Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ricky Gervais (Briefly) on the Meaning of "Good"

There's an interesting dialogue on cnn between Piers Morgan and Ricky Gervais.

Morgan told Gervais that he (Morgan) did believe in God. Gervais, as he has made known, does not.

Let's applaud Gervais for being honest about his disbelief. Let's not applaud him for having good reasons for his disbelief. At least if he has them, he didn't give them tonight.

For example, Gervais said, rhetorically - "Some people ask "What is 'good'? He responds to the rhetorical question by saying, "I do. I'm good." OK. No explanation here. In one sense he's correct, from the atheist POV. If there's no God then there are no objective moral values. We just make them up ourselves. But if that were true, then it's rather odd to argue for truth, as Gervais claims to do. "I just present the truth," he said. And how could one meaningfully be outraged at "moral injustice" if we are the sole arbiters of "good?" For example, Gervais's act on the Golden Globe Awards was not seen as "good" by some.

It might be interesting to follow Gervais occasionally, especially if he critiques religious people as "bad."