Wednesday, May 06, 2009

There are such things as Moral Absolutes

My main problem with religion is the lack of respect for reality. More importantly the lack of respect, and even derision shown towards the only successful method of discovering the Universe.

Most things in religion are so dangerously arbitrary. They do not follow the logical rules of falsifiability, repeatable testing and empiricism.

How can one trust the moral judgments of someone who backs them up with superstitious motivation? Especially in situations with numerous variables, where right and wrong are hard to discover, except through rational discourse.
The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education. The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action. - Einstein

I recently stumbled across this post which argued that there were no moral absolutes. I would fully agree that evolution is the source of morals and whether a particular action is ethical or not is dependent on context.

But that should never imply that morals are subjective. For anyone who believes in an external reality, for anyone who is a methodological naturalist, there are right answers and wrong answers to every moral situation. It doesn't matter how complex and grey those situations are. The complexity of the situation only determines for how long we disagree on the exact right answer and for how often we change our minds. It doesn't change the fundamentals of the situation.

If morality is proscribed by evolution, and evolution is a result of natural physical laws, then morality is an apex manifestation of the fundamental laws of nature.

As one of our great righteous heroes pleaded just a few decades ago, 'let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.'

ED: I'm talking about Moral Universalism not absolutism


The New Atheist said...

Dawkins has a great chapter in The God Delusion regarding universial morals. It indeed has nothing to do with an amoral ancient text.

Sabio Lantz said...

Rene, can you give us one example of a right answer for one moral situation and how you arrived at it?

Rene Benthien said...

@Randy just read that chapter on TGD. It was such an eloquent argument. Wish I could just quote it in its entirety when faced with the familiar accusations.

I'd originally dismissed the book as something written for those on the fence or just turning Atheist, but after reading this chapter I might go back and read the whole thing.

@Sabio: any moral situation? Even straightforward ones like I should not steal the new flat screen TV from my neighbour?

The New Atheist said...

Yeah I wish I could quote all his arguments in TGD verbatim. I have thought about trying to memorize them. I hate when someone asks me something I know Dawkins has a great rebuttal for, but I'm not able to convey the point.

The New Atheist said...

Oh, and btw, you definitely need to read it. His stated point of the book was to convert fence readers. Its almost like an atheist manifesto.

LewisTG said...

yeah and stalin killed all those priests and destroyed churches cos he wasn't atheist.

Maria said...

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As for art, i send it worldwide so it doesnt matter where you are from :)