April 28, 2009

Why the Argument from Morality (AfM) Fails

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism, Atheism and Morality tagged , , , , , at 11:59 am by Andrew

One of the most popular contemporary apologetics is the Argument from Morality (AfM); William Lane Craig uses it in every debate round, for example. Despite its near-ubiquity, I maintain that the AfM is, on balance, an argument against the command-morality of theism. Let’s dive in:
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A Peek Into the Life of the Evangelical Christian College Student

Posted in Atheism, Atheism and Morality tagged , , , , , , at 10:23 am by Andrew

Here’s a sneak peek at the rules and regulations at Pensacola Christian College. Students and staff at PCC are prohibited from:

* the use of alcohol in cooking
* watching PG-rated movies
* listening to “popular contemporary Christian music artists” such as “Steve Green, Amy Grant, or Steven Curtis Chapman.” (Don’t even ask about Stryper!)
* possessing a cell phone
* utilizing any wireless computer connection (including wireless print servers?)

And so on. The strangest part is the bit where women are not allowed to drive east, and men are not allowed to drive west. I would make some Sun-god crack here, but seriously: I can’t figure this out.

Although there’s a certain amount of ridicule in this post, let me be clear: if you want to live your life this way, have at it. I do think this highlights the pernicious influence of the belief that morality requires a God to lay down the rules. Once you no longer trust human reason, you wind up with a set of guidelines prohibiting adults from carrying cell phones, listening to Amy Grant, and driving off into the sunset. That’s part of why I think the argument from morality is one of the worst apologetic arguments for the existence of God (even as it remains stunningly popular).

HT: Slacktivist, and if you haven’t been reading liberal evangelical Fred Clark’s hilarious and well-informed dissection of the Left Behind series, you owe it to yourself to head over there right away.

March 23, 2009

Morality, Evolution, and Kant (answering Cydonia Mensae)

Posted in Atheism, Atheism and Morality, Questions For Atheists, Worldview tagged , , , , , at 10:59 am by Andrew

Over at Cydonia Mensae, James McConnell asks (among other things) for atheists to explain where our morals come from and how we can distinguish right from wrong. I noted that there are two broad approaches that many atheists take that seem to me to provide a sufficient, reasonable explanation:
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February 17, 2009

Morality and Monkeys

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism tagged , , at 1:24 pm by Andrew

At some point in the near future, I intend to discuss the popular (but in my view, wildly misguided) Argument from Morality as Christian apologetics.

To tide you over until then, I offer this charming account of moral development in monkeys. Frans de Waal is probably the foremost authority on primate studies in the world today.

EDIT: PZ Myers has, of course, weighed in on the article.

SECOND EDIT: In his wonderfully eloquent blog post on Darwin, official Friend of Science Roger Ebert gives us a beautiful, zen-like response to the age-old creationist canard, “if we evolved from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?”

Ebert: Monkeys are much better at being monkeys than we would be.

Brilliant!