Monday, September 5, 2016

Theological Skepticism #4

A theist acquaintance of my just sent me a link to this video.

When I saw what it was about, I decided to pause it and respond to each of his points.  Then I decided to share those thoughts with you guys.

I agree moral good and evil really exist (objective morality), and it's not a substitute for "I like" and "I don't like."
Morally good decisions are ones that are in accordance with well-being, and morally bad decisions are ones that are not.

"Where do good and evil come from?"
Well-being and ill-being are a product of intelligence, which is a product of our evolution.  Not all beings evolved the ability to experience well-being.  Plants for example, don't experience anything, as far as we can tell.
The reason we are receptive to care about the well-being of others is also a product of evolution.  We evolved to be a social species, and caring about other's well-being is an important part of that.  Creatures that are not social don't seem to care about the well-being of anyone except for themselves, mating partners, and offspring, if that.

He argues that evolution can't be a moral standard because an ever changing model doesn't provide a standard.
We didn't evolve morality.  We evolved the ability understand morality, and a drive to be moral.

I agree with him that reasoning is used to understand morality, but is not the source of morality.
Unlike him, I don't think it's common for criminals to plan murders without knowing it's immoral, and completely disagree that risking your own life to save another is an unreasonable thing to do.

I agree that conscience is not the source of morality.  Conscience is what we call our drive to be moral.
He's correct that some people don't seem to have this, just as some people are born missing a limb.

Human Nature
I agree with him that our nature is not the source of morality.
Our nature is to have many drives, and one of them is to be moral.
He says we wouldn't want to live in a world where human nature is given free reign, as though we don't already live in that world.  All of our thoughts and desires are a result of our nature, and all of our actions are a result of those thoughts and desires.

Utilitarianism is a specific moral philosophy.  He does not subscribe to this philosophy, and neither do I, so not much to say about that.

He says that because morality does not exist physically it's cause must be something that exists apart from the physical world.
I agree that morality is not physical.  It is conceptual, like mathematics; and like mathematics, it describes the physical world.

He then goes on to say that if morality is not physical, it is beyond nature, and proves the supernatural.
That's pretty dumb.
The only way this makes any sense is if he's defining nature as the physical world, and anything conceptual as supernatural.  That is not what those words mean to anyone I know.

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