You know, I wanted to keep the dialogue focused on psychology….but, I understand that the atheists were not really interested in that. So, let’s open this post wide open. If you are here to read in this post about psychology, please read my other posts. This one will entail theology, philosophy, and science.
Jim Lippard, of “The Lippard Blog,” has delivered a number of intelligent and cogent arguments, that require the use of philosophy (primarily), logic, and science in order to address. I aim to do that to the best of my ability here. Maybe I won’t do philosophy or logic justice, because I am neither a philosopher or extremely educated in all aspects of logic (apart from the intracacies of computer science and cognitive psychology, which includes some of the major logical errors that people make)….but I will do my best.
“Your point 2 is a philosophical claim to the effect that morality requires the existence of at least one god. What is your support for that argument, in light of the fact that of the many meta-ethical frameworks for morality that philosophers have come up with in the last several millennia, the only one that actually requires the existence of a god is the divine command theory, which the vast majority of philosophers (since Plato’s “Euthyphro” agree is not a sufficient ground for morality?”
Please feel free Mr. Lippard, to lay out your objective notions of morality apart from God. I am waiting eagerly.
As for “Euthyphro,” I note as an aside, that the issues discussed throughout this fictional account, have to do with problems with one’s father….Seems like I had something to say about that before, but I suppose that has nothing to do with why atheists find it so compelling…since I engaged in “arm-chair” analysis.
So, we come back to naturalism, that everything that occurs is the result of natural law. That everything is the result of matter and energy. There is nothing more to nature than can be explained by the laws of nature.
Now, one law of nature is causality. You have made an unconvincing argument that such a thing as free will might exists apart from the supernatural. I ask you to back up that claim. With nature, the laws of cause and effect are inexcapable. The macroscopic world does not follow quantum mechanics where predictions are probablistic. Quantum mechanical effects occur only in the most controlled of conditions. Even if you make a claim based on quantum mechanics, you would need to make an assertion about how this might result in free will. I assume that you believe that you have logically and freely chosen your atheism. However, this cannot be the case within the worldview of naturalism. If you have a different worldview, please feel free to make it explicit. Within the laws of causality, you have no more chosen to be an atheist than a snowflake has chosen to form, the complexity of which you deem as sufficient for nullifying ideas of intelligent design. From the beginning with the “big bang” all things were set in motion to occur in exactly the way they occured with no possibility for any alternatives, no possibility for any free will.
So, as a result, people who come to believe in God, do so because of how things played out in the evolution of the universe. And people who don’t believe in God, do so because of how things played out in the evolution of the universe. Now if everything occurs in a cause and effect chain, what is your basis for determining anything is moral or amoral? You only say so because of the cause and effect chain. You are just matter and energy, what are the moral imperatives of matter and energy?
Can you explain consciousness? You cannot. Science has not even scratched the surface here. You may make appeals to quantum mechanics, but they are only appeals and unsupported by any objective data. Anything you say that would support free will is only an assertion with no clear empirical backing. So the fact that you choose to be moral in certain ways is only a result of the random interaction of particles and matter. Completely meaningless. If you harm another human being, so what, you’ve possibly changed the state of matter. Big deal. States of matter change all the time. What is the objective moral opposition to murder from a materialistic perspective? “Thou shalt not knowingly change the state of matter???” You may say that you may incur punishment as a result. But what does mere matter and energy care about something that changes it’s state. Apparently it does…
Now, Euthyphro’s dilemma was based around inconsistencies in the Greek pantheon. Yet, you want to apply this dilemma to the beliefs of Christians.
For a discussion of Euthyphro’s dilemma from a Christian perspective, see this link.
So, you accuse me of not providing any evidence for my position, when you have not provided a shread for your own….that atheists can have an objective basis for morality. I eagerly await you and your fellow atheists to provide such an objective basis.