Friday, April 03, 2020

If There Is No God, Then There Are No Moral Facts

Image result for john piippo science
(The River Raisin, Monroe)

When the pandemic is over, I am not not wanting a return to secular, utilitarian amoralism. I desire America to break free from the European curse of subjective, emotivist ethics. First, the Church needs to break free. 

Pray for a revival that includes a return to objective moral values.

Secularists embrace science. Without God, it is all they have left. But theists like me thank God for science, and scientists. My prayers this day are for those brilliant scientists who are laboring to find answers for the coronavirus. 

Now note this. Scientists are objectivists, not subjectivists. Science fully rejects postmodernism. This is odd when large portions of the Church have been seduced by postmodern thinking. (On postmodernism, see, e.g., this [which is embraced by anti-postmodernist Jordan Peterson]: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.) 

Science is awesome objectivism. But when it comes to moral judgments, science gives us nothing. This is not a criticism of science. Science cannot tell us what is good, evil, right, or wrong, in principle.

Science as science reveals no value-information. I can measure something, weigh it, analyze it into physical structures and components, but the moment I ascribe a value to it, say, "elegant," I have left science.

Nietzsche understood this. His "madman" knows that, without God, values do not exist, since the metaphysical underpinning for such values is taken away. When a secularist moralizes, they overreach.  Secular overreach is massive today!

Secular philosopher Thomas Metzinger states it this way on Note the first sentence. Metzinger does not believe in God. Thus, if no God, then of course there are no moral facts.

"There are no moral facts. Moral sentences have no truth-values. The world itself is silent, it just doesn’t speak to us in normative affairs — nothing in the physical universe tells us what makes an action a good action or a specific brain-state a desirable one. Sure, we all would like to know what a good neurophenomenological configuration really is, and how we should optimize our conscious minds in the future. But it looks like, in a more rigorous and serious sense, there is just no ethical knowledge to be had. We are alone. And if that is true, all we have to go by are the contingent moral intuitions evolution has hard-wired into our emotional self-model. If we choose to simply go by what feels good, then our future is easy to predict: It will be primitive hedonism and organized religion."

If there is no God, then Metzinger's logic follows. And all moral judgments, to include the atheist's, are mere expressions of emotions. (Like "Yayyy!" or "Booo!" This is called "emotivist ethics.")

But there is a God. Hence, there are moral facts. Godless people tacitly appeal to this all the time, like when they morally criticize others.

For some excellent material on this, see U. of Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith, Atheist Overreach: What Atheism Can't Deliver