What does it rely upon?

    a) An ill defined concept of “matter” or of “physical reality” which cannot be objectively detailed if not as “all that which is in line with what we already believe fundamentally exists”. In that sense, reductionism is sheer cognitive conformism.

    b) A blind (and very silly) faith that all that is not incluhded in the map (consciousness) will be sooner or later explained in terms of “matter” (or, depending on the degree of faith, that it has already been explained in those terms).

    c) A very complex and admirable intellectual activity finalized to restate the obvious. For instance, all current statements about neurophisiology demonstrating that brain activity generates consciousness adds absolutely nothing to the very old fact that if I pinch my arm, I feel something in my consciousness, and that if I decide to move my finger I can do that. IOWs, and interface exists in both directions. But did we really need modern neurophisiology or philosophy, and treatises about chemical neuromediators and brain imaging, to simply acknowledge what has always been known?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    BA (and UB and GD):

    We experience reality as conscious, minded, choosing, enconscienced creatures who find ourselves morally obligated.

    The only rationally acceptable worldviews, then, will be those that can explain that reality. And if such worldviews are “unacceptable” — for whatever intense and controlling motivation — then, one has to resort to distorting that inconvenient truth and dismissing it.

    This brings us to the is-ought gap, best expressed in terms that unless there is an ultimate, grounding IS for the cosmos that can properly ground OUGHT, oughtness is delusion. And if oughtness is delusion, we end up in Dostoevsky’s chaos of amorality: everything is permissible as there is no constraining ought. Thus, when we look on how women have been maimed and scarred with acid by abusive men for daring to be human not simply obediently docile brood mares, there is nothing we can say beyond emotive outrage. When we stand at the gates of Auschwitz, we would have nothing to say beyond that since “our side” had the bigger guns, we beat them and we memorialise what we think people will have a negative emotional reaction to.

    And, in fact, as we look on the amoral wastelands of the contemporary media, campuses, research institutions, courtrooms, parliaments and international bodies, too often that is precisely what we see. Rhetorical manipulation of emotions of outrage with no reference to a sense of obligation to the truth, or of the inherent value and equal moral worth of the human being, or to the right.

    For, those who dominate such institutions have been duly indoctrinated to believe that all that is traces to nothing but matter, energy, chance circumstances and blind laws that led to us by chance plus necessity without purpose, or value.

    Is swallows up ought, and we end up where Plato warned, 2,300 years ago: “the highest right is might.”

    (Nietzsche only echoed Plato, without fairly addressing why Plato rejected such a horrible doctrine as makes that Nazi principle seem plausible.)

    But, Francis Schaeffer is right, too: there is a line of despair, when in the name of science and human autonomy, we erect defiant worldviews that lock off and dismiss entire dimensions of human reality. So, we are forced to operate by a bastardised, emotionally manipulated sense of morality, despite the direct implications of the ever so dominant evolutionary materialism that shapes the so-called scientific worldview of our day.

    That is why, when William Provine says:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . [Darwin Day U Tenn 1998]

    He then goes on to try to appeal to a sense of morality and to try to indict those who would differ from him of immorality. As though ought is really real.

    Which simply lets the cat out of the bag.

    The only worldviews that can make good sense of oughtness are those in which the grounding reality of the cosmos is inherently moral and good. In short, theism, especially Judaeo-Christian theism. Ms Anscombe’s words as reported by Arthur Holmes in his Ethics, aptly capture the point:

    We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments.We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments.

    To deflect attention from this fatal and utterly revealing defect, evolutionary materialist advocates routinely try to resurrect the long since exploded Euthyphro dilemma. They fail to appreciate that the dilemma took force from the fact that he pagan gods it challenged were simply too small to ground reality, and so were mythical men writ large, who had to look outside themselves for oughtness. The Infinite-Personal, Moral and utterly good Creator of our cosmos is good as to inherent character, and so good, God and the order of Creation cannot be separated one form the other. God is the IS who can ground OUGHT, as oughtness is inherent to his being.

    So, what we are really looking at is that Mr Marks is finally acknowledging that he has no is that can ground an ought. Something that should have been raised in his very first philosophy and ethics courses as an undergraduate, and should have been raised in light of what Plato had to say in The Laws, Bk X, 2,300+ years ago.

    Evolutionary materialism cannot ground the reality of the human being, as it can ground neither the credibility of mind nor the reality of oughtness. Worse, its amorality means that at best it must parasite off the theism it would overthrow, and eventually a significant number of adherents will get the implication of the doctrines they have been taught in the name of science, falsely so called.

    And when that increasingly happens in a culture, then all the demons of destruction are let loose as the motto “might makes right” takes over.

    One would have thought that we would have learned that lesson from the history of the late unlamented C20, or at least by listening to the moans of over 100 million ghosts victimised by amoral regimes.

    For shame!

    GEM of TKI

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    GP: well said. G

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Alex: Well said. There is indeed a reductio at work. G

  9. 9
    riddick says:

    Consider this reading of the moral/amoral issue.


  10. 10
    above says:

    Well it was about time the materialists/atheists started waking up to the realities of their beliefs and stopped deluding themselves…

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