So I got into it on Twitter with some nut that said "atheists can't have any morality" because he thinks the only logical source for morality is Yahweh (go figure). I'd been meaning to write on the topic (yes, it's been covered multiple times, I'm aware), so I made this.
Now he's claiming it's "the most fallacious thing" he's ever read, that it's full of begging the question, and somehow proves "absolute morality". Since I'm too close to my work, does anyone want to take a crack at it and confirm either that he's full of shit, or I am?
There are areas where I'd certainly take issue but I'm not sure I see any begging the question. I certainly don't see that it proves absolute morality or that it's the most fallacious thing.
Sure, I'm open to those improvements; if you care to post in the comments what that might be, I'd appreciate it.
Your post should be able to do this if it's to answer the question posed by the theist.
Thanks. That's a good point to be aware of. Been pondering a rewrite, so I'll consider that, although I don't feel I relied exclusively on evolution to explain morality. I do think I didn't do enough to address what to do about cheaters.
I'm wondering if because I didn't give more explicit definitions of "morally right" and "morally wrong" he's complaining, but eh.
You relied totally on evolution to explain where morality comes from. And that's fine in a sense because that's where morality comes from (Though your treatment of the subject as "cooperation->communicating about how to treat each others" is at best missing several steps or at worst false). It's just that talking only about morality being adaptive isn't the full story. As explained in the linked post, you have to talk about evolutionary game theory and emotions to explain fully. You didn't talk at all about the apparent cheater problem or the role emotions play.
You're close. I suspect you just need to read some more on the topic from sources other than Dawkins and Harris (and don't cite The Moral Landscape btw; it's been roundly criticized and is almost universally recognized as fundamentally flawed). Read Marc Hauser's Moral Minds or Matt Ridley's The Origin of Virtue, Richard Joyce's The Evolution of Morality.
Alright, thanks. I probably will try a rewrite in the future, but break it up into a series so I can better focus on the different topics.
A theist pointing to something being fallacious, especially the fallacy of begging the question, is unbelievably rich.
Yes, I am sorely tempted to reply with that, but he'd probably cry more.
@Zivaeros, you seem to be a gamer and a scifi enthusiast, so you must have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, even if only on DVD. Remember the scene where, under the influence of the black obelisk, the ape/proto-man grasped the tapir bone and began brandishing it as a club? Somehow knowledge was telepathically imparted to his primitive brain by this alien artifact, left on earth.
Well, we both know that's not real. But around 600 BCE, something similar seemed to happen throughout the then civilized world. People began searching for absolute moral values. The Greek philosophers were working hard at it, the Zoroastrians in Persia (Iran), were doing the same, as was Confucius, in China. Different gods had different rules, but on an almost world-wide basis, during that time period, deep thinkers were looking for moral values that would be independent of the capricious whims of the gods, values that would stand the test of time, and regime changes in the pantheon of gods. I would suggest researching this time period for the beginning of the concept of "good without god(s)."
Most of us are aware that Yeshua (Jesus) was quoted as saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," but few are aware that Confucius said the same thing, hundreds of years earlier.
To my mind, the Bible would have to be the worst source of morality to be found anywhere. How does anyone equate the commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" with the later, supplemental commandment, "Thou shalt not suffer (allow) a witch to live"?
The Bible is loaded with mass murders of men, women and children, not only sanctioned, but ordered by the Bible's god. Daughters getting their father drunk and having sex with him, god's "Chosen Ones" being deceptive and cowardly - don't get me started. The Bible is one of the worst sources of moral inspiration I can imagine.
I mentioned Confucius in there as predating the gospel authors, as well as a smidgen (smidgin?) of the atrocities put across as good in the bible.
Thanks for the research suggestion. It may be useful background material for a further writeup.
For bonus points, here's a resource I saw for killings post-Bible: http://notachristian.org/christianatrocities
Zevaeros - here's some more - look for my post about a third of the way down the page:
That should keep you supplied for a while --