Thursday, 7 June 2012

Atheists versus objective morality

In this recent blog post, prominent Internet atheists Paul "PZ" Myers attempted to explain how he, as an atheist, can have an objective morality.

The post hardly needs fisking. Only on a surface reading, you can see that Myers appears to believe that "objective" means that same as "subjective", or is somehow fatally confused about the difference between the two. Myers explains his "objective" morality at every turn with "I want this, I do not want that, I would not like this, I have no interest in the other, I much prefer that." Dear Professor Myers, meet Myers' whole post is an example of the semantic equivocation fallacy; Myers uses the word "objective", but not to mean what it is meant to mean in this discussion, namely "not founded and rooted in human preference" (i.e. not "subjective"). Rather he re-deploys it to mean "a listable, repeatable set of criteria" (i.e. not subject to random change depending on what side of the bed I rolled out of).

I suppose, though, that Professor Myers does know what the word "objective" means, and what it means in this context. For him, that knowledge is the problem.

He knows that morality ought to be objective. Which means: not subject to what any particular individual, or even humanity as a whole, wants/prefers/likes/enjoys. Morality ought to be above human power to tamper with according to subjective whim and preference. Something that is not established by saying "I have no interest in doing this or that".

Professor Myers also, since he is an intelligent man, wants to be able to believe things which ought to be able to true. The problem is, that his atheism won't let him. Since he is in rebellion against God, his will is set against admitting what he knows ought to be true.

Hence, the preposterous spectacle of a university professor trying to pen a moral philosophy in which he appears to not know the difference between two opposite terms, and presents us one long equivocation fallacy under the guise of learn-ed reasoning.

Which view of the world can explain all these facts? How an intelligent, educated man can tie himself in knots trying to explain why his view of the world explains X, whilst showing on every line that it absolutely does not? Some view of the world which involves an objective moral-order that is higher than man and handed down to him... some view of the world in which man is a moral deviant, a fallen creature... some view of the world in which man willingly fights against what, deep down, he knows to be true because he does not want it to be true.... hmmm.... is that Christianity?

Myers shows us that when atheists attempt to argue against Christianity, they prove it.

1 comment:

Ned Kelly said...

My interest piqued by your observations, I read the article and was totally amazed. Such issues are usually just a trife obscure, but in this case, Myers's subjectivity comes out with all guns blazing. Nonetheless, reading the comments at the end of the blog, the devotees failed to see the truth. Apologies for the mixed metaphor, but eyes to see and ears to hear are very thin on the ground, and must make a pastor's job very frustrating - how do you get through to such people? We can pray, but I suspect that even God requires people to open their hearts and minds to Him, if even just a little.
Incidentally, the security word verification on this site is the hardest I have ever encountered.