How do atheists account for science, logic, and objective morality

I recently responded to a theist about some questions that circulate in the pressupositionalist community.  I didn't spend much time, but I kept it simple and think it may be of public interest to those searching the web.

Quote:

From your worldview, Atheistic, how do you consistently account for science, objective morals, logic, reason, and knowledge?

 

Your question is one that has always bothered me. Not that it needs to be answered or that it is tough to answer, but that the question is even asked. I can hear the Paul Manata coming through in your question. (he referred to him)

These questions have been answered in books, as they really should be. But I'll take the other side of the coin as I am limited on time.

To put it excessively succinctly...

science: is the observation of the natural world. It is the most sure mechanism someone can use to discern that which is true and that which isn't worth believing. The most beautiful element of science is the fact that as new data becomes available, past conclusions can be revised. From a theistic standpoint this is where you shouldn't give up hope on a god being scientifically proven someday. In the same breath, it's also why we know that your belief in god is no different than any other fictitious creature.

objective morals: the idea of objective morals typically spawn from religion. They have no meaning to me. The only objective moral I can imagine I hold is the golden rule. It existed before Christianity, and it will exist long after Christianity disappears. Other than that, typical arguments from religion about morality almost always forget about our legal code. For example, "if there isn't a god, I have no reason to be a good person." Oh yeah, what about jail?

logic, reason, knowledge: all spawn from the same area, our brain. We can measure this activity, we can look at the brain as it processes information. K.I.S.S. Presuppositionalists tend to think they can confuse this question, make it abundantly more complex than it needs to be, and then make up an answer like... god must have done it. Or worse... the highly offensive idea that without god we couldn't have these things, therefore since we have these things, we must have god. I say offensive because I'm offended when people think I'm that stupid. You should be too.

How do you account for televisions, skyscrapers, and microprocessors?

 

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Vastet's picture

XD I always feel a bit

XD

I always feel a bit insulted when someone says that kind of thing. Ironically, they insult themselves simultaneously without realising it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

digitalbeachbum's picture

I agree. It's like saying,

I agree. It's like saying, how do you account for breathing, sleeping and eating?

 

Sapient wrote:objective

Sapient wrote:

objective morals: the idea of objective morals typically spawn from religion. They have no meaning to me. The only objective moral I can imagine I hold is the golden rule. It existed before Christianity, and it will exist long after Christianity disappears. Other than that, typical arguments from religion about morality almost always forget about our legal code. For example, "if there isn't a god, I have no reason to be a good person." Oh yeah, what about jail?

Great post all around! On the morality question, I must say that the objective morality argument is so vapid when you think about it...ugh.

"Morals" is a very broad term, and there isn't enough information if someone asks "are morals objective"? When confronted by such an idiot who, when you say you don't believe that complete objective morality exists, they usually respond with something extreme like "so you don't think that rape is 'objectively' wrong?" There are 2 things wrong with that.

First, while I don't believe a universal objective code of morals that covers every issue, rape is objectively wrong. In the same way murder is objectively wrong. Is killing wrong though? That's a more difficult question, because without context, you can't say if it someone had a morally sound reason to kill another. However, murder immediately implies that they didn't. Rape implies that one party did not consent to the act (or couldn't give informed consent, in the case of a minor for instance). Pretty simple.

Second, the question is an attempt by the religious to trap you. However, when you look at the wording of it, it's an attempt at posing a question that you don't want to answer. I think of something else subjective, such as beauty. I don't think anybody could possibly say that beauty is objective. Beauty (whether it's people, art, music, etc) is completely subjective, as we all like different things, and there is no method (so far) to measure it. Having said that, knowing that beauty is subjective has absolutely 0 impact on how strongly I feel about the things and people in the world that I find most beautiful. It's some of the most important things in my life. To call certain aspects of morality subjective isn't anything terrible. I still find murder repulsive, even if I'm able to acknowledge that not everyone in the world shares my revulsion to the act.

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.

Brian37's picture

I agree with everything you

I agree with everything you said Brian.  Bob Spence has an interesting take on the "golden rule", he puts it in opposite terms rather than "Do onto others". He takes the position that the negative form would be actually a more positive approach, "Don't do onto others what you would not want done to you".

Might be simply arguing semantics, but even with the "golden rule" the human ability to be compassionate has always been part of our elvolution, it was not an invention by Christianity or any other religion.

But in our Duck Dynasty McBible society it is tough battling this.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

iwbiek's picture

spence's rephrasing is

spence's rephrasing is nothing new. sometimes it's called the "silver rule." "don't do" is a passive position, whereas the golden rule specifies that one should go out of one's way to do the things for people that they would like to have done for them. it's an active position.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson