A clear definition of “objective” temporarily aside, the question “do objective values exist” cannot be definitively answered until we know whether or not God or some “Creator” exists. If we think of values as nothing more than parameters for behavior, then objective values for morality are really no different than the objective parameters a programmer sets for his responsive web design. There are *real* rules that determine *real* behavior for *real* things in both cases. Subjectivity does not exist in web programming.
NOTE: this post was previously titled, “Why Aren’t the Laws of Science Evolving?” I changed the title after I realized that the previous title implies the very assumption being challenged :)
Rupert Sheldrake recently asked this question in his banned TED talk. I think it’s an excellent question that deserves serious inquiry. All observations I’m aware of converge: everything is evolving, except the laws that dictate the evolving! This ties right into the classic Aristotleian delineation: that which moves do so at the behest of something which does not move. Interesting, isn’t it?
A few posts back, in the context of Harrisian determinism / Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument, I asked:
Why embrace a worldview that necessarily commits one to a full abdication of ultimate moral responsibility, especially when it’s a philosophical position with no scientific grounding?
In a very long response, a commenter going by ThatGuyWithHippyHair (hereafter “ThatGuy”) replied:
I came across the following in some Ruby documentation and thought it was poignant WRT (a)theism:
This pattern is true of every Ruby object: trace back the class hierarchy far enough and every class in Ruby ultimately inherits from BasicObject, which has no superclass itself.
Peter Hurford recently said it was “misleading” to say he’d recanted the POE without including his “new position.” I replied that I was confused because I linked directly to his new position. I also said I felt that he might be confused, implying that I don’t think he still thinks the POE works, but rather that skeptical theism (hereafter ST) undermines key theist tenets. This is even more confusing when considering that Peter used ST to defang his newly-formulated POE. Look, right here:
I recently expressed my belief that most atheists have a very naïve understanding of morality that goes something like, “saving lives = moral good.” A commenter asked me to explain my position, and that’s what today’s brief post is about.
cl, no offense, but I don’t think this is a common atheist ethic. I think this is a cornerstone of any common sense morality: that is to say, “this” being the principle that saving lives is good. If you hear a child crying out for help that is drowning, would you bother to save him? Would not saving him be immoral if one was totally aware of his presence/distress and capable of saving him?
My first response is that “common sense” has led us down the wrong path, countless times. “Common sense” told us the sun went around Earth. “Common sense” told us air travel and telephony were impossible. “Common sense” told us that quantum mechanics just couldn’t be true. For these reasons, “common sense” merits a low position in any rational truth-seeker’s tool shed.
Those familiar with (a)theist discussion might have come across some variation of the statement,
If believers want to give God credit for changes in their life, if they are going to maintain any semblance of consistency, they must also ascribe the horrible atrocities around the world to God’s hand as well.
I still can’t figure out where the logic is. The statement seems wedded to the mistaken assumption that God is the only one with a hand in reality. Why should we ascribe the holocaust to God’s hand? “Because God could’ve stopped it and didn’t,” is the likely atheist response.
Well this whole PZ Myers Memorial Debate sure sparked quite the fiasco, but it’s really got me thinking. A few commenters both here and at VoxWorld have tossed out some pretty decent ideas as far as judging debates are concerned. If you were to judge a debate, what would you look for? What sort of things would you award or penalize? Have you seen any successful debate scoring systems before? What sort of scoring do you think would be fair? Based on what we’ve seen in the recent judging, what sort of things would you advise for or against? Where did the judges do well? Where could we have done better? Was there anything you wanted to see, but didn’t? Let’s see what we can come up with.
You can download the four letters that comprise Round One as a single PDF file, here [131KB]. If you don’t want to download it, simply copy the URL and paste it into your address bar. Or go check it out at VoxWorld. Be forewarned: Dominic’s piece is a bit sloppy grammatically, making comprehension a challenging at times. Vox, on the other hand, is at least articulate enough that intelligibility is not an issue.