Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Misunderstanding the Moral Argument

I'm not sure what it is about fundie atheists, but many of them just don't seem to be able to grasp the Moral Argument. In a recent conversation one hit just about every mine in the field even though I was doing everything I could to steer them through safely. It's like I was saying 'two steps right' and they heard 'spin on the spot'.

I stepped in to a conversation to help clear up a few things. The atheist was speaking to a Christian who was attempting to defend the moral argument, but to me I thought the believer hadn't really got the best grasp of it himself. I think he understood it, but wasn't so great at explaining it. Whatever the case with the Christian, the atheist had no chance to get to grips with it, so I figured I'd push things in the right direction to get them both on track. It was meant to be a quick in and out, but the atheist seemed unable to grasp my clarity.

I should have taken the hints from his comments like these before getting involved...

Is this real misunderstanding or intentional dishonesty?
Anyway, here's where I came in. Take a look at this.

Therein lies the problem. You don't know what 'objective moral values' are, yet you're trying to argue against them for some reason?
Just as if something is blue then it is blue, then if something is good then it is good. But where is that value of objectively good coming from?
Blue is blue because of light patterns. We don't look at a flower and decide that it will be blue. We see the blue as and where it is.
In the same way, if we can see good as and where it is, that means it is objective.
However, if (like you are doing) we say that we feel that human well-being is a good thing, it's more like saying "I like how this chocolate tastes". That is subjective. If it's subjective, then a person who dislikes the chocolate has an equally valid viewpoint. It's all opinion and no one outweighs another.

It was a long slog, but hopefully this exchange will help at least one person better understand objective morality.