Ethics Intelligent Design Naturalism

Naturalism and ethics: an inevitable contradiction?

Spread the love

The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd Ken Francis, author, with Theodore Dalrymple, of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd, writes to tell us of an effort to account for objective moral laws and duties form the perspective of pure naturalist atheism. He thinks it doesn’t work but you, the reader, shall judge:

From Reasonable Faith: And the atheist answer to all these moral dilemmas (Slavery, Child Abuse, Genocide, Molestation, Murder, Rape, etc.) is, “Well, it’s all relative!” Dr. William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias tells atheist Dr. Bernard Leikind that if his morality rests upon relativism he cannot in principle label literally anything as absolutely wrong, be it slavery, child abuse, or child molestation, torture, genocide, racism, murder, etc.,

This clip comes from the debate “Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering?”

Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality

Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality

Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality. This video shows that when an atheist denies objective morality they also affirm moral good and evil without the thought of any contradiction or inconsistency on their part.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

See also: Terror of Existence: Cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer loved, then loathed, Darwinism

Theodore Dalrymple and Ken Francis on the terror of a materialist atheist’s existence

Why Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse is not a new atheist Ruse: Partly it is aesthetic. They are so vulgar. Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course…

8 Replies to “Naturalism and ethics: an inevitable contradiction?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Craig asks what is the basis of a/mat morality, clearly trying to force an admission that there is no solid grounding for such beliefs, that they are just a matter of personal preference. He then claims, in contrast, that only God can provide an objective morality.

    The simple answer to that is to agree that, in a sense, all moral judgments are personal preferences if there is no objective basis for them. However, is there not a difference in degree at least between preferring vanilla to chocolate ice-cream and preferring not to be raped to being raped? Should we not respect those preferences in others if we ask others to respect ours?

    And how are God’s moral edicts anything other than divine preferences? We are commanded, for example, not to make graven images or take His name in vain. Why not? He does not deign to provide any detailed explanation or justification for any of His commandments or other moral decrees. In effect, He says “Jump!” and all we are supposed to say is “How high?”

    Craig is an accomplished debater but he is doing nothing more than asserting the same unwarranted claim to the moral high ground that Christians have been arguing for centuries.

  2. 2
    Ed George says:

    Seversky@1, I have always thought that arguing that objective morality must be true because the alternative is that morality is no more than personal preference is a lame argument. It is as lame as arguing that ultimate “Truths” must exist because if their non-existance was “True”, then ultimate “Truths” must exist. In short, they are both word games rather than logical arguments.

    I don’t really care if objective morality is true because regardless of its source, history has shown that what we decide to be morally acceptable is highly flexible and significantly affected by social pressures and personal experiences. However, to me, the more interesting question is why the existance of strongly held moral beliefs appears to be universal; not the individual moral values, but the moral sense itself?

  3. 3
    OldAndrew says:

    Ed George

    I have always thought that arguing that objective morality must be true because the alternative is that morality is no more than personal preference is a lame argument.

    I agree. It amounts to, “If this is true, then [insert consequence that I don’t like.]” In this case, if morality is not objective, then morality is subjective (also a tautology.) You can change it to, “If you don’t believe that morality is objective then you believe it is subjective,” but it’s really the exact same tautology rephrased as a personal attack.

    It sounds like something (until you look at it closely) but it’s not actually a logical argument that means anything.

    However, to me, the more interesting question is why the existance of strongly held moral beliefs appears to be universal; not the individual moral values, but the moral sense itself?

    That’s huge. Most normal people, regardless of what they believe about the origins of morality, have to realize that they experience an emotional reaction at the thought of doing something they think is terribly wrong. They don’t think it through and weigh the pros and cons. They hate the thought of hurting someone. It’s the same for religious and non-religious people.

    There’s no evolutionary explanation for this that makes sense.

  4. 4
    Ed George says:

    OldAndrew

    That’s huge. Most normal people, regardless of what they believe about the origins of morality, have to realize that they experience an emotional reaction at the thought of doing something they think is terribly wrong.

    I would argue that all people experience an emotional reaction at the thought of doing something they think is terribly wrong. Even sociopaths and psychopaths believe in their version of what is morally right and wrong, it just differs significantly from what society accepts as right and wrong.

    There’s no evolutionary explanation for this that makes sense.

    I think that it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. For the most part, people benefit from living in a society and therefore are more likely to reproduce than those who do not. And society is only possible if we share common beliefs with respect to what is right and wrong. However, I certainly agree that there is no suitable explanation of an evolutionary mechanism that could explain this moral sense. Is it tied to our DNA? Is it independent of our DNA?

  5. 5
    OldAndrew says:

    For me it falls apart when I think of it as starting with a single mutation. The effect of a mutation that doesn’t kill a specimen will be so small that it seems unlikely, out of all the various factors at work, to differentially affect reproduction. Any number of chance events will have a larger effect.

    What is that mutation? What is the tiny step toward morality that’s small enough to result from a mutation and large enough to affect reproduction, outweighing everything else?

    A hypothesis would be great, but I’d be interested just to hear what the wild speculation sounds like.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Ed George @ 2

    However, to me, the more interesting question is why the existance of strongly held moral beliefs appears to be universal; not the individual moral values, but the moral sense itself?

    Possibly because, as you point out, agreed moral codes help promote orderly and secure societies. In my view, it’s the same reason why religion is ubiquitous, but not one particular faith. It’s also why it’s very unlikely that atheism will ever supplant religion while human beings are as they are

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    OldAndrew @ 5

    For me it falls apart when I think of it as starting with a single mutation.

    I think there are two problems with this approach.

    The first is that a single mutation could be responsible for what are complex conscious behaviors is too simplistic. I know popular reports about genetic research will talk about a gene for this or that being discovered but that’s usually editors trying for an attention-grabbing headline. Most often it’s misleading and a vast over-simplification.

    The second runs straight into the hard problem of consciousness. How do we derive a conscious behavior like forming moral judgments, not just from the electro-chemical activity of the physical brain but from mutations in the DNA at the heart of each cell in the brain?

  8. 8
    Ed George says:

    Seversky@6, agreed.

Leave a Reply